Showing posts with label Heaven. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heaven. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heaven's enemy


Heaven, the Abode of God has taken at least couple of different forms. One was the Heaven we read in Genesis - that place where God was surrounded by ALL those angels which He created. Now, the subject of Angels is a fascinating one; one that is rarely spoken in Christian circles - thereby leaving us with a gaping void about these heavenly creatures.

The other heaven is where God resides now. The future heaven will be when He comes and lives with us.

Most of us do not know this, but we are not supposed to worship Angels. Just like humans, angels worship and serve God (Isaiah 6:2-3; Revelation 22:8-9). In ancient times, angels were able to take on the form of humans as they delivered messages for Him

Angels were mostly created on the first day. Job 38:1-7 indicate that angels were present as eyewitnesses during the creation of our Universe.

All these angels are believed to be present in the Garden of Eden even after Adam and Eve were created. Bible speaks of those angels. God designated Lucifer as the "Angel of Worship." He was assigned to dwell in the awesome presence of a perfect and holy God. To fulfill this task, Lucifer had to be perfect too, and he was one step above the rest of the angels, both in appearance and wisdom - He was an Archangel.

Ezekiel 28:13-15 You were in Eden,
    the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
    carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
    topaz, onyx and jasper,
    lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
    on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
    for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
    you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created
    till wickedness was found in you.

Due to pride, Lucifer sought prominence, and wanted to be worshiped just like God. However, God did not like this idea and therefore stripped him of his beauty, position and rights to heaven. Recall that Satan was desperate and asked Jesus to worship him.
Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”
Then one day, Archangel Lucifer was thrown out of the heaven. In an effort to weaken God's powers, he did his best to take as many angels with him to form a coalition against God. He wanted all those angels to worship him. Hundreds, or even thousands of angels were confused - without having the slightest idea of whether to stick around with God, or to follow the ousted Lucifer. Majority of them, due to the fear of Lucifer hurting them left God's presence. All those who left are termed demons.

Lucifer hated three things - God, God's creatures and God's abode - heaven. After being expelled by heaven, his next aim was to turn God's creation against him. That's when he took the form of a serpent and arrived near Eve. He succeeded in his mission. The human race had fallen. Lucifer introduced sin and even death into the world. He did not stop there - rather he started spreading the lie about heaven to those fallen people and has succeeded quite a bit on that level as well. Being the prince of deception, he does his best in  robbing the joy of heaven from the minds of ordinary people. He prevents us from seeing God's heaven, and works hard towards getting it off our spiritual radar. The chief lie he promotes among us is that, "there is no life beyond earth - death is the end. Hence love those things of this life and party as much as you can, while on earth."

One would think Lucifer - aka Satan, would be called a a prince of darkness. However in the Bible, he is called as and angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Listen to this carefully - Satan tries to put on a nice, harmless disguise and appears as the one standing up for good (rather than evil). He tried to be that "Mr. Nice Guy" by offering to feed Jesus while he was hungry in the desert.

The very same Satan is capable of appearing in front of us, disguised as God, or even Jesus. Isn't that a spine chilling, hair raising thought? How would we be able to identify Satan at that instant, as we could hardly tell the real Jesus from real Satan. I've been meditating on this question for several weeks now, and think I have the answer.

When God created everything, including those angels, Lady Wisdom was God's companion, standing beside our Lord.
Proverbs 3:19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
Proverbs 8:22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
Only with the help of wisdom, we can tell the difference between Lucifer and Jesus. Jesus was filled with wisdom and hence could tell that he was not being offered food, rather was being tempted and tested by Satan.

A word of caution - we are not strong enough to resist or withstand Satan. Never be deceived into believing that we can out-think, out-wit, out-subtle, or spiritually overcome Satan by ourselves. His powers and "wisdom" will put us to shame. Jesus Christ is the only one who has defeated Satan, and Jesus will come to our rescue when we ask him at times of need. Lady Wisdom will enable us to see that we are facing our diabolic enemy, when we truly are.

Get wisdom, get understanding - let your eyes be opened, and may you be able to see God's "Road-map for Heaven."


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Heavenly Kiss


You flew to me from beyond the clouds
Sent to soothe my troubled heart
I felt the warmth of your kiss on my forehead 
In that moment my sadness blew away

Sent to soothe my troubled heart
You looked deep within my very soul
In that moment my sadness blew away
With your help I escaped the gray

You looked deep within my very soul
A breath of light into the darkness
With your help I escaped the gray
Your angel eyes looked into mine

A breath of light into the darkness
So much comfort yet no words spoken
Your angel eyes looked into mine
For me a glimpse of heaven's glory

So much comfort yet no words spoken
I felt the warmth of your kiss on my forehead
For me a glimpse of heaven's glory
You flew to me from beyond the clouds




~Anonymous
Image Credits: Esstera

Friday, July 18, 2014

The two pillowcases


1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Once upon a time, a  stingy old miser was seriously ill. One day he happened to hear a sermon related to the topic, "You can't take it with you." The old man, though bed ridden, was determined to prove wrong the old saying. He told his wife to go down to the bank and withdraw enough money to fill two pillowcases, which she did. Then he made necessary arrangements and calculations to ensure those pillowcases were placed in the attic, directly over his bed. His plan was by secretly stashing the bags directly over his bed in the attic, as soon as he died, his soul would grab those two pillowcases on it's way up to heaven.

