At a funeral this week, one of the passages I addressed was Revelation 21. I was asked by one of the family members to address what heaven is like. I only scratched the surface of how great heaven is. It was just enough to give those who had not trusted in Christ an opportunity to hear that heaven is a place unlike the earth. Let’s note several principles about heaven:
Heaven is coming. Twice in Revelation 21:1-2, John says, “I saw…” the new heavens and new earth. We can praise the Lord for the great expression in the Bible, “And it came to pass…” It didn’t come to stay, but it came to pass, because there is something better coming. We may or may not experience it on earth, but we, who have trusted in Jesus Christ will experience the better in heaven.
Presence of Jesus. In Revelation 21:3, we see the “Tabernacle of God” is with men. The Tabernacle in the Old Testament was a type of Christ with all of its articles pointing toward an aspect of Jesus Christ. For example the showbread spoke of Jesus as the Bread of Life. The Menorah spoke of Jesus as the Light of the world. Revelation 21:3 says there will be a new relationship with men far beyond anything even what most Christians will experience on earth. Jesus will be with Christians in heaven and they will willingly submit to Him as their head. He is the great Builder of heaven.
No more pain. Revelation 21:4 provides that great expression, “No more death, no more sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Why? It is because God makes all things new in quality and wipes away every tear. We will have sorrow and pain on earth, because this is not heaven and it is a sin-dreadful place. But it will come to pass.
New surroundings. Revelation 21:5 describes how Jesus will make ALL things new. Nothing from the old will pass into eternity. We can’t load up the Uhaul and take anything to heaven. We won’t want to once we get there. It will be beyond what we could ever imagine. That’s the reward for simple faith at the point of salvation. His words are true and faithful.
Living fresh water. Revelation 21:6 describes Jesus, the Alpha and Omega from Rev. 1:8 and 22:13, promising the water of life to anyone who thirsts. We can experience that fresh water on earth, and it will be unbelievably real in heaven.
Overcoming friends. Revelation 21:7-8 describes those who overcame will be in heaven and inherit all things. John writes in 1 John 5:4 that an overcomer is one who has been born again because of faith in Jesus Christ. However, the rest of humanity who rejected Jesus and showed their rejection by hatred, sexual immorality, idolatry and lying will end up in the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.
Glory of God’s city. Revelation 21:9-11 describes the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, which is the holy Jerusalem, the glory of God prepared for God’s people to dwell. It is the presence of God. It’s hard to understand the infinite, so John records Jesus’ words that He was going to prepare a place for Christians, mansions in heaven (John 14:1-3).
Solid structure for living. Revelation 21:12-14 describe a city of walls, gates and foundations. There is perfect protection and orderly living in heaven, because there will be perfect harmony in Jesus Christ. It will be the best vacation spot, but where every believer will want to worship the Lord forever and ever.
Perfect spaciousness. Revelation 21:15-17 describe the space provided in the city. God has it measured and God’s perfect character ensures it will be perfect for us. There will be no fighting because of a lack of room or having to share with another person. Why? It will be because we will be in perfect harmony with each other.
Perfect beauty. Revelation 21:18-21 describe using precious gems and stones the construction of the city. It will be beautiful! It will cause everyone to have to lift their mouths, like a gal who sees a beautiful one carat diamond ring a guy she loves uses to propose to her. It will hold our attention because of perfect variety and beauty.
God’s presence. Revelation 21:22 describes a lack of a temple, because the Father and Lord Jesus Christ are its temple. It will be beyond anything we could ever imagine today. Some great cathedrals seize your breath the first time you walk into them, because of their grandeur. God’s presence will be amazing.
Light of glory. Revelation 21:23-24 describe the lack of light in heaven, because Jesus is the Light and all nations will walk in that light. The infinite character of Jesus’ light is not easily understood, but in heaven, there will be no need for street lights for seeing or for protection. Jesus will be the light.
Open access to Jesus. Revelation 21:25-27 describe the open door policy of Jesus. He doesn’t just have open door hours. He is always available. You won’t have to leave a voice mail or wait for a text message return. Jesus will be instantly available, not for or to you, but with you because you will be in perfect submission to His glory.
Unending truth provided. Revelation 22:1 describes a river of life coming from the throne of God. This will be truth that we will continue to enjoy the infinity of God. Water is used for God’s Word in Ephesians 5:26.
Perfect sustenance. Revelation 22:2 describes 12 varieties of fruit for a different kind of pie or food each month. God is creative and what is provided will not be boring or monotonous. It will be better than anything you can imagine.
Freedom from cursing. Revelation 22:3 describes the freedom we will possess from the effects of the curse of sin. All of God’s children will be servants who serve the Lord in perfect harmony. There will be no estrangements. There will be no hurt feelings. There will be no harsh words spoken, wicked comparisons made, slights made toward anyone. People will always be focused on the Lord in perfect unity. THAT will be heaven!
Perfect fellowship with God. Revelation 22:4-5 describe that in the radiance of Jesus’ face, which will be reflected on our foreheads, we will see and reign forever. Even as Moses’ face shone when he came off the mountain (Ex. 34:29-35), so we will bear that radiance on our face, because we will be face to face with the Lord! There will be no shadows. There will be no distrust. There will be perfect harmony in heaven with each other, because we will be in perfect submission to the Lord.
Friends, are you a child of God? You can become a child of God by trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior. There is nothing more important that understanding and taking the gift of salvation that God offers in His grace. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. You will be adopted into God’s family and become a part of the Bride of Jesus Christ. Your destiny will be heaven.
Jesus was God and when He became man also, He bore the sins of all mankind while He hung on the cross. God the Father made Him the target of His wrath as sin. And pouring out His wrath on Jesus, the righteousness of God was satisfied and the world was reconciled to God awaiting that decision of faith by people to accept the gift of salvation.
Then you can begin to enjoy the blessings of heaven on earth as you submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To the extent that you humble yourself to His Lordship, to that extent you will enjoy heaven on earth. Yes, there will be tribulations (John 16:33), but you can have His peace and harmony that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and be a blessing to others regardless of their actions toward you. You will be living heaven on earth, which is something the world does not and cannot understand.
Let me know if you have any questions.