"My Search For The Real Heaven"

By Steve Hemphill


What do you see in your mind’s eye when you hear the word “heaven”? Do you see transparent people floating on clouds and playing harps? Or do you imagine a perpetual praise and worship service, singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” for all eternity? This often-promoted Christian view of eternity doesn’t even appeal to the saved—much less to the unsaved. But is this the true, biblical picture? Not even close. After his father died, author Steve Hemphill began searching the Bible for glimpses of heaven, anything to give him comfort about his father’s new home. Glimpses of Dad in Heaven is the culmination of seven years of studying, meditating, and cross-referencing biblical findings and is unique in its Bible-based evaluation of eternity. Find heaven in Steve Hemphill’s "my search for the Real Heaven".

 

“Steve Hemphill has written a highly informative book about heaven that is thoroughly biblical. His approach is very imaginative and entertaining. You will enjoy every word as the book builds your hope for the Lord's return and your expectation of the blessings of eternity.”
Dr. David R. Reagan, Founder and director of Lamb & Lion Ministries

 

“I am jealous of Steve. What a gift to have a great dad… Dads, this is a must read so you can learn from one who did it up right.”
Dr. Donald E. Anderson, President of Bible Teaching Resources

 

Steve Hemphill is owner and president of Complete Business Systems, Inc. in northeast Texas. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. A deacon in his church, he has long been active in teaching detailed Bible classes and community service projects.

 

 


Pictured left to right:
Steve Hemphill, Jamie Hemphill,
and Kendal Hemphill

Table of Contents

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Table of Contents
(Only through Introduction Is Included here on-line)

Dedication

The Story Begins
Memories of Home
What Might Be: Arrival

Introduction
What Might Be: Five Earths of Scripture
 
Chapter 1: Literal Versus Symbolic
Dad’s Special Sayings
What Might Be: A Tangible Heaven

Chapter 2: Prophecy Indications
Dad Was a Bible Scholar
What Might Be: Being in Covenant with God

Chapter 3: Satan’s Strategy
Dad Was a Man of Integrity
What Might Be: The True Location of the Kingdom

Chapter 4: Purification by Fire
Dad’s Attitude toward Others
What Might Be: Dad Visits Lazarus and the Rich Man
Chapter 5: Resurrection and Our New Body
One Last Handwritten Note from Dad
What Might Be: Seeing What God Sees

Chapter 6: Connecting Eternity, Heaven, and New Earth
Dad Was a Math Teacher
What Might Be: The Hall of Pictoglyphs

Chapter 7: God Promotes a Reward System
Dad Taught Me That Spending Time for God Now = Rewards Later
What Might Be: A Place in the Capital City

Chapter 8: Reunion
My Brother Kendal’s Memories of DadWhat Might Be: The Welcome Party

Dedication

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Dedication

Stay with it to the end. You won't be sorry, and you'll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come. Matthew 24:13-14 (The Message)

My Search for the Real Heaven is dedicated to my dad, Jamie Voigt Hemphill, who was an inspiration to his family and to countless others. He wore many titles: dad, counselor, friend, coach, minister, rock mason, farmer, carpenter, teacher, church elder, leader, encourager, cousin, uncle, friend, and to his six grandsons, Peepaw. He gave of himself and his time to do everything he could to encourage others and help enlarge the kingdom of God. He was loved by all, and he loved all. I once heard it said of Will Rogers that he never met a man he didn’t like. That describes Dad.
After his untimely death in the summer of 2000, many people told our family of ways Dad had encouraged them in one form or another. His funeral was so packed with people that every seat in the auditorium was full. The aisles were crowded with people who were willing to stand throughout the service, the fellowship hall was full (these people could hear the service but were unable to see any of it), and some had to park blocks away and walk in the sweltering heat of that hot August day. I even talked to friends who had driven an hour to attend, and after seeing the crowd standing outside the building trying to get in, resigned themselves to drive home without even getting out of their cars.

That’s the kind of man he was. Is. Will be forever. He has gone on to his reward, unspeakable joy in the presence of his Savior and his fellow believers.

I miss him. I will continue to do so until our reunion. This is why I dedicate this book in his memory. But he would also want honor to be given to every godly father. Godly fathers are rare in Scripture and rare today as well. So I dedicate this book to all godly fathers in an effort to give honor where honor is due. My life has been less difficult because of a godly father, and I hope that the inspiration from this story of my godly father will cause many others to follow that pathway.

