The ‘Intermediate Heaven’

May 22, 2007 — 3 Comments

Recent teachings on ‘Act 6’ of the Biblical Drama have looked at the themes around “New Creation.”  We’ve approached tough questions about heaven and hell and living in light of eternity.  For many of us, our understanding of Heaven  has been shrunken and ill-informed.  One of the biggest misconceptions is about the state of the believer immediately after death and the fact that this is not the final state – which is resurrection on a renewed earth.  We don’t know a whole lot about this “intermediate state,” except from scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 5, Philippians 1, and the “paradise today” promised to the thief on the cross.  (Luke 23:43)

Randy Alcorn has a voluminous website and several books on the theology of Heaven.  One article that summarizes the concept of “intermediate Heaven” in very similar terms is linked here. Check out the whole Heaven section of the website (Eternal Perspective Ministries) to go as detailed as you want to go into the nature of heaven.  I believe it is for the most part, great stuff!  The sermon on May 27 will delve more into the nature of the Renewed Earth – the Eternal State.

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3 responses to The ‘Intermediate Heaven’

  1. 
    Jamie Italiane-DeCubellis May 28, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    How does the “Resurrection Body” work? My husband, who was raised catholic, was taught that you should not be cremated, as there would be no body to be resurected. What about organ donation, which follows that same idea? Christ’s body showed the scars from his crucifiction.

  2. 

    Jamie,
    Many Christian groups including the Eastern Orthodox have taught against cremation, not from the standpoint of not having a body – as all the elements are technically still in the universe and an embalmed body still decays, except for bones. Rather the point centers around the RESPECT for the body. Many feel that burial of the whole body shows greater respect for the body that will one day be resurrected. Those who affirm cremation would emphasize that God is not limited in resurrecting any body regardless of how intact it may be. Obviously, some who die in war or fire, etc. will not be able to even have this choice. “Ashes to ashes…dust to dust.” I don’t believe that organ donation is taught against by any biblical teaching or by the majority of churches.
    I personally do not have a strong conviction about this and have counseled folks to not hesitate re: cremation.
    Lyle

  3. 

    Hi Lyle,
    I read 2 Corinthians 5 and Phillipians 1, but cannot find or perhaps understand any reference to the “intermediate” heaven in Scripture. There are several places in the Bible that compare death to “rest” or to “sleep”, as if there is no consciousness at all…. Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10 “the dead know nothing”, Thesalonians 4 13-15 , and even Jesus speaks of Lazarus as being at rest / asleep John 11. So I was wondering if there are any additional verses that reference the state of the dead? The final state on a paradise earth is clear, but what until then?? Looking forward to the rest of the story next Sunday :o) Robin

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