Rabbi Schneider - The Truth About Heaven
I'm excited to get into the word of God with you, because we're looking today at God's fall holy days that are spelled out for us in the Torah in the twenty third chapter of the book of Leviticus. Now let me say at the onset, we need to understand that whether we're Jewish believers in Jesus or Gentile believers in Jesus and I understand that most of you by far are Gentile believers in Jesus; these fall holy days are important for us all. A lot of times people look at these holy days and they think that they're only for the Jewish people, but God did not say that these were the Jewish holy days. He said they were, listen now, His holy days. They were His appointed days.
And Paul told us that the Old Testament, the Tanakh or the Torah was written for all of God's people today, those of us that believe in Jesus as well as for the nation of Israel, upon whom the end of the ages has come. So I want you to understand that these are not just the Jewish holidays, these are God's holy days and they have prophetic application for you whether you're a Jew or a Gentile follower of Jesus. We're looking today at what is called in Hebrew Yom Teruah. It's often times referred to as Rosh Hashanah. Rosh is a head, shana year, so Jewish people believe this was the birthday of the world, the birthday of Adam. They celebrate it as the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, head of the year. But more accurately it's translated as the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah.
So we're looking at the Feast of Trumpets and we're looking at how it applies to our lives today as followers of Yeshua, followers of Jesus. Now if you weren't able to tune in last week I really want to encourage you to go to DiscoveringtheJewishJesus.com. You can watch it online. You can go to, you can order at the end of the broadcast, really important teaching. I don't have time to review all that I covered last week, but I don't want you to miss it. Now I'm moving on today to a new platform. Last week I talked about how at Mount Sinai there was a divine shofar that blew from heaven, it blew from the heavens. It grew louder and louder and louder and when it reached a crescendo it was so powerful the people, the Israelites, more than a million of them at the base of the mountain began to tremble and shake. And then God spoke.
And so the revelation of God was preceded by the blowing of the shofar. We read as we look at the prophetic fulfillment of this, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that at Jesus' return there's gonna be a shofar that's gonna blow from heaven that's gonna announce His coming and like Moses that went up to the top of the mountain, when God appeared after the blowing of the shofar, so too the shofar will blow again. Jesus will descend just as Yahweh God descended upon Mount Sinai thirty five hundred years ago. The blowing of the shofar will announce the presence of Jesus. He will descend from heaven and then we will go up and meet Him in the air, even as Moses went to the top of the mountain and met the Lord when he appeared to them following the blowing of the shofar.
I covered that last week and I talked about the fact that God put this in His calendar for us to be reminded that Jesus is coming back for you. He's coming back soon and I need you if you didn't have an opportunity, to listen to last week's broadcast. The last thing that Jesus said in the book of Revelation was this, "I am coming quickly". Jesus is coming back soon and He wants us to live and be in such a way that we're conscious of this and that it affects the way that we're living in our lifestyle and the choices that we're making. I want to move forward now. Not only is Jesus gonna return at the blowing of the shofar, once again 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, but when He returns He's gonna usher in a completely different world.
We're first of all going to experience the Millennial Kingdom, then we're going to experience the new heavens and the new earth. And I want to talk today not in a way that I'm trying to be detailed in terms of the chronological order of how every end time events is going to unfold. But I want to tie in the reality of the return of Jesus, which is announced by the blowing of the shofar, with the concept beloved and the fact, listen now, of heaven. First of all I want you to understand that heaven, hear me now, is a real place. So I'm just speaking of Jesus return and just speaking about how Jesus return relates to end time events and perhaps the chief end time event is about the Kingdom of Heaven, we're in a brand new sphere of reality.
I want you to understand heaven is a real place. It's a fact. In other words, as a young Christian, as a young believer and by the way for any Jewish people that are watching right now, I didn't stop being a Jew when I became a Christian. I was born a Jew. Someone who's born a Jew is always a Jew. A Christian is not born a Christian. A Christian is just anyone, whether they're a Jew or a Gentile that has decided to follow the Christ and Christ is just the Greek word for the Hebrew Mashiach or Messiah. So Christ means anointed one in Greek. So as a Jew I'm just following the anointed one, which is what Christ means and the anointed one is non other than the King of the Jews, Yeshua Hamashiach. That's why when He was crucified He was crucified with a sign over His head that said Yeshua of Nazareth, get it now, King of the Jews.
