Heaven is going to be a whole lot more like earth than most people think — just 10,000 times more beautiful!
Jesus said those who obey his teaching would never see death (John 8:51). When this body of mine quits, I expect to simply step away, look back, see my body, and realize “Oh, I must have died – but – I’m not dead. I’m more alive than ever!”
What should we who trust Jesus expect to see in that moment when our body dies?
First, I expect we will see the luminous being at our side, the angel tasked with guarding us in this life. Then, our deceased loved ones in Christ, there to greet us with joy. Perhaps others who knew us and prayed for us on our pilgrimage.
Best of all, our Lord Jesus himself. The presence of his glory overtaking our ability to stand – yet his firm grasp raising us up as he looks into our eyes – his gaze calming any fear – then his strong arms around us, pulling us to himself.
Held in his arms, we shall surely weep – pain and sorrow and hurt and fear and anger and guilt dissolving away, NEVER to return.
This will be Paradise, but not yet heaven. Paradise is the garden of rest and recovery for those who loved God on earth. It will be a time and place to find answers for unanswered questions, to reconcile with others, and to experience profound healing and transformation.
At some point in time (if time has any meaning) comes Resurrection Day. On that day, we merge forever with our immortal bodies and stand before Jesus to give an account of our lives.
During the time believers have been in Paradise, the wicked – those who steadfastly resisted the grace of God – have been in Hades, the waiting room for hell.
Certainly, I do not know for sure, but I expect to instantly spot the wicked by the shadow and gloom pervading their bodies, and similarly, instantly recognize the righteous by their radiance.
Do we not even now see that in the faces of people we meet, at least to some extent?
Our judgment before Jesus will be based on what we have DONE. This may seems odd, since we know we are saved by grace, through our faith in Jesus. We REST even now that we are in God’s family forever, as much-loved children.
So why will our judgment be by “works?”
Our “works” will demonstrate that we trusted Jesus. Those who trusted Jesus followed him. The record of our life will show that. Our judgment will not be one of condemnation but of rewards.
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things — I will set you over much!” (Matthew 25:21).
For the believer, heaven became certain when Jesus Christ came into our life. Jesus himself said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
For the wicked, sadly but justly, their judgment will be one of condemnation. Even at judgment, the wicked will refuse to honor God. During this life, they relentlessly pushed God out of their minds, so they could pursue what they knew to be wrong.
The wicked reject God to the point where many no longer even believe in him. They refuse his countless invitations and warnings, and want NOTHING to do with him. They will get what they want.
There are only two realms in eternity, the “new heavens and new earth” (see Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21-22), which we commonly call heaven, and the perpetual separation from God, which we call hell. Those who cannot stand to be with God will have only one place they can go.
Leaving the grim state of the wicked behind, here is what lovers of God can expect in the “new heavens and new earth.”
Scripture says that not only will we SEE the face of God, but we will also REIGN with Christ forever and ever.
This reigning, I am certain, will be full of adventure and quests. No boredom in heaven! Instant travel anywhere, to meet with anyone, infused with perfect love and perfect communication, are things I expect in heaven.
Who knows, maybe even my childhood dream of getting to fly like Peter Pan will be possible!!
We will recognize one another instantly. Parents of children who died in the womb or in early childhood, will get to see their children, fully mature. Those with mental and bodily defects in this life will have full mental capacities and be walking, running, jumping, and praising God.
I also expect to see loved pets with us in heaven. Why not? God saved not only Noah but the animals as well. Personally, I am counting on it.
What about those we loved in life who were not ultimately saved? Of course, I do not really know — but my expectation is that in that day, we will fully understand and respect why they are not there with us. Nor will we grieve over them anymore.
In heaven, at the last, there will be no more sorrow, no more sighing, no more sin, nor anything to provoke sin, but instead, love and joy unspeakable, and FULL OF GLORY!
“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 21:3-4).
Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life? ENTRUSTING YOURSELF TO JESUS CHRIST IS THE VERY BEST THING YOU CAN DO.