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Section 9B .. The Future

 

003white   Index to Section 9B... The Future         >        Index To Heaven       >       Heaven: Time and Space

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What And Where is “Heaven”?..
Part VI... Will There Be Time and Space In The New Earth?

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

Index To All Six Sections

Part I... Defining "Heaven" as The Promised Kingdom of God

  Part II... The Location and Nature of Heaven... The Promises and The Prophecies

Part III ... Jesus' Second Coming and The Resurrection of The Body

 Part IV... A New Heaven and A New Earth

Part IV B... No More Sea?

Part V... What The Bible Says About The Resurrected Body

You Are Here 001orange Part VI... Will There Be Time and Space In The New Earth?

 Part VII... The Bema or Judgment seat of Christ, and Rewards in Heaven
 

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Time
For whatever reason, all to many Christian authors and theologians maintain that time will cease to exist once this world comes to an end. In some cases time has even been connected to a "fallen world", which doesn't make a whit of sense considering that time predated sin.  Long before man was, we are told that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh... Time. In fact, the fifth verse of the first book of the Bible tells us that "God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day" [Genesis 1:5 NASB]. Additionally, before the fall, Adam and Eve existed in time in what was then, a perfect world... the Lord walked in the garden in the cool of the day, which means the sun rose and set.

One finds much evidence in the Bible for the existence of time both in the current Heaven (where God now dwells) and in the new earth to come. For example God told us, through the prophet Isaiah

    "For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "So your offspring and your name will endure. "And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from Sabbath to Sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD. [Isaiah 66:22-23 NASB]

Sabbaths and new moons cannot exist without time. Nor can day and night, half hours, and months.

    God's people who come through the tribulation "serve Him day and night in His temple..." [Revelation 7:15]

    When the Lamb breaks the seventh seal, there will be silence in heaven for about half an hour. [Revelation 8:1]

    The tree of life which will bear twelve kinds of fruit, will yield its fruit every month; [Revelation 22:2]

The martyrs in heaven are told to "wait a little longer" when they ask "how long" before they would be avenged. Neither expression could be used unless there was time.

    When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. [Revelation 6:9-11 NASB]

John heard people singing in heaven. Songs which have a beginning, a middle, and an end, can only take place in time

    And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,  "Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! [Revelation 15:2-3 NASB]


Space

Many believe that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit body, rather than a physical one, based on the fact that the Gospel of John tells us that He miraculously appeared in a locked room where the disciples were hiding "for fear of the Jews". [John 20:19]. It is usually assumed that Jesus, as a spirit, simply walked right through the door or a wall which has, apparently, struck quite a chord with some believers who think that, one day, they will be able to do the same.

What we are also forgetting that the Spirit of God can transport a person from one place to another, and they don't have to walk through solid objects to get there. Take, for example, the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. The highly ranked Ethiopian, who was in charge of all the queen's treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship and, on his way back, was sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah. (Act 8:28). After Philip preached the Gospel to this powerful official, he asked to be baptized, which Philip did. We are then told

    When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea. [Acts 8:39-40 NASB]

Philip was no spirit, and neither did he walk to Azotus. He simply found himself there. Since God's power can instantly transport a person from one spot to another, Jesus' sudden appearing in a locked room doesn't prove he was resurrected a spirit. On the contrary, when He appeared to His disciples (Luke 24), they were "startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit: (Vs.37). In order to reassure them that they were not seeing a ghost, He told them...

    When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea. [Acts 8:39-40 NASB]

    "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. [Luke 24:39-40 NASB]

He went out of His way to show them that He was no spirit. And, just as a by the way, Jesus mentioning "flesh and bones" does not mean he did not have blood, as I have heard. Flesh and bones are the two most tangible, solid parts of the body, and the most 'unspirit like' as it gets. He was making a point.

Jesus then asked them if they had anything to eat, and when they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, "took it and ate it before them" (vs. 41-43). Later on when Thomas, who was not among the other disciples when this incident happened, refused to believe what he was told. He stated that unless he saw and touched the nail marks in Jesus' hands and put his hand into Jesus' side, he would not believe. Eight days later Jesus again appeared in the room where they were, and told Thomas to "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." [John 20:24-29]

Only a physical body can eat, and be touched, which provides a very convincing argument in favor of us living in physical bodies, in a physical universe, after the resurrection.

And why not? There is no evidence that God ever intended for us to do otherwise.

In any case, when Jesus left the disciples on one occasion after His resurrection, the Bible tells us that He was simply not there any more. In the verses below, the word translated "vanish" is the Greek aphantos, which is only used this once in the New Testament. Aphantos comes from phaino (to be seen or appear), and is, I believe, the root of our English word "phantom". Therefore aphantos, simply means to become unseen.

    When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished (Gk. aphantos) from their sight. [Luke 24:30-31 NASB]

We are also forgetting that the so called "laws of nature" were invented and set up by God, but He is not bound by them. Jesus did quite a few interesting things even before the resurrection, like walking on water. And yes, I know that various things float, but the vertical human body does not.

Besides which

    In the heavenly realms, even angels, whom we think of as disembodied spirits, can be hindered in space and time due to combat with fallen angels (Daniel 10:13). In other words, they can be delayed (time) from arriving at a particular destination (space).

    People imagine they're making Heaven sound wondrous when they say there's no space and time there. (If it doesn't have space, it's not even a "there.") In fact, they make Heaven sound utterly alien and unappealing. We don't want to live in a realm - in fact, it couldn't even be a realm - that's devoid of space and time any more than a fish wants to live in a realm without water. If fish could think, try telling one, "When you die, you'll go to fish Heaven and - isn't this great? - there will be no water! You won't have fins, and you won't swim. And you won't eat because you won't need food. I'll bet you can't wait to get there!"  [18]

In our modern world time often brings stress, especially since we are so aware of how little of it we have. In the world to come, time will not be an enemy,

    The passing of time will no longer threaten us. It will bring new adventures without a sense of loss, of what must end... Time will no longer be an hourglass in which the sands of time go from a limited past to a limited future. Our future will be unlimited. We'll no longer have to "number our days" (Psalm 90:12) or redeem the time, for time won't be a diminishing resource about to end. [19]

Perhaps the final question is whether eternal life on the new earth will be the only reward that believers will receive.

The answer is a resounding no!

Continue On To Part VII... The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ and Rewards in Heaven HERE


Endnotes
[18] Randy Alcorn. Excerpt from Randy Alcorn’s book "Heaven" (Tyndale House, 2004): Will there be space and time in the eternal Heaven? Chapter 26. http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Feb/3/will-there-be-space-and-time-eternal-heaven/

[19] ibid.

 

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