Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stepping Out in Faith through Active Relational Christian Mentoring

Faith is often hard to explain to the unbelieving. Yet, for those who have faith in God and Christ as their Savior, it can still sometimes be difficult to rely on faith during a particular trial or tribulation. Faith, though, is having confidence in God that as His child, He will always be there for us to provide for our needs and to help us through our trials in life. Faith is the conviction that God is both willing and able to do the things that He has promised no matter what obstacles have to be overcome and no matter what circumstances are involved. One of the things that Active Relational Christian Mentors can do for both the unbelieving and the believing person is to help them see and faithfully rely on God in all situations.

Helping those in need to focus on God and to trust that He is there for them is an important aspect of ARCM. Moreover, many people just need to be reminded Who they can trust and why. They need to grow their faith in God and His Son both in the here and now as well as for their future. So, what is faith? Well, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.– (Hebrews 11: 1. KJV).  Another Bible translation says, “Faith is the assurance of things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality.– (Amplified Bible).  Both translations, though, explain how we are to live by faith every day of our lives. In fact, whether we realize it or not, we live by faith moment by moment in almost every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, we never think about God as the object of our faith. But, in order to help others, Christian mentors must teach and show their mentees how important faith in God is in their daily lives.
The evidence or proof that our faith in God is justified can be found in the most common of our routines and in the daily actions we pursue. One of those routines or actions is our nightly ritual of going to bed while still having faith that the sun will come up the next morning and a new day will start. It never occurs to us that the sun might not produce light for our orbiting earth or that we might not awake to see the day-light. We just accept on faith that we will awake and that the sun will still be there, and when we do awake and see light in the sky, we have evidence that our faith was justified. But, who is the recipient or object of our faith?

In the above example, the sun or day-light may seem to be the object of our faith, as we accept on faith that the sun will be here to awaken us each day. We may also think that the object of our faith is the sun, because we can go to some teacher or scientist to explain to us why the sun “comes up” every day and why it gets dark at night and then get a very scientific explanation. However, the object of our faith in this routine of faith should actually be God. For, in speaking of God, the psalmist said, “You made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun that knows when to set. You send darkness and it becomes night, when the forest animals prowl about.”  -- (Psalm 104: 19, 20. NLT). God is the One who has set the solar system in motion to provide for our needs upon this earth. But, because the rising of the sun has previously occurred so many times already, and we just expect it to happen again and again, most of us accept on faith that it will continue to do so and that our faith is well-placed in the sun to continue to do so. That is because, the evidence that our faith is justified in the sun is found in the fact that the sky lightens from dark to day-light every morning. Unfortunately, we often ignore the true object of our faith.

The Object of our Faith

As people who know that God is our Creator, we should understand that the object of our faith should actually be God. He is the One who set the sun, stars and moon in place. He is the One who in His knowledge of everything actually put our earth into orbit so that the sun would set each night and rise daily. Furthermore, God is the One who made our earth and everything on it. Indeed, God created us and every living organism within the universe. Additionally, this great Creator, i.e. God, is the One who provides for us and sustains us here on this planet. Yet, most people never think about Who should be the object of our faith, i.e. God. For, He is the One who has provided a working universe for us and has provided knowledge about Him along with giving us gained knowledge that we have been allowed to obtain over time.

Evidence for our Faith

The other day, I was reading about faith and what it entails, and I discovered that the word “science” actually means “knowledge”. Over the years scientists have diligently searched for knowledge and have looked for the evidence of that knowledge. Unfortunately, many scientists did not and some still do not know that God has already given us great scientific knowledge throughout the Bible on which to base our faith in God. Yet, so many people say they only believe in science or what they can observe and see with their own eyes and mind. If many would just pick up the Bible and truly study it, they would find that God has already given us much of the scientific knowledge that we searched for over the years.

Faith in what God has provided in His Word is important to our understanding of the evidence of knowledge that God has already given us. One example of this is in the book of Hebrews, where we are told that “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command (by His spoken Word), so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – (Hebrews 11: 3. NIV). So, even before the discovery of the invisible atoms and molecules, by which all things are made and exist, God told us in His Word that He made the earth and the universe out of nothing visible. 

Until scientists discovered the atoms and molecules that God had created, God asked us to have faith in His creation out of nothingness. At the same time, though, God also gave us factual information about His creation, as well as evidence of what He had done. For, in the first chapter of Genesis, we are told that “God created the heavens and the earth, …”  -- (Genesis 1: 1. KJV). The Hebrew word that was translated into English as “created” is actually “Bara”, which means “to create out of nothing”. For those without faith, that statement seemed impossible. However, with the discovery of atoms and molecules, that statement makes perfect sense, and we now have evidence that God did created everything out of nothing that was visible. We now know that God did create everything from nothing, using the invisible atoms and molecules He had previously created, which have now become “the evidence of things not seen” for our faith in God.

Many people claim to have faith in Christ Jesus, but they do not act upon that faith. Active Relational Christian Mentoring shows evidence of our faith in Christ Jesus through our loving deeds toward others. Jesus must be the object of our faith, if we believe that Jesus died for our sins and that He conquered death to be our risen Savior. “Born-again” Christians have faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior and know in faith that through Him we will have eternal life with God. Although we cannot see God, the Father, or Christ, the Son, Christians have accepted on faith that the Bible, the Word of God, is true and that God sent His Son, Christ Jesus, to save us from our sins. This faith in God’s mercy and love for us sinners, has opened our hearts to the desire to repent of our sins so that we can be made righteous and clean in the presence of God. Because of our faith, we are then given evidence of our justified faith in Christ as the risen Son of God when our hearts are changed forever and when we truly want to live our lives for Christ and the Truth. Furthermore, evidence of our justified faith in the object of our faith, i.e. Christ as our Savior, has not only led to our Salvation, but has opened our heart to love and to loving our neighbors as ourselves. The evidence of this love is found in our obedience to God’s command to help others and to share the Gospel message. Although there are many ways to share the Gospel and to help others, Active Relational Christian Mentoring shows our faith in Christ Jesus while empowering another woman to be all that she can be for the Lord, herself, and her family too.

The Importance of Faith

So, why is faith so important to our lives? First of all, faith allows us to exist on a well-constructed and beautifully made earth, while still not completely understanding why things work the way they do. Before knowledge was gained through empirical data and scientific discoveries, mankind accepted on faith that if we planted a seed that it would grow if there was enough rain and if the sun shone upon it. Then, as we waited for the plant to grow, we accepted on faith that we would be able to harvest the grown plants or the fruit produced at a certain point in time. Although we don’t think about it, most people realize that God prepared an earth that would provide for His children even if we sometimes have to work hard to bring in the harvest. But, we do accept on faith that the seasons will continue and that springtime and harvest will come.

Secondly, faith is important because it pleases God. It pleases God that we trust in Him without actually seeing Him. It also pleases God when our faith brings us into obedience to Him. Furthermore, it pleases God when we trust in His Son, Christ Jesus. One example of such faith and trust in Christ was recorded in the Bible.  For, on one particular day two blind men were following Christ begging Him to have mercy on them. Finally, Christ turned to them and asked them what they wanted. They told Christ that they wanted to be able to see. Then, Christ ask them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” When they said yes, Christ then touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen. And suddenly they could see! …” – (Matthew 9: 27- 29. NLT). Accordingly, God was pleased that these two men trusted in faith that Christ could make their eyes whole again. Because of their faith, they were healed by Christ Jesus. Remember, that today God still works in our lives through our faith. We just have to believe in faith that God will help us!

