Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heaven : Part 3 - Heaven's Occupants

Part 3 - HEAVEN

Heaven’s Occupants

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |


Who is in heaven right now, and who isn’t?

We’ve talked about where heaven is, and what it looks like.

We have also talked about the difference between heaven and the thousand year reign of Christ, and that there is going to be a NEW heaven.

Today we are going to look at who is in heaven right now and who isn’t.

We have already established that God is in heaven, though He is by no means limited (or confined) to one place.

We have also read scripture which tells us that Jesus is there, seated at the right hand of God to make intercessions for believers.

Last week we also talked about the cherubim and seraphim that are worshipping and praising God continually around the throne.

But we haven’t talked about a few others that are there.


II Corinthians 5:1-10 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

a. When believers are absent from their bodies, they are at home with Christ, whom we know currently sits at the right hand of God in the third heaven.

b. Revelation 14:13 13Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

c. All those who die in the Lord (saved by His blood, and have accepted His covenant) are in heaven right now. As the scripture says in Revelation, they are resting, they are blessed, they are happy.

They are awaiting the glorious first resurrection... (The rapture) When the dead in Christ (Those who died belonging to Him and waiting in heaven) will be raised incorruptible and the saints who are still living will be changed and caught up in glorified bodies to meet Jesus in the air, to dwell with Him forever.

There will be no more sorrow, no more heartache, no more disappointments, no farewells, no more pain, and no more death.

There will just be one eternal day of peace and joy in the presence of Jesus and all of the redeemed.


a. Hebrews 12:21-24 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."

22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

b. Angels are messengers of heaven. Angels leave paradise to come to earth on special missions. And although there has been a wall put up between our world and the spiritual that prevent us from seeing these angels, the Word of God makes it clear that they are here on earth from heaven.

c. Psalm 34:7 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

d. Angels are sent forth to earth to minister to those who are born again. Hebrews 1:14 14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

e. We see in the scriptures numerous examples of the Angels bringing messages to earth.

i. Genesis 21:17 to encourage Hagar

ii. Genesis 18 to tell Abraham we would have Isaac

iii. Genesis 19 they visited Lot

iv. Galatians 3:19 Paul tells us it was angels that put the law into Moses’ hand on Mount Sinai

There are dozens of more examples through the scriptures, in Old and New Testaments showing messages from God being brought to earth by angels from heaven.


We know that not all are going to this beautiful place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us.

Not everyone will spend eternity in bliss and perfect peace with Jesus.

In Thomas Gray's poem, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742):

He says; "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

Ignorance is bliss...but there is coming a day when all will have understanding.

I Corinthians 13:11-12

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

There are some who insist on living childishly, thinking that they will be exempt from the disciplines and judgments of God if they somehow claim ignorance to what God has commanded them.

When the scripture say, “Be like a child”, they refer to a perfect trust in the Father, not behaving in an immature manner, trying to remain ignorant of the truth and responsibility of scripture.

When you stand before the Lord on judgment day, there will be no excuse.

James 1:22 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Have you deceived yourself?

Have you tried to remain ignorant of God’s Word in hopes of bypassing the coming judgment?

II Corinthians 5:10

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

You may fool some of the people on earth, especially those who are not walking in the Spirit, and you may fool yourself, the scripture says you can, but you are not fooling God.

Matthew 10:32-33

32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Jesus sitting at the right hand of God as an intercessor for us, acknowledging us, or disowning us to God.

Do you acknowledge Jesus?

Admit, recognize, and accept?

How about concede, allow or grant?

Acknowledging is more than saying, “Yeah, there’s a Jesus”

James 2:19-20

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

James tells us, here is you evidence that believing without acting is useless...even the demons believe.

Or, maybe you have disowned Jesus?

You may say, “I would never!”

That is the same thing Peter said to Jesus, just before he disowned him three times.

Disown can be better described as “turning your back on”.

How do you turn your back on Jesus?

One way is to live in sin.

Are you living with a sin right now that you know is sin, yet you continue to live in it?

The scriptures tell us you cannot serve two masters.

So, are you a slave to sin, or a slave to Christ?

You cannot be both.

Revelation 21:7-8

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

These, will not be in heaven saith the Lord.

Revelation 21:27

27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Regardless of how “good” a person is, or how “good” their intensions, regardless of how high their moral standards are, regardless of how honest they were, if your name is not written in the Lambs Book of Life you will not be entering into the beautiful place that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who belong to Him.

The place He is preparing for those He is coming back for.

Those who have made Him first in their lives, acknowledging Him to others, submitting to everything He has commanded, having their names in His Book of Life.


You too can have your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, simply be confessing that you are a sinner, and you need Jesus to be your Lord.

Then repent of that sin, and submit to God’s Word, and Jesus will change you from the inside out, and you will have a claim in the coming Kingdom.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heaven : Part 2 - What is in Heaven?

Part 2 - HEAVEN

What is IN Heaven?

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |


What is in Heaven?

Streets of gold? Pearly gates? Dead loved ones?

What do you expect to see when you get to heaven?


John 14:1-3

1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

That “way” Jesus tells us is in verse 6...

6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus, after His sacrificial death, went to Heaven, and is preparing a place for us.

This is foreshadowed in the traditional Jewish wedding.

After the marriage contract was made (Last Supper where Jesus shared the New Covenant through His sacrifice, and sealed in wine)

The groom (Jesus) would go and prepare a place for the bride (Body of Christ).

The bride would not know when the groom would return, but after the father (God) approved the place the groom (Jesus) had made for his bride (Body of Christ), he would return for her.

Traditionally, the groom (Jesus) would arrive at night on an unannounced day to surprise the bride (Body of Christ). (The Rapture)

Not knowing when the groom would come for her, she was always ready to leave with him.

Then for 7 days, they would feast...this represents the seven years of tribulation on earth while we are in heaven feasting with the Lord after the rapture.

After the seven days of feasting, the groom would bring his bride out, fully adorned with jewels and fine linens.

This represents Jesus at His second coming, returning to earth with His bride, the Body of Christ, fully adorned in our new fine linens (New everlasting bodies, which are perfect) and adorned with our crowns which we received from the Lord.

The question today, what is in Heaven right now?


a. The Lord is on His throne

Although there are many things we do not know about heaven, many things we cannot understand in this life, some things are revealed to us, and these we learn from the scripture alone.

Psalm 11:4

4 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.

Isaiah 66:1

1 This is what the LORD says:
"Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?

b. He sits at the right hand of God

Hebrews 1

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
"You are my Son;
today I have become your Father
[a]"[b]? Or again,
"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son"
[c]? 6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
"Let all God's angels worship him."
[d] 7In speaking of the angels he says,
"He makes his angels winds,
his servants flames of fire."
[e] 8But about the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy."
[f] 10He also says,
"In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
11They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
12You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end."
[g] 13To which of the angels did God ever say,
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet"
[h]? 14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

c. His throne is in Heaven

Revelation 4 - A picture of the Throne of God

1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven (Third Heaven beyond Space). And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, (Third Heaven is for Spiritual Beings, God is a Spirit and therefore must be worshipped in the Spirit John 4:24) and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian (Red / orange quartz). A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders (12 represent the tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, and 12 represent the Apostles from the New testament). They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God (The first is that the seven spirits of God are symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Bible, and especially the Book of Revelation, uses the number seven to refer to perfection and completion. If that is the meaning of the seven in the "seven spirits" then it is not referring to seven different spirits of God, but rather the perfect and complete Holy Spirit.). 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion (Represents Christ as a king), the second was like an ox (Represents Christ as a servant), the third had a face like a man (Represents Christ as a man), the fourth was like a flying eagle (Represents Christ as the Spirit of God). 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around (Sees all things and can go anywhere), even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

This is the Throne of God!

This throne is located in the Temple in heaven.


a. Gods throne is in His Temple

Revelation 11:19 - SLIDE

19Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.

If anyone ever asks you where the Ark of the Covenant is, it’s in heaven...Revelation says so.

b. His Temple is in Heaven and in His temple the Throne of God

Next week we will look at “who” is in heaven.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Heaven : Part 1 - Biblically Defined

Part 1 - HEAVEN

Biblically Defined

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |


Did you know that there is no question, whether you believe and serve the Living Lord or not, that you will live forever?

Death is not the end, but the beginning of eternity.

God created us with everlasting souls, and since our creation, we will from that point on exist forever.

Today we are starting our new sermon series on “HEAVEN”


Genesis 1:1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


a. In the beginning...heaven

i. Created His Abode then ours

1. Needed for Him to dwell in space and time with us

2. Our dimension cannot “hold” Him

1 Kings 8:27

27 "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

Acts 7:49-50 Why the third Heaven is God’s Abode?

48"However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says:
49" 'Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
50Has not my hand made all these things?'[l]

God created heaven (The third, His abode) so that His Spirit may dwell in the dimension He created for us.

How can God be everywhere?

Easily if He created “everywhere” smaller than Himself!”

ii. No mention of hell at that time of creation.

1. No need for one. (No devil, or demons, or sin)

2. God had no need for an eternal prison for wicked

b. When was hell (Sheol) created?

Sheol: Abode of departed Spirits.

God had to create a new Abode because of sin, which brought with it the need of containment of those who sin, as well as a place for those who now had to die because of sin.

Why are people confused about Sheol?

Partly because the King James Bible’s poor translations has caused confusion.

31 times in the King James “Sheol” is translated into “hell”.

31 times in the King James “Sheol” is translated into “grave”.

3 times in the King James “Sheol” is translated into “pit”.

i. Sheol was likely created after death was introduced

1. for righteous dead to go to paradise (Abrahams bosom)

2. for wicked to be imprisoned until judgment and punishment in the final abode for the wicked, “eternal lake of fire”, or Gahanna.

ii. BUT, before Sheol, was Tartarus (first created for angels)

1. Deepest abyss of Sheol

a. Revelation 9:1 & 2 it is referred to as the “Pit of the pit” and the “Pit of the Abyss”.

b. It is the actually in the deepest bowels of the earth, beneath the Great Chasm or affixed gulf that separates Torment from Paradise in Sheol.

2. Tartarus was created for fallen angels who rebelled with Satan against God in Heaven.

2 Peter 2:4 (Lit)

4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to tartarus, putting them into chains of thick gloom, to be held for judgment;

Jude 1:6

6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

3. NOTE: Lucifer is not the name of Satan. Lucifer was used to replace the original text “O shining one” by the King James Bible. Just one of many erroneous translational errors in the King James Bible.

c. Two destinations, one choice.

Deuteronomy 20:11-30

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.


a. The third heaven

2 Corinthians 12:2 - Paul’s Experience

2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.

i. Sky

1. This is the first heaven (Hayamiyim in Hebrew)

ii. Space

1. Where celestial bodies dwell (planets & stars)

iii. Beyond Space

1. This is the first heaven (Hashamayim in Hebrew)

The third heaven (Hashamayim) is the Abode of God, where His Spirit dwells in this dimension. The first Heaven He created in Genesis 1:1.


a. Heaven is not the Millennial Earth

i. Most of the scriptures in the Old and New testaments which speak of beauty, bliss and rest of the saints, have no connection with the Third Heaven, but relate to the glories of the Millennial Kingdom here on earth.

ii. Passages concerning the time when there will be no more wars, no more tears, when there will be perfect peace and rest with the curse lifted, the earth restored, and Jesus sitting on the throne of David are NOT pictures of heaven.

1. clues that its earth: curse lifted (no curse in heaven)

2. clues: scriptures speak of earth being restored

3. clues: Jesus sitting on throne of DAVID (David did not have a throne in heaven)

iii. These scriptures describe the millennial age on earth which will last 1,000 years where we will rule beside Jesus Christ.

iv. During this time Satan will be in the pit

1. Revelation 20:1-3 1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

v. Jesus will reign on earth and the saint will reign with Him!

1. Revelation 20:5-6 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

a. The righteous are all resurrected to reign with Christ...”the rest of the dead” refers to the wicked who will be resurrected after the millennial age to be judged.

vi. We must not confuse the glories of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth with heaven itself.

1. Isaiah 11 describes the glories of heaven on Earth.

b. Heaven is not the New Jerusalem

i. Revelation 21 tells us of the glories of the New Jerusalem. The “Pearly White City” descending from God out of heaven, a city with jasper walls, gates of pearl, and a street of pure gold.

ii. THIS IS NOT GOD’S HOUSE (the third heaven is His abode)

iii. It WILL be the eternal home of the bride of Christ, the New testament Church.


John 14:1-6

1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Jesus assured His disciples that there is a final place for the saints.

“Many mansions in the Father’s House”

Jesus let them know that He was going to prepare a physical and literal place for saints to dwell. Not some mystical illusion or spiritual mirage.

This is not a condition, a sentiment or a figure of speech.

Philippians 3:20 - 21

20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Our citizenship...

Even though we are on earth right now, every born again believer is a citizen of Heaven.

We are strangers and pilgrims on earth, ambassadors of another country, and we are here on business for the King of Heaven.

Are you a citizen?