None of These in Heaven|
"How beautiful heaven must be!” This exclamation is the title of a hymn sang by Christians in anticipation of their eternal home with God. We sing these words in part because we do not know how beautiful heaven really is, for none of us have seen heaven, and our finite minds can hardly imagine heaven’s glory. The Bible describes heaven to us in words we can understand, calling it a place of rest (Heb. 4:1-11), "an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” (1Pet. 1:4), and a better and heavenly country and city (Heb. 11:16). In Revelation 21, that heavenly city is pictured in terms of precious jewels, vast dimensions, and spectacular glory. Indeed, what a beautiful place heaven must be.
One way the Bible explains heaven to us is by telling what will not be there. It tells us that heaven is beautiful not only for what it is, but also for what it is not. Some of the things absent from heaven are inherently bad and naturally have no place there. Those things will not mar heaven’s image or oppress its residents. Other things that will be missing from heaven are not bad at all. In fact, some of the things we count now as most precious to us will not be found in heaven because they will have no use there.
Among the bad things missing from heaven are those listed in Revelation 21:1-4. In that passage, the apostle John saw a vision of the new heaven and earth and the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. He then heard a loud voice from the throne of God saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Thus, we see that in heaven there will be nothing relating to the wages of sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23a). All of the misery on earth that has resulted from sin – sorrow, sickness, diseases, injuries, death – will be absent from heaven because God will take them away from His people forever.
Furthermore, those people who practiced evil on earth will not be found in heaven. In Revelation 21:8, John heard these words: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Naturally, these persons will be denied entrance into heaven, for their deeds produce death, mourning, crying, and pain, which cannot be in heaven. These sinners are further described in Revelation 21:27, for the Bible says that in heaven "…nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Other things will be missing from heaven simply because they will be obsolete. Of course, all of the physical blessings that we enjoy in this world will be gone, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1Cor. 15:50). All of the material blessings of the earth will be no more, for "the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2Pet. 3:10). These are temporal blessings that God gives us to serve vital functions here on earth, but they will of no use at all in heaven.
Even many of the spiritual blessings that we now hold dear will be gone in heaven, for we will have no need of them. In heaven, prayer will cease, for our communication with God will be direct. God will dwell among His people (Rev. 21:3), and we shall see the face of our Lord Jesus (1John 3:2; Rev. 22:3-5). We will join in the eternal praise for God directly before His throne so that we will have no need to pray to Him. Also, there will no need for hope in heaven, for our hope will be realized. As the apostle Paul wrote, "hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” (Rom. 8:24) Likewise, there will be no faith in heaven. Because "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1), faith will end, for our hope will come true, and we will see the unseen things in which we have believed. No longer will we "walk by faith and not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7), for we will see firsthand the objects of our faith and hope.
None of these will be in heaven, but until our Lord comes to take us home, all of these things will abide. The bad things we endure here on earth – death, sorrow, pain, sin, etc. – will continue, and we will suffer because of them. Thankfully, other things also abide here on earth – prayer, hope, faith, and every spiritual blessing in Jesus (Eph. 1:3). These things will allow us to overcome the bad things and to understand in our limited minds the beauty of heaven that has been promised to us. Most importantly, love abides among us here on earth, for it is the greatest of all our spiritual blessings (1Cor. 13:13). Love will abide forever, leading us from earth to heaven, and giving a taste of the eternal beauty we will see.
Stacey E. Durham
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