The pain, sorrow, and unhappiness in this world of ours are distressing to any sensitive individual. Starvation is rampant in some parts of the globe, mothers and their children have been left homeless by war, and young and old alike are destroying their lives inch by inch through alcohol and drug habits. Crime has increased drastically. Selfishness and sin have turned our earthly home into a habitat of untold suffering and wickedness.
A time is coming, however, when all of this will be changed. Our solar system will be purged by a great consuming fire, and it will be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. Writing in Revelation 21 and 22, the apostle John recorded his vision of an immense city of shimmering beauty, descending slowly from heaven to become the capital city of our eternal home. It will be radiant with the light of God’s glory shining through its jasper walls, its jeweled foundation, and its pearly gates. And this city, the New Jerusalem, will be the eternal abode of all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. All who have been saved will walk the street of gold in transformed, glorified bodies.We’ll enjoy heaven’s beautiful crystal river and have ready access to its tree of life.We’ll be eternally delivered from every evil and burden that plagues our world today. And we’ll finally have become what God intended us to be.
What a wonderful life we’ll have in our eternal home! In that perfect society we’ll realize our full spiritual potential as individuals. Having entered an eternal fellowship with God, we’ll be engaged in an endless variety of meaningful activities.We’ll join with the saints of all the ages in a spirit of communion, fellowship, and love, all centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this concluding lesson on Our Eternal Home, I’d like to consider with you some of the marvelous blessings that await us.We’ll see that the imperfections of this life will be missing and that positive blessings will be there in abundance.
THE EFFECTS OF SIN REMOVED
So that we may more completely understand the blessings and glory of our life in heaven, John’s record mentions a number of things that mar human existence on earth, and assures us that they will not be present in our eternal home.
No Tears. Our days on earth are filled with tragedy, heartache, suffering, disappointment, and evil. As a result, tears are all too common in the experience of mankind. The lonely vigils at bedsides, the secret burdens buried deep in a mother’s heart, and the memories of tragedy, rejection, and pain are all too close to us. But before eternity begins, God Himself will wipe away all tears from our eyes! The ministry will not be entrusted to angels. No lesser citizens of heaven will perform this task, for the Lord Himself will pour His healing balm into the wounds and hurts of our lives. The apostle John wrote:
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 (Rev. 21:4).
Let me be quick to point out that these words in no way imply that saints will shed tears in heaven concerning the sins and failures of their earthly lives. Not at all! The gracious, comforting work of God, not the remorse of the children, is the emphasis of this verse.
No Death. Not only will there be an absence of tears in heaven, but John also said, “There shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4). This fearsome enemy continually casts its shadow on our lives here on earth. Eventually death enters every happy family circle. Sooner or later, every home experiences the feeling of emptiness—the dreadful vacuum caused by the passing of a loved one. No member of humanity, even the most strong, can escape the relentless passing of time and the realization that the earthly sojourn is brief. How happy we can be that in our eternal home we will experience no more anxiety, no more wondering when the end will come, no more long hours by hospital bedsides, and praise God, no more funerals!
No Sorrow Nor Crying. These words are closely related to the tears God wipes away, but the sorrow absent from our eternal home has reference to mourning or grief. Here on earth we have many occasions for sorrow—our own sins and shortcomings, personal misfortunes, disappointments in others, and distressing national conditions. When we reach the New Jerusalem, we shall never again mourn, but we’ll be completely free from sin, experience no adversity or discouragement, and never have occasion to be concerned over calamitous national or world conditions. In James 4:9 sinners are warned to change their laughter into mourning, but in heaven the saints will exchange mourning for joy.
We also are reassured that there will be no more crying. This refers to loud, uncontrolled sobbing, the kind of weeping that results from the shock of deep, piercing hurt. Thank God, when we reach the eternal home, we will never again hear agonizing cries of sorrow or anguish. There will be no heartbreak in heaven.
No Pain. We are also given the comforting assurance that “there shall be no more pain” (Rev. 21:4). What a blessing to read these words from the Bible! A brief visit to a cancer ward, convalescent home, or hospital quickly gives us an unforgettable glimpse of the widespread suffering that curses our world. In heaven, however, we will never again experience hurt of any kind. These bodies of ours in their glorified state will be free from all disease.We’ll never again know physical distress or suffering. And, we’ll never grow old. A feeling of vigor and youthful energy will forever mark the resurrection body that will be ours.
No Night. Then too, we are told that night will never fall in heaven.
The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there) (Rev. 21:23-25).
In the present, we’re dependent on the sun for light and heat.We have day and night, and the four seasons, because of the earth’s rotation and our relationship to the sun. In heaven, however, there will be no need of sunlight, for the radiant glory of God will fill the city and spread throughout the entire earth.
