What is heaven like? In our finite minds we could never fully grasp all of the glories that await us there, and the Bible gives us only a glimpse. The most exciting fact about heaven for believers is that we will see our Lord and Savior, Jesus, and God our Father face to face. We will live in “the Father’s house”:
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).
When we get to heaven, many mysteries that our minds cannot currently comprehend will be understood. Paul wrote,
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I have been fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).
The book of Revelation gives us the best picture of what heaven is like. Described as a place of great activity, wonderful beauty, unlimited variation, and inexpressible joy, heaven won’t be a place where the people just sit around on clouds and strum harps all day!
John, who was once given a vision of heaven, first noticed the throne of God, the center of the universe:
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns upon their heads. And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. And the first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (Rev. 4:2-11).
John did his best to describe in earthly terms what can hardly be compared to anything on earth. Obviously, there is no way we are going to comprehend everything he saw until we see it ourselves. But it certainly makes for inspiring reading.
The most inspiring passages about heaven are found in Revelation chapters 21 and 22, where John described the New Jerusalem, which is presently in heaven but will come down to earth after the thousand-year reign of Christ:
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels….And the one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal….And the material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass….And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb…..And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 21:10-22:5).
Every follower of Jesus can look forward to all of these wonders, as long as he continues in the faith. No doubt, we’ll spend our first few days in heaven saying to one another, “Oh! So that’s what John was trying to describe in the book of Revelation!”