In his honor, a tithe of the proceeds from this book will be given in his name to the Seth Rogers Retreat Center and Camp Deer Run in Winnsboro, Texas. This organization helps more young people to begin their kingdom walk than any other I know of.
Another tithe will be given to one of the most important efforts on the planet: to send the gospel message of Jesus Christ through Faith Comes By Hearing.

Faith Comes by Hearing (faithcomesbyhearing.com) began in the 1970s with Bible audiocassettes. People would purchase these cassettes and send them to their missionaries around the world. The missionaries would say, “This is great, but I need it in Spanish, German, or French.” So they began to do that.

As of this writing, the organization now has the New Testament Audio Bibles available in 272 languages and have ingeniously put it on a memory chip inside the Proclaimer. The Proclaimer is a self-contained unit with a solar recharge panel and a speaker that enables a large audience to hear God’s Word in group listening sessions. Since over half the world’s population is illiterate, I believe this is the best possible way to get the Good News about Jesus out to a lost and dying world

So be warmed and encouraged that your purchase of this work is attempting to glorify God by (a) encouraging everyone to focus on and get excited about our eternal existence and (b) helping to get the Bible out in a format that will reach more people than ever before. Thank you, and may God bless you with a deeper and better understanding of the eternal riches and joys in store for you.

Dear Lord, I pray that the words I have to say will inspire all who read to realize their need. I hope that everything I wrote opens up countless eyes, causing many to be wise. I plead mankind will be freed to serve you in deeds working to meet the needs of lost souls. Lord, my King, I long to wear your ring, showing I belong to your happy throng of saved people. I pray that until the day you return for me, I will be pleasing you as I long to do, day and night,helping make things right. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your servant, Steve Hemphill

The Story Begins

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The Story Begins

 

Everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around and woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them. Acts 9:35 (The Message)

About a year ago, a friend called one morning and almost frantically said, “I have to eat lunch with you today.”

I agreed.

At lunch he said, “I need to tell you that you need to write about your dad.”

Dad had been dead almost four years when this occurred, but Dad’s death was still too fresh in my mind to do it justice. I tried to write, but the words just didn’t flow out right. So I sort of forgot about the whole thing. I had given it the old “college try,” hadn’t I?

Almost a year later, there was a large article on the front page of the religious section of the local paper. The story was about a Christian writer’s conference coming up at a nearby Christian school. I threw it away after having only read the headline. I had no goal to become a writer. But the story wouldn’t go away. Not for me. A close friend saw the same story. He came by my office and laid a fifty-dollar bill on my desk and said, “Here, I’m paying your entry fee for that Christian writer’s conference. Will you go?”

I said I needed to check our family calendar and indicated that I would go if we had no conflicts on that date. I hoped there was a conflict, but I felt quite safe with that answer, since our busy schedule with work, church, and three teenage boys rarely allows for a free Saturday. He accepted that answer but followed up with me the next day, reminding me of the promise I had made to go if I had no conflict. Reluctantly, I had to relent and register, since it just happened to be one of those rare Saturdays when we were completely free. I went.

I have rarely felt so out of place. Most of the attendees had set the lofty goal of becoming a published author. I had no such goal. In fact, I didn’t even want to be there. But I felt obligated to stay until early afternoon and take part in the free lunch that was provided, since free is in my price range. The morning sessions were interesting, but about as riveting as watching a cork bobber at the end of a fishing line on a pond with no fish. Lunch was nothing to write home about, but it was free. But after lunch, an earthquake shook my world. This quake was to have repercussions for months and probably years to come. It ended up shaking my soul to the core in ways that I was incapable of understanding. Scary ways. Overwhelming ways. Emotional ways. Faye Field was destined to shake my world like a major earthquake.

I should have known something was up when the room scheduled for her presentation filled up to overflowing proportions. Maybe I should have left. If I’d known what I was in for, I probably would have left. But I didn’t. They ran out of chairs, so I sat there on the floor in total shock. I felt like a panicked deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. He looks right at the coming lights without a clue about what’s on the way. By the time it arrives, it’s already too late. He can’t jump high enough to get out of the way. He can’t crouch low enough to let the danger pass over and remain unscathed. He can’t move quick enough. He just stands there. That’s what I did too. I stayed. The title of her presentation was “Inspirational Writing.” Little did I know how inspirational she would be.

When we moved to a much larger room, I think I knew deep down that I was in trouble. It’s not that I was conscious of the danger; I just sort of instinctively got as far away from Mrs. Field as I could. I went to the back row on the far side of the room from where she sat. I felt safer there. I wasn’t. Far from it. I was about as safe as that deer when the impact is one second away.

Mrs. Field was a local. She sat in a comfortable chair, smiling sweetly, and eyed us like a cat that notices someone left the birdcage open, and the bird doesn’t know it yet. She would sit in that chair throughout her talk. Now I call it the chair of power. That little ninety-three-year-old lady was one of the most inspirational speakers I’ve ever heard. Once the introduction was over and they turned her loose to speak, it was like letting a bird dog out of his portable cage upon arrival at the hunting lease. The energy and enthusiasm in her voice would make you think she was twenty-three. She had the audience in a trance. Although the room was packed full of people, there was complete silence as she spoke about her life. The only noise I noticed other than her sweet-sounding voice during the next hour was the laughter that exploded regularly as she relayed the amazing story of her life as an inspirational writer. If I live to be ninety-three myself, a scary thought, I will never forget her speech.

Any description I would write wouldn’t do her justice. But I can tell you that the people in that room were hanging on her every word, like a mountain climber that just slipped and caught the edge of the cliff with one hand. I’ve been to Promise Keepers; I’ve been to gatherings all over the country; I’ve heard motivational speakers, preachers, and professional presenters regularly during my fifty-plus years on this planet, but I’ve never heard anything like Faye Field.

She started and ended with a prayer. She talked about home. She talked about God and heaven. She made our hearts come alive as we journeyed with her through a life of ups and downs. She kept saying, “Write what’s in your heart. God put it there. Don’t worry about trying to write what the editors want. My husband always said that the editors don’t know what they want half the time, anyway. If God wants you to write, he will open the door to being published. Just trust him. And remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. You can change the world with your writing. Now go out there and change it!”

I felt just like I did when my old football coach got us ready for that all-important district game with our archrivals, Sonora. When Coach Burns finished his pre-game speech, we were sure we could have beaten the Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium. Although I really knew that wasn’t true, after hearing Mrs. Field, we all felt like we could actually change the world.

I went home from the conference without a clue as to how my world was about to change. When I got to work on Monday morning, I discovered my hard drive had crashed, and we were going to have to replace it and then restore all the programs and data. A major undertaking, as you can imagine. So while my “tecknogeek” was doing all that, I was twiddling my thumbs. I decided to get my laptop out of my truck and take a crack at inspirational writing. I had been doing some studying lately on heaven, so I decided to talk about a few of the amazing glimpses we see in Scripture about heaven. I typed the title My Search for the Real Heaven. But something happened when I started typing—something strange and emotional.
I intended to write a sentence or two of introduction before getting into a study of the verses, but it didn’t stop there. In fact, it didn’t stop for almost a thousand words. It’s one of the weirdest things that’s ever happened to me. The brief introduction led to a quick overview of my childhood. It was like a cork had popped off a bottle full of words and all these sentences and paragraphs came spilling out. It went everywhere. It went all over me and all over the floor. I couldn’t stop it, not even if I wanted to. And I was in too much shock to know if I wanted to. It almost felt embarrassing, as if I’d spilled catsup on my shirt with everyone looking.

Tears flowed freely as the words spilled onto my laptop and the white page just in front of the blinking curser. At least, I think that’s what happened, since my eyes were so blurry. I felt like a tidal wave had just hit me. I couldn’t stop it. It came in surges that overwhelmed and weakened me with each wave. As each paragraph spilled out of me, I grabbed a quick breath and changed the subject in a feeble attempt to turn it off. But I couldn’t. When it was over, I could barely function. As I re-lived these childhood experiences in my mind, I realized what a special home and family I have had. Those bottled-up words were bound to spill out sooner or later, but I didn’t realize it until this first bloodletting of words was over.
When the overwhelming emotions finally began to subside, I knew what I had to do. I had to call my friend who told me to write about Dad. He said, “I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”

I told him about the experience, and I handed him the pages to read for himself. Initially, I was relieved. Great, I thought, I got that out of my system and now I can move on. When he finishes reading, that chapter of my life will be over. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
As he read the story, his eyes were red with emotion too. But when he finished, he said the five most dreaded words I think I ever heard, “Where’s the rest of it?”