One day the old fellow died. A few months after the funeral, his wife was up cleaning the attic, and stumbled across those two hidden pillowcases. She stopped her chores and sat there wondering how come he left these two pillowcases after all that elaborate planning.

It didn't take long for the wife to figure out what exactly happened. Excited with the new found wealth, she muttered to herself, “That old fool. His plan might have worked if he had put them in the basement!”


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Song of the Mystic


I walk down the Valley of Silence --
Down the dim, voiceless valley -- alone!
And I hear not the fall of a footstep
Around me, save God's and my own;
And the hush of my heart is as holy
As hovers where angels have flown!

Long ago was I weary of voices
Whose music my heart could not win;
Long ago was I weary of noises
That fretted my soul with their din;
Long ago was I weary of places
Where I met but the human -- and sin.

I walked in the world with the worldly;
I craved what the world never gave;
And I said: "In the world each Ideal,
That shines like a star on life's wave,
Is wrecked on the shores of the Real.
And sleeps like a dream in a grave."

And still did I pine for the Perfect,
And still found the False with the True.
I sought 'mid the Human for Heaven,
But caught a mere glimpse of its Blue:
And I wept when the clouds of the Mortal
Veiled even that glimpse from my view.

And I toiled on, heart-tired, of the Human,
And I moaned 'mid the mazes of men,
Till I knelt, long ago, at an altar
And I heard a voice call me. Since then
I walk down the Valley of Silence
That lies far beyond mortal ken.

Do you ask what I found in the Valley?
'Tis my Trysting Place with the Divine.
And I fell at the feet of the Holy,
And above me a voice said: "Be mine."
And there arose from the depths of my spirit.
An echo -- "My heart shall be Thine."

Do you ask how I live in the Valley?
I weep -- and I dream -- and I pray.
But my tears are as sweet as the dewdrops
That fall on the roses in May;
And my prayer, like a perfume from censers,
Ascendeth to God night and day.

In the hush of the Valley of Silence
I dream all the songs that I sing;
And the music floats down the dim Valley,
Till each finds a word for a wing,
That to hearts, like the Dove of the Deluge,
A message of Peace they may bring.

But far on the deep there are billows
That never shall break on the beach;
And I have heard songs in the Silence
That never shall float into speech;
And I have had dreams in the Valley
Too lofty for language to reach.

And I have seen Thoughts in the Valley --
Ah! me, how my spirit was stirred!
And they wear holy veils on their faces,
Their footsteps can scarcely be heard;
They pass through the Valley like virgins,
Too pure for the touch of a word!

Do you ask me the place of the Valley,
Ye hearts that are harrowed by Care?
It lieth afar between mountains,
And God and His angels are there:
And one is the dark mount of Sorrow, 
And one the bright mountain of Prayer.



Credits - Father Abram J. Ryan

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our Pets in Heaven


Our pets become part of our family and we love them. Ever wondered what happens to those pets we currently have or had in the past, when we arrive at heaven? Whether our pets get to heaven along with us is a poignant thought pet lovers have.

The Bible does not speak specifically on this subject, but if you pays close attention, you will find few points. This is mainly because the Bible is aimed towards the well being of human beings - the crown jewel of God's creation.

Going back to Genesis, we learn about God creating all those birds, animals and sea creatures for His glory and pleasure. Coming to think about it, there are numerous birds, animals and fishes which we have not yet seen with our eyes - but they do exist out there. In the garden of Eden, man co-existed with animals, and it was man's sin which pushed even animals out of the Eden.

When you get closer to God and try to understand Him, you'll learn one thing - He is a fabulous creator, and not a destroyer. God is the best architect and engineer - His creations proclaim the works of His hand.
Romans 11:33-36 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?
And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
When some of us occasionally get angry, in that fury we tend to destroy certain things around us. Others get this sudden urge to act on impulse without thinking much. They do whatever comes into the head at that particular moment - good or bad, as long as it does not hurt anyone. However, the nature of God is that He seldom gets angry to that point of destroying things around Him. Nor does He act on impulse. Sure, He rarely gets angry and His anger cannot be compared to our anger. His anger is righteous anger, which is caused because there is some sort of violation to His character.

At one point God decided to destroy every human being on earth, except Noah's family. During the progressive course of events, He made sure those animals He created were not affected by His wrath. For this reason, He asked Noah to build a huge Ark. The big lesson we learn from Noah's story is that God keeps track of each and every animal and takes wonderful care of them.

Fast forward few thousand years until we arrive at the story of Jonah. Jonah was disappointed and upset that God did not destroy Nineveh as they already repented after hearing Jonah's preaching. We also read that Jonah waiting upon a hill to see how the destruction would come upon them. Jonah was angry at God for accepting their repentance and deciding to forgive them. Here, we read that one reason why God did not want to destroy the city of Nineveh was because of His love towards the animals in Nineveh.
Jonah 4:11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left - and also many animals?”
Recall that animals also suffered as a result of human sin. They were happily enjoying the fruits of Eden Garden once upon a time. It's not just we humans who praise the Lord - every single creature worships it's creator. Likewise, Our Lord remembers every one of them. Below is a quote from Luke, where Jesus mentions about sparrows being used in the temple.
Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
When we take pets into our homes, we are in a way acting like God by providing them food and shelter. Though it sounds simple, taking care of pets is a huge task as they require food, water and also crave for our attention all the time.

