Rabbi Schneider - What Is Heaven Really Like?
The blowing of the shofar announces the return of Jesus. In the previous broadcast I showed you the foundation of this and why the blowing of the shofar announces the return of Jesus, why God appeared to Israel thirty five hundred years ago at Mount Sinai and announced His appearance with the blowing of a shofar. And why when Israel celebrates this feast every year today, they are to be reminded of the fact that God is going to appear again to the entire world when shofars are blown in every synagogue all over the world, even up to this day on the first day of the seventh month of Tishrei in God's holy calendar.
Now I know that some of you aren't familiar with the Hebrew month of Tishrei, sufficed to say that God's got a holy calendar that He outlines for us in the book of Leviticus chapter twenty three. And it's for Christians, followers of Jesus, whether you're a Gentile or a Jew. I want to move forward now. When Jesus returns everything is gonna change. And as we think about the return of Jesus we think about how things are gonna change and I don't want to get into some of the specifics today of the timing of the Millennial Kingdom, et cetera, et cetera. I simply want to take the return of Jesus and use that as a launching pad to consider today, beloved ones, the reality, get it now, of heaven.
Some of us like the thought of heaven. Some of us are wishing there's a heaven. I'm here today to tell the church of God and those that have not yet put their faith in Yeshua, that heaven is a real place. It's not a figment of somebody's imagination. It's not wishful thinking. It's not even just existing in some type of spiritual utopia, although it is. Heaven is also a place. Jesus said, "I go and prepare a place for you". In the book of Revelation, we read in chapter number six a little bit about what the present heaven that Jesus called paradise looks like. John was on the island of Patmos. He was brought up to see what today is described as paradise, the place that believers go to when they die.
So I'm gonna pick up now, which is where I left off last week, by reading Revelation chapter six, verse nine through eleven, which tells us once again a little bit about what the present heaven or paradise looks like. What is the place that you will go to when you die if you're a believer today, if Jesus has not yet returned. Let's read. "When the lamb broke the fifth seal I saw underneath the altar the souls of those that had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they maintained. And they cried out with a loud voice saying, 'How long O Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'"
And there was given to each one of them a white robe and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. It seems at first glance that we can't find out a lot about this heaven that we're gonna go to if we die before Jesus returns. But actually there's a number of significant clues here that will help us to understand. First of all, to make a point that I've already made, we learn from this verse of scripture that I just read, that those people that were alive during the apostle of John's life time that had lost their life because of their testimony in Jesus.
In other words, they were boldly proclaiming Jesus and were put to death because of it. What happened to them when they died is they didn't just wait in the grave. They weren't just sleeping after they died, but John tells us they went up into this heaven, this paradise and were there waiting under the altar of God. So the first thing I simply want to have you see is that when you die, if you're a believer in Jesus, you're gonna go to be with God. Jesus said to the thief on the cross, because he put his faith in Him, today He said to him, "You'll be with me in paradise". You don't have to be afraid of dying. When you die if you know Jesus you're gonna instantly go to paradise, you're gonna go to this heaven we spoke of. But I want to show you some other things that you may not have thought of.
These believers that lost their lives because of their testimony, because of their witness for Jesus, that went to this paradise, this first heaven; listen what happened. They retain, get it now, they retain their identity of who they were on earth. In other words, they didn't go to heaven and suddenly they're experience in heaven was totally disconnected from who they were on earth. They were in heaven, but they remembered who they were on earth. They said, "How long O Lord will it be before you avenge our blood on those that killed us on the earth"?
The person that you're gonna be in heaven is connected to who you are on earth. It's not a total disconnect. You're gonna retain your identity, your personal history. Your experience on earth will be remembered in heaven. You're not gonna all of a sudden lose your identity. It's important to understand that. That's why every single thing that you do on earth matters. Jesus said, we're gonna see in a second, that even a cup of cold water given to one of His disciples while you're on earth means something. And so I want you to understand that. You're not gonna become someone totally different. You're gonna be transformed. You're gonna be changed. You're gonna be glorified. You're gonna be given a new body, but you're still gonna be the same person.
