“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1–3 KJV
All who are eagerly anticipating the soon return of their Redeemer have no doubt thought from time to time about what life is going to be like in heaven. Although we are told in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that “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,” in His tender regard for His people, our Creator has given us a few hints of that eternal existence.
We know with a certainty, for example, that there will be no more pain, no sickness or death, and that God will wipe away all tears. We are promised that in Revelation 21:4. We know that there will be permanent dwellings for the faithful to live in that Jesus Himself has prepared. Jesus promised that in John 14:1–3.
Revelation 22:3 tells us that the two-fold curse cast upon the earth because of man’s sin will be removed. The earth was cursed when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17) and again when Cain slew Abel (Genesis 4:11, 12). Methuselah’s son, Lamech, Noah’s father, refers to the curse of the ground in Genesis 5:29 when he chose Noah’s name, “saying, ‘This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.’ ” Imagine how bountiful our gardens will be in heaven when this two-fold curse is removed!
An even more amazing promise is given in Revelation 21:3: “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’ ”
All of these wonderful benefits will be preceded by the precious words of our Redeemer when He says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34 KJV).
In addition to the Scriptural promises we are given, Seventh-day Adventists have been blessed with a more detailed glimpse of eternal realities through the writings of Ellen G. White, who—for the benefit of the faithful—has seen in vision and related in her writings the blissful realities of heaven of which Scripture only hints.
In remarking on the earth made new as seen in one of her many visions, Sister White notes: “The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. All that was lost by sin has been restored.” The Great Controversy, 674.
The amazing aspects of heaven that can be gleaned from the Spirit of Prophecy are provided in exquisite and enticing detail primarily in two places in the writings of Sister White: the final chapter of The Great Controversy, “The Controversy Ended,” pages 662–678, and the final chapter of Education, “The School of the Hereafter,” pages 301–309.
In addition to the detailed description of heaven given in these chapters, which we will review shortly, other gems are sprinkled here and there in the writings of God’s prophet to the remnant. One example, and a very precious one, is in Testimonies, vol. 8, 254, where it is written that Jesus will lead the redeemed beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God and will explain the “dark providences” through which on this earth He allowed us to experience “in sorrow and amazement” in order to perfect our characters. (See Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 99.)
Another gem is recorded in volume 3 of Spiritual Gifts, page 83, where the descent of the Holy City is described: “As His [Jesus’] feet touch the mountain, it parts asunder, and becomes a very great plain, and is prepared for the reception of the holy city in which is the paradise of God, the garden of Eden, which was taken up after man’s transgression.” It is difficult for the mind to grasp a city with a magnificence so overwhelming. Imagine a city so grandiose that within its confines is the Garden of Eden, “more beautiful, and gloriously adorned than when removed from the earth.” Ibid., 83, 84.
Because we have an enemy who seeks unceasingly to lead anyone and everyone away from the narrow way onto the broad road with inconceivable subtlety and deception, every life is tainted from time to time with the dark shadow of Satan falling across their daily walk. By reviewing the delights of the heavenly kingdom from time to time, we can anticipate identifying with an experience Sister White had in one of her visions. When the redeemed were asked by Brethren Fitch and Stockman what experiences they had passed through prior to Christ’s return, she wrote, “We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, ‘Alleluia, heaven is cheap enough!’ ” Early Writings, 17.
Following are a few of the elevating and encouraging delights—“the exceeding and eternal weight of glory”—described in the above-referenced chapters cited earlier from The Great Controversy and Education:
- No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. GC, 675.
- No one will need or desire rest. Ibid., 676.
- The people of God will “ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close.” Ibid.
- The redeemed will hold open communion with the Father and the Son. Ibid.
- The acquisition of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. Ibid., 677.
- Jesus will reveal the “riches of redemption.” Ibid., 678.
- He will also explain the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan. Ibid.
- Eden restored will be present within the boundaries of the Holy City. Ibid., 674.
- The redeemed will walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day. Ibid., 676.
- There will be no tree of the knowledge of good and evil to afford an opportunity for temptation. Ed., 302.
- Restored to God’s presence, man will again be taught of God. Ibid.
- The “records of creation” will be available for endless study. Ibid., 303.
- The veil that separates the visible and the invisible worlds will be drawn aside, revealing things that can only be vaguely imagined now. Ibid., 304.
- The redeemed will understand what is owed to the care and interposition of the angels and the ministry of angels in their life. Ibid., 305.
- The guardian angel who stood by the side of each saint will recount the many times he interposed to provide guidance and safety. Ibid.
- Among the daily social experiences of the hereafter will be
- Pure communion with holy beings. Ibid., 306.
- A harmonious social life with angels and the faithful of all ages. Ibid.
- Sacred fellowship that binds together “the whole family of heaven and earth.” Ibid.
- Music and song such as no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived. Ibid., 307.
- Every power will be developed and every capability increased. Ibid.
- All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s children. Ibid.
The list is infinite and unfathomable. When contemplating this wonderful future, we are reminded of the statement of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
“We need to have more distinct views of Jesus and a fuller comprehension of the value of eternal realities. The beauty of holiness is to fill the hearts of God’s children; and that this may be accomplished, we should seek for divine disclosures of heavenly things.” Steps to Christ, 99.
Using the reasoning ability that God has given us as we “seek for divine disclosures of heavenly things,” the mind thrills with anticipation of a life devoid of sin and its consequences. This imagined list, too, is infinite and unfathomable.
In addition to the incredible aspects of life that Scripture and Inspiration give us, free from the efforts of the tempter and his evil agents to lead us into sin, we can add our own list of heavenly benefits if we free our minds from the confines of our earthly ties and let them roam freely, unbounded by conventional thought.
Among the more mundane things we might include in our contemplations are the following:
- No worries about where we put the keys, for keys will not be necessary since there are no thieves in heaven.
- No need to read labels for unhealthy contents of our food. There will be neither labels nor unhealthy foods.
- No political bickering.
- No worries about meeting budgets or paying bills.
- No worries about where to educate our children.
- No concerns about the weather.
- No automobile maintenance or concerns about gas prices.
- Time to engage in any and every hobby we have ever wanted to pursue.
- Time to develop any talent we want, from playing any musical instrument to laying bricks.
- Opportunity to design and build a country house, perhaps using techniques that do not exist on earth now, in any kind of environment we desire: mountain, desert, forest, prairie, lakeside, tropical, moderate, frigid.
The list is indeed limitless and unfathomable. We can only conclude, as he concluded in his epistle, “And there are many other things …, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25).
The possibilities that lie before us in “eternal realities” are available to anyone and everyone who seeks them, diligently and faithfully obeying and following the instructions our loving Creator has given us to guide us in our daily lives here on earth. The joy of an eternity of ever-new bliss in the presence of our God and the Lamb of our salvation is the joy that was set before that Lamb as He toiled during His life on earth to open the plan of salvation to all mankind.
May that joyful experience be yours.
All Bible quotes NKJV unless otherwise noted.
John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.