Dr. Ed Young - What Will Heaven Look Like?
Revelation, I was in seminary, I took a class on Revelation for an entire year. The first day of class, our professor Dr. McDowell said, "If anyone puts on S on Revelation, you're gonna flunk the course". It's Revelation, the last book of the Bible. The Apostle John, the last apostle among the 12 to be alive, an elderly man in a cave on the island of Patmos praying, seeking God, and in that amazing moment, the Lord opened up the heavens for John and gave him a view of paradise that no one had experienced before or since. And you read the Book of Revelation it says, "I saw, I heard, I saw, I heard".
And John was trying to write it all down and he was trying to describe that which was indescribable, the glory, the majesty, the beauty, the magnificence of heaven. It's interesting as you study the Book of Revelation, there is a rhythm there. I call it the rhythm of revelation. Chapter 1, you have a view from heaven. Chapter 2 and 3, you have a view of earth. Chapter 3 and 4, you go back to heaven. Chapter 5 and 6, you come down to the earth. And there is heaven, earth, heaven, earth, heaven, earth, all the way through the Book of Revelation, not necessarily marked by the chapters themselves.
What's that all about? Here from heaven, here from earth, here from earth, here from heaven, here from earth. I thought about it a long time. I think it's an answer to the Lord's prayer, the model prayer. "Thy kingdom come, thy there be done on earth as it is in heaven". So here at the climax of the Bible, we see heaven and earth, heaven and earth, and we see how the Lord's prayer is beginning to come together in paradise. What a book is the Book of Revelation? It opens for us heaven.
By the way, for a long time maybe you were like me that I thought, you know, we don't know a great deal about heaven. I wish God would tell us more about heaven. But when you open your Bible and look at your concordance and begin to study words that are used for heaven, and paradise, and eternity, you realize the book from the Old Testament to the New Testament, you could make a case it's all about heaven in one sense. Over 500 times in some translation, the word "heaven" is mentioned. So, we read and understand when the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are usually synonymous in the understanding of the Bible.
You see, heaven is opened up in a way that most of us have never understood or have never realized. Presence with God and it is a new thing. Here's the question, we get to heaven, will it be familiar to us? Will it be strange and unfamiliar to us? We like the word "new". We like new things. We like new shoes when we get them broken in. We like new clothes. We like new cars. We like new houses. We like new friends. We like new relationships. We like new trips. We like new foods. We're into new, make things new. And here we see that in heaven, all things will be new but yet they'll be familiar.
And G.K. Chesterton, talking about being homesick while you're still at home. There's a parable about a sea lion that lived in a desert and a whole family of sea lions lived in desert, the desert, generation after generation, after generation until finally they had just little memory of the sea. They didn't know how they got in the desert. They'd been there for generations and they looked around and looked and said, "You know, I've got some equipment here that isn't really useful in the desert, but you asked a sea lion, 'Where is your home?'" It's the desert. But you take those sea lions and put them in the ocean, ooh boy they'd say, "You know, I thought I was on there but man I'm really equipped living in the ocean".
Ladies and gentlemen, that's the way it is in heaven. We think, "Boy, I'm at home here on this earth. I'd sure like to live forever on this earth". Once we get to heaven, we're like the sea lion who thought desert was their home when really, their home was in the depths, and the coolness, and the beauty of the ocean. That's the way it's going to be. That's exactly how it's going to be. I read a theologian, he did a beautiful thing and I'm gonna share it with you. He said, this is what he sort of think heaven is and this is what the Bible says about heaven.
Look on your screen. What we assume about heaven it's a non-earth. What the Bible says about heaven, it's a new earth. We assume that it's unfamiliar and other worldly. The truth is heaven is familiar and earthy. By the way, we were created out of what? Dirt. We are earthy people, therefore we are connected to this earth and we'll always be connected to this earth. We think it's foreign, home and all the comforts, home with all the innovations of an infinity, infinitely created God. You know, assume that heaven is leaving favorite things behind, right? Not true. It's retaining the good, finding the best ahead. We have the idea there's no time and space in heaven. We're going to see there's time in heaven but that's in a little while. We understand there's time in space. We think heaven is static, it is dynamic.
All right, look at what we assume about heaven. Neither the old is like Eden or the new and earthy, just what's strange and unknown. What's the truth? It's both old and new. We'll see there's nothing to do in heaven. What's that old song, "I just roll around heaven..." Oh, no, no, no, we think we float on clouds. No, look what it is. A God to worship and serve, a universe to rule, purposeful work to accomplish, friends to enjoy. We think there's no learning or discovery. We think we die, we have instant complete knowledge. No, you won't. The Bible says we'll have an eternity of learning and discovery. We think it's boring. No, it's not. It is fascinating, the Bible tells us. We think there's a loss of desire. No, it's continuous fulfillment of desire. We think it's the absence of the terrible, but the presence of little we desire. The truth is it's the presence of the wonderful everything we desire and nothing we don't.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me summarize all this very simply, nobody here is gonna live long enough to fulfill all your desires, your dreams, your capacities, your hopes. You're not gonna be able to see everything, go everywhere, understand everything, pursue everything, celebrate everything, enjoy everything, that's not gonna happen in this life but in heaven, all of that is going to be fulfilled over and over again it into infinity, understand that. Eye have not seen, right, ear has not heard. It has into the heart of a human being what God has prepared for those who love him and those who graduate to be with him in heaven, heaven.
