Click here for other posts in this series.
I’m starting two new series this month. My Friday series will be about heaven. For the Christian, it is the final and gloriousl chapter of our story. It is going to be the best chapter too! It is going to make all the other chapters pale in comparison. The good times will seem like nothing by comparison. The bad times will will pale into nothing by comparison to the glory of heaven.
Who my readers are and why I write to you
As background for this post, I’ll remind you of the purpose statement for my blog. I look at this when I sit down to write my series so I can meet the needs of my readers. But I haven’t written much about that final chapter. Recently, I have needed the encouragement of this information and thought process. I suspect many of you do too.
I write this blog to the older woman who is adjusting
to the unique challenges old age has brought to her.
I help her become aware of the hope she finds in Christ
as she finds her confident assurance in the person &
promises of God, realizing this life isn’t the final chapter of her story.
Before long, we will all pass into eternity either living with Christ forever with Him and those who have trusted Him alone for our salvation or we will pass on to hell and live with those who do not love God, a place where there is an absence of God and any of His attributes. We often think about heaven and wonder what it will be like. We think about loved ones who die before we do and wonder what happens to them.
Are our previously departed loved ones watching out for us? Do they turn into angels?
It doesn’t seem so from the Bible. Angels are created from the beginning and are different from humans. They are messengers from God. They are different. Humans don’t become angels. We are different. Angels don’t become human.
At some point, there was a rebellion in heaven and some angels became bad angels or demons aligned with the Devil. The other angels aligned with God and their choices remained. It’s not like their choices are fluid anymore. cf Hebrews 1:13, Psalm 91:9-12 ESV.
After we die, we don’t become omnipresent like God in the sense that we can move back and forth from heaven to earth, taking care of our loved ones here. We will be in heaven, but there is no indication that we will have any responsibility to be caring for our loved ones back here on earth. In fact, in the story of Lazarus, the beggar and the rich man, which may actually be a parable, the indication is that nothing extra would be sent back to the rich man’s family because God had given them everything they needed to believe. (See Luke 16:19-31 ESV)
But what will it actually be like in heaven?
There is a lot we don’t know, but there are some things we do know. Over the next few weeks we will talk about it. Come join us. A lot we are told about heaven is in figurative language. Why? That’s the only way you can describe a place or experience no one has ever had. You tell people it is like this thing in one way, and like that in another way. But it is a lot like describing an elephant to a blind person, isn’t it?
We hear there are streets of gold, for example, but that probably describes something of the beauty or value, not the actual streets. Who knows, we may not even need streets there. So don’t get tangled up in the details of the descriptions of heaven, some of which you may not be drawn to. Think about what the descriptions of heaven are and what they may be trying to communicate in the figurative language. One thing we know for sure, heaven will be wonderful beyond our expectation or imagination. As they say, it will be out of this world wonderful!
Heaven will have God and all His attributes
One thing that helped me get a handle on how wonderful heaven would be was a sermon my husband gave about heaven many years ago. He said that heaven would have God and all of His attributes. That gives quite an array of things to include. (It also helps us understand how much will be missing from Hell.) Beauty, light, love, kindness, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, dependability, justice, creativity, and on and on I could go with positive attributes.
Start thinking about what will be there and what won’t be there. It is delightful to think about. There will be no darkness of any kind. There will be no night, no moral darkness, no gloom. There will be nothing to dampen our moods as we are talking. There will be no tears or sadness, no need to lament, no need to fake happiness because we are trying to cover our sadness. We will be able to be real in a totally healthy way. It is unimaginable!
And if we want to be creative instead of visiting or worshipping, we will be able to use our creative gifts in gardens, painting, fabric (i hope) or in many ways we can’t imagine. But we’ll talk more about that later.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you blameless
before the presence of his glory with great joy…
Jude 1:24 ESV
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:2-4 ESV
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.Revelation 21:22-27 ESV