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At least once in their lives every person asks themselves the question, “Is there such a place as heaven? Is there a God? Is there life after death? Is there more behind the universe, another dimension? Is there eternal life?”
As far as I know, most people believe there is life after death. Practically all religions, including the so-called nature religions, teach that the soul, and maybe the spirit, continue to exist. Even many non-religious people sense this, though they might want to ignore it.
Where does this sense come from, this wish for a better world? And, if we are seeking the truth and do not merely want to ignore it, we search and ask ourselves the question, “Where can we find reliable information about heaven, about God, about eternity?”
What about an answer from heaven? Just imagine that you live in some insignificant little place which you have never left. You have heard about the world metropolis, New York, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, the famous quarters and parks, the skyscrapers, the subways and the shopping centers. You would like to know more about them, and find out whether everything you have heard is true. Nobody in your town has ever been there, however. One thinks this and another that. Just imagine that somebody comes to your town who has spent his whole life in this city. Is it not so that this person can tell you about New York best?
The best information about heaven, only someone who came from heaven himself, who has always lived there and even had part in the building of it, could give us. And this person exists! It is the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Please do not turn away indifferently. You will surely agree that Jesus is a unique and very special person. His history is so unique and fascinating. But we do not want to hear people talking about Jesus now; rather, we’d like to let Him speak for Himself.
For example, when Jesus was here on earth, He said, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13). With this statement, Jesus emphasizes three things: 1. that He will return to heaven, because 2. He came down from heaven to earth, and 3. that heaven is His heavenly home.
If we cannot believe the Lord Jesus, who can we believe?
We always connect heaven with something beautiful, another world with no suffering or pain. A while ago, I walked around a beautiful lake near where we live. It was a glorious spring day. I could see the Alps, the sun mirrored in the water, reeds, birds, ducks. Young and old were out enjoying the beautiful day.
We often think that if there were no evil, no destruction or, as the Bible puts it, no sin, we would really have heaven on earth. But why should there not be a place where sin is not present and we can enjoy the absence of evil and sorrow?
Just as there is an earth, there is also a heaven! But for this we must be made ready, because no sin or evil can enter there. If God would take us to heaven in our sinful condition, heaven would no longer be heaven. That is why Jesus came, as our Redeemer. We receive forgiveness, are made righteous before God, and gain entrance into heaven via Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus says of Himself, “I am the door” (John 10:9), or “I am the way” (John 14:6).
In another statement, Jesus emphasizes the purpose of His descending from heaven to earth, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). Jesus came down to earth from heaven to do the will of God. And it was the will of God to pave the way for man to be able to go to heaven. Jesus paved the way. He came down from heaven in order to take us to heaven. Jesus Christ went to His death on the cross, rose from the dead for this truth, and returned to heaven.
How glorious it must be in heaven! If God created all that is beautiful on earth, it cannot be less beautiful in heaven. On the contrary, it must be much more glorious and delightful, above all because all evil has been taken away.
This is clear: heaven is not a boring, ethereal place where angels continually play harps. It is rather a place of perfect life and happiness, perfect joy, the place where God Himself lives. Where the Creator of all that we enjoy on earth lives cannot be boring.
I would like to quote a few statements from the Word of God about heaven, representative of many others (Hebrews 12:22-24; Ephesians 1:21; 2:7):
– The city of the living God, the Father of glory,
– The place where innumerable angels of varying ranks are,
– The place of a general assembly,
– The place where Jesus, our Savior, lives,
– The place which is far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion and
– The place of exceeding riches,
– The place of which it says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:4-5).
The diversity of heaven is infinite, just as God the Father is infinite. The dimensions of heaven are inexhaustible. Life in heaven is eternal, and yet eternity is not long enough to discover everything. It is the place of eternal and utmost bliss. That which awaits us in the hereafter with God, is so great that human words are not sufficient to portray it completely.
Our time on earth is hardly worth mentioning in comparison to eternity with God. And yet it is decided here, whether we will enter into heaven or not. I have already mentioned, that which divides us from heaven is sin. That is why we must be prepared for heaven. And this is why Jesus came from heaven.
The Bible testifies, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). This is the basis for going to heaven. If you put your life under the Lordship of Jesus, if you believe in Him, then you have a claim to heaven. It says in Philippians 3:20, “For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you ask Jesus Christ to save you, this is an eternal agreement, which God Himself will honor. You have no more reason to be afraid of not going to heaven. God Himself will give you this assurance in your heart.
Then, according to the Word of God:
– You have a citizenship in heaven.
– You are a child of God.
– You belong to God’s family.
– You are an heir of God.
– You belong to the completely righteous.
If you believe in Jesus Christ and claim the redemption which He accomplished, then, according to the Word of God, you are “translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). No power and no circumstance in the world can take you from the kingdom of God. Here also the Word of God says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38-39).
I would like to close with a true report which I read in a Christian magazine with the title, “I Will Be in Heaven.” A very young and passionate athlete named Paul was diagnosed with cancer and was desperate. A 35-year old female doctor radiated a deep inner peace, which touched the young man. She told him about her faith in Jesus Christ, who gives meaning and support in life. The patient was interested and had many questions. One day the doctor invited him to pray with her. He said, “I would like to have the feeling that I am supported, that I can be safe.” They prayed together and suddenly something changed, not physically but spiritually. When he was sent home to die, he invited his friends to come and see him daily. He asked them to read the Bible to him, and he prayed with them and for them. He wanted them to come to his funeral on one condition: “Don’t come in black, but in colorful clothes. I will be in heaven where I will be happy. I am a child of God now. I want to be in heaven with my Father. I will be celebrating up there, and you can celebrate down here.” When his doctor had tears running down her face, Paul said to her, “I am going to God! There I will be received with open arms.” When his mother also wept, Paul took her hand and said, “Don’t be sad. I will still be deep in your heart, even when I am with God.”