Summary: Heaven is a place of 1. Inconceivable blessing. 2. Growth 3. Fellowship 4. There is only one way to heaven.
It was only a nickel, but the owner was able to retire on it. It is one of only five nickels like it, and Ed Lee of Merrimack, New Hampshire, sold the nickel for $4.15 million dollars. It is the second-highest price ever reported paid for a rare coin. Speaking for the coin dealership which bought the nickel, Laura Sperber called the 1913 Liberty Head the most famous of American rare coins. “Owning a 1913 Liberty Head nickel is unlike owning any other coin in the world,” she said. The AP story reported: “Liberty Head nickels were minted from 1883 to 1912. ‘Miss Liberty’ was replaced the following year by the Indian, or Buffalo, nickel. But five 1913 nickels depicting ‘Miss Liberty’ were minted illegally, possibly by a mint official. They were never put into circulation and were considered illegal to own for many years because they were not regular issue. The coins surfaced in the 1920s.” Ed Lee bought the coin two years ago for three million dollars, so he made over a million dollars on his investment.
Not bad. Ed Lee was very smart. He knew a valuable coin when he saw it, and he knew the importance of making a good investment. It is a modern story very much like the parable Jesus told about the pearl merchant who found a rare pearl that was very valuable. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46). Whatever heaven is like, it is worth everything we are and own. Nothing can compare with it or compete with it. Even if you had to sell everything you own to get it, it would be worth it. Jesus said that is the value of heaven.
What is heaven like? Well, first: Heaven is a place of inconceivable blessing. Where did we ever get the idea that heaven was sterile and boring? Here is what heaven is not like: It is not sitting on clouds with a halo playing harps and singing hymns for all eternity. It the most interesting and exciting place in all the universe. We will be exploring and having adventures. Nothing we now know even comes close. No possession can compete with possessing heaven. No trip can compare with going there. It is beyond anything we have ever seen or imagined. The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Try your best, but your greatest imaginative and creative thought will not be able to touch what heaven will really be like — it is just too far beyond our experience and anything we have yet known. The apostle Paul had some idea of what it was like, for he had a vision of heaven. It was because of that vision that he said: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:21-24). Better by far, indeed
Jesus called heaven a paradise (Luke 23:43). I think of it as similar to the Garden of Eden before the sin of Adam and Eve. They lived in a perfect paradise. The Bible tells us that there will be a new earth and we will have new bodies to live on the new earth. It will be a new paradise. In the Garden, Adam and Eve’s relationship with God was as friend with friend. Like Eden, heaven will be a place where we live in perfect harmony with God. What is heaven? It is living in the presence of God, and fully experiencing the love of God in a world where there are no disappointments. That reality makes us long for our heavenly home. The Bible says, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9).
It will be a place of inconceivable blessing and unbroken joy. There will be no disappointment or pain. Death will be no more. Sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 51:11). And God will “wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).