12 Mar 2023
Christians have little concept of our Final Destination, the New Heaven and New Earth (NHNE). Few sermons are preached on the NHNE. Most Christians have only heard a sermon about “the spirit of our dearly departed brother is now with the Lord” at a funeral service. The concept of a resurrected body living eternally in a NHNE (which is a super version of the Garden of Eden) is hardly known to most Christians. Because of this lack of understanding, most Christians try to grab as much of this present world before “it is too late”! This is the reason why most Christians have very little time or resources to serve God because there are so many fascinating things in this world yet to experience. If they only knew that they have an eternity to enjoy a much better world than this one, they will certainly have more time/resources to focus on doing the things that they can never do in eternity (eg. evangelizing, disciple-making, praying for sick & lost, helping the broken & poor people around them).
Today we're going to talk about a topic called “The Final Destination”. Many of our people [are] actually flying to dream destinations. There was a bit of a traffic jam yesterday at Changi Airport. Everybody's rushing to catch [the plane], [to] maximize the school holidays - including our dear pastor, Pastor Jason, [who] probably contributed to the traffic jam yesterday! You know? All his kids excited to go to Japan. That's their dream destination. Some are going to Melbourne. Some are going cycling. Some are going mountain-climbing, whatever. Everybody has some dream destination.
Now you might feel a bit left behind today, but I want to assure you: You will feel sorry for all those guys who went out. Because you're going to go on a journey to the best destination ever. This is not Chan Brothers or whatever (I don't know what tour guide group this is). The Bible will take us on “The Greatest Journey” - a travel journey to “The Ultimate Destination”. Okay! So, get your seatbelts [fastened]. Get ready for the most exciting journey of your life!
Two Destinations Only for Every Human Being
Now, in Gospel Light, we tend to tell people or we try to repeat it: [There are] only two destinations for every human being on earth. Every single human being. It doesn't matter which era you're from, which education, which culture. You either end up in hell, which is your rightful place, or you end up in another place which we are going to talk about. Only two destinations. That's why in Gospel Light, we make it a point to always preach this Gospel, because we don't want even our worst enemy to end up in the lake of fire that burns forever and ever. Now, [the lake of fire is] a place we all deserve. I deserve that place.
I mean, quite frankly, I don't even need to tell you anything. If you can see my brain and know the thoughts that went through my brain this morning and last night, none of you will be sitting here today. That's how rotten this thing is. If you can see my heart, the feelings in my heart, there won't be anyone sitting here today except to throw rocks at me, all right? Because that's how rotten we are. [If] you know the words I uttered in my mouth - which I'm thankful you didn't hear - the stuff I listened to, the glances I look at; if you can see me, I'm already condemned. I'm not even talking about the high standard of God; I'm not even talking about the all-seeing eye of God. [If] you can just see a little bit of me, I tell you, you wouldn’t like me. And honestly, if I can see a little bit of you, I wouldn't like you. I wouldn’t want to spend a long time with you except to send you away.
Now, we all deserve hell. There's no running away from it. There's a holy God. He hates our sin. We all deserve to go [to hell]. But God doesn't want us there. So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who made a Way for us, who took those sufferings, paid the penalty on the cross, and then said, “It is finished”. The debt [to God] is paid. [Jesus] died, was buried, and [on] the third day, He rose from the dead to prove what He [had] said was true. Then we know the rest of the story: He resurrected. He rose up to heaven. He [is seated at] the right hand of God. Now, we know, one day, for all those who trust Him, He will come back for us.
We know these two destinations. One destination, hell. That's too horrible [a place] even to imagine. A place where you have fire [that] never ends. [The] body never burns out. Never becomes soot. Never becomes ashes. A place where you’ll scream and yell forever and never end screaming and yelling. Your sore throat will never stop screaming. Your skin will never burn out. It's too horrible even to describe. Now that's why people are terrified of death. Most of you know I had been a doctor for many, many years. Even when a person's life is so pathetic - so miserable, every part of his body is aching and in agony - he clings on to life. Why? Because deep in his heart he knows [his rightful place is in hell]. I mean, with all that pain, don't you want to say, “Just go…”? Sometimes they do [give up], out of desperation. But for most people, they're terrified [of] the day of judgment [physical death] because they know there is a Day of Judgment. They know they're a sinner. They know there is a God who [has seen] everything. It's written in the hearts of men.
Sitting On a Cloud, Bored in Heaven
But for the rest of us who have trusted Jesus as Savior – wow, John 3:16: For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, [that] whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. It sounds good. It sounds wonderful. But you know, for most Christians, in fact, [for] the vast majority of you here, that's everlasting life [Pastor Paul points at a hand-drawn comic of a boring heaven]. It's better than fire. It's better than burning. It’s better than screaming. You ask people, a Christian, [about] heaven, [they are likely to say] “No pain, lah, pastor. No death. No suffering. No frustration. No irritating people. No horrible bosses.” [All] no, no, no, no, no. Plenty of “no”s. [Pastor Paul feigns a blank face] “This is the answer.” Deep in their heart, that [boring picture of heaven is] printed in their head. Sit on a cloud. Weightless. Some kind of spirit-like being. A bit scary, to be honest with you. Honestly, a bit scary to be a spirit. Floating by yourself.
