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That's a Good Question

Paradise Explored: Biblical Insights on Heaven

April 21, 2024

Jon Delger


Cheyenne Werner

So Hey everyone, welcome to That's a Good Question, a podcast of Peace Church and a part of Resound Media. You can find more great content for the Christian life and church leaders at That's a Good Question is a place where we answer questions about the Christian faith in plain language.

I'm Jon, I serve as a pastor as well as part of this show. You can always submit questions at Today I'm here with Cheyenne. Hey Cheyenne. Hey, good to be here. Cheyenne is our Women's Ministry Director at Peace Church, and we get to talk together

about heaven. We're in the midst of a sermon series at Peace Church called The Church Never Preaches On. This is one of the topics in that series. Over the next several weeks, we're going to get to grab some of the questions that we don't get to cover in the sermons and still cover those because people send in just some awesome questions.

So, we'll be doing a little bit of that, talking about heaven. Cheyenne, you ever talk to your kids about the afterlife?

It seems like we talk about it often. I've gotten questions. One that I remember my daughter asking when she was four was, how does the box get to heaven?

The box?

The box, yes. And at first I was trying to think, is there a box in Revelation? I'm trying to think through, and what she meant by the box was the casket. Her understanding was that God just takes the whole box up to heaven. And so, yeah, no, it's good to have these conversations. I feel like we have these conversations quite often with the kids, but I will tell you one more story that made me realize that we need to continue having more conversations because they might not be getting all of it.

So good that we're having this conversation today as well. Recently and my kids are eight and 10, so this was kind of like, oh man, shocking to me. Recently I realized that my kids thought that Satan was the king of hell.

Oh, yeah.

And it was a common misconception. Yeah, I guess I didn't realize how common it was and that we hadn't clarified like, no, no, no, Satan does not want to go to hell. Like this is his eternal punishment. And so we had to clarify a few things there.

Yeah, yeah, he's being punished there as well. But in the cartoons and stuff, he's the guy with the pitchfork and presides over the whole ordeal.

Yeah. So it's good to have these conversations and not that this conversation is in particular about hell, but good to clarify our understanding of heaven as well.

Yeah, totally. Yeah, we're going to talk about the good place instead of the bad place today. Other episodes that we talk about the bad place, but yeah, so talk about heaven. A handful of questions. We're gonna kind of move through these rather quickly because there are several,

but excited to get to tackle these. So first question, here it is. After a billion years in heaven, won't we get bored?

You know, this is one that my son, who is very energetic and is always asking, this is the kind of question that he asks me all the time. And he probably gets frustrated with my answer, but I tell him never, never. We will never get bored.

I tell him, think of the most exciting thing here on earth. And that's just a taste of what heaven will be like.

Because it will be constant roller coasters, constant fishing, eating, swimming pools.

Because we will be with God. And so all of these good things are just a taste, a shadow of how good and great and fun our God is. And I think that's hard probably for our kids to conceptualize, but that's why we have these conversations over and over, not just for our kids, but for ourselves too.

Yeah, totally. Yeah. No, it's a really important, I can see how naturally thinking about it, somebody might wonder after, yeah, a billion years, wouldn't you get tired of what you're doing? But yeah, that's a core Christian conviction is that the reason, you know, even just thinking about our salvation, our salvation is not fire insurance, it's not just trying to escape from the bad place. We want to be with God forever. That's the point, is not to get to a better place that has nice things, it's to get to be with God. I pulled out a couple of passages just in thinking about this. This one's John 14 3. Jesus says, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that you may be where I am also." So that's the whole point, to be with Jesus.

A couple of the passages in the Psalms, I think, highlight how important it is that – or just the idea that our hearts were made to be with God and have joy in God. Psalm 37, verse 4 says, "...Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." So what's he going to give you? Well, if you delight yourself in the Lord, he's going to give you more of the Lord.

And that's the point. It's not, I'm not going to give you, if you, you know, I'm not going to give you lots of money or, or cars or a swimming pool because that will make you happy. I'm going to give you more of myself because that's what, yeah, delight yourself in the Lord.

Yeah. And you get more of the Lord. Last one, Psalm 16, the very first verse says, I say to the Lord, you are my Lord, and I have no good apart from you. So the Psalmist just kind of gets it, right? All these good things in this life that we can enjoy are just, like you said, a taste, just a taste of what it's like to be with God.

Love it.

So we won't get bored. We get to be with God. Another, you know, as a kid, I had kind of that misconception that heaven would just be like, you know, part of a church service all the time,

that we would just, we'd sort of stand in rows and have hymnals or something like that, we just sing songs.

I think that's kind of how you picture it. I picture some of it being like that, yeah. But we will also get to work and to fellowship in heaven. So it's all types of worship, not just worship or worship service, but worship how it was meant to be in the garden, right?

Right. So yeah, I'm excited because I don't garden, but maybe in heaven I can actually figure out how to garden and I won't have the black thumb that I currently have.


Yeah, yeah, we're gonna be going back towards what things were like in the Garden of Eden, getting to do the human life the way human life was supposed to be done. It's one of the ways I think of it is, you know, you go to work each day in today's life and we face frustration, just like Genesis 3 tells us, our toils, our work is full of frustration. We're going to get to do work without frustration, which I can't even imagine what that would be like. That's mostly because I work with you, Cheyenne. Oh, that's on record. Wow. Just kidding. Totally kidding. Totally kidding. Yeah, so we get to not just sing in rows with hymnals. Because I imagine that, you know, the 12,001st verse of Amazing Grace would probably get boring.

But that's not what it's going to be like. Alright, next question. Did Judas go to heaven? And the person asks, if not, and then they're going to ask about a very specific verse, what about in Revelation 21, 14, where it talks about the 12 foundations being the 12 apostles.

So we'll get to that in a second. But what about that first question? What do you think? Did Judas go to heaven?

So my understanding is he did not, but I would like your answer because I didn't have time to look up.

I knew you were going to have to get my back for that comment. I deserve that.

So Pastor Jon, can you share with us?

I would be happy to share some thoughts about that. I think some people have tried to make the argument that Judas repented because we do see remorse. He feels bad, or at least he realizes what he did was horribly wrong, but that's not the same thing as faith and repentance. We don't have any evidence that he actually trusted Jesus as a Savior, that he said, Lord, I have sinned greatly. Please forgive me. I trust Jesus. His sacrifice is the only way I can be saved. We don't have any evidence of him doing that. Instead, we do have some very specific verses that I think speak to Judas receiving God's wrath in hell as the punishment of his sin. So Matthew 26, 24 says, the Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man. It would be better for him if he had not been born. So the scripture wouldn't say that if he spent eternity in heaven with God. One more, John 17, 12 says,

While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction, so the scripture would be fulfilled. So I think that's a pretty clear answer to that question, that Judas did not go to heaven.

And those were before he had even betrayed Jesus, right? So he would have been hearing these words even and.

Sure. Yeah. Terribly tragic. Terribly sad, but I think we do have that clear answer. So, to answer the other part of the question, yeah, this is one I hadn't really thought of until the person asked the question. So, in Revelation 21, here's the passage they are referencing. 21 14, it says, and the wall of the city had 12 foundations. Okay, so this is John's vision of heaven. And on them were the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. So they're asking the question, all right, if Jesus didn't go to heaven,

then how are there 12 foundations, 12 apostles? So I think the answer comes in Acts chapter 1, when we move from the Gospels to the story of the early church. If you remember in Acts chapter 1, the apostles get together and Judas is gone, and they recognize somebody's got to take Judas' place, and Matthias is the guy that they, you know, they set up some criteria. They say it's got to be somebody who's been with us from the beginning, who saw all of Jesus' ministry, who was around for his life, death, and can be a witness to his resurrection, and they choose Matthias. So I think that's the answer.

No, that's where my mind went to.

Yeah. So there are still 12 apostles. It wasn't Judas. It was the other one. Some people like to make the case that it's Paul. I think Paul is actually like Apostle number 13. Right, yeah. Cool. All right, next question. Are there levels in heaven, like when the Apostle Paul said he knew somebody that went to the third heaven? Okay, so my initial answer is no, but I don't have anything to back that up other than what I do know of heaven that I feel like we can misinterpret that easily or take it too literally. But I would like to hear, again, I'd love to hear your answer, Jon.

Well, I think the answer is that because you endure the frustration of working with me, you're going to be a higher level of heaven than I am.

Now I feel like I'm trying to make up for my joke.

Yeah, you're trying to make up for it now.

I'm trying. I forgive you. Thank you.

That's very kind of you.

No, I've read some different speculation on what that means. So in 2 Corinthians 12 is the passage Paul references that he knows somebody who was caught up to the third heaven, he says. So I don't think there's any for sure answer as to what Paul is exactly talking about. Paul had some visions and some experiences that the rest of us have not had. So I think the short answer is actually we don't know exactly what that's going to look like. But there's been some speculation of just like that the third is maybe like the final or the fullest or the completion. And, you know, the word heaven is we use it different ways. And they did too back in ancient times, talking about, you know, the heavens meaning like the skies or the heavens meaning like where the stars are, outer space.

Or you know, in the Psalms, it actually talks about God being enthroned above the heavens. So maybe third heaven simply means it's just the place where God is, the highest place, the highest heaven. That's my best guess.

So he met a man who had been caught up in the third heaven?

Yeah, that's what it says. So whether it be by vision or however.

