What is Heaven? Participants Guide

Join the Conversation:

Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the episode.  Explore them later with the group.
Listen to God’s Word: Revelation 21:1-27




Discuss the Episode

1. Randy was motivated to learn more about heaven because of his mother’s death.  Often our first thoughts about heaven come when someone near us dies.  Have you thought about heaven?  Why or why not? Where did you get your ideas about heaven?

2. Jesus had a real, physical body after He was resurrected.  He ate and drank before the disciples to emphasize this. Based on this, Randy emphasizes that we will have physical bodies in heaven.  Is this a new idea to you?  Like the elderly man in Randy’s story, does this seem “unspiritual” to you?

3. Based on Revelation 21:26, Randy believes we will have good things in heaven from this life, like art, music, and sports.  What good things from this life would you like to have in heaven?  Is there any biblical reason why what you want won’t be there?

4. Randy and Don agree that the Biblical understanding of heaven has radical implications for how we think and live as Christians.  What do you think some on those implications are?

Resources for Further Growth

Reflect on What Others Have to Say
Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Holy Sonnet #72, John Donne

For John Donne, death is important; it is an enemy, but for the Christian it is a beaten enemy.  In line with much classic Christian thought, Donne sees life after death in two stages: first, a short sleep, then an eternal waking.  And death shall be no more.  Donne grasped what we shall discover to be the central New Testament belief: that at the last, death will not simply be redefined but defeated.  God’s intention is not to let death have its way with us.  If the promised final future is simply that immortal souls leave behind their mortal bodies, then death still rules—since that is a description not of the defeat of death but simply of death itself, seen from one angle.
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

Since God will make the new earth his dwelling place, and since where God dwells there heaven is, we shall then continue to be in heaven while we are on the new earth… Heaven and earth will then no longer be separated as they are now, but they will be one.  But to leave the new earth out of consideration when we think of the final state of believers is greatly to impoverish biblical teaching about the life to come.
Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future



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