HEAVEN (Part 1)
“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:3-4 NKJV)
Death is not the end of your existence but the beginning of an endless life. Death is not the termination of your life but simply your translation into a life without end. Death is a gateway into eternity. So, there is more to life after death.
God clearly reveals to us in the Bible that there is life after death. Everyone has an equal opportunity to live once and prepare for life after death (Heb. 9:27).
There are only two destinations after death. It is either you continue to live and enjoy with God in heaven, or you continue to live and suffer with Satan in hell fire.
The choice of where to spend eternity is entirely yours. Both heaven and hell are set before you in this world and you must choose where you will spend eternity before you leave this world.
Neglecting the gift of salvation that God offers you in and through Jesus Christ is a deliberate choice of hell as your eternal destination.
The Hebrew writer queries, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3 NKJV).
God desires that you enjoy eternity with Him in heaven after your brief pilgrimage in this world of uncertainties. However, the choice is primarily yours. Preparation for a blissful eternity with God in heaven starts here on earth.
The first step towards this is putting your faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for your salvation, confessing Him as your Lord and Saviour (Rom. 10:8-10).
The joy and hope of the believers in Christ transcend this life!
Paul writes, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Cor. 15:19 NKJV).
The Scripture assures that as a believer in Christ you have “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Pet. 1:3-4 NKJV).
Sadly, many believers today are mainly preoccupied with pursuing and possessing the ephemeral or transient things of this world and not the incorruptible, undefiled and unfading inheritance reserved in heaven for them.
Nothing gives true joy, comfort, peace, strength and assurance to the believers in this evil world as the blessed hope of enjoying eternity with the Lord Jesus in heaven after their pilgrimage in this troubled world.
When the early disciples of Christ were overwhelmed with much sorrow because Christ had told them that He was about to leave them behind in this evil world, the only comfort and hope Jesus gave them was that He will come back again to receive them to Himself.
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “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. (NKJV).
Regardless of the suffering, persecution, trial or tribulation you may face in this world as a believer, you can find comfort and draw strength to endure if you focus or fix your mind on being with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.
Stephen, the first martyr in the Church, embraced persecution and death with joy by gazing into heaven, seeing the glory of God and the Lord Jesus.
54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (NKJV).
Many believers today, unlike Stephen, are fainting in their time of trials, tribulations and persecutions because they hear, read or know little about heaven, and so they could not gaze into heaven and draw strength, comfort and joy as Stephen did (Col. 3:1-2).
It is therefore good for us to explore what the Scripture teaches about heaven. This is the thrust of this piece.
First, the Scripture teaches that heaven is the physical dwelling place of God:
While the believer’s body is the spiritual temple of God, the physical throne of God is in heaven.
The Scripture amply reveals this truth.
4 The LORD is in His holy temple, The LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. (NKJV).
1 Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? (NKJV).
19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. (NKJV).
3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. (NKJV).
The Scripture testifies that after His glorious resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into “heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (1 Pet. 3:22 NKJV).
The Scripture also assures that at the set time that God the Father has put in His own authority, “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16 NKJV).
Second, the Scripture teaches that heaven is a high and holy place:
Being the physical habitation of the High and Holy God, heaven is a high and holy place.
Prophet Isaiah reveals and states this truth.
15 For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (NKJV).
Heaven is a place of absolute holiness. It is a holy place prepared only for the saints who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14 NKJV).
John the Beloved writes about the holiness of heaven.
27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (NKJV).
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (NKJV).
Third, the Scripture teaches that heaven is a place of perfect government where God, the Just One, rules:
Because God rules in heaven there will be no confusion, injustice, fight, struggle, violence, rebellion, crying, sorrow, hunger, lack, pain, sickness or death in heaven.
Heaven is a place of perfect order, peace, joy and eternal rest for the saints. It is a place of perfect satisfaction and provision.
The Scripture clearly states this truth.
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (NKJV).
3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.
4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. (NKJV).
Beloved, after going through much pain, sorrow, sickness, or trouble in this world, heaven is the right place to go for eternal rest. No place on this earth can offer you the rest, joy, peace, pleasure and comfort that heaven offers.
However, heaven is not an automatic place you go when you die. Where you will go when you die depends on what you do with the gift of salvation God offers you in and through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If you believe in and confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, surrendering your life to Him, walking in His footsteps and obeying His teachings; you will be ushered into heaven for eternal rest when you die.
Conversely, if you despise and reject Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you will be sent into hell for eternal punishment.
The choice is entirely yours!
Discover more scriptural truths about heaven in the second part of this piece.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I receive today the free gift of salvation you offer me through your Son, Jesus Christ, and confess Him as my Lord and Saviour, in Jesus’ name. Amen.