The Reality of Heaven :: by Howard Green

In my previous article we looked at the biblical evidence for the sad reality of hell. There is another reality…one that will be the eternal home for everyone who loves God. and is saved. Let’s look together at the beautiful reality of heaven.

We will begin by looking at some popular beliefs about heaven and eternity held by many in the world. Then we will look at what believers in the past and the Bible tell us about heaven. We’ll finish by looking at the close proximity of eternity to every person in the world.

The future for every believer is glorious. Look at what Paul tells us in the verse below…God has things too wonderful to imagine for those of us who love Him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’”

As incredible as heaven will be, first I want to mention a sad fact that needs to be brought to the forefront of every Christian reading this. The fact is this: There are so many people in the world who believe they will go to heaven when they die. I’m not referring to people who are willfully running headlong into sin with gusto. I’m referring to people who you would classify as all around nice people.

In fact, they would classify themselves as nice people as well. That is why this popular notion of good, nice, sweet people is so sad. Satan, the enemy of their souls would like nothing more than to have people believe everything is just fine. The truth is…they are nice people who are still moving toward an eternity in hell because they don’t have Jesus as their Savior.

I mention this spiritual blindness people have because that is where Christians can get involved. God is the one through His divine sovereignty calling people to Himself. Believers have the opportunity and are commissioned to witness to people and plant seeds as the Holy Spirit leads in the lives of others.

God helps each of us to be intentional and talk to people about eternity because heaven and hell are the future reality for everyone. Knowing how much is on the line, let’s now look at what others say about heaven:

Quotes from people on the street and several famous people:

A young man: “I think I’ll go to heaven in a sense that…because for now on I’ll try to improve myself.”

A young lady: How do you get to go to heaven? “You basically have to live your life in a way other people would like to be treated.” A young man: “I’m going to heaven because…that’s where all my people are at.”

Mark Twain: “Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.”

Doris Day: “If there’s a heaven, I’m sure Rock Hudson is there…he was such a kind person.”

Tupac: “But in my mind, I believe what I’m doing is right. So I feel like I’m going to heaven.”

The quotes above range from people who are sincerely searching to those who dismiss heaven’s relevance altogether. The fact is that some people will harden their hearts and reject any notion of a righteous judge who tells us that heaven or hell is the reality after we die. Some folks will laugh and scoff, while others…like the young man and lady who were quoted above may be genuinely open to hearing the gospel.

We don’t know who will receive our message of eternal importance and who will reject it. Our job is to go out and engage those in our path with the truth about heaven, hell, judgment, and atonement and the rest is up to the Lord. We must be resolute about telling everyone because eternity is at stake. With these thoughts in mind, let’s think about what will matter to people in 100 years.

Will the size of our bank account matter? Will the amount of respect or achievement we receive matter? Will the opinions our neighbors, co-workers, or family have about us matter? We all need to answer those questions individually.

Based on the evidence in Scripture, I believe the only thing that will matter in 100 years is…where we will be and who we will be with. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be with Him in heaven at the moment you die or when raptured.

John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

Many saints from the past have had much to say about getting to heaven and about the future home for those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior. The Bible is our benchmark of truth and there are so many things it tells us about the reality of heaven. Here is some of what faithful Christians and the Bible has to say about going to heaven and the reality of heaven:

Matthew Henry: “It’s not talking but walking that will bring us to heaven.”

John Foxe: “When the Christians, upon these occasions, received martyrdom, they were ornamented and crowned with garlands of flowers; for which they, in heaven, received eternal crowns of glory.”

Vance Havner: “If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven; you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world.”

Dwight L. Moody: “No man can resolve himself into heaven.”

Luke 23:42 “And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And he said to him,‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”

Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Colossians 3:3 “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is yourlife appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Revelation 21:18 “The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel.”

Revelation 21:3-4 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling placeof God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

The Bible gives us glimpses of what eternity with God will be like. We know from Scripture that when we are absent from the body…we are present with the Lord. A repentant thief on a cross next to Jesus asked if he would remember him when Jesus enters His kingdom. I love the Lord’s response, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

There are so many details we could talk about regarding heaven and about our future as believers. The most amazing reality of heaven is the very fact that everyone who goes to heaven will be with the Lord forever. I can’t begin to imagine how wonderful it will be to see our Savior face to face.

I don’t know the particulars and on this side of glory…that’s okay. We do get a look at the tenderness of Jesus in Revelation with John’s vision of heaven as he was in the Spirit:

Revelation 1:17-19 “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.But he laid his right hand on me, saying,‘Fear not, I am the first and the last,and the living one.I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.’”

Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father and He will return one day to this earth as the righteous Judge and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His face radiates with the brightness of the sun and myriads of angels worship and ascribe to Him…blessing, honor, glory, and might forever.

Look atthe Scripture aboveand there you see the glory and also the tenderness of Jesus as He places His strong hand on John and tells him to fear not. The reality of heaven is that we will be with our Lord forever. A million years will pass and it will be as though we have only scratched the eternal surface of time we will have with Him because it will be without end.

I have to tell you that I truly love writing about end-times and geopolitical events. But this article is an acute reminder that they are a means to an end. They all point to an eternity with Jesus.

Christian friends, doesn’t your heart yearn for your eternal home? I am so glad we have the Holy Spirit inside us and know that the Lord never leaves or forsakes us.

I know many of you read this and long to finally see our Savior face to face. As the sweet old song says, “Soon and very soon…we are going to see the King.” The words that come to my mind in response are: “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

I want to mention what I can only refer to as a spiritual anomaly. It is the fact that some believers seem to be looking for their “best life now” instead of longing for the one to come. I don’t understand how a Christian can focus so intently on life enhancement here when there is so much to look forward to and so much work to be done for God’s kingdom.

I wrote an article titled:“Heaven on Hold”which details this issue of placing too much emphasis on quality of this life instead of looking forward to eternity with great hope and joy.

Click here to view the article.

Before we finish…I know there are some people reading this and some of the quotes from people on the street about getting to heaven resonate with you. Friend, eternity is forever and you will spend it in one of two places. Either heaven or hell will be the reality for you.

This life is short and even if you live to be one hundred, it is just a vapor compared to eternity. Thousands of years from now you will remember every article, sermon, friend, pastor, and other Christians who told you the truth about heaven and hell.

If you are reading this article and don’t know Jesus as your Lord…please ask Him for forgiveness, repent with a contrite heart, and by faith confess Him as your Lord and Savior.

Eternity is forever and very little time remains to come to repentance. Please know that many people are praying for you to trust Jesus as your Savior.

Romans 10:13 “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”