Monday, February 04, 2013
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).
Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:1–4
Most of us do not spend very much time giving consideration to life beyond this life on earth. Perhaps this is because all of our treasures are in this world and we are living as if we are creatures of one world.
Jesus warned his disciples against the peril of investing their time, talents, and treasure in values that are perishable (Matt. 6:19–21). He affirmed that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” It is possible that our refusal to think about the life beyond is due to the fact that we have invested everything in this present life.
A part of the good news of the gospel that Jesus brought to the minds and hearts of people concerns the life beyond. Although he did not say as much about heaven as some would like, there is much in the New Testament that can bring comfort and confidence to the hearts of those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
1) The nature of heaven.
Heaven is described as a place (John 14:1).
The Bible does not describe the geography of heaven, neither is it explicit concerning its location or address. However, our Lord described it as a place.
Heaven is a prepared place.
We can assume that it is beautiful, commodious, comfortable, and appropriate for every need for the existence we will enjoy with God.
Heaven is a place of perfect holiness.
We read that nothing will enter heaven that would defile it (Rev. 21:17). The followers of Christ will be like him, for we will see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
The battle with sin will be over. This will be one of the most wonderful things about heaven.
Heaven is described as a place of rest (Rev. 14:13).
This does not mean that the saints will spend eternity in idleness. It does mean that they will not know the burdens and tensions and discomforts of grueling labor as some have known it on earth.
Heaven is a place of active service (Rev. 22:3).
The children of God will be able to worship God and serve him in a manner that will bring joy to their hearts for ages without end once this life is over.
Heaven is a place from which tears, death, and pain will be exiled forever. Sorrow and death will never again touch the lives of those who go to be with God.
Heaven is described as the home of the heavenly Father (John 14:2).
There the children of God will enjoy the hospitality of God. They will rejoice in his love, grace, and mercy. Love will be the law of heaven.
2) A description of heaven.
We search in vain for a literal description of heaven in the Bible. We get into all kinds of difficulties when we take symbolic language and try to make it literal. The descriptive powers of human language were likely exhausted as the inspired writers attempted to describe that which the Holy Spirit was revealing to them. Let us look at some of these descriptions of heaven.
Heaven is described as a tabernacle (Rev. 21:1–4).
In this beautiful pavilion, God comes to dwell with his people. Never again will they feel separated from God. Never again will they feel separated from each other. Never again will they experience suffering, sorrow, and death. They will dwell with God, and God will dwell with them, and they will have indescribable joy.
Heaven is described as a beautiful city (Rev. 21:19–27).
The inspired writer exhausts the descriptive power of language as he seeks to set before us a picture of the splendid pageantry of a Middle-Eastern city. It is described as a place where the citizens enjoy perfect protection in absolute spaciousness in the midst of indescribable beauty.
Heaven is described as a beautiful garden (Rev. 22:1–5).
In this beautiful garden, the necessities for eternal life are provided. In the midst of the garden is located the throne of God and the throne of the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. The original curse that had been placed on the earth is no longer in effect. The Lamb of God himself is the light, and there is no darkness.
Humans began their existence in a garden, and the book of Revelation, which portrays a picture of God’s plan for the future, locates God and redeemed humans back in a beautiful garden.
3) The way to heaven.
The Bible is a record of the activity of God in which he has been seeking to restore humans to the garden from which they were cast because of sin. It is the desire of the Father that death be eradicated and that humans enjoy eternal life and fellowship with their Creator and Redeemer.
Heaven is described in such wonderful terms that it is illogical to believe that one could ever purchase at any price the privilege of spending eternity in the heavenly Father’s home. It is illogical to believe that one could live good enough to merit the favor of God and to earn the privilege of spending eternity in heaven. People must beware of attempting to earn the privilege of entering heaven by their own efforts.
It is the testimony of the Word of God from beginning to end that those who go to heaven go because of the mercy and grace of God. There is no other way to reach heaven except through God’s mercy and grace. The way to heaven is found only through faith in Jesus Christ. It was he who declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus Christ was God in human flesh. He was appointed to be our Savior from the penalty of sin and therefore came and died a substitutionary death on the cross for us. He conquered death and the grave and revealed the reality of immortality by his resurrection from the dead. Christ alone has authority over death and can offer hope of a life beyond this life.
Christ alone gives people the gift of eternal life in the present. That life is received as a present possession by those who receive him into their hearts as Lord and Master. It continues beyond the experience we call death. It reaches its fulfillment and consummation in the heavenly Father’s home described so beautifully in many different ways in the Scriptures.
Now in Conclusion
What are your plans for eternity? Do you have any hope for a home beyond this life? Do you have a desire to be prepared not only for living the full and abundant life here and now but also living with God throughout the endless ages of eternity? If so, your hope is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Respond to Jesus Christ with the faith that causes you to make him the Lord of your heart and the Leader of your life. Let him bring the rule of heaven into your heart now, and you will discover that heaven has moved into your heart in the present. Heaven is not only a place in the hereafter; it can be an experience in the heart of believers now. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4).
God bless you all, Pastor Mike