Heaven

by Sylvia Bambola April 28, 2014 17:27 PM

The subject of heaven has aroused a lot of interest lately as evidenced by the many new books and movie. I guess that’s only natural, for as the world worsens so does the longing in people’s hearts for a place of peace, safety and love—all traditionally associated with heaven.

While some of these resources are better than others, we really don’t need to look to them for confirmation of heaven’s reality for Jesus Himself spoke of it. Take, for instance, the Last Supper when He said in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye many be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

In this one paragraph, Jesus tells us several things. First, that in heaven (His Father’s house) there is room for many. That word “house” in the Greek is oikia and means a specific place, and implies an extensive family dwelling. By this we know heaven is an actual place, not some nebulous cloud-like spot without definition. It’s a real place with real boarders and with a real purpose—that of housing the family of God. Next, the King James calls these places in God’s house “mansions.” It’s molis in the Greek and this is the only time in the New Testament when this word is used. Its meaning is interesting and hardly what I expected for it means “with difficulty, scarce, and with much work.” It’s clear that these “mansions” have been prepared with difficulty and they are not common but are of great value and points to the fact that these mansions were built upon the difficult work of Jesus’ death on the cross and His scarce and valuable blood that was shed.

Jesus goes on to say if this wasn’t true about His family estate, He would have told us. Meaning, it is true! If it’s not then that would make Him a liar and not God at all, wouldn’t it? Then Jesus says He’s going to prepare a place for “you,” meaning the disciples and by extension all His disciples, all those who follow Him. And what exactly is this place in this house with many mansions? That Greek word for place, is topos and means a specific spot, but not only that but also it means a scabbard, a sheathe which hides and protects a sword. More on that later. And Jesus Himself is going to prepare this place, and that word “prepare” means to adjust, fit, make ready—adjust, fit, and make ready a place specifically for each one of us. There will be no cookie-cutter mansions in heaven. But rather each place will be prepared by Jesus Himself, specifically for you and specifically for me. It will be a unique place, tailor-made for each of us. And since He knows us better than we know ourselves, He’ll know exactly what we would love to have in our new abode.

The next thing Jesus promises is that He is going to come again and “receive us” unto Himself that where He is we may be also. Since Jesus is currently in heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father, this is where He will bring us after “receiving us.” This speaks of the rapture and the time when Jesus will take us up to heaven during the seven years of tribulation, placing us in His “scabbard” His sheathe of protection to hide us during the worse events the world will ever see where His sword of judgment will be unleashed upon the earth but not upon us.

Jesus then tells His disciples that they (and we) know the place and that we know the way. In verse six He makes it even plainer by saying that He “is the Way, and the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.” So in order to get to this wonderful place called heaven and escape the wrath that is to come during the tribulation period, and stay sheltered and protected in our own individual dwelling Jesus has prepared for us, it can only be through Him. There is no other way. Jesus is it. There is only one road to heaven. And yes, it’s for real!

Until next time,

Sylvia

 

 

Category: Spirituality

Many Ways to Heaven?

by Sylvia Bambola November 21, 2011 10:14 AM

It seems like the “in” thing, even among some Evangelical Christians, to claim that there are many ways to heaven. It sounds rather sophisticated, too, like it’s coming from someone who’s been around and knows a thing or too. And isn’t it oh, so, tolerant? Almost making all other positions appear narrow-minded. But is it true?

 

Every religion in the world, other than Christianity, has a system of works, whereby you must earn your way to heaven. Only in Christianity are we told this has already been done for us, and done by the person of Jesus Christ; and that all we need do is accept it and believe in Him. Based on my years on this earth and observing how people operate and what generally motivates them, my logical mind tells me it’s impossible for any of us to work our way to heaven. For one thing, our motives usually stink. Like the Pharisees in the Old Testament who stood on street corners and had trumpets blown when they presented their tithes so that everyone would see them, our motives are all too often based on a desire to be admired by others. Oh, what a “good person” he/she is!  Don’t misunderstand, I’m stating a fact, not pointing a finger for I’ve been guilty of this myself. But knowing this makes it easier for me to understand that man is sinful and in great need of a Savior, thus Christ satisfies my need.  For me, any other route would be like embarking on “Mission Impossible”.

 

I do, however, understand the draw of a “works” religion. When my children were toddlers and I would try to help them do something, they often said, “me do”. And this was fine as long as what they wanted to do wasn’t dangerous or way beyond their capability. But most times they wanted to do something unsafe or what they sorely lacked the ability to do, and this while not even understanding these realities. So it really boils down to a question of pride. And doesn’t the Bible tells us that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall? (Proverbs 16:18 KJV)

 

But when it comes to Christians believing there are many ways to heaven, well, this is a real puzzler to me. If indeed there are many ways, why did Jesus have to come at all? Why did God the Father send Him to be tortured, beaten, brutalized and hang on a cross to die an agonizing death? Is God a sadist? Is He unfeeling? Or a cruel jokester? If there are other ways to heaven then Jesus’ death was unnecessary and that’s tantamount to pouring His precious blood down a drain.

 

Those who call themselves Christians should actually believe in who Jesus Christ is, what He did, and what He said. And that includes the hard sayings, like this one where Jesus claims, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58 KJV) proclaiming His eternal existence. Or “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6 KJV) proclaiming He is the only way to heaven. Or this one, “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be damned for his sins, but has already passed out of death into life” (John 5:24 LB) proclaiming that forgiveness of sins comes by Him. Or “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;” (John 11:25 KJV) proclaiming that belief in Him is required for gaining eternal life. Oh, there are so many more I could quote, but just these four show how radical Jesus’ statements were, and how He purposely left no wiggle room. Either Jesus is exactly who He says, or He’s a liar, and a madman or con artist. It’s a question that each of us must answer for ourselves. But no true Christian can have it both ways. For him/her, Jesus is the only way to heaven.

 

Until next time,

Sylvia

Category: Spirituality