Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon the earth where moth and rust corrupts or disfigures and where thieves dig through or break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupts and where thieves do not dig through, neither steal. For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be.” Matthew 6:19–21.
“Satan is constantly at work to present worldly things in so attractive a light that the Christian may be bribed to make the world his first consideration. Should he induce the Christian to seek for worldly treasures, and make things of God of secondary importance, he could readily efface the image of God from the soul. There is continual danger that the things of this world will gain the supremacy and cause us to neglect the things of priceless value.” The Signs of the Times, April 4, 1895.
More time should be spent on the subject of heaven. The devil is presenting all kinds of things in this world in such an attractive light that we are in constant danger of making the things of this world first and more important than the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. The devil plans to rob us of our eternal inheritance.
“The great Teacher gives man a view of the future world. He brings it, with its attractive possessions, within the range of his vision. He presents the actual claims of God and heaven. If He can fasten the mind upon its future life and its blessedness, in comparison with the temporal concerns of this world, the striking contrast is deeply impressed upon the mind, absorbing the heart and soul in the whole being. He [Christ] thus removes the things of time and sense from the affections where they have had the supremacy and gives them their place as subordinate to the higher and eternal realities.” Our High Calling, 286.
Jesus presents the attractions of heaven to us to remove the temporal things of this world from our affections where they have had the supremacy. If we lose our vision of heaven, it will be impossible to get ready to go to a place that is out of mind. Constantly imagine the kind of a place it is and the things we will do there.
Firstly, let’s look at some things that will not be in heaven. Some time ago I knew a gentleman who had become a Seventh-day Adventist a short time before he died. His funeral was held in the Lutheran church which was packed with hundreds of people. Almost his whole family and friends were of the Lutheran faith. One of his friends suggested that I talk about heaven and in researching this subject, most of what I found in my Bible were things that would not be there.
No More Trouble
“There the wicked cease [from] troubling; and there the weary be at rest.” Job 3:17.
There will never be any trouble from any wicked person in heaven because they cease from troubling. Here in this world people are in trouble because of what they or others are saying or doing, something contrary to the law of God causing all kinds of trouble, stress, and strife in our world. In heaven, there will be no more trouble.
No More Tears
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death will not be anymore, neither sorrow, neither crying, neither pain will be anymore, because the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4. No more sin, no more death, no more sorrow. Just a few days before she died, Ellen White wrote, “All will be a happy, united family, clothed with garments of praise and thanksgiving. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming, ‘There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death.’ ” The Adventist Home, 544.
“Violence will no longer be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.” Isaiah 60:18. It goes on to say how the days of mourning will be ended and the people will all be righteous. It is a wonderful passage of Scripture. There will not be any mourning or any violence, and there will not be any destruction.
There are many deformities in this world. Most of us have fillings in our teeth, wear glasses and have many other kinds of deformities. But in heaven there will only be perfection. Isaiah 35:5, 6, says, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. The lame man shall leap as a hart [a deer], and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.” The deformities so common in this world will be gone, and no one will ever say again, “I am sick.” “Not, he will say, the inhabitant, I am sick.” Isaiah 33:24. Sickness and deformity will be something of the past. We look forward to the time when those using canes and wheelchairs and crutches will be able to throw them away and be rid of all their deformities.
The disciples at one time came to Jesus inquiring who would be the greatest in heaven. He answered them in Matthew 18:3, 4 saying, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
There will be no rough, unkind or selfish person in heaven; only those who have the meekness of a little child will be there. “In the family of God in heaven, there will not be found one who is selfish. The peace and harmony of the heavenly courts will not be marred by the presence of one who is rough or unkind. He who in this world exalts self in the work given him to do will never see the kingdom of God unless he is changed in his spirit, unless he becomes meek and lowly, revealing the simplicity of a little child.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 140.
If I recognize myself as rough, harsh, unkind, or selfish, I need to go to the Lord immediately and plead with Him to create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me. In heaven there will be no roughness or selfishness.
It is recorded in the Bible that on the night of Jesus’ betrayal there was strife and quarrelling amongst His disciples over which of them would be accounted the greatest. Jesus told them to be at peace with each other. You can read about it in Luke 22:23–27. Many times, whether being serious, or even in a joking manner, we fall into the devil’s temptation of shocking or jarring others, but there will be no contentions or war of words in heaven.
“Heaven is a home where sympathy is alive in every heart, expressed in every look. Love reigns there. There are no jarring elements, no discord or contentions or war of words.” Last Day Events, 296.
