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I'm a Texan, born and raised. I love my God and my family (friends included as family!) My first novel was realeased December 23, 2014 and I've since finished writing my second manuscript and have begun my third. Being a successful writer has been a dream of mine for years, since I was little. I can't wait to see where God takes my first book and my future ones. I pray that it touches many hearts. For those of you who love suspense novels, good vs. evil, you may be interested!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Heaven: Why It's Not Just White Fluffy Clouds and Harps




 Written by Brooke-Lauren Montgomery

Everyone, at some point in time, has wondered about Heaven. Does it really exist? If so, what's it like? How long has Heaven existed? 

The following blog holds information that some may scoff at, but may I encourage you, if you're one who feels bitterly toward believers, The Bible, or God, keep reading. The end proposes a very important question and food for thought. :)  

I would venture to say that most people who believe there is a heaven, believe it's all white, fluffy clouds with an angel playing a harp around every corner. I'm here to tell you that it's not remotely close to what Heaven will be like.
And right now you're probably staring at the screen slack-jawed, thinking I'm a blasphemer. But wait a minute--allow me to explain myself. First off, the fact that Heaven won't be all white clouds and harps is a good thing! While that alone is beautiful imagery, it just cannot compare to what's really in store according to 1 Corinthians 2:9 and Revelation Chapters 21 & 22

Does Heaven exist? Yes! Heaven does exist. John 14:1-4 says, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."

What is Heaven Like? 
Okay, so think of the most beautiful place on this earth right now......just close your eyes and meditate on that for a good ten seconds or so.....now, that place you're thinking of can't begin to compare with what Heaven will be like. We can think or dream up the best place in the world and Heaven is MUCH better than it! That's just what's amazing--no matter what we imagine Heaven to look like, it's FAR better than whatever our minds imagine it to be!   

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "But just as it is written, 'Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.'" (NET Bible)  

This means, there will be things we'll see and know that we've never experienced before, in Heaven.  

This next section makes me just explode with overwhelming joy and anticipation!  

 Okay, so if Heaven isn't white clouds and harps, what is itJesus Christ is preparing our future home right now as you read this. When we die, we don't go to straight to Heaven but we do reside with God in the spiritual realm somewhere. But it's not yet Heaven. I know this sounds confusing, but bear with me. I'll make it more clear. When a person dies, their spirit and soul leaves the body. Our bodies are just vessels for our spirit and soul. Immediately after death, the believer's soul and spirit is present with The Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) However, since Jesus said His Father is preparing a place for us in John 14, that means Heaven isn't yet completed, for when it is, Jesus will come back for His church. Think about it! It's been over 2,000 years since Jesus walked this earth and spoke these words to His disciples and God is still preparing a place for us?! Wow, it must be ALL KINDS OF AWESOME for Him to be working on it all this time! 
The believer also won't get a new body until after everything is completed in Revelation. We won't be in pain at all nor be surrounded by sin since we'll be present with The Lord. We won't have our new and glorified bodies until Heaven is ready for us to enter. So, the soul and spirit is what's present with The Lord once a believer dies. 
What is Heaven? The Bible has many different verses that say similar things regarding our New Home. Isaiah 65:17 says, "Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore."
2 Peter 3:13 says, "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."
Isaiah 66:22 says, "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure." 
Revelation 21:1 says, "Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea."
So, God is creating a new heavens and a new earth. Heavens more than likely pertains to a new solar system, a new galaxy, new stars. The new earth will be our new Home! This world we live in right now will be destroyed by fire, according to 2 Peter 3:10- "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
Once this present earth is destroyed along with the current heavens (solar system, the sun, moon, etc.) we will be ready for our Home on the new earth (after all Revelation is complete). The new earth is Eden restored. According to Revelation 21, The New Jerusalem will be on the new Earth and God will dwell with His people and be their God. Every tear will be wiped from every believer's eyes by God Himself. 

Now, what will Heaven be like? Revelation 21 & 22, provides extraordinary accounts of it's appearance. 
Check out this passage from Revelation 21:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb 

"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."

Guys, does those seriously not AMAZE you to the core how BEAUTIFUL this sounds?? Who wouldn't want to live here?! And for all eternity??! Just read through that passage slowly again and take in every detail given! Check out the beauty below to get a mere idea!

The wall was made of Jasper:
  The city made of pure gold as pure as glass & the streets of the city, gold as pure as transparent glass:




                Jasper is foundation one:
  
  Third is Agate


 Fourth is Emerald:


 Fifth is Onyx:




Sixth is Ruby:

Seventh is Chrysolite:


Eighth is Beryl:



Ninth is Topaz:



Tenth is Turquoise:


Eleventh is Jacinth

 Twelfth is Amethyst:




The twelve gates were pearls (each gate a single pearl):





And, finally, imagine needing no sun or moon because God's Glory lights the New Earth! 
 


Revelation 22 speaks of how Eden is restored. Imagine life before the Fall of man, how Adam and Eve had it perfect. They didn't have to labor for their food. They were completely innocent to the point of not even knowing they were naked. The New Earth is the restored Eden and everything will go back to being perfect. (Now, whether or not we'll be naked, I have no clue lol). However, more than likely we will carry on, on the New Earth similarly the way we do now, but void of all sin, pain, evil, and anything negative.




We'll get to roam, like Adam and Eve once did, with the animals and they'll no longer be afraid of us. The lion will lay down with lamb, prey and predator will reside together in peace. Isaiah 11:6 says, "In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all." We'll also get to eat from The Tree of Life!

I encourage you to read the below chapter of Revelation 22. It's nothing short of amazing.


Eden Restored

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

John and the Angel 

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

Epiloque: Invitation and Warning

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.  And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen."


When I read and study about what God has in store for His children, I get SO ecstatic! 

I want to say that even for those who are on the fence of believing or flat out don't believe, can I ask you a question? What would you lose in believing or having faith that Heaven's real and that God is preparing a place for His people? Let's say you believe we go nowhere when we die. Okay, if you're right, that means we have nothing to look forward to but an eternity of non-existence. But, what if you're wrong? What if you decided to believe that God exists, that He's preparing an unimaginably beautiful place where we'll be free from every wrong thing we've done, every bondage, every addiction, every evil act done toward us and in the world, even sin, every form of pain, completely gone? What if you took that chance to believe there's a place being prepared for those who believe in Jesus Christ, that He died for the world to take away their sins? In the end, if you choose to believe, and we do spend eternity in Heaven or hell, then you've lost nothing but gained everything...OR let's say Heaven isn't real but you choose to believe even though you used to believe we go nowhere after death...what have you lost? Nothing. Even if Heaven isn't real but you believe, only to die and go nowhere, you've lost nothing at all. But what if the belief of going nowhere after death is wrong? That we either go to Heaven to live with Jesus for all eternity, or to hell with endless torture, perpetual wailing, screaming, and gnashing of teeth? What will you lose then should we really go to one of the two places, after death claims our bodies? Everything. So, friend, what would it hurt to believe? If you don't know how to believe, contact me! I would LOVE to speak with you! My email is childoftheking@suddenlink.net  

For anyone who has questions, feel 100% free to contact me!

Blessings,

~Brooke-Lauren




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