“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of 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.” – Revelation 21:1-4
One of the great questions that man has always struggled with is, “What happens to me after I die?” As you survey the many belief systems across the globe, there seems to be as many answers to that question as there are people asking it. However, it’s my view that the Orthodox Christian faith rightly answers this question in two ways:
- Those who die (physically) without trusting (following) Christ will pass into a state of everlasting torment and suffering, separated not only by the common grace of God, but also separated eternally with no chance of ever knowing Him (Matthew 25:41, 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:14-15; Revelation 21:8).
- Those who die (physically) having trusted in Christ as Lord and Redeemer will pass into an everlasting state of relationship and peace with God, experiencing the fullness of His special grace (Romans 3:21-31; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 21:1-7).
But what does the Bible say about what Heaven will be like? What will we experience there? Honestly, the Bible doesn’t give us a lot of the details that many of us might be looking to learn. Questions like:
- Will I have house pets in Heaven?
- Will I golf in Heaven?
- Will there be pizza in Heaven?
- Will there be baseball in Heaven (of course there will)?
Maybe a better way to think about this is to reframe the question and ask, “Will we love the same things in Heaven that we loved during this life?
The short answer is, yes and no.
Sidebar Discussion: For the purpose of this article, I am focusing on the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21 and 22), not the millennial reign of Christ on earth after the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-20:15).
1. We will continue to love the things that were blessings from God, like:
- The Triune God Himself – We will see Him fully and we will worship and serve Him perfectly (1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:3).
- People, The Church – The people that make up the church will be like Him and we will know and love one another perfectly. When Jesus returned to earth in His glorified state, He was recognized by those who knew Him and those who saw Him during His earthly ministry, (John 20:16; 1 Corinthians 15:47), which gives us hope that we too will recognize those that we knew, loved and partnered with in ministry. Including our redeemed children and spouses.
- Learning, Growing – The Bible teaches us that we will continue to learn and grow in our love for Jesus for all eternity (Ephesians 2:6-7, 3:18-19). God is bigger than forever, so we can expect to spend eternity getting to know Him more and more.
- Enjoying our (Life) Inheritance, Fully – Matthew 25:34 says, “The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
2. We will no longer love the various sins for which Jesus went to the cross on our account. I don’t have enough space to unpack all the various sins that we will no longer ‘love’, so I will just let Scripture say it for me:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these…” – Galatians 5:19-21a
While the scripture doesn’t always provide us with the personally relevant or specific information that we may be looking for about Heaven, it does reveal that we will experience love on a level that our current residence on this fallen planet hasn’t allowed. Love from God, love for God, and love for one another.
Perhaps we are motivated to ask questions about Heaven, at least partially, because we think we might be missing out on something about this world when we experience physical death (temporarily, see 1 Cor. 15:12-19). Maybe, because of our blurred view of all the specifics of eternity, we still believe that this current world can provide a satisfaction or contentment that it just can’t.
Thankfully, through God’s grace, He does allow us to enjoy many things about this world and our lives here, however, Heaven will far out impress our current senses and bring us the kind of joy that nothing in this world could ever come close to matching; though I’m sure baseball comes close.
Heaven by Randy Alcorn