Luke 23 :43
“And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, members of over 6,000 branch churches in Korea and all over the world including the United States, Canada, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, China, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Mongolia, Israel, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Swaziland, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Dagestan and local sanctuary members, those who are attending the service on the Internet all over the world, and television viewing audiences,
This is the 23rd session on the heaven lectures. In the last session, I gave you a brief picture about the life of those who are in paradise.
But we had a question, that is, there are beautiful benches along the sides of the river of the water of life in paradise, and what these benches were made of.
I once explained that the benches on the sides of the water of life in New Jerusalem were made with pure gold and jewels, and God explained to us whether the benches in paradise are also made with pure gold or some other material.
In this session, I will tell you about the kinds of jewels and their colors that are materials of various buildings in heaven, and also, I will explain what kind of person will receive paradise as his eternal dwelling place.
Why does God the Father tell us about heaven in so much detail?
It’s for us to have faith and take hold of better heavenly dwelling place with hope.
Therefore, through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have more hope of heaven and cultivate your heart to be filled with goodness and love, which is more beautiful than jewels.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the benches on the river banks of the river of water of life in New Jerusalem are basically made with pure gold and decorated with various jewels, and what are the benches in paradise made with? They are made with jewels that are like marble on this earth.
On this earth, yes, marble is valuable, but it’s still just a kind of stone, and we don’t call it a jewel. But in heaven, there are no such materials as stone, mud, cement or tree, but only gold, silver, and jewels are used.
The material to make benches in paradise is like marble on this earth to compare it with something on this earth, but in paradise, it is not a kind of stone but a kind of jewel.
Also, in paradise, the marble is not the only kind of material to make benches. Also, even in New Jerusalem, ‘pure gold decorated with jewels’ is not the only kind of benches. For example, in New Jerusalem, there are benches that are made with carved crystal and decorated with other jewels.
This clear bench that gives out bright light gives out different kind of beauty from the bench of pure gold.
Then, is there a crystal bench in paradise also?
There are benches that are made with clear jewel, but it’s not really crystal bench like in New Jerusalem, but it is just the same kind of material.
Even on this earth, there are many things that give out clear lights, such as diamond, crystal, cubic zirconia, glass, and ice. The lights that come out from these different materials are all different, and their values are also different.
In heavenly kingdom, the materials that make houses and other facilities are gold, silver, and jewels, and in each dwelling place, the lights, color, and values are different, and the variety is also different. for example, the city walls and houses of New Jerusalem are made with jasper, and I explained to you that you cannot see the inside from outside but you can see the outside from inside.
This jasper is the truly genuine jasper, and as we go down to lower level of dwelling place in heaven, the houses are made with the jasper that have less value.
So, the function of the jasper that enables you to see the outside from inside and blocks the sight of the inside from outside will be the same in paradise, too, but the value of the jasper itself will be very different.
In heaven, because there is no stone, mud, or cement, the buildings even in paradise are built with a kind of jewels, but we may say they are not really like genuine jewel.
The genuine jewels are present in New Jerusalem, and the jewels in paradise are very different in their color, lights, and values.
If you see a jewel that gives out red light, it will be genuine carnelian. Then, is there jewel that gives out red light in other heavenly dwelling places, or not?
There is this kind of jewel that gives out red light in all 3rd kingdom, 2nd kingdom, and 1st kingdom of heaven, and even in paradise, but we don’t call these jewels that are in other places than New Jerusalem ‘carnelians’.
The true and genuine carnelian is only in New Jerusalem, and the jewels with red light in other dwelling places are just one of the heavenly jewels.
It’s the same with gold.
All the roads in heavenly kingdom are made with gold in all dwelling places. But the golden road in New Jerusalem is the genuine pure gold. Of course, the road in paradise is also made with gold, but it’s different from the gold in New Jerusalem.
Even on this earth, according to the purity, the light and value are different. in the same way, in heaven as well, the gold in different dwelling places is different in light and value. It’s the same with all other jewels in heaven like emerald and sapphire.
Even on this earth, there are genuine jewels, jewels that are not same as the genuine but still are valuable, and also mere imitations.
Likewise, we can understand that the genuine jewels in true sense are in New Jerusalem, and the value of the jewels in other dwelling places are less, and they are also different in the lights.
Also, the colors of jewels are very different in each dwelling place.
There are more kinds of lights in higher level dwelling place, so what is present in New Jerusalem may not exist in paradise.
For example, let’s talk about the ‘red color’. It may be very close to dark red, or close to orange color, or close to pink. Also, according to the thickness of the color, there may be many kinds of red colors, whether it is thicker or thinner.
It’s not only about red color, but same with yellow, blue, green, and all other colors.
When there is one color, according to different thickness and combination, many other colors can be derived from it.
In New Jerusalem, all colors exist, and also, double-fold or triple-fold lights come out from the jewels, and as we go down to lower level dwelling place, the number of kinds of colors that are derived rom the original color are less.
Simply put, the colors become more simplified as we go down to lower level places.
Therefore, the colors and buildings and facilities are very different in different dwelling places. Because the kinds of colors, which are the materials for buildings, are different, the outcome is also different.
But in heaven, not only the colors of jewels, but the colors of the flowers are different in each dwelling place. So, if a person in paradise is invited to New Jerusalem and sees a house or a garden he will be enraptured.
It’s also because of the size and shapes of the houses, but mainly because he can see the colors that do not exist in paradise.
The colors of jewels and flowers in New Jerusalem are almost countless, and there are also many colors that do not exist on this earth.
So, even though we want to make a model of the beautiful sceneries of New Jerusalem, we cannot express it accurately here on earth.
Also, one member asked one question.