Does this mean people will be free to think in heaven? Yes, we will be free to have a different opinion; however, we are not going to have a war about it. Heaven is going to be a place full of individuals with different tastes. Here on earth Christians don’t all wear the same clothes or eat exactly alike because of our different tastes and cultures, and God made us to exercise the power of choice in these matters. There are many good things to choose from, making the world so diverse and interesting, but in heaven there will be no war of words over individual likes or dislikes.
This is really something to anticipate. There will be no tempter in heaven. “No tree of knowledge of good and evil will afford opportunity for temptation. No tempter is there, no possibility of wrong. Every character has withstood the testing of evil, and none are longer susceptible to its power.” Education, 301.
For a thousand years he (Satan) will experience the fruit of the curse which he has caused.
“Limited alone to the earth, he will not have the privilege of ranging to other planets, to tempt and annoy those who have not fallen. During this time Satan suffers extremely. … But he is then to be deprived of his power and left to reflect upon the part which he has acted since his fall, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future, when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for all the sins that he has caused to be committed.” The Story of Redemption, 416.
This is not only deliverance for the people on the earth, but also for the beings on other worlds who have never fallen. The devil has also tempted the intelligences in all the other worlds, and they will be delighted to not have him around to tempt them anymore.
“I heard shouts of triumph from the angels and from the redeemed saints which sounded like ten thousand musical instruments, because they were to be no more annoyed and tempted by Satan and because the inhabitants of other worlds were delivered from his presence and his temptations.” Early Writings, 290.
No Funerals, No Tears, No Pain
“Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. In the home of the redeemed there will be no tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 286. I knew of a young man who was in so much pain before he died that he begged his father, “Please get a gun and shoot me; I can’t stand the pain anymore.” Any physician, preacher or anyone having to visit people who are very sick has run into situations where they have witnessed unbearable pain. That experience is seared into the memory for the rest of your life. I have personally experienced many things that I wish I had not witnessed or heard. All this pain and suffering is just a part of the results of sin. We are so familiar with the fact that this earth causes pain from time to time that it is almost impossible to imagine heaven being a place devoid of both physical and emotional pain. No tears, and no funeral trains or badges of mourning because there is no death, no hospitals, and no funeral homes.
This tells us what will not be in heaven, but what is it that makes heaven, heaven?
Jesus is what makes heaven, heaven. When Jesus was here on this earth it was like heaven to be in His presence. Heaven is where Jesus is. The reason the disciples were so troubled when He said that He was going away was because after they got acquainted with Jesus, they found more happiness, more enjoyment in being in His presence, than they had ever had in all their previous lives.
If you want to be ready to go to heaven, you need to get acquainted with Jesus. He is the King of that place, the One whom everybody loves and worships. The wonderfulness of His character is something no human being or angel can really describe. You have to be there in heaven and experience eternal life to fully realize how wonderful He is. But there are several other things that have been promised when we get there.
Over the years I have met many people who have worked so hard for so long that they are just plain tired. Heaven is a place where people, who are physically and mentally tired, will have time to rest. Those who are weary from the struggles and trials of this world are going to be able to rest. They will no longer be under pressure to go somewhere or do something. That is very comforting to many people who have been struggling under all kinds of pressing circumstances for many years.
Fullness of Joy
David said, “You will teach me (or show me) the path of life: in your presence there [is] fullness of joy; at your right hand [there are] pleasures for ever more.” Psalm 16:11. In the Hebrew text it says, “There is fullness of joys,” plural. There is more than one kind of joy; there are many joys. And fullness of joy is found in His presence. This means that in heaven we will be the happiest of human beings.
Ellen White describes it this way. “If we can meet Jesus in peace and be saved, forever saved, we shall be the happiest of beings!” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 343. “The Lord has made every provision for our happiness in the future life.” Marantha, 369. Then we are told that we are not “to measure the conditions of the future life by the conditions of this life.” Ibid.
“Everything in heaven is noble and elevated. All seek the happiness of others. No one devotes himself to looking out and caring for self. It is the chief joy of all holy beings to witness the joy and happiness of those around them.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 239 “One rich tide of happiness will flow and deepen as eternity rolls on.” Ibid., vol. 9, 286.
It is impossible for us to imagine a place of permanent bliss. For the average person, the happiest moments of this life were when they first got married. The Lord uses illustrations to help us understand how happy we are going to be in heaven. In the book, Song of Solomon, the most sensual language is used to describe this bliss. Unfortunately for many, marriage does not stay blissful, but in heaven, that bliss just goes on and on. One rich tide of happiness will flow and deepen as eternity rolls on, and we will be the happiest of beings.
