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Heaven Hardcover – October 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
According to Alcorn (The Treasure Principle; Deadline; Safely Home), the subject of heaven rates as one of the least accurately discussed subjects in the whole of Christendom. Even seminarians fail to give appropriate time and attention to heaven as described throughout the Bible because other themes take pre-eminence both chronologically and preferentially. Alcorn is likewise astounded that the majority of Christians who do take time to consider heaven often possess faulty, nonbiblical assumptions, one of the most common being the misconception of heaven as a place of unending church services. The author, who is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), has spent years studying what the Bible says about heaven, and in this compelling and comprehensive resource, he offers every conceivable question about heaven, or the "New Earth," as a Christian believer's ultimate destination. Alcorn answers the expected queries on heavenly life as well as quirkier ones: will Christians drink coffee in heaven? Will there be homeownership, and what about sex? Will our pets be in heaven? Evangelical scholars and laypersons alike will appreciate Alcorn's expansive—though perhaps long-winded—musings on this neglected subject, a real boon in a time when many people are eager to understand what happens after death.
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From the Inside Flap
Have you ever wondered . . .
What is Heaven really going to be like?
What will we look like?
What will we do every day?
Won't Heaven get boring after a while?
We all have questions about what Heaven will be like, and after twenty-five years of extensive research, Dr. Randy Alcorn has the answers.
In the most comprehensive and definitive book on Heaven to date, Randy invites you to picture Heaven the way Scripture describes it-a bright, vibrant, and physical New Earth, free from sin, suffering, and death, and brimming with Christ's presence, wondrous natural beauty, and the richness of human culture as God intended it.
God has put eternity in our hearts. Now, Randy Alcorn brings eternity to light in a way that will surprise you, spark your imagination, and change how you live today.
If you've always thought of Heaven as a realm of disembodied spirits, clouds, and eternal harp strumming, you're in for a wonderful surprise.
This is a book about real people with real bodies enjoying close relationships with God and each other, eating, drinking, working, playing, traveling, worshiping, and discovering on a New Earth. Earth as God created it. Earth as he intended it to be.
And the next time you hear someone say, "We can't begin to imagine what Heaven will be like," you will be able to tell them, ""I can.""
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Top customer reviews
Alcorn has done his research on this topic, having read 150 books on Heaven. He quotes liberally from many of those books.
He writes that in our seminaries, churches, and families, we have given “little attention to the place where we will live forever with Christ and his people—the New Earth, in the new universe”. The eternal Heaven is the central subject of this book.
Alcorn believes the book will stand up to biblical scrutiny. But right up front, he invites the reader to contact him if they have biblical grounds for disagreeing with anything in this book. He is open to correction and mentions that the revised edition of the book contains a number of changes he made based on input from readers of the first edition.
The book is organized as follows:
Part 1: In “A Theology of Heaven,” he explains the difference between the present Heaven (where Christians go when they die) and the ultimate, eternal Heaven (where God will dwell with his people on the New Earth).
Part 2: In “Questions and Answers about Heaven,” he addresses specific questions about life on the New Earth that arise out of the foundational teachings in Part 1. Part 3: In “Living in Light of Heaven,” he encourages the reader to let the doctrine of Heaven transform us and fill us with joyful anticipation.
He also includes the following:
1. Appendix A: Christoplatonism’s False Assumptions
2. Appendix B: Literal and Figurative Interpretation
3. Selected Bibliography
Alcorn writes that most people do not find their joy in Christ and Heaven. Instead, he states, many people find no joy at all when they think about Heaven. They assume that they will be bored, playing a harp on the clouds all day long. He writes that many Christians who’ve gone to church all their adult lives (especially those under fifty) can’t recall having heard a single sermon on Heaven.
Alcorn states that nearly every notion of Heaven he presents in this book was stimulated and reinforced by biblical texts. As you talk to others about Heaven as you read this book, they will probably ask “Where did he get that?” Alcorn helpfully lists scripture references throughout the book as he teaches about Heaven. He also states that we should ask God’s help to remove the blinders of our preconceived ideas about Heaven so we can understand what Scripture actually teaches about it.
Alcorn writes that when a believer dies, he or she enters into what is referred to in theology as the intermediate state. This is a transitional period between our past lives on Earth and our future resurrection to life on the New Earth. The intermediate or present Heaven is not our final destination. Rather, we will live with Christ and each other forever, not in the intermediate, or present, Heaven, but on the New Earth, where God will be at home with his people. In the book, when referring to the place believers go after death, Alcorn uses terms such as the present Heaven or the intermediate Heaven. He refers to the eternal state as the eternal Heaven or the New Earth.
Alcorn states that the problem is not that the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Heaven. It’s that we don’t pay attention to what it does tell us. He states that we were all made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place.
I found this to be a fascinating book, covering many aspects of Heaven that I had not previously thought of.
MA Christian Apologetics
(P.S. I do not agree with Alcorn's view that no animal death occurred before the fall of Adam & Eve, but this is a minor point to the whole book.)
He organizes all the subject matter to give you a full and complete view of what the Bible tells you about Heaven and the Earth's relationship to it that most commentators totally miss. The only reason I give Randy 4 stars and not 5 is because he does not seem to understand Israel role or necessity to have its Kingdom Restored under the Messiah before the "8th Day" or the Eternal Bliss of Heaven completely begins.
There are many clues in Scripture especially in Isaiah and in the book of Revelation that during the seven year period [the last of the 490 judgment] Israel will play a key role in evangelizing the earth that includes all nations. Reading the Revelation of Jesus Christ it is clear that it begins with 12000 faithful Jews from each of the 12 tribes of Israel or 144,000 in all that will win, on the behalf of the Messiah, 10's of thousands and millions of Gentiles to the Lord under a new dispensation economy. See Revelation 7 and chapter 14, The woman of Revelation 12 is identified by an iconic woman who is a composite of Rebecca, mother of Joseph and Miriam, the mother of Yeshua. We know this with certainty because the icons of 11 stars with the sun and the moon are first used by Joseph in his dream of exaltation. The stars were his brothers, the future headship of each tribe, the sun was Jacob, his father, and the moon, Rebecca, his mother; together they became the future generation of Israel. When Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit she was a Torah observant keeping Jew not a Christian. The point of Revelation 12 is that the Devil is at war with the people from which Messiah has come to take away his reign on Earth; that would be the Jews of Israel waiting for Messiah to rule over all the nations in peace NOT the church which will be in Heaven above at that time. And I admit I could be reading Randy wrong due to the many different views on this subject but his analysis of Heaven after the 1000 years is as perfect as I have ever seen.