What is Heaven Like?
by Pat Steel
There are many people who strongly believe in an “afterlife”, and that there is more to this world than what we experience now. If there isn’t, what is the purpose of living given the circumstances that some people are living in? “If there is nothing else to look forward to then why bother? Let me off of this spinning planet called earth!”
Too many people have agreed with that last sentence and chosen to end their life. Many more have thought about it, but somewhere in the back of their minds, they believe that there is more to life than what we experience and see.Where does this idea of an afterlife come from?
It is put there by God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart,…” God wants us to spend that ‘after life’, eternity, with Him in His presence.
How do we know that?
Look at what Jesus said to his disciples the day before his crucifixion. John 14:1-3 says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Jesus clearly told his disciples that he was going to get a place ready for them and would return to bring them to their new home.
We also have Jesus telling the dying thief on the next cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus knew that life doesn’t end when we leave this world.
Luke 24:51 says, “While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” When Jesus was finished talking with his disciples he left them and went to heaven, a real place.
We also have the witness of John in the book of Revelation as he gives us much information about heaven. We read about the marriage supper of the lamb, the church, and the martyrs waiting for God to establish his kingdom on earth.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us of his experience of being caught up in heaven. His may have been a near-death experience, as we read in the book of Acts that he was so severely stoned they dragged him out of the city and left him there for dead. It may also have been a vision that God blessed him with to strengthen him in the ministry and hardship he would face. Although he does not describe what he saw, he definitely believes he was in heaven.
The last thing I would say for now is that heaven is not a place to be found on Earth, our galaxy or another galaxy. One thing that stands out to me in what the Bible says is that to be in Heaven is to be in God’s presence.
Heaven is a reality!
We may not be able to fully understand it or imagine all that God has in store, God has chosen to reveal some things about heaven to us. In my next post, we will take a small glimpse at what heaven is like based on what the bible tells us, not someone’s near-death encounter, vision or angelic message.
Read Part 2 – The Reality of Heaven by Pat Steel
Patrick Steel has been married for 28 years. Father of four children, two on their own now and two at home. He is presently a Chaplain at Centennial Place Long Term Nursing Care Home in Millbrook, ON and an Ordained Minister with the P.A.O.C.