Heart Language: Heaven

Our greatest hope is found where we'll live forever with the Lord.

One of the most precious words to Christians, heaven speaks to our greatest hope—that a far better world is awaiting us. It is the promise of Jesus in John 14:2: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

Though it is a central concept to Christianity, heaven can also be confusing—many words and phrases are used to describe it. It is called Paradise (Luke 23:43), the Jerusalem above (Gal. 4:26), the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 25:1), the eternal kingdom (2 Peter 1:11), our inheritance (1 Peter 1:4), Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22), and a better country (Heb. 11:16). Why describe heaven in so many ways? Perhaps because it is like a diamond with countless facets, each one reflecting an aspect of heaven’s glory.

At funerals, we’ll often hear things like, “Sally is cultivating God’s flowers now” if Sally was a great gardener, or “Bob is now riding heavenly waves” if Bob was a surfer.  In other words, heaven, to many people, is their idealized earth, or earthly activity—only without death and suffering.  But, heaven isn’t something we get to make up in our mind. When we die it becomes real; heaven is a real place that already exists—and nothing we can imagine comes close to its glory and wonder.  Paul saw it (2 Cor. 12:2) as did John the apostle in Revelation. Heaven is a very real place. Because we are united with Christ, Christians already own real estate there (Phil. 3:20), and we are already legal residents (Eph. 2:6). Because of this, we are merely “renters” here on earth. Our future home is the only permanent one we will ever know (2 Cor. 5:1). When life is difficult, that’s an important truth to cling to. As Irish songwriter Thomas Moore said, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

The word heaven embodies all our hopes and dreams of our future with God. Perhaps no phrase better captures our imagination than what the writer of Hebrews calls it: a better country. That’s what we truly long for and visualize; a real place, not just some ethereal existence among the clouds playing harps. Peter reminds us that our present earth and heavens will be burned up and God will create new ones—and we will live there forever (2 Peter 3:7-13).

“Faith is the Christian’s foundation, hope is his anchor, death is his harbor, Christ is his pilot, and heaven is his country.” — Jeremy Taylor, 17th century cleric.

Related Topics:  Eternity

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2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

43 And He said to him, Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.

1 Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.

16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

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