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Heaven or New Jerusalem?

Submitted: 4/26/2010
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Question: I heard a preacher once since this year asking a question. He said that he would give anybody US$1000.00 if they could prove to him from Scripture that anybody will be going to heaven. Now I was not really interested in receiving the money though I really could used it, but I started to look at the Bible carefully to see if what he was saying had any truth to it. He said that the Bible clearly states in Revelation 21-22 especially chapter 21:22-22:6 that the saved of the nations will dwell in new Jerusalem and even God's throne will be there from which will issue a river of life. All he said I did see and I didn't really find any scripture that really did say that any man will live in heaven. Now that has left an impression and I've been dilligently looking at the idea ever since. All I have come up with so far is that he might actually be speaking the truth. I grew up all my life thinking that if I lived like Jesus asked me to and was saved like Cornelius that I would make it into heaven now to see that that could be a erroneous teaching (not that new Jeruslaem was any different in its reward from what is taught about heaven) but it really seems that that's where the saved dwell and God Himself will have His throne. Could you throw some light on the topic for me?

Answer: Heaven is a term used throughout the Bible as the place where God dwells. It is not always meant to refer to a specific place. It is simply the place where God dwells. This being so, if God will be living in the New Jerusalem, then the New Jerusalem is heaven. Keep in mind that when Cornelius was baptized and filled with the Spirit, he was born again, which is the entry way into the kindgom of God, which is also called the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5).

Another point to consider is that both the Hebrew and Greek words translated 'heaven' can refer to the sky (the birds of heaven), outer space (the stars of heaven), and the place where God dwells (our Father who art in heaven). Words can be tricky. We need to be very careful in how we understand them. Someone once said that you can only see the first heaven by day, you can only see the second heaven by night, and you can only see the third heaven by faith.

You might try collecting the $1000.00 by showing the preacher Revelation 19:1-8.