This is for those who listen to my weekly radio program (WBTG, Sheffield, AL on 106.3 FM, Sunday from 3:00-3:30 PM). Today’s program was about heaven and I mentioned the texts I used for the presentation would be here for reference. So here they are, in order presented… The manuscript is presented after the texts for further reflection.
2 Cor 1:3-7; John 3:12; 1 Cor 2:9; Job 7:13-21, 10:18-19; Jonah 4:3; Mt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:52; Rev 1:10, 4:1; 1 Thess 4:16; 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thess 4:17; Mt 24:30, 26:64; Rev 1:7; James 4:14; Luke 16:22; 1 Cor 15:51-55; Mt 24:30-31; 1 Thess 4:16-18; Psalm 116:15; Rev 21:3; Luke 16:25; 1 John 3:2; John 14:1-4; Rev 21:25, 22:2, 21:21, 4:8-11, 22:1-5, 2:17; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Cor 16:22-b; Acts 17:24-25; Ps 50:12, 15; Mark 10:45; Is 6:3; Rev 4:6-8; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 20:6
Below is the manuscript from which the presentation was made. Please understand this manuscript was not written for publication, but rather an oral manuscript to help keep me on track during the presentation.
Heaven… The Best Is Yet To Come
Each week my desire is to present comforts God has worked in me so as to comfort others with the comfort by which I have been comforted by God. Today’s offering has a lot of Scripture behind it that I don’t have time to quote… but it is posted on my website for you to access if you’d like. Go to… click on “Blog”… and the Scriptures will be there for you to read if you’d like.
One affirmation of salvation is a heart & mind set toward heaven. Those who are saved don’t fear death (process), they look forward to the end of this world’s struggles & getting to see Jesus! This is found in 2 Tim 4:8…
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (NIV)
GOD rejoices when His children come home… when they die. Ps 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” What follows is a powerful, regular, significant, and encouraging comfort I rely on. Consider Paul from Col 3:1-4…
“Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
What will heaven be like? I don’t know, but it will be better than I can imagine. So, I like to imagine what heaven might be like. Some thoughts are certain, some I hope for. There is comfort in reflecting on what heaven will be like. You don’t need to read a book by a small child to know about heaven, God’s Word is more than sufficient. I hope my reflections on heaven will encourage you!
There have been times when my struggles were so heavy they drove me to wish this life was over. I have longed to hear an angelic trumpet resound knowing it means Jesus is back. I have wanted to hear the shout of an angel from heaven proclaiming “Come up here.” I have desired to be walking by a cemetery seeing saints being resurrected and ascending to heaven, knowing the rapture is next. The thought of what it would be like to not die, but be changed from mortal to immortal, and be caught up to meet Christ in the air is beyond my ability to comprehend. I have dreamed about what it will be like the first time I get to see Jesus with my own eyes. I can’t count the times I’ve looked to the east early in the morning trying to envision the clouds being rolled back as a scroll and Jesus returning in triumphant glory! For these reasons and many more, I love to think and sing about heaven… I long to be with Christ because this life will then be nothing more than a bad dream quickly forgotten.
When hardship, pain, and difficulty come into my life I rest in the sure knowledge that shortly I will die and stand before God. Soon an angel will be sent by God to usher me into his presence. Or I will not die but be changed in the twinkling of an eye from flesh to spiritual. Either way I will join in Jesus’ triumphant return to earth. As I enter God’s presence for the first time, he will rejoice. Words cannot explain or express the joy of what it will be like to see Jesus standing with a smile and open arms welcoming me home!
Heaven is filled only members of God’s family. Perfect comfort, love, joy, and peace will be known by all present. Moses, Paul, Abraham, Joseph, David, and all the saints call everyone else by name because there are no strangers there. Every moment is one huge family reunion where everyone rejoices to see each other.
There won’t be any babies crawling in heaven, which means my brother Lloyd who died before turning one day old will be an “adult” as we talk and get to know each other. My granny won’t have hearing aids or glasses or a walker, she will be in perfect health. I will finally meet the child my wife and I never saw who before taking a single breath miscarried. The child will be an “adult” like my little brother. We will all celebrate and worship Jesus together.