Pastor Tommy Higle in his “Journey” study on the book of Hebrews, said that “faith” is more like a sixth sense. He said, “Faith gives substance to the invisible and intangible realities that cannot be sensed with our five physical senses.”  -- (Journey into Confident Living, p. 76. c. 2010). In other words, faith is a part of our soul. It is that part which connects directly to God and knows that God is listening and doing for us even when we can’t physically see, hear, smell, taste, or touch Him. We also have faith in His Son’s cleansing of our sins, because Christians know in our souls, by using our sixth sense, that we have been made clean and righteous and that we are going to Heaven to be with God someday. Although we cannot see Eternity in Heaven today, faith has also given substance to the existence of Eternity, and now we have the conviction that we will someday see Eternity and exist in our Heavenly home. Furthermore, we have received justified evidence of our faith in Christ, because our souls have been cleansed and changed for the better. Even other people can usually see the change in one who has asked Christ into her heart. So, Christ is the object of our faith, and faith in Him means that He has bestowed upon us eternal life, and eternal life will be not only be the evidence but the substance of our conviction that God and His Son, Jesus Christ, are real.

How Much Faith Do We Need?

The amount of faith that we have is not as important as actually having faith. In fact, Jesus said, that “… if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” – (Matthew 17: 20. NASB). A mustard seed is very small, so it isn’t the amount of faith, but rather your desire to have faith and then your desire to stand on that faith that counts. Jesus explained this in a story about a man who brought his son to Jesus for healing. Previously, the disciples had tried to get rid of the evil spirit in the boy, but they couldn’t, and the spirit was constantly throwing the boy into water or fire to try and kill him. In talking to Jesus, the father said to Jesus, “… if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us! And Jesus said to him. ‘If you can?’ All things are possible to him who believes. Immediately, the boy’s father cried out and said, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief.’ … He (Jesus) rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.’ … Jesus took him (the boy) by the hand and raised him, and he got up.” Jesus recognized that the father had a small amount of faith, but that he wanted to believe or have even more faith, so even with this father’s small amount of faith or belief in Jesus’ ability to heal his son, Jesus could then go ahead and heal the boy.

All it takes to receive Christ into your heart is a small amount of faith in Christ Jesus as the risen Lord. God would never require a gargantuan amount of faith for Salvation, because that would mean that some could not receive Salvation. But, we do have to have a certain amount of faith in Christ Jesus in order to believe, repent, and ask Christ to come into our hearts. However, if you have faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed you will have enough faith to be “Saved.”  Moreover, like the father in the above story, if we are struggling, we can also ask Christ to help our unbelief. God is there for us and He doesn’t want anyone to perish. You just have to be willing to believe and then ask for Christ’s help.

When it comes to praying for the needs of our mentees or our family, we sometimes forget that even though it doesn’t take a great amount of faith to pray for someone, we still have to pray and are to pray believing. We have to pray believing that God will answer our prayers and that He has our best interest at heart. Furthermore, if you do not think that you have enough faith, ask Christ to help your unbelief and give you more faith. But, we have to pray believing that God will do what needs to be done. Remember, God wants to see your faith in Him and His ability. Even though, our prayers may not be answered in our timing or in the way that we, as humans, think it should be done, God will always be there for us in the way that He sees will benefit us in the long run.

Producing Fruit from our Faith

Genuine faith, means we are not only willing to put in the time to pray, believing God has the best interest for ourselves or others, but we are trusting or have conviction that God will provide evidence of His care. However, there is one more aspect of faith and faithfulness that is also important. As “born-again” Christians we have to, in faith, be willing to bear fruit for God’s Kingdom. Faithfulness produces fruit for the Kingdom of God. For, our faith and resultant fruit bearing means that we are willing to show God through our faith and our deeds that we not only believe in Christ, but that we are willing to sacrifice time and effort to do for others, so that those in the Kingdom of God will be blessed by their brothers and sisters in Christ. Faithfulness and fruit bearing can also produce a harvest of people who turn to Christ just from having heard the Gospel message that you willingly shared with them. Remember, in Active Relational Christian Mentoring you can both help others in the body of Christ and share the Good News with those who still need to hear it.

We cannot just pretend we have faith in Christ, but then do nothing for the Kingdom of God. To clarify this, there is a story about Jesus destroying a fig tree. You see, God made fig trees to provide food and nourishment for humans. Then one day, from a distance, Jesus and His disciples saw a fig tree. They were hungry and were looking forward to eating some of the figs. But when they got to the tree, the fig tree had not produced any fruit even though it was the season for it to do so. Then Jesus said to the fig tree, “… ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ And immediately the fig tree withered up. The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’ Then Jesus told them, ‘I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. … If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.’” – (Matthew 21: 19-22. NLT). In other words, Jesus was telling the disciples that they had to have faith, and they had to pray believing that what they prayed about would be done or their wavering in doubt would not be heard.

Jesus was not telling the disciples that prayer is some magic formula that gives us what we desire. Instead, Jesus was speaking to the disciples about their faith or lack thereof. We have to pray believing that God has our best interest at heart and that He will help us. However, we also have to understand that we cannot treat our requests to God and His Son like Santa Claus and expect to get trivial things that we have prayed for. Moreover, God will never grant a request that is not in line with His character, or a request that would hurt us or someone else. In other words, our requests must be in harmony with Who God is and with the principles of the Kingdom of God.

In this experience with the fig tree, Jesus was also teaching the disciples that they had to truly have faith in Christ to accomplish things for the Kingdom of God. Moreover, their faith must produce evidence of their faith in Christ. For, just as this fig tree looked good from a distance, but upon closer examination, it was not living up to its purpose or expectations as a fruit producing tree, we cannot just say we are Christians and then do nothing for the Lord. So, just like the fig tree the disciples were to faithfully fulfill their God-given purpose. If the disciples back then did not, or if we, Christians, today do not put our faith in Christ, and work for Him and work to help others who need to hear the Gospel or need to be helped in some other way, then we are like the fig tree that bore no fruit. There has to be substance to our faith. In other words, in faith, we are to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. Active Relational Christian Mentoring gives each of us a chance to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.

James, the brother of Christ, wrote to his fellow Christians about living for Christ. One section of his book is specifically devoted to faith and good deeds. In this section, James said, “So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.– (James 2: 17. NLT).  In other words, our deeds of service to the Kingdom of God are actually evidence of our Salvation and of our faith in Christ.

Obviously, deeds cannot get us into Heaven, or we would all be trying to work our way there. What would be enough work or what would be too little work to get there? But, the Bible and Christ’s own words tell us that there is only one way to get into Heaven and that is through faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God. Thus, we are required to have received Salvation in order to enter Eternity in Heaven. But, the work that we do for the Lord will not be for naught, for I have previously talked to you about rewards we can receive in Heaven for our work for the Kingdom of God? Indeed, we will be well rewarded for our work, deeds, and efforts to help others enter into the Kingdom of God. We will also be rewarded for our love, care and concern for those less fortunate or for those who need some type of help that we can provide. So, in the above verse, James is telling us that not only do we have to have faith, but that we need to use our faith to help others find Jesus Christ. As loved children of God, we are also to show our love for others through good deeds.

Stepping Out in Faith

So, why am I emphasizing “faith” and our need to believe when it comes to Active Relational Christian Mentoring?  Well, there are still so many Christians who refuse to step out in faith to serve the Lord. We are afraid of what stepping up to actively mentor another woman might require of us. We are afraid of the time that we might have to give up from our own life. We are also often afraid that we might be turned down or embarrassed in some way if we ask someone about becoming their mentor. But we must believe or have faith in our ability to help others through our God-given talents and with God’s never-failing help.

