header photo

According To The Bible

Are ther different levels of Heaven?

September 17, 2013

"Are there different levels of Heaven?"

The closest thing Scripture says to there being different levels of heaven is found in 2 Corinthians 12:2, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.” Some interpret this as indicating that there are three different levels of heaven, a level for “super-committed Christians” or Christians who have obtained a high level of spirituality, a level for “ordinary” Christians, and a level for Christians who did not serve God faithfully. This view has no basis in Scripture.

Paul is not saying that there are three heavens or even three levels of heaven. In many ancient cultures, people used the term “heaven” to describe three different “realms”—the sky, outer space, and then a spiritual heaven. Although the terms are not specifically biblical, these are commonly known as the terrestrial, telestial, and celestial heavens. Paul was saying that God took him to the “celestial” heavens, as in the realm in which God dwells. The concept of different levels of heaven may have come in part from Dante’s Divine Comedy in which the poet describes both heaven and hell as having nine different levels. The Divine Comedy, however, is a fictional work. The idea of different levels of heaven is foreign to Scripture.

Scripture does speak of different rewards in heaven. Jesus said regarding rewards, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). Jesus said that when He comes He will have with Him rewards to give to people on the basis of what they have done. This shows us that there will be a time of reward for believers. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, we read the words of Paul as he closes out his ministry: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Only those works that survive God’s refining fire have eternal value and will be worthy of reward. Those valuable works are referred to as “gold, silver, and costly stones” (1 Corinthians 3:12) and are those things that are built upon the foundation of faith in Christ. Those works that will not be rewarded are called “wood, hay, and stubble”; these are not evil deeds but shallow activities with no eternal value. Rewards will be distributed at the “judgment seat of Christ,” a place where believers’ lives will be evaluated for the purpose of rewards. “Judgment” of believers never refers to punishment for sin. Jesus Christ was punished for our sin when He died on the cross, and God said about us: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). What a glorious thought! The Christian need never fear punishment, but can look forward to crowns of reward that he can cast at the feet of the Savior. In conclusion, there are not different levels of heaven, but there are different levels of reward in heaven.

According to the Bible: AMEN: How did the word orignate? What does "Amen" mean

May 21, 2013

Posted May 20, 2013 AMEN: How did the word orignate? What does "Amen" mean? (II Corinthians 1:20) For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Koine Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word is directly related--in fact, almost identical--to the Hebrew word for "believe" (aman), or "faithful." Thus, it came to mean "sure" or truly," an expression of absolute trust and confidence. When one believes God, he indicates his faith by an "amen." When God makes a promise, the believer's response is "amen"--"so it will be!" In the New Testament, it is often translated "verily" or "truly." When we pray according to His Word and His will, we know God will answer, so we close with an "amen," and so also do we conclude a great hymn or anthem of praise and faith. The word is even a title of Christ Himself. The last of His letters to the seven churches begins with a remarkable salutation by the glorified Lord :(Revelation 3:14 "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.") We can be certain that His Word is always faithful and true, because He is none other than the Creator of all things, and thus He is our eternal "Amen." As our text reminds us, every promise of God in Christ is "yea and amen," as strong an affirmation of truth as can be expressed in the Greek language. It is, therefore, profoundly meaningful that the entire Bible closes with an "amen." (Revelation 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. ), assuring everyone who reads these words that the whole Book is absolutely true and trustworthy. Amen!

According to the Bible: "What is a Christian?"

May 8, 2013

 "What is a Christian?"

 A dictionary definition of a Christian would be something similar to “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” While this is a good starting point, like many dictionary definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian. The word “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26 "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass , that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." ; Acts 26:28 "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."; 1 Peter 4:16 "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed ; but let him glorify God on this behalf.") . Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or a “follower of Christ.”

Unfortunately over time, the word “Christian” has lost a great deal of its significance and is often used of someone who is religious or has high moral values but who may or may not be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Many people who do not believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a “Christian” nation. But going to church, serving those less fortunate than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile. Being a member of a church, attending services regularly, and giving to the work of the church does not make you a Christian.

The Bible teaches that the good works we do cannot make us acceptable to God. (Titus 3:5 says, " Not by works of righteousness which we have done , but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost") So a Christian is someone who has been born again by God (John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.; John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.; 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again , not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.) and has put faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is “…For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

A true Christian is a person who has put faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross as payment for sins and His resurrection on the third day. John 1:12 tells us, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God’s Word (1 John 2:4 &10; 4 He that saith , I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him ). A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given new life in Jesus Christ.

There are currently no blog comments.