What does the Bible say about Heaven?

A little boy was busy drawing a picture with crayons. His mother asked him what he was drawing. He looked up and said that he was drawing a picture of God. His mother smiled and said, “But, honey, no one knows what God looks like!” He said, “I know, but they will as soon as I finish my picture.” Describing Heaven is a lot like trying to draw a picture of God, virtually impossible. I do not expect that I will be able to draw a picture that will make Heaven understandable to you, but let’s look together at what the Bible teaches about that wonderful place.

The apostle Paul, who had no difficulty describing such things as predestination, foreordination, and other such things hard to be understood, said, “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. {lawful: or, possible} Second Corinthians 12:1-4.

Two things to notice in this passage are that (1) describing Heaven is not possible, and (2) there are three heavens. The first heaven is comprised of the sky, the realm of mists and vapors. When our Lord ascended into a cloud, the angel said to the disciples, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11. The second heaven is the vast universe, the realm of the sun, moon and stars. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” Genesis 1:1,7,8.

The third Heaven is the sphere where God preeminently dwells. “The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” Psalm 11:4. Our Savior was asked to teach His disciples to pray, and He said, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9. Heaven, the third Heaven is a place, just as the first two heavens are defined by a location. Jesus told His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 It is sometimes called by other names, like “Kingdom” (Mathew 18:1) with its King, a city (Hebrews 11:10) with its citizens, a country (Hebrews 11:16) with its laws and customs, a home (John 14:2) with its family and bliss, and an inheritance (Colossians 1:12 and First Peter 1:4) with its possessions.

What makes Heaven so desirable? First, God is there. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Heaven is His home, and He has invited us to live with Him. Second, the angels of God are there. (Matthew 22:30 and Matthew 18:10). They are called to minister to the saints of God, Hebrews 1:13 & 14 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” In this lifetime, we try to live in a neighborhood that is safe, where good people can surround us. In Heaven, we will be in the presence of God, the angels, and the redeemed of all ages.

Believers will be spiritually perfect in Heaven. We may yearn for holiness in this life, but it will be a reality in Heaven. Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” Romans 7:28-20. In Heaven, there will be no struggle within the believer, no sin nature to do battle with the new nature. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” First John 3:2

We will recognize our loved ones in Heaven, and not only our loved ones, but everyone who is there. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John recognized Moses and Elijah. “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” Matthew 17:1-4. Now, keep in mind that Peter, James, and John had never met Moses or Elijah, nor had they seen photographs of them, but they recognized them.

Paul also addresses this in First Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Does Jesus know me now? Sure thing! And I will know all of Heaven’s occupants, just like He knows me today, except that there will be no sin in anyone then, so we will only know each other by the righteousness that Christ has bestowed on us. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, the rich man knew Abraham and he knew Lazarus. Remember that these were only in the spirit realm. They did not have glorified bodies at this point, and yet, beyond the grave there was recognition by name!

Some have asked if we will know what is happening on earth when we get to Heaven. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah spoke of the soon coming death of Christ on Calvary. They were apparently aware of current events on earth. Assuming that we were aware of what was occurring on earth, or that our loved ones who are in Heaven are able to know what earth’s occupants are doing, with all of the bliss and joy in Heaven, would they or we be inquiring into current events on earth? I think not. Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

That brings us to the subject of what we will do in Heaven, and will we really enjoy it. I have heard well-meaning saints say, “If you do not enjoy going to church all the time, you will be miserable in Heaven.” I am sorry to say, that is not a good description of Heaven. First, not everyone in church is saved, and some that are Christians are not good examples of the believers. In Heaven, no one will sing off key, or in a monotone. There will be no crying babies, or uncomfortable pews, and we will not have bodies that will get tired or sore from sitting so long. However, the most important thing is that we will not have carnal natures that rebel against being in the presence of the Lord and His people for long periods of time. I have met a few folks with whom I could spend long periods of time and never look at my watch, but I have never met anyone close to the incomparable Jesus Christ. I cannot imagine what it will be like to enjoy Him forever in a glorified body, free from sin!

Some have wondered if Heaven will just be years of floating on clouds, having nothing to do but sing and relax. It will be a time of rest, for sure. However, when God created Man, He gave him work that he would enjoy doing. While Heaven will be different than earth, the same God governs both and He will have pleasures and joy that will be involved in activities that He has in store for us. Have you ever met someone that was so interesting that you felt that you could spend a lot of time with that person, just listening and visiting. God is so much more interesting and knowledgeable than any human we might know, and eternity will not be boring in His presence.

Several things will not occupy our time in Heaven. There will be no hospitals or doctors’ waiting rooms, for there will be no sickness in Heaven. No one will walk with a limp or need canes or crutches. When Jesus walked this earth, He healed some to give us a glimpse of His power. Every glorified body will be perfect and will never deteriorate or get old. There will be no death, sorrow, poverty, or any of the many things that plague us on earth. “O, that will be glory for me, when by His grace I shall look on His face, that will be glory for me!”

You can make sure of your place in Heaven by trusting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. If you want to have someone lead you in that prayer right now, click here: BBN Chat Live

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