Sadly, most people usually over think situations, and most negative “what if’s” never materialize, so there is really no reason not to step out in faith to help another. Furthermore, Active Relational Christian Mentoring only requires a small amount of faith, about the size of a mustard seed. But, the greatest lack of faith comes when we listen to the devil tell us that we cannot possibly have anything, such as a talent or knowledge of some kind that could help another woman, and we then believe the devil. Instead of faithfully believing in I John 4: 4, which says “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”, many Christians do not trust that God will take care of them and guide them even from all the shenanigans of the devil. We forget Who the object of our faith is, i.e. God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and we forget that God has given us evidence throughout life of our justified faith in Him. As Christian women we must remember God’s provision and have faith in Christ and in God’s protection and love for those who attempt to obey God in service to Him and others.

Another word for “faith” is “trust”. Christians have to trust in God to help them through this world. We have to trust in Christ as our Savior, and as our Lord. He should be Lord of our lives. This means that we need to focus on living for Christ and focus on doing for Him. So, ask yourself, “What would Christ want me to do to serve Him and His Father?” Are you willing to step out in faith trusting that God will never give you a job that you are not capable of doing? Are you willing to give a portion of your life to another Christian who needs to be empowered through your talent, your knowledge, your skills, or the resources that you could share? Perhaps, God is asking you to step out in faith and trust in Him as you embrace a new job or a new home. Perhaps you are being given a golden opportunity to meet women who may need your expertise or your knowledge of Christ. Just trust in or have faith in the Lord that He will be with you every step of the way.

For those of you who have not yet stepped out in faith and trust to give your lives to Christ, it is not too late. Moreover, whether or not you have yet believed on Christ, there is still hope that you will someday believe on Him, so that you, too, can spend Eternity in Heaven with God and your loved ones who have already given their lives to Christ. Remember, all it takes is faith as small as a grain of mustard seed to reach out and ask Christ to come into your heart. In fact, Christ will meet you wherever you are. He will come to you holding open his arms so that you can run into them and be forever changed. If you are really struggling, ask Christ to help your unbelief, and He will. But, God and His Son want to know that you want to know them. They won’t force you to do something that you don’t want to do. Unlike other so-called religions, the One true God will never make you do anything that you don’t want to do. The One true God will never ask you to do anything bad or ask you to hurt anyone else. The One true God is about love, mercy and faith.

I hope you take a moment to accept on faith, that Christ died for your sins and that He arose from the dead. I hope that you accept and open the gift of life that Christ is offering you through your belief and faith in Him. If you are struggling, please pray asking God to help your unbelief and He will.

For those that are “Saved”, I pray that you will think hard about your service to the Kingdom of God. You need to produce fruit for the Kingdom. Don’t become like the fig tree and wither, because you are not producing fruit for God. Instead, find ways to share the Gospel and find ways to help other people. Active Relational Christian Mentoring may be a great way for you to reach others and to help them. Think about it! I know that you can do it!  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Eternity in Heaven -- What Will Heaven Look Like? -- The New Jerusalem and the Throne of God

We are spiritual beings who deep down in our hearts and souls are seeking our true home and a restored relationship with God. Those who recognize this spiritual longing and need may have searched for comfort and answers to their longing in all the wrong places. For, we know that some people have delved into false religions with gods that do not exist. Others have chosen to look for spiritual peace within themselves believing in their own ability to be the god of their own lives by using yoga, meditation, Buddhism and other so-called cerebral methods to try to find the answer to who they are and who they can be. Still others have chosen to totally ignore the spiritual aspect of their lives; deciding to live only for themselves and instant gratification. Sadly, all of these methods lead to total separation from God and our true home in Eternity in Heaven.

In the past few blogs, I have discussed with you nine groups of Holy Scripture assurances that God has given to us about Eternity in Heaven. Last week we started looking at the group of Scriptures in the Bible relating to Assurance Number Ten that involves what Heaven will look like. In the first part of Assurance Number Ten we looked at the specific Scriptures that told us about the types of people who will and will not be in Heaven, as people will make up a large part of what Heaven will look like. This week we will look at the other Scriptures within Assurance Number Ten, which involve Scriptures having to do with the physical make-up or beauty of Heaven. Taken together, all of these Scriptures relate to those assurances found in God’s Word that give us a beautiful picture of Heaven.

If you know Christ as your Savior, i.e. you are “born-again” into a new spiritual awareness of Who Christ is and who you are as a child of God’s, then you are indeed assured that one day you will see Heaven. But, your new spiritual being in Christ does not just reside on your God-given assurance of going to Heaven. Rather, God wants you to share your Salvation knowledge of Christ and the Word of God, including Eternity in Heaven, with others. Furthermore, as you live for Christ, you are to help empower other people to live for God and His Son. Along the way, you can help another woman be the best woman she can be for the Lord and for herself and her family. You can do this by engaging in Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM). However, to mentor others for the Lord, every Christian should inquire of and come to know as much as she can about the Word of God in order to help others walk for Christ and to be assured that they, too, will one day see Heaven.

Assurance Number Ten about our Eternity in Heaven with God
Tells us that God will create New Heavens and a New Earth

Billy Graham, the Evangelist, said: “Even when we allow our imaginations to run wild on the joys of Heaven, we find that our minds are incapable of conceiving what it will be like.” – (Billy Graham in Quotes, p. 75.).  However, God has given us Scriptures to give us hints or indications of what Heaven will be like. Yes, we may still need to use our imaginations to some degree, but through the Word of God we actually have a factual basis for our imaginings as well as a factual basis for understanding more about Heaven.

So, let’s find out what Heaven will look like according to the Word of God. The Bible tells us that after the thousand-year reign with Christ as our King, all evil will be destroyed along with death, and the earth will be a new creation. First, though, the old earth and the old heavens will be destroyed.  The Apostle Peter said, “… by His word the present heavens and the earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men. … the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. … But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”  -- (II Peter 3:7, 10, 13. NASB)

Peter says the “heavens”, meaning more than one heaven, will pass away. But, with our limited knowledge of the world and outer space, and then not knowing where the residence of God is, means that we know little about heaven or the heavens. However, the Apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians (see II Corinthians 12: 2-4) about being taken up to the third heaven. So, from these Scriptures we know that there is more than one heaven. However, it is believed that the first heaven is the one that we see when we look up from the earth to the stars in the sky; this heaven is located within our atmosphere. The second heaven may be where the stars and planets reside in outer space. The third heaven, though, is paradise or where the Lord resides, and no one but the Apostle Paul has ever seen it to report on it.

Notice that in the Apostle Peter’s holy Scriptures about the destruction of the old heavens and the creation of new heavens also states that only those who are righteous will be allowed into the new Heaven. We have previously learned that those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. But that is not the end for the rest of us whose names are written in the Book of Life. For, those of us who are made righteous through the saving grace of Christ, i.e. then having our names recorded in the Book of Life, will go on to our new home that God and Christ have prepared for us. You see, God is the ultimate Creator, and He can create anything He desires. So, just as He created the universe and the earth, He will again create new heavens and a new earth for those who love Him and His Son and for those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

This plan for new heavens and a new earth is not new, because God has been planning on creating a new heaven and new earth since the beginning of time. In fact, many centuries ago the prophet Isaiah was given a vision of Heaven along with specific words from God to share with the Jewish people. God said to Isaiah, “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth – so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in My creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in My people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more.”  -- (Isaiah 65: 17-19. NLT). Then, God told Isaiah to tell the Jewish people that they would always be His people. “As surely as My new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be My people with a name that will never disappear.– (Isaiah 66: 22. NLT).