Just prior to Jesus’ ascension he told his troubled disciples that He was going to leave. He encouraged them by saying, “Let not your heart be troubled. You 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 also, I will prepare a place for you. Again I am coming and I will receive you to Myself, in order that where I myself am, also you might be.” John 14:1–3.
Heaven is a place where you will have a permanent dwelling. The word monai, translated mansions, means places or “places” or “permanent dwellings.” There will not be any trailer parks or mobile homes in heaven. All will have a permanent home that will last forever.
Everyone WIll Be Known
“For we see now through a glass in an indistinct image, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12. This means that in heaven those who are saved will know the friends that they had here in this world.
“The resurrection of Jesus was a type of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The countenance of the risen Savior, His manner, His speech, were all familiar to His disciples. As Jesus arose from the dead, so those who sleep in Him are to arise again. We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured in this mortal life and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved.” The Desire of Ages, 804.
“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection.” The Faith I Live By, 185. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again, bearing the same individuality of features so that friend will recognize friend.
“The loves and sympathies that God has planted in the soul will find truest and sweetest exercise.” Ibid., 279.
“Every saint connected in family relationship here will know each other there.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 316. In heaven there will be a reunion of friends and loved ones who are now separated by death. There, the saved will be together forever and never separated for more than a week. It is possible that one of your friends, or your family members may decide to stay in the Holy City and you may be taking a trip somewhere in the universe, but never more than a week. Why? Because it says in Isaiah 66:22, 23, “Every Sabbath and every new moon, all flesh is going to come together and worship before Me.” There will be no more “goodbyes” for more than a week.
A Home, Roots
“For those saying these things make it manifest that they seek a fatherland. And if, on the one hand, they had wanted to return to the one they left, they would have had time to return. But now they seek a better one, that is an heavenly. Wherefore God, is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:14–16.
Notice, these people are seeking a fatherland, or a country, and God has prepared for them a city. In the Bible, the inheritance of the saved is called a fatherland or a country that also has a city. It has lakes, rivers, woods and mountains. Ellen White saw this in vision: “We entered a field full of all kinds of beasts—the lion, the lamb, the leopard, and the wolf, all together in perfect union. We passed through the midst of them, and they followed on peaceably after. Then we entered a wood, not like the dark woods we have here; no, no; but light, and all over glorious; the branches of the trees moved to and fro, and we all cried out, ‘We will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.’ We passed through the woods, for we were on our way to Mount Zion.” Early Writings, 18. Heaven is a beautiful place. It has everything the heart could possibly desire.
What will we do in heaven? Isaiah 65:21, 22 tells us that we are going to build houses. You are already going to have a house in the city, but you are also going to be able to build yourself a country house, inhabit it and plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. It will never be taken from you. You are not going to build and another inhabit or plant and another eat. It goes on to say, “My elect are going to enjoy the work of their hands for a long time.”
“There [in heaven] every power will be developed. Every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will appear new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to study to call forth the powers of mind and soul.” The Review and Herald, July 1, 1915. “All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar.” The Great Controversy, 677.
In Abraham’s day, looking at the sky without telescopes, it was thought that there were a few thousand stars. Later, with the use of telescopes, we found that there were millions of stars, and today with more sophisticated telescopes we know that there are billions. Every time we build a bigger telescope, we find that there are more.
How many galaxies are there? We have no idea, but in heaven you will be able to go to those places and also do things that Adam and Eve enjoyed doing: build houses and plant vineyards. All the treasures of the universe will be open to your study.
Heaven is a place where we are going to enjoy music. No one will be singing the blues in heaven. A different kind of music will be heard there. “The ransomed of the Lord will return, they will come to Zion with songs.” Notice what kinds of songs. “And everlasting joy upon their heads. They will obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10.
Isaiah 51:3 also talks about joy and gladness, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. And there will be instruments: “The singers and the players on instruments: will be there.” Psalm 87:7.
When I get to heaven I want to have a music room with different kinds of instruments.
I learned when I was very young that there were all kinds of things I wanted to do that there would not be time to do in this world. I took trumpet lessons for a few years when I was young, but I actually wanted to be able to play a saxophone, the clarinet, the trombone, the piano, and the organ. It was impossible to learn all those instruments in this short lifetime.
