Dr. David Jeremiah Presents
Living inthe Ageof Signs
Living in the Age of Signs
7 Coming Attractions in Heaven
There is a chain of all–inclusive resorts that capitalize on the attraction of beaches—named, not surprisingly, Beaches (with four locations in Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands). They actually specialize in "weddingmoons"—a wedding and honeymoon combination package. Having experienced my wedding, four weddings of my children, and scores of other weddings as a pastor, the idea of someone handling all the details is definitely attractive to me!
But there's something else that speaks to me about the idea of an all–inclusive "weddingmoon" experience—it parallels what God has planned for us in heaven. God has created a place and an experience that no all–inclusive resort on earth could possibly duplicate. But I find that most Christians have never opened God's "weddingmoon brochure," found in Revelation 21–22, and learned about the marvelous experience God has planned for those who will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
The Power of Attractions
When our family moved to the San Diego, California, area nearly 40 years ago, I didn't realize people came from all over the world to experience its attractions. And San Diego has plenty of them: a year–round, moderate climate, gorgeous harbors full of beautiful boats, majestic naval vessels gliding into port, sandy beaches, wonderful shopping and restaurants, professional sporting events, wild and rugged mountains just to our east, and access to the PCH—the Pacific Coast Highway—that links San Diego with Los Angeles and all the exotic points in between. I've lived here nearly 40 years and still have not seen all my hometown's attractions.
Every locale has its own attractions. They speak to our senses and pull us to that place; they quicken our anticipation for what we will experience when we get there. And I believe that is one reason God showed the apostle John a full–color, 3–D picture of heaven—"the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2). I believe God wanted to prove to all who would read the Bible 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" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Whenever I hear Christians say something like, Isn't heaven going to be boring? What are we going to do for eternity? … I'm reminded of a six–year old who is complaining about "having" to spend a week at Disneyland! Such a child has no idea what is in store for him when he gets there. But once he sees a video, watches a TV commercial, or looks at a brochure—well, that's all it takes. His bags are packed, and he's ready to go.
Revelation 21–22 should have the same impact on every Christian—those two chapters are God's display of "coming attractions" for all who belong to Christ.
Heaven's Coming Attractions
I want to highlight for you what the apostle John saw in his vision of heaven. And I emphasize saw because this is an eyewitness account from a man who placed great importance on accurate reporting when he wrote about the life of Jesus on earth (John 1:14; 19:35; Acts 4:19–20; 1 John 1:1–3; 4:14; see also 2 Peter 1:16). John is not inventing images to describe things he heard about; he is reporting what he saw with his own two eyes (literally or in a spiritual vision): "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1).
First, heaven is HUGE! I'll spare you the translation of the math in Revelation 21:15–16, but the New Jerusalem is a cube (like the Holy of Holies in the temple) which, if located in the United States, would cover approximately two–thirds of the land area—from the east coast to the western states. This is the "house" Jesus left earth to prepare for God's people (John 14:1–4). Don't gloss over the size. Can you imagine what it will be like one day to live in such an other–worldly city as this?
Second, heaven is "brilliant" (21:10–11). Paris, France, was originally called the "City of Light" because of its illuminating ideas and, later, because of its early adoption of street lights. Our own Las Vegas is a different kind of "city of (neon) lights," in a more glaring way. But neither can approach the brilliance of the New Jerusalem. I sense the apostle John struggled to find earthly words to describe the brilliance he observed, saying "Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal" (verse 11). I've never seen light like that; but in heaven, the city where we live will be full of radiance forever.
Next, there are gates—twelve of them—three on each side of the wall surrounding the city. At each gate stands an angel. On each gate is inscribed the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob for whom the twelve tribes of Israel were named. And the city's twelve foundations bear the names of the twelve apostles (21:9–14). Each foundation is decorated with a different kind of precious jewel—jasper, sapphires, emeralds, and the like. Now, note this: the gates are pearls. Not like pearls, or made of pearl—but the gates are pearls (21:19–21). When I try to imagine this in my mind's eye, I am overwhelmed with the thought of living in this fabulous city.
Fourth—and this is awe–inspiring—the city and its streets are made of pure gold that is transparent, like glass (21:18, 21). Pure, 24–karat gold on earth is normally listed as 99.999 percent pure. But it is not transparent. So we apparently do not have truly pure gold on earth. But that is the substance of the New Jerusalem. Think of a city, 1,500 miles long, wide, and tall, that is completely transparent because it is made of one–hundred percent pure gold! But consider this: I once read that all the gold that has ever been mined in the world would fit in a cube 60 feet on a side. But we are headed for a city of gold that is 1,500 miles on each side!
Fifth—and now we're getting to the main attraction—the city that is heaven will not need the sun or the moon for light, "for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light" (21:23). In
fact, the gates of the city will never be shut because there will be no night in the New Jerusalem (verse 25). The thrones of God and Jesus Christ will be in the middle of the city illuminating
it all by their own glory. Is that not appropriate? We struggle on earth to keep Christ at the center of our life, but that struggle will be over in heaven as His throne occupies its rightful place in our experience.
Sixth, there may even be a beach in heaven! Flowing from the thrones of God and the Lamb, down the central street of the city, is a "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal." On each side of the river stands the tree of life bearing monthly yields of fruit (22:1–2). As much as I love the lemons, oranges, grapefruits, avocados, and other fruits that grow so naturally in my home state, I'm sure the fruit from the tree of life in the New Jerusalem will be beyond comparison to anything we have tasted before.
Finally, nothing will be sweeter in heaven than the reunions we will experience with Christian friends and loved ones we have lost in this life. We have received a promise that those who died in the Lord will be raised from the grave and, together with those who are alive at His appearing, will meet the Lord at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18). Our ultimate destination is the New Jerusalem where we will dwell in pure love, along with that great cloud of witnesses from all the ages (Hebrews 12:1), forever.
I hope this brief description of some of heaven's attractions has whetted your appetite to see them in person—and to read about them yourself in God's Word. I know my room in the Holy City is reserved, and I hope you have that same confidence as well. Even if we never meet in this life, we have all eternity to bask together in the glory of the Lamb in the city He is preparing for us.