Wow! God loves the Jewish people just as He loves all those who have turned to His Son. You see, God is love, and He has tried to get us to focus on loving each other. Therefore, one of the things that will no longer occur when we are in Eternity in Heaven is “hate” or dislike of any kind. All people will love each other. The Jewish Christians will live right alongside Christians from all the other ethnic groups such as the Spanish, Americans, Mexicans, British, Chinese, Indians, etc. In other words, there will no longer be any ethnic hating or cleansing in Eternity in Heaven. For Eternity in Heaven is all about love.

Moreover, as seen in the previous verse, the Jewish people will always be God’s people and their name will never disappear. You see, God always keeps His promises, and one of those promises was long ago to a Hebrew man named Abram. For, on the day that God changed his name from Abram to Abraham, God told him it was because “… you will be the father of many nations.” Then God said, “I will give you millions of descendants who will represent many nations. Kings among them! I will continue this everlasting covenant between us, generation after generation. It will continue between Me and your offspring forever. And I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” – (Genesis 17: 5-7. NLT).  This indeed occurred, and God will continue his covenant with Abraham forever, because God keeps His promises. This means that when we get to Heaven all of Abraham’s descendants who have believed on Christ as the resurrected Son of God will be living in Heaven with all the other people groups.

The New Jerusalem

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John was given a vision in which Christ not only told him about the end times and the thousand-year reign, but Christ also showed him what Eternity in Heaven would be like. Later, John wrote down and described what Christ had shown him, so that we all could know what he had seen. John said, “Then I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was gone. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.– (Revelation 21: 1, 2. NLT).

The only way that John could explain this beautiful city to his readers was to give them something to relate to when he described it. So, John compared the city’s beauty to that of a beautifully adorned bride. He used this comparison, because during ancient times, the most beautiful gown that a bride had would be worn for her groom. Often, a special gown was made, and that is usually still the case today. In fact, most brides-to-be will save their money to purchase the most glorious gown they can afford. But, for the very rich, the bride’s wedding gown was often richly adorned with jewels and pearls. Moreover, the rich parents in ancient times sometimes gave the bride, their daughter, a gown that was not only adorned with beautiful jewels, but that may have been even woven with gold threads. That is why in order to help his readers understand the beauty of the city, John explained that the New Jerusalem in Eternity was the most beautiful city imaginable; likening it to the beauty of a richly adorned bride.

Then, as John was seeing this beautifully adorned city and was watching it come down from the heavens, he heard a voice. John wrote: “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will remove all their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.’” – (Revelation 21: 3, 4. NLT).

John was probably terribly surprised at this shout, as he must have been surprised with every part of this entire vision, which Christ was giving to him. Obviously, John had heard previous shouts and proclamations during this visionary revelation given by Christ. However, this shout was different, for it was the shout of a herald making a proclamation for a Majesty, i.e. God, Who is far greater than John could understand or comprehend. The next surprise, though, was that the herald stated that God would dwell among His people. John knew, though, that in order for us to live with God, we have to be cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ, for that is the only way that all our sins and unrighteousness can be taken away. Only through Christ and His forgiveness can we be pure enough to live with God. Now, John was being told that because we are forgiven, God will actually dwell among His people, i.e. those people who have believed on Christ as their Savior.

How exciting to know that we will be able to see and worship God every day for the rest of our lives. But, that won’t be all we will be doing. For, God has something for each of us to do. Yes, there will be choirs that will sing to God every day, but worship is more than just singing. Obedience, love, and doing things for God are all some of the ways that we can worship God. So, within our worship of God, each of us will have something great to do for the Lord. For, not only were we created to worship God, but we were also created to have a relationship with Him. Right now, our relationship is based on the initiative that we each may or may not take to pray, to recognize His presence in our lives, and to worship God daily. But in the New Jerusalem, we will want to or will desire to have a close relationship with God as we worship Him in many different ways. We will also look forward to each moment that we can spend with God. Are you beginning to see that Eternity is going to be more exciting, beautiful and wonderful than we ever imagined?

The Walls, Foundation and Shape of the City

As John’s revealing vision continued, one of the seven angels who had previously held the seven bowls with the seven plagues before the total destruction of the old earth, called to John and ask him to follow him to the top of a mountain to get a closer look at the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. When John viewed the city he was in awe. John said, “It was filled with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious gem, crystal clear like jasper. Its walls were broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side – east, north, south, and west. The walls of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  -- (Revelation 21: 10-14. NLT).

What does the shape of the New Jerusalem and its beauty mean? Well, it means that God has thought of everything that will make our home perfect and beautiful. Even within the beauty, though, there is great symbolism for what this city will mean to all people and to God. In fact, the vision of this city was so glorious that John was overwhelmed. But God wanted John to understand what his new home would symbolize. So, in order to give him and us even more information about the size and scope of this Eternal City, an angel came to John with a gold measuring stick to measure the city for John. The Scriptures tell us that when the angel measured the city, “…he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, it was in the form of a cube, for its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick.” – (Revelation 21: 16, 17. NLT).

To give you some idea of how large the city will be, it is approximately 1400 miles from New York to the middle of the state of Nebraska. It is about 1426 miles from Galveston, Texas due north to the Canadian border. So, if we measured from north to south and from east to west, we would discover that the size of the Eternal City is a perfect square that would take up the entire right half of the United States and even some of the ocean. But, we are also told that the height of the city is the same as its length and width, making it a perfect cube. Thus there is a massive amount of volume contained within the city? Consequently, it will easily hold all those who have believed in God and followed Christ since the beginning of time. In fact, God has made sure that everyone who is a believer will have some type of home or a residence within this city.

The Life Application Study Bible tells us that all these measurements of the city are in multiples of 12 and that these measurements are symbolic of a place that will hold all of God’s people. For those who have an interest in the numbers that God uses throughout the Bible, this particular study Bible (on page 2068) says that the number 12 is God’s number for God’s people (The Jewish people). For example, there were 12 Hebrew tribes in Israel. There were also 12 Apostles who started the Christian church. But God doesn’t stop there with the number 12, for His angel tells John that the walls of the city are 144 (12x12) cubits thick. Those walls are also made up of 12 layers. Then there are 12 gates in the city. Finally, the height, breadth and length of the city are the same, which is 12,000 stadia or 1400 miles each. So you can see that God has used multiples 12 or the number 12 throughout the creation of this city. Furthermore, the entire city is a perfect cube. If you remember, the Holy of Holies in the Temple that God asked Moses to build for Him was also a perfect cube. So, the symbolism of these measurements could be that the city will not only be perfect in mathematical shape, but also perfect in purity and holiness as well.

Then the angel showed John that the walls and the streets of New Jerusalem were made of special materials. John wrote: “The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve gems: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, and eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.” John also wrote that “The gates were made of pearls – each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.” – (Revelation 21: 18-21. NLT).

You may not be able to imagine the color of walls of the city or the colors of the gems in the foundation stones, because some of the colors of these gem stones are not commonly known unless, of course, you are a jeweler. So, to give you an idea of the beautiful colors, I looked up the colors of all these gem stones for you. The Apostle John said the walls of the city were made of jasper, which is a reddish or rusty brown quartz gem stone, having the color of beautiful fall leaves. But, just like fall leaves, the jasper stone can have a little more yellow in it giving it the color of reddish-orange leaves too. So from reddish to reddish-orange in color, the walls of the city will glow like fire from both inside and out.

