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                           "LIFE AFTER DEATH"  
  
              What Is The Eternal Destiny Of The Redeemed?  
  
INTRODUCTION  
  
1. As we rapidly near the end of this series, we have considered what  
   the Bible says about...  
   a. The "intermediate state", i.e., the condition of man between death  
      and the resurrection  
   b. The second coming of Christ  
   c. The resurrection of the dead  
   d. The day of judgment  
  
2. In the last two studies, we shall examine what the Bible reveals   
   about the FINAL state of man...  
   a. What is the eternal destiny of the redeemed?  
   b. What is the eternal destiny of the wicked?  
  
[With this lesson we shall look first at "The Eternal Destiny Of The  
Redeemed"...]  
  
I. THE "HOPE" OF THE REDEEMED  
  
   A. WONDERFUL PROMISES ARE GIVEN BY CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES...  
      1. Jesus speaks of the righteous as being in "the kingdom of their  
         Father", and inheriting "the kingdom prepared for you from the   
         foundation of the world"  
         a. In explaining the "parable of the tares" - Mt 13:43   
         b. In describing the judgment scene in Mt 25:31-34   
         c. Compare this with statements by His apostles...  
            1) Paul speaks of the "heavenly kingdom" - 2 Ti 4:18   
            2) Peter speaks of the "everlasting kingdom" - 2 Pe 1:10-11   
      2. Jesus speaks of the redeemed being with Him  
         a. In the "parable of the talents" ("Enter into the joy of your  
            lord") - Mt 25:21   
         b. In praying to the Father in Jn 17:24  (cf. Jn 14:1-3 )  
         c. Paul also alludes to this continued fellowship with the Lord  
            - 1 Th 4:17-18   
      3. Indeed, promises such as these are comforting for the   
         Christian, for they speak of unhindered and uninterrupted   
         fellowship with our Lord!  
      4. Is this not our ultimate hope?  To be with the Lord for   
         eternity?  
  
   B. BUT WHERE WILL WE EXPERIENCE THIS "HOPE"?  
      1. In other words...  
         a. Where will this fellowship with the Lord be experienced?  
         b. Where will the "abode" of the righteous be?  
      2. Will the "abode" of the redeemed...  
         a. Be heaven itself?  
         b. Or is it something "reserved" for us in heaven now, but when  
            experienced it will actually be somewhere else?  
  
[Previously I have suggested that when Christians die they will spend  
the "intermediate state" in heaven.  While most Christians automatically  
assume they will spend the "eternal state" in heaven, it appears the  
Biblical evidence concerning the eternal "abode" may state otherwise!  
  
Consider carefully, then, as we examine what the Bible says about...]  
  
II. THE "ETERNAL ABODE" OF THE REDEEMED  
  
   A. TWO PASSAGES ARE OFTEN QUOTED TO SAY THAT IT WILL BE HEAVEN...  
      1. The first is Co 1:5  
         a. Which speaks "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven"  
         b. Note carefully:  this verse does not say that our hope IS  
            heaven, but rather that our hope is "laid up for you IN  
            heaven"  
         c. Whether our hope, when experienced, will be IN heaven,  
            cannot be determined with certainty in this verse  
         d. Only that for "now", heaven is where our hope is stored  
      2. The second is 1 Pe 1:3-4   
         a. This passage speaks of our hope and inheritance, "reserved  
            in heaven for you"  
         b. Again:  this does say that our hope (or inheritance) IS  
            heaven, but rather that it is "reserved IN heaven"  
         c. As before, we cannot determine from this passage alone   
            whether our hope and inheritance, when realized, will be in   
            heaven ITSELF  
         d. Only that for "now" our hope and inheritance are presently   
            secured in heaven  
  
   B. THE "ETERNAL ABODE" AS DESCRIBED IN HEBREWS...  
      1. First, we find the author speaking of having "a better and   
         enduring possession for yourselves in heaven" - He 10:34   
         a. Here the same point can be made as before  
         b. I.e., at the present, our "possession" is IN heaven; but  
            when we receive it, will it be in heaven then?  
      2. In describing the hope of Abraham and the faithful, the author  
         speaks of a CITY (or dwelling place)...  
         a. "...the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker  
            is God" - He 11:10   
         b. "...for He has prepared a city for them" - He 11:13-16   
      3. Speaking of himself and his fellow Christians, the author   
         writes:  "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the  
         one to come" - He 13:14   
      4. Here, then, is one way of speaking of the hope of the   
         righteous, as it relates to their eternal abode:  
         a. It is a "city", whose builder and maker is God  
         b. It is a "heavenly city", in the sense of its NATURE  
         c. This "enduring possession" is PRESENTLY "prepared...laid up  
            ...reserved" for us in heaven!  
      5. But we have yet to answer the question:  "Where will this city  
         (abode) of the righteous actually be when they experience it?"  
  
