Editor's note: This column is part one in an ongoing series about the biblical end of days and the book of Revelation. “The End Times” will be continued next week.
There are many interpretations of what happens at the end of time. I'll try to be accurate throughout the series, quoting scripture because it's important to show the source of my interpretation.
One thing to keep in mind is, when we approach revelation, the first three chapters are happening on Earth. From Revelations 4 on through the rest of the book, the scene changes to the heavenly throne room in the angelic world. You will learn plenty more about the angelic world and throne room as the articles in the series progress.
It's important to know the language of Revelation is mostly figurative, not literal. It's good to know the book of Revelation is not chronological, but is more a series of parallel descriptions of Christian history leading up to the end of time.
There are several ways the word “heaven” is used in the Bible. We'll focus on two of them.
One way the word is used is to describe God's throne room. This is where our disembodied spirits go when we die. This can be called “the angelic heaven.” This is an invisible or spiritual place. It is here that God makes himself visible to the angels at all times. This is not God's pure essence, but a form fabricated out of nothing to make his presence visible to the angels. He is seated on a throne and they worship him. This place is where our souls will rest until the second coming of Christ. But we will not live there forever. It's a temporary stay for us.
The other heaven to which we will deal with in this article is our final, future home. This heaven does not yet exist. This is the place Jesus promised when he said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:3). It is the new universe including a new earth where we will dwell forever.
John tells us in Revelation 21:1- 2, “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” Strangely, I don't know of any place in the Bible that refers to the new heavens and new earth as “heaven.” The “new heavens will be the new sky above us as we look up at it from our dwelling place on the new earth.”
Regarding this new heaven, we will not go there as soon as we die, but will eventually get there to live there forever.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children's Ranch for nearly 40 years. He's a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to email@example.com.