Christians often wonder what heaven will be like. Heaven is a word that sparks our imagination and leads us to pleasant reverie. Such a place puts delight in our hearts, making us feel rich in good spirits. The Bible says that there are no more tears, pain, or death in heaven (Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”). If this is true, then what a wonderful place it is! The good news is, it is all true and heaven is real. If anyone wants to have a clearer picture as to what heaven is like, then it’s necessary to read the Bible and hear what God has to say about this beautiful place.
Knowing what the Bible has to say about heaven is essential. Many books and magazines have been published about human beings catching a brief glimpse of heaven. These stories and testimonies can effectively stimulate our minds and awaken our excitement. However, if we truly want to understand what heaven is like, then we need to turn to the Word of God. It can be dangerous to our Christian walk to construct our own version of heaven. We don’t want to end up visualizing a heaven that is not based on God’s design and purpose. The Bible has enough information about heaven to make us feel hopeful and enthusiastic. It is essential that we open the Bible and check the exact blueprint that God has created or designed if we want to learn more about our future paradise.
A Picture of Heaven
In Revelation 21, we are told by the Apostle John that heaven is a new creation, a new city, and a new community that has a new constitution. Everything is new in this place and Christians will realize that heaven is like nothing they’ve ever known before. In the same book and chapter, John says that “He saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” If we carefully study this passage, we find that the reference to the holy city as a bride, dressed up for a wedding event, symbolizes the intimacy of God and His people in heaven. We can say that heaven is, first of all, a state of relationship with our Creator. Although it is true that its streets are gold and the gates are made of pearls (Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (ESV)), the focus of heaven is our relationship with God. God gave us an illustration of how our relationship is going to be with Him—like a marriage. Our relationship with God in heaven is both intimate and eternal.
Heaven is a real place described in the Word of God. It is mentioned 276 times in the New Testament alone. The Apostle Paul had an experience of being brought up to the third heaven, but he was not allowed to reveal anything that he had seen and experienced there (2 Corinthians 12:1-9). The Bible has mentioned that there are three heavens. The first heaven is the sky or the firmament, where we see birds, clouds, and even airplanes, the second is the interstellar heaven or outer space, where we see planets, stars, and celestial objects (Genesis 1:14-18). The third location of heaven is not revealed, although it is said to be the dwelling place of God. This is the place Jesus has prepared for anyone who believes in His name (John 14:2). Heaven is the Promised Land and the ultimate destination of old and new, dead and alive saints (Ephesians 4:8 When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.). Heaven is a place where death does not occur, only eternal life.
In His Place
Heaven possesses the Glory of God (Revelation 21:11). The very presence of God is in this place. Heaven is a place that does not require the light of the moon, sun, or stars. These objects are no longer needed, since the Lord Himself is the light (Revelation 22:5). It is said that the city is filled with the brilliance of expensive and priceless stones, and crystal clear jaspers. It has 12 gates (Revelation 21:12) and 12 foundations (Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.). Heaven is the restored paradise of the Garden of Eden. It has a river of water that flows freely and the Tree of Life is once again available to all. The Tree of Life in heaven yields fruit monthly and has leaves that “heal” nations (Revelation 22:1-2). John was filled with the Holy Spirit after his miniature tour of heaven. But regardless of how eloquent the apostle was in his description of heaven, the truth is, describing heaven is beyond the ability of our finite minds (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Heaven is filled with bliss, peace, joy, pleasure, and love. There is no death in this place (Revelation 20:6). In heaven, there are no sorrows, pain, or tears, but only the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). Sin and evil do not reside there. We will have glorified bodies and everything feels refreshed and renewed. All Christians must long for heaven and its rewards. However, the ultimate rewards and treasures that we will experience in heaven are not the crystal-clear rivers, pearly gates, or streets of gold that are free from disease… not even eternal life. These things do not come close to the real reward or gift that we can claim in heaven. The ultimate reward that every Christian can enjoy forever is Jesus Christ Himself.
Jesus Himself is Heaven
The real physical and spiritual encounter of Jesus is what makes heaven so heavenly. Imagine how glorious it will be to finally see, with your own eyes, the risen, glorified, and incarnate King of Heaven, Jesus Christ. Imagine having a chance to finally embrace Him and talk to Him. He will no longer be invisible. You can look into His eyes and behold the infinite glory that is in Him. Imagine saying “thank you” into His ear and hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (NIV)). It is Jesus that completes heaven, and it is Him that gives you the capacity to enjoy eternal life. Keep in mind that without Jesus, heaven would just be another ordinary place.