“What do you mean the ‘rest’ of it? That’s it!”

“No, it isn’t. It may take you years, but you have to finish it. God wants you to finish it. You have no choice.”

I laid my head on the table and cried. I didn’t want to.

“God will give you strength,” he said.

I pray that the words in this story about my father will inspire you to meditate on your eternal home just as much as Mrs. Field’s words have inspired me to write them. With that backdrop, let me open the curtain on my life and let you have a peek into my world. Enjoy.

Memories of Home

Do you ever think about heaven? Do you ever try to imagine what it will be like? I do. All the time since my dad died. I scoured the Scriptures looking for all the “glimpses of heaven” I could find.

I miss him. Dad was a friendly, humble, serving gentleman, the kind of man who’s getting harder and harder to find. He was the mayor of my hometown when he died, a small town of about two thousand. Mason, Texas, was a place anyone would be proud to be from. We lived a block from the downtown square, and I walked there often as a little boy. Big, tall pecan trees filled our front yard on a street called “Live Oak.” What a place to grow up. My brother and I played daily in that yard, often climbing the trees and pretending we were on a far-off adventure. The memories flood my heart even now as I remember that special time and place, a world where everything was right with God.

It was fireflies in the back yard just after the sun sank low. It was the smell of homemade cookies that had just come out of the oven. It was that special scent of something fried—anything fried. It was a red ant bed cropping up by the back door. It was the neighbor yelling, “Hello, boys” as they pulled into the carport across the street. It was the sound of the sheep in the fenced vacant lot behind the house. It was building a secret fort in the scrub brush down the hill out of cardboard boxes from Underwood’s Food Store. It was Mama yelling into the woods, “Supper’s ready!” And it was the excitement when we heard those truly magic words: “Daddy’s home!”

Daddy is home. Now he’s gone, and he really is home. I miss him.

He had been the announcer at the football stadium for the home games for thirty-eight years. He had a strong, soothing voice as he called out the results of each play and told us who got the tackle or caught the pass. He sang the national anthem solo on the microphone every week. People still come up to Mom to tell her they miss that. So do I.

He became sort of an icon in that little town. It was special to him. It meant something to live in a place like that. He served the community without the thought of what’s in it for me?

What really made him special was his propensity to help people. I saw it over and over during my formative years. We might be very involved in a family project or some repair job on the house, but if someone came by asking for help or advice, we dropped what we were doing and went immediately to see what we could do to help. It never ceased to amaze me. The pattern never changed—he did it again and again.

Often, someone needed advice. A friend might show up in his cowboy hat and pointy-toed boots—the kind you can use to kill a roach in the corner—and say to dad, “Jamie, I need to talk to you ‘bout somethin.’” Sometimes we were given hasty instructions on how to continue the project without Dad’s oversight, and sometimes he said, “Boys, go play a few minutes while I talk to Mr. Reeves.” We were thrilled at the chance for a break. The hot sun on the central Texas landscape was always a nuisance. We might head out to the cardboard fort or hit the swings or—and this was really fun—we would climb the antenna pole by the corner of the back porch to play on the roof.

It sounds funny to even say that now, but we actually did play on the roof. Mom couldn’t keep us off the roof. What a great view we had from up there. We could see the top of the old rock courthouse in the center of the square from the highest peak on that roof. We could see the hill where Fort Mason once stood. We could look eye-to-eye with the birds in their nests near the top of those pecan trees. We felt like we were on top of the world. Sometimes I wish I could still get that feeling. We would look down at Dad whispering attentively in the dirt driveway to whoever needed advice for the day from the man we called “Dad.”

What a man. What a heart. How kind he was. How serving. What an example.

But now he’s gone. He’s gone home, his real home, his heavenly home. Someday I’ll join him. The family reunion under the shade of those big pecan trees will include cloth-covered tables straining under a feast of pie, fried chicken, and homemade rolls that will make our mouths water. What a great time we’ll have.

But that’s for later. Right now, I have my own responsibilities. My own boys need my attention, my example, my time, my love. The reunion with Dad will have to wait. But I look forward to that time with great anticipation. “Love ya, Dad, miss ya, Dad,” I often say to his picture by my bed. “Thanks for the memories and for the Christian example you always were. See ya soon!”

What Might Be: Arrival

“Hello, Jamie. It’s time for your transfer to the real world. It’s time to go home. I’m your escort. Here, let me carry you.

