I’ve had two interesting conversations about Heaven in the past week or so. One was with a dear Jewish friend is quite elderly and is hoping there is a heaven.
“If there is no heaven, then what do you think there will be?” I asked my friend.
He didn’t hesitate with his response. “Eternal sleep.”
“Sounds boring,” I replied. “What if there is a heaven and you don’t make it?”
My friend, who had a very strict and regimented Jewish education (Yeshiva), just shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t have answer. The exchange reminded me of when I met with the campus Rabbi at the Hillel when I was in college. It was a very troubling time in my life and I needed answers.
“What can I do to make sure I don’t go to hell,” I asked.
“Maybe you should see a priest,” he said, sort of joking, but not really.
Another conversation this week was with a gentile, with no real religious beliefs, other then, “I’m not an atheist.”
“Is there a heaven?” I asked.
“Is there a hell?”
“Yes,” she replied. “It’s here on earth, right now, for the bad people. They are living in the hell they create for themselves.”
“So what happens when the bad people die?”
“They go to heaven; we all go to heaven, because that’s what a loving God does.”
“So what is Heaven like?”
“It’s a state of mind.”
Once again, sounds pretty boring, and quite nebulous.
The truth is, there is a Heaven and there is a hell (Daniel 12:2). And, there is only one surefire way to Heaven. The Bible makes this really easy. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
In Proverbs 3:5,6, we read, Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Jesus further expands on these two verses with this: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:18,19.
As for Heaven, it defies the imagination, much like trying to describe the ocean to a person who has never seen it in person, let alone even photos or video of it. Seriously, how could you possible describe the just surface of the ocean, let alone all that is within it?
Heaven includes a beautiful city filled with the brilliance of costly stones and crystal clear jasper. Heaven has twelve gates (Revelation 21:12) and twelve foundations (Revelation 21:14). The paradise of the Garden of Eden is actually restored in Heaven: the River of the Water of Life flows freely and the tree of life is available once again, yielding fruit monthly with leaves that “heal the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2).
Heaven is a real place, and we will be there with a new body (Philippians 3:20,21), and with billions of people who have lived though out the ages.
Heaven is also a place of “no mores.” There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4). There will be no more separation, because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). It’s hard for our human mind to even begin to contemplate this.
But the best thing about heaven is the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). We will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loved us and sacrificed Himself so that we can enjoy His presence in Heaven for eternity.