Summary: The reality of heaven will be far greater than our expectations. The expectation is worth living for.
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
What Happens When A Person Dies?
Seven Wonders of Heaven
The Sunday School teacher was telling the class of second grade boys about the wonders of heaven. They listened with rapped attention as he described the details of the final chapters of the Bible. When he finished, he turned to the class and asked, “How many of you want to go to heaven?” Every hand shot except for one. Little Bobby just sat there.
The teacher assumed Bobby hadn’t heard the question so he asked again, “How many of you want to go to heaven?” Again every hand shot up except for Bobby’s. So the teacher asked directly, “Bobby, you want to go to heaven when you die, don’t you?”
“Of course,” Bobby replied, “But I thought you were getting up a load up right now. I missed the bus home last week and my dad said I better get home right after church this week or else!”
You want to go to heaven, don’t you? Of course, you do! But not everyone does—and for a lot of different reasons. Some think heaven is too boring. Mark Twain had Huck Finn reject any real interest in heaven by saying, “All a body would have to do was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever.”
Younger people sometimes deny any interest in heaven for the same reason they tend to think they will live forever. Older folk know better. A little girl asked her slightly older sister why Grandma read her Bible so much. The reply, “I think she is studying for her final exams.” Wiser folk think about heaven sooner rather than later. Life has no guarantees!
Today let’s look at some of the reasons we all ought to want to go to heaven.
St. Brendon of Birr to ancient king, Wonder upon Wonder and everyone of them true.
Wonder #1: The Wonder of Its Existence.
This is what the Spirit revealed to the Apostle John about heaven as recorded in the Book of Revelation: Symbolic language not mean not real; just exceeds human language.
Not made with human hands•
Never wears out•
• Inhabitants too vast to number
Streets of gold; walls of jasper•
No• hospitals, cemeteries, prisons, or metal institutions
No crime, pollution,• hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes
Think of stepping on a shore,
And finding it is heaven!
Think of taking hold of a hand,
And finding it is God’s hand!
Think of breathing new air,
And finding it is celestial air!
Think of feeling invigorated,
And finding it is immortality!
Think of passing from storm and tempest
To an unknown calm!
Think of waking up,
And finding it heaven!
Actually Revelation emphasizes more the size of the city than the individual residences in it. But a big city means big space for lots of people. The New Jerusalem, as John names it, is described as a cube 1500 miles wide, tall, and deep. That’s hundreds of time larger than the biggest man made metropolis. Even that I suspect is merely symbolic for something on a scale that extends beyond anything we can imagine. This was especially true for ancient folk.
The foundations are marked with jewels of untold value. Bible scholars are actually unsure of the identity of some of the precious stones mentioned. Civilizations have used different terms for such gems through the centuries. Single pearls form each of the twelve gates. The streets are paved with gold so pure that it is almost transparent. Crystal pure water flow through the city. Parts of the portrait sound like a garden or oasis. The descriptions intentionally evoke images of the Garden of Eden.
A little girl was taking an evening walk with her father. Wonderingly, she looked up at the stars and exclaimed; “Oh, Daddy, if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what must the right side be!” Charles L. Allen in Home Fires
Wonder #2: The Wonder of Its Character.
A place of incomparable beauty. Paul said• it well in I Corinthians 2:9: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard; neither has the mid conceived, what God has prepared for those that love him.”
A place of• purity and holiness. The bible says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles.” It’s a place without sin, and therefore without sin’s consequences: war, hatred, crime, disease, and punishment.
A place without• sorrow or sadness, or death—only perpetual joy!
In heaven, we will all receive new bodies. The aches and pains will be gone. Disease and suffering will end. No more cancer. No more Alzheimer’s. No more arthritis. Limbs weakened by strokes will be restored. Eyes blinded by diabetes will see. All of the disabilities and limitations of this decaying, aging, finite body will be gone. 1 Corinthians 15 declares “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (42-44).