What Is Heaven Like?
The Comfort Of The Citizens
Stephen Caswell © 1999
What Is Heaven Like?
Do you ever wonder what is heaven like? The Bible has much to say about this wonderful place. Put simply, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people! Over the next couple of Sunday nights we are going to look at this subject. Tonight we will look at the Comfort of the Citizens. Next Sunday night we will look at the Character of the City.
The first quality of Heaven is. Holiness. The second quality is Happiness.
Revelation 21:1 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.
1. God Purged The Old Heaven
Firstly heaven is holy since God purged the old heavens and earth from sin and mans works.
Before the Lord recreates, He purges the old creation with fire. Then He recreates the heavens and the earth. Revelation 20:9 closed with this: And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 2 Peter 3:10-13 gives further detail. 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. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 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? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Making A Fine Piece Of Jewellery
When a jeweller makes a fine piece of jewellery they take some gold and heat it up to a very high temperature. They do this so that all the dross and impurities can be burned away. After this process pure gold is left. When the gold has been cleansed it’s worth much more.
In the same way, God will purge this earth by fire before he renews it. The elements will melt with fervent heat. God does this to destroy the works of man. Nothing will be left of the sinfulness of man. The new earth and the new heavens [its atmosphere] will be totally pure. Believers will live in a perfect world without sin or wrong of any kind. The sinlessness of heaven will make it truly a wonderful place. Peter said that because Christians are looking for a new heavens and new earth they should live holy lives now. There will be no sea. The sea is uninhabitable. The sea separates us from other people. The new earth and new heaven will be totally different from the first one. Heavens Purging of all sinful works provides comfort for God’s people.
2. God Prepared The New Heaven.
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.
Secondly heaven is holy because God prepared it. God Himself will make the new heavens and the new earth. They will be far superior to the old earth and the old heaven. Isaiah said this in Isaiah 65:17: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. The new will be so much better than the old that the old will be quickly forgotten. Because God is holy, whatever He makes is good and intended for holiness. Peter said that righteousness will dwell [live] in the new heavens and new earth. This new creation will last forever. God has prepared it for those who love Him. He will make it to last. Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
John also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven. The New Jerusalem will be placed on the renewed earth. The renewed earth and its atmosphere will receive the New Jerusalem. God has personally prepared the city for His people. The word prepare has the idea of being made ready. He has adorned it just a like a bride on her wedding day. The word adorn means to decorate, embellish, set in order, arrange.
Jason And Lindell’s Wedding
In December this year Jason will marry Lindell. On that day Lindell will spend more time in front of the mirror than ever before. In fact she will have other people helping her do this. They will fix her hair real nice, put on make up and help her to look her best. Everyone will be watching her and she will be the focus of many photographs on that day. A brides wedding day is the biggest day in her life. Therefore brides do all they can to look their best.
God has prepared the new Jerusalem just for His people. Jesus Himself has made it with His own hands. John 14:2-3 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. God has a wonderful future for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. John gives us a full description of the beauty of the holy city in 21:9-22:5. We will look at the Character of the City next week. God’s Preparation is what makes heaven perfect and holy. This also adds to the comfort of God’s people.
3. God’s Presence Is In The New Creation.
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.
The third reason that heaven is holy is because God is Present there. In verse 2 John refers to the New Jerusalem as the holy city. God will dwell with His people. He will live amongst them and they will see Him face to face. Joshua and Moses were told to take off their sandals because they stood on holy ground. If that ground was declared holy because God used it for a moment, how much more holy will heaven be where He dwells eternally. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says this: Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
God’s permanent residence in the New Jerusalem guarantees its holiness. Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
God told John to Behold something wonderful. God has always desired to dwell with His people. He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But then sin broke this fellowship, and they were driven out of paradise. Unregenerate man cannot dwell in the presence of a holy God. That is why Adam and Eve hid themselves. When God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt he had them make the tabernacle so that He could dwell amongst them. Later they built the temple for this same purpose. But although He dwelt with them there was always that separation shown by the veil. Now God dwells in the hearts of His people by faith. This is why Paul told the Corinthians to live holy lives. But one day soon God will dwell with His people. We will see Him as He is. We will behold His glory and serve Him forever. Jesus prayed this in John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou has loved me before the foundation of the world. What a glorious hope! God’s Presence guarantees heavens Holiness. God’s presence ensures the comfort of His people.
Invitation To Live At Buckingham Palace
Just imagine you received a special letter in the mail. A letter from the Queen came to you and invited you to live at Buckingham Palace. Wouldn’t that be just the greatest. To live in such a special place. The palace is full of expensive furniture, paintings and artwork. The queen lives there and is a very important lady with authority and power. Everything there is of the highest quality. To live there would be to live luxuriously. But heaven is far greater than this because the Lord who reigns over the whole universe. His dwelling place is more beautiful than we could imagine. Heaven will be a place of Holiness for three reasons
1. God Purged the Old Heavens and Earth. He removed all sin and mans works first.
2. God Prepared the New Heavens and Earth. He has planned it and made it Himself.
3. God’s Presence dwells in the New Heavens and Earth. This makes it holy.
The second quality of heaven is Happiness
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.