I want you to also see that in heaven we're gonna be able, get it now, to express our self directly to God and He's gonna answer there. Paul said, "Now we know in part, but then we'll know in full". Notice that these that were in paradise that we're reading about in Revelation six, they called out to God. They expressed themselves to God. They had free access to God and God answered them. He said, "A little while longer. There's still others that are on earth that are gonna be killed for their faith and I need to wait until My whole plan is completed before I avenge your blood".
So in heaven we're gonna freely express our self to God and the Lord will directly answer us, full disclosure, full relationship there. I want you to also understand a very precious portion of this section of scripture that we just read. There are many martyrs in heaven; many of them, not just one, but many. But notice here that they cried out. It says, "And they cried out with a loud," get this now, "Voice," singular. Even though there were many they cried out, get it church, with one voice. They cried out with one voice, singular. Not with many different voices, but one voice. And what I love about this it conveys to us the unity that we will experience in heaven.
Just pause and think about this. How much pain do each one of us experience on earth because of disunity, not getting along with our roommate, not getting along with our husband or wife, not getting along with our children, not getting along with our co-workers or our employers, not getting along with our neighbors? How much pain has grieved the human heart because of disunity? But in heaven there's going to be complete unity church, complete harmony. That alone makes heaven, I mean there's so much more to it, but just the fact that everyone's gonna get along, everyone's gonna be in unity, everyone's gonna be bonded by peace and love. It's gonna be so, so, very beautiful. They also remember their lives on earth. They thought about what happened to them there.
You're gonna remember, beloved, everything that you experienced on earth, all the good things. God's gonna wipe every tear from your eyes. No more sorrow, suffering, or pain, but you're gonna remember everything on earth that was beautiful and precious. Finally I want to point out two last points and that is this, that there was a strong sense of justice that they had. They said, "Lord when are you going to avenge our blood on those that killed us"?
Now we were taught to turn the other cheek, to forgive those who have wronged us, but some how in heaven God is gonna deal out retribution upon those that have not repented and didn't turn to Him. And everything, get it now, that has been wrong is gonna be made right. They said, "How long O Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth"? There's a place. The Lord says, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay".
I want you to understand, no one's gonna get away with anything. Yes, those that have turned their life over to Jesus their sins will be covered. Praise God for that. But those that have not repented, those that have not said I'm sorry, those that have not humbled themselves, those that have not gotten right with the Lord, beloved they will pay for every sin they've committed. God's gonna make every wrong right. He is in addition to being a God of mercy, church, He's a God, get it now, of justice.
And lastly today I want you to see in the eleventh verse, there's gonna be a reward. "And there was given to each one of them a white robe and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer". Each one was given a white robe. There's gonna be a personal reward to every single child of God given. You're gonna be rewarded. You need to understand this. Jesus said, "Behold I come quickly". Revelation 22:12, "Behold I'm coming quickly and my reward," get that now, "My reward is with me to render to every man according to what he's done".
You're gonna be rewarded. This is an important theme and concept to have in your heart. What you do for the Lord matters. You're gonna be rewarded for every sacrifice you make, for every act of love and obedience that you showed the Lord, you're gonna be rewarded for. In fact God wants us to live righteous lives and He motivates us by helping us to understand that we will be rewarded for the choices that we make.
I want you to consider this very important concept, people that are in hell, they cannot do good. The only thing people in hell can do, get it now, is curse. Jesus described hell as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. In hell you can't do good, you can't praise God, you can't show compassion, you can't love, there is no peace. In heaven you can do no wrong, because there is nothing that will be able to get into heaven that can defile it. In heaven the only thing that you'll be able to do, it's gonna be so effortless, it's so natural you can't do anything else; the only thing you'll be able to do in heaven is praise God, love, serve, all those things that are the fruit of the spirit.
