Summary: Who will be in Heaven? What will the saints do in Heaven? How do the redeemed get there?
“Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
‘Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.’
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
My longsuffering wife is mystified that our daughters inherited my strange sense of humour. Among my treasured possessions are several books of cartoons by Berkeley Breathed; they were Christmas gifts from my eldest daughter. Though the book was published over two decades ago, I still laugh heartily at Opus’ antics in “The Last Basselope.” For years, Rochelle gave me collections of “Calvin and Hobbs” cartoons and “Far Side” cartoons. For years, she was faithful to send me “Far Side” calendars, each of which provided me with daily opportunities for hearty laughter.
The Far Side calendars were published for far too brief a period, Gary Larsen now being retired. His cartoons often reflected a popular view of Heaven. One gift from my youngest daughter was a tee shirt with a cartoon emblazoned on the front. The cartoon is captioned: “Life on Cloud Eight.” In that particular cartoon, a couple, seated in easy chairs, is seen floating on a cloud. Above them is yet another cloud, music wafting from an unseen location within or atop the upper cloud and raucous laughter emanating from the same unseen location. The wife is saying to the husband, “You know, George, this isn’t so bad—but the folks up above sure seem to live it up.”
Our heavenly home is frequently caricatured. It envisions people floating around on clouds, wearing bathrobes and plucking harps. Nothing could be further from the reality presented in the Word. Such inaccurate representations of our eternal service should perhaps be expected. Those who reject the Word would not be expected to appeal to the revelation of God, and those who attest to the veracity of the Word are often unaware of what God has to say about Heaven.
We should ask ourselves, “What will we do in Heaven?” Asking such a question, we rightly anticipate that the answer will be found in the Book of Revelation. Consulting the Word of God, we discover that we will be eternally occupied in Heaven. However, unlike our situation here on earth, we will not tire of our work, for it will no longer be characterised as toil. In order to explore more thoroughly this great, fulfilling occupation of the saints in glory, join me in study of John’s writings.
WHO WILL BE IN HEAVEN — Understand that the Apocalypse describes the course of human history. The key to the Book is provided in REVELATION 1:19. There, the Risen Son of God commands the exiled Apostle, “Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.” Thus, the book is divided into the things that John has witnessed [REVELATION 1:1-20], a summary account of the Age of Grace [REVELATION 2:1-3:22], and a synopsis of the Great Tribulation that ushers in eternity with a brief glimpse of our eternal home [REVELATION 4:1-22:21].
In chapters two and three, John summarises this present Church Age, also known as the Age of Grace, that period between the Cross of Calvary and the removal of the saints from the world. I note that CHAPTER FOUR begins with the words “after this”—metà taûta. Throughout the remainder of the book, these words serve to alert the reader to a transition in the narrative. Seven times, John shifts our attention from events that he is describing so that we can consider what is happening elsewhere.