One day, every follower of Jesus will either die or be “taken up” to be with the Lord forever. (I Thess. 4:16-17) Have you ever wondered what those first few moments in heaven will be like? Songwriter Bart Millard did and in his song, “I Can Only Imagine,” he asked these questions: “Surrounded by Your glory what will my heart feel; will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in your presence – to my knees will I fall? Will I sing, hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine.”
John Burke, former engineer turned pastor who read over 1,000 near-death stories and wrote a book on his findings, said, “I am convinced a main reason many people (Christian or not) live materialistic, self-centered lifestyles is their poor view of the life to come. They can’t imagine heaven, so they don’t live for it.”
The Bible describes heaven as a place beyond human description. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Cor. 2:9)
From scripture, however, we do know that heaven will be a place of spectacular beauty. The new heaven is described in Revelation 21. The purest gold and the finest jewels imaginable will adorn its architecture and each of the twelve gates that surround heaven will be a gigantic pearl.
“(Heaven) shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light.” (Rev. 21:11, 22, 23)
Despite the breathtaking beauty of heaven, I can only imagine that the very second we set foot in our new eternal home, our attention will be drawn immediately to Jesus, the Lamb of God. I can only imagine that we will be utterly overcome by a fuller understanding of the immensity of God’s grace and run to cast our crowns before our Loving Lord! (II Tim 1:8-10)
“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:6-7 NIV)
“This is the one purpose of God, the great worker of heaven, the source and master of all work,” states Andrew Murray, “that the full glory of His love and power and blessing may be shown.”
Peter, James and John caught a little smidgen of what heaven would be like on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus when Moses and Elijah appeared with them. Peter said to Jesus “it is good for us to be here,” and wanted to build some tents to hunker down! But the time had not yet come. (Matthew 17:1-13)
One day, the heaven we now sing about and long for, will be a reality – and we shall see HIM face to face. And “the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:17) As Mother Teresa said, “In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth …will be seen to be no more than one night in an inconvenient hotel.” (Romans 8:18)
Be blessed my friend.
Glen Pitts, The Barnabas Group
I Peter 5:10; Colossians 1:15-20; Revelation 7:9-12; Hebrews 11:16; John 17:24; Acts 2:25-28