The Truth About Heaven

by Michael J. Klassen

Heaven on Earth
We need it now
I’m sick of all of this
Hanging around
Sick of sorrow
Sick of pain
Sick of hearing again and again
That there’s gonna be
Peace on Earth

 Ten years ago, poet Paul David Hewson penned these words about heaven. You might know him better as Bono, of U2 fame. The song is entitled “Peace On Earth” which you can watch in the video above.

Strange—all too often we become so satisfied with the world we live in that we tend to forget about heaven…until people like Bono, Rob Bell, or Harold Camping remind us of its significance.

Do you ever long for heaven, I mean, really long for it? Centuries ago, negro spirituals brimmed with hope for the hereafter. Life as they knew it was so difficult that the African-American slaves looked forward to the day when they would experience relief from the pain and frustration of this present life.

To be honest, I don’t long for heaven near like I should. Sometimes I find myself quite satisfied with my life…until something bad happens. All too often, life must get so difficult that we give up placing our hope in the present.

Perhaps that is partly the purpose behind our pain—to remind us that this earth is not our home. At least not in its current form.

In Hebrews 11, we read a description of the great men and women of faith as people who admit they are “foreigners and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13). Perhaps that’s what made them great people of faith: they refused to make this present earth their home, preferring to focus on the treasures of heaven.

So what will heaven be like?

  • It will be a beautiful city—think the Emerald City from Wizard of Oz, but better! (Revelation 21)
  • No one will grow old because the tree of life will be there to give us food (Genesis 3:22; Revelation 22:2). Gray hair, be gone!
  •  Eventually it will descend to its permanent location—earth (Revelation 21:2).
  • Jesus will live there with us (Revelation 21:3).
  • Boredom will be no more (Psalm 16:11).
  • No more death, pain, tears, sorrow, sickness, hospitals, operations, tragedy, disappointment, trouble, hunger, or thirst (Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 22:3; Isaiah 65:23; Revelation 7:16).
  • No need for naps because you won’t get tired (Isaiah 40:31).
  • Life will resemble our present lives here on earth—but without the bad stuff (Isaiah 65:21-22).

As much as we might like our lives, they pale in comparison to the real thing.

Michael serves as co-pastor of The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

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One response to “The Truth About Heaven

  1. Georgie-ann

    So true. There will never be complete “Peace on Earth” until the devil is “done,” his “goose is cooked,” and he is relegated to his “final reward” of exclusion & flames. Exclusion would be bad enough — this is why he is already so “hopping mad” and so bent on “taking it out” on us. He already HAS BEEN excluded from Heaven. Having actually tasted it before HIS fall (pride, his undoing), he KNOWS what he is (and will be) missing forever. (And he has “quite the attitude”/resentment/jealousy toward ANYONE who has the chance to get there!,…i.e., “us.”)

    Perhaps this “bad experience” for God (the “spontaneous mutation”/eruption/development of Pride in one of His highest-ranking Angels), has influenced the decision that humans “love” to try to call Him on: why does He allow US to be tested in this earthly “holding chamber”? Why “allow” all the suffering, pain, sin and sorrow?

    Well, as any disappointed human parent can tell you, when a beloved innocent child suddenly morphs into a willful, prideful, aggravating, rebellious and “stupid” adolescent, “all bets are off.” Whaddaya do? Lots of prayer, lots of spiritual warfare, lots of controls, efforts, advice and even punishments. But that person’s “free will” and “power to choose” is now “in their own hands.” This is a war that is ongoing right in each and every human heart, only reflecting itself outwardly in the more visible conflicts about which we all despair and ask “why?”

    God wants us to have a “free will” that He AND we can trust. So, like anything we develop for market and “test for safety,” He is testing us — allowing us to be tested: Which option will we choose?

    God IS the “ultimate parent,” the Creator, the designer. His plans for us are not accidental. He “spells it all out” in His Word to us. If we listen and “pay attention” to the right things, we can learn a lot and experience the blessings that His Wisdom endows. He has given us the tools, but the rest is “up to us,” as they say. What will we choose? Is God important enough to us to apply ourselves and do the “work”/make the efforts necessary to “learn of Him” and to lay aside the distractions that could seriously “lead us astray?” Is God really asking “too much” of us in this, as the “price of admission” to a forever future of Heavenly Bliss?

    Personally, I don’t think so. This is probably a very wise plan. We don’t expect school/college to ask nothing of us and yet let us graduate. This life IS a school in much the same way. Graduating “with honors” is to be recommended, (and “I’ve heard the retirement benefits are great!”) Heaven really should be our goal! And, apparently, “the choice is ours!”

    (And considering the fear we live in here on earth, if/when we have “lawless” neighbors, it’s kind of nice to think that things like that will not be a problem once we’re in Heaven! What WILL be there will be good, and what will be missing will be a good thing, too!)

    Colossians 3:1-4

    1 “IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

    2 “And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

    3 “For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

    4 “When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.”

    As they say: (the all-important issue of:) “Focus! Focus!”
    It works with God too! Along with that great prayer: “Help!”

    He WILL help us if/when we sincerely ask.

    And He promises that all things will eventually be revealed, so there will be much that we cannot completely understand/”see” now that WILL “make sense” in the light of eternity.

    Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all of the words of this law.”

    Mark 4:22 “For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known.”

    Luke 12:2 ‘Nothing is [so closely] covered up that it will not be revealed, or hidden that it will not be known.”

    Romans 2:5 “But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed.”

    Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!”

    1 Corinthians 3:13 “The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.”

    2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].”

    Thanks, Michael!

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