Dr. David R. Reagan, Dennis Pollock and Don McGee on the show Christ in Prophecy answer common questions about heaven.
Last aired on April 13, 2008.
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Dr. Reagan: Will we have bodies in Heaven, or will we be disembodied spirits? And, if we are promised bodies, what kind will they be? Will God live among us, and, if so, what are the implications? Will we be capable of sinning? Will we find Heaven boring? For the answer to these and other intriguing questions about Heaven, stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. I’m Dave Reagan, Founder and Director of Lamb & Lion Ministries. Our program this week is going to focus on questions about Heaven, and I tell you folks, I am delighted to have two colleagues with me who I’m sure can answer all the questions. The first is my former associate here at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Dennis Pollock. Welcome, Dennis.
Dennis Pollock: Thanks Dave, it’s great to be with you.
Dr. Reagan: Dennis has his own ministry now called Spirit of Grace. It is an evangelistic ministry that’s aimed primarily at Africa. Now, my other colleague is what we call the “Ragin Cajun” from Amite, Louisiana, Don McGee. Don is the founder and director of a prophecy ministry called Crown & Sickle. Thanks for joining us, Don.
Don McGee: It’s really good to be here.
Dr. Reagan: Well, we’re glad to have you. This is the third in a series of programs about Heaven. In our first program we started out by considering the question, “Where is Heaven?” and we concluded that whereas its precise current location is unknown, in the future, at the end of Jesus’ millennial reign, Heaven will come to earth, and the Redeemed will live eternally on this earth after it has been renovated, refreshed, and perfected by God.
Dennis Pollock: What Dave is saying is that if you want to know what the eternal Heaven will be like, look around you and imagine this earth perfected – delivered from natural disasters and its bondage to decay.
Dr. Reagan: In our first program we also considered some other questions such as: Will we know each other in Heaven? Will there be relationships like we now have? Will there be meaningful activities? Our answers to all these questions was a resounding, “Yes!”
Dennis Pollock: Now in last week’s program, Dave’s special guests were several pets, and he spent the entire time talking about whether or not we will be reunited with our pets in Heaven.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, Dennis, that was a very memorable program. I think it was Johnny Carson who said that when you have pets on a program, you had better be prepared for anything!
Now, regarding pets in Heaven, my conclusion was that the Bible does not say one way or the other, but it certainly implies the possibility. I pointed out for example that the Bible clearly teaches there are animals in Heaven now and there will be animals during the Millennium. So, the principle of “redemptive continuity” mandates the existence of animals in the eternal Heaven on the new earth. Again, whether or not some of the animals might be our current pets re-created, the Bible does not say, but the provision of such a delight is certainly a possibility. We now want to consider some additional questions about Heaven, such as the nature of the bodies that we will have, but first, let’s pause for a message about an important study resource concerning Heaven.
Dr. Reagan: Okay, gentlemen, let’s get to our first question here, and that question is: Will we have bodies in Heaven, and if so, what kind? Are we going to be kind of floating around on a cloud playing a harp? Are we going to be angels? What are we going to be?
Don McGee: I don’t think so at all, Dave. I believe that we are going to have bodies just like those that we have now except without the Adamic nature. They are going to be physical. You can touch them; you can eat if you want to, that kind of thing. We saw that in the post resurrection Jesus. But I think it’s important for our viewers to understand that the human soul was never created to be absent from some kind of shell, some kind of covering. We see this in 2 Corinthians 5, where Paul talks about the earthly body and then the body that we are going to have later. We’re not designed to be “tent-less” as he says in 2 Corinthians 5, so yeah, we’re going to have bodies.
Dr. Reagan: What about it Dennis? You going to have a body or not?
Dennis Pollock: Well, the one thing we have to establish is I hope they are better bodies than the ones we presently have. I mean come on guys.
Dr. Reagan: Amen.
Dennis Pollock: You can do better than this, right?
Dr. Reagan: Right.
