Lesson #2 - ZionSeries: One Word
LESSON #2 – ZION
(Heaven - pt.2)
Intro: In the New Testament the language of Scripture often appears to be conflated regarding the subject of heaven.
There’s not always a clear distinction between some form of heaven (here & now) and the heavenly abode of the afterlife.
In other words, various Biblical citations convey the idea that HEAVEN is connected with life in the New Covenant realm.
1) What is meant by the kingdom of heaven?
The first words out of the mouth of John the baptizer are: repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt.3:2).
Likewise, Jesus preached the same - - repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt.4:17).
Ditto for the teaching of twelve apostles (Mt.10:7).
All three of the above texts declare the “at handedness/nearness” of the kingdom OF HEAVEN.
For John, Jesus and The Twelve, heaven was not just a “place” reserved for the sweet by and by.
Neither was it relegated to some far distant aspiration that existed only beyond the grave.
The terms “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” are used interchangeably in the New Testament.
The term, the kingdom of heaven, is used by Jesus some 30+ times in Matthew’s gospel alone.
Jesus speaks often of the kingdom of heaven in his parables. cf. Mt.13:24, 31 & 33; 20:1; 22:1 and 25:1
In Lk.17:21, Jesus tells His disciples, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
2) What is being taught in the following passages?
The Old Covenant (the earthy tent) is contrasted with the New Covenant (a house not made with hands).
This New Covenant realm (the city…whose architect and builder is God) was that to which Abraham aspired (Heb.11:10).
In Paul’s allegory in Gal.4:26, the Jerusalem above is a term describing the New Covenant.
In writing to first-century saints, Paul, urged them to not grow weary and lose heart (vs.3).
The last days of Israel represent a shaking of heaven & earth (vs.26). In place of the Old Covenant would come the New.
With the soon-to-be destruction of Jerusalem, these early saints stood on the precipice of the new and living way (11:20).
Thus we read: you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…
the church of the first born who are enrolled in heaven…to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant (vss.22-24).
Therefore since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude… (vs.28).
Here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come (13:14).
The book of revelation is God’s divorce decree against an apostate Jerusalem (Judaism).
The entire book of Revelation was written concerning things which must shortly take place (1:1 & 3 and 22:6 & 10)
The great city being judged (Jerusalem) is compared to Sodom & Egypt (11:8) and Babylon (17:5-6 & 18:2).
With the wrath and judgment of God, the old Jerusalem is destroyed, but in her place God brings a new Jerusalem (21:2).
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away…And I saw the holy city,
the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard
a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men and He shall dwell among them…’
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.