No irritating people [around] because the other guy [also floating on a cloud] is a bit far! And [the nearer guy] asked [the other guy], “What do you do everyday?” “Worship, lah! Worship God, leh! [We’re] in God's presence, you know?” So, [is that] what you do [in heaven]? [Sing] “Hallelujah”? After 24 hours [of continual] “Hallelujah”, “Hallelujah”, you’ll probably go crazy, all right? Let's be honest! You probably wish you had brought your cell phone, and you can charge your tablet. You probably wish you had brought a magazine at least! Right? Now is that [boring heaven] what you're headed for? Well, truth be told, for most of you, yes! It's certainly better than hell! But it's not a place you’d put your heart to. It's not a place to say, “Whoa! I'm dreaming of going there!” For many of you, the Gospel is an escape from hell. It is a pass - an exit permit from hell. But as a final destination, what is [heaven] to you?
Okay, now, is that all wrong? Is that a lie? That's not a lie. That's a half-truth. You know? Satan always uses half-truths. It is true one day we will be a disembodied spirit. Let's say PC or let’s say today I drop dead here while preaching. I collapse here and then what happens? My body goes “plonk”. My spirit leaves me, right? Hey, you all agree? You know theology or not? PC die already! Habis (Malay for ‘finished’. Gone already. Really? No, no, no. Don't worry. Pastor’s body here. [His] spirit already with the Lord. We know that. I'm sure you know this theology. [2 Corinthians 5:8 states]: “We are of good courage and would rather be away from the body [and] at home with the Lord.” Whoa, Pastor is at home with the Lord! But his body is still here. So, what is he? He’s a spirit. He's up there, somewhere with the Lord, which is absolutely true.
Remember that Jesus said this to the condemned criminal on the cross by His side? He said: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). He said it! Everybody heard it. Then what happens is the fellow dies - the condemned criminal. They take his corpse down, and probably throw it on the floor, and kick it into a ditch and let the dogs eat his body. And people say, “Huh? He's with Jesus in paradise? He's being eaten by dogs.” What we mean is that his body is [here]. But his spirit is with the Lord. That is true. [Death and departing to the Lord] will happen for me at some point. It will happen for you at some point. So where do we go?
The Waiting Room
We go to “A Waiting Room”. Sorry. This is not high-end theology This is [a] simple understanding of theology. A Waiting Room. Imagine Pastor Jason and his kids yesterday. They all went to Changi Airport. All ready to eat sushi [in Japan] or whatever. All excited then go Changi Airport, then, “Wah Lau… (local expression for disappointment). Eat McDonald's again?” Relax. This is only Changi Airport. We're not there [in Japan] yet. Then you go to the plane. I don't know how many hours to go to Japan. Eight hours? Wherever! You sit on the plane, then “Wah Lau…. cup noodles?!” Scoot airline. Oh Tolong (local expression for “please, for goodness sake!”) Relax! This is [just] a waiting room. This is [just] transit. We haven't reached [Japan] yet.
Nobody makes waiting rooms exciting. Changi Airport tries to do [exciting attractions] with Jewel, up to a point. But [the waiting room] is not exactly the real deal. You put a waterfall [in Jewel] – woo hoo!. You look [at it but] after two minutes [it’s boring]. What do you expect from a transit room? We all have to go to a transit room, waiting for one day, one fine day [when] we get to our [Final] Destination: that’s called the Resurrection. This is Christian Theology 101. We believe Christ on the third day rose from the dead - bodily rose from the dead - and one day, He will come back for me. My body and my spirit will be reunited and I will be a resurrected PC! Not a floaty, kind-of-hard-to-grasp being [that I was] in the waiting room of heaven.
So, when many of you think of heaven, you think of The Waiting Room. Because that's the only sermon you’ve heard on heaven. For most of you here, the only sermon you’ve heard on heaven is at a funeral. Right? You know, the pastor wears black, [and] is very serious [saying] “I like to comfort all of you. The dearly beloved, his body is here. We are thankful all his sufferings are over. But we know his spirit is with the Lord.” That's probably the only time you’ve heard a sermon on heaven. At a funeral. How many of you have heard a sermon about heaven in a church? (Not at a funeral) How many of you? Honestly? You can say, “Pastor, I heard this sermon in my church about The Final Destination, about heaven.” How many of you heard? This is worse than the first [church service] crowd! The first [service] crowd had three [persons]. 2 from one family, 1 from another family.
You see, the only time you hear about a sermon on heaven, which is our Final Destination, [the sermon usually] is about the “intermediate heaven” where the body is in the coffin, and the spirit is with the Lord. That’s it!
Imagine, Pastor Jason's kids come back and [we ask], “How's the holiday?” [They reply], “Well, Changi Airport’s not bad, lah. Got McDonald's there. Not bad, leh.” [We ask], “How's the plane?” [They reply] “Scoot? Scoot not bad, lah. Cup noodles quite nice.” “What else did you do in the plane?” “Nothing much, lah.” Would you be excited to go? Nobody would be. If you were selling a tour, would you sell about the transit room and the time you’re crammed in the airport? In an aeroplane? Even if you’re in first class, it is not very nice, right?
[The serious fun only starts] when you get there! When you take of all your baju (clothes) and you're ready to wear your diving suit, and you go scuba diving, or when you get to mountain climbing, you wear your climbing [gear] and [are] ready to go - in The Place [The Final Destination] then that's where we talk!
