2020-03-05
Shutterstock.com

We know from scripture that the only way to access heaven is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way possible to go to heaven but by the Son of God. While the Bible tells us everything we need to know about heaven, there are a number of things that many believers don’t know or have questions about, particularly how do we get there? The best place to get that answer is turning to scripture.

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 heave. 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 doesn’t work that way. You have to enter into heaven God’s way, which is through Jesus Christ.

There are three heavens described in the Bible: our immediate atmosphere, outer space and the home of God. The first heaven is what is called the firmament or sky that covers the earth. This is the realm of birds and clouds that surrounds the entire earth. The second heaven is where the sun, the stars and the moon reside. This is the space beyond the earth and it covers the entire universe. The third heaven is unseen and is the residence of God, including Jesus Christ. This is where the dead martyrs and the saints are today. This is the location of the throne of God and where the holy angels surrounding His throne sing day and night, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord our God. We can conclude that there is such a specific place as the third heaven. It is always spoken of as being above the first and second heaven. In addition, since these first two heavens are actual places we should also conclude that the third heaven is a real place too. There is no reason for us to assume it is symbolic especially since the first two heavens are speaking of known realities.

The truth about heaven is God is preparing a place for us there. The Bible tells us, “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” (John 14:3). When King David says, “And I will live in the house of the Lord forever,” he’s saying that God has prepared a place for him in heaven. Jesus did, indeed, promise that He left the earth to go and prepare a place for those who would eventually follow Him to heaven. On that point, the Bible is unmistakably clear. As Christians, we are right to find comfort in that promise.

It’s also a place where work will have to be done. The idea of working in heaven is foreign to many people. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches it. When God created Adam, He “took the man and put Him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of the perfect human life. God Himself is a worker. He didn’t 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.

In scripture, God is said to enjoy, love, laughter, take delight and rejoice, as well as be angry, happy, jealous and glad. To be like God means to have and express emotions. Therefore, 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’re 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 suffering over sin and death, the tears of oppressed people, the cries of the poor, the widow, the orphaned, the unborn and the persecuted. 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 it was already judged and taken away at the cross by Christ. We will have heavenly bodies, free from sin. We will no longer face the challenges and limitations we face while we’re living.

Yes, good people go to heaven but it’s about more than being a good person. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Sinners who are born-again who place their complete faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior don’t have to worry.


more from beliefnet and our partners