I was ‘raised in the church,’ and had pastored a small congregation for a number of years before I began to have a clear picture of what Scripture has to say about ‘Heaven.’ Even then, I was not entirely correct as recent study is showing me.
This is not an exhaustive or definitive study. I just want to share some Scripture and a few thoughts.
Until a couple years ago, like most people, I had a very fuzzy, even mystical view of some ethereal blissful place that was beyond description. Most of that nonsense was cleared up after reading a terrific book by Randy Alcorn simply titled, Heaven. I highly recommend the book, though you may want to start in the middle then come back and read the front. [It begins with an excellent, but somewhat dry/daunting theological treatise.]
Alcorn rightly articulates the nature of the ‘new heaven and new earth‘ while answering many questions, such as ‘will there be coffee?’ or ‘will I see my pet?’ or ‘what will I wear?’ Excellent Scriptural exegesis, but I am seeing now that even in his excellent work he missed a most important detail.
Let’s look at some verses.
“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”
Here is a very interesting and very direct passage from one of the prophets. He gives us specific details:
- David (Yeshua is of the line of David) will be their Shepherd and Prince forever.
- Citizens will observe Torah (we’ll prove this further in a minute, hang on).
- They will live ON the land covenantally promised to Ya’acov (Jacob). Forever.
- His sanctuary will be in their midst. Forever.
- Thus, Yahweh (the Lord) fulfills all His promises and displays His glory.
Now, before you get in a tizzy about who this is written to, let’s consider a couple things, then more Scriptural support.
- If Yeshua, the Good Shepherd, is their king forever, then He is not someone else’s king…
- If He is reigning from the land promised to Jacob, then He is not somewhere else…
- Minimally, this defines the Millennium, possibly ‘forever.’ See Rev. 21-22
Does other Scripture support The King on The Land, teaching The Law? Absolutely. More than I ever realized.
‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the Lord;
‘For I am a master to you,
And I will take you one from a city and two from a family,
And I will bring you to Zion.’
15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the Lord, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
Jeremiah 3:15-17 (plus context)
And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains.
It will be raised above the hills,
And the peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say,
“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
And to the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For from Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.
4 Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5 Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us, we will walk
In the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.
6 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“I will assemble the lame
And gather the outcasts,
Even those whom I have afflicted.
7 “I will make the lame a remnant
And the outcasts a strong nation,
And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
From now on and forever.
Micah 4:1-7 (plus context)
“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
6 “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. 7 The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (plus context)
The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
5 Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Isaiah 2:1-5 (plus context)
There are literally a couple dozen more shorter references to the regathering of the Lost Sheep of Israel, the establishment of an eternal kingdom, David as King, and the Torah going forth from Zion!! To reiterate, ‘heaven’ is: Torah, in Israel, from Jerusalem under the kingship of Yeshua! Anything else is a mis-characterization of Scripture.
How could I have been so blind? How could Christendom have been so blind?
While I believe that it is/was the will of the Father to hide His plan until the time of the end, I also believe we are accountable for all that his Word says. [Aside: I do believe those who have gone before who walked according to the Light they had will be extended grace on this issue, however, we are accountable because we now understand and know.]
To understand more of what is being revealed from the Word of our Father in these last days, I recommend reading the Reformation Thought series on this blog, paying particular attention to the first five articles. Another option is to watch the videos at 119 Ministries or Passion For Truth.
I won’t hammer this any further. You have the information before you and the resources to study further.
As the days get more interesting, we must seek to know our Father in TRUTH! Only in Truth will we be able to stand.