Bible speaks about few animals in heaven - lion, calf, eagle etc,. As heaven is specially tailored and destined to be a place meant to enjoy life with God forever, let us have faith in that Master Architect. He certainly will make Heaven a wonderful place where every citizen can "Party with God" to our fullest extend, forever and ever, without becoming tired.

Listen to this - it is out of pure love overflowing from our hearts that we desire our dearest and loved ones to be along with us in heaven during that "everlasting life". This is the very reason pet lovers are concerned whether their pets will be along with them in heaven. As God is the source of love, He wants to see everyone growing in love and He nourishes the presence of love. His goal is to together keep all those who love each other - simply because He is that Love.




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

About Rapture

While browsing CNN headlines yesterday, I came across an article, "Even Jesus wouldn't buy 'the rapture'. Just reading the headline I wondered, "How many of our Christian friends really know about this concept of rapture?"


Everyone is scared of death and at least some of us have attempted or at least thought about how to avoid this terror. Listen to what King David had to say about terrors of death when his son Absalom rebelled and dealt treacherously towards him:
Psalm 55:4-5 My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
  Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.
On top of this natural fear, like a mantra, we have heard our parents and grandparents recite the golden rule about death, over and over, "All those who are born have to die one day." Learning that death is inevitable does not make us feel any better; rather increases our fear many-fold.

The mantra we heard is not mathematically 100% accurate and certainly has exceptions. We read in Genesis 5:24 that Enoch walked with God and was taken to heaven directly. Another Old Testament superstar, Prophet Elijah, was caught up to heaven in a fiery chariot, as documented by 2 Kings 2:11. These two individuals did not taste death during their lifetime and therefore the general statement about death does not constitute a mathematical 100%, rather puts it in the vicinity of - say, 99.9999999999%.

I can almost visualize your face and your head nodding in disapproval about the mathematical calculation involving Enoch and Elijah, while supporting the general rule about death. Let me now draw your attention to another passage in the scripture. This time it is from the writings of St. Paul, where he speaks about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Here, we are told by Paul to stay informed, rather than ignorant or uninformed. We are told not to grieve, but to have hope that Jesus will come and wake those up, who fell asleep in him.

Pay attention to the next part, which talks about the second coming of Jesus. Three things will be evident that marks the second coming:
(a) A loud command,
(b) Call of the archangel,
(c) A large trumpet call of God which will be heard so that everyone alive is alerted.

Our beloved ones - our family and friends who passed away ahead of us will not miss out on this great event. They will be awaken first to witness the second coming of Jesus. Suppose it takes place during our lifetime, we can meet our beloved ones who passed away, once again on this earth.

Next, those who are still alive will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. It means, those who are alive at that moment will not taste death, but will be given "new bodies" to suit their heavenly life. They will be transformed to their new bodies without actually experiencing death.

This future event, during the second coming of Jesus Christ, where those who are still alive will be caught up to heaven without tasting death is termed 'Rapture'.

Anyone scanning for the term 'rapture' in the Holy Bible will not find it. Neither will we find the word 'Trinity' in the Bible. Rapture is a concept explained using the writings of St. Paul.

Here is another writing of Paul which supports the concept of rapture. Both those passages - the one above and one below, are referring to the time of the judgement - a time that is known only by Our Heavenly Father. Millions, if not Billions of people will still be alive at that time, and those who are alive at that moment will not die, rather be taken directly into the next life after receiving their 'new bodies' fit for heavenly life. All this will happen in a split second, according to Paul.
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
   “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”
Here, Paul is making us aware of a mystery - which is complex for all of us to understand, where death will be swallowed up in victory.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and Hermione find the following quote inscribed on the tombstone of Harry's parents, Lily and James, "The last enemy to be conquered is death." This statement was originally given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:26. Yes, the last enemy is death. Death originated when sin took birth. The death of death translates to the death of sin. That calls for a jubilant celebration in the Eternal Kingdom of God.

Some of us may be present at the time of this great event of rapture. For such individuals, it is going to be an awesome experience. For others who are going to taste death for certain, let me quote the wise Dumbledore, "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Death means separation

 Angel of Death
Job 14:1-2“Mortals, born of woman,
    are of few days and full of trouble.
  They spring up like flowers and wither away;
    like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
The fear of dying is a natural part of our human nature that it turns almost everyone white and trembling. Those who have tried to defy death are yet to discover a suitable place to hide. Once discovered, it would become the most expensive and sought-after real estate in the universe.

Speaking about death, most commonly we are referring to the separation of our body from the soul. In Jewish, Islamic and Sikh traditions, Archangel Azrael - the Angel of Death, separates the body and soul at the moment of death. He is described as a holy Archangel completely devoted to the service of God, who also maintains the book of life and death.

