What Is It Like to Be in Heaven?
"That would be Heaven!"
I have heard this statement many times during my life. Sometimes it is said in relation to things that are trivial, like the desire for an ice-cold drink on a blistering, hot day. Sometimes it is said in relation to a time period, like curling up with a book and a hot cup of cocoa when it is an especially rainy day. Sometimes it is said in reference to a vacation destination, like seeing the rivers of Taiwan or relaxing on a beach in Bali. There are even times when it is said in reference to a type of life, like having an enjoyable career with financial stability or being married to someone who is wonderful in every way and thinks you are something wonderful too.
Simply listing these illustrations brings about a common idea - rest or respite without conflict.
Oh to have a time without conflict! What Heaven that would be!
It cannot be denied that everywhere, regardless of creed, race or nationality, people want, no, yearn for peace and constantly search for it whether they know it or not.
There is a reason videos like these have millions of views. This one has over twelve million but there are some with 25 and 35 million views.
Beliefs About Heaven
The temporary moments of heaven that we all wish for at certain times are like little oases in the desert of life. They are to help us get through that desert until we can get to the promised land where the land flows with milk and honey and rest.
Some people believe that that rest is in death and that there is nothing after death. Perhaps this makes them search more feverishly for the small oases in this life (insisting that heaven is here on earth) and maybe find one to settle in so that they can believe that they are not, in fact, in a desert. I can only speculate because I have never believed this.
The others believe that there is some sort of respite after death but there they differ on the specifics.
I can safely say that no one really knows for sure what Heaven is exactly like because everyone who has ever been there, save for Christ, has never wanted to come back! It is like those house hunters on HGTV who go to some foreign land, realize it is better, and decide that they never want to go back from whence they came!
The idea alone that Christ left Heaven to come to save us is, in and of itself, something to ponder deeply. He left a place of perfect peace to come to a place of turmoil and conflict.
And for what?
But I digress, for now.
Is Heaven a place on Earth? Some people do think that...
People describe Heaven in many different ways.
Some say that in Heaven you will meet all of your loved ones again and you will be reunited. Others add to that and say that those who have gone before can actually look at us on Earth and see the things that we do on a day to day basis.
Some say there will be mansions, streets paved with gold, and the best tasting food ever (because it is hard to imagine that a place called "Heaven" could even be called Heaven without delicious food, right?)
I have met one or two who have said that they were on the verge of death and saw the beginnings of Heaven. One said that it looked like he was entering the most beautiful garden and the other said that she simply felt complete peace.
There are quite a few stories on the internet from people who have said that they have had some experience of Heaven.
Interesting near death experience stories
What does the Bible say about Heaven?
The natural thing to do is to see what the Bible has to say about Heaven since it is considered to be the authority on that matter.
Jesus Christ is the one who speaks the most about the Kingdom of God and about Heaven and that makes sense because, as I said, He lived there.
He has mentioned who is there already : Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ( Matthew 8:10 - 12)
He has said who will not be there : Those who are not converted and those who do not repent ( John 3:3-5, Matthew 18:3, Luke 13:5)
He has spoken about the Kingdom of God and of heaven in many parables.
- The parable of the hidden treasure
- The parable of the pearl of great price
- The parable of the treasures of the house
- The parable of the mustard seed
- The parable of the yeast
- The parable of the net
- The parable of the harvest
Then there are the descriptions of Heaven that are written in the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation says that there is a throne in Heaven.
"...and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." Revelation 4:2 K.J.V.
It also says that there are elders there who wear crowns and white clothes. There is a sea that is like glass and beings who do not rest but give praise and honour to He who sits on the throne day and night. (Revelation 4).
It says that there are many angels, ( Revelation 5:11) and that there is a golden altar (Revelation 8).
Perhaps the description of the New Jerusalem is where many get the idea that Heaven has streets made of gold for it is described as being pure gold like clear glass and it is also said that, "the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." (Revelation 21:21 K.J.V.)
The New Jerusalem, according to the Bible, will be a part of the New Earth and the New Heaven which will come to be. (Revelation 21: 1-3)
The main point of Heaven and the New Jerusalem
What is obvious to me about Heaven and the New Jerusalem is the fact that God is present in both places. Maybe that is why people mix them up. Heaven cannot be Heaven without God in it. That is what makes it Heaven.
I thought of this in relation to regular relationships that we have on earth.
Those we love, we long to be close to. If we cannot be close to them we find a way to communicate with them. Even though modern technology has made it significantly easier to speak with and see those whom we love everyday, we cannot deny that when the opportunity arises where we can see each other face to face we seize it with both hands and feet and meet enthusiastically, sometimes with tears of joy.
When someone dies, then that communication with them is cut off. They are away from us for an indefinite period of time which is why we have such grief. Death is a chasm that prevents us from seeing our loved ones' faces, their expressions hearing their reactions, and their points of views whether we agree with them or not.
It is simple then - when we are separated from those we love we yearn to see them. There are different levels of yearning according to the differing degrees of separation but there is still yearning.
Then there is God.
Someone who created you and knew you before you were born. (Psalm 139)
Someone who knows the number of strands on your head and who watches over you. (Matthew 10)
Someone who rescued you from your own mess by sacrificing His own Son. (Isaiah 53)
Someone who wants to comfort us and gather us to Him. (Matthew 23)
Someone who has prepared a place for us. (John 14)
When we find this out and realize that there is someone who loves us like this, we begin to love Him back and then there is one desire, no, yearning, that begins to take root in our hearts. That we would see Him face to face so that we can behold His glory and give Him the praise and honour that He deserves!
Heaven is being with the one that you ultimately love and to be with Him is Paradise. It is the rest that we search for and it is the respite that we long for. Knowing that we are fully in His presence, finally, and that His presence will never go away is the foundation of what Heaven is.
© 2019 North Wind