No Defilement. Another element common to this life that will be missing in heaven will be defilement from evil. Revelation 21:27 tells us that “there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie.” Today our larger cities are filled with crime, violence, obscenity, and hatred. Pornographic literature, obscene theatrical productions, and blatant immorality pervade the streets. In urban areas, parents are even afraid to let their children walk to the playground alone, for fear they will be harmed or molested. Drug addiction and its related evils and heartaches threaten many teenagers who attend our high schools. Violent crimes such as rape, armed robbery, and murder are on the increase.
The promise of no defilement in heaven, therefore, comes as good news.Within the gates of the New Jerusalem no sin can enter. No defiling substance nor personal acts of desecration can mar its eternal purity. And no spiritual or physical harm will ever come to any of God’s children.
Think of it: No rebellion! No murder! No violence! No immorality! What a blessed place heaven will be!
No Curse. Another effect of sin that will be removed forever when we enter our eternal home is found in the promise that “there shall be no more curse” (Rev. 22:3). In our world, farmers must toil endlessly in their battle against weeds, poor soil, plant disease, and insects. A violent storm can wipe out a year’s crops in a few minutes. But in heaven, nothing will impair productivity. All the effects of Adam’s curse will be gone forever. Fields and orchards will flourish. Finally delivered from the consequences of Adam’s fall, nature will smile on mankind.We’ll experience an abundance that has been unknown since the fall of man.
In our eternal home, we will be free from tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain, darkness, and disappointment. How comforting and strengthening it is to reflect on the curse-free world that awaits us! The tears and sorrows of this life will only serve to make heaven all the sweeter.
MAN’S DESTINY FULFILLED
The evils that mar our life on earth will be gone in heaven, and we will fulfill perfectly the purpose for which God created us: to enjoy His presence, fellowship, and blessing. God has planned that we should be exalted above angels, for they are “sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14).
We Will Know Him Perfectly. Our present knowledge of God, while real and precious, remains incomplete. Sin has entered and distorted the picture, and we often fall short of the Lord’s ideal for us. But in heaven we will know Him perfectly.We’ll behold the glory of His presence, and faith will turn to sight.
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” (Rev. 21:3).
Yes, we will delight in the glory of the Lord God. And we will know Him personally, for the Bible says:
They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads (Rev. 22:4).
Our hearts will throb with joy as we comprehend the fullness of the Lord’s glory and majesty. Loving adoration and sincere praise will flow from our hearts as we gaze into the face of our Savior.
We Will Worship And Serve Him. In addition to the blessing of knowing and enjoying God, we will be kept busy in fruitful activity.
There shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him (Rev. 22:3).
Sometimes heaven is incorrectly pictured as a place of never-ending boredom and sameness. Its inhabitants are portrayed as floating around on clouds, wearing long white robes, and playing harps all day. Or they are depicted as standing forever around the throne of God, mouthing His praises in unison for all eternity.
I’m glad that’s not the accurate story.We’ll worship God! It will be an important and rewarding part of our heavenly activity. The shortcomings and imperfections of our praise here will all be removed. Our minds won’t wander during prayer as they do now, and we won’t be thinking about business or other less important matters when our full attention should be directed toward God. No temple will be needed in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22), for it would be an element of the imperfect, symbolic worship of this world.
The new world will also present opportunity for an endless variety of activities. The joys we derive from God’s beautiful world of nature will still be ours, only on a far higher plane. The delight of fellowship with others will also exceed anything we have ever experienced on earth. In our heavenly home we will know one another perfectly, and each will be without fault. Our fellowship today is often marred by evasion and a covering of our deepest thoughts, but then a wonderful spirit-to-spirit communion of radiant personalities will exist. Remember, the verse said, “His servants shall serve Him.”We’ll be busy doing things He considers important, and we’ll be infinitely happy as we do His will. Yes, in our eternal home we’ll know a life of praise, satisfaction, and usefulness such as we have never experienced here on earth.
We Will Reign With Him. Finally, all believers in Christ will reign with the Lord Jesus for all eternity. The apostle John, after describing the light of God’s glory that will surround us, revealed that we will share in His dominion over the earth. He declared:
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).
This completes our glorification. We will actually share in the authority of God over the transformed creation. Exalted far above the angels, transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ, set free from all pain, sadness, sin, and death, we’ll enjoy a life of never-ending happiness, satisfaction, and glory.We will have realized the purpose for which God made us, for with Jesus Christ we will exercise dominion over the earth. You can make certain right now that heaven will be your eternal home by praying something like this:
“Lord Jesus, I want heaven to be my home. Therefore, believing that You died for me and arose from the grave, I accept You and the salvation You have provided. Forgive my sin. I’m trusting You and You alone for my salvation. Save me. I do believe. Amen.”
If you prayed this sincerely, you can claim the promise of the Lord Jesus, “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (Jn. 6:37).