The Midrash, stories told by Jewish rabbinic sages, contain numerous interesting stories about King David and Solomon. One such story narrates the story of King David trying to prolong his life by studying Holy Scripture - will reserve that story for another time. Today we will look at a similar one, and let's gain little insight into the Jewish prayer - Shema.

The Shema is the central prayer in the Jewish prayer-book, and is often the first section of a Scripture that a Jewish child learns. Orthodox Jews cover their eyes with their right hand and recite each word of Shema carefully. Shema is recited at least twice daily - once in the morning and once in the evening.

Shema means "hear" and has three parts. The first part is taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It is also known as the prayer, "Hear, O Israel."

Shema Part I
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

Jesus grew up as a Jew reciting Shema. When He was questioned by one of those scribes about the greatest commandment, Jesus pointed towards this very Shema. We read that incident in Mark 12:28-30.
Mark 12:28-30 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Those interested can read up Shema Part II and III from Deuteronomy 11:13-29 and Numbers 15:37-41 respectively.

In Jewish tradition, it is believed that the Angel of Death will not approach one while reciting the Shema. Here is a story about a man named Meir

Once there was a town whose inhabitants were pious and had faith in God. Not one of them used to save, not even a penny, because they said, "We must eat and drink today, and as for tomorrow, we will trust in God." Therefore there was not a rich man among them.

One of the inhabitants, named Meir, was a watchman. He carried out his work diligently and wholeheartedly. But he had an evil wife, and she did not trust in God. Day and night she used to nag her husband, "Let us save money for our old age." But Meir always answered, "I trust in God, so we should not be afraid."

The woman was barren, and since they had no children, she was very concerned about their old age. "Who will sustain us tomorrow?"

"Confidence in God's power is a great thing," her husband used to say. "So do not fear."

The Almighty, blessed be he, looked on and said to the Angel of Death, "Go and fetch the soul of Meir from the town of my faithful ones, because he no longer trusts in me."

When Meir returned from work, the Angel of Death awaited him, disguised as a porter and carrying two sacks of flour. He said to Meir, "A rich man sent me with flour for the inhabitants of this town; so you distribute it, but forego your own portion:"

Meir did as he was bidden. He wept from house to house with the flour. However, the inhabitants refused to accept it saying, "Today we have food, and as for tomorrow, we trust in God."

Meir returned to the porter and related all that had happened. The porter disclosed the truth: that he was the Angel of Death and had come to take away Meir's soul because he no longer had faith in God. Meir pleaded with the angel, "Promise not to take away my soul until I have prayed the Shema prayer: `Hear, O Israel."'

The Angel of Death agreed and said, "I shall be damned if I take your soul before you have prayed the `Hear, O Israel."'

Meir began the prayer but interrupted it and said, "I shall be damned if I ever complete this prayer." The angel realized that Meir had deceived him; whereupon he disappeared.

Meir related to his wife everything that had happened. She said, "Come, let us escape from the Angel of Death to another town." And so they did.

After some time the Angel of Death disguised himself as a rich man. He went to the same town and asked if he could be a guest in Meir's home. The town notables informed him, "This Jew, Meir, is a poor fellow. There are many benevolent and rich people who would like to entertain you. Would you not prefer their hospitality?"

However, the guest would agree to stay with no one else but Meir. The couple was very pleased with the guest, who did not spare money on their account.

Whenever Meir prayed, the rich man listened to him. He noticed that every time Meir reached the prayer "Hear, O Israel," he used to skip the end, and never once did he complete it. So it went on day by day.

One morning Meir's wife entered the rich man's room to awaken him, as was her daily custom. Imagine her shock when she saw that he was dying. Hastily she went to call her husband, "Come quickly to recite `Hear, O Israel' over the dying man. Then we shall bury our guest in secret, and all his wealth will remain with us." At first Meir refused to fulfill his wife's request, but at last he gave in to her pleading and nagging.

Meir finished the Shema prayer, and the Angel of Death jumped out of his bed and seized his soul.

God is in charge of the universe and He is the One who decides the time of birth and death. No matter what we do to prolong our lives, they are futile. While it totally makes sense to diet and exercise to prolong life according to medical science, God does not seem to place much emphasis on those aspects. The Angel of Death will arrive at that appointed time, and will separate soul from the physical body.

Death does not mean cessation; it only means separation. There are at least three types of death, which we come across in the Holy Bible.

Death # 1
We read about the first death taking place in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The iniquities of Adam & Eve did not cause their physical death; instead they were separated from God.

Death # 2
The second death is our physical death - the one which we most commonly refer to, when our soul is separated from our body. Bible refers to this separation as death too.
James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
When we hear Jesus narrating the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, we are told about Lazurus' soul resting in Abraham's bosom. At death, the soul does not cease to exist, rather it only separates from the physical body and advances to the next place.

Death # 3
The most serious death Christians should be worried about is Eternal death - the everlasting, never-ending final separation from God, which at least some of us will encounter.

Those who remain in their sin and disobedience, leading wicked lives by rejecting God and the Gospel are headed towards that "Lake of Fire" which burns forever and ever. Apart from Revelation 20, which speaks about this "Lake of Fire" where the wicked endure punishment and torment, few other scriptures point in the same direction:
Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. 
Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
We cannot do anything to change those first two deaths. However, we still have a choice about facing 'eternal death' and that choice is purely ours - whether to be separated from God in eternity, or to stay with Him at His mansion forever and ever.