1. God’s Relationship To The New Creation
In verse 3 John was commanded to behold God’s dwelling with men. His presence guaranteed heaven’s holiness. But God’s presence also guarantees its happiness. We will enjoy the Lord’s presence continually. We will dwell with the one who made us and provides for us. The one who redeemed us and has given us spiritual blessings in heavenly places. He will care for us. And we will be God’s people. We will serve Him, worship Him, sing praises unto Him and rejoice before Him continually. Our relationship with God will be intimate and warm. We will talk freely with Our Lord. There will be nothing between us. Verse 7 reaffirms the fact that we are His children. He is our God and also our Father. On earth we walk by faith, but in heaven we live by sight. Our relationship with God will be far better.
Living At The Palace Continued
Before I mentioned that heaven would be better than living in Buckingham palace. Just imagine after you arrived at Buckingham palace the queen summoned you to see her. You go into her presence then bow and wait for her to speak. To your amazement she says I have decided to adopt you into my family and make you my heir. You will eat at my table, wear royal clothes, bear my name and help reign with me. That would be so incredible, wouldn’t it. But this is just what God has done for us. He has adopted us into His royal family, given us His name and provided a rich inheritance for us. As well as this He has given us the privilege of eating with Him and being as close as His family. What a glorious future awaits those that love the Lord. Ephesians 2:4-7 Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. God’s fellowship will ensure Christians are very happy, very blessed.
2. God’s Removal Of The Old
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.“
God will remove many things from His people. He, Himself will comfort them. He personally will console and wipe away their tears. The source of these tears is probably the suffering and pain that God’s faithful servants have endured. The Lord will comfort all who have suffered for Him. In these verses we are told of many things that won’t be in heaven.
1. no more death
2. no more sorrow
3. no more crying
4. no more pain
5. no more curse Rev22:3
These things all resulted from man’s sin against God. Death, sorrow, crying, pain, and the curse came into a perfect world because of sin. God removes our sinful nature at the rapture. With sin judged and removed the Lord will remove all its consequences. He will abolish them and bring life and immortality to light. The consequences of sin have been paid for in full by Jesus Christ on the cross. Therefore He can remove them from the world and usher in a new creation where righteousness dwells and God’s blessings flow freely.
1. Death is swallowed up by eternal life. 1 Corinthians 15:54 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.“
2. Sorrow is replaced by joy and singing. Sorrow results from death and heartache. Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
3. Crying is replaced by joy. Isaiah 65:18-19 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying.
4. Pain is the work of sin in the body. The body ages and becomes weak and deformed because of sin. Paul says that all creation groans at present for release from this corruption. We all wait expectantly for the fulfilment of this hope. Romans 8:19-23 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
5. A Curse was placed on the first creation because of sin. God could not leave sin unpunished. But God has removed this also. Galatians 3:13-14 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (“for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Snapshots of Heaven
A father asked his young boy why he wanted to go to heaven. He expected to hear, because of the streets of gold, or never being sick or never having to go to school. But the boy said because I will see grandpa again. Death has been the cause of so much sorrow and crying and pain. Death separates us from our loved ones. But one day God will put an end to all that. For those of us who know Christ as our Saviour we will be reunited with them again, never to be parted. God’s family will never be separated by death again. What wonderful reunions we will have. God truly does know how to comfort His people. Heaven is a wonderful place.
To summarise this John says, for the former things have passed away. He said the same thing about the first earth and first heaven. They passed away because they were marred by sin. No the consequences of sin itself will be totally removed. They have no part to play in the new creation. Because God removes all the consequences of sin His people will be happy.
3. God’s Recreation Of The New
Rev 21:5-6a 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. ” And He said to me, “ It is done! ”
For the second time John is commanded to behold something wonderful. God is making all things new. The Lord commanded John to behold it and write it down for it is faithful and true. It is trustworthy because God said it. It can be accomplished because the one who said it sits on the throne of the universe and rules over all. He has all power and authority at His disposal. He made the first creation, so He can certainly make the new creation.
Then God said It is done. Or it stands done. This is written in the perfect tense. This means what has been done will remain that way forever. God has created all things new. This includes heaven and earth and God’s people. And I believe that we will see it happen. The old order has passed away all things have become new. The new creation God ushers in will provide great happiness. Heaven will be a place of happiness because of three things.
1. God Relationship with His people. He will dwell with them and be their delight.
2. God Removal of the Old. Consequences of sin. Death, sorrow, pain, crying, curse.
3. God Recreation of the new. All will be new. The old creation will be forgotten.
But who will dwell there? Can anyone go to heaven? Yes, but there is a condition to gaining entrance. Then how do we gain entrance to this wonderful place? John goes on to lay down the requirements in verses 6-8.
The Condition Of Entry
Revelation 21:6-8 And He said to me, “ It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.” He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.“ But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” These 3 verses contain an Invitation, a Promise, and a Warning.
