I’m intrigued by the variety of responses I get when I ask people the question, “What do you think heaven is going to be like?” Some of the responses I’ve heard include:
- “It’s going to be a never ending nap.”
- “We’re going to sing in the choir of angels.”
- “Doesn’t the Bible say we’ll dance on the streets of gold?”
- “I guess we’ll float around on clouds and play harps.”
- “I really don’t know what heaven will be like. Whatever it is, it’ll probably be boring.”
The Bible has so much to say about what heaven that we have no reason not to know what we can expect! When I’m asked about heaven, two of the most common questions I hear are “What will it look like?” and “What will be do there?” And the Bible offers adequate answers for both! (I’ll save what the Bible says we’ll be doing in heaven for a future post.)
The Bible says that Heaven is a place, a location, with physical features. Jesus said in John 14:2-4, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Revelation 21:3 – “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
From the testimony of Scripture, we discover physical features of Heaven.
In fact, many of the images the Bible uses to describe Heaven portray images that we’re familiar with, places with which we can associate.
1. Heaven is described as a CITY.
Hebrews 11:10 says, “For he (Abraham) was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
Hebrews 13:14 says, “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”
Revelation 21:3 says, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”
Imagine a city and everything good about it. Buildings, commerce, businesses, lots of people. Sure there’s crime, corruption, and street lights; but, this is heaven. There’s nothing impure there. I live near St. Louis and I love going into the city of St. Louis on occasion to sample the incredible italian food on The Hill, catch a baseball game at Busch Stadium, and spectate the diversity of people while walking through the zoo. Imagining heaven to be like city means heaven is going to be endless in it offers to its residents.
2. Heaven is described as a COUNTRY.
Hebrews 11:16 says, “Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
I grew up in the country. It’s peaceful, quiet, and beautiful. There’s never any traffic and you have plenty of space to do anything you would ever want to do. I always felt safe out in the country because everyone knew everyone and everyone trusted everyone. We never locked out doors and I loved riding my bike down the road.
Taking a different approach, countries have allegiances to their leaders and to one another. As Americans, we’re proud of the USA. We support what our nation stands for and we’ll protect our freedoms with our own lives so that future generations enjoy the same standard of living we have.
Imagining heaven to be like a country, while we will enjoy incredible diversity, we’ll also maintain allegiance to God together. While we’ll love having endless opportunities to celebrate eternity, we’ll also feel safe and secure in God’s protection.
3. Heaven is called the NEW EARTH…
Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”
We know what Earth is like. There’s physical topography that varies depending upon where in the world you live. Heaven is described as being a “new” version of the earth we know.
Many of the descriptions are of the greatest beauty and value…
Revelation 21:11, “…its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (see also Revelation 21:18-21).
Revelation 2:7 says, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
Revelation 21:16 describes a city with enormous dimensions – “The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia (1,400 miles) in length, and as wide and high as it is long.”
Heaven is so brilliant and magnificent, some of the most glorious ways to describe heaven is with beautiful jewels. Not only are priceless jewels listed; but, notice their size. Revelation 21 mentions city gates made of a single pearl! That’s huge. And don’t miss the enormity of the size of the city. It’s not just 1,400 square miles. It’s also 1,400 miles tall! Perhaps we’ll have lots of space in the sky to discover.
The New Earth will have some semblance of our current Earth, minus the curse…
Romans 8:18-25 mentions the day when all of creation will experience resurrection! God created the world that we live in and said, “It is good” (Genesis 1:25). Everything God created was perfect and wonderful, until the curse of sin. When Christ returns, God is going to redeem His creation from the curse and restore it as He originally created it – GOOD! It’s going to be a lot like the Garden of Eden that God created in Genesis, only bigger and full of people.
And do you remember the tree of life that was in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1–3)? Revelation 22:2 tells us that it will be in the center of the city called New Jerusalem on place called the New Earth.
Heaven is going to be such an incredible place! It’s wonderful to think we’ll have all of eternity to explore this new home.
Question: What are you most excited to discover when you get to heaven? (Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.)
**If this has been helpful for you, I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts and/or questions in the comment section below.**
(Photos curtsey of Creationswap.com)