John Hagee - A Place Called Heaven
If you have your Bibles, please turn to John 14:1 through 3, as we talk today about "A place called heaven". "Newsweek" recently carried a story that very few preachers are talking about heaven because they're reticent to talk about a place that they've never seen and no one else has ever been. Read my lips, "Newsweek". That's wrong. There are people who have walked this earth that have been to heaven, and they have given us an exact description of what heaven is like. And we know exactly what heaven is like. This morning, I want to give you a guided tour of a place called heaven. And then I want to give you the chance to go there. "Newsweek" said in their survey that 75% of people feel like they're going to heaven.
I want to tell you that's wrong. The Bible says there's a Broadway that leads to destruction. It's broad because most of the people are going that way. And there's a narrow way that leads to God. I also want you to understand this: heaven has a problem. The only way you're ever going to get to heaven is die. You're not going to get out of life alive, none of you. No one ever has. That's a problem. Most people want to go to heaven for the same reason they want to go to Florida. They think their relatives are out there and the weather is good. John 14:1 and 3: "Let not your hearts 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. And 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 unto myself: that where I am, there you may be also". Let's pray:
Heavenly Father, let us see the reality of heaven, the beauty and the grandeur, and then let us prepare to go there. In Jesus' name, we pray and ask it. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.
You may be seated. Begin with this fact: that death is a certainty. All men die. The Bible says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment". Kings die. Queens die. Presidents die. The rich and the powerful die. Scholars and illiterates die, buried in the same ground, side by side. Because whether you can accept it or not, you are a very mortal creature. Do you think that you're going to heaven? If you were to die before this service ended and you stood at the judgment bar of God, what earthly reason and what scheme of logic would you use to justify God to let you into heaven? Would you say to God, "I joined a church"?
Church membership will not save you. Church membership is not bad, but it won't save you. "I gave to the poor". "I was a caring person". Hell is filled with caring people! Philanthropy will not save you. Saint Paul said, "If you give your body to be burned, God will reject the ashes if you have not received Jesus Christ". "I was a good moral man". I had a man the other day show me his fraternal ring, and he said, "I'm a good moral man". I said, "Is your other hand saved"? Fraternal orders do not make you a godly person. There is only one reason God will ever let you walk through the gates of glory, and that's because you can say, "I have been washed in the blood of Calvary's lamb. My sins have been forgiven by Jesus Christ, and I am a child of the living God". And God the Father will say, "Open the gates and let him in! He belongs to the family of God".
We all feel immortal. We all feel invincible. If I were to talk with you, most of you would feel that death is a long time off. But there's not one of you that couldn't be in your grave in 72 hours. I have a book in my library in which I record the deaths of everyone who dies. I've buried people who were hours old, six-days old, six-weeks old, six-years old, 16, 24, 35, 66. Men die at all ages. The Bible says, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow: for you know not what another day may bring forth".
You may not be here Sunday. You may be hearing the last sermon you'll ever hear this side of eternity. And when you stand before God in eternity, what are you going to say as the justification to let you in? You can put your hand over the little cardiovascular pump called your heart. It beats a hundred thousand plus times every 24 hours. And when it misses its first beat, you're in eternity forever, and forever, and forever, and forever, and forever. And ten thousand popes and a hundred million priests and two million preachers can't bring you back. You're there forever, and forever, and forever.
Years ago while I was in seminary, I went back to the high school where I had played football and was running the track, and met an old high school chum that we'd played football with, who was then playing for a southwest conference school. And I called him by name, and I said, "What are you going to do with your life"? He said, "Well, first thing, I'm going to go to college and graduate". I said, "What then"? He said, "I'm going to go to law school". I said, "What then"? He said, "After I go to law school, I intend to make lots of money". I said, "What then"? He said, "Then I'll get married". I said, "What then"? It's an easy conversation from my side. He said, "Well, I guess I'll have children". I said, "What then"? He said, "The children will grow up and leave home". Hallelujah.