So we're not talking about apples, you know we're not comparing apples to apples when people say, "Are you a Jew or a Christian". Those are two different things. One is born a Jew, it's part of your lineage and you become a Christian when you decide to follow Jesus. So I'm a Jew that's following Jesus, just like the twelve apostles were Jews that followed Jesus. Now I want you to come back with me, when I first became as a Jew a Christian, when I started following Jesus I started reading the word of God. I read about heaven. I liked to think of heaven at the time or in my early Christian life as just kind of a spiritual place you know? I didn't think of it as a place that had substance in terms of I didn't think of it as a place that I could see.
I didn't think of it as a place that had physicality to it. I thought of it only as a, get it, spiritual state. I just imagined that in heaven I would just be a spirit in the presence of God. But as I got deeper into the word of God I realized that in addition to God being spirit and me being born of a spirit and heaven being primarily a spiritual existence; I also began to see that heaven also, listen, is a real place that has physicality to it and substance, all be it not of this world, outside of our present laws of gravity and time and space, but nevertheless a real place with substance.
So think about this, in John 14:2-3 Jesus said, "I go and prepare a place for you". Let's hear what the word of God said. These are the words of Jesus. "In my Father's house," he said, "Are many dwelling," get this word now, "Places. If it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you". Get that concept again. Jesus is going to prepare a place for us. "And if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am you will also be". Some translations record this word place as mansions. "In my Father's house are many mansions".
So I want you to start to understand that even as God put us on earth and earth is a real place, we have real bodies, we can look around, we can see the trees, we can see the animals; so to heaven, church, beloved church, is a real place. We're gonna be in a place. We're gonna have bodies. They're not gonna be like these bodies, but they'll be real bodies. We're gonna be able to look around. We're gonna be able to see things. We're gonna dwell in real places so far above this world we can't even imagine, but it's a real place praise God. God made mankind to dwell in a place. Jesus also speaks about the fact that there are many places, that there's gonna be so many unique places.
In other words, I believe that the place that you're gonna be in, in heaven, is gonna be a place that's specifically designed just for you. It's gonna reflect who God made you to be. Everyone of us is unique, just like we've often heard, every snowflake is unique. I wanna press this home a little further with the book of Revelation. I'm going to Revelation now, chapter number twenty one and we read in Revelation twenty one, verse one and two that John when God took him up to heaven he sought.
So think about this, John is on the Island of Patmos. The book of Revelation is written from the island of Patmos. John had been exiled there because of his faith in Jesus and because he was boldly proclaiming the Gospel and they decided to get him away and put him on this remote island where he couldn't affect anybody anymore. So he's on this island and on the Lord's day he has a supernatural experience. He hears a trumpet blowing from heaven, just like this is the Feast of Trumpets. He's caught up now in the Spirit and he sees heaven. Listen to what he says in the book of Revelation chapter twenty one verse one and two. John says this and it's the second and third word I want you to hear. He said, "Then I saw".
There's the word right there. John says, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away. There's no longer any sea," and get it now, "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband". So you hear that John saw heaven. It wasn't just a spiritual existence where you know you're just kind of feeling something, but it's a real place. God's got a real place designed for you. Let's continue on with this study of this prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets, Jesus blowing that shofar from heaven, receiving us to Himself, eventually taking us to this new heaven and the new earth. I want to continue on.
We also see, concerning heaven, that this is a place where God is dwelling in the fullest sense. In other words, God is in heaven and man is on earth. God is here on earth, but He's not fully manifesting His glory here. God inhabits heaven and people, human beings inhabit the earth. But the place where God is gonna take us to is gonna be a place where the fullness of His presence is made manifest. In other words, we see a lot of things happening on earth that are not God. We see people being killed, children being abused. We see illness. We see people starving to death. This is not God. God is present on earth and we can walk with Him on earth, but He's not fully manifest here. But in heaven He's fully manifest.
Jesus said in terms of heaven, He said, "I'm gonna bring you to this place". And He said this, "That where I am," in John 14:3, "That where I am you may also be". Remember when Yeshua taught us to pray in Matthew chapter six, verse nine. He said, "Pray in this way". He said, "Our Father who art," get it now, "In heaven". So he said that number one, heaven is a real place and now we're saying that heaven is the place where God's presence is fully revealed and known.
