What does God say about heaven?
Before my father-in-law died, he used to ponder the question of heaven. He hated the thought we might just sit around all day on clouds playing harps. God has provided many clues about heaven, the home He is creating. One day, those of us who accept His invitation, will see this great treasure, Matt 13:44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Let us reason with God, to discover some of the clues He has left us:
Rev 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” God will create a new heaven and a new earth, which will be our eternal home. It will be perfect because we will have chosen to love Him and each other.
What will this home be like? Rev 21:10-23, “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.” The New Jerusalem will be an enormous cube, fifteen hundred miles wide, long and tall. Big enough to cover half of America and extending fifteen hundred miles into the sky! This is where we will live, and the heavens will be our playground.
What will our heavenly playground look like? Gen 2:8, “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” and Ps 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” We can look today at our world and the skies above for more clues, Is 41:18, “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” There will be gardens, waterfalls, ponds, crystals, green grass, beautiful flowers of all shapes and colors, and all kinds of animals. This planet has over 250,000 species of flowering plants alone; can we imagine what God will do with heaven? God will make heaven infinitely more beautiful than this planet. Everything in heaven will bring us pleasure. In short, we will be surrounded by beauty beyond our imagination!
Who will be there? We cannot know which individuals will be there because only God can know what is in a person’s heart, Prov 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” and Mk 2:8, “And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” However, He has told us His gospel will be preached in every nation, Rev 14:6, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” and that people from every nation will be in heaven, Acts 10:34-35, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” This world’s righteous will be there, people from every nation, race, and color. God has given us His gospel so we can make sure we are there, Rom 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” and Matt 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Who will not be there? Those who refuse to do the will of the Father will not be in heaven, Matt 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” And, being religious will not get us into heaven, Matt 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” We cannot pretend our way into heaven, we must accept Jesus as our savior, Jn 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” and that decision will begin the process of sanctification. Sanctification makes it possible for us to give up the selfish part of our nature. Each step in the process makes us more like Jesus. Jesus will complete the process when He returns, 1 Cor 15:52-53, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." and only those who have chosen Him and eternal life will receive this immortality.
We might be poor and/or sickly in this life, however, in heaven, no one will be poor, no one will be sick, there will be no tears, no pain, no fear. Our every desire will be fulfilled in heaven, Rev 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Jesus' nature will reign, which means we will all live in harmony with His nature.
What will we do? There is no limit to what we will do, Matt 6:10, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” We will be doing the same things in heaven that we are now doing on earth, with one limitation, there will be no evil. So, all of our interactions will be pleasurable. God has given each of us unique skills and talents, which we will use in heaven for everyone’s enjoyment, 2 Chron 34:12b, “…all that could skill of instruments of musick.” I cannot wait to see Doctor J flying through the air again, making his famous one-handed flip shot! We will play, sing, and laugh every day. We will have the privilege of worshipping every Sabbath with God. Ps 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” We will do whatever we please, and we will want to please God!
What will we eat and drink? Whatever God provides for us, Lk 10:7, “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” Since Jesus enjoyed eating and drinking with us, and there is no limit to what He could provide, we can expect amazing food and drinks. God doesn’t want us judging each other, and in heaven, we will finally stop judging what others eat and drink, Rom 14:3, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” We will be in the presence of the Lord, and we will be there because we put His kingdom and righteousness above all else, Matt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God is less interested in what we eat and drink, than He is in our attitude and desire to serve in the kingdom He is building, 1 Cor 8:8, “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” as Jesus demonstrated, Matt 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” He wants us to learn to do everything, including eating and drinking to the glory of God, 1 Cor 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
We will have been resurrected with our new incorruptible bodies, 1 Cor 15:52, 54, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Our unique part of God’s Spirit will be put back into perfect versions of our original bodies, and we will actually be the people God created us capable of becoming. Our DNA will be returned to the perfect version that was part of God's plan, perfectly regenerating our cells for all eternity. I do not know about you, but that is an inspiring thought!!!
We might not know everything before we get there, 1 Cor 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” However, I am sure heaven is the place I want to spend eternity!
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