Heaven is a Real place #2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
This wonderful place that we are calling heaven is given another name in the book of Revelation; it’s called the New Jerusalem. Listen to this description of the New Jerusalem given in revelation 21:1-4:
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and there was no sea anymore.
2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Now God’s presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.”
Jesus is giving us a preview of what it will be like to be a citizen of the New Jerusalem:
• All injustices are gone.
• All the pain is gone.
• Broken relationships are gone.
• All our mistakes are gone.
• All the sadness is gone.
• There will be no death.
I have thought some things, and said some things, and done some things that I regret. What a day that will be when those things are gone for good, never to return. They will not only be forgiven, but they will be forgotten. And the temptation to repeat those errors will never return! That’s true freedom.
Our position with God will be changed, for it says that we will be prepared as a bride. That will be our new relationship with Christ. Compare this assessment with how God spoke of creation. Throughout Genesis 1, God simply calls it “good.” Now think again about those beautiful scenes of nature you have experienced. They were indeed good. But here God calls the New Jerusalem a bride. That comparison is like saying, “I like ice cream” and “I love my wife.”
Heaven will be immeasurably beyond anything we have experienced or can imagine. This picture of heaven is fascinating, but even more impressive is the reality that God will be there with us. There will be no more separation. But wait a minute, isn’t God with us now, and all the time? Yes, He is. But how often have you asked, “Where is God when I need Him?” How often have you prayed, but felt that you were not getting through? How often have your pride, selfishness and unrepentant sin made you feel disconnected from God? There will be no more of that in heaven. Our communion with God will be constant, consistent and loving. There will be no more loneliness. Researchers have found that the number one complaint by Americans is that they are lonely. Can you imagine having uninterrupted fellowship with God and with His people?
Another advantage that we will have in heaven is that there will be no more desperate searching and waiting. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I am waiting on God for an answer?” For the Christian, patience is a necessary discipline.
However, in heaven there will be no more seeking God, asking God to reveal Himself, or waiting on God’s answers. We will live in His presence, and we will be truly free from doubts, fears, and uncertainty.
There is another beautiful promise found in John’s Revelation, and that is that there will be no more hardships. The reason is because the curse that was placed on humanity at the Fall is broken! When God pronouncement judgment on Adam and Eve for their sin, He made them a promise in Genesis 3:15. He said that one would come from the seed of Eve who would crush the serpent’s (Satan’s) head. The fulfillment of this prediction is found in Jesus. He conquered death for us by His death. If we believe in Him, John 3:16 says that we will be born again.
1 John 1:9 says that if we will confess our sins, God will forgive us. This is simple and easy, but Jesus paid a terrible price to bring us this new life. He endured rejection, betrayal, ridicule, and physical torture. Then He experienced the worst form of human death-that of slow execution. The result of Jesus’ sacrifice is that we have been reconciled to God.
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus promises that if anyone will open the door of their heart to Him, that He will commune with him. That means that He will enter into them. They will be changed. They will be a new creature in Christ. We are reconciled. The sin and rebellion that tore us from God is gone, and we are free to enjoy intimate fellowship with our Maker.
We have seen how good the preparation and appearance of heaven will be, and our communion with God will be wonderful, but John’s Revelation offers us, even more, insight into the kingdom of God.
Let me read Revelation 21:22-27 to you.
22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
24 By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it,
25 and its gates shall never be shut by day—and there shall be no night there;
26 they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.
27 But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
I love church; the singing, the prayers, the preaching, the worship and the fellowship, so I am fascinated by the knowledge that we will no longer go to church to worship. The entire kingdom of God will be the church, and the splendor of our worship will be greater than the most powerful, inspirational meetings God’s people have ever got together.
In John’s report, the next thing that he describes seems almost supernatural. God says that we will no longer depend on nature, or any other creation of God, for what we need. God, Himself will be our source. For example, our light comes from the sun; however, we are told that there will be no sun or moon in heaven. God’s glory will be the only light we need. In other words, what allows us to see will no longer be a creation of God-but God Himself.
Perhaps our very breath will no longer depend upon the oxygen He creates. We will advance from being God’s creation to being beyond God’s creation. This aspect of heaven is beyond description and beyond explanation. But from it, we can catch a tiny glimpse of the wondrous existence that awaits us. No wonder John promised a blessing to those who will read his Revelation.
Now here is a blessed truth for us today, which should give us great comfort. We live in the midst of the threat of war, natural disasters, and criminal violence. Today on the news I heard that government officials are discussing sending troops into Mexico to help in the fight against the drug cartel, and the next story was about a little girl who was kidnapped and murdered. But in heaven, we will no longer worry about our safety. There will be no evil or danger in heaven. No more gated communities. No more alarm systems. No more prisons, courts, lawyers, police or soldiers. We will be with God and His people. Our friendships and relationships will be based on liberty and trust. We will not have to second guess people, wonder about their motives, or worry about being misunderstood. It will be natural for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Likewise, we will be free to receive the love of others without hesitation or conditions. We will no longer struggle with sin and temptation; there is no evil intent in heaven.
Let’s make this personal. Recall your worst fantasies, addictions, grudges, and envies; all these are bondages that you have asked God to deliver you from-often for years and years. Listen again for the most hateful, hurtful words you have spoken thoughtlessly; or maybe even on purpose. In spite of what you would think, some of the most hurtful words which I have spoken were meant as “Innocent humor.” Then replay some of the actions that you regret the most. Next, give thanks to God! These have not only been forgiven, not only forgotten, they have been vanquished eternally. They will not return as temptation or guilty feelings. You will not face them again. Is this true freedom, or not!
The last heaven related passage that I would like you to consider is Revelation 22:3-5: