Not only will we see his face and live, but we will likely wonder if we ever lived before we saw his face!
For the Christian, heaven is where Jesus is. We do not need to speculate on what heaven will be like. It is enough to know that we will be forever with Him. When we love anyone with our whole hearts, life begins when we are with that person; it is only in their company that we are really and truly alive. It is so with Christ. In this world our contact with Him is shadowy, for we can only see through a glass darkly. It is spasmodic, for we are poor creatures and cannot live always on the heights. But the best definition of it is to say that heaven is that state where we will always be with Jesus, and where nothing will separate us from Him anymore.
God is the same God in heaven as on earth, but I shall not be the same man.
I know that Christ is all in all; and that it is the presence of God that makes Heaven to be heaven. But yet it much sweetens the thoughts of that place to me that there are there such a multitude of my most dear and precious friends in Christ.
Doubtless, we shall no more be oppressed with the power of our corruptions, nor vexed with their presence; no pride, passion, slothfulness, senselessness, shall enter with us; no strangeness to God, and the things of God; no coldness of affections, nor imperfection in our love; no uneven walking, nor grieving of the Spirit; no scandalous action, or unholy living. We shall rest from all these forever.
Heaven would be a very hell to an unholy heart. If now – the presence of God in His servants, and the presence of God in His ordinances – is such a hell to unholy souls; ah, what a hell would the presence of God in heaven be – to unholy hearts! It is true, an unholy heart may desire heaven – as it is a place of freedom from troubles, afflictions, oppressions, vexations, etc., and as it is a place of peace, rest, ease, safety, etc. But this is the least and lowest part of heaven. To desire heaven as it is a place of purity, a place of grace, a place of holiness, a place of enjoying God, etc. – is above the reach of an unholy heart. The company of heaven are all holy, the employments of heaven are all holy, the enjoyments of heaven are all holy – therefore heaven would be a most undesirable thing to unholy hearts. An unholy heart is no way desirous nor ambitious of such a heaven as will rid him of his darling sins, as will make him conformable to a holy God, as will everlastingly divorce him from his precious lusts, as will link him forever to those gracious souls whom he has scorned, despised, and persecuted in this world.
Christ is the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father. What solace then must that soul be filled with, that has the possession of Him to all eternity!
When we enjoy God, we enjoy Him in His eternity without any flux… After many ages, the joys will be as savory and satisfying as if they had been but that moment first tasted by our hungry appetites. When the glory of the Lord shall rise upon you, it shall be so far from ever setting, that after millions of years are expired, as numerous as the sands on the seashore, the sun, in the light of whose countenance you shall live, shall be as bright as at the first appearance; He will be so far from ceasing to flow, that He will flow as strong, as full, as at the first communication of Himself in glory to the creature. God is always vigorous and flourishing; a pure act of life, sparkling new and fresh rays of life and light to the creature, flourishing with a perpetual spring, and contenting the most capacious desire; forming your interest, pleasure, and satisfaction; with an infinite variety, without any change or succession; He will have variety to increase delights, and eternity to perpetuate them; this will be the fruit of the enjoyment of an infinite and eternal God.
The saints in heaven…will not be so enlarged as to be capable of contemplating at once, or in detail, the whole excellence of His nature. To comprehend infinite perfection, they must become infinite themselves. Even in Heaven, their knowledge will be partial, but at the same time their happiness will be complete, because their knowledge will be perfect in this sense, that it will be adequate to the capacity of the subject, although it will not exhaust the fullness of the object. We believe that it will be progressive, and that as their views expand, their blessedness will increase. But it will never reach a limit beyond which there is nothing to be discovered, and when ages after ages have passed away, He will still be the incomprehensible God.
Most people hope to go to heaven when they die. This is not surprising, given the generally acknowledged alternatives (either hell or nothingness). However, it is quite revealing to ask people what they hope to do when they get to heaven. Most people anticipate the joys of this world writ large: golf courses with no sand traps or water hazards, heavenly mansions with no worries about mortgage payments. If they could have all of those things without leaving this planet, they would be more than content. Christians, however, long for heaven because they long to be in the nearer presence of the God whom they love with all their hearts, joining in the unstinted, eternal worship of the Lamb.
Somehow, somewhere within you is the pattern of the heavenly person you will become, and if you want to catch a glimpse of how glorious and full of splendor your body will be, just do a comparison. Compare a hairy peach pit with the tree it becomes, loaded with fragrant blossoms and sweet fruit. They are totally different, yet the same. Compare a caterpillar with a butterfly. As wet, musty flower bulb with an aromatic hyacinth. A hairy coconut with a graceful palm tree.
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Entrance to heaven requires a redeemed body. The body must be rid of the law of sin at work in its members. At the present time, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The day is coming, however, when instead of being a hindrance to the spirit, the body will be the perfect vessel for the expression of my glorified mind, will, and emotions. Right now, we wear our souls on the inside. But one day we will be “clothed in righteousness” as we wear our souls on the outside, brilliant and glorious.
Heavenly fellowship with friends won’t be some ethereal do-nothingness where we yawn, sit around on clouds, and ogle at angels. Because heaven is the home of redeemed humans, it will be thoroughly “human” in it structure and activities.
The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows, but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.
The blessedness of Heaven is so glorious that when the saints arrive there they will look back upon their earthly pilgrimage, however wonderful their life in Christ was then, as a veritable Hell. Just as truly, on the other hand, will those who perish in Hell look back on the life in this world, however miserable it may have been, as veritable Heaven.
And at the end of the world, when the church of Christ shall be settled in its last, and most complete, and its eternal state, and all common gifts, such as convictions and illuminations, and all miraculous gifts, shall be eternally at an end, yet then divine love shall not fail, but shall be brought to its most glorious perfection in every individual member of the ransomed church above. Then, in every heart, that love which now seems as but a spark, shall be kindled to a bright and glowing flame, and every ransomed soul shall be as it were in a blaze of divine and holy love, and shall remain and grow in this glorious perfection and blessedness through all eternity!
To pretend to describe the excellence, the greatness or duration of the happiness of heaven by the most artful composition of words would be but to darken and cloud it; to talk of raptures and ecstasies, joy and singing, is but to set forth very low shadows of the reality.
What tranquility will there be in heaven! Who can express the fullness and blessedness of this peace! What a calm is this! How sweet and holy and joyous! What a haven of rest to enter, after having passed through the storms and tempests of this world, in which pride and selfishness and envy and malice and scorn and contempt and contention and vice are as waves of a restless ocean, always rolling, and often dashed about in violence and fury! What a Canaan of rest to come to, after going through this waste and howling wilderness, full of snares and pitfalls and poisonous serpents, where no rest could be found.
Thus [in heaven] they shall eat and drink abundantly, and swim in the ocean of love, and be eternally swallowed up in the infinitely bright, and infinitely mild and sweet, beams of divine love; eternally receiving that light, eternally full of it, and eternally compassed round with it, and everlasting reflecting it back again to its foundations.
Then the church shall be brought to the full enjoyment of her bridegroom, having all tears wiped away from her eyes, and there shall be no more distance or absence. She shall then be brought to the entertainments of an eternal wedding feast, and to dwell forever with her bridegroom, yea, to dwell eternally in His embraces. Then Christ will give her His loves, and she shall drink her fill, yea, she shall swim in the ocean of His love.
There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love — this eternal Three in One — is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it, as it flows forever. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!
Heaven is the palace, or presence-chamber, of the Supreme Being who is both the cause and source of all holy love. God, indeed, with respect to His essence is everywhere. He fills heaven and earth. But yet He is said on some accounts more especially to be in some places rather than others. He was said of old to dwell in the land of Israel above all other lands, and in Jerusalem above all other cities in that land, and in the temple above all other houses in that city, and in the holy of holies above all other apartments in that temple, and on the mercy seat over the ark above all other places in the holy of holies. But heaven is His dwelling place above all other places in the universe.
How could we enjoy heaven…if during our lifetime we had used most of our time, treasure, and talents for ourselves and our select group?
I don’t know about you, but the more I think about the new heaven and the new earth, the more excited I get! It is incredible to think that one day soon we will not only experience the resurrection of our carcasses, but the renewal of the cosmos and the return of the Creator. We will literally have heaven on earth. Eden lost will become Eden restored and a whole lot more! Not only will we experience God’s fellowship as Adam did, but we will see our Savior face to face. God incarnate will live in our midst. And we will never come to the end of exploring the infinite, inexhaustible I AM or the grandeur and glory of his incomparable creation.
Imagine [in heaven] being able to love another human being without even a tinge of selfishness. Imagine appreciating, no, reveling in the exalted capacities and stations that God bestows on another without so much as a modicum of jealousy.
We can rest assured that our temporary earthly passions are but a pale shadow of the pleasure we will experience in heaven when symbol is supplanted by substance.
