walk in the word
Category: God’s Word, Heaven
Some people have funny ideas about heaven. I’ve heard things like, “When we get to heaven, we’re going to sit on clouds and play harps and go to church all the time.” But the Bible doesn’t say that. I don’t even like the harp! And to play it for millions of years? That sounds boring.
Such misunderstandings are tragic because the Bible gives us the phenomenal truth about heaven. It can be such a comfort. Its promise gives such hope and allows us to go through the difficult things in this life. It is the realization of all that God has in store for us.
Ever looked through a brochure of some neat place and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to go there? This looks great! It seems so exciting”? Well that is what I’d like to do—to give you a brochure on heaven, a glimpse of the glory that we will experience there.
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 anysea.” One of the first things you notice about heaven is that everything is always new. The word appears again in verse 5 where it says, “And Hewho sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
Now some of the greatest joy that we experience in our life here on earth is when stuff is new. Isn’t that right? We are just made that way. We like new cars. We like new clothes. We like new places. God just made us so we like things that are new. Now in heaven, God is going to be continuously in the process of renewing everything so that everything in heaven is always new! Isn’t that great?!
What exactly is going to be new? It says there is going to be a new heaven. Now when we talk about heaven in Scripture, the word is used three ways.
Now when John says in Revelation that there is going to be a new heaven, he means all three of those things. All three realms as originally created are going to pass away and be replaced.
There is going to be a new earth. Your house will be gone; so will your city. No more Grand Canyon. No more Swiss Alps. No more Mediterranean Sea. God is going to recreate the earth. He is going to make a new one, and it’s going to be better!
Then John says, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (verse 2). Now the New Jerusalem is the city that the Lord has been making for all these years. It is going to come down from heaven and be on the earth. There will be such a thing as “heaven on earth”!
There are three characteristics of this city. First of all, it is a holy city. It will be pure and righteous, set apart. It won’t be like the cities that you and I live in. It is going to be sinless. Imagine opening the newspaper in heaven and finding all good news. Every page will be nothing but, “Did you hear about this great thing?” and “Now some cool stuff over on the south side of town.” It is going to be holy.
Second, the New Jerusalem comes from God. Remember in John 14:2, when Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you”? Well, this is it. And if you think about what the Lord made in six days, try to imagine what He has been doing to New Jerusalem for the last two thousand years. Everyday He has been working on it and adding stuff, applying His infinite creativity. Don’t you think it’s going to be great?
Third, the New Jerusalem is like a bride adorned for her husband. I can relate to that. Kathy and I got married at my grandmother’s house. It was a beautiful, sunny day. All the ladies pulled up the long driveway in red convertibles. I remember seeing Kathy driving in with her dad, sitting up on the back of this convertible. I’m standing there looking at her, and she is getting closer. I am like, “Oh man! She’s beautiful! She’s mine!” It was incredible. That’s what John is saying, “This place is beautiful! It is for us! It’s perfect!”
So let’s dispense once and for all with the notion that in heaven we are going to be bored. We are not going to be bored. Ever! Everything in heaven will always be new. So when we get there, and God stands up and says, “Behold, I make all things new,” we will all clap and say, “This is going to be great!”
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