Dennis Pollock: But, yeah, it’s amazing because a lot of people wonder why the need for a resurrection from the dead anyway. They are saying, “Well my aunt Lucy is up in Heaven. She died, she’s in heaven now, and you talk about a resurrection, what’s the point of that?” Well the point is God is so economical He doesn’t want to waste our bodies, He’s going to restore, recreate, and He’s going to glorify our bodies so that they will be like unto the body of Jesus. Paul talked about how that Jesus will transform our lowly bodies that they might become conformed to His glorious body. And in another place he talks about Jesus being the first fruits of the resurrection from the dead. And then the rest of us, we get our resurrection at the coming of Christ. So, I like to think of Jesus when he raised from the dead and He talked to the disciples, He said, “Touch Me, a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.” In fact He did something that’s probably about the most human thing a person can do – He ate food, right? You can’t get more human than that.
Dr. Reagan: Listen, that’s what I’m excited about. I’ll be able to eat food in a glorified body and not worry about gaining weight.
Dennis Pollock: And He even ate sweets; He ate honey with the fish. So clearly He had a physical body and when the Bible says we’re going to be resurrected then we too will have a physical body. It’s going to be a great improvement over what we have now, but it will also be similar in the sense that it will be very tangible, very much touchable.
Dr. Reagan: One of the controlling verses for me is Revelation 21:5 where it says, “He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold I am making all things new.'” It does not say He’s going to make new things,
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: But He’s making all things new. He is going to renew them, He’s going to restore them, He’s going to refresh them. His intention is to return the creation to the way it was originally when it was perfect, before it was corrupted by the sin of Man. And so He is going to, there is going to be continuity between this existence and the existence to come. And part of that continuity is going to be bodies.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, but people think oftentimes that Heaven will be so otherworldly that there will be no relationship at all between life here and life there.
Dr. Reagan: And that of course, in our first program, we pointed out that that comes directly from Platonic philosophy, from Plato, who argued that material things are evil and only the spirit is pure and holy, and therefore people began to bring this over into Christianity and think that to be pure and holy, you can’t have a body, you’ve got to be some sort of spirit existence and so we’re going to be spirits in the eternal world, and that don’t have any particular bodies. Well, that’s just not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that the creation was perfect and that God intends to redeem it and restore it.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Don McGee: This idea of bodies is polemic actually. We’re going to have bodies in Heaven, but according to Luke 16, people who are not saved are going to have bodies too, they are not going to be annihilated. A man in Luke 16 who spent his time in torment could feel the flame.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Don McGee: He wanted water on his tongue, so there will be bodies. Everyone is going to have one, whether one is in Heaven or one is in Hell.
Dr. Reagan: Go ahead.
Dennis Pollock: One of the most amazing statements Paul makes in Acts is the fact that he says, “I believe there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust.”
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Dennis Pollock: And a lot of people think, “Well, why would God want to take wicked people and recreate their bodies?” Well, that’s just the way it’s going to work when they are cast into the Lake of Fire they will be cast into the Lake of Fire as a whole person – spirit, soul, and body.
Dr. Reagan: So we are going to have bodies like we have now that are tangible, that are recognizable. But they are going to be perfected and they are going to have a different dimension to them because we are told in I Corinthians 15 that it will be put in a “perishable body, raised an imperishable body; that it will be sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power. It will be sown a natural body, but it will be raised a spiritual body,” not a spirit, but a spiritual body. And he says, “If there is a natural body, there is a spiritual body,” a body for our spirit, yes.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, and that’s such an amazing thing to so many people. I’ve preached on the resurrection and talked about how that we will be physically raised, and people come up to me and they, Christians for 30 years, and they say, “I’ve never understood that.” You know, it was like, “Well you die, you go to heaven, what else is there?”
Dr. Reagan: Folks before we continue with further questions about Heaven, let’s pause for a song by Jack Hollingsworth of Acts 29 Ministries. Here’s Jack singing, “Some Call It Heaven.”
Dr. Reagan: Okay fellows, let’s get back to our questions here now for a moment. We have established the fact that we are going to live in glorified bodies on the new eternal earth, that they are going to be tangible, and recognizable, and perfected and immortalized kinds of bodies. Will those bodies be capable of sinning?