John was also shown that the walls of the city will be set on twelve foundation stones that will each be inlaid with 12 gem stones; with each gem stone engraved with the name of one of the 12 apostles (no, Judas’ name will not be among them, for Matthias replaced Judas in order to again have 12 Apostles). It is interesting to note that most of these gem stones were also used in the Priest’s Ephod during Temple times, but instead of being engraved with the twelve Apostles' names they were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The first of the gem stone that John tells us is in the foundation stones is the sapphire, of which the most common color for a sapphire is a royal blue color. The sapphire was also in the second row of stones on the Priest's Ephod. The next gem stone is the agate stone which was found on the Ephod, too. The agate stone is a two-toned stone usually made up of white or cream with red stripes or lines running through it. The next stone listed is the emerald, which is usually a beautiful deep green colored stone. God placed this emerald gem stone next to an onyx stone that is as black as midnight. Again, both of those stones were also in the Ephod, with the emerald on the first row and the agate on the third row of the Ephod. Then there is the carnelian stone which is a deep orange-red color. It, too, was in the Ephod on the first row. Today, the carnelian stone is often set amongst turquoise stones so the two colors can play off of each other in a jewelry setting. Although, turquoise was not listed by John as one of the foundation gem stones, it was placed on the Priest's Ephod on the second row. After that, is the chrysolite stone, which is usually a yellowish-green gem that God chose to place next to the beryl gem stone, which can be blue, green or pink in color. Both the beryl and the chrysolite stones were also in the Ephod, with the chrysolite in the first row of the Ephod and the beryl stone in the fourth row. But whichever color of beryl God chose to use, He placed it next to topaz gem, which is a goldenrod or deep yellow-gold color.

The only two stones not used for the Priest's Ephod was the topaz stone and the chrysoprase which is a light-yellow green stone, however, God chose to use the chrysoprase as one of the foundation gem stones. In place of the topaz and chryosprase gem stones, God used the turquoise and moon-stone for the Ephod. Finally, we learn that God also placed both the jacinth gem in the foundation stone, which is a reddish-orange colored gem stone, and the amethyst, which is a purple or lavender colored gem stone. Both of those stones were also used in the Ephod. Although we do not know the significance of those chosen colors or the significance of the gem stones themselves, we do knot that 12 were used in the Ephod and 12 were used in the foundation stones, and both sets of those 12 stones were engraved with names.

What we do know, though, is that the city walls and the foundation of the New Jerusalem will be beautiful, just as God is beautiful. We also know that the Great Creator, God, has chosen to create walls for His city that will radiantly glow and will be able to be seen easily.  Moreover, just like the great artist that He is, God has chosen to put the colors of those stones in the order that will be the most beautiful. In fact, both the walls and the foundation will be so beautiful that the colors will take our breath away.

When the angel was showing John the walls of the city, the angel also showed John that there were twelve gates to the city. Each of those gates was made from a single pearl. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a pearl that large. However, we know that indeed the gates will be made of pearls that large, because the Bible tells us so. Then, John was shown the main street of the city and it was made of pure gold. In fact, it is gold so pure and refined that it is as clear as glass. Are you finally getting a picture in your mind of the indescribable beauty of this city?

The Throne of God Inside the New Jerusalem

In verse 3 of the 21st chapter of Revelation, John heard a shout from the throne of God telling him that “the home of God is now among His people.” However, it wasn’t until after he had shown John the city walls, foundation and gates, that the angel finally took John inside the city. John described what he saw. He wrote: “No temple could be seen in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city and the Lamb is its light.” – (Revelation: 21:22, 23. NLT).  The reason that there will not be a temple in the city is because God will be everywhere with His people. He will be everywhere at once. Furthermore, we will have no need of sacrifices, the kind that were made in the temple before Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. In Eternity we will all be righteous and clean; not needing a sacrifice to make us so. Moreover, we will each have instant access to God as His children who worship Him. Our eternal life also gives us eternal access to God, because we are home with Him.

The Throne of God will be in the New Jerusalem of Eternity. We know this, too, because the Holy Scriptures tell us about the Throne. For, the angel showed John “a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit with a fresh crop each month.– (Revelation 22: 1, 2. NLT). Where have we heard of the Tree of Life before?  Well, there was a Tree of life in the Garden of Eden. Remember, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat of every tree in the Garden including the Tree of Life, but they could not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or they would die (See Genesis 2: 15, 16). Then, when they disobeyed, God banished them from the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life. In fact, “the Lord God stationed mighty angelic beings to the east of Eden. And a flaming sword flashed back and forth, guarding the way to the Tree of Life.– (Genesis 3: 24. NLT).

So, what is so important about the Tree of Life? Well, eating from the Tree of Life would have allowed Adam and Eve and future generations to live forever. Moreover, here on earth, the Tree of life was to also be used as a healing tree; curing all types of possible diseases from the twelve types of fruit it produced. However, we know that in Eternity there will be no diseases or health issues. Instead of needing these twelve fruits, the Tree of Life will symbolize our health and our complete healing from all mortal diseases and problems. No longer will we eat the fruit for healing, but just for enjoyment.

The Tree of Life also once symbolized Adam and Eve’s relationship with God. But, once they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they broke their relationship with God. Furthermore, they could not be allowed to eat of the Tree of Life, because they and all humans born after could then have lived forever in a fallen immoral, untruthful, unethical, and evil world. God knew that we could be under sin’s control forever, if we weren’t protected. So, God protected us from being caught in Satan’s trap of immortal hatred and evil, by banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden and by placing cherubim with swords to guard it forever from Satan’s possible reach. Now, in Eternity, the Tree of Life will again symbolize a restored relationship with God and His Son. We will again be able to not only eat freely from the tree of life, but again be able to talk to God the way that Adam and Eve could talk to Him before they succumbed to sin.

The same Scripture in the book of Revelation describing the Trees of Life also tells us that a beautiful crystal clear stream will run through the city from the Throne of God. This is the water that symbolizes Eternal life. Remember when Christ told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she drank of the water that He gave her that she would have eternal life and never thirst again (See John 4: 7-14). Well, this is the water that Christ was referring to. This stream symbolizes the quenching of our spiritual thirst. For, in this picture of a flowing river we see never ending water coming from the throne of God; God who is our Creator, our Spiritual Father, and the Father of His Son who gave us Eternal life. This stream of crystal water also symbolizes the eternal blessings that we will receive in Eternity in Heaven.

Finally, John again tells us that “the Throne of God and the Lamb will be there (in the New Jerusalem), and His servants will worship Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there – no need for lamps or sun – for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” – (Revelation 22: 3-5. NLT). What a glorious picture of Eternity in Heaven. The beauty described is unimaginable! The relationship with God and Christ will be so wonderful that we cannot begin to comprehend it here on earth. To be spiritually re-connected to God will be truly amazing and a blessing.


I know that it has taken several blogs, and lengthy ones at that, to get through all Ten groups of Assurances that God has given to us about Eternity in Heaven. I pray that you hung in there and that you were able to learn something that you did not previously know. I also pray that you will be able to take your new found knowledge to the next step, which is to first and foremost make sure that you are right with God and that you will indeed inherit your place in Eternity with other “born-again” Christians. After that, I hope that you will use this knowledge to share with others, including your mentees, so that they too will be ready for Christ’s return. It will happen when we least expect it. Remember, time is winding down, and we all need to be prepared for Christ’s return.

Feel free to write and ask a question if there is something that you don’t understand. I may have to do a little research before answering you, but I will try my best to find the answer. My goal is to prepare everyone that I can to see Christ someday, but not only just to see Him. I want everyone who reads this blog to be able to enter into that rest in His arms. I want everyone to be prepared to share the Word of God with others and to be able to mentor another woman who needs support and empowerment through the Word of God. Remember, God has given you a special talent or knowledge that can be shared with others. Step out in faith! Step into Active Relational Christian Mentoring! God bless each of you!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Eternity in Heaven -- Who Will You See in Heaven? -- Assurance Number Ten

Not everyone will be able to enter Eternity in Heaven, for God has placed restrictions on who can and who cannot enter Heaven. Christ Jesus said, "Nothing evil will be allowed to enter [Heaven] ... but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." -- (Revelation 21: 27. NLT). So, first and foremost we know that only those who have accepted God's gift of Salvation by believing on Christ, the Son of God, as their risen Savior will be in Heaven. In looking closer at Scriptures in Assurance Number Ten about Eternity in Heaven, we discover that God has also given us a list of the types of people who will not be allowed in Heaven.