Let's continue on as we try to understand this concept and this truth, this reality of heaven. Heaven is God's home, we just saw that. I want you to hear that when Yeshua came to earth, He came down to earth, get it now, from heaven. This is an awesome thing to realize, that this One that we believe in, the God of man, Christ Jesus, Yeshua Hamashiach, came to earth from heaven. Some other world religions they say they believe in Jesus, but they believe He was just a prophet at the same caliber as some of the other great prophets. But no, Jesus is not just a great prophet. He is the God man that came down from heaven. He's God clothed in humanity.
And so we read in John chapter six, verse thirty eight, these words. Yeshua is speaking here. He says, "For I have come down from heaven". Listen again. Yeshua's speaking. He said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me". Not only did Yeshua come down from heaven, but when Yeshua ascended off the earth, we read about this in Acts chapter one. As He was with the disciples at the Mount of Olives and as He was standing with them there He slowly began to arise. He was lifted off the ground by the power of God's presence. He kept going higher and higher, until He finally disappeared into the clouds. And then the angels spoke to those that were looking at Him. They said, "He is going to return in just the same way". He's gonna come back down from heaven.
Let's read about this in Acts chapter one, verse ten and eleven. "And as they were gazing intently into the sky while he was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go.'"
So once again, we saw heaven's a real place. We saw it's the place of God's presence, that's where He abides. We saw that Yeshua came down. Jesus came to earth from heaven. We saw that in Acts chapter one when He ascended off the earth He went back to heaven. Now I want to take this a bit further. This is gonna be real exciting. When you and I die, if we die before Yeshua's return; again I want to stress that God wants us to live in such a way that we're expecting Him to return before we die, but if we die before He returns, listen now, you and I will immediately go to heaven. Believers when they die, beloved, go to a place called paradise, which is the present heaven.
Now I'm gonna introduce a concept now that I know might seem foreign, but I'm gonna prove it to you in scripture. The place that believers go when they die now is called paradise. It is heaven, but it's not the final heaven. We read about the final heaven in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation. There is a difference. I'm gonna show this to you as we progress in our study. But I want to encourage you by helping you to see today in the word of God, that when you die you will immediately be in God's presence. Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord".
You remember the story when Yeshua's on the cross and there were two criminals next to Him and one of the criminals was being crucified next to Jesus realized who Jesus was. He looked to Jesus, expressed faith in Him and Jesus said to that thief, because that thief had expressed faith in Him, He said to him, "Today you will be with me in paradise". Let's look at the word of God together. Luke chapter twenty three, verse forty three. Once again, the words of Jesus. "And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.'"
Look at another scripture here, Revelation chapter two verse seven. "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God". So heaven is the place, the present heaven is called paradise. It's the place where we go when we die, if we die before Jesus' return. We asked the question now, "Well what will that be like? What will paradise be like"?
To answer that question we're gonna once again, beloved children of God, look to the word of God. Scripture itself tells us what paradise is like. We're going to the book of Revelation today. We're not gonna be able to finish this, chapter number six. In Revelation chapter number six we see John describing this place that believers go to when they die, that Jesus called paradise. I'm only going to have time to read the scripture today and to make a few introductory comments. Hear the word of God as I read Revelation six verse nine through eleven and make sure to tune into next week as we dig out the golden nuggets from this beautiful section of scripture.
Hear God's word. John is speaking. He said, "When the lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they have maintained. And they cried out with a loud voice saying, 'How long O Lord, holy one and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' And it was given to each one of them a white robe and they were told they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed had been killed, even until all God's purpose would be completed".
And so just a few concepts that we can derive about this present heaven from that short section of scripture. Number one, we see that when believers die this is where they go, because John saw the souls of those who had been murdered in his lifetime, they had been killed because of their faith and testimony of Jesus. John saw them in heaven at the altar of God and it teaches us here that when we die this is where we're gonna go. We're gonna go into God's presence. What we also see is that those that were there retain their identity of who they were on earth. They were the same ones on earth that had been martyred for their testimony. Beloved, you've gotta join me next week. When you go to heaven you're gonna be the same person that you are on earth, but transformed.