Oh yeah, yeah. That makes sense. I mean, I think we have to weigh it against what we know for sure that's very clear, right, about heaven. And it can mean something that goes against what we know.

Yeah. Jesus makes clear. So. And one of those things that we do know is that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works. Right. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 10 make that really clear among other passages in the Bible. So I don't know for sure answers, but I would I would lean towards saying I don't think it's like that. Like I sort of joked about about the idea of that just doesn't make sense. That's contrary to God's system of salvation.

I think it's more maybe like others have said of just saying it's the highest place, it's the place where God is.

All right.

A more serious one. So the person asked, what about somebody who commits suicide? And so I think they're asking the question, what happens to somebody who commits suicide? Do they end up in heaven? Do they end up in hell? Obviously for us, one of the first things we want to talk about is, you know, if they're a Christian or not, because that's what the difference is between somebody who goes to heaven and goes to hell. Somebody who has the way to get to heaven is not by hard work. It's not by doing religious things.

It's by having your faith in Jesus as your Lord and as your Savior. And it's only by grace through faith that we can get to heaven. So let's kind of narrow our conversation to what happens if somebody who is a Christian or has said that they're a Christian commits suicide.

We'll be right back after this break.

Hi, I'm Elizabeth, one of the co-hosts of MomGuilt, a podcast with new episodes every Monday. MomGuilt is a podcast about the daily struggles of motherhood. Stephanie and I share real experiences of MomGuilt and how we have found freedom from that guilt through the gospel. Listen to us on or wherever you find podcasts.

That's a hard and heavy thing, and so we have to lean on what we do know about them, and I think it's a comfort to remember that it is by faith and not by works, like you said, but I'm sure that is, while it's somewhat comforting, I think that there's also probably some questions left in people's hearts and minds, and so I don't know, I would just want people to feel encouraged in knowing that God knows their heart and the genuineness of their faith, and to hold on to that. Well, so we were talking a little bit earlier. I think you and I have both heard some probably wrong answers to this question. You talk about like one of the wrong answers you've maybe heard of this question, because one of the ones I've heard is just the simple, well, they ended their life. It was a sin to do so, you know, murder. And they weren't able to they weren't still alive to ask for forgiveness.

And so they went to hell. That was that was an explanation I got kind of early on in life. I don't even know where I heard that, but it was, I remember as a young, as a young man, that was sort of how I thought about it, and somebody must have told me that.

Yeah, I think I have kind of the same thing where I can't really trace exactly where I first heard kind of an answer to this question, but I think I, on the other side, on kind of the other side of the spectrum, heard more of like that if they ended their life, then that act meant that they did not trust Christ as their Savior. And so it's been helpful for me to learn just more about what it means to have faith in Christ and to know that one sin does not define the genuineness of your faith.

Yeah, totally. I think we know in our day even more than we have in past days. We talk more about mental health today than we used to. We know that people can get into a very dark place and can do things that they might not otherwise have done. You know, I think anybody who is at that place is in a place that's not a healthy state of mind. And so it's a terrible place to be.

So in trying to give a shorter answer to the question, can somebody who committed suicide go to heaven? My answer would be yes. Yeah. Salvation is not by works, it's by grace through faith, I think, like I said earlier, I think it is clear that somebody who commits suicide is not in a right and healthy state of mind.

And that's terrible, that's tragic, that's sad. We hope that that person gets help if somebody's listening. We hope that you get help if you're asking that question. Hopefully it's not because you're thinking about that in your own life. Man, we'd love to pray for you, talk to you. Please reach out for help to us or somebody else.

If a Christian is also asking the question, I can imagine some Christians maybe thinking, well, if I'm a Christian and I'm going to heaven, why wouldn't I commit suicide then? I could see why somebody might think that way. And I think the short answer is, well, to be a Christian is to love the Lord and the Lord wants you to obey his commandments. And one of his commandments is not to murder. Taking your own life is still murder. You're ending the life of a person created in God's image that God has a plan and a design for, good works designed for them to do Ephesians 2 10.

Even if your life feels like it's more of a burden to someone else that is not what's true about your life. If you are living then God has a reason for you to be living. Yeah, that's a heavy one. It is a heavy one. Yeah, but again good for us to talk about these otherwise you do go along your life you know believing things that you don't know where you got them from. You don't know what is true about them and what's not true and not knowing how to correct it.

So, a good question. I'm glad that that was submitted.

Yeah. We got a couple more, a little bit lighter questions. Let me see. Two more. Here we go.

Will we get married in heaven and will we have more kids in heaven. My understanding, again please correct if I'm wrong, but my understanding is we will be married to, we will be the bride of Christ in heaven. So in some ways, yes, we will be married in heaven, but we will not be married to our spouse. There will be no marriages in heaven. And therefore, I guess I would extrapolate and say we won't be having kids. And I feel pretty confident on that. But again, throwing it back to you, John.

