A Picture Of Heaven
I believe that the longer a Christian lives here on earth the more they will long for heaven. As we consider things like death, pain, and the problem of evil the more we long for freedom from these things. Even more than this I believe that Christians realize that they want to be home. Heaven is all of these things. Some of the best passages for understanding what heaven is all about come in Revelation. The 7 churches John wrote to needed to know about heaven to motivate them through their difficult circumstances. Many were facing persecution and even martyrdom. In this week’s article I wanted to share some of the descriptions of heaven from the end of this book. I want you to keep in mind that these are images shown to John in visions. These things were ways of representing spiritual realities in a way that physical eyes and minds could understand. For example, John saw a street of gold in heaven, but we know that all earthly elements will melt (2 Pet. 3:10), so if heaven actually does have something resembling streets they would actually be even more impressive than gold. I’m not trying to diminish your view of heaven, but rather to tell you that it will be better than you can imagine!
God will dwell among them (Rev. 21:3). God had tried to let Israel understand some taste of this idea with the tabernacle and the temple. These things were in the middle of the people to represent God in their midst. This became even more of a reality when Jesus took on flesh and walked among the people. However they still were unable to see God as He truly was. In fact John writes that no person had seen God (John 1:18). This was all going to change!
He will wipe away all tears (Rev. 21:4). For people who were persecuted and even being put to death tears were a reality. This life brings tears often even without persecution. Being in the Kingdom of God means that we can begin to have a comfort and peace that we’ve never had before. However we wont be totally free of sadness until we are in God’s presence.
The land will always be fruitful (Rev. 22:2). John sees the tree of life spreading across two sides of the river of life, it had 12 fruits bearing fruit in every month. In the beginning God put people in the Garden of Eden. Their own sin separated them from this Garden. God was promising to return them. This past week I jut finished my last garden harvest of the year. I’ve got to say, the idea of a year long harvest is amazing! Heaven will be fruitful and a source of perfect and eternal life.
There will be no darkness or night (Rev. 22:5). It is hard to imagine a place without night. Summer time in northern Alaska might be as close as someone could get. But as we are nearing the time of year with shorter days I believe all of us could use a little sunlight. Light is good, it illuminates, it warms, it brings joy, and it drives away fears and shadows. God is the source of true light. I’m looking forward to a place without darkness!
There are many other images of heaven in Scripture. I hope this list is enough to make you long for a better world. As Christians we need to think about heaven often and to pray for the day when we will get to be in God’s presence. We also need to work to bring as many other people with us as we can. Let’s all make an effort this week to talk about heaven more.