1. The Invitation
Jesus gives a personal invitation to all who thirst for righteousness. Without water people die within a couple of days. Without Jesus Christ people suffer eternal death in hell. Anyone who comes to Christ will receive living water. The word translated fountain really means spring or source. Jesus is inviting people to come to Him and receive life giving water. Jesus spoke this way to the woman of Samaria about living water. John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, ”Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The Lord spoke the same way at the feast of the Jews. John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. ” He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.“ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Only Jesus Christ can satisfy the deep thirst in our soul. Only He can give us eternal life. He asks for all that thirst for eternal life to come to Him. He asks them to believe in Him. And He will not fail them. He promises forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who come. He will certainly give all who seek Him eternal life, an abundant life both now and forever. What is your response? Have you received the living water from Jesus Christ?
Jesus invites you to come. Can I encourage you to come to Him if you haven’t already come.
2. The Promise
Jesus Christ promises all who overcome that they will inherit all things.
He has promised to make overcomers a part of His family and be their God. What does it mean to overcome? Overcome is a word commonly used in Revelation. It is used 7 times in chapters 2 and 3 that are addressed to the 7 churches. John uses this word in his epistle also. Christians overcome Satan and sin through faith in Jesus Christ. The invitation speaks of where to find eternal life. Overcoming speaks of how we receive it, by faith. 1 John 5:4-5 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
By placing our faith in Jesus Christ we overcome the world. We overcome our sin by being cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s sacrificial Lamb. Revelation 12:11 ”And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Overcomers have been saved from their sins by faith. They have testified of His work in their lives. They remain faithful unto Christ even unto death.
Obtaining A Visa To Live In America
If you wanted to move to America to live then you must first obtain a residence visa. To do this you need to apply to the government and probably meet certain requirements. Once you obtain this visa then you are free to move to America. But if you are rejected you can’t move there. Unless you marry someone who is a citizen of that country. This is what Jesus has done for us. We could never meet the qualifications to get into heaven on our own. But when we ask Jesus Christ to be our Saviour, He arranges it for us. Jesus has permanent residency in heaven. When we believe in Him we become part of His bride and the Father accepts us for His Son’s sake. We become a part of God’s family when we believe In Jesus Christ.
3. The Warning
Jesus Christ, who invites all to come unto Him for salvation also warns those who refuse His invitation. They will have their part in the lake of fire. Just as eternal life goes on and on forever, so too eternal death goes on forever and ever. The first death is physical and speaks of the separation of body and soul. The second death is spiritual and speaks of separation from God forever and ever. Some people joke about it and say that they are going to have a great big party in hell with all their mates. If you look at the list of people in hell, I wouldn’t want them for friends. Besides, their won’t be any laughter in hell, just constant agony. Recently scientists have discovered white dwarf stars that burn at some 30 million degrees farenhite. They are actually liquid and will stay that way permanently. Physical bodies would last but a few moments and be destroyed, but spirit bodies will not be destroyed, rather they will suffer incredible agony for eternity.
Cowardly. This speaks of people who know they should receive Jesus Christ, but don’t because they are afraid of what others will think. They aren’t prepared to be ridiculed or suffer for Jesus.
Abominable. This describes people whose bodies, minds, and souls have been polluted by sin. They have made themselves detestable. They are an abomination to God. Having no regard for His laws.
Unbelieving. This describes people who won’t believe the gospel. Either because they aren’t prepared to hand over their lives to Jesus Christ or they think its foolish. I have had people tell me that they can’t believe the gospel. Now I say fine, then you’ll go to hell then. Others have said to me that a God of love wouldn’t send anyone to hell. A god of love won’t. They will send themselves by refusing His plan of salvation. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. So that we wouldn’t have to be sent to hell.
The Rest Of The List
Murderers, sexually immoral people, idolaters and all liars will be cast into the lake of fire. The word sorcerers has the idea of mixing drugs. Pharmekeusin is the word we get pharmacy from. This refers to drug addicts as well those who mix potions in witchcraft. Rather than overcoming sin, these people have been overcome by sin. All sin condemns people to hell.
Christians Have Overcome Sin
It is not that Christians have never sinned. Some believers have been saved from the most wicked lifestyles. But they have overcome their sin through faith in Jesus Christ. They have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. They are no longer under the domination of sin. Through Jesus Christ they have been set free. Have your sins been washed away by Jesus Christ? If not then you are but a moment from eternal peril. Once your life ends its too late.
What is heaven like? It is a prepared place for a prepared people. Heaven is a place of Holiness and Happiness. Heaven is a place of Holiness because of three things.
1. God Purged the Old Heavens and Earth first. He removed all sin and mans work.
2. God Prepared the New Heavens and Earth. He planned it and made it Himself.
3. God’s Presence dwells in the New Heavens and Earth. His presence makes it holy.
Heaven will be a place of Happiness because of three things.
1. God’s Relationship with His people. He will dwell with them and be their delight.
2. God’s Removal of the Old. Consequences of sin. Death, sorrow, pain, crying, curse.
3. God’s Recreation of the new. All will be new. The old creation will be forgotten.
Only those who have received eternal life from Jesus Christ will enter heaven. Will you be allowed to enter heaven? Have you accepted Jesus’ invitation to receive eternal life? Have you overcome your sins through Jesus Christ? Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. He invites you now. Will you come.
Benediction Revelation 22:20-21
He who testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.