“Who has a loved one, a wife, a husband, a child, a parent, or a friend who is in heaven?”
It’s not my question, it was posited by Paul Enns, author of Heaven Revealed. It’s not a silly question; it’s not a given answer. Everyone knows someone who has died, but do you know with all confidence where they are spending eternity? What about yourself? Does death hold promise or fear?
I didn’t even make it to the first chapter of Heaven Revealed , before I had enough notes to fill a least one blog post. So, I promise I will not ruin this book for you. I will barely serve the first course before this week is over. But your mouth will be watering for the end, so save your pennies and buy your own copy of Heaven Revealed.
You know that feeling that you’re waiting for something? I often feel like I’m sitting on pins and needles, with baited breath, wondering what’s going to happen next. It’s that pending feeling. That feeling of teetering on a balance beam, knowing that sooner or later, I will topple off and land squarely on something more firm, more real than what I know right now. That’s the heaven I’m anticipating.
I know that it is distinctly different and more real, permanent than what I am living right now. But Enns points out something that I had never considered before. Listening to biblical scholars and well-known preachers, we often imagine a timeline. It’s something like:
But what if there’s not some critical distinction between each of these wonderful, promised, prophesied events?
“…when I investigated some of the passages, I saw words like ‘forever,’ ‘for all time,’ and ‘shall never end.’ Were those words to be restricted to one thousand years? Or does ‘forever’ mean ‘forever’? The key question then becomes, ‘Is there a continuity between the millennium and the eternal state?’ If so, the millennial passages then provide significant insight into what we refer to as heaven.”
Enns continues this welcomed debunking of the theory that heaven is a solid gold palace filled with deadpan angels strumming harps. Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the earthly Jewish temple, priests and ceremonies were a shadow of heavenly things. And we know that heaven is more fantastic than any mind can conceive. So picture the most delightful, joy-producing things on earth.
My puppy, my husband
Sunsets, coffee on a crisp morning, the sound of rushing water, the feel of silk, the sweet taste of strawberries
These are shadows! These are the dim reflections of something we cannot imagine. But God doesn’t want heaven to be such a mystery that we shove it to the back of our minds, relegated to the certainty that we’ll figure it out in person someday.
Enns is determined to discover the Son behind this shadow. His book reveals the essence of what makes heaven worth hoping for.
For a few more thoughts on heaven, eternity and such, check out these links:
P.S. This book review is due to the generous curtesy copy of the book that I received from Moody Publishers. Moody is an invaluable resource that strengthens my faith through every avenue of their ministry. Thank you, Moody.