But nobody talks about that! We talk about his body [being] here, his spirit [being] there. Thank God for that, you know, and that's all the sermon you hear about heaven. So how many of you can get excited about going to heaven? None! Which is [why] honestly none of you are excited [about heaven]. That’s the truth! We know [heaven is about the “no”] No. No. No. No suffering. No pain. No. No. No. No. All this kind of thing. But that's not exactly very attractive. Let’s say, I’m selling you a tour. Do you want to go to Turkiye, or not? What’s good about Turkiye? I tell you: No irritating people. No Chinese food there. No Nasi Lemak (coconut rice). No all those funny things we you know you’re [sick and tired] of already. Okay? What else about Turkey? Ai ya, enough, lah. [What more do you want?] All this ‘no,no,no,no,’ – all the things you don’t like, all right? Your boss wouldn't be there. Your nagging grandmother wouldn't be there. I would [reply] to all these [negative statements], “Come on, lah. What kind of [weird] tour group is this?”
We Will Resurrect for The Final Destination
Right now, that's exactly what we do as Christians. We don't have a destination. There's no end in mind. So, ultimately, we believe (we’re the only religion that believes, the only major religion that believes) that there's a resurrection of the body. Every other religion and culture believes that when a man dies, he doesn't become “barbecue” or “bacon”; there is a spirit that leaves. All cultures believe there's a spirit that leaves that body. But Christianity is the only one that says, “We will resurrect.” That is part of our belief, a core part of our belief that Jesus rose from the dead. Three days after being buried, He rose from the tomb, He stood before them and said, “Touch Me, a spirit has not flesh and bones.” [Therefore 1 Corinthians 15:52 says: ] “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” At that point [in time] we get to our “preparation” [for The Final Destination]: We wear our scuba diving equipment. We put [on] our lungs and [get] ready to dive. We wear our hiking gear and [get] ready to climb the mountains. [Up] till then [before the last trumpet sounds], we are still in the “Transit Room”.
Now, when God prepares us with a new body, [it’s] for what? So that we can sit on a cloud again?
When God made a body for Adam, what He did build the body for?
Sensorial Pleasures for the New Earth
A body can see the flowers, smell it, touch it, pluck the fruit, taste it. God made the body to enjoy the physical things. When God made that [body], “Whoa”, God said “Very good!”. The human physical body is not something we [need to be] ashamed of. It's created by God. The physical world was made by God and you read in Genesis, He said, “It's good, good, good, good”, over and over again, six times. And finally He says “Very good!”. What was very good? The world He made - the Garden of Eden, the Adam He made, the Eve He made. So, when we come back [to earth from heaven, having been resurrected] with a new body, there will also be a New Earth. [Romans 8:21-22 states] “That [the] creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
Now we see this world, [there’re] still pockets of beauty in it; there's no question about it. There's still the Niagara Falls, it's very pretty. There's still the Himalayas, it's very pretty. But we must realize that what we are seeing is something that's been degraded for thousands of years by men. Maybe I'll give you a simile [analogy]: Imagine you are [a] king. You build a beautiful palace, gorgeous palace. But then you have useless kids and then you die. That gorgeous palace you built? Next generation - [it is] run down already. Next generation – wah - even more run down. Next generation – wah - the toilets are not working, nothing is working. Graffiti everywhere. Dirt everywhere. Next generation - even the windows are not opening properly, the doors! Next generation – wah - everybody in the palace staff are quarrelling with one another, cheating. You know? By the time 50 generations [have passed and] you come back here to look at the palace - assuming the Papa who made the palace comes back. Sorry, man, this [palace now] is terrible. Assuming he could renovate it, he would renovate it. The old glory [will be restored with] “plus” “plus” “plus”!
He'll have modern sanitation. He’ll probably have garbage disposal. He will probably have electricity in it. Wi Fi and everything. It's the same palace! But it's a new version of it. The glory of it can still be seen. But it's so much better. It's so much bigger [as Papa has] extended it now. It used to be 100 rooms. [Now it] is 5000 rooms. That's what God will do to this earth that has been thousands of years degrading and degrading. Is it a new concept this New Earth thing? Is it a new concept? No, Isaiah said it [in Isaiah 65:17]: “For behold, I create new heavens and new earth.” Not another place. I didn't wipe this earth out and I create a new - let's call it Jupiter No.3 or whatever number, or Venus No.4, whatever – [no] I'm going to create a New Earth.
What would it look like? This new earth? [Ezekiel 36:35 states] “And they will say, ‘The land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden’.” This New Earth which You say You will make will look like Your original plan: maybe “souped up”, version.2000. It’s not like God said, “Well, My first plan in the Garden of Eden [was] not a very good plan; I made a paradise there, put people, there were animals and birds. But not very good. I think I have another plan. Let's forget [it].”
No. No. When God said it was very good in Genesis 1 [and when] He made the Garden of Eden “this is very good” but man degraded it, He said, “Don't worry. I'm going to make a New One.” (Ezekiel 36:35)
And you know what it’s going to look like? Like a New Eden. Okay, I'm getting it a little bit now. Then you look at Revelation 22. [Consider now] Genesis, first two chapters, [and the] last two chapters of the Bible, [with] 900 chapters [in] between. They link up.
