Revelation 21:1-2: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
There is much we don*t know about heaven, but we ought to relish what the Bible does tell us. The earth we live on and the present heaven will pass away.
II Peter 3:10-11: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
One facet of the new heaven is the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of the new heaven. What an incredible place that will be!!
Revelation 21:16 says the new Jerusalem will be twelve thousand furlongs wide, twelve thousand furlongs long and twelve thousand furlongs high. One furlong is about 582 feet. There are about 9 furlongs in a mile. Therefore twelve thousand furlongs would be over 1,300 miles. The new Jerusalem will be over 1,300 miles wide, 1,300 miles long and 1,300 miles high. Wow!! We can*t even imagine a city that size. Imagine that we could stack up 5 per mile of the tallest skyscrapers in the world today. If we did that, there would be 6,500 skyscrapers stacked up to equal the height of that city. The city would contain 1,690,000 square miles. There are 3,536,278 square miles in the continental United States. The new Jerusalem will cover about half of the area of the United States. Imagine a city that stretches from the far northwest corner of the United States down to the far southwest corner of the United States, across the southern border to New Orleans, up to Minneapolis and then west to the northwest corner. The new Jerusalem will be just as high as it is wide and long. The size alone of that incredible city is awesome, but there are many other facts about it that are even more impressive.
Revelation 21:17: And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
So the wall around the city will be about 72 yards high. (226 feet) Just a tiny wall compared to that incredibly tall city.
Revelation 21:18: And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
Men here on earth will kill for a handful of gold or less. It*s difficult to imagine a city of that size made of pure gold.
It appears the new Jerusalem will have only one street.
Revelation 21:21b: . . . and the street of it was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
I can*t understand with my little brain how it could have only one street. It must be a super street. I don*t believe any of us who get there will have a problem getting on that street or getting around there. I have never seen gold so pure one could see through it.
Revelation 21:22: And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
The temples and churches here on earth are to direct us to God, something that won*t be necessary in the new Jerusalem.
As glorious as these physical facts are, they are insignificant compared with the spiritual and moral aspects of the new Jerusalem and Heaven. And the spiritual and moral aspects are made insignificant by the overwhelming presence of Almighty God who incredibly wants us there with Him.
Verse 23 says there will be no need of the sun or moon for light. The glory of God and of the Lamb will light it. Verse 25 says the gates will never be shut and there will be no night. In these present bodies, we would be incapable of understanding and enjoying the glory of God. Being present with the glory of God in our present state would kill us.
God speaking in Exodus 33:20: And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.
But, praise God, He will change us unto a different state, a condition in which we will be able to see Him and enjoy Him and His glory.
I Corinthians 15:51-53: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Something else we can*t imagine in our present state will be the total purity of heaven.
Revelation 21:27: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb*s book of life.
There won*t be anything there to turn us away from God. In Deuteronomy, there is an interesting passage that instructed the people of Israel to stone to death anyone that would turn them away from God.
Deuteronomy 13:6a: If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, . . . Verses 8-10a: Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God; . . .
I can*t help wondering how different our society today would be if all those who would direct us away from God were stoned to death. There would be a lengthy list of people stoned to death and therefore excluded from our society. I think the list would include most TV producers, most movie producers, all drug pushers, all false religions, most politicians, most of the media etc. You could probably add some people to the list. But God is gracious and merciful!!!
Jesus speaking in Matthew 12:31: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
There is a long list of people that will be excluded from heaven in I Corinthians 6:9-11. Thank God the passage also speaks about some people who get off that list when they receive Jesus as Savior: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
There is another list of those excluded from heaven in Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:8 has another list: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
I can find myself in several places on these lists. Thank God for His forgiveness!!!
Revelation 21:4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
A few thoughts from the Thompson chain reference Bible:
Heaven is the dwelling place of God.
Deuteronomy 26:15a: Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, . . .
Heaven is the future dwelling place of the saints.
Heaven is a safe place for treasure.
Matthew 6:20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
We have all heard of our riches that we can*t take them with us when we die. In a very real sense, we can send them on ahead.
Heaven contains a roster of the saints.
Luke 10:20: Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you: but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
There will be room for all believers. Jesus is preparing a place for each one who has trusted Him.
John 14:2: In my Father*s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you.
Jesus calls it a paradise.
Luke 23:43: And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The Bible refers to Jesus since his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven as sitting at the right hand of God.
Mark 16:19: So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
There is an account of the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7:56: And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
I heard a delightful message on this passage that pointed out that while Jesus is usually seated at the right hand of the Father, He stands only to welcome one of his own. Wow!
John 14:2b-3: . . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus is coming to take us to be with Him in heaven. Wow!!
The most overwhelmingly glorious thing about heaven is that Jesus will be there!!! In our present state, we may want to be in heaven because someone very special in our life has gone there. But when we get there, we will be the sort of person for whom Jesus will be the most special.
A friend of mine who knows I am an avid golfer commented There better be a golf course in heaven. But the things of heaven will be so wonderful, we will not miss for a single moment the things here on earth, not even the good things!
I*m going! Are you?
I John 5:13a: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,