Totally. I think that's fair. I'm actually trying to pull it up here. I didn't have it right in front of me. I'm trying to pull it back. In Matthew 22, Jesus gets into an interesting conversation with the Sadducees about the resurrection and how that works. And where is it? Here it is. Here's his answer. This is Matthew 22, verse 30. For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven." Now, I don't know exactly what that means about the angels in heaven because we don't know a ton about the marital life of angels in heaven. I assume that means

that they don't get married. Yeah. Right. Yeah, but Jesus seems to pretty clearly say they're not married or do they get married? Which, like you said, God designed that the context of having kids happens within marriage. So, we would sort of assume that's the case also. I think that also makes sense with the overall story of Scripture that God told Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply. In the New Testament, our mission is to make disciples of Jesus, which is essentially the same mission, just accomplished in a different way. Originally, if Adam and Eve would have just had kids, taught them to follow the Lord, they would have filled the entire earth with disciples of Jesus. We have the same mission, but it's because of the fall into sin. It's not just have kids. It's go and make disciples of people who are already alive that they would turn and follow Jesus. But the end goal is the same, that we would fill the earth with followers of Jesus. So when Jesus comes back, that mission's

over. So we've already filled the earth with followers of Jesus. Mission completed. Yeah. Mission complete. So I think no more childbearing.

But again, just tying back to the beginning, that can feel like such a bummer. But again, if that's a bummer for you because you have such a strong marriage, for one thing, that's amazing. That is the marriage to be.

Praise God that you want to spend eternity with your spouse. You're doing great. That's good.

But also, going back to the first question about will we be bored in heaven? No, because if you have had a wonderful marriage, your marriage as the bride of Christ, your marriage to Christ, your time in heaven will be infinitely greater than that. So it's only just meant, even the best things on earth are only meant to be a taste or a shadow of how great heaven will be and how good our bridegroom is.


One, Ephesians 5 kind of tells us that the whole point of marriage is to be a foreshadow of the relationship between God and his bride, God and his people. So once we get to heaven, the need for a foreshadow is over. So I think that makes sense also.

One of the things, it doesn't say that you won't have any kind of relationship with your spouse on this earth. So even though you're not married and won't be the same thing, I don't know what it'll be like, but I would assume that you would still, you know, have some kind of connection to that person in eternity.

I think we'll definitely have connection with people, those people in eternity.


All right, last one. Does the promise to the meek that they will inherit the earth mean anything when we are in heaven? I think that's a very interesting question.

That is an interesting question. Okay, so I want to make sure I understand the question. Can you repeat it one more time? Maybe our listeners need that too. Yeah, so, you know, in Scripture there's this promise, the meek will inherit the earth. Right. So what is that? So if we're all going to heaven, who cares? About being meek because we're already going to be... Yeah, yeah, like, I'm just trying to put myself in the mind of the question asker, I think. Yeah, what does it mean, how can the meek inherit the earth if we're all going to heaven?

Okay, so I think maybe it's helpful to think about the context of that passage. So it comes from the Beatitudes, right, which are mostly, if not pretty much all, talking about enduring suffering with patience. And we'll one of the, so we can extrapolate then from that, that we are not going to have to endure suffering with patience in heaven. And so there's something to be inherited. Yes, in heaven, like heaven is our inheritance. There's something that we can inherit here on earth too. And that is the presence of the Holy Spirit with us as we're enduring and as we are suffering in meekness and patience while we're waiting for the real inheritance in heaven. But I'd love to hear from you.

I think that's great. I actually, yeah, I had a different answer, but I think that's really important to remember that it's, so I was going to use kind of a future-oriented thought, but you're right. There is a present-oriented fulfillment of that. The meek do inherit the earth in that way. Our inheritance is not just in the future in heaven, our inheritance is also partly now. So the other aspect of that that I was going to say is, I think this is one of those other common Christian misconceptions is that where we're going to spend eternity is this faraway place that we're going to get sort of sucked out of this world and never to return, and that earth was just a temporary thing. But that's actually not how it's going to work. Heaven and earth are going to be one for eternity. So yeah, Christians go to heaven after this life, but then when Jesus returns, heaven and earth become one.

They come back together. So that was the first thought that had come to my mind was that the meek will inherit the earth. Sure. When the new heavens and the new earth come together, they'll have the whole earth. So we're both right.

We're both right. It's that whole already, not yet.

That's right. Awesome. Well, hey, thanks everybody for your questions about heaven. That's all we got time for today Some great questions look forward to catching the next week. Thank you. Cheyenne. Of course. So happy to be here everybody You can always ask questions at peace church dot CC slash questions. Follow us on Facebook Instagram Thanks everybody. Have a great week.

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