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Heaven: Introductory Bible Lesson

by William W. Orr (1905-1992)

Someone has falsely observed that we may not know anything of heaven for no one has ever returned to tell us the wonders of this glorious land. This is manifestly untrue because of the testimony of the Apostle Paul (II Cor. 12:1-4) and the Apostle John (Rev. 4:1) and of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:51).

Heaven is taught in Scripture to be a place (John 14:1-3); a place of surpassing beauty and celestial glory (Rev. 21:1-22:7). It is to be inhabited by God the Father, Christ the Son, the Holy Spirit and all the redeemed people of all time. This will include both the saved of Old Testament times, as well as those who have lived since Christ's earthly ministry.

Probably no one can fully comprehend the wondrous glory of this divinely prepared place, but the Scriptures do speak of heaven as a place of abundant life (II Tim. 4:8); of rest (Rev. 14:13); of service (Rev. 22:3); of fellowship with God (Rev. 21:3); of fellowship with other believers (I Thess. 4:18); and of glory (II Cor. 4:17).

We are told that at death, the believer immediately departs to be with the Lord, and that his estate at that time is "far better" (Phil. 1:23; II Cor. 5:8). The new body which is conformed to the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus is not given until the coming of Christ (Phil. 3:20, 21).

The believer's conformation to Christ is not only in the realm of his bodily perfections but rather includes his mind as well (I Cor. 13:12). Through this we understand that the dwellers in heaven are to be deprived of no present knowledge, but rather their intelligence is to be increased to an infinite degree. Loved ones will be nearer and dearer than ever before. And while the Lord will always continue to be the absolute center of attraction, still part of heaven's joy will be the meeting and acquaintanceship of God's worthies of all ages.

Not every person will be found in heaven. This place of immeasurable glory is reserved only for the redeemed. However, every person may go there, for the sacrifice of Christ is wonderfully sufficient to afford salvation to everyone that believeth (Rom. 1:16; John 3:16; John 5:24).

From Believer's First Bible Course by William W. Orr. Wheaton, Ill.: Scripture Press, 1956.

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