Heaven is mentioned frequently in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. In fact, the word “heaven” is found in 276 times in the New Testament alone. The Book of Revelation tells us that there will be no more pain, tears, or sorrow. We also know that there will be no more separation because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). First John 3:2 says the best thing about heaven is the presence of the Lord: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see him as he is.” We know from this passage that heaven is a wonderful place that we can look forward to. We can learn a great deal about what heaven is like from reading the New Testament.
We should expect that in heaven, emotions will exist for God’s glory and our good. We know that people in heaven have lots of feelings – all good ones. We are told of banquets, feasts, and singing. People will laugh there (Luke 6:21). The Bible says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). These are the tears of the suffering and the oppressed. There will be crying no more, though we might shed tears of joy. Imagine the joy flooding from your eyes as you meet Christ, and as you’re reunited with loved ones.
One of the greatest things that we have to look forward to is that the struggle over sin will finally be over. We all struggle with sin every day. We know that in the kingdom of heaven, “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). This is only possible because of Jesus. We have no fear of being judged for our sin because Christ was already judged and taken away at the cross. We will have heavenly bodies, free from sin. We will no longer face the challenges and limitations we face one earth.
The Bible tells us, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). As God’s people, we should long for heaven. When we do, this pleases our Lord who has prepared a place there for us. We should be motivated by the anticipation of heaven. Heaven and all that it represents should be a central object of our attention in this life. Our hearts and minds should be set on these “things above” where Christ is in heaven, not on “earthly things.”
In the book of Matthew, Jesus reminds us that not everyone will enter heaven. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many might works in Your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7: 21-23). We are taught in the Bible that in eternity many people will seek to enter heaven but will be stopped and turned into hell instead. Most religious people die with an expectation of God, letting them into heaven, but it does not work that way. You must enter into heaven God’s way, which is through Jesus Christ.
The New Testament does tell us that we will have tasks in heaven. Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of the perfect human life. He did not create the world then retire. Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). Heaven too, will be a place where we serve and work. Revelation mentions this several times; how we will be serving God. That is why God gave us work to do in the garden.
Listen to the words of Jesus on the night before he was crucified: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a reservation for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” We know from Scripture that Heaven is a real place and a dwelling place of God. His throne is there, the angels are there, and the Lord Jesus Christ is there.