So, we're sea lions out in the desert on this earth, but in heaven, I'll tell you we will soar in a way we can't even imagine. Look what the Bible tells us clearly about the new heaven and the new earth. Open your Bibles with me, if you would, verse number 2, "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband". And here we have a new creation, in that new creation, we have a new capital. We're talking about heaven, a new capital. And it is a new city and I love that phrase, "It's like a bride coming down the aisle adorned for her husband".
Let me tell ya, there's nothing more beautiful, more radiant than a bride. I told someone, I'd never seen a bride that wasn't beautiful, and a couple of them barely made it but I mean there's something radiant about a bride coming down the aisle and this is what you see. You have the bride coming down the aisle. It is the New Jerusalem. It is the new city. What is a city? "Well, it's buildings..." No, it's not. It's people. We could have hurricane wipeout come here and just flatten everything around here. We'd still have Katy, Texas, I want you to know that, because it's made up of people. It's not building, and stuffs, and roads, and schools, no, no, it's people.
And so what you have, you have the New Jerusalem coming as a bride, and who is the bride of Christ? It's those of us who are in Christ. It's those who are in Christ. And we see that clearly in our study. Right before in the chapter before this chapter, you have a picture of the great white throne judgment. And we have there it says all the books are there, and one book is there it has everybody's biography in it, birth, life, death, signed, sealed, delivered. This is me, this is you, this is everybody is there. And he said, by that large book, there's another book there called the Book of Life and in this book, that's where the Lamb Jesus Christ has written the names down and in that book, are the names of those who will be in heaven. And so, we want to make sure our name is in that Book of Life and that is our entree, that is our ticket, that is our passage into heaven.
So, we see here we have the new capital coming down out of heaven, a New Jerusalem. And then also in the next passage, not only have a new capital, but we have a whole new country and that is verse 2 through verse 4. It says what this country's like, no tears, no sorrow, no shame, that's a whole new world. That's a new country, isn't it? Then you have a new constitution that's come to verse 5 all the way to verse 8. it tells us how heaven will operate. Want to see how heaven operates, look at Matthew 5:6 and 7 and how heaven operates, who will ascend in this holy place? That's heaven. Gotta have clean hands and a pure heart. I'm not gonna make it, are you? You got clean hands, pure heart. It is Christ who cleans our hands. It is Jesus Christ who purifies our hearts and our motives, that's how we have the entree to heaven.
So, here it is telling us in heaven we have a new capital and we know in this particular period of time, the religious capital was Jerusalem. The political capital was Rome. And we look, the economic capital was Babylon but now we have a new capital, a new spiritual capital, and this is what he's talking about. And you have a new country, this is something he tells us about. And then you have a new Constitution as to how you live this country and then he elaborates on that New Jerusalem. Look at it, it begins down in verse 10. "And he carried me away by the Spirit to a great high mountain".
And then verse 12, "It had a great high wall with twelve gates," and it goes on describes a New Jerusalem. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could go through all the dimensions of the New Jerusalem without boring half of us to death and without amazing the other half. Man, it's fabulous descriptions but the main thing about it, it has a wall, a great wall, and we've been hearing a lot about walls lately. And it encompasses the holy city and in that wall, you have twelve gates, three, three, three, three and it is the twelve tribes of Israel. In the foundation, it talks about the stones there, the beautiful, precious stones. You have a representation with the 12 apostles.
So, you have the Old Testament surrounding the New Testament under the bottom, that is the foundation, and then you have this holy city, which is the New Jerusalem. By the way, it's plenty big for everybody if you want to get very literal here. You can look at this as a metaphor. You can look at it in a literal way. I think you'd come out at about the same place. And so, you have a New Jerusalem coming down from God and that is people, the bride of Christ, that's all of us who are written in the Book of Life, coming down from heaven to abide there forever and forever and forever and then one day after that. It's called eternity. And then we see we have a new calendar.
Now, you got to think here. I apologize for this. Come to church, having to think, what a terrible thing to do to somebody. Look at verse 22 of chapter number 21. "And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple". In other words, the whole thing was a temple, the whole thing was worship in heaven. "And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine, the glory of God has illumined it, its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by light, and the kings of the earth will bring glory. For in the daytime the gates will never be closed". It goes on and on. People have read this passage and other passages, and I fallen victim to this, saying there's no time in heaven, T-I-M-E. I've discovered that there is T-I-M-E in heaven.
You see, we have to understand there are many types of time but there are two classical types. There is chronos time and there is kairos time. Chronos time... stay with me. I told you you'd have to think, I apologize. Is human time. It's linear time. It is a line. It is a timeline that is human time. We look at what time it is, that's chronos time. Also, there is divine kind of time, that's kairos time and that is God time. Chronos time, human time, kairos time is God's time. In human time, we have past, that which has happened, and we have future, right? We got that, don't we? All right, but in God's time, there's only now. There's no past. There's no future because human time gives itself to eternity to God's time and human time is totally changed and transformed.
