1. Is Heaven beyond our imagination?
2 Timothy 2:7 . . . Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
Psalm 119:18 . . . Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
We can’t anticipate or desire what we can’t imagine. That’s why God has given us glimpses of Heaven in the Bible—to fire our imaginations and kindle a desire for Heaven in our hearts. If God didn’t want us to imagine what Heaven will be like, he wouldn’t have told us as much about it as he has.
The writers of Scripture present Heaven in many ways, including as a garden, a city, and a kingdom. Because gardens, cities, and kingdoms are familiar to us, they afford us a bridge to understanding Heaven. However, many people make the mistake of assuming that these are merely analogies with no actual correspondence to the reality of Heaven (which would make them poor analogies). Analogies can be pressed too far, but because Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is preparing a place for us, that God’s Kingdom will come to Earth, and that a physical resurrection awaits us, there is no reason to spiritualize or allegorize all earthly descriptions of Heaven. We should ask God’s help to remove the blinders of our preconceived ideas about Heaven so we can understand Scripture.
2. If “no eye has seen” Heaven, how can we know about it?
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 . . . “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.
Deuteronomy 29:29 . . . The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us.
First Corinthians 2:9-10 is wonderful, but it says precisely the opposite of what it’s cited to prove! What we otherwise could not have known, God says he has revealed to us through his Spirit. The context isn’t talking about Heaven, but even if we apply these words to Heaven, they mean that God has revealed to us what it’s like. Not exhaustively, but accurately.
God tells us about Heaven in his Word, not so we can shrug our shoulders and remain ignorant, but because he wants us to understand and anticipate what awaits us. We should accept that many things about Heaven are secret and that God has countless surprises in store for us. But the things God has revealed to us about Heaven belong to us and to our children. It’s critically important that we discuss and understand them.
Revelation 1:1-2 . . . This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 6:1-2 . . . It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.
Ezekiel 1:1 . . . On July 31 of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
God commanded the apostle John to talk about his prolonged visit to Heaven, which he did in detail in the book of Revelation. Likewise, Isaiah and Ezekiel wrote about what they saw in Heaven. If God didn’t intend for us to understand what he revealed to these men about Heaven, why would he bother telling us about it? When was the last time you wrote someone a letter using words you didn’t expect them to comprehend? So, we should study, teach, and discuss God’s revelation about Heaven given to us in his Word.
3. What will it mean for God to dwell among us?
Leviticus 26:11-12 . . . I will live among you, and I will not despise you. I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.
Ezekiel 37:27 . . . I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
The best part of life on the New Earth will be enjoying God’s presence, having him actually dwell among us. God and mankind will be able to come to each other whenever they wish. To be with God—to know him, to see him—is the central, irreducible draw of Heaven.
2 Corinthians 6:16 . . . God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Revelation 21:3 . . . I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.”
God will actually come to live among us on the New Earth. God’s Son didn’t become a man temporarily, but permanently. His incarnation will last forever, and his throne—and hence his home—will be on the New Earth. We will not have to leave home to visit God, nor will God leave home to visit us. In the new universe, we’ll never be able to travel far enough to leave God’s presence. Even if we could, we’d never want to.
Revelation 21:22 . . . I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
There will be no temple. Everyone will be allowed unimpeded access into God’s presence.
Hebrews 11:16 . . . They were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Revelation 22:14 . . . Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.
Not only will God come to dwell with us on Earth, he will also bring with him the New Jerusalem, an entire city of people, structures, streets, walls, rivers, and trees that is now in the present Heaven. Just as the Holy of Holies contained the dazzling presence of God in ancient Israel, so the New Jerusalem will contain his presence—but on a much larger scale—on the New Earth. We will be able to come physically, through wide open gates, to God’s throne.
You’ve been reading from TouchPoints – Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Jason Beers. Based on Randy Alcorn’s best-selling book Heaven, TouchPoints – Heaven puts the answers to many of your questions about Heaven, eternity, and the New Earth at your fingertips. Then, arranged by topic, TouchPoints – Heaven provides simple, clear-cut, biblically based answers to such questions as, Will animals inhabit the New Earth? Will we sleep in Heaven? Will we all have beautiful bodies? And Will we work in Heaven? Learn more about the book HERE.