Dennis Pollock: Dave, let me give you a nightmare scenario about Heaven. You have gone to be with the Lord and New Jerusalem has come down and there you are and you are having a marvelous time. You’ve been there twenty two million, five hundred and fourteen thousand one hundred and five years.
Dr. Reagan: Wow.
Dennis Pollock: And you’ve managed to keep your record clean that whole time and you’ve enjoyed it so much, and then one morning you get up on the wrong side of the Heavenly bed, so to speak, an angel flies past you and accidentally brushes your hair with his wing, and you’ll have a lot of hair mind you by this point.
Dr. Reagan: Oh, thank you.
Dennis Pollock: But he brushes your hair and it really irritates you and you say, “Get that wing out of my face.” And suddenly a voice comes to you, “Dave, you just blew it, you’re out of here.” Wouldn’t that be rather depressing?
Dr. Reagan: That would be depressing even to think about, and yet people are always asking me this.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: What happens when we sin in Heaven?
Dennis Pollock: Right. And there are a number of promises that make it clear that that will not happen and probably one of the plainest and simplest to understand is where the Bible says there will be no more death, mourning, or tears or pain in heaven. If God promises no more death, there can’t be any more sin because sin is what leads to death.
Dr. Reagan: Well, God created us with free will so that we would not be robots because you can’t really have a relationship with a robot. He wanted creatures who would love Him and He could love them in return. So are we going to be robots when we get to heaven, that we won’t?
Don McGee: No, not at all. We make choices based upon who we are, because of our nature.
Dr. Reagan: Ah, good.
Don McGee: It’s our nature to choose to rebel against God. In Heaven there is something that we are going to leave here, along with our corrupted, old bodies, and that’s going to be what is called the Adamic nature.
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Don McGee: The Adamic nature will no longer inhabit us, or have its effect over us because the body, which is inhabited by the Adamic nature, along with the Spirit of God, will be a new body, a resurrected body, something that the Adamic nature has no part in, no part whatsoever. And when the nature, that is, the inclination to sin is removed, then there is a sense of purity in spirit that no longer brings us to the point where we would even incline ourselves to rebel against God.
Dr. Reagan: Boy, what refreshing words, to think that I’m going to have a time coming when I can live without having that big conflict going on inside of me every time I try to make a decision, where my spirit is pulling me toward God, and my nature here in the world is pulling me toward the devil. And I’m having this fight going on that Paul talks about in Romans, you know, and giving in to the bad part of me.
Dennis Pollock: Not only do we get the bad part taken out, and we won’t have that, but the good part gets to stay. And that is the Holy Spirit. There’s an indication that we, not only are we indwelt by the spirit now, we will always be.
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Dennis Pollock: John talks about the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever. And so we will be one with God forever and ever and ever and His nature working and expressing Himself through our nature is going to be the guarantee, the lock in that we will walk in righteousness.
Dr. Reagan: OK, well let’s go to another question. In Revelation 21 we are told that we will live forever on a new earth in a New Jerusalem. Now, we’ve already concluded in past programs that the new earth will be a tangible, material one — that, in fact, it will be this earth renewed, refreshed and perfected. So gentlemen, what about this New Jerusalem? Is it going to be something literal? I mean is there going to be a real city or should we just simply spiritualize what the Bible says about that and assume that that really doesn’t mean golden streets and pearly gates and that sort of thing?
Don McGee: If we spiritualize that then we are going to have to spiritualize a lot of other things that have to do with the future and eternity.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Don McGee: The New Jerusalem is going to be as real and literal as the current Jerusalem that many of us visit from time to time in Israel. The New Jerusalem is going to be about fifteen hundred miles cubed – that’s a large city.
Dr. Reagan: That’s a very large city.
Don McGee: Very large city. And someone told me one time, “Well that cannot be because there is no place on the earth where that would really fit.” Well, it’s not–it’s going to be this earth, but it’s going to be a refurbished earth. Yeah, there are a lot–
Dr. Reagan: Maybe it’s greatly expanded in size you know.
