How long has it been since you daydreamed about heaven? It is surprising how seldom adults talk about what heaven will be like. On most Sabbaths, one would have to visit a children”s Sabbath School class to hear a discussion of heaven. In the adult classes, heated debates can take place over ecclesiology, soteriology, or other, even minor theological issues. Why don”t we talk more about heaven?
1. Read John 14:1-4.
A. What are the promises that Jesus makes in these four verses? On what basis can we trust those promises?
B. The KJV refers to “mansions” in John 14:2. Other versions use the word “rooms.” Which translation makes the most sense in the context of the verse? What sort of picture comes to mind if you imagine living in heaven in a house with many rooms? Is there a Christian “brother” or “sister” that you would hate to have living in an adjacent room? Following the description Jesus gives here, where will Jesus be living?
C. What does Jesus need to do to “prepare a place” for us in his Father”s
D. We often quote John 14:1-3 and leave off verse 4. What did Jesus mean by the words recorded in verse 4?
2. (Psalms 13:3; Ecc 9:5-6; 1 Cor 15:51) As a denomination, Adventists have emphasized that death is a state of “unconsciousness” that the Bible compares to sleep. How would we respond to someone who argues that it doesn”t matter whether we sleep until the second coming or go to heaven at the moment of death, because either way, the next thing we know, we will meet Jesus? Is a clear and correct understanding of the state of the dead important?
3. If you sincerely believed that there actually is no heaven, how would it change the way you lived life today?
4. (John 5:19-30) A discussion of heaven should include the issue of who will be there. This is a difficult topic because there are many people throughout history who have lived and died without ever hearing of Jesus. There are three basic views on what will happen to these people.
A. Universalism suggests that, God, in mercy, will ultimately find a way to save all people (John 3:17).B. Restrictivism (an unfortunate title, in my view) argues that one must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and respond if one is to be saved (Acts 4:12).
C. Inclusivism suggests that, through Jesus, all sincere religious seekers of truth can be saved, even if they have never heard of Jesus (Rom 1:18-20; Acts 10:34-35).
D. What view do you hold? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each view? What other biblical evidence is there to support these views?
5. Heaven will be a place of reunion. Who are you especially looking forward to meeting there? Is there a reunion you would especially like to witness in heaven?