1. THE ORIGINAL ESTATE
a. What did God prepare for the crowning work of His creation—and why? Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 45:18; 43:7.
“Above all lower orders of being, God designed that man, the crowning work of His creation, should express His thought and reveal His glory. But man is not to exalt himself as God.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 415.
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 24.
b. Describe what came as a result of rebellion (Genesis 3:9–14) against God’s original purpose? Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23.
c. Why did man continue living after his sin—and what is involved in the plan of redemption? Luke 19:10; Revelation 13:8 (last part); Micah 4:8.
“[Christ] was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 210.
2. THE THIRD HEAVEN
a. How many heavens exist? 2 Corinthians 12:2 (last part). Describe the first one. Genesis 1:6–8; 6:7.
b. What is in the second heaven? Genesis 15:5; Psalm 8:3; Deuteronomy 4:19.
c. Where is the place that God is taking His people—and who dwells there? 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4; Revelation 2:7; 22:1, 2; 1 Kings 8:30.
“A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father’s house. Those who accept the teachings of God’s word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet, ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ 1 Corinthians 2:9. Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.
“In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called ‘a country’. Hebrews 11:14–16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 674, 675.
d. What work is Jesus doing in that place? Hebrews 8:1; 9:27; 1 Timothy 2:5.
“The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.”—Ibid., p. 489.
“The intercession of Christ in our behalf is that of presenting His divine merits in the offering of Himself to the Father as our substitute and surety; for He ascended up on high to make an atonement for our transgressions.”—Faith and Works, p. 105.
3. THE NEW EARTH
a. Did Jesus promise us a real place—and where will we go if we are found faithful? John 14:1–3; Matthew 5:12.
b. What brings the greatest joy in life—and what was the hope of our faithful forefathers? Luke 10:20; Hebrews 11:13–16.
“There is perfect order and harmony in the Holy City. All the angels that are commissioned to visit the earth hold a golden card, which they present to the angels at the gates of the city as they pass in and out. Heaven is a good place.”—Early Writings, p. 39.
c. How long will we spend in the new earth? Matthew 5:5; Romans 4:13.
“The word of God had not failed; neither did it meet its final accomplishment in the occupation of Canaan by the Jewish people. ‘To Abraham and his seed were the promises made.’ Galatians 3:16. Abraham himself was to share the inheritance. The fulfillment of God’s promise may seem to be long delayed—for ‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (2 Peter 3:8); it may appear to tarry; but at the appointed time ‘it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ Habakkuk 2:3. The gift to Abraham and his seed included not merely the land of Canaan, but the whole earth. So says the apostle, ‘The promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.’ Romans 4:13. And the Bible plainly teaches that the promises made to Abraham are to be fulfilled through Christ. All that are Christ’s are ‘Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’—heirs to ‘an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away’—the earth freed from the curse of sin. Galatians 3:29; 1 Peter 1:4. For ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;’ and ‘the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.’ Daniel 7:27; Psalm 37:11.
“God gave to Abraham a view of this immortal inheritance, and with this hope he was content. ‘By faith he sojourned in the Land of Promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’ Hebrews 11:9, 10.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 169, 170.
4. A HAPPY PLACE
a. Why did Jesus come to save us—not in our sins, but from our sins? Matthew 1:21; Revelation 21:27; 22:14.
“Jesus came to this world to save His people from their sins. He will not save us in our sins, for He is not the minister of sin. We must respond to the divine drawing of Christ, and repent of our sins, and unite ourselves to Christ as the branch is united to the vine. Jesus says, ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.’ Jesus is drawing all men, and who will respond to this drawing? Many will be greatly influenced by the life and example of those who profess to have responded to this divine love that is drawing the hearts of men. Many will watch you who profess His name, to see whether it makes you better men and better women. They will watch to see if you are Christlike, kind and courteous in your family. The Lord has said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ ”—The Signs of the Times, February 15, 1892.
“It is no real evidence that you are a Christian because your emotion is stirred, your spirit stirred by truth. The question is, Are you growing up into Christ, your living head? Is the grace of Christ manifested in your life? God gives His grace to men, that they may desire more of His grace. God’s grace is ever working upon the human heart, and when it is received, the evidence of its reception will appear in the life and character of its recipient, for spiritual life will be seen developing from within. The grace of Christ in the heart will always promote spiritual life, and spiritual advancement will be made. We each need a personal Saviour or we shall perish in our sins. Let the question be asked of our souls, Are we growing up unto Christ, our living head? Am I gaining advanced knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent? We do not see the plants grow in the field, and yet we are assured that they do grow, and may we not know of our own spiritual strength and growth?”—That I May Know Him, p. 163.
b. What kind of experience can we hope for in that new place? Isaiah 33:24; 35:1–10; Revelation 21:4; 22:3.
“All tribulation and strife are at an end. Songs of victory fill all heaven as the redeemed stand around the throne of God.”—My Life Today, p. 348.
a. How can we in our human language describe the third heaven? 1 Corinthians 2:9.
“Even in this life we may catch glimpses of [God’s] presence and may taste the joy of communion with Heaven, but the fullness of its joy and blessing will be reached in the hereafter. Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God’s image, may attain.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 602.
“It takes all of eternity to unfold the glories and bring out the precious treasures of the Word of God.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1107.
b. Why has God given us a chance to hear these wonderful things about heaven? John 3:16, 17; Matthew 6:19–21.
“Christ delights to take apparently hopeless material, those whom Satan has debased and through whom he has worked, and make them the subjects of His grace. He rejoices to deliver them from suffering and from the wrath that is to fall upon the disobedient. He makes His children His agents in the accomplishment of this work, and in its success, even in this life, they find a precious reward.
“But what is this compared with the joy that will be theirs in the great day of final revealing? ‘Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face;’ now we know in part, but then we shall know even as also we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:12.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 308, 309.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain why man was able to continue life after he fell into sin.
2. Will we really spend eternity in a place called “Heaven”? Please explain.
3. Explain the eternal inheritance of the redeemed and the hope of Abraham in such a place.
4. Describe the new heaven and new earth.
5. How is it possible to spend eternity in such a place?