There are at least ten groups of Scriptures, which give us assurances from God about His promise of Eternity in Heaven. One of those Scriptural assurances has to do with both who we will see in Heaven and what Heaven will look like. I have labeled these particular Scriptures as Assurance Number Ten. Over the last few weeks I have presented nine groups of Scriptures indicating God’s assurances to us about Eternity in Heaven. Now, we have finally arrived at the last group or Assurance Number Ten, which I will talk about both this week and next week.

There is so much Scriptural information about Assurance Number Ten that I found that I needed two weekly blogs to cover it all. I have also separated this week’s worth of blogging into sections to make it easier for you to read during the week. Take your time to digest the information not only for yourself but for your mentees, because it is important to be able to explain Eternity in Heaven in an understandable way. As you actively mentor other women, I hope you will be able to increase their desire to know more about how to get to Heaven, if they do not know about Christ, and that you will be able to increase their excitement about someday being in Heaven with Christ and their loved ones, if they are indeed already “Saved”. You will be able to do both if you know the Scriptures and information that God has given you in His Word.

"Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven." -- (Psalm 119: 89. NIV).

Knowing what God says about Eternity and Heaven gives Christians comfort and peace as well as a way to engage other people in conversations about Christ and Eternity. So it is important that Christians have the information needed to help others make a good decision about their relationship with Christ. Assurance Number Ten not only gives Christians the needed information to share, but it should appeal to everyone’s longing for that perfect home.

The goal for the “Assurance of Eternity in Heaven” blogs

 My goal through these last few blogs about Heaven is for you to be able to become certain about your place in Eternity. For, when you die you will either go to Eternity in Heaven or to Eternity in Hell. Moreover, as I have said before, it is a personal choice that each person must make. But remember that even if you have not yet made a decision or committed choice for the Lord, you are essentially making a choice. For failure to choose Christ as your personal Savior and Redeemer is choosing to spend Eternity in Hell. That sounds rather blunt. But, I don’t want to soften the Truth. If I soften the Truth, I would be lying, and I do not want God to look at my life and be able to say that I kept people from the Lord, because I lied to them or just didn’t make the Truth clear. I know the Truth and I want you, too, to be able to share the Truth with others. I don’t know about you, but I choose Eternity in Heaven. Moreover, the choice that I have made gives me comfort and peace as well as certainty in knowing Christ as my Savior and certainty that I will be going to Heaven.

As I have said before, we are all aliens in a strange land, i.e. this earth, because we come from a spiritual home far away. But, in order to come to this earth we had to become physical beings. Oh, we are still spiritual beings, but now we have a body, soul, and spirit. Humans are now living within a physical body waiting for that time when we can go home to where we belong. But, many people want to ignore their spiritual life, so they try to disassociate themselves from the spiritual part of who they are. Yet, there are times when we can’t ignore our spiritual life, for it is has a great affect on us, and it is far more important than our physical life in the long run. In fact, it is through our spiritual life and our physical makeup that we are able to serve God and serve others while we are here on earth. Thus, we should not ignore our spiritual connection to our home far away and to God our Father.

I have found that we all need our spiritual Father, God, and Christ Jesus His Son every day of our lives. First, though, we need to be cleansed from our sins and the sins of this sinful world, but only Christ Jesus can do that for you and me. But, once I came to know Christ and His wonderful forgiveness and righteousness, I knew that this world was not the ultimate stopping point in my life. In fact, I know full well the feeling of homesickness for my previous home with God, as I have often experienced the longing in my soul for my true home in Heaven. Furthermore, the older that I get I constantly see the ongoing decay of this world, which just emphasizes how temporary this physical world really is. Moreover, the more I see the decay in our morality and truthfulness, the more I long for the purity and Truth of Heaven. The Evangelist, Billy Graham, put it this way:

Sometimes … we grow homesick for Heaven. Many times in the midst of the sin, suffering, and sorrow of this life there is a tug at our soul. That is homesickness coupled with anticipation.”  -- (Billy Graham in Quotes, p. 77.).

We have many reasons to anticipate our true home in Heaven starting with the knowledge that it will be a place without misery, pain, sorrow, or disappointment. There will also be no sin, because there is no evil there, and because our hearts will be purified as we focus on living for the Lord and loving others. It is hard to imagine a place without sin, because we are surrounded by sin and evil all the time here on earth. But to trust in the Lord and to trust His Word means that we accept that there is indeed a place without the sin of this fallen world. Then we be begin to long for and anticipate our true home in Heaven.

Eternity in Heaven is a place that we not only long for, but it is a place where we will be reconnected to the people that we love; provided that they, too, gave their life to Christ before they died. For everyone who has repented of their earthly sins and who has asked for Christ’s forgiveness, while believing on Him as the risen Son of God who died and arose for their sins, will indeed be in Heaven. We will get to see our “Saved” loved ones again when we get to Heaven. We will also get to see individuals that we know, because we or someone else shared the Gospel message with them and they were “Saved”. In other words, we will be reconnected with people who also love Christ and God the Father.

Some people have died many years ago and are waiting for Christ to come again and resurrect their bodies and reconnect their bodies to their soul and spirit. Since no one knows when Christ will come again, we all need to keep Christ as the focus of our lives. I don’t know about you, but I would hate to be doing something unworthy of a Christian life when Christ returns. That is why we Christians need to set good examples for other people and be the light of Christ in this often dark world. We also need to speak into the lives of people around us and share the Gospel message with those who have not yet given their lives to Christ. Focusing on Christ daily also means that we are to help other people in need and mentor those who need support and empowerment. We are not to be islands unto ourselves! But instead, we are to live like Christ will come again at any moment. Moreover, we can also be assured that we will again see our loved ones and friends who have died before us. For, the dead in Christ will arise first to meet Christ in the sky. The Apostle Paul puts the order of resurrection this way:

"But there is an order to the resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all His people will be raised." -- (I Corinthians 15: 23. NLT).

The Rapture and the Tribulation Period

Times will get worse here on earth before Christ comes again. For, the Bible tells us about the seven years of Tribulation that will have to be endured before Christ comes again and sets up His Kingdom here on earth. (The last three and one half of those seven years will be even more horrific than the first three and one half years. In fact, the last three and one half years are called the Great Tribulation, in which the Antichrist, the beast, and the false prophet rule.). 

Sometime before, during or after the seven year Tribulation period there will be a Rapture. The Rapture is the event or moment in time when Christ will resurrect the dead in Christ calling them home and reconnecting their bodies with their souls. Then, He will call home true "born-again" Christians living on the earth. Although, no one knows when the Rapture will occur, most Christians and Bible scholars believe that Christ will call home those who are “Saved” here on earth moments after the Dead in Christ are called home; just before the Tribulation starts. 

We know that the Rapture of the dead and living will occur in the twinkling of an eye, and we know that those who are not “Saved” at the time of the Rapture will be left behind. That is why most Christians believe that the Scriptures point to the Rapture occurring just before or during the Tribulation period. For, we know that once the last half of the Tribulation starts it will be very difficult, though not impossible, for people to turn to Christ, because people who believe in or turn to Christ will be persecuted. However, the Scriptures also tell us that those who do turn to Christ during the Tribulation Period will also get to spend Eternity in Heaven when Christ comes and overcomes Satan. For, when Christ comes again, He will chain up Satan, i.e. the Devil, for one thousand years. During those thousand years, Christ will reign as King. "For Christ must reign until He humbles all His enemies beneath His feet. And the last enemy is death." -- (I Corinthians 15: 25, 26. NLT).

