Heaven is a prepared place for a redeemed people (John 14:1–6). As hell is the final abode of all who live and die in their sins, so heaven is the final abode of all who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. It is a known, permanent place, which is said to be:
• The place where God dwells: “Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive” (1 Kings 8:30).
• The city of God: “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God” (Hebrews 12:22, NIV).
• God’s house: “In My Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2).
• Where Christ is in God’s presence: “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Hebrews 9:24, NIV).
• The dwelling place of angels and saints: “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10, NIV). “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
• The eternal home of all believers: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
• A state of perfect love and perfect rest. Heaven is entirely separated from earth’s impurities, imperfections, and deceptions. Heaven is a place of worship, praise, and service where the redeemed will be forever relieved of sinfulness by Him who will be our unending joy.
• A perfect place from which unredeemed sinners will be excluded: “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27; see also Revelation 5:9–13).
• A place where we will see Christ and become more like Him: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
• We will recognize our loved ones who died in Christ, and also fellowship with the great Bible saints: “And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared tothem, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus,‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here threetabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’” (Matthew17:3–4).
• Heaven’s completeness and glories are indescribable: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory. . . . But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:7, 9).
1. For the Christian who wants to be reassured about heaven and the future life, share the material in the “Background.” Perhaps he or she has lost a loved one; be sympathetic and sensitive to the Holy Spirit as you try to encourage and comfort: “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Make sure your inquirer is a Christian and is ready for heaven. If needed, refer to the gospel – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD.
2. For the non-Christian with questions about future events and heaven, share the material in the “Background,” turning, if indicated, to the section on “Prophecy” for additional help. Share the gospel – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD.
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:21–23).
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Other suggested Scriptures:
The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996