The Similarities Between Genesis & Revelation
Let me read the last two, last chapter of the Bible. Does it link up to the first? Most of you know the first right? Sunday school story about Garden of Eden. [Revelation 22:1-2 states] “The angel showed me the river of water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its 12 kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” That sounds familiar? A tree of life? I read that in Genesis. A river? I read that in Genesis. Fruit? I read that in Genesis. God? I read God walked in the garden in Genesis. Oh! They were supposed to eat the fruit [from the tree of life]. Yeah, I read that too. So similar. Genesis, chapter one. First chapter of the Bible. Revelation 22. Last chapter [of the] Bible. Does it tie up? Of course. The Bible is one book. The Bible has a beginning where God says “very good”, and then we thought Satan won. Round One: God knocked out. My plans are gone. What kind of theology do you have? God can lose? No way. Satan thought he won the Garden Eden. Satan wants you to believe that [God’s plan] is kaput. That's gone. I [Satan] stole it. And most of us say, “Ya. Anyway, cloud [is] better than lake of fire.” Right? Nonsense. That is theology at its worse. That is basic theology - that God lost? Nonsense. If God's a loser, I don't want this God. But it's what Satan wants you to believe. So, what's “heaven”? “Oh. Well, maybe some new thing because that one [the original Garden of Eden] is gone already. Satan has sabotaged it. What to do?” Is that your theology? If that's your theology, nothing else would be right; your whole Christianity would be shaky.
God wins! The book of Revelation is not about a hundred things about The Millennium , or Rapture. People always come to [me with] that kind of stuff [asking], “Pastor, what does this verse mean?” “I tell you what [the book of] Revelation means: God wins! What’s the summary of Revelation? God wins. What else? The Bible is one book. Has a beginning, has an end. It’s not 66 disjointed books.” People [like to] say, “Ai yo. Got to study so many books in the Bible. What’s this book for? What’s that for?” It's one book. If [Revelation 22] doesn't sound like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to you (Pastor Paul shrugs his shoulders “What more can I say?”).
The City of God
Next point: Some of you don't like gardens too much. All of us like gardens but up to a point. You ask anybody, “What is your dream house?” [They will reply], “A bit of garden, Pastor. Landed property.” Even [if you don’t have a] landed property? Your balcony’s got [to have] some plants. Right? Even [if] you cannot have a big dog, one small, little, toy dog in your house for hugging [will suffice]. You see, we all have the same [intrinsic desires]. It's written in us. But you know what? If it's all garden - for many of you, you’ll say, “Can lah...just for one week in Perth, run around with the sheep, can lah. But one year? A bit hard. Eternity? A bit hard!” Don't worry, relax. [Hebrews 11:16 states] “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.” That's not a mistake. [Revelation 21:10-11 states] “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like the most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” Wow! A whole city. A whole city. A massive city – glorious, radiant.
We always like to go cities - the bright lights. People come from Indonesia or whatever, come to Singapore, [they marvel,] “Wah. M.B.S. (Marina Bay Sands)” See all the lights. Because that's something that attracts us. It’s nothing new. It's not a new brain; we like bright, clear, brilliant, glorious things. How big is the [heavenly] city? [Revelation 21:16 states] “The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.” Well, that's a funny measurement but in modern terms it’s 2000km. 12,000 stadia is 2000 km. The measurement is given.
Some people ask if this [number is] figurative, I say, “When God tells you something in the bible, [and] He gives details, it’s not figurative. It’s real.” How do you know [for] Noah [there’s] a real flood? I say, “Because Noah is a real man. He had a real birthday. The flood came on a real day. The Ark landed on a real mountain.” When God gives details, it is not a parable. Adam was a real guy. This is what he did. Did God make two men in the Garden? [Was] there [really] some kind of Garden there? [God] tells you where the Garden is. Between Tigris and Euphrates [rivers]. When details are given, it is to be taken literally.
If I tell you an imaginary story, do I make a lot of details? Like this imaginary avatar was born on what day; his mother's name is Charlie, no Mary. You don't do that. Right? So, how big is this [heavenly] city? You know geography? Okay. This city - if we were to fit [it] into Europe - will fill the whole of Europe. City. Square. Europe is a bit hard to picture. It is a funny “continent”. U.S. easier. Most of you know continental US. If you take this 2000 square meter [city] and put [it] into continental US? 60% of continental US. New York city is 0.01%. That's big. But that's not all. 2000 square kilometers but the height is also 2000 [square km]. That's more fascinating to me.
Why do people come to Singapore? High-rise buildings. “Have you ever been to Singapore? Wah, the building so tall!” You know? For many people [who come] from other countries, it is fascinating. They pay (I don't know how much) to go to the top of the Marina Bay Sands. People ask me if I’d pay. It’s mad I would pay. For what? I have better things to do with my money. Because one day, I'm going to be there. How high is 2000 kilometers? How many storeys? Any mathematician want to try? Math? How many storeys? 600,000 storeys high. [In] Singapore, with 100 storeys, [people marvel,] “Wah, you stay in a penthouse?” Next time someone asks you, “PC, where do you stay?” “Penthouse lah!” “What storey?” “600,000.” “How long does your lift take to go up?” Hey, friend, [a] resurrected body like Jesus can walk through walls, can disappear. We have the same body with a real body. We can smell flowers. We can taste food. We can do things. Jesus ate barbecued food. Jesus said, “Touch me. I have flesh and bones.” Then He said, “Let Me have breakfast.” And He ate with them. My point is that we have new bodies.
