Understanding heaven is paramount for understanding your eternal destiny as a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He was going off to prepare a place for us in heaven. What will that place be like? The following are three foundational facts about heaven.
Fact #1: Heaven is a real, physical place
In the Bible, a new heaven and new earth are mentioned together, providing a firm foundation in believing in heaven as a physical reality.
Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth — Isaiah 65:17
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of the righteous — 2 Peter 3:13
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband — Revelation 21:1 – 2
Think of the perfect earth. Beautiful sunsets, majestic mountain peaks, lush green valleys, pure water, no pollution, no tornadoes and no earthquakes. Imagine culture without crying and people without pollution. Imagine decency, dignity, purity and greatness with goodness. There will be no active muggers, burglars, thieves, con artist, drug dealers, rapists or murderers. Happiness and harmony will flood each heart in heaven, filling the air and flowing down every street. Heaven is for real.
Fact #2: Heaven will provide us with real bodies
We will have a new and improved version of our body, designed especially for eternity and perfectly suited for the beautiful life God has in store for us
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…. and the mortal will be clothed with immortality — 1 Corinthians 15:42 – 44, 54
Our new bodies will be perfect versions of the bodies we now have. When Jesus comes, we will get a new body, and our physical body on earth will be resurrected.
People will be able to recognize us. They recognized Moses and Elijah on the mountain of Transfiguration. They recognized Jesus while fishing. Our gender will remain the same. Our ethnic backgrounds will continue. You will be yourself – only more improved. We will never grow old. We won’t need glasses or hair replacement therapy or wrinkle creams or treadmills. Our new bodies will be like the body the disciples saw after Jesus rose from the dead. It will be possible for you to appear suddenly, walk through locked doors, disappear from sight and defy gravity.
Fact #3: Relationships are the real joy of heaven
We can look forward to celebrating forever in heaven the deep, loving relationships that we have here on earth. Paul tells the Thessalonians that they will be reunited with believing family and friends in heaven.
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope… God will bring with Jesus those who fallen asleep in him… we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them… and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words. — 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 14, 17 – 18
We grieve and we lose people we love, but we don’t grieve without hope. In heaven, we will be one big family. Our family members will be our friends and all of our friends will be our family members. Don’t worry if there has been some friction with some people who even know the Lord. In heaven, we will all be our best selves.
Heaven is a real place with real bodies, but the best part has to do with relationships.