Last week I shared a short story called The Nightmare Ends. Most of you probably guessed that this story gave a fictional glimpse of Heaven. I say fictional because the story is not entirely based on a strict Biblical interpretation.
However, I believe a few of the story’s elements have a factual basis from the Bible. To be honest though, the Bible doesn’t give us much intel about Heaven. My favorite passages about the new Heaven and new Earth are found in Revelation 21. We can infer several things from these verses. But then some Bible scholars tell us that these references to Heaven in Revelation may be more symbolic than literal. I tend to lean toward the literal interpretation, but I understand their point.
Check out this excerpt from Revelation 21:
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
If you want to exercise your imagination, I highly recommend Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven. Alcorn quite nicely extrapolates on many ideas from the Bible about Heaven. But even he admits that his interpretations are limited and, in many cases, based on his imagination. I see nothing wrong with us imagining what Heaven will be like. God tells us that it’s good to keep our minds focused on things above. We have to keep reminding ourselves that this world is temporary and in need of restoration.
But could we get TOO focused on things above? What do you think? Paul says a curious thing in 2 Corinthians 12:4. In this chapter, he describes a vision of Heaven. He talks about hearing inexpressible words which no man is permitted to speak. And–that’s about it.
Don’t you think, Paul, it would’ve been helpful or encouraging for us to know more about this wonderful place? Wouldn’t a better knowledge of Heaven make this present life more tolerable? Couldn’t you have given us a little more than a sentence or two?
There have been many stories in recent years of people going to Heaven. Many best-selling books have been written, and fame has come upon a few of those travelers. I’m not going to judge those accounts and say they are true or false. Some may very well be true. But have you notice that many of the accounts don’t mention God much at all. They do go into detail about the place and the wonderful things that happen to you there.
Could it be that God doesn’t want us to fall in love with the place, but He wants us to fall in love with Him? And perhaps that’s the reason for the mystery. God doesn’t want us to turn Heaven into an idol or the object of our affection. Go back to the passage above. It says that God himself will be with us.
He wants to be our Heaven.
We’re excited about going there because He is there. Rather than the benefits of God, we seek God Himself. Instead of searching His hands, we seek His face.
But maybe there are more reasons why God is holding back. What do you think?