Engineers will tell you: The hard part about building tall buildings? The elevators. Elevators limit the height of a building. Largely. Not totally but largely. Imagine: “How long you take to get over 600,000 [storeys], your penthouse?” “Half-second!” “Huh? Like that only?” “Ya.” Are you following me? Are you looking forward to this amazing place? We go to Disneyland and we’re like, “Whoa… whoa… whoa…” Wake up, kids. Wake up! There's a real world. Not Mickey Mouse. Not Disney. Not Lego. You say you believe the Bible? You’d believe this.
The Throne of God in the New Earth
So, cities are beautiful places but they're also dangerous places. Most people like to see the city in the bright lights but are afraid of the dark lights of the city because the worst pornography, the worst corruption, the worst violence, the worse everything is also found in the city. So, [you may say,] “Wah, city? 600,000 storeys are scary. The litter problem! Everything die lah.” Well, in this [heavenly city, we have] the benefits of the city without the curse of the city. [Revelation 22:3-4 states] “There will be nothing accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it.” Second line. I want you guys to look at the second line. Look at the second line. You wouldn't go to heaven. Heaven will come to you. When I die today, if I die today, my spirit goes up to be with the Lord. But at the Second Coming when God gives me a new body, I don't go up to be with the Lord, the Lord comes down to be with me.
That's the real heaven. You see? Is it new heaven and new earth? “Tell me, Pastor, you say it's called new earth or new heaven?” It’s heaven because God's throne is there. Heaven is where God is. Can you imagine what God is going to do? Has it ever even crossed your mind that the throne of God is coming down to be with men?
Concepts of the After-life in Other Religions
[Some may say,] “Pastor, your theology is quite shocking. I have never heard before.” Let me tell you pagans know this theology better than us. Early Christians - during the catacomb times (the catacombs is where they buried the dead) - they drew the new heaven and new earth. And the drawings look like the Garden of Eden. Now let's look at what the Buddhists think (I just took this off from Google). [I searched] ‘Buddhists' view of afterlife’. Now, what do you think their idea of afterlife is? You see elephants there. Plenty of elephants. Elephants always the big animal. You see a lot of water there. You see trees there. You see trees. They're everywhere. Right? You see a big city there. Okay. Who taught them this theology? [Some may say,] “This is very imaginative. These Buddhists are very imaginative.”
Let's try another one. Indian? What do you think? There's a tree there. Oh, interesting. Oh, got fruit also? This lady is trying to pluck the fruit. Nice, cute animals on their right. This big animal is down here also. It’s like the Garden of Eden. They also have this idea of paradise.
Okay, let's try another one. Muslim? Persian Muslim. This is all from Google and we are not trying to con you guys anything, right? Oh, nice horse! This fellow riding on a nice horse. It looks like a lot of water. Nice tree here, right in the middle of it all. A lot of water there. Does it look like Eden? Eden was not an experience of Christians. Eden was the ancestral home of the first man. You know? He probably told the story. Just like [how] Noah's Flood is commonly found in many cultures. Because the story goes on. We once had a paradise and our ancestors lost [it]. We lost the paradise and the dream of everybody is how to find it again. So, all kinds of religions pop up: Climb this mountain, cross this bridge, carry this lantern, ting tong, ting tong and you get there…. Hopefully.
Chinese. Chinese not very religious people usually. This time you will find all these funny, funny things. What do you see here? What kind of funny animals in the water? There's even a donkey in the water. Don't ask me why. There's a bird up there. You see the donkey there? And this fellow riding the donkey in the water. Plenty of water. They all up there. Having a good time looking at the water. Looking at this fellow riding the donkey. That’s paradise.
Let's try another one. Wow, this one is a bit more “stylo”. The throne of their god is there. Wow. This is quite a city, man. Something like the radiant, glorious city - quite high-rise. Plenty of water. A lot of trees. Various funny-looking animals that are somewhere hidden; animals all flying up in the sky there. Is it just the Chinese who think that way? Everybody seems to think of it that way.
You can go to Tonga or whatever culture and you will find everybody has this idea of a paradise lost
Chinese concept of the next life: This one a bit more spiritual looking. Plenty of animals. All kinds. You name it, We got it. There are cockroaches to butterflies to dragonflies to whatever, man! Can you see it? The big man on the throne. The nice city; quite a nice place in my eyes. It's pretty much a dream place. Disney World or whatever. Right? When Chinese die what do they do? They bury the dead kings [or] whatever with tools, spoons to eat, shoes to wear. Something to - you know - a place for their bodies. Now, is [the Christian view] kind of theology like, wow, this is so hard to believe? Really? Really? Isn't [the Eden regained] impressed in all our hearts? Isn’t that what you want: At the end of life, to have gardens, water flowing, trees, animals to hug, friends around you? Isn't that what you dream of? Everybody dreams that way. And then we [Christians] end up with a cloud by yourself? How is that so? It's bizarre. How did Satan steal [our dream of Eden regained]? All right? But he did a good job. I must say that. He's the great deceiver. He makes you look at heaven [as merely], “Tsk. Thank you, God. I'm not going to hell but [You are] not much of a god, huh?” You don't say with your mouth - that's blasphemy. You say it in your head. You are all deceived. We don't know we are deceived. That's the master deception. If you know you’re deceived, what’s the big deal? You’re deceived and you don't know? That the master deception.
