Heaven is not just our far-off future home, but a place we can joyfully look forward to today. The Bible provides more than 600 references to heaven, and we can gain incredible joy and fresh vision for our lives on earth as we read and understand these passages. In the following excerpts from my messages, I point you to a handful of these Scriptures and answer 11 questions about heaven.
(For expanded video answers from Dr. Jeremiah, just click the link on an individual question).
Just like we currently bear the image of Adam, we will one day bear the image of Jesus, and have a body like Him. Jesus tells us in Luke 24:39 that His body is real: “… handle me and see for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” Jesus’ body was real. And we will have a real body in heaven.
The first thing Paul teaches us about our resurrected bodies in 1 Corinthians 15 is that it is not like our current body. Our current body is subject to aging, disease, and death. But our resurrection bodies are incorruptible. You will never get old nor grow tired. You will never suffer disease or age or death.
The concept of serving God in heaven reoccurs throughout the book of Revelation. For example, Revelation 7:15 says: “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them” (emphasis mine). I’m thankful, because I would struggle with a heaven where there is nothing to do. When we get to heaven, we will continue to serve God with the gifts He has given us.
Jesus in His resurrection body was real and his disciples recognized him. That’s the way it will be for you! It is unthinkable that in heaven we will know less than we do here. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but the but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” We will have a greater sense of recognition in heaven than we’ve ever had on earth.
This is one of the questions I hear most often. I can tell you, there are two occasions in the Bible where Jesus ate after His resurrection. One in Luke 24:42-43 and another in John 21:12-13. Based on our observations of Jesus’ new body, we can be confident we will eat in heaven—and without the negative effects of weight gain and acid reflux. We will be able to eat purely for our enjoyment and no longer for our sustenance!
Our God is not boring—how then can heaven be boring? Psalm 16:11 says “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy, and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (emphasis mine). In His presence is the completeness and absolute explosion of joy! Heaven is God’s place and God is not boring, so I am confident we will not be bored.
The concept of purgatory says you can go to a holding place after death where you have the possibility of changing your eternal destiny. That is not true—purgatory does not exist. Whatever decisions we make about eternity will be made here and now on earth. You don’t get another chance. Today is the day of salvation.
Only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will go to heaven. Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life if you “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead” (Romans 10:9). Jesus said to his disciples, “do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
9. Is Hell Real?
Yes, hell is a very real place. When a person dies today, and they don’t know Jesus, their soul and spirit goes to hades. One day, according to Revelation 20:13-14, death and hades will be thrown into the lake of fire, the final and ultimate hell. Hell is real, and it is eternal separation from God and all His goodness.
10. Where is Paradise?
When a believer died in the Old Testament, their soul and spirit went to Paradise. And on the day of Jesus’ ascension, Paradise changed. Ephesians 4:8-10 says Jesus “led captivity captive” and took them with Him to heaven. He went into Paradise and took all the Old Testament saints and took them to heaven with Him.
God has prepared a place for you to live for eternity. When we lose sight of that, we try to create heaven on earth. We can go to the extreme, spending all our money to buy the biggest house and get all the new toys. And there is nothing wrong with those things, but they will never compare to what awaits us in heaven. If we aren’t careful, we can end up replacing our hunger for heaven with cheap things that will leave us empty.
For more answers to your questions about heaven, check out Dr. Jeremiah’s book, Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven.
Publication date: June 30, 2017
Image Courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Jörg Röse-oberreich
This article is part of our larger resource library of terms important to the Christian faith. From heaven and hell to baptism and communion, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about theological words and their meaning.
Heaven - What is it Like, Where is it?
Hell - 10 Things You Should Know
Baptism - What Does it Mean and Why is it Important?
Communion - 10 Important Things to Remember
The Trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit Explained
Predestination - Biblical Support and Facts
Armor of God - What is it and How to Use it
Dr. David Jeremiah is among the best known Christian leaders in the world. He serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point‘s 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books.