“I know you have a lot of questions, so let me explain a few things. I have been assigned to you for all of your sixty-nine-year stay on Earth. Other angels have helped at critical moments, and some were assigned to your family—your wife Mary, and your sons Steve and Kendal—but I have been with you all along. Just as it says in Hebrews 1:14, ‘Angels are only servants. They are spirits sent from God to care for those who will receive salvation.’ I am simply one of his servants.

“Now that your time has come, I will escort you to the safety and beauty of intermediate heaven, where you will enjoy paradise in fellowship with the Savior, the saints, and your relatives and friends who have preceded you in death. We call this intermediate heaven, because your final home is still under construction. It is being built from the good deeds you did for the kingdom that are the building blocks of your permanent home, and more raw materials are being sent up every day by those you influenced for the kingdom. In other words, your good deeds that caused others to do good deeds are added to your account. In the end, you will have quite a home here, because the Audience of One is well aware of all your unselfish acts of kindness to others. You have put his kingdom first for most of your earthly life. For this reason, the final judgment where all your rewards will be presented must wait. This also allows your descendants to enjoy your reward ceremony.

“You are about to take your first breath of heaven’s air. You will likely cough and gag as you did when you took your first earthly breath, but not for the same reason. The atmosphere of the shadow land (earth) is rank with the smell of sulfur, caused by sin, and the shame of mankind’s fall. It is so full of ugliness caused by the curse of sin that we are amazed you can breathe at all. When you cough and gag on your first heavenly breath, it is to remove the last of the stench caused by the environment of fallen earth. After that, you will scarcely be able to believe how pure and wonderful the air of heaven smells. Fill your lungs with it. Enjoy it to the fullest. You never have to breathe the stench again.

“I’m taking you to the real world. The world you were made for. And you will be with the One who made it all just for you. He loves you more than you can possibly know. All angels have trouble understanding the King’s plan to save mankind, but we know that you—not we—were created to be his image-bearers. We are his servants, sent to serve those who will be saved. I am honored to have been with you.

“When I deliver you safely, I must be on my way to my next assignment. We will meet again.

“Your first pleasure in the new world will be a welcome party. Many old acquaintances will be renewed, and many you have never met are eager to greet you. I will see you again soon.”

With that, the escorting angel left in a flash of light. Then the party begins.

Introduction

 

“I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: ‘Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women’!”  Revelation 21:3 (The Message)

 

Home for the Weekend

 

After I graduated from Mason High School in 1975 and left home for college at Abilene Christian University, home was never the same. It was a whole new world for me. New friends. Exciting experiences. Fresh opportunities. Sure, I went home for the weekend for a quick visit, often just to get Mom to wash my clothes and taste some home cooking. But I was so excited about the future, a future away from the small hick town I grew up in, that I didn’t really appreciate what I had. Isn’t that true of us all? We don’t know what we have until it’s gone. 

 

Now it’s different. I’m over fifty, complete with all the aches and pains that come with that privilege, and “home for the weekend” has a completely different feeling.  Now home for the weekend means arriving late on Friday night and unloading all our gear in the dark with a flashlight. It means talking until late at night by lamplight or sitting in the old swing in the yard. It’s the smell of fresh sugar cookies or pie crust. I love pie crust. When I was a little kid, mom always took the scrap pieces of pie crust that were left over from baking a pecan pie and lay them out flat on an old cookie sheet. She carefully spread butter all over, nice and even. Then she sprinkled a liberal portion of sugar and cinnamon and baked it in the oven. Man, you talk about something good! It’s the feel of the air that surrounds and permeates every square inch of that town, a town I no longer call hick. It’s a special place; it’s home. 

 

Home for the weekend makes you feel relaxed, special, wanted, loved. Don’t you wish you could stay in that place? Don’t you wish you could feel that way all the time? Don’t you know that if you could bottle and sell that “home for the weekend” feeling you’d be rich? 

Some day, that feeling will be permanent. We’ll stay in that place of comfort because we will be home. You’ve got a Friend, someone who gave up his heavenly home and went off to Earth University for your sake.  He’s gone back home, and he’s adding on to his Father’s house to make room for you. You’re so special to him that he’s building that room to the exact specifications he knows you’ll like. 

Your eternal clothing is also special. It’s provided by—you! According to Revelation 19:7-8, the good deeds you do for his kingdom are your eternal clothing for home, your real home, your permanent home, your heavenly home. Now let’s begin our study about it! Hold on, it’s going to be an exciting ride!

