Introduction: - Irrespective of religious affiliation every believer hopes to reach heaven after death. Man is willing to pay any amount, do any hard work to go to there. Many do not consider about heaven till some of their dear one die. Skeptics think hell and heaven is in this world itself. The Bible very clearly presents truths about hell as well as heaven. Let us search the word of God and see where is heaven and how does it look like.
Both hell and havens are distinct places, away from the earth, created by God. Genesis.1:1. We have seen already about hell now we will focus on heaven.
Heaven must be just opposite to what hell is. It is the place where God and His angels dwell, place where the righteous will live for ever. Where there is no evil, no sorrow or pain. It is the goal & hope of a Christian. Heaven should be the thought and mediation of a believer.
Three layers of heaven. 2Corinthians.12:2.
i. 1st heaven. Atmospheric heaven and the clouds. Sky-‘heavens declare the glory’.Psalm.19:1
ii. 2nd heaven. The solar / stellar spaces—beyond the cosmological space. Abode of all the supernatural angelic beings.
iii. 3rd heaven –abode of the triune God. Paul was taken to this heaven. It is this heaven we ought to consider.
Ten things can be noticed about that place:-
1. Dwelling place of the heavenly father and the angels. Matthew.18:10; 9:6
2. The place from where Christ came. John.6:38
3. The place to where He returned. Acts.1:11
4. The place where Christ appears for us. Hebrews.9:24
5. The place from where Christ will return. Act.1:11 1Thessalonians.4:16,17
6. The Place where Christian believer’s name is written. Luke.10:20
7. The Place where believers have their citizenship. Phiippiansl3:20
8. The place where believers should invest their possession. Matthew.6:20
9. The place where believers have an eternal house. 2Corinhians.5:1
10. The place to where He shall take us to. John.14:1—3
Description of heaven.
How does heaven look like? Of course it can not be like hell, then how?
Though we have many Bible versus that describe heaven I think it is better to dwell more on the way heaven is described in the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapters 4 & 5 we have a scene of heaven. John is called to come up and view the condition and the functions of the heavenly places. You can see the glory of heaven along with the greatness and the majesty of God portrayed there. Five things are noteworthy:-
1. Heaven is a royal place. Revelation. 4: 2. A throne is found in heaven and God is seated on that. Who ever may rule this world today, God is over all. He is in heaven- enthroned. Isaiah. 6:1; 66:1; Psalm.11:4; Daniel.4:35.
2. Heaven is a glorious place. Revelation. 4:.3 John finds it hard to narrate the scene. So compares to Jasper and sardius stones. Jasper is a diamond which refracts all the colors of the spectrum. Sarduius is a fiery bright ruby stone. Both demonstrate the glory of God. Also we find lightening, lamps burning, and sea of glass. Vs.5, 6. All together a glorious scene is found in heaven.
Remember, what is the root cause for such glory? It is the presence of God Almighty Himself. Revelation.22:5. We are going to reflect such glory in heaven. Philipians.3:21. Remembering this truth, Paul says that the present sufferings are nothing. Romans.8:18; 2Corinthians.4:17.
3. Heaven is a place of worship. Revelation. 4:8. The creatures and the elders in heaven, together they worship God day and night. Also in chapters 5, 19 & 22 we have such worship scenes. So heaven is a place of perpetual worship. Apart from the angelic beings the redeemed people of God shall worship God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ in all perfection. 22:3, 4.
4. Heaven is a beautiful place. Revelation. 21:1, 2. New heaven and new earth. Nothing unclean and unholy is found there. It looks like an adorned bride.
5. Heaven is a place of comfort and satisfaction. Revelation.7:16, 17; 21:3, 4; 22:1—5. All the pain will go, tears will be wiped. No more curse, hunger and thirst. We will be rewarded for all the labors. We shall see His face and be satisfied. What a place that would be.
Our response: - In view of these facts what shall we do?
a. Need to be prepared to reach Heaven. How? Make sure our name is written in heaven. Revelation.20:15; 21:27. Luke.10:20. It is a prepared place for prepared people. We have seen elsewhere that heaven is not the natural destination of mankind.
Deceived by Satan, man is going to the eternal hell fire. But the Lord God Almighty had mercy on us and opened a wonderful way to forgive, redeem and translate us to the heavenly places. That is through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. The one who accepts his sinfulness and receive the salvation that God offers will be forgiven and his / her name will be written in heaven. Without having this experience no amount or ritual before or after death can bring a soul to heaven.
Do you suppose that while alive live in sin, rebellion and after death prayer for rest in heaven is possible. It is foolishness to wait till the end of our life to think about our place in heaven. Notice, to reach hell you don’t need to do anything, you are going there step by step, but to reach heaven you need to stop your ways and deeds and take fresh turn that is by accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
b. Invest in heaven today. Matthew.6:19, 20. In this uncertain world it is wisdom to live and spend our resources for the cause of heaven. Thus we shall not be ashamed there as we stand to receive rewards for our deeds.
c. Live like strangers and pilgrims in this world, for our citizenship is in heaven. Philipians.3:20.
d. Be under the rule of the government of heaven. Let heaven rule our life, we belong to heaven. Matthew.6:10. Though we live in this world our primary goal must be live for heaven, according to the standard of heaven. The world and all its lust are passing away, but those who live for heaven will abide for ever. 1 John.2:17. All our efforts for the sake of heaven will stand for ever.
Conclusion: - What is your idea about heaven?
Are you sure that you will be in heaven once you leave this world?
Do you just hope that some ritual by your relatives will take you to heaven after death?
Do you live for heaven or this perishable world?