"And then what"? He said, "Well, eventually, I guess I'll retire and take all the money I've made and enjoy the world as I travel the world". I said, "Then what"? He said, "Well Hagee, I guess some day I'll get around to dying". I said, "Then what"? And so I ask you today in this building and watching by national television, when you breathe your last breath, then what? Where are you going to be? I ask you, when you wake up in eternity, will you be able to look God in the face and say, "I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ," or will you say, "I gave my life for power and for pleasure and for profits," "I gave my life to drink," "I gave my life to drugs," "I gave my life to sexual, bizarre experiences"?
What are you going to tell the Lord when you stand in his presence on the Day of Judgment? Fact two, you are eternal. There was a day when you were not. But there will never be a day when you will not be. When Alexander the Great conquered the world, you were not. When the Caesars ruled Rome, you were not. When Columbus discovered America, you were not. When the founding fathers shaped "The Constitution," you were not. When the battle of the Alamo was fought, you were not. But there will never be a day from this moment forward when you will not be somewhere, because you are going to live forever and forever and forever, either in the paradise of God or in the regions of the damned.
If you breathe your last breath this week, the angels of God will escort you into the heavenlies, or demon powers will drag you into a horror chamber that the human tongue cannot express, nor can the mind grasp it. I want you to understand that hell is a real place. People, who are there, know who they are. They know where they are. They know why they're there! And without Jesus Christ, you're going there. But let me give you a guided tour through heaven, so when you see heaven, you'll be smart enough not to want to go to the place called hell, because it certainly is there. No one in their right mind wants to go there. Heaven is, first, a place. In the text that I have read, "I go to prepare a place". Say that with me, "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also".
Jesus lived in heaven. He came to earth, and he said heaven is there. I believe what Jesus said. I don't believe what "Newsweek" said. Stephen saw heaven, as he was being stoned to death. The Bible records it. "Being full of the Holy Ghost, he looked into heaven". Say that with me. "He looked into heaven". "And he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand". Continuing. And he said, listen up "Newsweek". Listen to this. "Behold I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God". He closed his eyes and he went there. He's there right now. Saint Paul saw heaven. He said, "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and I was lifted in the spirit into the third heavens".
Logic tells you if there is a third heaven, there's a heavens one and two. Wouldn't you say that's true? Heaven's number one is the heavens that you can see with your eyes, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Heavens number two is where Satan has his throne, according to job 1, Ephesians 6, and the Book of Revelation. Heavens number three is where God has his throne. John the Revelator saw heaven. And he left us a travel brochure in the Book of Revelation. He said, "It is foursquare". That means lots of things, but it means this: it's perfect. Heaven is the only perfect society you're ever going to be in. There is no perfect church, not this one, not any other one. But heaven is going to be a perfect society. It has twelve gates of solid Pearl, streets of pure gold. John says God uses fine-spun gold for asphalt.
Now that's style. I'll tell you, that's style. The foundations are 12 layers of 12 different kinds of precious stones. The first layer is a layer of diamonds. How would you like to have a house built on a layer of diamonds? And then rubies, and then a layer of sapphires, and then a layer of emeralds, and then eight other layers. Think of it. If a man on this earth had a mansion with that kind of magnificent foundation, he would have a 12-foot electric fence around it. He would have Doberman Pinschers every five yards. He'd have Kung Fu bodyguards out there keeping people out of his house. But the prince of glory, Jesus Christ, has come to this earth, and he's died at the cross: that my sins might be forgiven. And he has sent to you, and to you, and to you, and to you, and to me a royal invitation that says, "Whosoever will, let him come". "I have prepared a place for you and the half has not entered into the minds of men what I have for you". Glory to God!
People are asking, "Pastor, do people in heaven know what we're doing here on earth"? Absolutely, they do. Hebrews 12:1 says, "Wherefore we are greatly compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight... And run the race with patience that is set before us". Paul is writing in the book of Hebrews that in the heavens, there are thousands times ten thousands and thousands of thousands that are watching, from the balconies of heaven, our every move. I saw the Olympics the other day on television. And I saw them as they raced toward the finish line. And the crowds stood up and screamed for people to go, push, do everything you can to get across that finish line first. I want you to know they're doing that in heaven.
