Over the years I’ve heard many people describe, often with a far-away smile, their “heaven on earth.” My neighbors described their recent trip to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks as “heaven on earth” because of its natural beauty. Each person has a unique take on this subject. It could be a place, an event, even a particular food (“That chocolate truffle tastes heavenly!”). I humbly submit that my own “heaven on earth” for the last 53 years has been at Dodger Stadium. Surprise! Surprise!
If heaven on earth is great and wonderful, what can be said about the real heaven? As a follower of Christ the Bible is absolutely clear that there are only two options for where you go after you die: heaven or hell. Those that have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be in heaven for eternity while those who do not will be eternally separated from God in hell. As a believer, when we realize that this present creation is a temporary one and that our life in heaven will be for eternity, we should have a strong motivation for godly living and living in such a way to store up treasures in heaven. Jesus told us clearly: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
The Bible consistently describes heaven as a place of great beauty and joy. It’s described as a place where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more” (Revelation 21:4). Just stop and think about that. There will be no sin, no pain, no suffering. We’ll be able to drink “from the fountain of the water of life without payment” (Revelation 21:6). It is a place “having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:11). Parts of the city will be constructed of immense precious jewels of various colors (Revelation 21:18-21). It will be free from all evil, because “nothing unclean shall enter it…but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
There is so much to look forward to in heaven. Think of the physical beauty of heaven, think of the fellowship we’ll enjoy forever with all of God’s people from all nations and from all periods of time, and think of the freedom we’ll have from pain and physical suffering. But yet there is more! Think of the fact that we will be in the presence of God and will enjoy fellowship with Him. Revelation 21:3-4 says “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
We know that in the Old Testament, when the glory of God filled the temple, the priests were unable to stand or function (2 Chronicles 5:14). In the New Testament, when the glory of God surrounded the shepherds in the fields by Bethlehem, “they were filled with fear” (Luke 2:9). But in heaven we will be able to withstand the power and holiness of the presence of God’s glory. In heaven we’ll live in the presence of God, for “the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him” (Revelation 22:3).
Occasionally, here on earth we experience genuine joyous worship of God. A personal example of this occurred on May 6, 1995, when I attended a Promise Keepers men’s event at the Los Angeles Coliseum. There was a moment where the 50,000+ men all sang “How Great Thou Art.” It was exhilarating. It was chilling. It was humbling. It was worshipful and gave us all there a small glimpse of what worship in heaven will be like (where there will be singing!). But in heaven the joy will be so much greater because our greatest joy will be in seeing the Lord himself and being with him forever. Revelation 22:4 says it all: “They shall see his face.”
I cannot process what it will be like when we see the Lord face-to-face, other than to think that we will desire nothing else. Psalm 27:4 by the psalmist David speaks of our desires to be before the Lord forever and ever:
“The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek the most,
Is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
Delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.”