 

An Unattractive Heaven

 

I have found that when many Christians are asked what we’ll do in heaven, we either stare back with blank faces or describe how we will be floating spirits on clouds playing the harp and worshiping God all day every day. This view doesn’t even get Christians excited about eternity in heaven, much less the world.  Too often, we have formed our opinion of heaven by what our parents or church leaders think rather than an honest, open evaluation of the Scriptures themselves.   

 

I honestly believe that an inaccurate, unattractive view of our eternal future actually works to hinder our attitude toward evangelism. Why try to convert someone else to an eternal future that we aren’t even excited about? You may not agree with every idea suggested here as we evaluate the Bible verses together about heaven, but I hope you will listen, meditate, and pray for insight, because if I’m right, heaven is a place to really get excited about! Ultimately, my goal is to get you so excited about heaven that you can’t stand to be silent about it! I hope you can appreciate that goal in spite of a disagreement about an idea presented.  But remember, this is not a salvation issue, and it’s all right if we don’t all agree on every point presented. 

 

The Christian Goal

 

How do Olympic athletes endure the hardship and discipline of all the years of training and preparation? By picturing themselves on the podium receiving the gold medal and hearing their national anthem in the presence of a cheering crowd. What is the goal of Christians? Heaven. Do we think or study much about it? No. 

 

Biblical Deductive Reasoning

 

In the evaluation of any biblical subject, we must often read between the lines or learn to use what I call, “biblical deductive reasoning.” Let me explain what I mean with an example. 

 

Where do kangaroos live? Kangaroos live in Australia. Other than zoos, are kangaroos indigenous to any other areas on earth? No. Have kangaroos ever lived in the Middle East? Of course not! Are you sure? 

 

Where did the ark land after the flood? Turkey. Where is Turkey? Turkey is in the Middle East. Now, let me repeat the question: have kangaroos ever lived in the Middle East? Yes! 

 

You were required to use biblical deductive reasoning and common sense to come to a conclusion that now contradicts your original position! Are you damaged in any way from changing your stance? No. Are you more enlightened instead? Maybe. I hope so. 

 

That’s what I hope and pray happens to you as you consider the ideas in this book. 

 

Scriptural Authority

 

God invented everything. This includes language and our ability to communicate. Out of all the possible ways he could have led us to truth and salvation, he chose words. Isn’t it probably safe to say that he made sure he used the right ones? 

 

God's Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God's Law will be alive and working. Trivialize even the smallest item in God's Law, and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom.  Matthew 5:18-19 (The Message)

 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

 

So if you desire to know more about heaven, where do you go to make sure you get the truth? All Scripture. 

 

Note also that the Holy Spirit is involved and active in your personal discovery of truth, including the truth about heaven: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future” (John 16:13, NLT).

 

I have been diligently studying passages on heaven since my dad left for that destination in August of 2000. I have come to the conclusion that it takes prayer, desire, wisdom, and biblical deductive reasoning to get a glimpse of heaven to embed in our heart. So let’s start with a prayer. 

 

Beginning Prayer

 

Lord, I pray that every single person who reads this book or hears the summary of its ideas are blessed with enlightenment, encouragement, and renewed in their zeal to live to heaven when they die. And as we embark on this study about our eternal home, open our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to the truth about our future with you. Don’t let Satan deceive us into believing heaven will be dull or boring in any way. Please reveal kingdom secrets to us as we study and give us insight and wisdom to properly understand. In Jesus’s name, Amen. 

 

What Might Be: The Five Earths of Scripture

 

“Hello, Jamie, I’m a servant of the King, sent to instruct you on some of the major events of the earths of the histories.” 

 

“The histories? What are the histories?”

 

“The histories are what we call the record books that document all things done by the King from creation until New Earth.” 

 

“New Earth? What’s New Earth?” 

 

“It never ceases to amaze us how even those like you who have extensive biblical knowledge must be taught and trained on some of the most basic realities of Scripture. New Earth is part of your eternal future. 

 

“The Bible clearly discusses five unique earths. The first earth is original creation, sinless and perfect. In fact, what many believers fail to realize is that original earth was part of heaven, part of the home of God. You could picture it as his garden, the garden of God, Eden.  

