II. What is heaven like?
This question came from one of our junior high students. I would answer by saying that the Bible doesn’t give us a great deal of information. What we have are images and pictures of heaven and comparisons with life on earth.
What is heaven like? Here are some biblical facts about heaven. It is …
- God’s dwelling place (Psalms 33:13).
- Where Christ is today (Acts 1:11).
- Where Christians go when they die (Philippians 1:21-23).
- The Father’s house (John 14:2).
- A city designed and built by God (Hebrews 11:10).
- A better country (Hebrews 11:16).
- Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Most of us have heard that heaven is a place where the streets are paved with gold, the gates are made of pearl, and the walls made of precious jewels. Those images come from Revelation 21, which offers us the most extended picture of heaven in the entire Bible. If you ask me if I believe those things are literally true, the answer is yes and no. Yes, they are literally true but no, heaven won’t be anything like we imagine. It will be much greater.
Here’s a delightful legend that makes the point very well:
I love the old story of the rich man who, on his death bed, negotiated with God to allow him to bring his earthly treasures with him when he came to heaven. God’s reaction was that this was a most unusual request, but since this man had been exceptionally faithful, permission was granted to bring along just one suitcase. The time arrived, the man presented himself at the pearly gates, suitcase in hand- BOTH hands, actually, since he had stuffed it with as many bars of gold bullion as would fit. St. Peter said, “Sorry, you know the rules-you can’t take it with you.” But the man protested, “God said I could … one suitcase.” St. Peter checked, found out that this one would be an exception, prepared to let the man enter, then said, “OK, but I will have to examine the contents before you pass.” He took the suitcase, opened it, saw the gold bars and asked quizzically, “You brought PAVEMENT?” [Note: This story is from the sermon “Heaven” by Dr. David Leininger, March 30, 1997]
When John writes about a street paved with gold, I do not doubt his words. He simply reports what he saw in his vision. Thus his words are literally true. They are also meant to tell us that the things we value so highly in this life will be used to pave the roads in heaven.
…to be con’td