To Christians heaven is a house, a dwelling-place, a resting place, their everlasting home, their Father’s house where there are many mansions. It is a house in the heavens that as far excels the palaces of this earth as the heavens are high above the earth. It is a city whose builder and maker is God, and it is eternal in the heavens. The most marvelous thing about it is that God has prepared it for those who love Him.
Heaven, as the eternal home of the divine Man and of all the redeemed members of the human race, must necessarily be thoroughly human in its structure, conditions, and activities. Its joys and its occupations must all be rational, moral, emotional, voluntary, and active. There must be the exercise of all faculties, the gratification of all tastes, the development of all talent capacities, the realization of all ideals. The reason, the intellectual curiosity, the imagination, the aesthetic instincts, the holy affections, the social affinities, the inexhaustible resources of strength and power native to the human soul, must all find in heaven exercise and satisfaction.
[Heaven is] where the unveiled glories of the Deity shall beat full upon us, and we forever sun ourselves in the smiles of God.
Will it cause distress in heaven, to know that our unsaved beloved friends and relatives are forever lost? The only way of solving this difficulty is to realize that a perfect knowledge of God and of the wisdom and justice of all His designs and operations will constitute a chief part of the happiness of heaven. We shall be so convinced of the equity of His dealings towards the wicked, so divested of all the weakness of “human sentimentalism,” so absorbed in the love of what is right and just, that the absence of our loved ones from the world of glory, will cause no interruption of our heavenly bliss!
The only works of unregenerated man in heaven are the scars of the nails in the hands and feet of Jesus, the wounds in His side, and the thorn scars on His brow.
We are… saplings here, but we shall be transported into our heavenly soil to grow in God’s light. Here our abilities are in blossom; there they shall burst forth with fruits of greater beauty. Our death is but the passing from one degree of loving service to another; the difference is like that of the unborn child and the one who has entered into the experiences of a new life. Our love for God will continue, but awakened with new purity and purposefulness.
In reality, everything that is truly precious to us as Christians is in heaven. The Father is there (Matt. 6:9). Jesus Himself is at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 9:24). Many brothers and sisters in Christ are there, too (Heb. 12:23). Our names are recorded there (Luke 10:20). This is our inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4). Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Our eternal reward is in heaven (Matt. 5:12). In other words, everything we should love everlastingly, everything we rightly value, everything of any eternal worth is in heaven.
Scripture repeatedly makes clear that heaven is a realm of unsurpassed joy, unfading glory, undiminished bliss, unlimited delights, and unending pleasures. Nothing about it can possibly be boring or humdrum. It will be a perfect existence. We will have unbroken fellowship with all heaven’s inhabitants. Life there will be devoid of any sorrows, cares, tear, fears, or pain.
God will renovate the heavens and the earth, merging His heaven with a new universe for a perfect dwelling-place that will be our home forever. In other words, heaven, the realm where God dwells, will expand to encompass the entire universe of creation, which will be fashioned into a perfect and glorious domain fit for the glory of heaven. The apostle Peter described this as the hope of every redeemed person: “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13).
Scripture promises that heaven will be a realm of perfect bliss. Tears, pain, sorrow, and crying will have no place whatsoever in the New Heaven and New Earth. It is a place where God’s people will dwell together with Him eternally, utterly free from all the effects of sin and evil. God is pictured as personally wiping away the tears from the eyes of the redeemed. Heaven is a realm where death is fully conquered (1 Cor. 15:26). There is no sickness there, no hunger, no trouble, and no tragedy. Just absolute joy and blessings. It is frankly hard for our minds, which have never known anything but this sinful life and its calamities, to imagine.
Far from being stuffy and uncomfortable, our worship in heaven will bring us sheer pleasure. It will be unhindered enjoyment of God, unadulterated by any taint of guilt or any fear of insecurity. None of our earthly pleasures can compare with the perfect delight we will derive from heavenly worship. All the joys we derive from earthly love, earthly beauty, and other earthly blessings are nothing in comparison to the pure bliss of heavenly worship before the very face of Him from whom all true blessings flow. Only those who know Him can even begin to appreciate the unadulterated pleasure this will be.
You will enjoy an eternal companionship in heaven that is more perfect than any earthly partnership. The difference is that you will have such a perfect relationship with every other person in heaven as well. If having such a deep relationship with your spouse here is so wonderful, imagine how glorious it will be to enjoy a perfect relationship with every human in the whole expanse of heaven – forever!
