“When we are on the beach we only see a small part of the ocean. However, we know that there is much more beyond the horizon. We only see a small part of God’s great love, a few jewels of His great riches, but we know that there is much more beyond the horizon. The best is yet to come, when we see Jesus face-to-face.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
“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 2:7-9 (NKJV)
When we plan a trip to an unfamiliar land, we get excited about the new destination. Curious, we research the weather, history, fauna and famous landmarks. But it is not until we are there in person, experiencing the culture and environment that we fully understand or grasp all that the location has to offer. Such will be our experience with heaven.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part.But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (NKJV)
When I see a beautiful sunset, cloud formation, bird, or force of nature, I am humbled by the beauty and power. I often look up to gaze at the constellations, imagining my Heavenly Father seated on His mercy seat. But, I can only imagine that I hear the heavenly hosts singing out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” I see and know in part but when I am finally home I will see and know so much more. Earth is just a shadow of what awaits us in heaven. Heaven IS our final destination and we SHOULD be excited about our trip to eternity.
After Christ returns and the Kingdom of Heaven begins on earth, as the New Jerusalem, we can look forward to viewing the beauty of this Holy City. The apostle John describes our eternal home in Revelation 21:11-27. (Be sure to read it!) Within these verses John tells us that the holy city shines with the glory of God, and that its brilliance is like that of a very precious jewel. There is no temple in the city because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is its temple. The city has no need of a sun or moon for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp.
There is a great high wall with an angel posted at each of the twelve gates. On these gates are written the twelve tribes of Israel. The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the names of the twelve apostles. In addition, the foundations of the city walls are decorated with every kind of precious stone we can imagine. Just think of the beauty…sapphires, emeralds, rubies, amethyst and other precious gems enclose the dwelling place of the Lord most high!
“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27 (NIV)
When traveling to a foreign land, it is not uncommon for us to experience the city life and mingle with the citizens. In heaven we will be the citizens who daily experience the beauty of the New Jerusalem first hand. In addition, many of the citizens who now await our arrival, the heavenly hosts who cheer us on in our race, will eagerly welcome us home. We can even look forward to visiting with believers we respected and admired from a time we never lived while on earth. What a joy it will be for me to converse with Oswald Chambers, Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis, Rich Mullins, and George Frederic Handel.
Since we can be moved by music composed in a fallen world, can you imagine the beauty of sound that awaits us in paradise? The gifts we now hold will be magnified in heaven. It will be such a joy to use art and music, math and science, athletics and language, to glorify our God in bigger and better ways.
I have no doubt that there are animals in heaven. If you search the scriptures, you will find several that mention animals in the afterlife. At the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ we will find Him riding a white horse (2 Kings 2:11, Revelation 19:11-16) and Isaiah 11:6 speaks of a little child leading a wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, and lion. I believe pets are God-created companions and I know many of us would welcome an opportunity to see our beloved animals once again. And since God is the giver of all good gifts…why wouldn’t we be reunited? Randy Alcorn writes about this possibility in his book, Heaven.
“One of the most revealing Old Testament pictures of God’s redemptive work is the Flood and Noah’s ark. When God saved people from the destruction of the Flood, he also took great care to save the animals, the people’s companions and helpers.”
“If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would be just like Him. It would be totally in keeping with His generous character… Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant in grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures in heaven will hold for us, the potential of seeing Scrappy would be pure whimsy-utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous….Heaven is going to be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the goodness and joy of our great God, who delights in lavishing love on His children.”
God promises to wipe away all tears and sorrow once we have entered our eternal home, the New Jerusalem. There will be no more pain, but there will be a tree of life that bears twelve different kinds of fruit and whose leaves have healing powers. This might mean our new bodies will still need an ointment for minor bumps or bruises, but we can all rest in the knowledge that there is no more death or suffering in heaven.
If you are not excited about your trip to paradise I have not done my job. So let me end this devotion with one more enticement. Fellowship and laughter. Yes, you will live and fellowship not only with old friends and new friends, but with your Creator as well! He will feast with you and welcome your songs of praise. He will laugh at your jokes and even tell a few of His own; after all He gave the human race a sense of humor, which means HE has one too!
Heaven is a destination full of wonders, work, fellowship, joy, laughter, and praise. Why not look into booking your trip now and research the sights you want to see? There will be an endless amount of activities for you to enjoy, not to mention a multitude of saints you will want to meet.
“They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” Luke 13:29-30
“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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:2-4 (NKJV)
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done!I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things,and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” Revelation 21:4-7 (NKJV)
“And he showed me a pureriver of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:1-2 (NKJV)
“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord,To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they existand were created.” Revelations 4:8-11 (NKJV