Though we cannot fathom the intricacies of heaven from our current vantage point, surely we can appreciate some of the blessing of that state as set forth in the Bible.
HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF REST FROM EARTHLY HARDSHIPS. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors: and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13). “Let us give diligence to enter into that rest.” (Hebrews 4:11).
HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF REAPING. The earth is a place of obedient activity wherein one lays up treasures to be finally enjoyed in heaven (Matthew 6:19). There will be a tremendous reward of satisfaction in knowing that we must increase the population of heaven (1 Corinthians 3:14).
HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF REJOICING. Those who remain loyal to Christ will hear the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter into the joy of your Lord. (Matthew 25:21). All who enter heaven will rejoice for the great victory that has been won over the forces of evil (Revelation 12:12; 19:7)
HEAVEN WILL BE A PLACE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Revelation 21:27). Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15).
HEAVEN WILL BE A PLACE OF RESPONSIBILITY. The celestial realm will not be a domain of idle inactivity. There “his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3). In one of His parables Jesus told of ten servants who were each entrusted by their master with money to invest in trading. When they were finally called to account, each was rewarded with responsibility in direct proportion to the way they had used his ability (Luke 19:17-19).
HEAVEN WILL BE A PLACE OF REUNION AND RECOGNITION. When the patriarchs died they were “gathered to their people.” (Genesis 25:8; 35:29). Both Jacob and David expected to be reunited with loved ones after death (Genesis 37:35; 2 Samuel 12:23). The Lord taught that we will “sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11). Paul affirmed that those whom he had helped in their heavenward journey would be a source of joy at the time of the Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). This clearly implies future recognition.
Surely with these blessings ever before us, we will constantly renew our diligence to obtain this magnificent destiny.
Wayne Jackson Via Cedar Bayou Church of Christ November 12 1995
DON’T DARE MISS HEAVEN
Not only is heaven a place for prepared people, it will also be too sweet to miss. How deeply tragic it would be to so live as to be absent when the golden street of that celestial city opens wide to receive its own. We dare not miss the eternal joy of that land beyond the river of death where the redeemed of all ages will gather for the grandest fellowship ever known. H. L. Gilmour wrote these wondrous words of hope:
How precious the thought
That we all may recline,
Like John the beloved and blessed,
On Jesus strong arm,
Where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the haven of rest.”
We can hope to the end for the joys yet to be revealed (1 Peter 1:13) as we look for the glorious appearing of the Lord (Titus 2:13). Because our citizenship is truly in heaven, we have genuine hope as an anchor of the soul as we look for a better country (Hebrews 11:16). Christians comfort one another with the eager anticipation of being received into glory after the toils of this life have come to an end (Psalms 73:24). We know, because Job 3:17 tells us that there is a place “where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary be at rest.” We surely plan to go there!
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN?
The above question might seem kind of absurd. Of course, you want to go to heaven, everybody wants to go to heaven. But do you really? As I notice people, both in and out of the church, I am convinced that not only do some not want to go to heaven, but some would not feel comfortable or happy in heaven if they were taken there.
I wonder if some people really want to go to heaven, because some are not working very hard right now to go there. When we really want something, more than anything else, we tend to work hard for that thing. Take, for instance, a young person who has his/her eyes on an object (motorcycle, computer, phone. . .) That youngster will save his allowance; work long hours mowing lawns, baby-sitting, raking leaves; and not spend very much money on the trifles. Why? Because he/she wants that object very much. Shouldn’t that be our attitude toward heaven? Yet I wonder if some people want to go to heaven because I do not see that attitude. Instead of putting God, the church, heaven . . . first place in their life, they have put these things far from the toe in their list of priorities. They think that obtaining wealth, social prestige, etc. . . is more important than heaven right now. So, they ignore God. They would rather follow the teachings of men and the tradition of their families, than to obey the word of God. So, they never become New Testament Christians. Are we working hard to make sure we are prepared to go to heaven?
I wonder if some people really want to go to heaven, because they do not seem to care if anyone else goes to heaven. I have heard it said (any you probably have also), “I don’t want to inflict my views on someone else.” It seems strange when it comes to a brand name of something we own (appliances, cars, computers) … we do not mind telling and even giving a little sales pitch about buying “our” brand. It seems strange when it comes to politics and we are putting a man in office for two to four years, then we will go to considerable lengths to express our opinions and try to convince people to vote for “our” man. But when it comes to Christ and his church, the things that are of eternal consequence, some people do not care what their friends believe. When we really want and believe in something, we do not best to convict others to want and believe the same thing.
How hard have you worked to help others go to heaven?
I wonder if some people really want to go to heaven, because of the kind of place that heaven is going to be. Revelation gives us a glimpse of what heaven is going to be like. Chapter 4 (especially 10-11) we see heaven as a place of eternal worship to God. It is a place where we will continually be giving praise to God in song and thanksgiving for what he has done. Yet there are many today who do not want to spend one hour a week (if that much) in worshipping God in prayer, singing and study. Do we really think that if we do not enjoy worshipping God now and if we do not care about worshipping God now, that somehow things will change when we get to heaven? Don’t worry, heaven is a place of no pain and no discomforts (Revelation 21). If we do not enjoy worshipping God now, he is not going to make us uncomfortable worshipping him eternally. Instead, in honoring our wishes, he will put us in a place where we will never see him, and never worship him.
Do we really want to go to heaven? I do and I hope you do as well. If we do, let’s start living in such a way (in our obedience to God) that we will be prepared to go to heaven when this life is over.
Brian J. Galloway 4 11 1985 West Main Church of Christ Tupelo, MS
“I have a dog that talks in his sleep. One day a visitor as astonished to hear the dog bellow, “My name is Christopher Columbus! I am seven hundred years old! I own America! I invented the internet. I know that Elvis is still alive — I bit him yesterday!
When the visitor asked what was going on, I replied, “Don’t worry about it. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Let sleeping dogs lie.’ Well, this sleeping dog lies.”
“Peter!” His mother scolded. “There were two cupcakes in the pantry this morning, but now there’s only one. Do you have a logical explanation?” A long pause, then Peter replied, “It must have been too dark. I didn’t see the other one.”