Revelation 21: 1
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away....
1 Corinthians 2: 9
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.
2 Corinthians 4: 18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
We're getting towards the end of the book of Revelation. Well done for sticking with it over the past 8 weeks! Hopefully it has opened your eyes to some things that seemed too difficult to understand previously. For the next few days we will think about Haven.
If I were to ask you right now, do you want to go to heaven when you die, I’m guessing that you would say yes.
However if I ask, do you want to go there right now – probably you wouldn't be so enthusiastic. I think that many people want to go to heaven because we don’t really like the alternative. We honestly don’t really get too excited about heaven, we don’t look forward to it, we don’t long for it. And I think that’s because we don’t really understand what it’s like.
When you think of Heaven what do you think of? People talk about heaven and sing about heaven, tell jokes about Heaven and want to get to Heaven, but if you ask the average person, 'What is Heaven like?' and you will get all sorts of strange and wonderful answers.
Movies and TV and newspapers often depict people in heaven as floating around on clouds all day, playing their harps, eating Philadelphia cream cheese, and to be honest it looks pretty boring.
Others think of it as being like one big long eternal church service. All we will do for eternity is sing hymns and be nice to each other. As much as I love church, I can only take so much of it.
Remember who gets this vision of Heaven – John. The elderly apostle who is exiled because of his faith in Jesus. It’s for a church undergoing severe pressure to conform to the culture and world around them.
Now imagine them getting this Revelation of Heaven. How incredibly would this affect and impact how they viewed their suffering, persecution and even martyrdom. I can see how it would give them hope, something to look forward to.It would strengthen them to endure anything, knowing that God has so much ahead for them. It would help them see that anything they give up for Jesus, God will more than make it up to them in the future.
And I think if we really grasp what Heaven is like, what the future holds for us as followers of Jesus, it can change our lives, it can change how we view suffering, sickness, even death. It will change every Christian funeral we ever go to, and how we think about the future. This is ultimate reality, life changing theology we’re looking at.
I’m so glad the Book of Revelation ends with something good. It’s been a rough few weeks looking at judgement and evil and all of that stuff. I’m thankful to be able to share the goodness and lavishness of God with you.
What I want to do this week and next is to ask and try to answer some of the most common questions about Heaven. We’re going to look primarily at Revelation, but also at some other places in the Bible, because really, the Bible is all we can rely on to get a true picture of Heaven.
First of all we'll focus on what Heaven is like and then we’ll think about what we will be like, what life will be like, what will we do all day, or all eternity.
For now, consider this quote:
"Scripture repeatedly makes clear that heaven is a realm of unsurpassed joy, unfading glory, undiminished bliss, unlimited delights, and unending pleasures. Nothing about it can possibly be boring or humdrum. It will be a perfect existence. We will have unbroken fellowship with all heaven's inhabitants. Life there will be devoid of any sorrows, cares, tear, fears, or pain."