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Discovery Magazine 4/01/2012

Heaven

by  A.P. Staff

Every faithful Christian has a deep desire to get through this life and get to heaven. The greatest goal is to be with God in heaven forever. We can make it through every terrible thing that comes our way if we know we get to go to heaven.

What will heaven be like? The Bible tries to describe heaven to us, but it is not easy, since we are earthly beings and heaven is an eternal, spiritual realm. But God tells us enough to cause us to want to go there.

Heaven will be a place of rest from all our labors on Earth. John wrote: “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’  ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors’” (Revelation 14:13). Jesus soothed the apostles by reassuring them that in His Father’s house are many rooms, and a place is prepared for them (John 14:1-2). “Rest” does not necessarily mean we will do nothing. We will not be bored. Any effort we put forth will be pleasant and untiring. No more temptations! No more hardships!

Heaven will be a place of reverence where we adore and worship God. The whole population of heaven worships God (Nehemiah 9:6). In John’s glimpse of heaven, recorded in the book of Revelation, he saw multitudes of heavenly beings singing, praising, and thanking both God and Christ. We ought to sing and praise God often so that we expand our spiritual desire to do so after this life is over.

Do you remember how God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden? But they had to leave when they sinned, and they then had to work hard to get food and live. Heaven will be the ultimate paradise of God. We will have every need supplied, and everything will be wonderful.

But you have to have a reservation! Read 1 Peter 1:3-4. You have to prepare to go there. Jesus said that He left Earth to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). But heaven is not for everyone. Those who do not obey Christ will not get to go to heaven.

Three pictures are given of heaven in the book of Revelation. One picture is that of a bride prepared for her husband (21:1-8). The thrilling feature of this picture is that God will live with her: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (vs. 3). Can you imagine a place where you will actually be with God all the time, forever? Can you imagine actually sitting with God and Christ? Jesus declared, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (3:21). That means the end of tears, crying, pain, and death! Can you imagine that?

Another picture of heaven is that of a city (21:9-27). This city radiates the glory of God, reflecting light like a jasper stone—crystal clear. The city is surrounded by high walls with twelve gates—three gates on each side. The city sits on twelve foundations, each made from precious, expensive materials. The crystal clear walls reflect the gold shimmer of the city itself.

The city forms a perfect cube. If the numbers of Revelation were literal, the city would measure about 1500 miles long, wide, and high! Each of the twelve gates is a gigantic pearl. The city street is pure gold, like transparent glass. No church building or temple is there since God and Christ are its temple. No street lights, Sun, or Moon are necessary since the glory of God and Christ illuminate it. In fact, there is no night there! The gates are never closed—since only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life are there.

Are you ever afraid? Afraid that someone will hurt you, or that you will be in an accident? Afraid of tornados, hurricanes, or floods? Afraid of sickness or death? In heaven, we will be perfectly secure and protected. No more fears!

A third picture of heaven is of a garden (22:1-5)—the “Paradise of God” (2:7). It is far better than the Garden of Eden; and the Tree of Life is there! A crystal river flows from the throne of God. On its bank is the Tree of Life that bears fruit twelve months out of the year. Healing power is in the leaves. We shall see God’s face! We will have no concerns, no worries, no cares. All our needs will be supplied. God will see to it that we are contented and happy throughout all eternity. But we must work hard to love Him and obey Him every day while we are alive on Earth.



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