Until the last few years, my imagined heaven was this floating city out in the cosmos somewhere, with gold streets and high walls made of gems like you read in Revelation 19-21. In my heaven, I sat around kind of bored, lots of clouds everywhere, bowing at a throne 24/7. Bad, bad theology. Let’s get Biblical.
“Heaven” is going to be on a resurrected, restored earth. This earth. When the Bible talks about “heaven and earth shall pass away…” what it really means is that this universe as we know it, with the curse of sin, will be gone from our memories.
Psalm 78:69 “He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.”
Psalm 148:5-6 Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for he issued his command, and they came into being. He established them forever and forever. His orders will never be revoked.
Romans 8:20-21 “Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
Acts 3:20-21 “Then wonderful times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will send Jesus your Messiah to you again. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his prophets.”
Two important definitions about our promised future:
Resurrect: To raise from the dead; bring to life again. To bring back into use, practice. To rise again as from decay or disuse.
Restore: to bring back into existence, use. To bring back to a former, or original condition. To bring back to health, soundness, or vigor. To put back to a former place or position, rank, etc. to give back, reconstruct.
"Heaven" will be very earthy, just like we experience now. It will have seasons, time, animals, sun, moon, stars, rivers, trees, flowers, homes, and cities. The place described in Revelation with streets of gold is one city—the New Jerusalem—not all of the earth. Besides, Revelation is symbolic, and at least on one "level" the New Jerusalem is people, not a true city. I'm not saying there won't be an actual city either, but we have to be careful interpreting Revelation litearlly.
Jesus will live and reign from Jerusalem (could mean through His people), on the new earth. Isaiah 33:20-21
There will be seasons and time: Genesis 8:22;
Trees, houses, animals: Isaiah 65:21-25;
Rivers: Ezekiel 34:13; Revelation 22:1-;
And Cities: Deuteronomy 6:10-11
So what will we do on our new earth? Stay tuned next week as we continue our series.