Samuel, 1 Samuel 28, Samuel was in heaven, and he knew what was going on between king Saul and Israel. In the balcony of heaven, they are cheering us on. And they're saying, "Fight the good fight of faith". They're saying, "Don't give up". They're saying, "Heaven is worth ten thousand worlds". They're saying, "Resist the devil and win". They're saying, "Run to win". I see them as they stand in the balconies of heaven with their robes of righteousness over their heads, swinging it. And they're screaming as we're running for the finish line, "Go! Go! Don't stop! Cross! Heaven is worth everything! Give it all you've got until you get there"!
Most of all, heaven is where Jesus is. It is the place of perpetual light, because Jesus is the light of that city. The virgin Mary saw Jesus Christ as a baby. The Bible says, "We shall see him as he is". Say that with me. "We shall see him as he is". The virgin Mary saw him as a baby in the manger. John the Baptist saw him as a candidate for baptism. The disciples saw him as a great teacher. The citizens of Jerusalem saw him as just another thief that had been crucified by Rome. Rome saw him as an insurrectionist too dangerous to live. But when I see him, and when you see him, "We shall see him as he is".
I will not see him as a criminal. I will see him as the conquering King of kings and the Lord of all Lords. I will see him as the lion of the tribe of Judah. I will see him as the bright and the morning star, the fairest of 10,000. I will see him as the living word and the living bread and the living water that refreshes and renews and restores. I will see him as the rock of my salvation. I will see him as the chief Cornerstone precious and elect in Zion. I will see him as the alpha and the omega, the first and the last. I will see him as Immanuel, God with us. I will see my Savior and my God, the beginning from the end! Bless his holy name! There is none like him, not in the heavens above, nor in this world, or the worlds beneath. He is the mighty God and there is none liken unto him!
This is a time of trouble. This is a time of tension and turmoil and trial. But I want you to know that heaven is a place that God has prepared for us where the sob has been changed to the shout of joy. There is no crying. There is no parting. There is no death. There is no suffering. There is no disease. There are no cancer wards. There is no heart disease. There are no wheelchairs fixed with twisted bodies. There are no oxygen masks. There are no hospital halls filled with the sounds of the sobbing and the groans of the dying. Heaven is a place where the deaf hear. Heaven is a place where the blind see. Heaven is a place where the lame leap with glory. Heaven is a place where the asthmatic runs like the Olympian, never being short of breath. Heaven is the place of joy. Heaven is the place of shouting and singing. Heaven is a place of peace. Heaven is a place where Jesus is. Heaven is a place you've been invited, and I want you to go, in Jesus' name!
Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the world, and loses his soul"? Only Jesus could ask that question, because only Jesus knows the wealth of the world and the wealth of the soul. God the Father, Jesus Christ the son, and the Holy Spirit, in the Genesis, created the earth. Jesus Christ knew where the last diamond mine was going to be found. He knew where the last ounce of gold was going to be mined. He knew where the last ruby would be located. He knew where the last drop of oil was going to be drained from the ground. And he calculated that all as the master CPA of heaven! And he said, this is what the world is worth. And he said, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the world, and loses his soul"? He has been the prince of fools!
And so I'm saying to you today straight from the mouth of the living Lord himself, if you give your soul in exchange for this world, as a financial investor, you have been the living moron of the ages. Some of you are giving your life to get a gold watch from some insurance company. Give your life to Jesus, because he that loses his life shall find it. And when you stand inside the glory world, he will give you ten thousand times ten thousand, all that this world could contain! Then Jesus says that heaven is so concerned over the lost. In Luke 15:7, Jesus said, "I say unto you... Joy shall be in heaven".
And this is talking about the redeemed, joy among the redeemed, joy among your relatives that have already gone to be with the Lord. Do you want your sainted mother, your precious father, your son, your daughter that has died and gone to heaven before you to shout for joy today? I'll tell you how to do it. Walk the aisle, confess your sin. Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and then turn your ear toward the heavenlies and listen to the hallelujah jamboree break out on the hills of glory! They'll be shouting on the hills of glory when you receive Jesus Christ! He is the answer for your life! You mean I'm going to have a physical body in heaven? You can count on it. It's going to be a supernatural body, a perfect body. Where do you get that?
