What is Heaven Like?
Daily Reading: (Revelation 21:10-17,21):
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadiain length, and as wide and high as it is long.The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubitsthick. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.”
The problem some people have is they are still afraid they won’t be able to experience all that Heaven has to offer because of what is written in verse eight.
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Have you acted cowardly before? As the church was formed, Christians were being put to death for their faith, and it is still happening in parts of the world today. If you were cowardly in a moment facing death, would you be disqualified from Heaven? If so, Heaven would appear to be earned on merits. One minute you could be in Christ and the Kingdom is yours, and then at the end when facing death, you acted cowardly and you become disqualified.
Let’s keep going a little further with the list. Have you placed anything at any time in your life ahead of God, which is idolatry? Have you lied ever? The text says, “they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur”. You could add to this list from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
The list exists to say that no matter how good people think are, no one can make it to Heaven apart from Jesus (Revelation 21:8). You have to become a new you and this happened the moment you first believed. Think about the heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11) for a moment if they would qualify for Heaven apart from Jesus. Noah was a drunk, Abraham slept with his maid, and Jacob was a swindler if ever there was one. There is also a murderer in Moses, a prostitute named Rahab, and David got another man’s wife pregnant and then had that man killed to cover up his crime. In the eyes of the law David is condemned as an adulterer and a murderer. Such a man will not inherit the kingdom of God; the Bible says so.
However, in God’s eyes, David is not a sinner but a son and a co-heir with Christ. The problem here is people have forgotten the promise that came just before verse eight.
“Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be My children” (Revelation 21:7).
“Those who have faith are children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). Eternal life is a gift of grace (John 17:2, Romans 6:23). It is not a reward given to those who pass the torture test and don’t act cowardly.
Together move past the fiery flames verse because in Christ this is not your destiny, so enjoy the faithful and true sayings which God will show you moving forward.
The city of the new Jerusalem shines with the glory of God. What this means is that Heaven is not lit by the sun and the moon but by God Himself (Revelation 21:11,23). When we get to verse 23 after reading in verse 11 about how “Heaven shined with God’s glory”, things become clear: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”
You know what is incredible is the next verse: “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” Imagine today what that would look like if we as believers would center our lives, walk by, and do everything we do to give glory to God. How much different would that be to what we see and experience in our world today?
“On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). These gates are not for security, there are no gated communities in Heaven to keep the riff-raff out. The city is glorious and indestructible, and the people who live in it are eternally secure (Revelation 21:25). This is beauty in Heaven for our enjoyment that ushers in worship and glory to God.
“The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21b). If we were playing the game Family Feud, what is the number one answer people would give to describe Heaven? Survey says, “streets of gold.” How much do you value streets today on Earth? Heaven is so great that the streets of gold are almost like a footnote. I think that what God is doing is showing us the value system is totally different in Heaven than on Earth (Revelation 21:21). That which we highly prize and value that men will lie for, kill for and steal for (gold) will have little value up there. It is just as common as asphalt. The roads are made from it.