I like to think that in heaven everyone is about 33 years old in human terms, but perfect in every way like Adam & Eve were before the fall, as Jesus was in the resurrection. No one will be blind, deaf, fat, skinny, crippled, or mentally challenged. No one will be physically, emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually imperfect in any way. In heaven everyone has love for everyone else, being both perfect and sinless because of the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.
For all eternity everything will get better & better, newer & newer, sweeter, nicer, & more perfect. Eyesight will get sharper… hearing will become more acute… the nuances of taste will improve… & the mind will comprehend ever increasing complexities, mysteries, & truth. Thru eternity believers will become more & more & more perfect. This is what Jesus meant when he said what is recorded in Rev 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new(er) & newer & newer & newer…” (My paraphrase). This is like being given your dream car & from that moment the gas tank stays filled with free high octane gasoline. The paint shines brighter, the tires grip the road better, the engine’s MPG keeps improving, the windows get clearer, & the “new car smell” gets sweeter. And all these things keep on improving for eternity. Insufficient illustration, but it’s the best I can think of.
Then there are other minor things about heaven. Every believer has their own house or room or mansion… tailored specifically and exactly by Jesus to be perfect for them. Angels may serve believers (Our guardian angel from Mt 18:10?). God’s light shines everywhere so there are no shadows or night. The fruit of The Tree of Life heals the nations. The streets are pure gold, clear as glass. There are twelve gates, each one a single pearl,  that never close because there are no enemies to fear. Nothing accursed will exist. Worship in the presence of God is continual. There is a river of living water flowing from God’s throne. Above all these things is God sitting on his throne. And Christians will reign with God forever! Thus what is written in Revelation 22:1-5…
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Every believer is given a crown & a special name no one else has. When the book of life is opened, earthly names are not called out, but rather the new name. When this unique name is called, only the person to whom it has been given can answer “Here!” & they will be deemed as one of Jesus’ sheep to enter heaven. There will be no confusion about who is & isn’t allowed into God’s presence! No sinner or evil person will be with the redeemed in glory.
Entertainment? In heaven? Of course, since it will glorify God. Since The Spirit vested music with great power to move the soul in worship of him, there will be music in heaven. By comparison the most wonderfully magnificent opus Bach ever wrote is but banging of sticks compared to what will be heard in glory! I’ve wondered, what will a 10,000 piece orchestra backed up by a 1,000,000 voice angelic choir singing 1,000 part harmony sound like?! If the music of a fallen sinner, with words written by another sinner, can lift a heart in praise and adoration of God, what will it be like in heaven when perfect music and words will be heard in God’s presence?! Maranatha!
Then the most awe inspiring & amazing thing of all eternity will happen at the Marriage Feast of The Lamb. The Lord Jesus himself will serve believers. Jesus Christ… The Great I AM… The Creator of the universe will serve those redeemed from the curse of sin. Imagine if possible… Jesus will serve all the redeemed of all eternity in glory! This is described by Jesus in Luke 12:35-37…
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”
The joy, shock, & awe of that event may be much like Peter had when Jesus washed his feet in Jn 13:3-11. This event will so overwhelm the participants that the only proper response will be what is recorded in Rev 4:9-11… casting crowns to Jesus’ feet in worship of him. Then all of creation along with all the redeemed & all the angels will worship saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”
Who can call to mind what the Marriage Feast of The Lamb will be like? What kind of food will be set before us? What kind of drink? How many courses? Who will we sit beside & what will be their story of salvation? What will the angels be doing? What will the banquet room look like? How long will the feast last? What will dessert be? There won’t be any need to worry about gaining weight by eating too much. All these questions & more flood my mind as I look forward to one day being in heaven with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!
Imagine Adam & Eve describing The Garden of Eden before the fall. Then talking with Joseph as he gives the details of his life only briefly described in Scripture about being sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, serving in prison, being elevated to vice-pharaoh, then seeing his brothers again. Then sitting down with Moses as he recounts events not found in Scripture. Imagine him going into detail about the plagues… the Exodus… crossing the Red Sea… receiving the Ten Commandments… and wandering in the wilderness. Imagine David explaining in greater detail all the stories found in the Bible about him as he plays a harp and sings Psalms he wrote. The Apostles will tell their stories of being with Jesus for three years… seeing him after the resurrection… and what their life was like after Pentecost. Elijah and Elisha will describe seeing the chariots of fire. Then time prevents describing conversations with other great saints: Clement, Polycarp of Smyrna, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Carey, Justin Martyr, David Brainerd, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, not to mention all the other nameless saints over the millennia who in heaven are highly regarded!
I wonder… will we be given a visual presentation of the six days of creation? Will we watch the flood take place & see the first rainbow? Will we have all or any our questions answered? How many times will we get to see the resurrection, Pentecost, & ascension played back? How long will we get to have personal one on one time with the Trinity? What will our assignments be as we reign with God for eternity?
Will the Holy Spirit explain Scriptures we’ve always wondered about, explaining the eternal meaning of each book, chapter, paragraph, sentence, & word of Scripture? How awesome it will be to have the deepest truths of Scripture revealed… by God himself!? Imagine sitting down with the author of each Bible book as they relate the process of writing. Visualize listening to Isaiah describe in detail the visions associated with writing the book bearing his name, then the same thing with Jeremiah, Moses, Amos, Jonah, Habakkuk, Mark, Matthew, Paul, and all the other Biblical authors.
And then there is what makes heaven what it is… heaven, God’s presence. Finally the one who loved us perfectly will no longer be seen by faith, but face to face. The wait to see him will be over. Seeing, hearing, & touching him will bring so much joy, peace, & contentment all the questions we thought we’d ask will be forgotten. Kneeling before Jesus will so captivate the soul, catching up with family and friends won’t matter for ten million years since there’s plenty of time for those minor desires later. God’s presence will infuse everyone with absolutely perfect overwhelming love, happiness, joy, contentment, and peace that can only be experienced on earth in the most miniscule way.
Take everything else together (Family, crowns, streets of gold, food, peace, etc) without God’s presence it is no longer heaven. The joy & blessing of heaven is being in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… forever… in perfect love, harmony, and acceptance.
Then, after billions of years spent worshipping God with all the redeemed of all ages, there is time to spend tens of thousands of years with each brother and sister in Christ individually. Thousands of years talking one on one with Adam, Eve, Enoch, Mary, Moses, Hannah, David, Samuel, Esther, Job, Solomon, Paul, John, Isaiah, Samson, Habakkuk, Peter, Barnabas, the thief on the cross, and Naomi with them being as interested in listening to our story as telling their own.
For all these reasons I like to sing songs about heaven to get my heart ready for when I am there one day. Every time I contemplate what soon will be, this life becomes less important. All the things I worry about fade into obscurity. My troubles lose their significance. And I find myself looking toward heaven rather than what happens around me or to me. That is just one fallen human’s dim view of what heaven might be like that falls short of what heaven will actually be.
Oh think long and often about heaven! Follow Paul’s encouragement from Colossians 3:1-4, “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
 Consider the only way to be of any earthly good is to be heavenly minded.
 John 3:12; 1 Corinthians 2:9
 Job 7:13-21, 10:18-19; Jonah 4:3
 Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52
 Revelation 1:10, 4:1
 1 Thessalonians 4:16
 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
 1 Thessalonians 4:17
 Matthew 24:30, 26:64; Revelation 1:7
 James 4:14
 Luke 16:22
 1 Corinthians 15:51-55
 Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
 Psalm 116:15
 Revelation 21:3
 Luke 16:25
 1 John 3:2
 John 14:1-4
 Revelation 21:25
 Revelation 22:2
 Revelation 21:21
 Revelation 21:21
 Revelation 4:8-11
 Revelation 22:1-5
 Revelation 2:17
 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
 “Amazing Grace,” “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” etc.
 Maranatha is translated “Oh Lord, come!” in 1 Corinthians 16:22-b.
 Acts 17:24-25; Psalm 50:12, 15; Mark 10:45
 Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:6-8
 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6