What the Hebrew Bible Says About Heaven

What the Hebrew Bible Says About Heaven by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall

Thanks for joining us as we begin a two-part study about Heaven — a lively topic about which everyone has an opinion and believers want to go there someday.

But before we read the Word of God, let’s review some data. According to a November Pew Research Center survey, a whopping 73% of all U.S. adults believe in Heaven. And what happens in Heaven? Of that 73% who believe, the top five occurrences are ranked below according to the percentage who “definitely or probably agree” that the following will happen there:

Are free from suffering: 69%

Are reunited with loved ones who died previously: 65%

Can meet God: 62%

Have perfectly healthy bodies: 60%

Are reunited with pets or animals they knew on earth: 48%

Based on those thoughts, heaven seems like paradise. In fact, Jesus said that word from the cross, and the thief hanging next to him acknowledged Jesus and said:

“‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’ ” (Luke 23:42-43). Next week we will study more about what the New Testament says about Heaven.

Now, let’s turn to the Old Testament, from which I have selected a representative sample of Heaven-related passages. We begin at the beginning:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).Since God created Heaven, it is reasonable to assume that He will be there and clear His schedule to meet you — if you qualify.

Next is a Psalm that mentions Heaven and also alludes to a Messianic prophecy:

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet..” (Psalm 8:3-6).

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