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The concept of Purgatory


Another term which you may have heard in conjunction with heaven, hell and afterlife could be 'purgatory'. It is a concept of the Catholic church which is not entirely based on the Holy Scripture.

According to Catholic faith, apart from heaven and hell, there is an intermediate place - for those souls who are not fully fit for heaven, nor so sinful to be destined for hell. Such souls are believed to land at this intermediate place called 'purgatory' - for the purpose of cleansing.

Catholics define purgatory as the state of those who die in God’s friendship, assured of their eternal salvation, but who still have need of purification to enter into the happiness of heaven. Souls in purgatory are unable to pray for themselves or do anything at all to relieve their suffering. Therefore, the Catholic church encourage their believers to pray for the deceased who rely on their prayers and efforts to help them (out of purgatory).

Based on what I understood, purgatory took shape using these three concepts:
(a) "Nothing impure will enter Heaven"
(b) Fire will testify
(c)  Prayer for deceased

The book of revelation speaks about no sin entering the gates of heaven - thus declaring Heaven as the transcendent dwelling-place of the living God
Revelation 21:27 Nothing 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.
 The verse that speaks about fire testifying one's quality of work is given below.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved - even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Referring to the above verse, non Catholics point out that it is the works of a person which is being tested by fire and not the person itself.

Those who argue against the notion of purgatory say that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ acquires perfect and definitive value. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so that we could be delivered from suffering. His suffering is sufficient for atonement of our sins and we don't need any further cleansing in Purgatory.

Caring for the dead and praying for them was a practice which existed in Judaism even before the time of Jesus Christ. The Catholic church encourages members to pray for their deceased by conducting Holy Eucharist on their behalf and provide alms. They teach, "Because of the communion of saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers in suffrage for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice. They also help them by almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance."

Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches disagree with this faith. According to Protestants, the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Orthodox Churches consider Purgatory an unnecessary doctrinal innovation.

After spending countless hours trying to digest the topic of purgatory, here is my conclusion:
Even if purgatory exists, let us not count that as our option.



Additional Info:
The Catholic church did not keep quiet about those remarks - especially the one which claimed 'purgatory' was not a biblical concept. They then discovered a suitable verse in one of the writings called Maccabees, which could support their concept of purgatory:
2 Maccabees 12:46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
When Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic church in 1521 AD, he took the original Bible along with him to form the Protestant churches. That is the regular Bible which we possess.

The Catholic church soon modified their Bible to make 'purgatory' a 'Biblical concept' by adding several Apocrypha books. The Council of Trent held in 1546 AD officially canonized the Apocrypha.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where we go next


Those who die disappear from our sight - but where do they go? This is a great mystery and countless people have tried to answer this. This post is viewing this age old question in light of the Holy Scripture. Further, am writing this in the simplest form without any theological jargon.

Within Christianity, there are two major divisions about what happens to the soul after death.

Evangelical Christians including Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses say the soul sleeps and remains with the body until the day of Christ's return.  Protestants and Catholics believe that the soul leaves the dead body.

This confusion is caused by taking the literal meaning of certain Biblical verses. The Bible speaks of death as "falling asleep" and even the disciples of Jesus could not understand this difference.
John 11:11-14 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”  Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,
A similar passage from the Old Testament:
1 Kings 2:10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
This belief does not have a solid base when we view other verses from the scripture. For example, if we review the words Jesus spoke on the cross, according to Luke and Matthew:
Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
Do you recall the story of Elijah resurrecting a young boy. If you pay attention to Elijah's prayer, he asked God to return the boy's soul to his body. For this particular verse, we are going to refer the Complete Jewish Bible. 
1 Kings 17:21-22 He stretched himself out on the child three times and cried out to Adonai: “Adonai my God, please! Let this child’s soul come back into him!” Adonai heard Eliyahu’s cry, the child’s soul came back into him, and he revived. 
One final example where Jesus resurrected Jarius' twelve year old girl:
Luke 8:53-55 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
Looking at all these examples, let us conclude the spirit does not remain with the body. Now, we wonder were it actually goes. 

We say it goes to heaven. But heaven has two components - a temporary heaven and an eternal heaven. Throughout our postings, we've been talking about eternal heaven. Though there is a temporary heaven, we are not mentioning about it very much. 

This past month, I visited India, and my destination was Bangalore. While sharing my trip with my friends, I told them I was going to Bangalore. My trip had two legs of travel: Philly to London, and London to B'lore. I had a layover of over 8 hours at London, till my next flight was ready to take off to my final destination. Though I was in London for 8 hours, I did not tell anyone I was going to London - it just happened to be a temporary halting place, or a transit. My original plan was to visit the British Museum rather than sit at London Heathrow - that plan did not work out as I arrived too early. Instead, I decided to go around visiting various duty free shops, comparing prices of merchandise and checked out those 'English News and Tabloids'. While strolling through the airport terminals, I had two things in mind - when my family would join me at London and when my next flight to B'lore was departing. After waiting in London for about 5 hours, I reunited with my family and got caught up on their news. Together, we boarded our next flight to B'lore. 

