What is heaven like & where is heaven?
John 14:1-3 even says that Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us to live. In heaven, those saved by God will have new bodies without the curse of sin! There will be no one who is blind, deaf or lame in heaven (Isaiah 35:5, 6 and Philippians 3:21). Although Jesus builds houses in heaven, the Bible also says that those saved will also build their own houses and inhabit them as well as plant and eat from vineyards (Isaiah 65:21). Most importantly, God will be in heaven and He wants to be your friend. He wants to dwell with you and wipe away all your tears (Revelation 21:1-4).
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What does the Bible say about heaven?
Is heaven real? Is there a heaven? There are many popular myths about heaven and where it is that create misunderstanding. According to the Bible, the universe is not only infinite, but also filled with intelligent, friendly, benevolent beings. The most amazing and almost unbelievable fact is that the way to heaven is not complicated. Our title to heaven is given freely to those who accept that God bore our wrongs against Himself when Jesus died on the cross. When we ask Him for forgiveness and a new heart to keep His commandments, He will freely give us both.
Three meanings of "heaven"
1) The word "heaven" (Hebrew: shamyim, Greek: ouranos) can mean God’s dwelling place. The Bible says: "The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all" (Psalm 103:19). God’s throne is also mentioned in connection with the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:16).
2) Heaven may also refer to the endless planets, stars, and galaxies of the universe. The Bible says: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained" (Psalm 8:3).
3) The Bible also speaks of the atmosphere that surrounds the earth as heaven or heavens (Genesis 1: 7, 8). Please note: one must study the biblical context to understand which of the three meanings is implied.
The Bible is clear on the following:
After Jesus was raised from the dead, He went to heaven. The Bible says: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Prior to this Jesus told His disciples: "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" (John 14:2-3).
1) All things are new
2) No tears or pain
3) Perfect peace
4) Houses and vineyards
5) Fruitful gardens
Is heaven real?
1) Heaven has solid real estate
Popular myths picture heaven as a fanciful place where spirits sit on clouds playing harps or float around in nebulous space. However, in John 14:2-3 the Bible says that Jesus is building mansions in heaven for those who accept salvation. He is preparing real buildings with real tangible materials for real people who will inhabit them.
Additionally, when Jesus went to heaven he told his disciples: "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom" (Matthew 26:29). This means that in heaven real vineyards will produce real grapes.
The Bible even refers to heaven as a country (Hebrews 11:16). Before sin came into this world, the world was a physical paradise — a beautiful garden full of fruits, trees, and animals. Similarly, when sin is finally eradicated from this universe, we will get to live life as God originally intended for mankind when He first created the Garden of Eden — not as spirits on clouds, but in a tangible, material Heaven.
2) There are many intelligent beings in heaven
The Bible speaks about hosts or inhabitants of both heaven and earth. "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished" (Genesis 2:1). The Bible mentions that beings on other planets rejoiced at the creation of the earth. "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). The biblical prophet Micaiah said: "I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and His left" (2 Chronicles 18:18).
3) Perfect unselfish love governs all relationships in heaven
4) We will have physical bodies in heaven
5) The New Earth as heaven
Bible prophecy points to the fact that Jesus will return the second time. He will not come in secret, but every eye shall see him (Revelation 1:7). At that time, those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior will be taken to heaven for a period of time. They will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years in the mansions Jesus is building and in the New Jerusalem in the heavenly country. Then He will bring the New Jerusalem down to earth. God will recreate a new earth with a new atmosphere, and our heavenly life will take place right here. (See Second Coming, Millennium)
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible says we do not go to heaven or hell when we die. We sleep in the grave until the resurrection as the Bible says: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2). (See Death, Hell, Resurrection)
The entrance to heaven is not automatic for people who have simply tried to be good. The Bible says: "But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27). The qualifying factor for those who enter will be whether or not their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
To learn how to have your name written in the Book of Life see our topic on Salvation. The realities of heaven and the new earth can be only a prayer away.
You may wish to learn more through the Discover Bible Lessons on our Bible studies section.