Looking Forward to Heaven
In the 21st chapter of Revelation, John tries to convey to us, in the best way that he can, how wonderful Heaven will be. Even through inspiration, there are only so many ways of describing such a magnificent sight for human mind and thought: a wall built with jasper-- a rare jewel, clear as crystal and radiant (verse 11); the city was pure gold, like clear glass (verse 18); foundations of the wall adorned with every kind of jewel, including sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst, pearls (verses 19-21). How beautiful it will be!
This past Friday evening, our group Bible study discussed how Heaven is described in the Scriptures. In addition to the visual descriptions that John gives us regarding the city and its walls, we focused on verses such as these:
Revelation 21:23 – And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and its lamp is the Lamb.
Revelation 21:25 – And its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there.
From these verses, we considered the following: when it’s dark outside, we are used to turning on lights to see where we are going. Also, a great deal of crime is committed at night because there is no light to expose the evil. Gates are shut to keep out things that can cause harm. In Heaven, the gates are open which suggests that there is nothing around that is evil. It’s always day there because God is the light.
We also focused some time on Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
We can get so zoomed in on *this life*. We see times of political unrest. We see times of civil unrest. We see hatred. We see death. We see loved ones with cancer. We see COVID. We see family members who are not children of God. It gets us down.
Thinking of heaven lifts our spirits. When I think of the verses above, I would be perfectly happy with a one room apartment in Heaven instead of a mansion. I would be very content if the walls of Heaven were concrete instead of jasper. I would be ok if the gate was shut. All that matters to me is that God is there, I will be with Him for eternity, and anything in this life that has caused me grief or tears will be forgotten.
When I was 9-10 years old, the preacher of my home congregation shared a story from the pulpit and I’d like to finish by sharing that same story with you:
A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door, on the other side of which came a scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there and that is enough.”