While living in Ottumwa, Iowa we witnessed the National Hot Air Balloon Competition. The balloons were bound to the earth by many cords. As the process of filling it with heated air began, it struggled to get free. The first line was cut, and immediately that side was lifted from the earth. Then the second and third ropes were loosened, and finally the others. When the last cord was snapped, the balloon rose majestically toward the heavens, showing the high destination for which it struggled to get free.
That’s a picture of the attitude I should possess as a Christian — one whose affection is set on Heaven. As my heart is filled with the Holy Spirit’s presence, I should demonstrate my longing for Heaven. As one by one the earthly cords are cut that bind my soul to earth, it will rise in its affection to Heaven where it so greatly desires to be.
Heaven is the hope and goal of the Christian life. But we often ask, “What is heaven like?” Previous to His death, Jesus encouraged His disciples with these words
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:1-6)
Jesus describes heaven in three ways:
Twice in this passage Jesus calls heaven a ‘place.’ Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death. He would be leaving them. He told them that He was going to prepare a ‘place’ for them. He called it “my Father’s house.” He said in this place were “many mansions.” Houses and mansions are real. Heaven is as real as your house or apartment.
When Marco Polo returned to Italy from the court of Kublai Khan, he described a world his audience had never seen. Not that China was an imaginary place, but it was very different from Italy. Though very different, China was very real. Heaven is real.
Though we can’t understand everything about Heaven, the writers of Scripture present Heaven in tangible ways, including a garden, a city, and a kingdom. On the cross, Jesus described Heaven as “Paradise.” This probably has reference to mankind’s first home in the Garden of Eden, a real place where Adam and Eve lived in harmony, love, and peace. If today’s world, though diminished by sin, is at times so beautiful and wonderful, how magnificent must Heaven be like.
Jesus makes a promise to His disciples that where He is going, they will go too. Though separated for a while, there will be a grand reunion one day. Heaven is filled with people.
I remember the Christmas after my mom passed away. My sister was living in her house and we all met for the annual Christmas party. But it was so different. Why? Because my mom wasn’t there. Being in the house I grew up in brought back a lot of nostalgia and I was surrounded by people I loved, but it wasn’t the same. My mom was gone. What makes a house a home? The people.
Heaven will be full of people. Who will be there? Jesus will be there. Our Heavenly Father will be there. Those who have died in the Lord before us will be there. Those who will die in the Lord after us will be there. I hope you will be there.
Heaven is a holy place because it is God’s place and God is holy. According to John’s account in Revelation 21:4, “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…” Heaven will be holy because of what is not there – sin and all the horrible things it has done.
If Heaven is holy, how can a sinful person get there? We’re all sinners to some degree or other. What can we do? We must turn to Jesus to forgive and remove our sin. Then we will be sure Heaven will be our final destination.
Jesus tells us He is the only way. There is no other way into Heaven because He is the only one perfect. He will forgive our sin and bring us to Heaven when it is our time to arrive. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. Have you made your reservation by trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Ruthanna Metzgar, a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of reserving your place in Heaven. She was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception would be held in the city’s most luxurious banquet hall. At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered hors d’oeuvres and exotic beverages. As Ruthanna & her husband met the maitre d’, he asked, “May I have your name please?”
“I am Ruthanna Metzgar and this is my husband, Roy.” He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it. Would you spell it please?” Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maitre d’ looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”
“There must be some mistake,” Ruthanna replied. “I’m the singer. I sang for this wedding!” The gentleman answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”
He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.” The Metzgars followed the waiter past beautifully decorated tables laden with shrimp, salmon, and magnificent carved ice sculptures. An orchestra was preparing to perform, the musicians all dressed in white tuxedos.
The waiter led Ruthanna and Roy to the service elevator, ushered them in, and pushed G for the parking garage. After getting in their car Roy asked, “Sweetheart, what happened?”
“When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”
Ruthanna started to weep—not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she’d ever been invited to, but also because she suddenly had a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not included in the residents of Heaven. I hope you have received Jesus as personal Lord and Savior and made your reservation for Heaven.
You can also read more God Questions.