In high school I thought it would be interesting to study science, history, biology, chemistry, and physics. Unfortunately, you cannot become a specialist in all those areas because we simply do not live long enough. I decided then that if I only had enough time to look at one of those subjects I had better study theology; I had better study, how to get to heaven so I will have enough time to study all the other interesting things throughout eternity.
Music is something I haven’t had much time to study, but someday I want to be a professional musician. Heaven will be a place where we will all be able to become musicians. “There will be music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived.” Maranatha, 361. For those of us who enjoy music, that is an exciting thing to look forward to.
Restoration of the First Dominion
In Micah 4:8, it says that we are going to be restored to the first dominion. When Adam was created, he was made the ruler, the king, or master of the whole world. All animals, birds, fish, and every living creature was under his direct control. “Man will be restored to his lost kingship, and the lower order of beings will again recognize his sway; the fierce will become gentle, and the timid trustful.” Marantha, 353. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the young lion and fatling together. A little child shall lead them. Why? Once more man will have dominion over the animals and they will do whatever the little child says. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together. The lions shall eat straw like the ox. They won’t hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, says the Lord. (See Isaiah 11:6–9.)
Man will again have dominion over the entire earth. The first dominion will be restored and all other living creatures will obey his will.
Living in God’s Presence
“There shall be no more curse; the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face, and His name shall be upon their foreheads.” Revelation 22:3, 4. In heaven there will be face to face communication with the Father and the Son. If you are alive at His Second Coming and make up part of the 144,000, you will go with Jesus wherever He goes throughout the universe for eternity. It is hard to imagine this, but it’s fun to try.
Youth and Beauty
At the resurrection, “All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. … But all arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth.” Maranatha, 299. “The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave.” The Great Controversy, 644, 645.
Heaven is a place of youth and beauty. There are people now with defects or blemishes in their appearance that make it hard for them to socialize and live a normal life because of embarrassment. This is often more difficult for a woman than a man, but soon that will all be gone. Everyone in heaven will be beautiful with the healthful vigor of youth.
Sympathy and Love
Never again will it be heard, “Oh, nobody understands me!” Heaven is a place of sympathy and love. “Heaven is a home where sympathy is alive in every heart, expressed in every look. Love reigns there.” Manuscript Releases, vol.9, 105.
Heaven is a Place of Learning
Is there something here on earth that you would like to know and don’t get the opportunity to study? “Heaven is a school; its field of study, the universe; its teacher, the Infinite One.” The Faith I Live By, 360.
Maybe you want to study science or history. Maybe it is the plan of redemption, or how sin entered the universe and how the Lord has dealt with it for the last 6,000 years. What about understanding how the angels work in your own life? Do you want to understand what happened to you that seemed so awful that you said, “Lord, why did you even allow this to happen?” In heaven, “Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God and will explain to us the dark providences through which on this earth He brought us in order to perfect our characters.” The Adventist Home, 544. “All that has perplexed us in the providences of God will in the world to come be made plain.” Ibid., 542. This is something to really look forward to.
Hebrews 11:24–27 tells us that Moses chose to suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin. He chose that course because he had respect unto the recompense or the amount of the reward—the inheritance. Jesus also referred to this inheritance in Matthew 19:29. He said that “whatever you have lost in this world, when I come again you are going to receive one hundred fold, plus you are going to receive eternal life.” Ellen White also writes about this: “Whatever crosses they have been called to bear, whatever losses they have sustained, whatever persecution they have suffered, even to the loss of their temporal life, the children of God are amply recompensed.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 180. The word amply means plentifully. If we could just grasp that one fact it would change our whole life. We would never be mourning when we lose something here, for He has promised that we will be paid back one hundred fold when the Lord comes.
All that is pure, all that is excellent and lovely is there. The possession of heaven is endless bliss, infinite glory, riches, and knowledge. The character of heaven is perfect love, and holiness, and peace. We know these things now only in part. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9.
Oh, friend, you have to be there. We need to review these things so that we are not caught up with what this world has to offer. Everything in this world is coming to an end and is going to be destroyed. In heaven your happiness and joy will continually increase for eternity.
To miss out on heaven would be an infinite loss. For one soul to miss out on heaven is worse than missing out on a whole world of material possessions. In all of our relations with our fellow men, in our home, with our families, with our friends, we need to keep in mind at all times that we are all choosing day by day our eternal destiny.
Our mission as Christians is to reflect to others the character of Christ so that they also will be attracted to Jesus and desire to be in the place where He is. If they see Him in us, they will want to be there.
(Literal translation is used in many Bible quotes.)
Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at: 316–788–5559.