A question that is often asked is: “What will heaven be like?” In Revelation 21-22, God stretches language to the breaking point when He gives John a vision that is almost beyond human imagination – a breathtaking view of heaven. His description is designed to comfort us and give us hope!
Revelation 21:1-2: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” NKJV
Heaven is a place we can go to like a country, a city, or a house. However, heaven is not just a place – it is a better place than this! John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. 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.” NKJV
He is not just describing a “place,” but a condition – of being redeemed from sin, of freedom from toil and persecution, of being in the eternal presence of God.
Revelation 21:3 – “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.” NKJV
Though we enjoy a special relationship with God now, and we are aware of His nearness and His love, in heaven we will live in His very presence, and see His face!
Revelation 21:4 – “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.” NKJV
In heaven, God will not simply dry our tears; He will remove the things that cause our tears – death, sorrow, pain – forever!
In heaven we will know only happiness, because those physical aspects of this life that have been a curse to us will no longer exist. My friends, there really will be “No tears in heaven!”
We’ve all seen people suffer and hurt and endure pain in their body we can only imagine. But Paul says that in heaven we will have a new “body” – 1 Corinthians 15:51-53: “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” NLT
That means in heaven there will be no suffering of any kind, which means no heart attacks, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, nor any physical handicaps of any kind. In heaven, our bodies will never hurt again, because God will remove all pain and all sickness for all eternity!
In heaven, no one will get hurt, there will be no abortion clinics, no jails, no missing children, no killings, no wars, no unemployment, no taxes, no bills, no hospitals, no pollution, nobody will ever go hungry, and absolutely nothing will ever grow old.
No termites will eat at the foundation of heaven because it rests on the rock of ages. Fire cannot destroy it. Floods cannot wash it away. In heaven, we will finally be able to rest:
Revelation 14:13 – “…Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!” NLT
John says that in heaven there will be no more death. That means heaven is a city that has no cemetery, no tombstones, and no funeral homes. No hearse will ever drive on the golden streets of heaven, in heaven there will never be a funeral procession. In heaven the word “goodbye” will never be spoken.
Revelation 21:22-26: “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.” NKJV
We can picture beautiful scenes of nature here on this earth, but they are nothing compared to what we will see in heaven. The real beauty of heaven, though, lies in Who is there, not in what is there. In heaven we will bask in “the glory of God.” This is something that believers have longed for over many centuries.
Psalm 27:4 – “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple.” NKJV
Since “God is spirit…” (John 4:24), we can only imagine what “the beauty of the Lord” must be like, but it is a marvelous promise of God’s Word that we shall “…see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). His presence will make heaven an extraordinarily beautiful place.
When that day comes and we finally get to see the glory of heaven with our own eyes, I believe our reaction will be similar to the reaction of the Queen of Sheba when she met Solomon:
1 Kings 10:7: “…I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me….” NKJV
These images are meant to stagger us – to make us gasp, shake our heads, and say “If heaven is even more wonderful than this, how beautiful heaven must be!”
Revelation 22:1-5: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” NKJV
Here the imagery of a city is blended with that of a garden – but not just any garden. This garden has “a river of the water of life” and “the tree of life” for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and God will be in it, and His servants will serve Him and they will reign forever and ever. Does this sound familiar?
In the Garden of Eden man lost his intimate relationship with God, his security, and his access to the tree of life. “Curses” were pronounced upon the serpent, the man, the woman, and even the ground itself – “Paradise Lost!”
In Revelation 22:1-5 we read of “Paradise Regained.” Heaven will accomplish the complete reversal of man’s fall into sin; in heaven we will enjoy complete, unbroken face-to-face fellowship with God, the forgiveness of our sins, and total healing. God will bring everything back to where it belongs – to Himself. That includes us! And it will never end, “And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).
- Concluding thoughts
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’
The belief that we can go to heaven has comforted souls throughout the ages – martyrs dying for their faith, slaves longing for freedom, and those laying on their death beds. It can also comfort you!
“There are far, far better things ahead, than any we leave behind!” C.S. Lewis
1 Corinthians 2:9 – “…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” NLT