December 10: “Looking Forward to a Heaven on Earth”

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Chronicles 10
Revelation 1
Zephaniah 2
Luke 24

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Luke 24:39-40 (CSB): “ ‘Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

When I read of Jesus’ encounter with His disciples in Luke 24, I get excited. Really excited!

Why?

Because it tells me that Heaven is a very “real” place. When I say “real,” I mean tangible, physical, a place that is very similar to what we are experiencing on earth.

Let me explain…

When I was a child, I thought that Heaven was just above the clouds. It seemed to me that Heaven was a place where we floated around as spirits for the rest of eternity.

Honestly, that thought was appalling to me, even as a child. I didn’t want to float around in the clouds. I liked being on earth.

And, as I grew older and thought more about it, I didn’t want to be a spirit without a body, either. My body allows me to taste food, and smell flowers, and hear beautiful music, and hug those that I love. A spirit can’t do those things. I wanted a body in Heaven … but … I wanted a Heaven that was sort of like the earth I was enjoying.

As I spent much time in my Bible, I came to a very keen awareness that my fears about Heaven were unfounded. Heaven was much different than I had thought. It was going to be a very real place where we have bodies and walk on earth.

If what I have just said seems strange to you, keep reading. My personal opinions are of no consequence so I will take you straight to Scripture. Here we go…

Luke 24 tells us of the events that happened on the Sunday that Jesus rose from the dead. As the disciples were swapping stories about what people had seen and heard that morning, and as the disciples who saw Jesus on the road to Emmaus told of their encounter, we read of the following incident…

Luke 24:36 (CSB): “As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ “

The disciples were talking and all of a sudden, Jesus appeared “in their midst.” And He said, in today’s vernacular, “Hello, everyone!” Or, if you’re from the south, He would have said, “Hey, ya’ll!”

Luke 24:37 (CSB): “But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.”

Verse 37 tells us that they saw Jesus but thought that he was a ghost, a disembodied spirit.

Essentially, what they thought of Jesus is exactly what I thought that I was going to be like in Heaven. A ghost. A disembodied spirit.

But, I don’t want to only have a spirit. I want a body, too!

Well, the next few verses are incredibly revealing! Jesus had a post-resurrection BODY!

Luke 24:38-43 (CSB): ‘Why are you troubled?’ he asked them. ‘And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet. But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.”

After Jesus’ resurrection, He had a body!

He could be seen.

He could be touched.

He could eat.

He had flesh and bones.

It was remarkably similar to the body He had before He was crucified … and that we all have right now.

But, there’s something remarkable that you may have never noticed before … He took this body to Heaven with Him!

Luke 24:50-51 (CSB): “Then he led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. And while he was blessing them, he left them and was carried up into heaven.”

Jesus’s resurrection body, that has flesh and bones, that can be seen and touched and can eat a fish dinner … He took that body to Heaven!

Friend, my desire for a physical body for eternity was a biblical desire. I observed that Jesus had a physical body after His resurrection and He took it to Heaven with Him.

Then, I discovered that the Apostle Paul also found the thought of being a disembodied spirit appalling, too. Listen as he uses the language of “tent,” “building,” “dwelling,” and “clothed” to speak of the earthly and heavenly body. He also refers to “naked” which speaks of a disembodied spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4 (CSB): “For we know that if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands. Indeed, we groan in this tent, desiring to put on our heavenly dwelling, since, when we have taken it off, we will not be found naked. Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”

This is the message of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. The Apostle Paul talked about the resurrection of our physical bodies. He said that our physical, mortal, corruptible bodies would be changed into a physical, immortal, incorruptible body that we would enjoy for the rest of eternity.

We are going to have physical bodies in Heaven!

Friend, we were made for planet earth. God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and we continue to be made of dust. When someone dies, their body will eventually go back to dust. Our bodies are directly tied to planet earth.

In fact, I think this is the reason that God told Moses to ” … ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground’” (Exodus 3:5). In the presence of Almighty God, the Lord wanted Moses to demonstrate humility by having his dusty feet touch the dusty earth, a clear reminder that he was nothing but dust. But, this truth would have made God’s grace and presence all the more glorious to Moses. The God of all Creation loved and wanted to enjoy a relationship with a man made of dirt!

Friend, we are people made for planet earth, not for someplace “out there.” We have much more in common with planet earth than some “spiritual” place that many people often associate with Heaven.

Honestly, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Heaven and earth could converge so that we could enjoy a physical, tangible, “real” Heaven on Earth forever and ever?

Well, my friend, that is exactly what is going to happen!

Revelation 21:1-2 (CSB): “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.”

Conclusion

If this topic intrigues you and creates within you a desire to learn more about your Heavenly home, then read your Bible. It has a wealth of information about our future home. God wants us to know about the place that the saved will inhabit one day.

But, let me end with two suggestions:

First, refuse to get any of your theology from books or movies that tell the story of someone who supposedly went to Heaven and then came back to tell us about it. I believe those books and movies do much more harm than good. You can read some of my thoughts by clicking on the following links:

Second and finally, if you want to do a serious, Bible-based study on what Heaven is like, I would encourage you to consider reading Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven.” It is by far the most insightful, substantive, and biblical book I have found on the subject. You will find your mind enlivened by a growing biblical knowledge of Heaven and you will find your heart looking forward to being there one day.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, thank You so much that my experience in my Heavenly home one day will be so much better than my current experience, yet remarkably similar in many ways. I look forward to being in a real body on a real earth where neither sin nor its consequences will ever be experienced again. Honestly, I most crave the happiness my heart will feel as I get to know You and enjoy You in a wonderful relationship. Please help me to be faithful while I’m still on earth. But also help me to be hopeful as I look to my future Heaven on Earth. I pray this in Your Name. Amen.

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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