Heaven is a beautiful place in the afterlife, which every Christian is striving to gain entrance into. We have heard endless stories of what heaven might be like, and seen it depicted through popular culture. However, what does God’s Word have to say about heaven? What will it be like, how do we get there, and will be in our same physical bodies?
The Bible has the answers to these questions and more. Here is what the Bible has to say about our next home.
Heaven has three meanings in the Bible.
The word “heaven” is used to describe several different places in the Bible. Firstly, the Bible speaks about the endless planets, stars and galaxies of the universe as being heaven. "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place…" (Psalm 8:3).
Secondly, the Bible speaks of the atmosphere that surrounds the earth as heaven or heavens (Genesis 1: 7-8). This would be the realm where birds and clouds are that surrounds the entire earth.
Lastly, it can mean God’s dwelling place. The Bible says, "The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all" (Psalm 103:19). God’s throne is also mentioned in connection with the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:16). This is the unseen heaven most Christians are referring to, and is where we will reside after our passing.
What will heaven look like?
Pop culture typically pictures heaven as being a fancy place where angels sit on clouds playing harps. It will be much bigger and grander than that. To begin, all things will be new in heaven. "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2).
In John 14:2-3 the Bible says that Jesus is building mansions in heaven for those who accept salvation. He is preparing real buildings with real tangible materials for real people who will inhabit them. Additionally, when Jesus went to heaven he told his disciples that in heaven real vineyards will produce real grapes for drinking wine (Matthew 26:29). The Bible even refers to heaven as a country (Hebrews 11:16).
We will all leave in peace together in heaven. Isaiah 65:25 says "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust [shall be] the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain." Isaiah continues in 35:1 about the fruitful gardens that will be there, saying "The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."
There will also be a constant chant from a group of holy angels proclaiming Holy, Holy, Holy over the throne of God. The Mercy Seat in heaven where God sits is surrounded by angels that give glory to the Lord without ceasing. Some of these are described as beasts, full of eyes, with six wings. They never rest in their proclaiming the holiness of God (Revelations 4:8-11).
What will we look like in heaven?
We will also have physical bodies in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21). We are not told exactly what we will look like in the next life, what age we will appear to be, or if we will look thin or fat, however. We do know that whatever ways our appearance or health has been altered as a result of sin, whether because of overeating, hereditary malformations, injuries, etc., these traits will not be carried over into our appearance in the next life. 1 Corinthians 15:43 describes the transformation from our earthly bodies to our new bodies in heaven from “sown in dishonor” to “raised in glory.”
Our bodies will be free from disease, pain and death (1 Corinthians 15:40-49). The ability of sin, inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12), will no longer be with us in heaven. We will be made after the holiness of Christ (1 John 3:2).
Furthermore, we will be able to recognize our lost loved ones. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."
How do you get to heaven?
This is the most important question anyone can ask. The answer has already been given: It is free. "Let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price" (Revelation 22:17). We only need to accept the offer. While some people think this is too good to be true, it really does make sense. God is full of love and wants to bless each of His children. He wants us to accept this gift. The Lord sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to cleanse us of our sins. God wants us each to worry about our own salvation, and strive to enter heaven (Luke 13:24).
Christ is the only way we can get into heaven, through accepting Him as our Savior (John 14:6). The entrance to heaven is not automatic for people who have simply tried to be good. The Bible says, "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). The qualifying factor for those who enter will be whether or not their names are written in God’s book.
Heaven is a place that all Christians should be excited to look forward to. We will get to spend the rest of our lives living in perfect bliss and happiness, surrounded by our Father. The Bible is full of information about any question that we might have about heaven, simply take a look.