The Lord Prepares A Place for His People
Okay. So, let me tell you what you will probably face in heaven. Not a cloud. When you are in intermediate heaven, or “the waiting room” or “the transit room”, you are a spirit. What do you need a nice house for? You float, that's fine. That's transit. But [for] your final home, Jesus said [in John 14:1-2], “Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare place for you?” You know when people go for holiday, they'll say, “Pastor, I tell you, you must go to this place. The hotel, very nice.” They can tell you about that hotel in Bali or whatever. Have you ever thought about your “hotel room” that God is preparing for you? It took Him six days to build the world. Literally. It [takes] 2000 over years to build your house for you. Can you picture it? Have you even tried? Customized. “In My Father's house are many rooms. I,” Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you. I - who made heaven and earth - will prepare a place for you.” Does it boggle your mind? Does it blow your mind? Or is our mind dull and dead?
People say, “Pastor, can eat in heaven or not?” God gave us a mouth. For what? Taste buds. For what? Smell. For what? He resurrects my body, gives me taste buds so that I can just go to heaven and say, “Hallelujah”?
You know the word “feasting” is found 400 over times in the Bible. It is one of the most used words in the Bible. What did Jesus say [in Matthew 8:11]? “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at a table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Is that plain English? There's no theology involved in it, man. We're going eat together, man. It is one of the great pleasures of life. Don't be too spiritual. Study Bible, study Bible, study. Be honest. Have fellowship with your friends, with your wife, with the children around a table. Whatever culture you come from, I don't care. That's a dream of everybody. But in real life, how much time do we have for [fellowship]? Just to get your kids together - for me, the last time we got all my kids together to sit with me was like, I don't know, seven years ago. Can you imagine that? That's spiritual. Yes. Because everything God makes is spiritual - including my mouth, my taste buds, my nose, my smelling, my eyes to appreciate good things. Yes, it is.
Okay, that's what Jesus did when He rose from the dead. Interesting. You think He rose from the dead and He will give a theology lesson, right? Jesus said to [his disciples], “Come have breakfast.” Huh? You were dead. You were so mangled on the cross. You looked like a massive mess of meat. Then You rise from the dead and You - instead of telling us what happened - You say, “Come have breakfast.” What? Isn't [something] very spiritual to me. But what is Jesus telling us: This is our life! Fellowship with God around a meal.
Too many verses to talk about feasting. I'm just playing a few things right about heaven now.
[When] most of us feast we feel guilty. I think so. I do anyway. There’s so much red meat. And some people that are more vegan type, “Eh, you know, how many animals died? How many? Cruel. Whatever, whatever.” God gave us amazing amount of food to eat. He did tell [Adam and Eve]: “Every plant and this tree, this fruit. Eat, eat, eat.” Then foodies will ask me the next question: Can I eat meat? I'm getting down to earth right? “Delicious or not? Every day eat vegetables? Xian lah, Pastor. (local expression for ‘sick of it’)” Sorry, no meat. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death shall be no more.” (Revelation 21:4a)
No cow will die. No chicken will die. No lobster will die for you? Cham lah (local expression for “we are screwed”). Do I really want to go to heaven now. You think God is that - ? I don't like death. In fact, when I watch nature shows it freaks me out - the cruelty of the animals. To see, you know, one innocent little deer walking, then some fellow just bite his back off, bite his backside off. You know? It's horrible. And of course, if you see how they kill, slaughter chickens and pigs and your beef, you also will not eat beef. But that's not the point. Today there's “meat”. I've eaten it myself. I think it's called Impossible “meat” or something like that. There's a burger. My son brought me to eat it. There's a burger. Very expensive. $15 or whatever. But tastes like beef. It looks red like beef. Smell it, smells like beef. You eat it and you honestly cannot tell. According to the restaurant it is 100% vegetable. Apparently there’s a lot of it.
I live in a little condo. Opposite my condo is a young man. One day I said [to him], “You changed your job. What you do now?” ‘[He replied,] “I make lobster meat.” “From what?” “Stem cells.” Okay. I said, “ Good to eat or not?”. He said, “Not so good yet. But one day it’ll be very good.” Lobster meat from stem cells. Obviously, it's possible. The creativity of men to do good things without harming people is very possible. So, for all you meat lovers, you can get even better Wagyu beef without having to force feed the cow and slaughter the cow. How? Man is made in the image of God: Creative.
Continual Worship in an Ever-expanding Universe
How will we worship? “Pastor, we will worship God every day!” “What else will we do?” “See His face.” “What else will we do?” “Be in the presence of God.” Ha - so spiritual all these people. Look at Jesus’ face every day - 2 trillion years. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. What is worship? Worship is praising God. From every experience of God. Every piece. Every side. Every-thing. Every thought. Every “Wow”. Imagine you traverse the universe, you see new flowers, you try new “impossible” meats, you try all these things [and respond] “Oh God, amazing. Oh God, amazing.” That’s worship. No need guitar. Don't [need] worship team. No need. [1 Corinthians 10:31 states] “Whatever you do, you glorify God.” Here we worship once a week. Afterwards, tired. “Wah, Pastor, you very long, ah. Wah, Jonathan Chong takes so long!”