Don McGee: Geographically there are going to be things that are going to happen on this earth that’s going to make room for this New Jerusalem that’s going to come down out of Heaven, and the gates are going to be real, they are going to be like pearl. The streets are going to be transparent gold. I believe that it means exactly what it says there. If we can’t believe that, then I’m not so sure we can believe that we are going to have immortal bodies, because that’s what it says.
Dr. Reagan: What about it Dennis?
Dennis Pollock: Well you know Don, you mentioned the length and width of it and so forth. The reason we know that is because the angel went to great lengths to measure it. He was given a golden rod to actually measure it. You don’t measure symbols. There would be no point to measure some spiritual symbol of some kind. You measure physical things, and he clearly was indicating this is a real city with real length, real depth, real height. A lot of people make fun of the gold, the gems, and so forth. Hey, why shouldn’t it be the most dazzling and beautiful place in the world? God is not a God of ugliness. If you want to go down to the dumpiest place you can find where there’s trash and there’s rats, let me tell you, that’s not God’s handiwork. Everything God does is beautiful, and if He’s going to create an eternal city and a home for us, reason would expect that this great God of love and compassion that went to such lengths to redeem us is going to make sure it is the most beautiful thing we’ve ever experienced.
Dr. Reagan: You know in John 14 Jesus said, “I am going to prepare a place for you.” He is preparing that place for us. This has to be something material, something tangible that He is creating right now for us. I tell you, I can hardly wait to see it, and you know, Henry Morris, the founder of the Institute for Creation Research, who is quite a scientist, did mathematical calculations on this city, that would be his scientific mind being applied to it. And he said, “You know, if you just, if you were to take one half of that city and devote it to public use – parks, recreational facilities, libraries, and only could use one half of that city,” he said, “and then if you assume the maximum number of people being saved throughout history,” and he calculated hundreds of millions and billions that would be saved, he said, “even so, each person would have a space with 75 acres on each face of it.
Don McGee: Now I could go for that Dave, I like that idea.
Dr. Reagan: It’s a lot more space than I’ve got right now, I tell you for sure. I mean, we’re talking about a big city here. And the fact that it’s fifteen hundred miles high may be an indication too of something else – that in our new glorified bodies we may not have the limits and restrictions of gravity that we have now. We may have some new dimensions to our bodies.
Don McGee: No stairs, no elevators.
Dr. Reagan: Hey, how about it?
Dennis Pollock: You know Dave, the fellow that wrote this book on Heaven gave a great illustration from a true story–
Dr. Reagan: You talking about Randy Alcorn?
Dennis Pollock: Randy Alcorn. He talked about a swimmer that was to swim from Catalina Island to the California shore, which was an enormous length, and no one had ever done it. And she got almost the entire way, she had been swimming for 15 hours, and it was foggy and she couldn’t see the shore, and she was just so worn out, she was going to give up. And there were people rowing beside her and they tried to urge her to keep going but she finally just gave up and stopped. And she was less than half a mile from the shore. And the statement she made was, “If only I could have seen the shore I would have kept on going.”
Dr. Reagan: Kept going, yeah.
Dennis Pollock: But the fog kept her from seeing the shore. When you look at your Bible and you read what God has described about the New Jerusalem, about the New earth, about this incredible eternity, it’s like He is saying, “Look ahead, you can make it, you can keep on going.”
Dr. Reagan: It gives us hope in this life.
Dennis Pollock: Absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: Now in Revelation 21 & 22 we are told that God will come to this earth and He will live among us. You know we always have this idea we go up to Heaven and live with God. But He comes to earth, He lives among us, and it says, “We will see His face!” Wow, what are the implications of that?
Dennis Pollock: One implication clearly is that we are definitely going to have to be changed from the state in which we are in, because it would kill us to see His face, but the Bible talks about when He is revealed, we will be like Him, we will see Him as He is. And it indicates that we will be, there will be the continuity. We will still be physical beings as well as spiritual, but we will be in such a state of holiness and unity with God that we can see His face and not shrink back in fear and terror.
Dr. Reagan: Right.
Dennis Pollock: But appreciate and love and be totally wooed by this incredible, amazing God.