That's all that's gonna be there. You won't even have a choice. It's just gonna be who you are. It's gonna be your nature. But right now, beloved one, listen, right now on earth you and I we have a choice. There's no choice in hell, all you can do is curse. No choice in heaven, all you can do is praise and love. But here in between on earth we have a choice. Every day we have a choice between life and death, between hate and love. Every day we're making choices and we're building up for our self treasures in heaven just as Jesus taught, when we choose love, when we choose Him, when we choose truth. We're building up for our self treasures in heaven when moth and rust don't destroy and when thieves don't break in and where thieves don't break in and steal.
You need to understand everything that you're doing, every thought, every word, every action that you're doing on earth right now, it all matters, it all counts. Jesus even said that every word spoken we're going to give an account for. Matthew 16:27 Jesus said, "For the son of man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels and will then repay every man according to his deeds". Matthew 10:42, "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones, even a cup of cold water to drink. Truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward".
Now before we move on to our final section of this message I want to read for you a very important portion of the word of God. I'm going to the book of 1 Corinthians chapter three, verse eleven through fifteen. Pay attention. "For no man," Paul was speaking, "Can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire. And the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire".
What the word of God is teaching here is that salvation is a free gift of grace. That thief on the cross that was crucified next to Jesus had no good works, but he put his heart and his faith in Jesus. He sunk teeth of faith into Jesus and Jesus said to him, although the man had no good works, Jesus said to him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise". That man was saved, but he had no good works. What this scripture is teaching that I just read, is that the only foundation that saves us is faith in Jesus Christ, but once we put our faith in Him we then have an opportunity to build in our relationship with Him. We have an opportunity to build on that foundation of our faith in Him.
Some men Paul teaches, build on their relationship with Jesus with gold and silver and precious stones. And what happens Paul says, is that when the day of the Lord comes there's gonna be fire and God is gonna test every man's work and those that live lives loving Jesus, doing good, serving, doing good and loving people, making sacrifices for the sake of the Kingdom, they are gonna be rewarded. Paul also teaches here that other people are gonna waste their lives. They put their faith in Jesus, but they didn't build on the foundation with anything that matters. Paul says they built with wood and hay and straw and stubble. Paul says what's gonna happen is they'll still be saved, but nothings gonna go with them into heaven. Their works will be burned up, because their life is gonna have been revealed at the coming of Jesus glory with fire to be worthless. They wasted their lives. They didn't use their talents to serve Him. They didn't use their talent to serve His people. They didn't use their finances to build the Kingdom.
Paul says, "Yeah they'll go to heaven". "But they're gonna suffer loss there," Paul said. He said, "If any man's work which he has built on it remains he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved. Yet so is through fire". Yeah the person will be saved and in heaven, but they're gonna have suffered loss. There's gonna be something about it that's grieving. They'll be there, but they'll have suffered loss and they'll have no beautiful works that will shine like the stars forever and ever in their eternal state.
So I conclude today by saying you have a choice. You have a choice. We're gonna meet Jesus. We're gonna go to this paradise if we die before He comes. If we live until His return we're gonna go to a place eventually along with all believers, called the new heavens and the new earth. God tells us about it in Revelation chapter number twenty one, verse ten and eleven. He says this, "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God".
A new heavens and a new earth, paradise for those of us that die before Jesus comes. The new heavens and the new earth described in Revelation twenty one and twenty two for all believers at the end of the millennial age. Wouldn't it be ridiculous to only lead our lives for what is here and now, the things of the world that are passing away, rather than building for the future? Jesus said, "Build up for yourselves treasures in the Kingdom of Heaven where moth and rust don't destroy and thieves don't break in and steal".
I want to encourage you today, the Feast of Trumpets is to remind us that Jesus is coming back. Heaven is a real place. Jesus is gonna reward us and He wants to wake us up. He wants to shake us up. Arise O sleeper, because Jesus is coming back for you. He's gonna reward every man according to what He's done and He's gonna take us to heaven to shine like the stars for ever and ever if we'll lead our lives for Him on this earth now. I want you to put your hand over your heart right now and say, "Jesus is coming back for me. Father God, King Jesus, I'll be meeting you very soon".