HEAVEN IS MAGNIFICENT… BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION
Psalm 115:16 “The heavens belong to the LORD, but he has given the earth to all humanity.”
One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that we were not meant for this world alone. We were meant for Heaven—and Heaven is our ultimate home. Hopefully, heaven is your final destination. Most people tell you, “You need to go to heaven. It’s a better place than hell.” But what do they tell you about heaven? What will heaven be like? The truth is, “Heaven has disappeared from the Christian radar screen.” Some say, “God has secrets we don’t know about and heaven is one of them.” I argue that statement with Deuteronomy 29:29 “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.” God does give you and I a glimpse. We need to search the Bible for those things revealed. Heaven can sometimes capture your imagination, but it’s more important that the God of heaven captures your soul. Please remember, God is GREATER than heaven.
Let me attempt to give you a better perspective of heaven. I can only go by what God tells us in the Bible, His glorious and truth-filled words. Here I go…
WHERE IS HEAVEN?
Good question. But, did you know that there are three heavens? Yes three. Let me explain:
• The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere. (Gen 1:14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.”) The first heaven consists of the clouds and the atmosphere, the heavens above us, until we come to the stars.
• The second heaven is outer space. (Psalm 19:1 “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”) In ancient times people were in awe of the starry expanse, today we know how immense this really is.
• The third heaven is the place where God, His holy angels, and the souls of just men dwell. It’s called the “Heaven of heavens.” Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, wrote about it. (2 Corinthians 12:2 “I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows.”)
The THIRD Heaven is our destination. Wherever it may be, we know we are not far from this holy place; that angels reside there; that our saved love ones are there; that God is there; and that Jesus Christ is there. Pretty good company to keep forever, huh?
WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE?
Most of us have heard that heaven is a place where the streets are paved with gold, the gates are made of pearl, and the walls made of precious jewels. Those images come from the Bible (Revelation 21), which offers us the most comprehensive picture of heaven in the entire Bible. If you ask me if I believe those things are literally true, the answer is yes and no. Yes, they are literally true but "no", heaven won't be anything like we imagine. It will be much, much greater. We, as humans, can’t begin to wrap our minds around it. It's filled with God's glory!
• It’s God’s dwelling place. (Psalm 33:13 The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.)
• It’s Jesus Christ’s dwelling place. (Acts 1:11 Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”)
• It’s the Father’s house. (John 14:2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?)
• It’s Paradise. (Luke 23:43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”)
• It’s where Christians go when they die. (Philippians 1:21-23 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.)
• It’s a city designed and built by God. (Hebrews 11:10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.)
• It’s a better country. (Hebrews 11:16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland (country). That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.)
Think of heaven as the world before sin came into it. Sin caused everything you see on this earth to eventually die, corrode or erode away. Heaven holds everything in its original, sinless, perfect condition. The peace that everyone looks for on earth is what Heaven holds for us. No sorrow. No tears.
Here is what Paul, a disciple of Jesus Christ, wrote about Heaven. He speaks of himself and his God-granted experience.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 I know a man in Christ (Paul) who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
I, personally, want to be there... FOREVER.