Heaven is often the comfort we run to when we have experienced the death of a loved one. And it should be, for it is our hope as Christ’s people. Paul even instructed the Thessalonians to “comfort one another” with the hope of seeing the departed saints again (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
But Heaven – and the concept of living there – remains a mystery and it is often misinterpreted by many Christians. For too long we have had this idea that Heaven is a mythical place somewhere “up there,” a place where we will float along, surrounded by puffy clouds, in a perpetual state of mindless, bodiless existence. I’m not exactly sure where we got this idea from. The Bible doesn’t support it, and yet we have adopted it and it leaves us feeling like Heaven is a pretty dull place. But many people in the Bible – and believers throughout time – have seen visions of God’s kingdom, visions that tell of its many wonders. While Scripture doesn’t give us too many details, there is enough to give us a blessed glimpse of what our future home will be like and what awaits us there.
It Is a Real Place
While Heaven can’t be seen by the naked eye, it isn’t the fantasy place we imagine it to be. It is real. Just as God created the earth, He created the heavens (Genesis 1:1). Just as His creation can be seen here on earth, Heaven can be seen as well – it is an actual kingdom where angels, saints, and many others live and dwell.
If Jesus said to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6: 20), then that is only proof that Heaven contains tangible things – things that are better than anything this world could give us.
“For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (Heb. 10: 34).
It Is Not Boring, It Is Glorious
Heaven is not just a giant white space.
If we have enjoyed the good blessings that God has given us on earth, how much more will we enjoy and cherish the blessings He has for us in Heaven? It is God’s very own kingdom! In fact, God promised that we would rejoice in the things He would make there: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Is. 65: 17-19).
Heaven will be unlike anything that we’ve ever known. Our earthly minds can’t even conceive of how glorious it will be, yet John’s vision gives us a glimpse of it (Revelation 21). God’s city is adorned with precious stones, pearls, streets of gold, and filled with light! Nothing there is defiled or impure; everything is new and perfect. How beautiful is that?
And yet we can’t even fully grasp John’s description. Paul once said, “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” (1 Cor. 13: 12). We can only comprehend a part of the glory right now, but one day we will see it face to face and know it fully. Isn’t it exciting that there is more that we don’t know yet?
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2: 9).
The Best Part
Will we like living in Heaven, the New Jerusalem? There is no doubt about it. Remember the promise Jesus gave His disciples the night He was betrayed? “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). We know how wonderful Jesus is, and this same wonderful Jesus is the One who prepared our future home for us. Consider how He numbers the hairs on our heads, how He feeds sparrows and beautifies lilies: I would imagine that this same tender love and care was poured into making Heaven ready for His bride. Think of all the mansions, the crowns and treasures, and the robes of righteousness that He has promised us. His very hands prepared it all!
Yet that is not even the best part; it is not what will make living in Heaven so awesome. The greatest thing about Heaven – what outweighs all riches and pleasures imaginable – is the fact that God the Father and Jesus Himself dwell there. Everyone who will live in Heaven, the New Jerusalem, will see and serve them face to face.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14: 3).
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21: 3).
“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Rev. 22: 3).
We should never think lowly of our future home, nor should we accept the counterfeit version that the world has painted for us. The fact that God dwells with His people in His kingdom and sees them face to face is enough to tell me that it is going to be wonderful – simply because I know that my God is wonderful, and everything He does is obviously wonderful.