The Bible says in Luke 24:39, Jesus speaking, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones", say that with me, "For a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have". On the resurrection morning, I'm going to have a new body! Thank God! Lord, I need one now. And you do too. Heaven is going to be a place of eating. I just had to put that in there. Jesus said in Luke 24: he said to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee after his resurrection, "Do you have any meat"? "And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb. And he took it, and he ate it before them".
I want you to hear this. A ghost does not eat fish and leave crumbs! In our resurrected body, we're going to have a never-dying body, a disease-free body, a perfect body, a glorified body. I ask you: does this look like a glorified body? No, it doesn't. But when we get there, we're going to the marriage supper of the lamb, according to Revelation 19:9. What is that? The marriage supper of the lamb is a seven-year Jewish fiesta. We're going to be receiving crowns, five kinds of them: the crown of life, the victor's crown, the martyr's crown, the soul-winner's crown, and the elder's crown. You'll be able to look at a man's crown in heaven and tell what he did and how well he did it. Robes of righteousness.
And then in heaven, there are going to be two surprises that I think is the reason for the 30 minutes of silence. The two surprises are going to be this: those who made it. Look! Look who got in here! And then, "Look at him! He's in here too! And look at her! I never thought she'd be here! There she is! Is this the right group"? The second surprise will be those that didn't make it. "Dr. Super Doc's not here! I saw him every week on television". The Bible says, "Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not done signs and wonders in your name? Have we not done miracles? Have we not cast out demons"? Say it with me. "And Jesus will say unto them, depart from me, workers of iniquity, I never knew you".
When you walk down Jerusalem's main boulevard, Revelation 22:2 says there will be fruit trees on the side, 12 different kinds, each bearing fruit in its season. And from it, the nations of the world will eat it and be well. I'm telling you the cure to cancer is what grows from trees. John says that. That's what's going to happen if you die this week and you're saved. What happens if you're going home today and you hear the sound of the trumpet, and the Eastern sky begins to glow with the brilliance of a thousand suns? And suddenly those who are in your car, who are saved and redeemed by the blood of the lamb, disappear? Swoosh. And your car goes off into the ditch with the motor still running. Whoever finds my car is going to get a hump of junk, I'll tell you that.
And you look, and planes will be falling out of the sky flown by Christian pilots. Don't dare fly with a Christian pilot. You're not saved. Homes all over San Antonio will have the meal. The roast beef will be sizzling, but those who are around the table have vanished for the marriage supper of the lamb! They've gone to the banquet in the heavenlies prepared by Jesus Christ, The Arch of the Ages. CNN will be out in the cemeteries looking at gravestones that are toppled over, looking at massive mausoleums that have been ruptured and split, because their contents have gone to the mansions on high prepared by God himself.
Telephone lines will be jammed as people all over this city and all over the world start looking for their missing relatives. The headlines on the San Antonio news will say, "Millions are missing. The church of Jesus Christ has been raptured". In this church is going to be the biggest prayer meeting you ever attending in all of your life. People are going to be here crying out to God, because they know they've missed the coming of the Son of Man. You'll be walking through this door and say, "That preacher was right. They left"!
I've got good news for you. We're not coming back either. People will be crying out to the Lord, knowing then that the only way of salvation is to allow the antichrist to cut your head off in the Great Tribulation. And I tell you, it's a lot easier to walk this aisle today and receive Jesus than to miss the coming of the Son of Man, and put your head on a chopping block and let somebody cut it off. I am setting before you life and death. I'm setting before you the prince of glory and the prince of darkness. I am describing for you heaven and its beauty, and the horror of hell. And I'm asking you plainly to choose Jesus. He is the answer. Heaven is a place. There are real people there. I'm going there. You're invited to be there, but you can't go with sin in your life. And I'm asking you today to do something about that, in the name of Jesus, and through the power of the blood of the cross, in Jesus' name. Can we stand?