Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. - 1 John 4:1

Is heaven a real place?

By Paul Bawden

According to former Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, heaven is a fantasy. Here are some of his comments in a recent interview.

“Except in some fantasy. When people talk about, ‘I will see them again in Heaven,’ it sounds so good, but the reality is that we won’t see each other again after we’re gone,” he added. “That’s the sad part. I know people feel comfortable with death, but I don’t.” He continued that he’s not looking forward to dying because he will miss “everything.”

Is Arnold right? Is heaven a fantasy, the figment of someone’s imagination? It depends on who you want to believe. One can believe what Arnold believes and there are others who may have some of the same opinions. Or a person can believe the One who said that He came down from heaven, namely, Jesus Christ (John 6:38). Then He died on the cross, was buried, and conquered the grave bodily, and after 40 days later He returned to heaven, and He is coming again in His time (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus Christ, the God-man’s famous eternal words ring down through time, “ Do not let your heart be troubled;  believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  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” (John 14:1-2).

According to Jesus Christ, heaven is a real place, a home He is preparing for individuals who accept Him as personal Savior. Believers, in their spirits, will go there after this life and be with Him forever. In fact, from other Scriptures, believers will receive a new body like the Lord’s glorious, resurrected body when He returns (Philippians 3:20-21; I John 3:1-3). Believers alive at Christ’s return will go to be with Him as well with new bodies (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

This means in heaven all believers will recognize and know each other as they did while on planet earth – but there will be no pain, tears, sickness, sin, and death. Any kind of disability will be completely healed. And that’s not fantasy! That’s for real!! (Revelation 21:3-4). Sure, one can deny these words, but that doesn’t do away with the reality of them being true!

On this month when we honor fathers, I know that the word, father, is being challenged today as to its reality. Interestingly, those, who don’t want to accept who a father is, are really living in a fantasy world as well. The reality of true earthly fatherhood is a Dad married to his wife who has children. Dad, thanks for living a life of reality, and I trust that your faith is in the Lord Jesus, so you know that your life is anchored in Him in this life and the next. It’s been said that one who is prepared to die is prepared to live.

We honor you today, fathers, and all those single moms who are being Dads to their children as well! God bless you richly! And by the way, Arnold, take some time to consider who Jesus is and what He has done for you in the Gospel of John. Remember, He loves you! He loves all of us and wants to be our Savior, Friend, and Hope! As Goethe said, “Choose well, your choice is brief and yet endless.”

Paul Bawden is married and served in the full-time pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011, after which he and his wife served in four interims, three in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He is also a volunteer writer for Paul likes to write, read, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.


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