Dear Beloved Friend(s),
If you have ever wondered what heaven is like, Revelation 7:9-17 is for you. Here the veil between us and heaven is lifted as we see the martyrs of the coming Tribulation period and their activities. Let’s begin 2007 by glimpsing what heaven will be like.
- Heaven is a place of great celebration (vv. 9, 10a). The saints in heaven were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: . . . The images here are emblematic of celebrants who have experienced a great victory and are jubilant with their good fortune. So even though these believers suffered greatly (v. 16, starvation, exposure and cruel death), they are now celebrating the victory won for them because they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb (v. 14). This reminds us that the celebration of heaven is the celebration of complete victory over sin—our own personal sin and the sins committed against us. What will the joy be like in a place where evil is forever defeated and banished?
- Heaven is a place of worship (vv. 10-12). The theme of heaven’s worship is salvation and the character of the God who provided it through the Lamb. It is interesting that seven qualities of God are listed in v. 12 emphasizing the perfection of the God who is worthy of our worship. Who God is and the great salvation He has accomplished are the center of all true worship.
- Heaven is a place of service (v. 15a). The saints in heaven are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple. Far from being a place of idleness we will be busy serving God. John Walvoord wrote, Those who have served well on earth will have a ministry in heaven. And without the limitations we experience here!
- Heaven is a place of safety (vv. 15b-16). Verse 15 says that he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. This oriental image suggested protection from one’s enemies by a benefactor who would give hiding and security to one fleeing from enemies. So in heaven all the fears that beset us now about our health, wellbeing, and safety will forever be removed as we dwell secure under the protection of the King on His throne.
- Heaven is a place of satisfaction (v. 17a). The Lamb . . . will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. What could be more satisfying than well-fed sheep lying down near springs of refreshing water free from the threat of harm? This pastoral scene suggests contentedness, soul-satisfaction, and the enjoyment of life to its fullest. It is the promise of Jesus fully realized: I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
- Heaven is a place of no more sorrow (v. 17b). With all of the painful memories we will have, one wonders how it will be possible to enjoy heaven. But God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Somehow God in His goodness will remove all the painful memories so we will remember them no more. What a welcome condition!
For those who say we don’t know what heaven will be like, I can only reply, What we do know makes me glad I am going there!
Your friend, Pastor Brian (:-}).