From the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn, I’ve learned much in the 1st 5 chapters:
^ The present Heaven, aka the intermediate Heaven, is different from the eternal Heaven aka New Earth.
^ Believers will be judged first by their faith in Christ; & secondly by how they put their faith in action – to determine their Heavenly Rewards.
^ God will live with us on the New Earth aka eternal Heaven (so instead of having us live with Him in his dwelling, He chooses to come down & live with us).
^ God will be dwelling with resurrected (restored) people in a resurrected earth in the eternal Heaven.
^ Until Christ returns, Christians who die will go to the intermediate Heaven.
^ The initial judgment, the one when we die that depends not on our works but on our faith, is called the judgment of faith. The outcome determines whether we go to the present Heaven or the present Hell.
^ The final judgment aka the judgment of works, both believers & unbelievers face. Our works for God affect our Heavenly reward; “rewards are conditional, dependent on our faithfulness (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-28; 3:21).”
My Own Notes on Chapter 6:
Now I understand why Christ calls us His Bride. The church is His Bride. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (Ephesians 5:23).
Like Christ having physical properties in Heaven, we might also have physical properties in present Heaven.
Enoch & Elijah were taken into Heaven by God without dying; so we know there are at least 3 physical bodies in Heaven (the third being Jesus Christ’s already resurrected body).
The parable about the rich man & Lazarus the beggar is the only one in which Jesus uses a specific name in the story. (Jesus’s close friend Lazarus was a rich man.)
Chapter 7 Notes:
People in the present Heaven are aware of what’s happening on earth.
People in Heaven are probably, in addition to most likely aware of us, praying for us.
Christ’s promise of no more tears or pain comes after the end of the Old World, after the Great White Throne Judgment (my note: the judgment where unbelievers are judged), after “the old order of things has passed away” and there’s no more suffering on earth. (Revelation 21:4, that refers to the eternal Heaven and the New Earth)
“There will be no sorrow on the New Earth, our eternal home.”
Chapter 8 Knowledge:
The eternal Heaven is described as a city (Hebrews 11:10; 13:14) & as a country (Hebrews 11:16).
We will rest in Heaven (Revelation 14:13, Hebrews 4:10-11).
“We’re told we will serve Christ on the New Earth, working for his glory (Revelation 22:3).
The eternal Heaven seems to be a physical place. Jesus “spoke of a house with many rooms in which he would prepare a place for us (John 14:2).”
“Eventually we’ll be back to live on the restored Earth.”
God became a man to “redeem mankind and Earth. Why? In order to glorify himself and enjoy forever the company of men and women in a world he’s made for us.”
± “Christ died not merely to make the best of a bad situation. He died so that mankind, Earth, and the universe itself would be renewed to forever proclaim his glory.”
±”If God had wanted to consign us to Hell and start over, he could have . . . Instead, he chose to redeem what he started with – the heavens, Earth, and mankind – to bring them back to his original purpose. God is the ultimate salvage artist.”
±”We’re told that a time is coming when God will restore everything . . . It encompasses far more than God merely restoring disembodied people to fellowship in a spirit realm . . . It is God restoring mankind to what we once were, what he designed us to be – fully embodied, righteous beings. And restoring the entire physical universe to what it once was.”
±”Mankind was designed to live on the earth to God’s glory. That’s exactly what Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection secured – a renewed humanity upon a renewed Earth.”
± The sun and moon won’t shine any longer because God will be our “everlasting light.”