“Father, I will that they also… be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory…”
“And they shall see His face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
“God hath made many fair flowers, but the fairest of them all is heaven, and the flower of all flowers is Christ.”
Bible Verses: Degrees of Reward in Heaven
Oder of Contents
Historical Theology 10
On Lutheranism 1
Location of Angels 3
O.T. Saints went Directly to Heaven
We will Know Each Other in Heaven 8+
Glorified Soul 1
Glorified Body 2
Renovation, New Heavens & Earth, Believer’s Eternal Home 10+
Ambrose, Isaac – ‘Heaven’s Happiness’ on Lk. 23:43 in Ultima = the Last Things… or Certain Meditations on Life, Death, Judgment, Hell, Right Purgatory & Heaven… (London, 1650), pp. 197-222
Ambrose (1604-1664) was an English, presbyterian, puritan minister and a preacher to King Charles I. He was ejected from the Anglican Church for non-conformity in 1662.
Edwards, Jonthan – ‘Nothing upon Earth can Represent the Glories of Heaven’ in Works, 22 vols. (Yale Univ. Press, 1992), 14:137-60
Alexander, Archibald – ‘Heaven’ no date or source info, 4 paragraphs
Love, Christopher – Sermons 1-10 on Col. 3:4 in Heaven’s Glory, Hell’s Terror, or Two Treatises: the one concerning the Glory of the Saints with Jesus Christ as a spur to Duty… (London: Rothwell, 1655), pp. 1-138
Baxter, Richard – The Saint’s Everlasting Rest: Or, a Treatise of the Blessed State of the Saints, in Their Enjoyment of God in Heaven… (London, 1650) 848 pp. ToC IA ToC 450 pp.
Mather, Increase – Meditations on the Glory of the Heavenly World. I. On the Happiness of the Soul of Believers at the Instant of their Separation from their Bodies. II. On the Glory of the Bodies of God’s Children in the Resurrection World, when they shall be as the Angels of Heaven. III. On the Glory of Both Soul & Body in the Heaven of Heavens, after the Day of Judgment, to all Eternity (d. 1701; Boston: T. Green, 1711)
Mather, Cotton – Coelestinus: a Conversation in Heaven, Quickened & Assisted, with Discoveries of Things in the Heavenly World… by Dr. Increase Mather, Waiting in the Daily Expectation of his Departure to that Glorious World (d. 1728; Boston, 1723) 205 pp.
Patterson, Robert M. – Paradise: the Place & State of Saved Souls Between Death & the Resurrection (Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1874) 220 pp. ToC MOA
Patterson (1832-1911) was a presbyterian minister in Pennsylvania.
Donnelly, Ed – Biblical Teaching on the Doctrines of Heaven & Hell (Banner of Truth, 2001) 127 pp. ToC
Roberts, Maurice – The Happiness of Heaven Blurb (RHB, 2009) 129 pp. ToC
“When we shall come home and enter to the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings; then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory; and that our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome home to heaven.”
“Sure I am He is the far best half of heaven; yea He is all heaven, and more than all heaven.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
‘The Church in Sardis’
“There was a little Christian child who was asked, when she was dying, why she was so happy? ‘Because,’ she said, ‘I am going to be with Christ.’ ‘But,’ they said to her, ‘perhaps Christ will leave heaven.’ ‘Ah! Then,’ she said, ‘I will leave it, too, and go with Him.’ It is our very heaven to be with Christ; we shall see eye to eye.”
John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan
“Till He comes it is the reign of hope; when He comes it is the reign of grateful remembrance.”
“I would see Jesus. I am thinking on his name distantly, but I would see Him.”
