Since we have studied Revelation together, there has been discussion on Heaven. So I thought I would explore it a bit more.
What is Heaven?
We see all kinds of images of heaven in movies and books. They picture clouds, angels with wings and halos, harps playing, gold streets, and pearly gates with St. Peter standing guard. We even picture ourselves in heaven with wings. Some of man’s interpretation of Heaven is true, but for a true picture of what Heaven is like we need to look at God’s Word for the real truth.
It is a physical place that God is preparing for His people, those who believe in Jesus as their Savior. In John 14:2-3 Jesus tell us, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
It will be a place where believers will see Him face to face and all our questions will be answered. All will be revealed to us. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” – 1 Cor. 14:12.
It will be where God will live with believers for all eternity. “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” – Rev. 21:3
Rev. 21:4 tells us it will be a place of joy and peace and without suffering. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Rev. 21:4
Yes, music is played and there will be singing and lots of praising and worshiping of God. See Revelation 4 - 5. No, we will not have wings. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we will have wings. Jesus rose from the grave and He didn’t have wings. Only angels have wings.
Where is Heaven?
In Rev. 21 John saw a vision of a New Heaven and a New Earth. The old heaven and old earth had gone and now there were new ones. In Romans 8 Paul tell us that creation groans to be free from the bondage of decay and evil and eagerly awaits liberation from God. John saw the New Jerusalem or the Holy City coming down from heaven from God. This New Jerusalem is Heaven. This will happen after the final White Throne Judgment where God will judge all unbelievers. In this New Heaven, God will live with His people forever. It will be perfect as God intended for it to be in the Garden of Eden. The Lord is the source and Creator of all life, the only Redeemer, and the source of our hope of re-creation.
This Holy City of Jerusalem will be the center of the New Earth. It will be a place where God’s people will dwell with Him. We will receive our inheritance and reign with Him in His kingdom. “… Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” – Matt. 25:34.
What will Heaven be like?
It will be like the original Garden of Eden. The sky, stars, rivers and oceans, plants, trees, fruit and vegetables, and animals all were created for God’s pleasure. It was a place of perfect harmony with beauty and purity. The New Heaven will be like that again. There will be no sin and now worries. People will live united and in perfect harmony. There will be no locked doors, no passwords or nothing to disrupt our lives. We will worship God passionately and unashamedly. Everything and everyone will be holy as God is holy. We will constantly give Him glory and praise. It will be our perfect home as God intended.
In John’s vision he described that it as having brilliance like precious jewels, clear as crystal. It had a high wall with 12 gates with 12 angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. Three gates were on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The city wall had 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. The city was laid out in a square, as long as it was wide. It measured 12,000 stadia in length, wide, and high. Its wall was 144 cubits thick and made of jasper. The city was made of pure gold as pure as glass. The foundations of the walls were decorated with all kinds of precious stones – jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst. The 12 gates were pearls. The streets were pure gold like transparent glass. (Rev. 21:9-21)
John didn’t see a temple, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. It didn’t need the sun or the moon for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp. It’s never nighttime. The Lord’s glory will illuminated the city. This city is full of the glory of God. At no time will be gates be closed, because there will be no enemy to enter. Nothing impure will ever enter it, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:22-27)
John saw the river of life. It was as clear as crystal that flowed from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street. On each side was the tree of life which bearing 12 crops of fruit yielding fruit every month. The leaves are for the healing of the nations. No longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the holy city and servants to serve Him. They will be able to see His face. His name will be written on their foreheads. (Rev. 22:1-4)
There will be no sea, sun, or moon. There will be no more death, suffering or pain. There will probably be no gravity, since we see it described as a cube. I think there will be eating in heaven, since we read about the wedding feast of the Lamb. I also think all the things we love will be there – like our pets, our hobbies, anything that brings us joy.
What will we be like and will we recognize our loved ones in Heaven?
Our current bodies are perishable, weak and natural. But in heaven we will have new bodies. They will be perfect imperishable bodies that will be glorified, powerful, and spiritual. “So will it be with the resurrection, of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” – 1 Cor. 15:42-44. “For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” – 1 Cor. 15:52. I think we will still recognize people. After Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to many people who recognized Him.
In heaven will be no racial differences. There will be no marriage or sexual differences, because reproduction is unnecessary. “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” – Matt. 22:29-30.
In heaven not only will we receive a new body, but we will receive a new name and will be incapable of committing sin. We will be able to enjoy each other without fear of being hurt. It will be great to be physically and morally perfect and have perfect fellowship with others.
What will we do in Heaven?
First we will help judge the world, even the angels. “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels?...” – 1 Cor. 6:2-3.
Then we will reign with God in heaven and will serve Him. “You have made them to be a kingdom of priest to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” – Rev. 5:10.
Heaven will be a big celebration. Revelation 4 - 5 tell us of all the rejoicing and worshiping that will be going on. We cannot imagine exactly what it will be like. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Cor. 2:9.
The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about Heaven, but since it will be a place of pure happiness and joy I am sure in Heaven we will have everything we enjoy from our hobbies to sports to pets and much more. It will not be boring. We will have work to do, but it won’t be burdensome. It will be enjoyable and rewarding. We will serve Him and have access to Him at all times. We will even have access to the stars and the galaxies. Can you imagine?
Do you want to live in Heaven?
We cannot enter heaven and the presence of the Holy God by our own efforts, but God has provided a way for us. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3. He went on to explain that it is not a physical rebirth, but a spiritual birth. We are born once and will die physically. Those who are born twice (both physically and spiritually) will die physically, but will be live spiritually forever. “For God so loved the world, that he have His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
If you want to go to Heaven, you must believe in the gospel – That God send His only Son, Jesus to earth in human form, that He died on the cross for your sins, that He was raised to life after 3 days, and that He now sits on the right hand of God.
Admit you are a sinner – Rom. 3:23, 6:23
Confess Jesus is Lord – Rom. 10:9-10
Repent of your sins – Luke 13:5
Believe in Jesus – John 3:16; 14:6
Then be baptized in obedience as a testimony. Then He wants us to walk with Him daily. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” – John 14:15. Then to promote your spiritual growth – pray, read the Bible, and witness. These things are not required to keep your salvation, but they will help you grow in your faith and experience more joy as you walk with Him.
We all have eternal life, but it’s your choice where you will spend it. Heaven is not the default place. Your certain future awaits you – Hell or Heaven. God promises all those who trust and obey Him will live in Heaven with Him forever. Where do you want to spend eternity?
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