Humankind has been fascinated with the concept of Heaven for centuries. In every culture, people have a vivid idea of what they think the afterlife isgoing to be like. And today, it’s a very hot topic. Just go to any bookstore and you’ll see hundreds of books about Heaven and about people’s experiencesin Heaven.
But perhaps the most important question is … what do you think Heaven is like?
I don’t doubt that God may have some people go through near death experiences, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell which ones are valid. How can we knowfor sure what Heaven is really like, and what is true? What information are we going to trust?
The movies have told us that Heaven is this place where there’s lots of floating clouds and everyone is wearing white. There’s often a lot of singing andharp playing, like it’s one long worship service. I don’t know about you, but that sounds really boring!
Actually, Heaven is not anything like that. In fact, it’s pretty different from the movies we’ve seen. And it’s different from what most Christians believeabout Heaven, which is usually pretty skewed and unbiblical.
So, what does the Bible say about what Heaven is really like?
The Bible says that in the future, after Christ returns to the earth, and our bodies are resurrected, there will be a final judgment and Heaven willliterally come down. There will be a new Heaven (called the New Jerusalem) established on anew earth. (Revelation 21 and 22)
In the new Heaven and the new earth, God will live with us and be with us forever – there will be no longer be any separation.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be hispeople, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
Heaven will be a place that is as real and tangible as this earth, but infinitely better, with none of the problems of this fallen earth. We will have new bodies and have a perfect relationship with one another. We will also be without sin, false motives and comparison. There will also bebeauty, work, discovery and immense enjoyment.
In Heaven, God will meet the deepest longings of our heart.Imagine the best relationship, the best marriage, the best moment with your friends, and the best sunset. These experiences are just tiny littletastes of what Heaven is going to be like.
Our new spiritual bodies will fit the new earth. We know this because after Jesus was resurrected, He cam back in His new body to be with His disciples for a short time. Jesus wasn’t somedisembodied spirit. He had a body that was flesh and bone but He also had new capabilities. He ate and drank but He could also walk through walls andappear and disappear. We will have a similar body.
But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
Finally, we know that Heaven is going to be a lot like the old earth. It will befamiliar.
God made humankind in a perfect environment and that perfect environment was Earth. When sin entered the picture it became tainted and corrupted. But Godisn’t going to annihilate the earth. He’s going to cleanse it.
The earth is still going to be here, but all the things we love about it are going to be exponentially improved! Not only will we be reunited withloved ones, but Jesus is also going to make all of the wrongs things right. There will be perfect justice and evil will no longer reign.
A little phrase that has helped me to gain tremendous perspective about what Heaven on Earth will be like is: As man was, so was the earth (innocence). As man went (disobedience and sin) so went the earth. As man will be, so will be the earth.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip