Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 11:22-12:47 / Revelation 21 / Proverbs 31:21-31
Colton Burpo was two months away from his third birthday when he was rushed into emergency surgery with a burst appendix. After he woke up, he shared a remarkable story about going to heaven and meeting his great-grandfather, Samson, John the Baptist and Jesus. His father, Todd, wrote down his son’s account and published a 163-page book, “Heaven Is for Real”. The book has sold millions of copies and was a No.1 book on the New York Times best-seller list for paperbacks.
Everyone wants to know about the “afterlife” and book distributors say any book with “heaven” in the title sells very well. I have not read “Heaven Is for Real” but we will have a chance to see it early next year as it is being made into a Major Hollywood Film. I cannot verify the accuracy of the book but we have a proven first hand account of heaven from John the Apostle in Revelation 21.
John begins by noting 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.” (vs.1) God begins by making a new heaven and earth; removing the old heaven, earth and sea. The Jews looked upon the sea as a place of separation and evil. Jesus rebuked the sea, the satanic beast in chapter 13 came out of the sea and the demonic filled swine took refuge in the sea.
John sees heaven, “The New Jerusalem” a “Holy City” coming down from God to man. Jesus was “The Word that was made flesh” and He came to the earth, now God will literally dwell with His people. Life will be unmarred by sin and completely pure and holy, as God Himself will again dwell among men. God will remove our tears, death, mourning, crying and pain. He will make all things new!
God ushers in a new environment free from sin’s disturbance, influence and presence! He who is the beginning and the end will give man fullness of life, deep satisfaction, abundant joy, and an everlasting flow of water that brings eternal life. The Holy City will have rivers, trees, streets and homes. Heaven will have a river and tree of life, streets of gold and mansions for all of God’s children.
Heaven will be a place of glory as everything reflects God’s glory. Illuminating streets of gold, walls of clear jasper, and the entire city will look like transparent crystal. The gates will be made of a single pearl and will never be closed. The city's foundation will have twelve levels and each one will have a unique precious stone.
There will be no need for sun or moon because Jesus will shine like the noonday. The Lamb’s manifested glory will be the source of life for the city and will shine for all eternity. The eternal life of heaven will be everything this life cannot be. It will be a place untouched by death and unstained by evil. But the greatest thing about heaven…Jesus will be there!