When discussing heaven it is important to recognize that the only true source we can reference that has any authority on the subject is the writing in the Scriptures. Most people when asked about heaven default to the Hollywood notion of pearly gates, humans who graduate to a higher level by receiving their wings and becoming angels and all white and gold everywhere. One of the most important points that many miss is how heaven should effect how we live on Earth. When a person experiences something extraordinary, he may physically respond in some spontaneous frenzy or have an uncontrollable physical experience. For example, when touched by an outstanding vocal performance, one may feel a physical tingle, when watching a football game and someone lays out an impressive hit a spontaneous bodily jerk may be prompted. Exercise promotes endorphin release, sexual activity can result in temporary loss of physical control, and a good meal can incite an array of physical pleasures. Isaiah, Daniel and John physically responded in an overwhelmed manner beyond any of the experiences we experience on earth. Their noted inability to appropriately describe heaven along with their physical response to seeing it implies how magnificent it truly must be.
The author rightfully assumes that there is a heaven, which is the place that we go directly after death. The Bible cites heaven 276 times and as a believer in the Bible, its existence is not in question, however its qualities and details are curious. The Bible uses the best of our earthly treasures to give a visual of heaven. It tells us that heaven is a beautiful place where there will be spectacular homes for each of us, where the streets are paved with real gold, where its gates are made of gigantic pearls, the foundation stones of precious jewels like sapphires, emeralds, and topaz and it is lighted with God’s presence, which is brighter than the Sun. The inability to appropriately describe it along with God’s presence lead me to understand that it is fantastic, and like many things, we simply have to believe that existence in the presence of God will satisfy in ways we cannot imagine, therefore to attempt to describe it is an exercise beyond the capabilities of human language. We do not have the facility to describe it appropriately. Just as someone in the 5th trying to describe a television to its peers, one would have nothing to compare it to and one would be challenged to describe it.
Luke 22:28-30 states, to those who had stood by Him in His earthly trials, Jesus promised to place them “on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” in His future kingdom, as well as to seat them at His side at His table. Our faith while on earth determines what if any rewards we receive in heaven. The implied message here is that heaven is fantastic, and all in God’s presence will have indescribable joy, but some will receive greater rewards. I have been to sporting events and sat court side, in box seats and in nose bleeds where I needed binoculars to see the on-field action. I have enjoyed each seating for different reasons, but court-side seating is best. It is best because you are closer to the “reason for the event.” In heaven, we are there to experience the unfiltered, unobstructed, pure holiness and majesty of God. Therefore, sitting by Jesus’ side at His table will uncertainly be greater than sitting in the proverbial nose bleed seats.
One of the gifts that Jesus left was hope. There will be no more sin, no more tears, no more stress, no more pain. Heaven is the hope that our post-flesh existence will be glorious and beyond our ability to describe. The absence of these and other maladies must shape an environment unknown to man and beyond our greatest comprehension.