The Thousand Year Reign

After the Great Tribulation and after the last battle occurs where Christ conquers the nations and then sets up His Kingdom, there will be a period of one thousand years in which the nations of peoples will live in peace and harmony. Christ will rule during this time period and the nations and the different people groups will worship Him. The main reason that there will be so much peace and harmony is because Satan will have been chained or locked up for a thousand years at the end of the Tribulation Period. 

During the thousand year reign, people will live their lives in peace, and people will marry and have children too. However, there will still be a few people born during the thousand year reign who will still want to rebel and do sinful things. Through this, God shows us that not all sinfulness comes directly from Satan or from Satan encouraging us to do wrong. For, we all are born with sinful natures and need cleansing from our sins before we can come into God's eternal presence. So, people born during the thousand year reign will also be given a chance to repent of their sins. If they choose not to repent, they will die by the age of one hundred. (See Isaiah 65: 20). Just as all people who lived before Christ's reign were born sinners with a free will, people born during His reign will still have “free will”, which can lead to sinfulness. This results in the sin of disobedience and the sin of pridefulness that comes from a heart that refuses to adhere to the Truth and right actions. Consequently, there will be people born to “Saved” people during this thousand year period who will choose to rebel against Jesus and will refuse to do what is right and true. (See Isaiah 65: 20; Zechariah 13: 8, 9 & 14: 1-21; Micah 5, 6, &7 for more information about these individuals).

God allows these people born during the thousand year reign to choose whether or not to obey in order to show the world that humans cannot blame all evil and disobedience on the Devil. For even with the Devil bound up, people will disobey and sin in their heart. Then, as the thousand year reign draws to a close, Christ frees the Devil, i.e. Satan, for a short time. The devil returns to his evil ways and encourages further disobedience as he gathers together those people who have unrepentant and sinful hearts. At that time Satan will encourage those people to rise up against Christ. But Satan never learns that he cannot overcome God.

The Scriptures tell us that Satan, also known as the Devil “will go out to deceive the nations from every corner of the earth…. He will gather them together for battle – a mighty host, as numberless as the sand along the shore. … But fire from Heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. Then the Devil, who destroyed them, was thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented forever and ever.– (Revelation 20: 7-10). Thus, we are told that Christ will again conquer Satan and all his followers. This time, though, Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. He cannot get out of the Lake of Fire. For, it burns forever!

This brings to an end the millennial period. (There are many verses in the Bible that tell us about the millennial reign of Christ, if you are interested in reading about it. Some of these verses include: Ezekiel 43: 5-9; Ezekiel chapters 47 & 48; Joel 3: 18; Isaiah 65: 20-25 and others.). Then at the end of the millennial period, those who are righteous and true to Christ, the Son of the Living God, will enter into Eternity in Heaven with God. But what will Heaven be like, and who will be allowed into the Kingdom of Heaven? Well, Assurance Number Ten tells us who can and cannot enter into Heaven and to some extent the Scriptures tell us what our Eternity in Heaven with God will be like.

Assurance Number Ten about Eternity with God

Because our minds are incapable of conceiving what Eternity in Heaven will be like, God has given us information within His Word, i.e. the Bible, about what we can expect in Heaven. Of course this information is just a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. In fact, without the Word of God we could not begin to imagine what Heaven will be like. For, the Bible tells us: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (I Corinthians 2: 9).

It is only through God’s Holy Word that we are given information and hints about who will be in Heaven and what Heaven will be like, which brings us to Assurance Number Ten. Assurance Number Ten about Eternity in Heaven incorporates information about what Heaven will be like as well as information about who will and who will not be allowed into Heaven. For, part of what Heaven will look like will also encompass the type of people who will be in Heaven.

When we accept Christ as our personal Savior our lives should change forever for the better. Yes, we will still have problems and trials, but we know that God is there for us no matter what this world throws at us. Therefore, we are to clothe ourselves in love and mercy toward others. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. … And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. …” –(Col: 3:12, 14, 15. NLT). In other words, those who enter into Heaven will be holy people filled with love. Furthermore, all of the people who will be in Heaven will have peace in their hearts. They will be people who were focused on truly living for Christ while they were here on this earth. No, they were not perfect here on earth; because no one is perfect accept Christ and His Father, God. But now that people are in Heaven, they will be totally changed forever into loving caring individuals who love each other and God.

The Apostle John further explains how Christians should live here on earth for Christ, and in doing so, he tells us who will go to Heaven. John says we can know that we truly belong to Christ “by obeying His commandments. If someone says, ‘I belong to God,’ but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live the truth. But those who obey God’s word really do love Him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did.– (I John 3:3-6. NLT). In this Scripture John tells us that we can know for certain that we belong to Christ and that we will go to Heaven, if we obey God’s commandments, if we are not a liar, and if we live the Truth. More importantly, those who will be in Heaven will truly love God and His Word. This means that Christians should not only live for Christ daily, as if Christ will return at any moment, but also study God's Word so that we will know it intimately and can share it with others. Living for Christ along with reading God's Word and praying daily will make us ready to be called home to Heaven.

There will also be those individuals in Heaven who will have been martyred, or will have in some way or another stood up for Christ during difficult situations here on earth. They are called “overcomers”. Indeed, there will be several overcomers from the Tribulation period as well as many from throughout the history of this earth. We will be able to recognize these individuals in Heaven, because Christ, said: “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.– (Revelation 3: 5. NASB).

What did Christ mean by “He who overcomes”?  Well, Christ has promised Eternal life to those who are His and who stand up for their faith. Christians can stand up for their faith in many ways; the first of which is to tell those around them that they belong to Christ. For, if you are a believer, your name is written in the Book of Life, also called The Lamb’s Book of Life. However, we all can be an overcomers by standing up for Christ in many different ways. But, those who renounce their faith or who do not believe in Christ will not be included in the Book of Life. Of course, every person who is written in the Book of Life will be introduced to all the angels and to God as belonging to Christ. The statement about being clothed in “white” simply means that as overcomers of this world, we have been set apart for God and have been made pure or righteous in the Father’s eyes.

The Lamb’s Book of Life

Assurance Number Ten about Eternity in Heaven includes a description of those people who will be allowed to live in Heaven; or rather Christ tells us in the Scriptures about those individuals who won’t be allowed into Heaven. Christ said that: “… no one who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty -- but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life– (Revelation 21: 27. NLT) will be allowed into Heaven. In other words you can only receive Eternal life, because of Christ and His blood sacrifice for you. Trusting in Christ as your personal Savior is the only way you will inherit your place in Eternity with God. Only by accepting Christ as your personal Savior and believing in Him as the risen Son of God will you have your name written in the Lamb’s book of Life and be allowed into Heaven.

Christ Jesus said, “I assure you, anyone who believes in Me already has eternal life.– (John 6: 47. NLT). Jesus was not only talking about those that said they believed and trusted in Him, but He was talking about those who continue to believe in Him throughout their life. We cannot say that we believe in Christ and then a few months or years later act as if Christ means nothing to us. Our Salvation has to be a true heart change that occurs at a moment in time and then produces a continual trust and faith in Christ. This heart change and loving faithful actions for Christ and others gives us Eternal life. Only those who are truly ‘Saved”, i.e. truly believe on Christ, are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Later at the home of his friends, Jesus again explained who would receive Eternal Life in Heaven when He was talking to Martha about her brother Lazarus living again. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in Me and will never perish.”  -- (John 11: 25, 26 NLT). Then when Jesus was praying to His Father, God, He said: “And this is the way to have eternal life – to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.”  -- (John 17: 3. NLT). So there is only one way to have Eternal Life in Heaven and it is to believe on Christ as your Lord and Savior and in God, the Father, who sent Him. For, only those who believe will have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will then someday be in Heaven.