Martinius, Matthew – A Theology on the Singular Person of our Lord Jesus Christ in Two Natures… (Bremen, 1614)
ch. 21, ‘Ubiquity is confuted out of the predicted leaving of the Lord from this world’ 975
What then is the genus of Heaven? 1,032
Of the Time Heaven was Founded 1,038
Where the Heaven of the Blessed is? 1,040
The Third Heaven is the Place of Whom? 1,041
Whether the Supreme Heaven, or of the Blessed, will perish or be
. burned? [No] 1,045
In what way the world will perish? 1,070
What may the character of the future state of the world be after the
. Last Judgment? 1,078
Whether in Heaven life is temporally successive? 1,090-1111
Ancient History to Middle Ages
Wright, J. Edward – The Early History of Heaven (Oxford, 2002) 325 pp. ToC
Intertestamental Era to the Medieval Church
Simon, Ulrich – Heaven in the Christian Tradition Blurb (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958)
“The title… suggests that the broad sweep of Christian history will be previewed. In reality it is a study of heaven looking at Old Testament and New Testament texts, supplemented with references to inter-testamental literature, rabbinic sources, and the apostolic fathers;” – John H. Duff
Russell, Jeffrey Burton – A History of Heaven: the Singing Silence (Princeton Univ. Press, 1997) 250 pp. ToC This covers 200 BC to 1336 AD.
The Whole of Church History
McDannell, Colleen & Bernhard Lang – Heaven: a History (Yale Univ. Press, 1988) 425 pp. ToC
Ch. 6, is on sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth-century Protestant and Catholic conceptions of life after death. For a review, see Duff, pp. 4-5.
McGrath, Alistair – A Brief History of Heaven in Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion (Blackwell Publishing, 2003) 215 pp. ToC This study is thematic rather than chronological, and surveys literature more than theological works.
Early Church to the Post-Reformation
Crippen, T.G. – ‘Final Blessedness of the Saints’ in A Popular Introduction to the History of Christian Doctrine (Edinburgh, 1883), pp. 250-53
1600’s to Present
Smith, Gary Scott – Heaven in the American Imagination (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011) ToC Has coverage of the puritans, Edwards, the Great Awakenings, etc.
1600’s to 1700’s
Almond, Philip C. – Heaven & Hell in Enlightenment England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) 240 pp. ToC Covers 1650-1750
Duff, John H. – ‘A Knot Worth Unloosing’: the Interpretation of the New Heavens & Earth in Seventeenth Century England PhD Dissertation (Calvin Theological Seminary, 2014)
Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 1, 5th Topic, ‘Creation’, 6th Question, p. 447
“IV. …This must be opposed to the Lutherans who hold that heaven to be uncreated and feign that it is illocal (illocale) and incorporeal and everywhere (in order to weaken the argument drawn from the ascension of Christ to Heaven against the ubiquity [everywhere-ness] of his body).”
On the Location of Angels
The Divine Trinunity… (London, 1650), ch. 6, pp. 169-70
“…and it is most certain that angelical persons have a limited
presence, because they have a finite essince [as opposed to God]…
I need say no more concerning angels than what is commonly said, ‘Angeli sunt alicuoi definitive; sunt enim in suo ubi non per operationem vel circumscriptionem, sed per designationem definitivam,’ angels are naturally somewhere; though they are
not in any place by extension of parts, yet their finite nature is contained within certain bounds and limits. Hence it is that
some learned men affirm that it is improper to say, that God is somewhere because He is everywhere; somewhere is a definitive word.”
Historical Theological Articles
Muller, Richard – Dictionary of Latin & Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology 1st ed. (Baker, 1985)
‘illocalis subsistendi modus’
The Old Testament Saints went Directly to Heaven upon Death
Ps. 16:11 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Ps. 17:15 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Westminster Larger Catechism #86
“Q. What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A. The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness,[l] and received into the highest heavens,[m] where they behold the face of God in light and glory,[n] waiting for the full redemption of their bodies,[o] which even in death continue united to Christ,[p] and rest in their graves as in their beds,[q] till at the last day they be again united to their souls.[r]…
[l] Heb. 12:23.
[m] 2 Cor. 5:1,6,8. Phil. 1:23 compared with Acts 3:21 and with Eph. 4:10.
[n] 1 John 3:2. 1 Cor. 13:12.
[o] Rom. 8:23. Ps. 16:9.
[p] 1 Thess. 4:14.
[q] Isa. 57:2.
[r] Job 19:26,27“
Turretin, Francis – question 11, ‘Whether the souls of the fathers of the Old Testament were immediately received into heaven after death or were cast into limbo. The former we affirm; the latter we deny against the papists’ in Institutes, ed. James Dennison Jr. (P&R), 12th Topic, ‘The Covenant of Grace’, pp. 257-62
Rijssen, Leonard – Controversy 7, ‘Of the limbus patrum – Were the souls of Old Testament believers at the entrance of Gehenna or the edge (limbo) of hell, excluded from salvation until the resurrection of Christ from the dead? We deny against the Papists’ in A Complete Summary of Elenctic Theology & of as Much Didactic Theology as is Necessary trans. J. Wesley White MTh thesis (Bern, 1676; GPTS, 2009), ch. 18, ‘Last Things,’ pp. 248-49
Rijssen (1636?-1700?) was a prominent Dutch reformed minister and theologian, active in theological controversies.
Works of William Perkins (RHB), vol. 3, pp. 47-75
“Out of this translation of Enoch we may learn:
Thirdly, whereas the papists hold that all the fathers who died before Christ were in limbus and came not in heaven till Christ fetched them thence and carried them with Him at His ascension, here we learn it is most false and forged. For here we see Enoch and afterward Elijah were in heaven both in body and soul many hundred years before Christ’s incarnation, whereby (as also by many other evidences that might be brought) it is apparent that limbus patrum [‘the limbo of the Fathers’] is nothing but a device of that heretical Church of Rome.
Against this ground, being the very words of the Old Testament, no man can take exception. And here in a word, let us all mark the high and sovereign authority of God’s Word, which even the Holy Ghost Himself vouchsafes to allege for the confirmation of His own words.”
We will be able to Know Each Other in Heaven
Institutions of Christian Religion... (London, 1610), ch. 39, ‘Of Eternal Life’, p. 488
“Shall men know one another in this eternal life?
Yea verily, for they shall be full of the Holy Spirit, and of wisdom, as Adam before his Fall, keeping as then the integrity of God’s image, acknowledged Eve, whom he had never seen, and whence she was, being told of no man, Gen. 2:23. As Peter on the mountain, receiving only a certain taste of life-eternal in his mortal body, knew by inward revelation Moses and Elias, whom he never saw, Mt. 17:3-4, yet this shall not be a carnal, but a spiritual knowledge.”
Turretin, Francis – Question 11, ‘Will the Saints in the Other World Know One Another? We Affirm.’ in 20th Topic, ‘The Last Things’ in Institutes, vol. 3, pp. 630-32
Foster, Randolph Sinks – ‘The Doctrine of Recognition’ in Beyond the Grave: being Three Lectures before Chautauqua Assembly in 1878, with Papers… (NY, 1879), pp. 189-238
Foster (1820–1903) was an American, Arminian bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Woodruff, Purl G. & Jonathan F. Woodruff – Recognition of Friends in Heaven Indiana Conference (Indianapolis, 1887) 45 pp.
J. Woodruff was a minister. The authors take the Bible as authoritative.
Kerr, John J. – Future Recognition, or the Blessedness of those ‘Who Die in the Lord’ (Philadelphia: Hooker, 1847) 170 pp. ToC
Kerr was a Protestant Episcopal Church clergyman in Philadelphia.
Killen, J.M. – Our Friends in Heaven, or the Mutual Recognition of the Redeemed in Glory Demonstrated 15th ed. (1854; London, 1873) 270 pp. ToC
Killen (1815–1879), D.D., was a minister in Comber, co. Down, and was the brother of the Irish presbyterian, ecclesiastical historian, William Dool Killen (1806–1902).
Bickersteth, Robert, et al. – The Recognition of Friends in Heaven (London, 1866) 320 pp. ToC There is a collection of excerpts from divines on pp.191-224.
Bickersteth (1816-1884) was an Anglican Bishop of Ripon.
Hodge, J. Aspinwall – Recognition After Death (Robert Carter & Brothers, 1889) 185 pp. no ToC
Ziegler, Henry & Peter H. Anstadt – Future Recognition of our Friends in Heaven… Together with the Requisites to Recognition… Also extracts from the writings of Harbaugh, Schmucker, Stork, Luther, Melanchthon, Knapp, Calvin, Tillotson, Doddridge, Baxter, Melville & Others… (York, PA: 1895) 195 pp. ToC The excerpts from theologians are on pp. 83-131.
Ziegler (1816-1898) was a Lutheran minister and professor in the Pennsylvania and Maryland area. Anstadt (1819-1903) was a Lutheran minister in the Pennsylvania area.
On the Glorified Soul
Bucanus, William – ‘What shall be the State of the Godly Souls?’ in ch. 37, ‘Of the Last Resurrection’ in Institutions of Christian Religion... (London, 1610), pp. 463-64
On the Glorified Body
Heidegger, Johann H.
Locus 28, ‘Of Glorification’, section 71, ‘Of the Endowments of the Glorified Body’ in The Marrow of Christian Theology… (Zurich, 1713), p. 423
Locus 28, ‘Of Glorification’, sections 150-52 in A Body of Christian Theology… (Tigur, 1700), vol. 2, pp. 781-83
On the Renovation, the New Heavens & New Earth & the Believer’s Eternal Home
The dominant reformed view of the puritan age was that believers will have their primary abode in the third, celestial Heaven forever, before the revealed presence of God.
The renovation of the heavens and earth described in 2 Pet. 3 is only of the earth and the first and second heavens, namely the skies and outerspace. Part of the reason for this is that everything impure is kept out of the New Jerusalem and hence there is no need for it to be renovated. It is also an incorruptible abode for the immortal, where the promises are and God Himself is revealed; hence it is against reason that it should be destroyed and renovated by fire in a judgment.
Hence believers will not be working six days a week eternally in the New Earth, as Heaven will be an eternal Sabbath of rest and spiritual delight to us, enjoying our Covenanted reward, the highest end of man, God Himself. Some puritans speculated that we may take trips to the New Earth, just as angels in Heaven now come back and forth to the earth for various reasons. Compare also 2 Pet. 3:13 and Rev. 14:4.
Consider also on this topic the reformed arguments and treatments arguing against Adam, in completing the Covenant of Works, remaining, forever, upon earth to enjoy a carnal paradise, such as Socinians and some Independents held in the puritan age; rather, the persuasive arguments of the dominant reformed view make much for believers’ primary eternal abode being the Heaven of God’s throneroom.
Westminster Larger Catechism #90
Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds,[e] shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted,[f] shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,[g] and shall be received into heaven,[h] where they shall be fully and for ever freed from all sin and misery;[i] filled with inconceivable joys,[k] made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels,[l] but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity.[m] And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.
[e] 1 Thess. 4:17.
[f] Matt. 25:33. Matt. 10:32.
[g] 1 Cor. 6:2,3.
[h] Matt. 25:34,46.
[i] Eph. 5:27. Rev. 14:13.
[k] Ps. 16:11.
[l] Heb. 12:22,23.
[m] 1 John 3:2. 1 Cor. 13:12. 1 Thess. 4:17,18
ed. Dennison, James – Reformed Confessions (RHB), 1.598, 2.29, 2.561, 2.625, 3.18
William Bucanus – ‘What is the Place of Eternal Life?’ in ch. 39, ‘Of Eternal Life’ in Institutions of Christian Religion... (London, 1610), p. 492
Willet, Andrew – Hexapla on Romans (1611), on Rom. 8:20-22
Wolleb, Johannes – ch. 36, ‘Of the End of the World & Life Eternal, the Consequents of the Judgment’ in Abridgment of Christian Divinity Buy (1626), pp. 301-309
Wollebius (1589–1629) was a Swiss Protestant theologian. He was a student of Amandus Polanus.
He argues, cautiously, for the annhilation of the current physical world and heavens, the empyrean heavens remaining untouched. Thus all that would remain through eternity would be Hell (or the Lake of Fire) and the empyerean heaven. He is the only reformed figure we have found arguing for annhilationism, which was a typical Lutheran view.
His editor, Alexander Ross (1591-1654), argues that outer-space will not be included in the conflagaration, in a footnote on p. 304. This was inline with the Romanist view, though not distinctive of it.