She has a pet, and she loves it so much. So, she was asking whether she could live with that pet in heavenly kingdom. First, the fact is that, no animal on this earth can go to heavenly kingdom.
As Ecclesiastes 3:21 says, “Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?” animals do not have spirit, so when they die, their soul goes down, and it is the end.
Therefore, no matter how great your faith is, you cannot take you pet you had on this earth into heavenly kingdom.
Also, only to those who go into New Jerusalem will be given pet animals in heaven. Also, not all people in New Jerusalem will receive it, but only those who want to have them will receive.
Then, is there a dog among the animals that are given as pet animals in New Jerusalem?
In the Bible, dog is not mentioned in a favorable manner. 2 Peter 2:22 says, “It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”
Therefore, in New Jerusalem, there is no dog, and it will not be given as a pet animal.
Then, why do people have dogs as their pets? It’s because they recognize their owner, relatively very obedient, and they love their masters and follow them.
But the pets in New Jerusalem will be different animals than dogs, but they will be much lovelier than dogs, and they have the good characters of the dogs on earth to please their masters.
In heaven, especially, in New Jerusalem there are animals that do not exist on this earth. They are much lovelier, prettier, and nice-looking than animals on this earth.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, from now, let me talk to you about what kind of people will inherit paradise as their eternal dwelling place.
Of course, most of you members already know that paradise is the eternal dwelling place for those who are at the first level of faith.
But even in the same first level of faith, there are some who accept the Lord just before their death, others who have believed in God for a long time but had no growth in faith and stayed as first level of faith for that long time.
Still others are the cases of those who are in the second or the third level of faith but entered into temptation and fell to the first level of faith.
Also, some people commit sins leading to death such as blasphemy and standing against the Holy Spirit, and evident works of the flesh, and they cannot be saved. But by special grace and forgiveness of God, they barely reach salvation. The eternal heavenly dwelling place for these kinds of people will be paradise.
Therefore, although paradise is the lowest level dwelling place in heaven, the love and grace of God embedded in it is as great as other dwelling places.
Those who go to paradise have lived as non-believers for much longer time in their life, or even though they believed in God, they didn’t show any deed of loving God.
Still, God redeemed them from the punishment in hell and took them into the peaceful and happy space of heavenly kingdom to let them live there forever.
God gave them this wonderful blessing just because they have known and accepted Jesus Christ. Thus, we should realize God’s love is so great.
The first case where paradise is given is when a person repents of his sins just before his death and accepts Jesus Christ to receive salvation.
It was the case with one of the criminals who were hung on the sides of Jesus’ cross.
Luke 23:39-43 says, “One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
As said, there were two criminals who were crucified along with Jesus.
At this time, one criminal criticized Jesus, but the other one rather rebuked him, repented of his sins, and accepted Jesus as his Savior.
Then, Jesus let him know that he was saved saying, “today you shall be with Me in paradise.”
This criminal just accepted Jesus as the Savior. He didn’t struggle against sins to cast them off or live by God’s word.
He just accepted Jesus as His Savior, and so, he didn’t have time to hear and learn and understand the word of God and to practice it.
Likewise, paradise is prepared for those who have accepted Jesus Christ, but have not done anything for the kingdom and righteousness of God.
Yet, if you think, “We can go into paradise which is incomparably more beautiful and happier than this earth, if we accept Jesus Christ just before death, so I will do that!” it’s a very wrong idea.
The criminal who was saved had the kind of heart to have believed and been saved anyway, if he had had more time to lead a life in Christ.
But not anybody can accept the Lord just before death, and we cannot gain faith in such a short moment.
Also, nobody knows when he will die.
Therefore, we should understand that it’s not easy to receive salvation just before death like the one criminal who repented.
Those who receive this kind of shameful salvation have not done anything with faith but have come to enjoy eternal happiness and blessings in beautiful heavenly kingdom, so they will be thankful to God forever, just for the fact that they have come into paradise.
Paradise is so different form New Jerusalem, but they are just so happy that they didn’t fall into hell to suffer eternally in the fire but received salvation.
Sometimes, some of you church members’ family members accept Jesus Christ just before their death and receive salvation.
When their bodies suffer so much because of diseases and come to a state where they cannot be cured medically, their heart becomes very poor. Only then they accept the gospel and repent.
This means that they did not believe in the good God for their whole life, even though they heard the gospel many times.
They did not believe when their family members, neighbors, or friends preached to them. Some of them refused strongly or persecuted the believers.
But only when they are at the doorstep of death due to diseases or something like that, their heart becomes poor, and they repent of their sins and accept the gospel.
If God treats them only with justice, they cannot be qualified to receive salvation.
So, God can even just throw them out like we throw out the chaff at the time of harvest.
But only if they repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ, even if it is just before their death, God of love and compassion considers it as faith and lets them receive salvation.
Actually, there are not many of these cases. When we consider these cases, we can find that their family members have accumulated a great amount of prayer and sowed before God with faith for these souls.
Because of the prayer of love of Abraham, his nephew Lot and his family members could be saved from the city of Sodom. In the same way, the intercessions of love and sowing before God with faith will be important factors for souls to receive salvation.
This spiritual principle can be applied to other cases as well, so please remember it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this session, I talked to you about the differences in the jewels in each dwelling place of heavenly kingdom, and the first case where paradise is given as one’s eternal dwelling place.
Namely, it is given to those who repent of their sins just before death and accept Jesus Christ to receive salvation.
They have not done anything for god, but because they are saved through God’s love and compassion, they cannot lift up their head before God even in heavenly kingdom, but they will be thankful forever for His grace to save them.
In the next session, I will talk to you about the second cases where one is given paradise as his eternal dwelling place.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will take these cases as your object lessons, so that you will diligently take hold of better heavenly dwelling places by force.