Summary: 2 things: 1) Talk more about our eternal home- the actual place 2) Who will be in heaven Material adapted from Chauncey Crandall, MD, book entitled, "Touching Heaven"
Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace, I wanna see my Savior’s face, cause heaven is a wonderful place, I wanna go there!
Like an exciting move trailer, God’s Word previews this place and our future, whetting our desire for the real thing. And though what we are told is limited- with some of the details shrouded in prophetic language- 4 things we can say with certainty
1) This is a place like no other place
2) We have so much to anticipate
3) Heaven’s blessings will never end. “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” 1 Peter 1:4, NIV.
4) Every aspect of the place will be chacterized by joy. “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalms 16:11, NIV.
Just try to imagine finally getting to be in the moment of the biggest and best experience we have ever had, with the One we have longed to spend it with and enjoying it undiminished
Keep in mind that even those who have died in Christ are awaiting this place. Where are they now? At home with the Lord- 2 Corinthians 5:8- resting from their labor- Revelation 14:13- but this is not heaven. Paradise is a place of rest for the spirits of the redeemed until they are given their resurrected bodies and take occupancy of the new heaven and earth.
Thesis: 2 things: 1) Talk more about our eternal home 2) Who will be in heaven
1. Our eternal home
We are talking about a real place, with dimension and texture and a distinct environment. And in the midst will be a real city like Like Chicago or Cincinnati. Everything that represents “home” to us- everything that matters here- will be present there, yet “as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.” In that day, we will discover that what is the substance now will prove to have been the dream. Heaven is the real; earth is the shadow.
Scripture calls that place “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). It is full of magnificent estates custom made for each of its citizens (John 14:2) and it will never pass away (Daniel 7:14).
Keith Butler said, “If you want to see what Heaven is like- its design- picture the earth without decay or sin, and with far more of everything good and beautiful and breathtaking and pure. The beauty of the earth is not in the same league, yet it is in God’s taste, because He created the earth.” In fact, says the Unicorn in the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia, “The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this, the New Narnia.”
The New Jerusalem will reside on a new earth (Rev. 21:1-3) and be lavish- with jewels and gold and gemstones as its construction materials rather than the steel and stone and wood of earth. It will have 12 foundations and 12 gates, each one made of a single pearl (Rev. 21:18-21). These gates will never be shut (Rev. 21:12)- the citizens of heaven are free to roam the city and beyond.
The New Jerusalem will be an enormous, uniform cube, as high and wide as it is long (Rev. 21:16). Why a cube? The Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple was also a cube, though on a much smaller scale (1 Kings 6:20). Can say that the New Jerusalem is the Holy of Holies for eternity... the very sanctuary of God himself. Tallying up the literal, biblical measurements, the city’s total area of coverage- 1,400 or 1,500 square miles high (depending on the Bible translation) and some 2 million square miles on the ground- would be over 3 billion cubic miles. By contrast, New York City’s land area is only 305 square miles.
How many people will 3 billion plus cubic miles hold? Statistically speaking, “even if everyone who ever lived was saved (approximately 30 billion people) that would still allow each person 200 square miles on the ground alone... And that’s just in the city” Steven Lawson. All told, heaven could house one hundred thousand hundred billion citizens!
The city will be surrounded by a thick, glimmering jasper wall. This is not a barrier; there’s no need for one, since all enemies and their threat of attack will be gone. Instead, it probably serves to define the city’s borders. Main Street and the city itself will be make of pure gold, but far finer than what we’re used to. Heaven’s version will be transparent, like glass (Rev. 21:18, 21).
God’s throne is there. “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.” Revelation 4:2-5, NIV.