Adams, Thomas – A Commentary or, Exposition upon the Divine Second Epistle General, written by the Blessed Apostle St. Peter (London, 1633)
On the Renovation
On the New Heavens & Earth
Adams’s treatment is very similar to Willet’s.
Turretin, Francis – Question 5, ‘What will the Destruction of the Earth be Like? Will it be Annihilated by the Final Conflagration [Not Likely] or will it be Restored & Renewed [Likely]?’ of 20th Topic, ‘The Last Things’ in Institutes, vol. 3, pp. 590-97
This treatment is of note as it deals with the renovation at the End and the creation of New Heavens and New Earth; yet it only speaks of the renovation of the earth and the first and second heavens (the skies and outer-space), not the third heaven (the empyrean, highest and spiritual Heaven).
The most likely reason for this is that the standard position of the reformed orthodox was that the spiritual heaven of God’s throneroom is eternal, and will not be renovated. The ‘creation’ of the New Heavens refers only to the renovation of the skies and outerspace, not to God’s spiritual, empyrean Heaven of his throneroom. See Duff’s dissertation below.
Baxter, Richard – ch. 9, ‘Of the New Earth’ in The Glorious Kingdom of Christ, Described & Clearly Vindicated Against the Bold Asserters of a Future Calling & Reign of the Jews, & 1,000 Years Before the Conflagration & the Asserters of the 1,000 Years Kingdom after the Conflagration: Opening the Promise of the New Heaven & Earth… Answering Mr. Thomas Beverley… (London, 1691), pp. 71-73
van Mastricht, Peter – Theoretical-Practical Theology (RHB)
vol. 3, bk. 3, ch. 6, sections 30-32, 34-6, 38-43
vol. 6, bk. 8, ch. 4, sections 8, 19, 21
See also the summary of Mastricht’s doctrine of heaven in the Preface, 4th section, pp. xliii-xlv. See also the video lecture surveying Mastricht’s doctrine, ‘The Third Heaven – The Believer’s Home’, by Michael Spangler, the editor of Mastricht’s Theoretical-Practical Theology in English.
‘Meditations on Death, & on the Heavenly-Country, which Believers go into at the Hour of Death’ on 1 Chron. 29:15 in Meditations on Death. Delivered in Several Sermons, wherein is showed: I. That some true believers on Christ are afraid of death, but that they have no just cause to be so. II. That good men as well as others may be taken out of the world by a sudden death. III. That Not Earth but Heaven is the Christian’s Home (Boston, 1707)
Meditations on the Glory of the Heavenly World. I. On the Happiness of the Soul of Believers at the Instant of their Separation from their Bodies. II. On the Glory of the Bodies of God’s Children in the Resurrection World, when they shall be as the Angels of Heaven. III. On the Glory of Both Soul & Body in the Heaven of Heavens, after the Day of Judgment, to all Eternity (Boston: T. Green, 1711)
Sermons 1 & 2 in Practical Truths, Plainly Delivered: wherein is showed, I. That True Believers on Jesus Christ Shall as Certainly Enjoy Everlasting Life in Heaven, as if they were there Already (Boston, 1718)
Duff, John H. – ‘A Knot Worth Unloosing’: the Interpretation of the New Heavens & Earth in Seventeenth Century England PhD Dissertation (Calvin Theological Seminary, 2014) 335 pp.
Bk. 10, ‘Of Glorification…’, ch. 4, ‘Of Everlasting Life’, p. 873 of A System or Body of Divinity (London, 1654)
“Whether the blessed saints after the end of this world shall inhabit this earth, or at least often visit it, Curiose quaeritur & docte ignoratur ‘It is carefully examined, shrewdly passed over’. Voet, Bibliotheca Studiosi Theologiae, bk. 1, ch. 9 [p. 87].
Dr. [Andrew] Willet upon the Romans holds the affirmative (as I remember) and grounds it on that place of Mt. 5:5. Some urge that place in Peter, ‘A new heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousnesse’, that is, righteous persons.”
Bible Verses: Degrees of Reward in Heaven