We know very little about heaven, but I once heard a theologian describe it as “an unknown region with a well-known inhabitant,” and there is not a better way to think of it than that.
Richard Baxter expresses the thought in these lines:
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim,
But it’s enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.
To those who have learned to love and trust Jesus, the prospect of meeting him face to face and being with him forever is the hope that keeps us going, no matter what life may throw at us.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.
Heaven is the New Jerusalem
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
2Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
3You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
4Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God, is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:1-4
The prophet Isaiah is describing the new City of God, Jerusalem, in this section. In doing so, he points out some key differences from other earthly cities. Samaria fell to the Assyrians. Later, Jerusalem would fall at the hands of the Babylonians. However, in this New Jerusalem, Heaven will be impregnable.
Another major difference is that this earthly city was often infested with all manner of sin and evil. The New Jerusalem will no longer be the sinful city. Instead, it will be a righteous city set apart for a holy nation whose sins have been washed away.
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” Zechariah 13:1
This will be a select citizenship, only those who have trusted Jesus Christ will enter the city; and because they believe, they have peace.
Heaven is an eternal relationship with the God of creation.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesians 2:10, he describes how God views us, “ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
The word translated here as workmanship is better translated, “masterpiece.” We are the crowning Jewel of God’s creation. What an amazing day it will be to stand before the artist God, who created us and behold this Creator face-to-face. The masterpiece meets that Master Artisan. I shudder at the thought. What do you think you will do when you meet the Creator? Will you stand in awe and wonder? Will you dance with joy? I imagine I would just stand there with mouth wide open, in quiet reflection soaking in all the brilliance and wonder of the moment. The Bible says you will behold him face to face and you will spend eternity in his presence.
Not even the finest writer will be able to put this scene into words. No eye has seen, and no ear has heard the spectacles of what God has amassed for us in heaven. It is real. It is for real people. It is forever.
Other posts in this series: