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We have been talking about heaven for the past few weeks. What will it be like? It is hard to imagine. There is not a lot in the Bible that tells us directly about it. Much of what the Bible says is in metaphorical language. Largely it is because the experience of heaven is so unlike what our experience on earth is like. It is difficult to describe in our terms that are limited by time and space. The best that can be done is to say, “It is like…”. There are visions that describe it as well, but I’m not sure thy can be taken literally in every detail. Visions tend to be designed to be taken as symbolic, not literally.
Don’t hear me saying I don’t believe the Bible isn’t true.
This in no way is saying the Bible is not true. I totally believe the Bible is completely true. But we must read each type of literature in the Bible the way it is meant to be read and interpreted. That is why we don’t interpret dreams literally. Joseph and Daniel didn’t. We shouldn’t either. For example, when it talks about the streets being paved with gold, it is probably indicating that something as common as where we walk is going to be covered with very valuable material. I’m sure we won’t have cars there or even horses and carriages. Who knows, we may not even be walking anywhere. And certainly, the jewels mentioned will be a common sight, but maybe not in the way the vision showed because we can’t even conceptualize what heaven is going to be like! We can only think of it in terms similar to what we know.
In almost every respect, Heaven will be the opposite of hell. Think about what that means for what hell will be like. It will not be a place of constant partying.
Certainly, we can take from the descriptions of heaven that God’s presence will be central. And it will be permeated with His attributes, among them, light. It is in stark contrast to hell that will have none of these. It will only have the attributes of Satan and his cohorts. Imagine a place of complete darkness; no joy or happiness, ever; all gloom and depression, but never being able to end it in suicide; always hot with insatiable thirst and no ability to quench it; living with hatred toward others and being hated with no feelings of community or support, at all; the caricature of going to hell and partying is a complete fabrication. There will be no activities that are convivial there. And think of all the maliciousness, sexual twistedness and misery that will be allowed to exist. There will never, ever be justice. It will be a miserable place to be and it will continue on forever. There will not be one beautiful thing there at all. All those positive traits that exist here on earth as part of God’s common grace that we enjoy will not be in hell. There will not even be order, only chaos. There will be no beautiful sunsets or sunrises; no beautiful scenery; no beautiful art or opportunities for creativity in any form. There won’t even be drugs to numb your horrible experiences there, or your pain.
By contrast, heaven will be full of only God’s attributes blooming fully. There will be no sin, sadness or pain. There will be no brokenness of any kind. Try to imagine a world like that.
By contrast, heaven will be a place where God and all His attributes will be in full bloom. There will be no evil or brokenness of any kind. It is difficult to imagine what that would even be like! What would it be like to be with other people who don’t suffer from any brokenness at all. People who are always kind and loving in a healthy, genuine way. We will be fully and completely sanctified there. Sin will be a thing of the past for us. It is unimaginable. Our desires will always be in alignment with that of Jesus.
There will be no negative talking or conversation that we need to avoid. Nor will we need to watch what we say. Rather, what we say will be good, gracious, kind, and glorifying to God all the time. And we won’t be discouraged ever, or downhearted ever, or lonely ever. We won’t have to deal with lies that get repeated in our heads that tell us things that aren’t true. All that will be over.
Jesus is holding each of His children in His hand and will present us to the Father when we get to heaven, as blameless.
I love this final benediction. As you know, I love benedictions. I wrote a series on them. If I had to pick my favorite, it is probably this one because it pictures what it is going to be like at the end. All through our lives, Jesus promises to keep us from stumbling, but in the end, He will present each of His children faultless to the Father because of what Jesus did for us on the cross that Easter weekend and then rose from the dead to show it was completed and accepted by the Father. The victory over sin and death had been won by Jesus! But you finished the race with Him.
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,
to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority,
before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25 ESV
PS. I’m sorry to paint such an ugly picture of hell, but in order to appreciate how wonderful heaven will be, we need to understand how truly awful hell is going to be. I’m not trying to scare you. This is simply a reality check. Are you thinking about hell with true and real thoughts? When making decisions about the after life, we need to be realistic and not live in a pretend world.