 

“Original earth was perfect in every way. It was similar to a crib for a baby that you would provide for your own. There were no thorns, no stickers, no poison, no pains or diseases of any kind, and especially no death. This is why the King could walk freely, daily with Adam. A pure and holy God could not tolerate contact with a place of disease or death without the purification fires to insulate him. Sinai was a perfect example: when he later descended onto Sinai, the earth was under the curse, so flames like those from a furnace prevented actual contact. Not so in the garden. He walked daily with all of creation because everything was good. 

 

“After sin temporarily separated the King from physical contact with creation, the borders of heaven were redrawn, so to speak; original earth was expelled from direct contact with the Holy. This was necessary for your own safety. The necessary purification fires would have annihilated all life. However, those purification fires discussed throughout the Bible and particularly in Peter’s letters will one day cleanse and purify earth in preparation for the fourth earth of Scripture, restored earth. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll come back to that. 

 

“So the first earth of the Bible was the original, good, perfect, pure earth. The second earth was the cursed earth. 

 

“How sad we all were to see the deterioration, and how different every part of creation became when the King placed a curse on the perfect world that brought so much trouble and misery. All of a sudden, to our dismay, roses had sharp thorns, the rainforests of what would later become North Africa became a desert eventually called Sahara. Stickers appeared, the beautiful became ugly. Colors faded worldwide, their brightness gone. Strong, lovely smells that had once permeated flowers, grasses, and trees became a mere shadow of what they were before. 

 

“Adam and Eve began to defecate, urinate, cry, experience pain, get sick, and, worst of all, to die. We wailed in pain with them, although unseen. We watched in sorrow and sadness as the world deteriorated from a pristine glory to a smelly, ugly, complete mess in comparison. In fact, words cannot describe the loss or the remorse that filled both Creator and creation at the time. 

 

“Adam and Eve were never the same. Unhappiness now dominated their emotions, and, although they experienced the joy of family and children over the next nine hundred years or so, they also saw that the children would die too. 

 

“The first blood was shed when the King killed some innocent lambs and gave mankind their first clothes. These died to cover sin. According to the King, it was the only way. Death and blood were the requirements for life to continue. We all hoped it would end there, but it was not to be. Soon Cain killed Abel, and this first murder led to countless others. We felt the misery and cried with the King. It looked like it wouldn’t stop, like mankind would wipe himself out as they fought over women, gold, and positions of authority, but God had a plan. 

 

“We were all so shocked with the mayhem and madness planet-wide that we missed what the King saw: one family godly enough to save and start it over!  I admit, we were all confused when we heard God say he was going to destroy the earth. We thought destruction meant annihilation! Not to God. He told Noah to build a boat so they could be rescued from the destruction. Over the centuries, we have come to understand that when God brings judgment, the good are saved by the same mechanism that the evil is purged. In this case, the flood wiped out and destroyed all the evil people but saved the good ones. 

 

“This brings us to the third earth in Scripture: the post-flood earth. And again, although it was much diminished from the original and even from the cursed earth, it was habitable. And, to eyes that had never seen the previous version, even beautiful. Curious. 

 

“Jamie, this was the planet you knew. You lived your life on the post-flood earth.” 

 

“Okay, I understand so far, but that’s just three earths. You said there was five.”

 

“Yes, there are five, but the last two are still to come, so we won’t spend time going over them because you are able to see and experience them from your viewing port here! You will see with perfect clarity what the King will do with the improved vision you have as a Christian here in paradise!” 

 

“Can’t you tell me anything about them?” 

 

“Well, I can lead you to a better understanding of them with the guidebook in your hand.” 

 

“Guidebook?” 

 

“Forgive me, your Bible. What do you want to know?” 

 

“Well, first of all, you speak of the first three earths as if they are separate ones. In reality, they’re just three versions of the same one. How do you explain that?” 

 

“I have no explanation, other than the fact that this is what the King calls them in his Holy Word.” 

 

“That’s it? That’s your explanation?” 

 

“It’s enough, because it’s what the King provides. He always provides enough. His Word is Truth. Do you not agree?” 

 

“Well, yes, of course, it’s all just so new to me. And I thought that when I got to heaven, I would know everything!” 

 

“You thought you would know everything? You thought you would be God?  Only God knows everything; you have much to learn!” 

 

“Yes, I apparently do. I just didn’t know I would be learning in heaven.” 

 

“Don’t be surprised.  Heaven would be awfully dull and boring for you if you had nothing to learn, wouldn’t it?” 

 

 



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