It's an amazing, amazing story as to how this takes place and that is the miracle of heaven. That's the supernatural aspects of heaven. For example, in human time, chronos time, how we tell time, there's fear. What does fear come from? Fear comes from fear of the future, right? Isn't that what fear's all about? It's what's gonna happen, it's fear of the future. And then in human time, we have regret, what is our regret? It's fear of the past, which has already taken place, what we did, what we shouldn't have done. But you take human time, fear of the future and fear of the past and you, when it gets to heaven, human time is absorbed into eternity, into kairos time, into God's time and there's only now.
What does that mean? That means we have no fear of the future because now we're in God's time. And that means all our mistakes of the past, all our regrets of the past, all the bad stuff in the past, all the decisions we made we shouldn't have made, all the things we did not do, all that is totally taken away in the forgiveness of eternity. You say, "Well, that's crazy". In other words, in God's sight, all the bad garbage stuff you and I have done as we confessed it to Jesus Christ, not only has been forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, God has forgotten it and in God's eyes, it never took place. That is kairos time.
Now, you say, "Well, I don't know about that". Well, open your Bible, if you would, to the Book of Psalms. There are passages that teach that. Open to Isaiah 43, open to Jeremiah 31, open to Hebrews 8 and 10 and you find at least 6 times the Bible clearly tells us, we come to God in Jesus Christ, he buries all that stuff in the bottom of the ocean. He says, "No fishing allowed". And the truth is, all of that has been totally obliterated and in God's eye, it never took place. That is the grace, and the love, and the forgiveness of heaven in eternity. But in all of this, there's one thing that stands out.
You say, "Well, what will heaven be like"? There's one thing about heaven that all of us will like more than anything else. Now, all the majesty, the glory, the fulfillment, we'll be talking about that. We're talking about having fun in heaven. I have a whole study coming up. We'll talk about how heaven is fun. "Oh, well, I don't know about..." Oh, it is. Who invented laughter? Who invented fun? Who invented celebration? Who gave to doubt, to sing, to move, to celebrate? God and we'll discover that heaven's gonna be not only out of this world, it's gonna be magnificent. It's gonna be pleasurable. It's gonna be fun and everything is gonna be fulfilled we never even dreamed of being fulfilled.
So, let's understand that right up front. That's clearly what the Bible teaches but there's one thing that everybody who gets to heaven who has their name written in the Book will agree on. We'll like one thing about heaven, we'll agree on it more than any other single aspect of paradise because all of our needs will be met. You'll say, "Maybe that will be what we like about heaven". And we'll see that illustrated here in chapter 22, by the way, it talks about in the middle of heaven, there'll be a river of life. In the middle of heaven, the tree of life will be on either side of the river and there'll be the Lamb on the throne. The river will be coming of life, the tree of life on either side of that. In the leaves of tree, there will be healing.
Now, we'll like that about heaven. I mean, that's going to be magnificent, falling from the Lamb, life-giving, river right through the city, trees, the tree of life? We've had the tree of life before. Does it ring a bell? Does it sound like Genesis? "Don't eat of this truth but now you'll eat of every fruit of the tree of life and there'll be one fruit or every 12 months". Fruit of the month club right there in heaven. Read it, read it. And we have the river, and we have the fruit, and we have the leaves that are always healing because this is the ongoing magnificent, and cleansing, and perfection of heaven.
And by the way, if I had time, you familiar with this Hierarchy of Needs? Look at it quickly on your... I can take that particular section and I will show you how every basic in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, you thought it was secular, all of those needs are met physiological needs, our safety, need for love, esteem, and self-actualization. Some of us will never get much of any of those but you see in heaven, there is a picture here of all of that being needed. And we'll like that about heaven, to be full, and complete, and whole, and one, and have joy, and all of that replaced in our life. Boy, what a fabulous thing that will be, but that isn't the main thing we'll like.
A little book written in 1871, the title was "The Happiness of Heaven". It tells a story of a young lad who was born blind and his family threw him away in the woods, but the king was hunting and saw the little baby and picked up the blind child that was thrown away and brought that child up as his son. At the right age, that child became a prince. At the right age, the child was educated, and fed, and it was recognized as part of the royal family until that young child became 20 years of age and a surgeon came in and performed surgery and for the first time, he was able to see. And I can't even describe the words that are there. They're magnificent words but he said for the first time he saw who he was as a prince.
For the first time, he saw the splendor of the court where he'd been brought up. And for the first time, he saw the thing that he was most thrilled to see that was his face of the father who had adopted him who was his king. Maybe you've guessed, the one thing we'll like. Put in Facebook, put down "like, like, like, like". We'd all put this one thing down in our heavenly Facebook. Look at it, verse 4, Revelation 22 and it says, "They will see his face. They will see his face". Ladies and gentlemen, we'll like it, if we think about heaven but compared to that, everyone will say, "That is what we like more than all the rest, to see the face of the living God".