Christ explained repentance unto Salvation and Eternity in Heaven to His disciples and followers while He was here on earth. However, later after He went back to Heaven, Christ Jesus again spoke to two of His Apostles through visions. It was in these visions, which He gave to both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John, that Christ gave them and us more information about Heaven and about who would not be there unless they repented of their sins and gave up those actions that were abominable to God. Christ also told them why those people would not have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. So it was through their visions that we are able to learn that there are specific unrepentant actions that will keep people from entering into Eternity in Heaven.

People who will not be in Heaven

The Apostle Paul used the information that Christ had given him in his visions and through the Holy Spirit when he wrote to enlighten the Galatians. Paul told the Galatians that those who follow their own sinful nature and do not turn their lives over to Christ will not enter into Eternity in Heaven. He said: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results; sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.– (Galatians 6: 19-21. NLT).

The Apostle Paul also wrote to the Corinthians to tell them about living for Christ on a daily basis. You see, Corinth was a large city of people; many who worshiped one or more of the Roman gods. Most of these people lived lives that were based upon what felt good to them. So, in spreading the Gospel message of Salvation and Eternity in Heaven to the people of Corinth, Paul wanted the people to know that they could and should live differently than those idol worshipping people who surrounded them daily. Just because others in the city were doing things that were unacceptable to God, did not mean that they should do them or condone them. Instead, they were to live daily for Christ.

Although this next Scripture is not politically correct, it is the Truth of the Word of God. If you fall into any of these categories, I am not judging you. I am only telling you what the Word of God says. Moreover, each person’s actions are between themselves and God. Unless your actions are unlawful, you do not have to answer to other people for your personal actions. However, we each will have to answer to God for what we do while living here on earth. That is why the Apostle Paul wanted the Corinthians and us today to know what was not acceptable to God. So, Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [effeminate by perversion], nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the Kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.– (I Corinthians 6: 9-11. NASB).

Now, here is the wonderful thing about Salvation. If you are involved in any of those unrighteous behaviors, you can ask forgiveness while repenting of your behaviors. You can ask Christ to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and to give you a new life that gives you the right to inherit the Kingdom of God and Eternity in Heaven, and He will. No one has to be locked into behaviors that will keep them from Heaven. For, God is a forgiving and merciful God who sent His only Son, to die for (Y)our sins so that we could spend Eternity in Heaven with Him. All you have to do is repent of your actions and ask Christ to forgive you and to come into your heart. It is that simple! For the Bible tells us: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold the new things have come.– (II Corinthians 5: 17. NASB).  In other words, there is no condemnation for past actions when Christ washes you clean of all sin through Salvation.

Throughout His ministry here on earth, Christ emphasized to people that they needed to give up their sinful and unrighteous ways. Even early in His ministry during the Sermon on the Mount, Christ, in giving the eighth beatitude, emphasized how important righteousness is to entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.– (Matthew 5: 10. NASB). However, it is in the book of Revelation wherein Christ comes to the Apostle John in a vision and tells John specifically that certain people will not enter into Eternity in Heaven unless they have given up their sinful and unrighteous ways and asked to be cleansed of all sins.

It is in Revelation, chapter 21 of John’s vision, after the new Heaven and new earth were created, that John heard the One sitting on the throne say: “’Behold I am making all things new’. …Then He said to me (John), ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murders and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’– (Revelation 21: 5-8. NASB). People who have done terrible things and not repented for their actions will burn in the Lake of Fire. This is the second death, which is the spiritual death that destroys their souls.

What these Assurances Mean

I hope you are getting the picture so that you can share this information with others. Everyone is a spiritual being who knows deep down that there is something more to this life. Recognizing what you are missing in your life is the first step. God makes sure that everyone will be given an opportunity to turn to Christ and accept the gift of His offered Salvation. Unfortunately, not everyone will believe and many will like what they are doing in this world so much so that they refuse to give up unrighteousness in order to continue to play, to do what feels good, and to live for themselves. Certainly we can all do that. For, God has given us free will. But what will we have to show at the end of our lives for our lasciviousness, untruthfulness, and prideful living?

Many people think that having fun and doing as much as they can while they are living here on earth is all there is to life. In other words, they believe you do what you want to do and get as much fun out of life as you can, because when you die you are done, gone, over, finished. But for those who know God and Christ Jesus personally, we have a certainty within our heart that we are not finished when we die. For we have a spiritual home and an awareness of that home that transcends everything that we know about this earth.

Those who do not believe in anything after death are unhappy and spiritually lonely individuals, although they may do things everyday to try to make themselves feel happy. Some people may believe they are happy based on their earthly experiences in life. But those who do not believe in a future Eternity or who think that they will just turn back into dust forevermore will be in for a great awakening. Indeed, atheists and others who refuse to believe in God and His Son will someday be greatly surprised, because I know through my personal relationship with Christ Jesus that those people and their beliefs are dead wrong.

Some people will not believe me or the Gospel message and will continue to insist that there is not Heaven or Eternity to be had. If you do not believe me, for argument’s sake, let’s say that I am right and that they are wrong. Now, let’s say that a change indeed occurred in my spiritual and earthly life when I repented of my sins and asked Christ to forgive me and to come into my heart. Let’s say, too, that because of this indescribable peacefulness in my soul, my heart joy, and my love for others that I now try to live my life for the Lord, and I try to be a truthful, moral and ethical person while I am alive. Then one day we both die. One of two things will happen. I will either be dead, i.e. done, gone, over and finished while turning to dust forever as they believe, or I will indeed enter into a more glorious life in Eternity in Heaven with God. If I am right, which I know for certain that I am, then you who chose to live your life for yourself will someday be thrown into the Lake of Fire to burn forever, i.e. you will spend Eternity in Hell. But, if you are right and I am wrong, we both end up as dust forevermore. But, while I was here on earth my life was lived with hope, trust, faith, and love for God and others. My soul and spiritual life has been beautifully loved by God and I have loved Him back. I have no regrets for my belief in Christ as my Savior, because my belief in Christ has given me opportunities to serve God and to give love to others, as I have lived my life on His behalf.

I am right, though, for God has given me a new life that is wonderful and glorious. Furthermore, God has given me His Word, i.e. His Bible to tell me and assure me that I will indeed spend Eternity in Heaven with Him. God has given me all ten of the assurances described within the Bible that I will live with Him forevermore. He has also assured me that if I live for Him and serve Him here on earth that I will receive rewards and crowns for living for Him and others. I have been given those assurances from the Holy Scriptures and from my “Saved” heart, as well as from the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers. I pray that you choose to look into Salvation and come to know Christ as your Savior, if you do not already know Him.

If you don’t believe on Christ as your personal Savior, it won’t matter how much good that you have done while here on earth. It won’t matter how good a person that you have been or how truthful, honest, morally upright or ethical that you have been. The only thing that matters is whether or not you have asked Christ to forgive you of your sinfulness and to come into your heart. Of course, if you have truly asked Christ into your heart with belief, faith, and trust, you will also try to be truthful, honest, morally upright and ethical as well. But no one can enter into Eternity in Heaven without knowing Christ as their personal Savior. Only those who have a personal relationship with Christ will be in Heaven!

I pray that you choose Christ, and if you have already chosen to trust in and believe on Him, I pray that you will share your faith with others. More specifically, I pray that you will choose to reach out and actively mentor another for the Lord. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is very rewarding and is a wonderful way to establish and continue godly relationships. You can do it!  You can mentor another about Christ and Eternity in Heaven.