The ultimate future of the believer is the resurrection of the body at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15). On that glorious Day, the soul and the raised and transformed body of the believer will be one again as God originally created them to be. Not only will our bodies and souls be freed from the remnants of sin, the heavens and earth will be renewed and freed from the curse of sin as well (Rom. 8:18–25). This new earth, in which righteousness dwells, will be our home.
The second coming of Christ will also involve the reversal of the curse that was placed on creation at the time of the fall. The creation will no longer groan under the weight of the curse. It will be set free from its bondage to decay (Rom. 8:18–25). All things will be made new. There will be no more tears, no more death, no more mourning, no more pain, for all of these things will have passed away (Rev. 21:1–8). The enemy Satan will be defeated and judged, no more to accuse and attack the people of God (Rev. 20:7–10). All men will stand before the judgment throne of Christ. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will inherit the kingdom. Those whose names are not found will be cast into outer darkness (20:11–15).
It is work as free from care and toil and fatigue as is the wing-stroke of the jubilant lark when it soars into the sunlight of a fresh, clear day and, spontaneously and for self-relief, pours out its thrilling carol. Work [in heaven] is a matter of self-relief, as well as a matter of obedience to the ruling will of God. It is work according to one’s tastes and delight and ability. If tastes vary there, if abilities vary there, then occupations will vary there (David Gregg).
Revelation 21 and 22 present heaven as the opposite of hell. Hell is separation from the gracious presence of God; heaven, living in that presence. Hell involves terrible pain; heaven, unceasing joy. Hell means the darkness of banishment from God’s glory; heaven, basking in its light. Hell consists of everlasting rejection by God; heaven, being His son or daughter forever. Hell entails the second death; heaven, eternal life.
When the Christian dies, he loses his sorrows. If one glistening tear can stain the pure face of a saint in Glory, then God Himself will wipe it away and comfort with His own endearments all His own who have sorrowed! Pain will be forgotten. Poverty will turn into riches… Earth has no sorrow Heaven cannot heal.
O my Lord Jesus Christ, if I could be in heaven without Thee, it would be hell; and if I could be in hell, and have Thee still, it would be heaven to me, for Thou are all the heaven I want.
Without holiness on earth we shall never be prepared to enjoy heaven. Heaven is a holy place. The Lord of heaven is a holy Being. The angels are holy creatures. Holiness is written on everything in heaven …How shall we ever be at home and happy in heaven if we die unholy?
Blessed be God! There shall be no sorrow in heaven. There shall not be one single tear shed within the courts above. There shall be no more disease and weakness and decay; the coffin, and the funeral, and the grave, and the dark-black mourning shall be things unknown. Our faces shall no more be pale and sad; no more shall we go out from the company of those we love and be parted asunder – that word, farewell, shall never be heard again. There shall be no anxious thought about tomorrow to mar and spoil our enjoyment, no sharp and cutting words to wound our souls; our wants will have come to a perpetual end, and all around us shall be harmony and love.
Most men hope to go to heaven when they die; but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth.
An understanding of God should only be gleaned from the Bible. Everything God wants us to know about heaven is contained in the Bible. Not only do these best-selling books cast doubts on the sufficiency of the Bible and also contradict each other, but they are contrary to everything the Bible teaches us about heaven. These books seem to make it all about one’s self-focus from their self-experience. According to the Bible, heaven is about worshiping the greatness of God.
Do you see why Christians can face death with peace? They are not so much “leaving behind” as much as “going to.”
I bear my testimony that there is no joy to be found in all this world like that of sweet communion with Christ. I would barter all else there is of heaven for that. Indeed, that is heaven. As for the harps of gold and the streets like clear glass and the songs of seraphs and the shouts of the redeemed, one could very well give all these up, counting them as a drop in a bucket, if we might forever live in fellowship and communion with Jesus.
Oh, to think of heaven without Christ! It is the same thing as thinking of hell. Heaven without Christ! It is day without the sun, existing without life, feasting without food, seeing without light. It involves a contradiction in terms. Heaven without Christ! Absurd. It is the sea without water, the earth without its fields, the heavens without their stars. There cannot be a heaven without Christ. He is the sum total of bliss, the fountain from which heaven flows, the element of which heaven is composed. Christ is heaven and heaven is Christ.
We talk about pearly gates and golden streets, and white robes, and harps of gold, and crowns of amaranth, and all that; but if an angel could speak to us of heaven, he would smile and say, “All these fine things are but child’s talk, and ye are little children, and ye cannot understand the greatness of eternal bliss, and therefore God has given you a child’s horn book, and an alphabet, in which you may learn the first rough letters of what heaven is, but what it is thou dost not know. O mortal, thine eye hath never yet beheld its splendours; thine ear hath never yet been ravished with its melodies; thy heart has never been transported with its peerless joys.”
