|author||Dr. Paul Enns|
|genre||Christian Theology, Christian Life|
The author tells of losing his beloved wife, Helen, and how his grief led him to study the bible to answer the questions his grief inspired: would he see her again, what does the Bible say about heaven and the afterlife?
Chapter 1: What is the Meaning of Heaven?
The author asserts that heaven is a specific place of beauty and tranquility, where God dwells, (p. 19) and cites numerous passages from the Bible that discuss the nature of heaven. He introduces the theological idea of “the new Jerusalem,” which he asserts is a literal place. (p. 24 ff.)
Chapter 2: What is the Transition to Heaven?
The author asserts that upon death, a person’s body goes into the grave but their spirit continues to exist and goes straight to heaven. According to the author, this happens only to those who believe in Jesus (p. 35). The author writes that angels will escort believers into the presence of God when they die (p. 39).
Chapter 3: Where is Heaven?
The author contends that heaven is nearby, but in another realm (p. 49). He asserts that the bible tells true stories about people peering into heaven from earth.
Chapter 4: What is the Kingdom Christ Promised?
The author contends that Christ will return someday to inaugurate an earthly, eternal kingdom. The author writes that Christians will “rule with Him as vice regents in His kingdom.” (p. 64)
Chapter 5: What Kind of Body Will We Have?
According to the author, believers will be given new, perfect, beautiful bodies in heaven. They will be recognizable as themselves, but improved and eternally in their prime. He asserts that all sickness, pain and imperfections will be gone in heaven, and people will be both physical and spiritual beings.
Chapter 6: What is the relationship to the Millennium to Heaven?
The author writes about the Millennium, a future 1000-year reign of Jesus on earth. According to the author, God will recreate a perfect earth, where Christ will rule during the Millennium and into eternity. (p. 86)
Chapter 7: What and When is the New Heaven and the New Earth?
The author writes that someday in the future, the earth will be “cleansed by fire,” (p. 95), after which we will live on a “restored earth.” (p. 94) The earth will be renovated when Christ returns, the author asserts, before the Millennium.
Chapter 8: What Will Heaven and the New Earth Look Like?
According to the author, the New Earth will be like Eden, unspoiled and lush. The author offers a literal interpretation of Isaiah 11 (“the lion will lie down with the lamb”) and asserts that in the New Earth, animals will be tame and not hurt people or each other.
Chapter 9: What Will Life Be Like in Heaven?
The author writes that “heaven will consist of constant, unending joy and happiness.” (p. 122) We will be active, enjoy banquets. In heaven, the author asserts, we will no longer cry, feel sad or face death. (p. 129)
Chapter 10: What is the Continuity Between This Life and Life in Heaven?
According to the author, our personalities and relationships will continue in heaven, where we will live with glorified bodies. He writes that people will retain their memories of life on earth and continue to serve God in some way.
Chapter 11: What Will We Do in Heaven?
The author writes that in heaven we will worship, reign and rule. The author interprets Isaiah 61:4 literally and writes that some people will be assigned the job of rebuilding cities on the new earth. He also asserts that some will perhaps compose or perform music.
Chapter 12: What Will Our Relationships with Others Be Like?
According to the author, those in heaven will remember one another and continue the relationships they began on earth, but those relationships will be improved, healed and perfected in heaven.
Chapter 13: What Will our Relationship with God Be Like?
The author contends that in heaven we will see and know God, that we will comprehend him in a way we cannot in this life. Further, he writes, we will become like Christ, while experiencing an unprecedented closeness with God.
Conclusion: How Then Should We Live?
According to the author, if we focus on heaven during this life, we will live as we should on earth, avoiding the traps of materialism and worry.