“…I can hear it in the distance and it’s not too far away
It’s the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the Hand of God reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away and say,
“It’s time to make everything new…make it all new.”
—-Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty Will Rise
This life is not all there is.
This present world is a mere shadow of the glories that are to come in Heaven.
Contrary to popular myth, Heaven is hardly a boring place, where we sit atop clouds and strum harps all day long. Our great and beautiful God is many things…but boring? Never!
In Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand, there are pleasures evermore.–Psalm 16:11
In fact, “our desire for pleasure and the experience of joy come directly from God’s hand. He made our taste buds, adrenaline, sex drives, and the nerve endings that convey pleasure to our brains. Likewise, our imaginations and our capacity for joy and exhilaration were made by the very God we accuse of being boring. Are we so arrogant as to imagine that human beings came up with the idea of having fun?”—Randy Alcorn, Heaven p. 394
Obviously, an in-depth study of Heaven is beyond the scope of this humble blog post. However, I would ask: How much time do you give to the study of the place where you will spend eternity as a Christ follower?
God tells us in His Word that compared to eternity, this life is a vapor, a puff of smoke, a mist (James 4:14). If all we do is concern ourselves with just this temporal world, that isn’t very wise, is it?
When we travel to someplace new, we tend to do all kinds of research about where we will be going. Why would we not do the same for the glorious place that will be our eternal home?
So, with the help of two excellent books on the subject: Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada, I would like to just list a few of the highlights of Heaven:
1) Above all, we will see Jesus—God in human form— face to face in all His glory.
“…And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband. Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne, saying…’See! The abode of God is with men and He will live among them, and they shall be His people and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish, sorrow and mourning, nor grief nor pain anymore for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. And He who is seated on the Throne said, “See! I am making all things new!”—Revelation 21:2-5
“Being with God is the heart and soul of Heaven. Every other heavenly pleasure will derive from and be secondary to His presence . God’s greatest gift to us is, and always will be, Himself.”—Alcorn,
We will look into the very eyes of Jesus. And He will be glorious and dazzling in beauty. (Revelation 1:10-16) So dazzling in fact that there will be no need for lamps in Heaven…because the Light that will blaze from Jesus will absolutely fill every single square inch of that place. (Revelation 21:23).
We will live all eternity in His Presence and we will never learn all there is to know about Him! There will never come a day when we say, “Well, that’s it. I’ve finally discovered everything there is to know about Jesus.”
Jesus is infinite. In Him are “endless treasures” (Ephesians 3:8). We will always be discovering new facets to Him who is the source of everything good and beautiful and joyful.
And because He is infinite, Jesus will be with me at all times and He will be with you at all times. We will not have to wait while He visits another part of Heaven. He is ours…and we are His…for all eternity.
2) Heaven will be a pure place of perfection. There will never again be sickness, death, disease, darkness, confusion, jealousy, chaos, pain, betrayal, poverty, shame, burdens, fear, no more sin and no more curse. We will, for all eternity, breathe the air of joy and peace.
3) You will have a resurrected, physical body, just like Christ does (Philippians 3:20-21). That body will be beautiful…because everything is beautiful in Heaven. After His resurrection, Jesus was seen in a real, glorified body. He walked, talked, even cooked some fish for the disciples. The Bible speaks often of the fact that we will eat in Heaven (imagine how incredible the food will be!). Your body will never get sick or wear out ever again. Your mind will be renewed: whole and peaceful, filled with light and joy. You will retain your identity (the disciples recognized Jesus after His resurrection).
And best of all, you will be physically reunited with fellow believers who have gone on ahead of you. Death for the believer is never a permanent goodbye…it is a temporary “See you later!”
And I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to finally meet the people whose lives played out across the pages of Scripture and have inspired me so often: King David, Moses, Abraham, Queen Esther, Mary Magdalene, all the disciples, etc. Can you imagine?!
4). You will be busy in Heaven. We will all have work to do, but unlike here on earth, our work will be completely joyous. We will actually help God run the universe! We will reign with Jesus. There will be culture and creativity, science, athletic events, art, and technology. There will be music, singing, and dancing, and laughing. We will still dream dreams…uncorrupted, huge, beautiful, God-honoring dreams…and this time they will always come true.
5) Scripture speaks of Jesus awarding crowns to us for the lives we have lived on earth. These are probably not actual crowns, but as Joni writes: “Heavenly crowns must represent something He does, something He gives, as when He crowns us with salvation.(Ps. 149:4). “–p. 73
The crowns are:
*The crown of life—for those who persevere under trials (James 1:12)
*The crown of rejoicing—often called the “witnessing crown” —for those who introduce others to Christ (I Thess. 2:19)
*The incorruptible crown—those who are found to be pure and blameless (I Corinthians 9:25)
*The crown of glory….for Christian leaders who have faithfully guided others in the faith (I Peter 5:2-4)
*The crown of righteousness—for those who are actively looking and waiting for His Second Coming (2 Timothy 4:8)
Reading about this is so exciting! How we live our lives on Earth will have an effect on our lives in Heaven. This knowledge spurs me on to live every single day for His glory.
Does reading these marvelous things whet your appetite for Heaven? I would encourage you to dive into the study of Heaven on your own and allow Jesus to open your eyes to the wonder, beauty, and delights of your eternal home.
It. is.going. to. be. GLORIOUS!
For I am Christ the Savior’s own bride,
And redeemed, I shall stand by His side.
He will say, “Shall we dance?”
And our endless romance
Will be worth all the tears I have cried.
—Joni’s Waltz by Nancy Honeytree