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Wednesday
Mar232011

Theological Term of the Week

heaven
Primarily, “the essential and immediate dwelling place of God and the eternal home of His people”;1 also “the place where God most fully makes known his presence to bless.”2

  • From scripture:
    In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”  (John 14:2-4 ESV)
    And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 ESV)
  • From the Westminster Larger Catechism:

    Question 86: What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death ?

    Answer: The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls.


    Question 90: What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?

    Answer: At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

  • From Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware:

    Yes, heaven too is a real place! The Bible speaks about the final home for believers as a place of never-ending joy and happiness, a place always in the presence of God and his beauty, and a place of great satisfaction and fulfillment.  The early verses of Revelation 21-22 help us see some of the wonder of heaven.

    …First, heaven is on earth—the new earth that God will make. John pictures the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven, showing that our final home will be on the new earth. Believers are in their resurrect bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-58), and they are made fully like Christ (1 John 3:2). As people fully remade, in both body and should we will live and love and work on the new earth that God has made, with great joy and great fulfillment. Second, we will reign with Christ forever. Even though we know very little about all that heaven will be, we know that it will be a place of deep satisfaction in the work God gives us, reigning and working with Christ. In our fallen world, work often does not sound like a good thing. But most of us learn over time that the deepest pleasures in life come through great labor and toil. Work with Christ and work for God will be our great joy in heaven. Third, Revelation 22 pictures us as back in the Garden of Eden with its tree of life. But the picture here shows a Garden of Eden better than before with its twelve kinds of fruit and leaves that heal the nations. So, we are not merely brought back to the place Adam was before he sinned. No, we are taken to a place far beyond what he had. Heaven is not merely restoring the world God made in Genesis 1-2. Heaven far surpasses the first creation.

    Finally, heaven is a place of endless joy, happiness, freedom, fulfillment, beauty, and love. Imagine Jesus himself wiping away every tear, so that we never again experience pain, suffering, or sadness. What God has in store for his people is far beyond what we could know fully. But aren’t you glad he’s told us something about heaven?

Learn more:

  1. Tim Challies: The Essential: Heaven
  2. GotQuestions.org: Where is Heaven? What is the location of Heaven?
  3. Blue Letter Bible: Does Heaven Actually Exist?
  4. John MacArthur: Looking Toward Heaven
  5. Russell Moore: When We All Get to Heaven?
  6. J. C. Ryle: Heaven
  7. John Blanchard: Whatever Happened to Heaven? (pdf)
  8. Jonathan Edwards: Heaven, A World of Charity or Love (pdf)
  9. David Fairchild: The Theology of Heaven - Part 1, The Theology of Heaven - Part 2 (audio)

Related terms:

Filed under Last Things

1From Whatever Happened to Heaven? (pdf) by John Blanchard

2From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

Wednesday
Mar232011

Round the Sphere Again: Books, Books, Books

My rebecca-writes.com domain is still not working, at least as I write this, so if you want to reach my actual site, you’ll have to use http://rebeccawrites.squarespace.com. I spent a long time on the phone with my domain host this afternoon, and I was assured that the problem should be fixed “in an hour or by the end of the day.” I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but it means at least this: I shouldn’t panic yet.

More Free Ones

  • Persis (Tried With Fire) has a list of recent book giveaways. John’s (While We Sojourn) giveaway has already expired, but you can get in on the rest if you hurry.
  • Persis is offering a free book, too.

    I will be giving away a copy of Living for God’s Glory - An Introduction to Calvinism by Dr. Joel R. Beeke.  This was written for “lay-people and ministers who are interested in learning the basics of Calvinism.”   The book includes a brief history of Calvinism and detailed chapters on the doctrines including TULIP and the solas.  There are also sections covering the relationship of reformed theology to the the heart, the church,  our practice, and the ultimate goal - doxology.

    The draw ends on March 30.

  • Violet (promptings) is giving away a copy of a children’s Bible story book. Violet writes that
  • This book would be a wonderful addition to any home, preschool, kindergarten, early elementary school, or church library. It could be used as a book for adults to read to youngsters or for beginning readers to read themselves. If there is a little person in your life who needs a first Bible, the Read and Share Bible would be an excellent choice.

    I’ve entered my name because I think this would be a good addition to my church’s library.

  • And then there’s my own giveaway. Entries slowed way down yesterday when my URL quit working, but you can still enter if you use this link. (As an aside, despite the URL glitch, I have a lot more entries to this giveaway using the Google Documents form than I have in the past when I asked people to leave comments.)

For Toddlers
Someone was looking for books for babies and toddlers in my church library recently and we didn’t have any. Our collection starts with books for preschoolers and go up from there, so I’ve been thinking that I need to order at least a couple of baby books. Conveniently, this list of suggestions for Easter books for the wee ones (Let the Nations Be Glad) came across my feed-reader this morning, giving me a few suggestions already.

Tuesday
Mar222011

Not Working

My domain, that is. I’ve got a support ticket in to the DNS host and am waiting for an answer. Meanwhile, rebeccawrites.squarespace.com works fine, so if you’re reading this on your feed reader, you can just click this link and be at my place. Or if you want to enter the free book draw, click here.

I’m hoping this will all be fixed soon.

Monday
Mar212011

A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part I: Questions about God, Man, and Sin

26. Q. Who tempted them to this sin?
       A. The devil tempted Eve, and she gave the fruit to Adam.

(Click through to read scriptural proofs.)

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar202011

Starting With I Am 

And a gift for someone. See bottom of the post for details.

Continuing on where we left off on Friday, quoting from The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson:

But the first half of the 1600s witnessed the rise of what is now called Cartesian thought (under the influence of René  Descartes and those who followed him). The traditional way of thinking about knowledge changed. More and more people based their knowledge on an axiom that Descartes made popular: “I think, therefore, I am.” Every first-year philosophy student today is still introduced to Descartes’s axiom. Descartes himself thought that this axiom was a foundation for all human knowing. After all, if you are thinking, you cannot deny your own existence; the very fact that you are thinking shows that you exist. Descartes was looking for a foundation that Christians and atheists and Muslims and secularists and spiritual types could all agree was indisputable. From this foundation and other approaches, he then gradually built up an entire system of thought to try to convince people to become Roman Catholics.

But notice how his axiom runs: “I think, therefore I am.” Two hundred years earlier, no Christian would have said that very easily because God’s and God’s absolute knowledge were already givens. Our existence was seen as dependent on him, and our knowledge a mere tiny subset of his. It was very widely thought proper to begin with God, not with the “I” in “I think, therefore, I am.” If we exist, it is because of God’s power. Our knowledge, even our existence, is finally dependent on him. But this side of Cartesian thought, we begin with “I.” I begin with me. And that puts me in a place where I start evaluating not only the world around me but also morals and history and God in such a way that God now becomes, at most, the inference of my study. That changes everything.

But the Bible does not run along those lines. God simply is.

That everything starts with God is one of things that Genesis 1-2 tells us. You’ll also recognize these two posts as an apologetic for presuppositional apologetics. Or, as some like to call it, Biblical apologetics—apologetics that start with God simply is.

I’m giving away one copy of The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson. To enter the draw for the free book, click through to fill out the entry form.

Click to read more ...