   C. THE "ETERNAL ABODE" AS DESCRIBED BY PETER...  
      1. After describing the "day of the Lord" in which the present   
         universe will be dissolved, Peter speaks of looking for "new   
         heavens and a new earth" - 2 Pe 3:7-13   
      2. For Peter, this is what "we" (himself and all Christians)   
         should be looking for!  
      3. Some questions:  
         a. Is the "new heavens and a new earth" just a figurative   
            reference to heaven, or is it something different from   
            heaven?  
         b. How do we reconcile looking for the "new heavens and a new   
            earth" (Peter), and looking for "the city whose builder is   
            God" (Hebrews)?  
         -- The answer to these questions is found as we now look at...  
  
   D. THE "ETERNAL ABODE" AS DESCRIBED BY JOHN...  
      1. After describing the judgment scene (Re 20:11-15 ), John says   
         that he saw:  
         a. "a new heaven and a new earth" - Re 21:1  (cf. Peter)  
         b. "the holy City, New Jerusalem" - Re 21:2  (cf. Hebrews)  
         -- In this way, John brings together both the "hope" of the   
            author of Hebrews and the apostle Peter!  
      2. But where is this "city" at this point?  Note carefully how   
         three times in the Book of Revelation, it is stated that the  
         city is NOT in heaven at this time...  
         a. "...the New Jerusalem, which comes down OUT OF heaven from   
            my God." - Re 3:12   
         b. "...the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down OUT OF heaven  
            from God..." - Re 21:2   
         c. "...the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending OUT OF   
            heaven from God..." - Re 21:10   
      3. Rather than being IN heaven (the present dwelling place of   
         God), this "eternal abode" is described as being in "the new   
         heavens and a new earth"!  
         a. A realm where there is the absence of death, sorrow, and   
            pain - Re 21:4   
         b. A realm in which there is complete fellowship with God and   
            Christ - Re 21:3 ,22-27  
         c. A place of perpetual life and good health - Re 22:1-2   
         d. A place where God's servants both serve and reign! - Re 22:3-5  
              
  
   E. TO SUMMARIZE AND PERHAPS CLARIFY...  
      1. The redeemed have a wonderful hope concerning their "eternal   
         destiny"  
      2. It pertains to a "city", built by God and PRESENTLY reserved   
         for us in heaven...  
         a. However, when experienced, this "city" (abode) will not be   
            IN heaven  
         b. But having come down OUT OF heaven, it will be in the "new   
            heavens and new earth" (i.e., a totally new order of things)  
      3. This is NOT to say that we will not be with God and Christ...  
         a. For as one considers the experience of the righteous as  
            described in Re 21-22, we see that we will be with God and  
            Christ forever!  
         b. To be exact, however...  
            1) It is not that we will be with God and Christ in  
               heaven...  
            2) But that They will be with us in the "new heavens and new  
               earth"!  
         c. Consider...  
            1) "Behold the tabernacle of God IS WITH MEN, and HE WILL   
               DWELL WITH THEM...and GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM"   
               - Re 21:3   
               a) Note that in each phrase the direction is one in which  
                  God is with us; He dwells with us in this "city" which  
                  comes down out of heaven  
               b) Contrary to the idea that we are in heaven with God!  
            2) "...the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be IN IT"   
               - Re 22:3   
               a) In the "eternal state", the throne is in this "holy   
                  city" which comes down out of heaven  
               b) Whereas earlier in the Revelation, the throne of God   
                  was in heaven - Re 4:2 ; 7:9-17  
                  1) The latter passage (7:9-17) I take to describe the  
                     "intermediate state"  
                  2) It is during this interim that the righteous are  
                     with God in heaven  
            3) "But I saw NO TEMPLE in it, for the Lord God Almighty and  
               the Lamb are its temple." - Re 21:22   
               a) John saw no temple in this "holy city"  
               b) Whereas he saw the temple of God in heaven when  
                  describing the "intermediate state" - cf. Re 7:15   
         d. Again, the indication is that God will dwell with us for   
            eternity in this "new heavens and new earth" (in the "New  
            Jerusalem"), not that we will be with Him in heaven  
  
CONCLUSION  
  
1. Admittedly, in a book like Revelation we are dealing with very  
   symbolic language, and must be careful not to strain a point too  
   far...  
  
2. But the terminology used by John is the same as that used by Peter  
   and the author of Hebrews as they wrote plainly of our "hope" (i.e.,  
   such terms as "city", "new heavens and new earth")  
  
3. And these terms are used consistently in such a way as to make a  
   clear distinction between...  
   a. What is currently the dwelling place of God (i.e., "heaven")  
   b. And where God will spend eternity with the redeemed (i.e., in the  
      "holy city" that comes down "out of heaven" into the "new heavens  
      and new earth")  
  
4. Should we not be careful to make the same distinction?  
  
Do we, "according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth   
in which righteousness dwells" (2 Pe 3:13 )?  If so, then be sure to   
heed the admonition of Peter...  
  
   "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent  
   to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and  
   account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation..."  
  
                            - 2 Pe 3:14-15 a  
  
And remember the words of John:  
  
   "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have  
   the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates  
   into the city."  
                            - Re 22:14   
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