Our trip to heaven is also somewhat similar. We all will die and go to a wonderful temporary heaven where God and Jesus are present. Everyone will be joyful there. We all will be busy meeting family and friends at this temporary heaven. There we will meet everyone who has walked this planet, including our ancestors, saints, great monarchs, philosophers, and all our loved ones. Further, we will also be waiting for our loved ones to join us after completing their life on earth. Together, we all will be looking forward for Christ's second visit to earth. That day and time is unknown to everyone. 
Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Next will be the time of "Great White Throne Judgement." Jesus Christ will be the judge, all unbelievers will be judged by Christ, and they will be punished according to the works they have done. Both unbelievers and believers will be judged by Jesus Christ on this occasion. 
Romans 2:5-6 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
On that day of final judgement, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and each one of us will give an account to God. This was clearly mentioned by Paul in his book to Romans
Romans 14:11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Those whose names are written in the book of life, we will be rewarded, but not punished, according to our deeds. The book of Revelation tells us more about the book of life and the lake of fire. Once that process is complete, those whose names appear in the book of life will be separated from the temporary heaven to their next destination. 

God will shift His abode to the New Earth, which by virtue of His presence will become the New Heaven. Jesus will then lead all those people whose names appear in the book of life to spend eternity with God at His new mansion - the New Heaven. 



------------
This post just scratches the surface on this topic and gives a "big picture" of what is in store for all of us. 





Monday, June 23, 2014

With each other


A great majority of us are afraid of death and it happens to be a topic we tend to avoid. Regardless, we desperately miss our loved and dear ones who have entered the deep sleep ahead of us.

Jesus teaches us that our marriage is going to last only in this world. We will not have the roles of husbands and wives in heaven.
Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
This will be a huge relief for many who are waiting to have their own freedom - especially those women folks. No more cooking, washing, cleaning and taking orders from the husband. However we will have friends in heaven, who will be laughing and having fun with us.

A great number people, after hearing this will react, "Are you saying there will be no sex in heaven?" Of course, sex is one of those divine feelings which contains both physical pleasure and emotional satisfaction. The secret in deriving that heavenly pleasure during sex is that it is best enjoyed with the one we love the most. Let the topic of sex not be a turn off - we will address the topic of sex soon.

One of the most frequent questions people ask is, "Will be able to recognize each other in heaven?"

Jesus was recognized by Mary Madeline and his disciples. His disciples were even able to recognize Moses and Elijah at transfiguration though they had never seen them before. God has some mechanism to enable us to recognize those whom we have not met earlier. Bible does not suggest God wiping away human memory and formatting our brains. And that being the case, we will be able to recognize our near and dear ones.

Come on, do you really believe those who make it to heaven will be greater fools in God's house than we are on this earth?


Friday, June 20, 2014

Everlasting


Plato and Aristotle taught us that every human being crave and desire deep inside them to attain things that are infinite - Love, Goodness, Truth and Beauty. According to our Christian theology, these Infinite qualities are God Himself.

Most of us, we are unable to fathom what infinity or everlasting means. We just cannot comprehend how infinity or everlasting would be like - especially since we always use our current life on earth as our reference point. Let me make an effort to get you thinking in that direction.

Think about that last beach you visited with your family and friends. Of course you noticed those sand particles under your feet, stretching out for miles and miles. You were standing safe - away from those tides and water.

Now imagine you standing at that very same beach - this time you are all alone. Notice a beautiful blue bird flying towards that beach. It lands near you, picks up one speck of sand and flies off. One million years later, the bird returns and you recognize the same beautiful bird. She now picks up another grain of sand near your feet, from the same beach you are standing at. With the second grain of sand in her beak, she flies off for another one million years.

After several million years, you are still standing at that beach and realize what the bird is upto. She is trying to clean up the beach, one grain of sand at a time, at a rate of one million years per grain. Eventually, at some point in time, she will be successful in clearing off those entire sand particles at the beach you are standing at.

After having successfully completed her task at your favorite beach, she then has bigger plans. She moves on to clear every sand particle from every beach in the world, at the same rate of one million years per sand particle. She will be successful in her pursuit to do so - at some point in time after gazillion years.

Once the lovely little bird has cleared off every sand particle from every beach on earth, she still does not stop to take rest. As your curiosity increases, you notice the little bird now has a different plan - she is returning with a speck of sand to the beach where she started her activity, and she takes one million years to return with that second sand particle.

After gazillion million years, she would have replenished all those sand particles on all those beaches on our entire earth. At this instance if you were to check what time it was in heaven, you would notice that not even a single day has transpired in heaven all this time. There are many many uncountable heavenly years ahead of you to enjoy with the Creator!!
Isaiah 40:28 - “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.” 
Now you get an idea about everlasting?


Hey, you've been standing on that beach for so long - now come inside eat something, and get some rest.
:-)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Beatific Vision


Here is a question for today, "When were you the happiest?"

Speaking about myself - it was when I spent time with my most beloved one.

We are at our happiest when we are in the presence of our dearly beloved, when all our desires are perfectly satisfied - I mean all our desires that we can think of. In the divine scheme of things, this moment cannot occur until we are fully united with God.

