Aren’t we all looking forward to Heaven? Wafting joyfully amongst the clouds, basking in the presence of the Holy One of Israel, free of concerns, free of duties and toils, forever elated.
Sounds nice, but don’t bet on it. That ain’t heaven- that’s Hollywood.
The Bible tells us that those who survive the Tribulation, the chosen who have chosen to remain faithful, will be part of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21). In the Acharit HaYamim (The End Days) after all the destruction is completed, the Enemy and his minions are in the lake of fire and the unfaithful in hell, the new heavens and the new earth will be revealed and the faithful (namely, the survivors) will not be in heaven. We will inhabit the new earth. Although Shaul (Paul) says we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) that isn’t where we reside. We are citizens of heaven but we live on earth.
And there will be work to do, there will also be sickness. Huh? Sickness in heaven? Aren’t we are told there will be no more tears? Yes, we are: it says in Revelations, as well as a few times in Isaiah, that the tears will be wiped from every eye and (essentially) there will be no more crying or mourning.
So, if there will be no more crying, where are the tears from every eye coming from? Or is it that there will be one last big “cry” and from then on, it’ s joyful joy, joy, joy all the time?
If there will be no more sickness then why do the trees that are on the river of living water Ezekiel and Yochanan (John) see have leaves with healing in them? In Ezekiel (47:12) and in Revelations (22:1) they both see the same tree with leaves that heal. Why have healing leaves if there is no more disease?
I can’t speak on these authoritatively, and I don’t believe anyone can give us an exact revelation of Revelations, or of the visions seen by the Prophets, either. I feel confident in saying that we can be certain of the meaning of a vision only when the events after the vision demonstrate what it was about. For instance, Kefa (Peter) on the roof dreaming of the animals on the sheet is clearly about the Roman’s asking him to go to the house of Cornelius so that the new Believers would know that the Spirit of God and salvation can come to the Gentiles, too. The history that came after the vision showed us what the vision was about (and just for the record, it had NOTHING to do with Kashrut, Kosher Laws.)
When I read the Bible and the statements made about the Eternal life promised to those that remain faithful, I do not see us roaming the heavens. That is where God lives with the angels. We are on the new earth. We are still working in an agricultural economy; Micah 4:3-4 says we will turn our swords and spears into farming utensils, so again I ask: why need farming utensils if we aren’t farming? If we don’t farm, and war is over, then wouldn’t we turn the swords and spears into something else? Or just throw them away?
We are also told in those verses that each will sit under his vine and fig tree. Here we again are being given a picture of an agrarian existence. Thomas Jefferson once wrote to George Washington that, “Agriculture … is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals & happiness.” Obviously, Jefferson (himself a farmer) thought that agriculture was a very “godly” pursuit. Of course, he also wrote his own Bible and cut everything spiritual and God-related out of it. Oh well, at least he knew farming was a good thing.
Back to the point… we will live on earth, the new earth, when all is said and done. Whether you go for Pre-Millennial, or Post-Millennial, or even Mid-Millennial, whatever! From what I read in the Manual, God will be in the heavens, but I really don’t know where Yeshua will be. I think He will be the righteous king over all the (new) earth, the one wiping the tears from our eyes, the one administering the healing leaves and the one final Kohen HaGadol (Head Priest.) And even though eternity has no beginning and no end, I believe that my “Eternity” will begin when this world’s existence ends.
I look forward to the rewards of honest labor, to the eternal presence of God, to seeing Yeshua’s face, and to sit under my own fig tree and vines, enjoying the fruits of my labor. If you have ever worked at and completed something difficult, and know that you completed it well, then you know a little about what heaven is like. Take that feeling, multiply it by a million and you have a good start at what it will feel like spending eternity with God.
I can’t say for certain what it will be like after the final battle, I don’t think anyone can. I believe from what I read that I will be on a new earth, a farmer, happy, able to live forever without disease (because it can be healed) and without tears (because they will be wiped from my eyes) but I can’t be positive. I can’t be positive because all the images and stories we have about “heaven” are from visions, and (as I said above) we can ‘t really be certain about what a vision is all about and represents until it comes about in reality. Actually, between you and me…I really don’t care what it will be like, just so long as I am there.
I am waiting patiently, faithfully, and with great anticipation for the End Days. I also hope they don’t come until the ones I love and care about that aren’t “saved” have been saved, but it is up to God when these things will happen.
And, despite how much as I care about my unsaved loved ones… Lord? The sooner, the better, if that’s OK with You. 🙂