The other day I was talking to a friend and our conversation drifted to Heaven. I hit on the subject to gage her thoughts, and her eyes glazed over. “Yeah,” she sighed indifferently, shrugging. “Anyway, what are you doing this weekend?”
I understand her nonchalance. She, like many others, is uninformed about Heaven. Heaven, or what I will commonly refer to as the New Earth, is vastly misunderstood. Some think it will be like a boring, endless church service. Some think we will only sit in church and sing songs. Some think we will be floating around on clouds playing harps and haunting our loved ones. Heaven is pictured as lackluster, pointless, and almost torturous (seriously – being in one long church service for eternity? How awful.)
Heaven will be thrilling. Breath-taking. Peaceful. More magnificent than we can imagine. Here are more descriptions:
- In the New Earth, there will be no more Curse. When Adam and Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, described in Genesis chapter three, everything changed. The entire earth became cursed, and Adam’s life was reduced to repetitious, unending labor until his death. Before the curse, Adam and Eve could just pick some fruit and have dinner – no labor necessary. God planted the Garden of Eden; all the first couple had to do was enjoy it. After the Curse, however, Adam and Eve had to hone their gardening skills if they were hungry. They were exiled from the garden and forced to deal with the unsubdued land outside. This will be reversed on the New Earth. Revelation 22:3 says, “There will no longer be any curse.” This means that the land will be unleashed to provide abundant food for us naturally, without need for our intervention. This is the way it was intended to be. Our dietary needs will be met without having to work at all.
- We will be with God. Currently, God is with us spiritually. If we are His, He has filled us with His Holy Spirit to serve as a reminder to Whom we belong. However, we cannot see the Holy Spirit. We typically do not hear the Holy Spirit’s voice audibly. We can’t hug or push Him or hold His hand. We don’t know what the Holy Spirit smells like, or how He looks when He’s angry. However, Revelation 22:4 says we will see God’s face. Revelation 21:3 says that God will dwell amongst His people.This means He will be a real, tangible being amongst us. We will be able to see, talk with, touch, hug, and laugh with God. We will be able to eat and spend time with Him. He will be as accessible to us as our best friend. Currently, our interaction with God is limited by our weak faith. We often think if we can’t see, hear, or touch Him, He isn’t there. However, in Heaven, our contact with God will be limitless because our senses will no longer impair us.
- There is no night. I live in Texas, but I grew up in the Seattle area. I remember once as an adult visiting the Pacific Northwest during the summer and waking at 6am to a sun fully blazing in the sky. It was shining when I went to sleep the night before. Squinting against the daylight, I asked my mom, “Why is it this bright so early?” Perplexed, she replied, “Don’t you remember? During the summer the daylight hours are longest. There aren’t many hours of darkness this time of year.” So it will be with Heaven. In fact, Revelation 21:24-25 says there will be no night at all in the New Jerusalem. “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed.”
- There is no sea. This disappoints many people. Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” Many cannot imagine a world without a sea. The lives of those who live near a coast often revolve around the sea. Will we really live in a landlocked world? Will we never again see the waves crashing onto the shore, feel the salty wind on our face, or smell the scent of the ocean again? I don’t know. However, I hold onto one hope. I absolutely love New Orleans. On my first visit to the beloved city, I stood on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain and marveled that this was a lake. It certainly didn’t look like one. I couldn’t see the other side. With the wind in my face and the sound of the waves, it certainly didn’t feel or sound like a lake, either. And there was so, so much water. Is it possible that, while there may not be a sea in the New Earth, God will populate it with many vast lakes that are much like the sea?
- Some claim there will be no sun or moon in Heaven, but this may not be true. They back this claim by Revelation 21:23 which speaks of the New Jerusalem by saying, “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and the lamp is the Lamb.” Notice it says there is no need for the sun or the moon; it doesn’t say they won’t exist. They may very well exist, but their light may be drown out by the glory of the Lord. Also notice that this speaks of the New Jerusalem, which is only one city in the New Earth. Revelation 21:23 may not apply to the land or cities outside the New Jerusalem.
- We will be intimately acquainted with everyone else in Heaven. As someone who thrives off personal connections and unhindered fellowship, this is one of the Heavenly qualities I anticipate the most. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but the face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” This verse says that we will know others in the New Earth intimately. We will fully understand them. It also means that we will be known by others thoroughly, and we will never be misunderstood again. Your friends in Heaven will understand why you get quiet when a certain song plays, or why you nervously laugh when you have to give a speech. They won’t mistake your sarcasm for meanness or your jokes for jealousy. Never again will there be quarrels over miscommunications or confusion. Every single person will live in relational harmony with the next.
- The only way to get to Heaven is to believe in Jesus. On the cusp of His death and as He celebrated the last supper, Jesus told His followers, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus says of Himself, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) There is no other way to the New Earth. Only those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ to cover their sins will enter Heaven. He is our Golden Ticket. Our Backstage Pass. Our Boarding Pass. Without Him, the gates are closed.
- God desperately wants everyone in the New Earth. God has done everything possible to bring us into eternal joy and beauty with Him. The Father lovingly, gently beckons you to a new world full of warmth, peace, and extreme happiness. It is unending. He whispers to you repeatedly, Come to Me. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) He will go to the ends of the earth in an intense endeavor to win your heart. He courts you unceasingly, but you must make the choice to be with Him. He is a Gentleman. He stands at the door and knocks. He will not force anything. Today is the day for you to choose Him.
In the midst of our chaotic, repetitious, sometimes seemingly Godless world, we are reminded that the New Earth awaits us. Our true life is coming. Once there, this life will be a shadowland; a place we will remember as loveliness mixed with wickedness, full of splendor and terror. We will sigh with relief telling others, I’m so glad we’re done. Be encouraged, friend. The race will end one day, and at the finish line awaits an ending so glorious and magnificence that every painful, weary step was worth it. Your family and Father will crowd around you in joyful celebration as you enter your true home for which your soul was destined from the very beginning.