Again, this complete union with God can only happen when we are in the direct presence of God in heaven. It is impossible for humans to imagine about that union even in our most deeply contemplative prayer. That moment is reserved by God to happen in heaven.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 When 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 the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a 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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
'Then' is the time when we get to heaven, and get an opportunity to meet with God face to face. Okay - hold it right there. You are about to meet God face to face, for the first time since you were created. It is a life shattering experience wherein you will be radically changed forever.

That wonderful moment is termed 'beatific vision'.

At that time of beatific vision, Moses was changed; so was Jacob. According to the Holy Scriptures, a man must perish if he looks on or even hears God. For this reason biblical superstars like Moses, Elijah, and even the seraphim cover their faces in God’s presence.

An encounter with God will leave within us an imprint of the living God - an imprint that enables us to reach out to others with Godly love and compassion because that is who God truly is. Whoever meets God face to face, will also become the face of God to others.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sneak Preview of Heaven


When Steve Jobs designed apple computers, he was keen on combining hardware and software which came from the same manufacturer for best results. This hardware/software convergence proved to be vital in making ipod a huge hit. He repeated the same winning formula for Mac, and ipad - and the rest is history.

Lord is the best artist and architect - just look around the animal kingdom and observe those variety of species He has created on land, air and water. The more you get to know Our Lord, the more you will appreciate His wisdom and sense of humor. His creations walk, swim and fly in the same medium - land, water and air which are once again His own creation. Hence they all thrive in such environment.

The heaven Lord is designing for us will contain animals of all sorts. It is going to be clad in all it's mighty splendor. It will be colorful, brilliant, beautiful and incredible. The city will be studded with precious stones and jewels for us to enjoy. When apostle John had a sneak preview of heaven, he wrote:
Revelation 21: 2-7 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 
Yes, you are God's child - go claim your place in heaven. Fight the good fight and emerge victorious.

Here - read this and may this psalm strengthen your bones and soul.

Psalm 19
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.






Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Guide to heaven


Which was the best vacation spot you've ever been to? Yes, that was a fantastic one. Heaven is going to be far superior to that one. When you moved from one place to another, you made new friends at the new place. You then tend to forget about those old ones you met on the way. Heaven is a marvelous place where all your friends, both old and new, will be present with a long lasting relationship.

In heaven, you will have the same wonderful body you now have - in it's best shape and form. The proof is that when the resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples, he let them touch and feel him. This is going to be a young vibrant, robust and healthy body which will never age. There is our reason to keep our body holy.

When you get to heaven, you will be able to embrace your friends and relatives with this wonderful body. If it's been a long time since you saw them you could even cry with joy while hugging them. You could speak to your friends for hours and hours, laugh with them and watch their smile.

Did you know - God is the best party host in this whole wide universe, and He is holding a banquet at His house. His party is unlike any of those we've held, heard or been to. He is inviting us to join Him for a non-stop party, where those very best people who walked this planet could be found. Let's hurry and get there.

While we are still here on earth, our human feelings need expressions in order to move forward everyday. It is often quite difficult to express our deepest thoughts, fears and emotions to those whom we are not emotionally close. We need a safe place and a trustworthy companion to express our feelings, to say what needs to be said without judgement, where we can put our fears and tears to rest. The best person I can suggest is Jesus Christ, who also knows the way to heaven.
Hebrews 2:11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
Let's work everyday towards getting closer to him, so that we belong to his holy family. 


Monday, June 2, 2014

Heaven Awaits


I've traveled this long road of life.
I've seen happiness; I've seen strife.
I've served God from place to place,
Telling the story, saved by grace.

Many miles I have traveled here,
Some sad, some filled with cheer,
But my weary soul will feel its best
When one day it enters Heaven's rest.

I must serve the Lord here below
Until He says, "It's time to go."
I must go about, trying to do good,
Pleasing God the way I should.

Going home will really be great,
But I should work here while I wait.
Still I am yearning more and more
To make my trip to that golden shore. 




Credits: Margaret Cagle

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Paradise


Heaven is a fascinating topic to read, understand and dream about. The sad part is that most of our religious leaders are blind to this idea. Instead of focusing on the eternal world, they lose their focus and get indulged in the materialistic temporary world - earth. As a result, they fail to resonate the truth about our final resting place and do a poor job of preparing their followers.

To fill that gap, Hollywood took steps in portraying the image of heaven with clouds, saints walking around in robes and angels playing harps, etc. They had to create an earthly image of heaven which people will understand. However, what they showcase is an extremely boring heaven.

First off, let us get this straight - heaven is a real place, both physical and spiritual.

God created us with a body and soul. Upon death, our body will be separated from the soul. The soul then travels to a place which is outside the time dimension, and will be held in waiting. This waiting place is not the ultimate heaven. That time will be similar to how we dream - our body resting at one place and our mind travelling somewhere else.

Recall Jesus telling the thief crucified next to him:
Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Let's get this straight - Jesus cannot by lying; He is speaking the truth. The the word 'Jesus used on the cross to describe time after death, 'Paradise' is rare in the Bible. It is a Persian word meaning “enclosure” or “park” or “garden”. Paradise is the sinless and painless Garden of Eden described in Genesis.