Ever expanding [universe] - I love this. People ask me, “Will [we] ever be bored in heaven?” I say, “You mad?” The Bible says [in Genesis 1:7] “God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse”. This is the first chapter of the Bible. There's a word called expanse. God's universe is expanding. Well, if you go to Google and check: Is the universe expanding? The answer's yes. Definitely. It is always expanding. Ask how big is the universe? This morning? I went to check my science facts before I preach. We are part of this Milky Way. I'm sure you all know this. Right? The sun is one star in the Milky Way. One star so we are a very big deal. Got a sun. Okay, then eight planets around it. Venus, Jupiter, wah very big. But how many stars are there in the Milky Way? How many? 200 million stars. 200 Million suns - if I may put it - s – u - n - s. In the Milky Way alone. One galaxy. Next question: How many galaxies [are] known to men today? 200 million unknown galaxies, each one with 200 million stars inside. And this is what we know now. But according to Google, Wikipedia, more and more are being discovered. Because the universe is ever expanding. Are you following me? So, people say, “After 1 trillion years, I saw every coral, I saw every flower, I saw every corner of the universe. I saw all of Singapore. The Earth, I mean. Every part of the Niagara Falls I’ve explored, picked up every rock already. What else?” Hey friend. This earth is very tiny. Even today men [have] already tried to fly here, fly there. What? Imagine with men's creativity, where will we be? With a lighter body? Where will we be? If we can go up to 600,000 storeys high, what is it to go to the next galaxy? Will you be bored? “Ha! [Never!]” That's my answer. Okay.
Will there be information in the new heaven? Will there be learning? Of course! Because God's creation is ever expanding and God's creativity is never ending. Will we have Instagram? Not Instagram but better version? Why Instagram? Because your friend went to that planet, he sent you something and [you said] “Wah, this is new, man!” And you thought his planet was very big [but] his other friend sent on Instagram [another even bigger planet.] “Wow, yours is nothing, lah.”
Now you see this? This is what God does. Will we learn? Of course. Will we be entertained? Amazing! Entertained by what? Stupid humor? No. Entertained by God's amazing creation. So, I see, when people ask these questions, they have never thought of [Whom] God is.
One thing that troubles a lot of fishermen here, the Bible says there will be no sea. No sea. The sea is [the] septic tank for the world. You don't have a sea, all the rotting meat from the river will just pile up. In the sea will be one big rotting mess. Thank God for the salt sea that cleans the refuse of the world. One day you don't need the septic tank. Some of you can ask me, “What's my digestion like?” I don't know. I haven't gone that far yet. All right, but I can say we don't need the sea. There will be lakes. And frankly when you go to the sea - let's be honest - or you go on a sea holiday, you jump into sea or not? You see the sea only. Let's be real. Then you go the hotel swimming pool and swim. Come on. Don't bluff me. Nobody likes sticky sea water. Some crazy fishermen do but not many.
Animals and Best Friends
Got pets or not? Of course. You ask any kid, “What is life?” “My teddy bear.” “You go to Japan, you bring your teddy bear?” “Must!” You know? Everybody likes to cuddle something. Hug something. Teddy Bear. Barney. I don't know. Doggy. Kitty. Keeps changing. But always hugging. One day you can have everything. Tyrannosaurs? (Kiss!) Why not? God made it that way. You know? Will God create animals? Of course. The Garden of Eden is full of animals. Jesus was born in among animals. Revelation tells you [see Isaiah 11:6]. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat.” Everybody will be your friend.
Sweet Satisfying Relationships. This one another thing. “Pastor. I heard in heaven no marriage. Then how? My wife is my best friend.” Hey friend. Marriage is for reproducing lah. Okay? You can have friends without having reproduction. Get it? But only by having marriage you can reproduce. Okay. Now in heaven, we don't need to reproduce. But we'll have best friends. That's it. “My wife, how? She's my best friend.” Now I say she will still be your best friend. But only one difference. You will have 5 billion other best friends. You see on this earth you can only handle one or two best friends. You know? Any religion that says you [can] have two wives, you can handle both, I say “talk nonsense”. Not easy. Straight away I see that religion, I cannot [accept] already. I have a hard time just understanding one wife and enjoying her. And she has a harder time understanding me and enjoying me because I'm quirky and funny. I'm sinful. And so is she! But you know, one day we can all have 5 billion good friends. You know that? Does it boggle your mind? Now if you go to old age, and you have five good friends, you are a rich man. Five you can really trust? You are a rich man. One day, billions. Really? Why? Of course. [Revelations 21:27a] “Nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false.” We cannot trust everybody. We don't know why people are nice to us in this sinful world. Hopefully you can trust your wife, and maybe a few other people. But one day, you can trust everybody. Isn't that unreal? But it is real.
Choose God’s “Bucket List” not the World’s.
