When people think of heaven many think about the river of life, the tree of life (bearing 12 kinds of fruit), walls of jasper, New Jerusalem made of transparent pure gold, foundation decor of jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, ect. There will be gates of pearl and streets of gold. All of these things can be found in Revelation 21 and 22; and it sounds beautiful. I’m sure that it is far more beautiful than what the greatest of human minds can even conceive, no doubt. However, while these things will be an eternal blessing and joy, I don’t want to go to heaven just to see those things. No. I want to be in Heaven because that is where Jesus Christ is and will forever be. Christ is my prize; He is my treasure; He is my final reward.
The glorious materials, and their appearance, that will comprise that celestial city will be only a consolation prize as they relate to being in the presence of a Savior who loved me from before the foundation of the earth, and who suffered, bled and died for me in His ministry and on the cross; and most importantly, was raised to secure that salvation and to provide life everlasting (Christ’s death wouldn’t have accomplished salvation and defeat of sin without His being raised from the dead for He then would have died as mere mortal dies; since He was raised to life after His death, death is dealt a mortal wound [see 1 Cor. 15]). I want to see my Savior’s face. There won’t even be a need for sun or moon; nor temple (meaning also no need for any more sacrifice for Jesus paid it all and there will never be anything unclean or corruptible there):
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. — Revelation 21:22-27 ESV
Earlier in Revelation 21, John says that Christ will dwell with us:
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.” — Rev. 21:3
That is why I am so anxious to be there; that is my reason for going; not only to escape hell and God’s wrath (which will be unimaginable terrible but yet just) but to be in the presence of Jesus and to glorify Him for His gracious and merciful sacrifice and saving work; to worship Him for the defeat of sin, death, hell and Satan; to exalt Him because He is worthy of praise. (Note: who wouldn’t want to escape such judgment [hell]; people do not go to heaven just because they want to escape hell … this is a post for another time, but its worth saying, even in the secularist’s mind, if they were to believe heaven to be real, they would choose to go to heaven, they just don’t want God to be there when they get there; if any reasonable person had to choose between peace and bliss and joy versus eternal punishment and suffering, especially for eternity, only a fool would choose hell; people go to hell for their sin and therein, rejection of Christ).
Here is John Piper on the subject:
“the supremacy of Christ himself experienced with all-satisfying joy. He is the Great Reward. He is the one we know in the “better resurrection.” He is the light of the city to that is to come.
Therefore everything this epistle [Hebrews] says about him intensifies our love for him now as our Treasure, and our desire for him later as our final Reward.
- God’s final revelation (1:2).
- The heir of all things (1:2).
- The creator of the world (1:2).
- The radiance of God’s glory (1:3).
- The exact imprint of God’s nature (1:3).
- He upholds the universe by the word of his power (1:3).
- He made purification for sins (1:3).
- He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on High (1:4).
- He is God, enthroned forever, with a scepter of uprightness (1:8).
- He is worshipped by angels (1:6).
- His rule will have no end (1:8).
- His joy is above all other beings in the universe (1:9).
- He took on human flesh (2:14).
- He was crowned with glory and honor because of his suffering (2:9).
- He was the founder of our salvation (2:10).
- He was made perfect in all his obedience by his suffering (2:10).
- He destroyed the one who has the power of death, the devil (2:15).
- He delivered us from the bondage of fear (2:15).
- He is a merciful and faithful high priest (2:17)
- He made propitiation for sins (2:17).
- He is sympathetic because of his own trials (4:15).
- He never sinned (4:15).
- He offered up loud cries and tears with reverent fear, and God heard him (5:7).
- He became the source of eternal salvation (5:8)
- He holds his priesthood by virtue of an indestructible life (7:16).
- He appears in the presence of God on our behalf (9:24).
- He will come a second time to save us who are eagerly waiting for him (9:28).
- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (13:8)”
— John Piper, How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice, Desiring God
This is a subject that requires more attention than what can be afforded here, which may imply another post on the subject at a later date. This is what I want to leave you with: Many of the people who talk about heaven (that I have met/known/encountered/heard) always seem to talk about the beauty of it, the lack of death and suffering, the joy of being with family and friends who have believed in Christ, all of which are great. However, too few people talk about being there for the simple reason that Christ is there and He will dwell with us forever. (Please note: I am thankful that heaven will be much more beautiful than we can imagine; God is going to lavish such beauty on His people for His glory.) To me the main reason to be excited about Heaven: Jesus will be there and will dwell with those who have believed, forever.