"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) NIV
Let me ask you a question. If you had a button in front of you, that by pushing it would allow you to instantly be catapulted to eternal life in heaven without dying, would you push it?
Many people would say yes. Often they are the ones who have weathered many life storms and have grown rather weary in the struggle. They sense the attractiveness of the reality of Heaven.
Other people would say no. Often they are the ones who still are looking forward to getting married, raising a family, starting their career or business, and simply anticipating living life on earth.
For the second group, life on earth seems like “real life”, where life in Heaven seems like a vague, indefinable, boring life in the clouds.
By going to scripture, we can understand that what God has in store for those who have accepted His salvation, will be marvelous beyond anything we could ever hope to experience in our mortal state.
Let me briefly comment on a few of the truths and benefits of eternal life.
We will not be Angels in Heaven
Angels are a distinct creation. They are not human beings and human beings will never become angels.
Psalm 8:5 teaches that humans were created” a little lower than the angels”, but that will change, when according to 1 Corinthians 6:3, redeemed and resurrected mankind “will judge angels”. That scripture infers that after death, we will be elevated above them.
It is important to note that Jesus did not die to save angels. But he paid the ultimate price for us, which proves his estimation of mankind. Nor did He call angels friends, as we are called in John 15, which confirms our value to Him..
In Heaven we will have Recognizable Resurrected Bodies
In Heaven, we will have a spiritual body, such as Jesus had after His resurrection. Philippians 3:20, explains that Jesus, by his power, will transform our lowly bodies to become like His glorious body.
They will be flesh and bone, yet never wear out, decay, or die, with supernatural control over matter, yet with the appearance, both male and female, that we had on earth.
Although our bodies will be transformed, we will still retain our physical look, and enjoy the greatest family reunion imaginable! (2 Corinthians 1:14)
All of this is characteristic of Jesus when he appeared to his disciples after the resurrection in Luke 24:36-43.
In Heaven our Personalities and Character will continue
Heaven will not be a place of bland, neutral, citizens, with no distinction. Eternally we will live out the perfected character that we began to build when we were transformed by Christ’s salvation (Hebrews 10:14). This remarkable diversity of personality will provide one of the great joys of eternal life, and will be one of the ways we are recognized by those who new us on earth.
Heaven will be a Perfect Society and Environment
Revelation 7:15, and 22:3-6 explain, that, “With purpose and joy, we will rule and reign with Christ forever and ever”.
This ruling and reigning will include governmental structure, teaching, guiding, and building,
Eternally, as we are experiencing satisfying and purposeful occupation, we will be free from pain and weariness and toil. Life there will involve eating and drinking, with a never-ending variety of taste sensations for us to enjoy.
The Bible teaches that heaven will have gates, streets and a river. It will have rainbows, vegetation, and beautiful stones and jewels. The scriptures describe horses existing in heaven, and it is only logical that many of God’s other created animals live there for our enjoyment.
In Heaven we will Experience Life as God intended to be
Eternal life will be a life of pure joy, worship, and purposeful activity. We will experience all the good things that God intended for Adam and Eve without all the bad things like sin, pain, death, or worry (Rev. 21:4). There will be no misunderstandings, no sins of pride, no gossip, and no violence in any form.
Working in harmony with God we will complete every potential that God has placed within us. Here on earth if you choose to be a doctor, you wouldn’t also be able to be a teacher, engineer, athlete, and world explorer, all in the same lifetime. In Heaven, all limits on our time and potential are removed, and every interest and gift of God will be within our reach.
We will have Homes in Heaven
In John 14:2, Jesus promised us that he was going to prepare a place for us with many rooms. During our eternal life we will inhabit those rooms. The Book of Revelation describes Heaven in very real terms, including the actual building materials.
Its enormous size will allow each person to have all the living space they need. Since we will recognize our earthly family and friends, plus those believers we never knew on earth, we will have endless opportunity to enjoy their company in perfect rest and relaxation.
In Heaven We Will Be with Christ
More important than anything else is the fact that we will be with our Saviour, Jesus, forever. From His throne flows the River of Life. It will be perfect, clear as crystal. And we will see Him face to face (Revelation 22:4). We shall worship Him and be His people and He will be our God.
When we see Christ face to face His presence will dominate heaven the same way the sun dominates the hot summer sky. If heaven had streets of gold, white horses, and angels singing overhead, but no Jesus, we wouldn't even notice the stunning beauty all around us. But because the glory of Christ illuminates all of heaven, we will.
We will be able to talk to Him, ask Him questions, and listen to Him speak. Imagine hearing His voice - the Bible says it will be "like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder (Revelation 14:2). Imagine the stories He'll tell, the lessons He'll teach, and the love He’ll share.
Jesus gives us a description of heaven in different scripture passages, especially Revelation 21 and 22, and you can sense His excitement. You can sense that He longs to share heaven with us.
When you get to heaven He will smile, put His arms around you, give you the most loving embrace you have ever felt and say, “All this I have prepared for you because I love you. Welcome to your eternal home; enter into your rest and enjoy my fellowship!”
Pastor Craig Eagle (with credit to the teaching of Grant Jeffrey)