Dr. Reagan: Well one of the things it certainly indicates to me is that we are going to have intimacy with God. Intimacy with our Creator for all eternity.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: Oh, man.
Don McGee: During that time we’ll be able to see God and not just to see Him physically, but we will be able to comprehend what we are seeing, something impossible at this point.
Dr. Reagan: Well folks as we close this series about Heaven, I would like to ask my colleagues the most important question of all: What must a person do in order to go to Heaven? You know people have many different ideas about that fellows, some think, well you’ve got to be born into a Christian family. Others say, “No, you’ve got to join a church.” Another says, “No, you’ve got to earn your way with lots of good works.” What must a person do in order to go to heaven? Tell our viewers.
Dennis Pollock: Dave, the answer is clear all through the scriptures, that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we have a hope of going to this incredible place, this place of the New Jerusalem and the recreated earth, and being with God. Over and over the scripture says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in His should not perish but have everlasting life.” It is not true being a good do be, it is not like when I was a cub scout and I had to do a good deed and then I could turn my bobcat badge around the right way and everybody was happy. There’s no amount of good deeds you could do, Paul said, “If I give my body to be burned but I don’t have love, it’s meaningless.”
Dr. Reagan: But Dennis, let me just interject something here and that is that some watching would probably say, “You are a very intolerant person, because one of the most popular concepts abroad today is the idea that there are many different roads to God – that you can get to God through Mohammed, you can get to God through Buddha, through Confucius, through Abraham. Who are you to say that you can only reach God through Jesus Christ?”
Dennis Pollock: Well, the answer is real simple; it’s not a matter of what I say. It’s a matter of what God says. Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life, and nobody gets to the Father except through Me.” And He told the people of His day, He said, “If you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So when we tell you it’s through faith in Christ alone, we are simply echoing what the Master has said, what Jesus has said. If you have an argument with that, your argument is not with us, it’s with Christ.
Dr. Reagan: What about it Don? Can a person earn their way to Heaven?
Don McGee: No way. I might be addressing someone in the audience right now that has this idea that because of their abilities and inclinations and academic prowess, and mental ability that they have something to offer God, something that He needs that they have. I want to say very clearly and succinctly, you have nothing, nothing that God needs.
Jesus addressed some of that in Matthew chapter 16 when He says, “What will a man be profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul.” We know about that text. That means, what good would it be if a person became king of the world, the Secretary General of the U.N., or President of the United States or some sort of thing? What does that mean in the eyes of God? Can God look at a person who is the Secretary General of the U.N. and think, “Boy, that is a real high position, I wish I could have that”? Of course not.
But there is a second question that Jesus asked. He says, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” In other words, if you were to stand before God, what could you offer Him that would cause him to say, “Well yeah, I know you didn’t take my Son, you didn’t accept My son, but you have something else that would take His place.” The answer to that, friends, is: nothing. You have nothing. There is nothing that you can offer God; there is nothing that you possess; nothing that you can do, nothing you can stand for that would cause God to accept you into His presence without the blood of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Reagan: Folks, one of the things that separates Christianity from every other religion in the World is of course the fact that Christianity is the only religion whose Founder was resurrected from the dead. But there’s another thing, and that is Christianity is the only religion in the world that teaches that your only hope of salvation is through faith and not through works. Every other religion teaches salvation by works, and there is no such thing as salvation by works. None of us can earn our way to Heaven. Our only hope is to put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That is the way that you are reconciled with God and as Jesus Himself said, “There is no other way of reconciliation” except through Jesus Christ.
So if you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to do what Don and Dennis have just said. Reach out in faith, put your faith in Jesus Christ. Admit to God that you are a sinner. Ask Him to forgive you. And then when you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you find a church in your neighborhood, a Bible believing church where you can grow in the Lord Jesus Christ, where you can stand before men and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, where you can manifest your faith in Christian baptism.
Well, folks, that’s it for this week. I hope this series of programs has been a blessing to you, and I hope you can say without hesitation, “If I die this day, I know I will go to Heaven.” Meanwhile, look up; be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.
End of Program