Visions of heaven

I’m sure we’ve all wondered what heaven will be like. It’s odd, though, how often people talk about heaven without mentioning God. Maybe that’s why there are so many glimpses of heaven in the Bible—to remind us of whose idea it was in the first place.

Most of us can only imagine a place much like earth, but with no troubles. Even inspired writers had trouble envisioning much more than that. Isaiah’s vision contemplates people having children, planting fields, building houses, and living as long as trees. He tells us heaven will be a new creation. That means it doesn’t exist yet, but what will it be like?

There will be a new city. God put the first man in a garden, and the city was sinful man’s attempt to organize the world for himself without God. In the end, God will even redeem what we have invented in sin.

There will be a new society. It will be happy, secure, peaceful. The harmony will extend even to animals. No creature will kill or even hurt any other creature.

Most important, people will have an intimate relationship with God, surrounded by his blessings. Today, we pray and wait for the answer, sometimes painfully long. Not so in heaven. There, if anyone asks for anything, God will accomplish it while they are still speaking.

How do we get there from here? Jesus is the door. As we approach the Advent season, it is appropriate to remember that when God pronounced the death sentence in the garden, he promised that the seed of the woman would destroy the devil. After thousands of years of prophetic preparation, Jesus was born to a virgin. He lived as a man, died for us as a criminal, and rose again as Lord of the universe. Whenever people acknowledge him as Lord, his blood cleanses them from all unrighteousness. This utterly mind-boggling heaven becomes their heritage, our heritage, which we will possess at the appointed time.

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