What Does The Bible Teach About Heaven And The Afterlife?

There are so many ideas about heaven in our culture. Some of these ideas are representative of what the Bible teaches and others are far from what Scripture teaches. For instance, some people believe we will receive wings like the angels in heaven and fly around in the clouds. Others think that heaven will be a quiet place of rest. But is this what the Bible teaches about heaven? Let’s take a look at some verses and see how heaven is envisioned from God’s perspective.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:1-5

As you can see, there is a distinction between humans and angels. They are a different type of creature than us. While we will be given glorified bodies, Scripture does not indicate we will be like angels. I think we can make this assumption since Jesus did resurrect from the dead and had no wings. He was able to go through walls in John 20:19, but he still had a physical body with similar features since he did eat food with the disciples.

Moreover, we will not be floating in clouds and relaxing. Instead, we will be servants of God. This means there will be tasks for us to do. Also, we will be worshipping God from his holy sanctuary. There will be no sun, there will be no night, for the Lord God will be our light.

I think the culture does get it right when heaven is described as a place of peace. As we can see from this verse, there is a tree of life for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be famine or war. No longer will there be pain or suffering. This is the beautiful truth of what heaven teaches, both in Scripture and most cultures throughout human history.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

Isn’t this verse encouraging? He will wipe away all of our tears. This shows that God is personal and relational with us in heaven. Also, death will be no more. This concept points us to eternal life. Heaven has no end. We will worship God forever.

“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?” – John 14:2

I love this verse. Jesus tells us that the Father has many rooms. This shows that God is not willing that anyone perish, but that all come to faith and repentance in Him. This passage also implies that God is working diligently to prepare a place for us in heaven. This means heaven is a physical place and not just some spiritual dream state. How encouraging is that?

“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God.” -Revelation 4:1-11

This scene sets the stage for how glorious heaven will be. Imagine all of the brilliant colors there: jasper, carnelian, rainbow emeralds. Flashes of lightning and thunder will be surrounding the holy throne of God. There will be seven torches of fire which represent the seven spirits of God. Of course, John the apostle is trying to express all of these magnificent revelations given to him on the island of Patmos. Heaven is going to be a glorious place.

In conclusion, I want us to think about heaven and the afterlife. The culture teaches us some truth about what heaven will be like: a place of peace, worshipful, a spiritual and physical experience, comfort, joy, etc.

However, the Bible gives us a more accurate view. It teaches us that we will be different from the angels. Scripture shows that heaven will be serving God, which means we will have work to do. We won’t simply be standing there on a cloud playing a harp while we sing. There is more to it than that, according to what the book of revelation teaches.

I hope this short message on heaven will give you better insight as to what the Bible teaches. More importantly, however, is having a relationship with God now while you are here on the Earth. Jesus told us that his kingdom come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This means God’s will for us is to live for the kingdom now!

Have you made God your Lord and Savior? That’s what it means to be part of the kingdom. God becomes your king. He sets the rules and we obey and follow. If you don’t have a relationship with God, I would encourage you to peruse through my other article on what is the good news. Blessings!

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