Paul in his letter to Corinthians spoke about a man being seized by Christ and swept in ecstasy to the heights of heaven. On that occasion, he used the word 'Paradise'.
2 Corinthians 12:3-4 And I know that this man - whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows - was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 
John, in the book of Revelation described the heaven he saw in awe-inspiring detail. In his account, he quoted Jesus promising:
Revelation 2:7 "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
Majority of Christians refer to Paradise as Heaven. This is the place we go to, right after we die. The Paradise, though it is fabulous, is not our final destination. We are not meant to live just as souls; we are supposed to be re-joined in our bodies.

After Paradise, there will be a time of resurrection. This time is unknown to all of us - only God knows the exact time. At that time, we will be joined back into our new bodies. He will then direct us to the real Heaven. That real Heaven is called the 'New Earth'.

You will not be going to this new place as a ghost. The person who'll be going to this New Earth (Heaven) is your body and your soul. Body and soul, makes up the single entity - you! This is why we are told (by God) to keep our body pure.

Get used to the term, 'New Earth' - that's our final destination.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Accommodation in Heaven


All of us, we have heard, "Heaven is a state of mind," "Heaven is on earth" and so forth. Whoever said so, had never been to the Heaven, and has not read the Bible. The Bible does not say so. According to the Bible, Heaven is a place for real. 

The One who created us knows what exactly we enjoy doing the most. He then created a playground for us which lasts forever. That is exactly what Our Heavenly Father (who loves us the most) did.

Heaven is an ultimate everlasting playground, created purely for the sake of human enjoyment by the Great Architect who invented enjoyment and knows what it actually means. 

Wonder if you will have your own place to live? This was answered by Jesus while he was here. In fact, he has gone ahead of us to make room for us. 
John 14:2 "In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." 
In ancient culture, a father's house was where the extended family lived. As the family grew through marriage and childbirth, rooms were often added on to accommodate new family members. 

Some of us love living in private cozy places, while others like to stay with their friends in large wide open spaces. God is creative and the good news is that He designed Heaven both as a public and private place. When we see the place He has made for us, yours will be ideal for you, and my place will be just right for me. We will be perfectly happy in that most cozy and comfy place in the universe. 

To get there, we certainly don't need esoteric theological or philosophical knowledge. All we need is to gain an understanding and live with faith. 



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A glimpse into heaven


Heaven - this most elusive of concepts has been captured by numerous individuals for thousands of years in the form of brilliant essays, beautiful poems and artistic imagery.

If the idea of unlimited pleasure, unlimited happiness and unlimited joy appeals to you, then you should be bubbling over with excitement, over the concept of Heaven.

When was the first time you heard about the concept of Heaven? Most likely it was at a funeral, and you probably were just 7 years old. The concept you heard at that time has gotten stale and is now 'old news'.

To refresh the idea of Heaven, I want to travel back in time along with you to that age of 7. That is when our minds will view things from the perspective of a child - filled with innocence and awe. It is precisely the time when rainbows, exotic animals, large pearls, jewel studded cities and happiness is being appreciated in a world with no crime. Stay frozen at that age and grasp as much as you can about this concept.

In Heaven, our lives will be filled with joy in the presence of Lord.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Once we arrive in Heaven, you will be you and I will be me. We will continue to be the same person with the same personality we are today - even as male and female, with a better body and voice. This is evident from the resurrection of Jesus. After his resurrection, he appeared to his disciples and was the same Jesus.
Luke 24:38-39 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Those of us who know God can be assured that He will not terminate our wonderful, loving relationship with our family and friends which He granted for fifty, sixty, seventy or even eighty years, never to be enjoyed again. Come on, have faith in Him.

We will be able to recognize our friends and families. They will recognize us and we will know them too. Some of us will have a host of friends in heaven that we will be busy chatting with them.

Further in heaven, we will be busy worshiping God, composing music, judging and ruling, farming, raising livestock, and continue using our God-given talents we had on earth to honor God.

On the flip side, medical doctors and dentists will most probably need to find new vocations, as all our heavenly bodies will be perfect. Before any of you lose heart over this issue, I assure you - Lord has a fabulous plan for doctors and dentists too!
:-)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Think about Heaven


You know that this world is not our home. We are visitors passing through this planet. All of us, we have a destiny, and that is to be with God.
Daniel 7:18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever--yes, for ever and ever." 
Those Biblical superstars were longing for a better world outside this earth. The world we currently live in, is a fallen world since Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Anytime we are subject to injustice, trouble, grief, etc., we long for a better world. We yearn for a gaping hole that can only by filled by God, who is just, eternal and infinite. That better world is the Heaven.
Psalm 84:1 How lovely is your dwelling place,    Lord Almighty!2 My soul yearns, even faints,    for the courts of the Lord;my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
    listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
    look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts    than a thousand elsewhere;I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Heaven is Our God's home. That is where we will be going together. We will be called by a new name in Heaven. That new name - our true identity, will be revealed when a white stone with our new name is given to us in Heaven, as mentioned in Revelation 2:17.

We cannot sit quietly till we arrive in Heaven. There is work to do, to arrive in God's Kingdom. Discuss about that trip with your Guardian Angel. Reach out to our Spiritual Leader and High Priest - Jesus Christ. All of them will point you to the Holy Scripture.