Set your mind on the final destination. Today, too many Christians have a bucket list. “Pastor, I must see Niagara Falls before I die. Eh, Pastor? You went to Jerusalem?” I said, “I’ve never been to Jerusalem.” “Why?” I say, “What for? I'll be there every day.” “Really?” “Every day I'll be there. Likely. New Heaven, new Jerusalem.” Why am I in a rush to see Jerusalem now? I don't know. Why a bucket-list? “You saw Niagara Falls?” I will one day. One day, I will swim up the Niagara Falls! And leap up! Right? And then leap down! You're joking? No, not joking. You see? When people have a bucket lists, they thought Satan stole the paradise [Eden]. [People often think] “Before it's too late. I better taste a bit, see a bit, smell a bit, own a bit of it before it's too late.” And when they tell me that I [ask], “Are you going to hell?” They said, “No, Pastor. I'm going to heaven.” Then we will never be too late.
It may be too early for you now. To grab all that. You know why Christians today are useless for God? Most of you here! Because you're trying to grab something on this earth before it's too late, because Satan has told you eternity is a cloud, I must experience the Niagara Falls before I die. That's a lie. We don't have a bucket list. We have a real list that is amazing. [Colossians 3:1-2 states] “If then you've been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated [at the right hand of God]. Set your minds on things that are above, [not on things that are on the earth]”.
There's some things you can't do in heaven. You can't evangelize. There won't be any need to disciple anybody. There's no need to help the poor and the sick and the hungry. There's no need and no chance to do that. This is your chance [here in this present, mortal life]. There are things you had better put on your bucket list: It is not about Niagara Falls. It's about feeding the next hungry kid, reaching the next lost soul. That's your bucket list. Not Satan's bucket list.
Best Investment Plan
We all invest for the future. We work hard. So that one day we'll run a company, one day, we'll own a decent apartment. We all work hard for our future, that’s natural. But if your investment plan is bad, and you don't lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, one day you will be in heaven and you will have rule over three goldfish and one cockroach. It's like your father telling you, “If you don't study hard now ah, one day, you'll be a garbage collector and you eat the garbage. You understand?” I was told that all my life. “Okay, lah Papa I study lah, ok lah, ok lah, ok lah!” But it's real. You don't want to work now you eat garbage next time. You carry garbage. You eat garbage. I'm telling you the same thing. That's what Jesus is. All of us invest for the future. Name me one who doesn't. But most of our futures is 30 years, 40 years and then it's kaput.
This is eternity. This is the best investment plan, for eternity.
Co-reigning over God’s creation
Go to heaven, all go to heaven. Then what? What’s the big deal? What’s the difference? [Revelation 2:26 states] “The one who conquers and who keeps My works until the end, to him I'll give authority over the nations.” [Revelation 22:5 states] “The night will be no more. They will need no light of the lamps or the sun, for the Lord God will be their Light and they will reign forever and ever.” So you invest for what? One day - just like your papa told you - you work hard, one day you’ll have a nice company. You own a nice house. You have nice kids. Your business will be doing well. In a corporate role you'll be doing well. You have people working for you. Oh yes, Papa, this is why I study or go to university, go NUS, like a dog like that, and then after 40 years, all kaput again.
Some of you will reign over the three goldfish. Everyday, three goldfish. [You instruct], “Don't swim here. Don’t swim there, ah. Cockroach, you jump. Don’t go there, ah” Then you pat the cockroach every day. Maybe you can go talk to pat other people's dinosaurs or tyrannosaurus. Or maybe your friend will tell you, “Hey, I’m at this galaxy up there. You should have come here.” You say, “Cannot. I cannot go lah.” You know why? You didn't invest? So, you still have heaven, you still have a Final Destination. It still will be amazing. But it could be more amazing. Simple as that. The choice is yours. The theology is not complicated. The theology is simple. But we lost it. All right? So may God help us. So, what's my whole story? Whole story is we're back to God's original plan. What's God's original plan?
Fulfilling God’s Original Plan
[Genesis 1:26] “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish, over the sea, over the birds of the heavens, over the lifestock of all the earth and over every creeping thing.” What was God's original plan to Adam? Simple. I Am the Ruler, I Am God, I Am sovereign. But I appoint you to be my sub-rulers, Adam. You rule over this wonderful garden of Eden. Expand it, make it as majestic as God-glorifying as ever. All the animals are yours to rule over. All the plants are yours to rule over. In everything, magnify Me through this. There was a garden. Now we have galaxies, new heavens, new earth to rule over. Has the plan changed? No. Luzerne, I appoint you to do this. Mary, I appoint you to do this. Has [God’s plan] changed from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22? Same. So what’s the end of my sermon? God wins. Satan is defeated. And when we believe God, we will win too. That's all it is. And we will win big time. You will all win. This [tiny amount] or size [so large] you cannot [imagine]. We'll all be winners in the new heaven and new earth.
Let us pray.
Father, thank You for this simple theology. I know it's not complicated. It's actually quite logical. And we pray God, that You guide each of us to realize You had a great plan in Genesis. And nobody could steal that. Some thought, some fool, thought he did. But You magnify that. You enlarge it, and You always win. So, God help us to trust You. Help us to love You. Help us to worship You. Even at the end of this sermon, say “God is amazing”. That is none like our God. Help us we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
More Episodes from Pastor Paul Choo:
18 Jun 2023
27 Nov 2022
20 Nov 2022
24 Dec 2021
16 Jun 2021
20 Sep 2020
13 Sep 2020
06 Sep 2020
Episodes from other sermons:
23 Jul 2023
18 Jun 2023
28 May 2023
07 Apr 2023
12 Mar 2023
25 Dec 2022
20 Dec 2022
11 Dec 2022