What will heaven be like?
At one congregation, we had the children sit at the front and
sing a few songs before they went to their classes. To introduce a
song, I asked the children: Do you want to go to heaven? The eyes
of one little girl got very big! She shook her head, saying: No! No!
Her grandmother had recently passed away, and she thought I was
asking if she wanted to go to heaven right then!
It’s OK to want to keep on living, even though we look forward
to heaven. Paul felt the same way: 21 For to me, to live is Christ,
and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit
from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am
hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with
Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is
more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I
shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of
faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus
Christ by my coming to you again (Philippians 1:21-26).
We will be with Christ.
Paul had a desire to depart and be with Christ (Philippians
Jesus told His followers: 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 (John 14:1-3).
The greatest joys on earth relate to being with those we love.
What could be greater than being with Christ?
We shall dwell with God forever.
John writes: And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with
them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them
and be their God’ (Revelation 21:3).
God’s new creation will be free from decay.
This universe is disintegrating. All physical life gets old and dies.
Paul describes the whole creation as longing for freedom from decay.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the
revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to
futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage
of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For
we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs
together until now (Romans 8:18-22).
We will have an incorruptible spiritual body.
Paul discusses our resurrected body: 35 But someone will say,
‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’
36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And
what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain
- perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as
He pleases, and to each seed its own body (1 Corinthians
Someone who had never seen an oak, could never imagine that
such a majestic tree could grow from a small acorn! Yet, by the
power of God it does. But first, the acorn must decay. Our mortal
body is but an acorn compared to our, as yet unknown, resurrection
Paul continues: 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is
one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish,
and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial
bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the
terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory
of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from
another star in glory (1 Corinthians 15:39-41).
There is great diversity in the physical creation. Heavenly glory
is greater than earthly glory!
Paul explains: 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The
body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in
dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in
power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body (1 Corinthians
Although our physical body is marvelous, it grows old and dies.
How much is a dead body worth? We place it under the ground where
it decays. The resurrection body will not be corruptible.
45 And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living
being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the
spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is
the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those
who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those
who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of
dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (1
Our mortal bodies are from Adam. Christ will give His followers
an incorruptible, spiritual body.
Paul concludes: 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and
blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit
incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed - 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will
be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this
corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and
this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the
saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O Death,
where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? (1 Corinthians
John also says that we will be like Christ: 2 Beloved, now we
are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall
be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for
we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).
There will be fellowship.
Jesus says that the faithful will sit with the patriarchs: And I say
to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus spoke with Moses and
Elijah (Luke 9:28-31).
To the thief on the cross, Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, today
you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Since the rich man recognized Lazarus, according to Luke 16:23,
why would not the faithful recognize each other as well.
The marriage relationship will no longer exist. 34 Jesus
answered and said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given
in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age,
and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in
marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the
angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection’ (Luke
With the following words Paul comforted believers at
Thessalonica who mourned the death of fellow Christians: 13 But I
do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have
fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if
we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with
Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word
of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the
Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For 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. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus
we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another
with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Death, sorrow, crying and pain will be no more.
One of the 24 elders in Revelation told John about those dressed
in white who stood before the throne: 14 These are the ones who
come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before
the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And
He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall
neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike
them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne
will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:14-17).
Later in Revelation, a loud voice from heaven tells John: 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.’ 5 Then He who sat on the throne
said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for
these words are true and faithful’ (Revelation 21:4, 5).
There will be new heavens and a new earth.
In Isaiah God promised: For behold, I create new heavens and
a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to
mind (Isaiah 65:17).
John writes in Revelation: 1 Now I saw a new heaven and a
new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away
(Revelation 21:1, 2).
Peter also says that the old heavens and earth will pass away:
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which
the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will
melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will
be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved,
what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and
godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the
elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according
to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which
righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:10-13).
Heavenly Jerusalem will be our home forever.
The faithful long for a heavenly homeland. 8 By faith Abraham
obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would
receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he
was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign
country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of
the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has
foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:8-10).
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but
having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For
those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they
had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But
now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God
is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for
them (Hebrews 11:13-16).
John was allowed to see the heavenly city. 2 Then I, John, saw
the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:2).
We will be with Christ. We shall dwell with God forever. God’s new
creation will be free from decay. We will have an incorruptible
spiritual body. There will be fellowship. Death, sorrow, crying and
pain, will be no more. There will be new heavens and a new earth.
Heavenly Jerusalem will be our home forever.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979, 1980, 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Published in The Old Paths Archive