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There are two good reasons to do a focused Bible study on heaven. First, because the history of how Christians have understood heaven has been written by several and this history reveals that Christians have both invented plenty and have failed to interact adequately with the Bible. For, this I recommend McDannell and Lang, Heaven: A HIstory. The second reason is because Tom Wright, in Surprised by Hope, has suggested that heaven is not a place we go to eternally after we die. Instead, at the resurrection we will enter into the new heavens and the new earth. So, here goes …
Mark 1:9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: ?You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.?
Mark 4:30 Again he said, ?What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air [heaven] can perch in its shade.?
Mark 8:11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, ?Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.?
First, heaven is up.
Second, heaven is the skies.
Third, heaven is where God is and where God dwells, which is not to say God isn’t omnipresent and present on earth, but heaven is where God dwells. Thus, a sign from heaven is a sign from God, who dwells in the heavens.
Fourth, it is the place from which God speaks and from which God makes his move when God becomes manifest on earth.