Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Living in heaven with loved ones

QUESTION:

Dr. Newman:

I found your website today searching for an answer or opinion on my questions written below.  I did read your article  titled "Bible teaching about our resurrection bodies" which was excellent and gives me hope for the future being with God the Father and the Son and living on the New Earth.  What a wonderful and exciting day that will be!

On Feb 20 of this year my wife passed away, we would have been married for 48 years on April 1.  For three years we dated because we were waiting for me to earn my college degree before we would marry.  She told me that over the years our love grew stronger and stronger.

We talked about wanting to be together on the New Earth when we are resurrected, or be together in heven.  We hoped that we could live together and have a farm with animals, pastures, and woods.

I have read many times and I thoroughly understand that there is no marriage in heaven or on the new earth.  What is your opinion on whether or not God would grant our wish of living together on a farm liked my wife and I talked about?

Or do you think that we will meet and say to each other "Hi, we were once married on the old earth" and go our separate ways because God has other plans for each of us?

I appreciate your consideration and your opinion on this matter.

May God Bless!

Larry

ANSWER:

Larry,

I sympathize with you as to your loss. You described you marriage as very good. That makes the pain that much more when your good wife went on before you. To answer you, I assume that you both are Christians. Much can be said about heaven, but I will limit my observations here.

Years ago I made my first trip to the Philippines. Well, I have also gone to the South Pacific, Asia, India, Korea and Africa. My wife, Esmie, is from the Philippines, so that is a special place for me.

I bought a Lonely Planet travel guide to find out what to expect in my first visit. I explored its pages to discover at least partly what to expect. It talked about and showed pictures of the sandy beaches, tall mountains, beautiful people, delicious foods. Even though I could get a glimpse of the Philippines, the travel book could not prepare me for the full, rich experience of that culture.

It is the same with heaven. We do not know the details, let alone feel the experience of being in heaven. It will be an entirely new experience that we have never had before. Jesus said to the convict with him on the cross, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). In the Revelation we read, “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God” (Rev 2:7). Even Paul, “was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:4).

Even though Paul went to heaven, he could not nor was he even permitted to describe the terrain. That is why I doubt the many books about those who claim they have gone to heaven and write a book to tell what they saw.

I give here four facts that are revealed to us from Scripture, about what life in heaven is like; then, I will get to your answer. We can know about certain things, but we cannot feel the experience of being in Paradise, or heaven.

1. First, we can look at the word, “Paradise.” From this we realize it will be a very, very good and beautiful place. The word is “paradeisos,” is an Oriental word that eventual worked its self into the Greek language. The basic meaning is easy: Paradise is a park. It was used to refer to the grand, opulent, ostentatious parks of Persian kings and nobles, and the Hebrews used the word to refer to the Garden of Eden. It is a place of perfection, beyond our ability to even imagine.

The description calls forth our ultimate image of a utopia. The travel posters promise to take us on an incredible tour to some paradise. The human race has always dreamed of an utopia – the ultimate place of blessedness, peace, pleasure, justice – and everything perfect. God has promised us such a place. It is real, has a location – a glorious destination.

2. Heaven is a place of community. We will never be lonesome, because there multitudes of citizens of heaven, which share our citizenship (Philippians 3:20). The Bible says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general (or joyful) assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

One of the most important sources of joy and happiness in this life is our relationships with others. When we move, it causes sadness to leave friends and family behind. We have a sense of loss and pain if a good relationship is ruptured. This is what you are experiencing, Larry. Your love of over 50 happy years has been torn from you. You long to see her again. You will.

Now, in heaven, there will never be loss or torn relationships. Heaven is filled with people. It is a place of warm relationships and deep community. It will be a time of renewed relationships. Loved ones will welcome us.

Here is an interesting group of verses. Paul writes, “But we do not want you to be uniformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). 

We are told that those who have died in Christ, are merely “asleep.” Christians do not die as we think of death. We possess eternal life, and for us there is no more death. Our present bodies will go to the grave to await resurrection. Our soul/spirit goes directly to Paradise. At the end of our time on this earth, Christians are merely transferred from one location to another: earth to Paradise. 

Two other points can be made. First, heaven is centered upon Jesus Christ. He will be our source of delight. Second, those living at His return, “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.” This speaks of warm relationships and restored friendships.

3. Heaven is a place of happiness. From Hebrews 12:23, we see a “joyful” group. John wrote, “and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). We are told that negative, evil things or people have no place in Heaven with the Lord (Revelation 21, 27; 22:15).

In Revelation 21 we are told of the nature of Heaven (our final state). It is described as a place of most valuable jewels with the streets paved with gold. We are told of the great inheritance and reward believers receive (1 Peter 1:3-9). What awaits us in Heaven, Larry, far surpass anything we can envision, including a farm with animals, pastures, and woods.

In that place is harmony, peace, abundance. Gone will be the uproar of this life with its endless devices to escape the frantic pressure, pain, worries of life, and the empty promises of how to be happy with just another gadget. Taxes and hospital bills are no more.

The Bible indicates many relationships in Heaven. Jesus said, “And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).

4. Heaven is a place of activity. John tells us, “And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it…And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 21:24; 22:3, 5).

Heaven is not a place of fluttering wings on fluffy clouds while plucking melodious music on harps. There is, however, a music ministry in heaven. There is service and activity in the areas of commerce, government, and religion. The New Jerusalem is called the “holy city.” Jesus speaks of mayor ships as rewards (Luke 19:17, 19). There will be mayors, accountants, transportation systems, and priests – everything it takes to run a society. Happily, there will be no undertakers, gravediggers, nor psychopaths.

Paul tells us that we will judge the affairs of the world, including angels (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3). We will be priests (Revelation 5:10). We are told that we will enter our “rest.” John again tells us that the saved are blessed and “they may rest from their labors” (Revelation 14:13). This does not mean we will be lounging in a hammock, lazily gazing out over a white sandy beach, to the turquoise ocean as it laps up on shore. It does not mean we will take a long nap.

It means that the tiring burdens that doggedly weigh us down in this life will be removed. Tiredness and weariness will be removed. 

5. Larry, I have only grazed the surface of what the Bible teaches about heaven and the next place will be living. And, I have not placed these events on a time line. For example, there is an intermediate state after we leave this world, events within the Millennial Kingdom, and the final state. What we have covered, nevertheless, is going to happen.

Now I return to your question. It is true that in heaven there is neither marriage nor reproduction (Mark 12:25). Sex is out, but gender is still with us. I doubt you will have animals, because they do not populate heaven, but maybe they do. I now enter into the world of speculation.

For example, John says the New Jerusalem has water and vegetation (Revelation 22:1, 2). That might indicate some kind of farming. Vegetation probably assumes dirt. Countries exist with Kings and commerce. Originally, the animals of creation were not for eating, until after the Flood (Genesis 9:2, 3). They were in God’s plan for creation. This heavens and earth will not disappear, but the whole of nature will be renewed with the absence of the curse and sin (2 Peter 3:7, 10; Romans 8:19-22).  That, too, suggests the presence of animals.

With much caution, I suggest there may be farms and animals and pastures. As to the particular job God has planned for you and your wife, I have no idea. I do know that He has some occupation and work for both of you, and it centers upon the service and worship to Jesus Christ. I also can assure you that Christ will not disappoint you.

I should stop here. I haven’t specifically answered your question, but you have some food for thought. Finally, I must restate that the pleasures and blessings of Heaven are only for the saved in this life. Those outside of Christ will have a very terrible end.

God bless;

Dr. Newman

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