WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE? (22 May 2016)

My recent class sessions in both ABC and BSF are focused on what heaven is like.

Visions of heaven in Scriptures were recorded by Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and John. Every such vision highlights that same sense of breathtaking majesty and daunting brilliance. Although Paul also had a brief encounter in 2 Cor 12, it was John who gave the most detailed account of the heavenly realm in the book of Revelation.

So what does heaven look like?

In Revelation 4, John describes heaven as a scene of spectacular grandeur and dazzling beauty – a glory that far surpasses the limits of human language. He compares it to the radiance of jasper and sardius (ruby), the most stunning jewels he can picture. God’s throne is surrounded by a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald, with flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder.  The imagery speaks of an immeasurable glory that exceeds our imagination.

So what is it like to be in heaven?

The most marvelous thing of all about heaven – heaven’s supreme delight – will be that we get to have unbroken fellowship with God Himself. I think this is such an incredibly profound concept that there’s no way our finite minds can appreciate it. “Blurred” by now? So am I.

Heaven is a place of perfect bliss – devoid of all sorrow and sin, full of exultation and enjoyment – a place where grace and peace reign totally unchallenged. Where every true treasure and every eternal reward is laid up for the redeemed. And we will get to behold God’s glory, bask in it, and enjoy it for all eternity.

What is missing in heaven?

Surprisingly, and happily, several things will be missing.

John wrote in Revelation 21.22, “I saw no temple in the city”. But God Himself is the temple, and so we will worship in the very presence of God. Continuing in verse 23, there is no cosmic light source. The glory of heaven is a far more brilliant light than anything we can imagine. There will no more tears, pain or death (Rev 21.4) and no curse (Rev 22.3)

Heaven is where holiness, fellowship with God, joy, peace, love, and all other virtues are realised in utter perfection. But we can experience all those things – at least partially – even now. God begins the process of perfecting us from the moment we are converted from unbelief to faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit is producing in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5.22-23). And those are the same traits that characterise heaven.

And as I have placed my trust in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour, I look forward to seeing the Scripture’s promises fulfilled in Psalm 16 and 23, and Luke 16 and 23 when I pass on. That I will be ushered into a fuller, higher realm of more abundant life in the very presence of the Lord, to be with Him in heaven. What a comfort!

But while we do not yet live physically in heaven, we do have our spiritual citizenship in the heavenly realm. Therefore we should be preoccupied with heavenly things while here on earth. We must strive to live a life worthy of that calling.

Deacon Henry Leong