We care much about any new purchase. If we are to buy a house, we will spend days, if not months, to learn more about the house. We will not ignore any known aspect of the house. We endeavor to learn almost everything about the house before we commence our life in it.
We leave no stone unturned while studying about our new home on earth. Similarly let us leave no stone unturned before we commence our life in heaven.
Heaven is God’s abode; apart from the triune God, good angels and the redeemed humans from all ages live in heaven (Matthew 6:9, 18: 10; Luke 2: 15; John 14:2-3, 6: 51; Romans 8: 34; Revelation 1: 4, 4: 4-6, 7: 9).
Although the heaven is God’s abode, God is not localized to heaven but indeed omnipresent (1 Kings 8: 27; Psalms 139: 7 – 9).
Nature of Heaven
There is no death, sorrow or sickness in heaven (Revelation 21: 4; 2 Corinthians 1: 4-5).
There is no curse (Revelation 22: 3).
Heaven is a place of abundant life and joy (John 10:10; Revelation 22: 1-2 cf. Psalm 16: 11; Luke 15: 10).
There is perpetual worship and service in heaven (Revelation 4:8, 5:13-14, 22:3).
We will be perfect in heaven – in body, in morality, in knowledge (Philippians 3: 21; 1 Corinthians 13: 9-12, 15: 51-53; Revelation 21: 27).
There will be heavenly homes, mansions and palaces (John 14: 1-3).
We will be reunited with our loved ones in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18).
Heaven is a place of eternal rest and eternal reward (Revelation 14:13, 22:12; Hebrews 4: 9)
Heaven will be exceptionally beautiful and indescribably glorious (1 Corinthians 2: 9; Revelation 21: 18-21; Romans 8:18; Ezekiel 1:13).
Heaven is an eternal or everlasting or an endless abode. Heaven will not cease to exist (Titus 1: 2; Matthew 25: 46).
Greatest Reward in Heaven
No one can see God in this time and age (John 1:18). So seeing God face-to-face is the greatest reward in heaven. When we are in heaven, we can see God face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13: 12; Revelation 22: 4). What more do we need than to see God and be in HIS holy and glorious presence through all eternity!
Theologians term this face-to-face experience with God as the “Beatific Vision.” Seeing God face-to-face offers the believers:
- Perfect knowledge of God (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13: 9-10).
- Permanent state of perfection. Just as God is a permanent or a changeless state of perfection, salvation from sin would rescue the believers from any damage caused by sin, thereby rendering a permanent state of perfection.
- An impossibility to sin; sight of an infinitely good God will render sin as an impossibility while in a state of perfection.
New Heaven and New Earth
Revelation 21: 1-4 teaches that after believers’ resurrection and attaining glorious bodies, heaven will descend on earth in the form of the New Jerusalem, “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. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 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. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” This new heaven, our eternal abode, will have foundations, gates and dimensions.
Will Infants Who Die Go to Heaven?
Yes. 2 Samuel 12: 23 offers a crucial insight to answer this question, for David says that his deceased infant son would go to heaven, “But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” Since infants do not possess the ability to either accept or reject Christ, we believe that deceased infants would go to heaven.
Will There Be Babies & Old People in Heaven?
No. Heaven is a place of perfection, whereas babies, who are stunted in growth and of less maturity, do not possess perfect body or mind. Old people similarly are not in a perfect state of health in body and mind. Moreover, since all believers would have a perfect glorious body in heaven, this perfect and glorious body would neither be too young or too old but an appropriate age as God has determined.
Will Everyone Be Equally Blessed in Heaven?
No. Not everyone would be equally blessed. Believers would be rewarded differently in heaven based on their love for God and their obedience to HIM while on earth (Matthew 16: 27; Luke 19: 17-19; 1 Corinthians 3: 11-15). Those with greater love and obedience for the Lord would receive greater reward in heaven.
Will We Recognize Loved Ones in Heaven?
Yes. Peter acknowledged Moses and Elijah by name on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1-4). Paul implied this in his encouragement of Thessalonians (4: 13-18).
Will We Eat in Heaven?
Yes. Perfect and glorious bodies need not be nourished. However, we will eat for pleasure and not for necessity (cf. Matthew 26: 29).
Will There Be Sex in Heaven?
No. There would be no marriage, sexual intercourse or procreation in heaven (Matthew 22: 30). State of perfection eliminates sexual desires.
Will We Continue to Learn and Morally Improve in Heaven?
No. Heaven is not a place for progress, but perfection (1 Corinthians 13: 2). Heaven is not a place for striving, but an abode of rest (John 9: 4; Revelation 14: 13).
When we are in the presence of God and when we see HIM face-to-face, we would no longer be learning but we would be perpetually worshipping.
Will We Experience Time in Heaven?
Time is a measurement of change i.e. before and after or past, present and future. In heaven there would be no change because heaven is a place of perfection. There need be no change in perfection.
If perfection changes, it ought to be a change for the better or worse. But we cannot be better than perfect and perfection cannot lose its state in the absence of an agent that could destroy perfection, namely Satan.
Therefore, our state in heaven will be like that of the angels, who are not in time by nature but can be related to it by activity.
Will There Be Animals in Heaven?
The metaphors of peace employed in the Bible about the peaceful coexistence of lion and the lamb under the rule of God and the metaphor of eternal life in the description of the tree of life could imply the existence of plants and animals in heaven.
But would our very own pets be in heaven with us? I have no idea! But then it cannot be negated with certainty, for recreating our pets is not impossible with God.
We live in an evil world. Corruption is in every sphere of our life. Pain and suffering is evident in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Innocent people are massacred and maimed, both physically and emotionally.
Our great desire is for the world to be a better place. But there is no restoration in sight until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to eliminate evil once and for all.
Given the undesirable nature of our present life and the most desirable life in heaven, everyone would love to be in heaven. But the Bible unequivocally teaches that only those who believe and remain in Christ would be in heaven.
So if you do not believe the Lord Jesus Christ, it is my prayer that you would love and believe the God who unconditionally loves you even when you do not believe in HIM. May your life be surrendered to Christ and may we cohabit in heaven with God forever and ever. Amen.
Much of the information presented in this essay is sourced from Dr. Norman Geisler’s work: “Systematic Theology, Volume Four: Church, Last Things.”
Originally posted on http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.in/2016/02/what-is-heaven-like.html