Moses saw the “back”, or hindquarters of God, if you will (see Exodus 33:19-23). This resulted in a glowing brilliance on his face that terrified the people, from which they turned away. The dazzling brilliance that transformed Moses’ face was too much for them to bear, yet this came from his beholding the back of God, not His face! Our eternal destiny is to see Him face to face. What will it be for us to bask in the radiant glory and refulgent beauty of His divine countenance!
Three texts in Revelation tell us who and what will be absent in heaven. In 21:4 we see that no tears of grief, no death or sorrow or pain will be present. In 21:8 we are assured that no one who is cowardly, lying, or unbelieving will be present, or murderers, or anything abominable, immoral, or idolatrous. And, as if to sum up, we are told in 21:27 that nothing unclean will be allowed to enter.
You need never live in fear that any heavenly joy will ever be lost or taken away! We struggle to enjoy life now from fear that it will soon end. We hesitate to savor what little happiness we have for fear that it may be taken away. We hold back and hedge our bets and restrain our souls, knowing that disaster may soon come, economic recession may begin, physical health may deteriorate, someone may die, or something unforeseen may surprise us and take it all away. But not in heaven! Never! The beauty and joy and glory and delight and satisfaction and purity will never ever end, but only increase and grow and expand and multiply!
Heaven is not one grand, momentary flash of excitement followed by an eternity of boredom. Heaven is not going to be an endless series of earthly re-runs! There will be a new episode of divine grace every day! A new revelation every moment of some heretofore unseen aspect of the unfathomable complexity of divine compassion. A new and fresh disclosure of an implication or consequence of God’s mercy, every day. A novel and stunning explanation of the meaning of what God has done for us, without end.
Our experience of God will never reach its consummation. We will never finally arrive, as if upon reaching a peak we discover there is nothing beyond. Our experience of God will never become stale. It will deepen and develop, intensify and amplify, unfold and increase, broaden and balloon. Our relishing and rejoicing in God will sharpen and spread and extend and progress and mature and flower and blossom and widen and stretch and swell and snowball and inflate and lengthen and augment and advance and proliferate and accumulate and accelerate and multiply and heighten and reach a crescendo that will even then be only the beginning of an eternity of new and fresh insights into the majesty of who God is!
There never will come a time [in heaven] when we will know all that can be known or see or feel or experience or enjoy all that can be enjoyed. We will never plumb the depths of gratification in God nor reach its end. Our satisfaction and delight in Him are subject to incessant increase. When it comes to heavenly euphoria, words such as termination and cessation and expiration and finality are utterly inappropriate and inapplicable.
We must never forget that even in heaven only God is immutable or unchanging. We are ever subject to greater transformation and improvement. But it is always a change from one stage of glory and knowledge and holiness to the next higher stage of glory and knowledge and holiness. It is one thing to be free of imperfection, but another to experience perfection perfectly. We will be perfect in heaven from the first moment we arrive in that we will be free from defect, free from sin, free from moral corruption and selfishness. But that perfection is finite, because we are finite. It is always subject to expansion. There is change, but always for the better!
To think that everyone in heaven is equally knowledgeable, equally holy, equally capable or enjoying God, is to argue that the progress we make now on earth is irrelevant to our heavenly state. But we are often exhorted to do things now precisely because it will build up and increase for us treasure in heaven. Not everyone responds to these commands in the same way or to the same degree or with the same measure of faithfulness. Thus people will enter heaven at differing degrees of holiness, love, and joy. All will be subject to increase and expansion based on the depth and measure of our development here on earth. What we do and know and achieve now, by God’s grace, will have eternal consequences.
There will be a time [in heaven] when we are denied what we desire. Happiness consists in part in the satisfaction of desire. In heaven, with each desire there is fulfillment. We will desire only what is good and righteous and honoring to God, and it would be hell if such desire were left unsatisfied. Each new desire is but a fitting prelude to the delight that comes with its satisfaction.
And let me tell you, the more labour you have put forth for the Kingdom of heaven, the more degrees of glory you shall have. As there are degrees of torment in hell, so of glory in heaven (Matthew 23:14). As one star differeth from another in glory, so shall one saint (1 Corinthians 15:41). Though every vessel of mercy shall be full, yet one may hold more than another.