What is Heaven like?
As a church 'heaven' is our name sake, and yet many of us struggle to imagine the realities of life after death. In 'Imagine Heaven', author John Burke compares what the Bible says about heaven to more than one hundred stories of near-death experiences. Burke shows how the common experiences shared by thousands of near-death survivors - including doctors, college professors and bank managers - point to the picture of heaven promised in the Bible. As we examine scripture we find that our understanding of heaven as a future destination has an impact in the here and now, changing our approach to worship, our hunger for justice, our awareness of beauty and our desire for healing.
2 Corinthians 12:2-5, Philippians 1:23
Our vision statement is 'making disciples who establish heaven on earth'. We need to know what heaven is like in order to establish it on earth. But as we get more comfortable with life here on earth we may have less desire for heaven. What is the benefit of being a christian before our dying day? If you had the choice to go to heaven now or live ten more years on earth, what would you choose?
What's your eschatology? In our day to day lives we may not spend much time considering death, judgement, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. But how we view life after death can have a profound impact on how we live in the here and now.
2 Corinthians 2:11
References to angels occur at least 116 times in the Old Testament and 175 times in the New Testament. Heaven is their home, and one day humanity will join in with their praises. Demons are fallen angels, now hell bent on destroying the image of God in humanity and stopping believers from exercising their God given authority. How can we be aware ‘of the devil’s schemes’ but not give them more attention or power than we should? How can we become more attuned to angelic ministries?
Romans 6:1-10, 1 John 5:11-13
'Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking' John 14:2-4.
1 Corinthians 13:12, Revelation 7:9-12, Revelation 19:6-9
One day we will see Jesus face to face. We will love him with all our heart, mind, soul, strength and will love praising him without ever getting distracted. The focus will be wholly off ourselves and be be entirely on him.
Romans 14:17, Galatians 5:22
Alan and Rachel Radbourne
Heaven is a place of righteousness, peace and joy. We, the church, will become a fully redeemed community, full of the fruits of the Spirit. Unhindered joy will become the dominant characteristic of heaven, as C.S. Lewis says 'joy is the serious business of heaven'. We will have peace with ourselves and with others.
Romans 12:19, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Revelation 22:12
God will repay injustice and oppression. God is our Judge. Only God knows a person’s heart. Whilst the Bible is clear in someways with the realities of heaven, it does also presents several different perspectives of hell which culture has adapted and merged overtime. What we do know however, is that God will give to everyone according to what they have done. The level of your faithfulness here on earth, will correlate to the extent of your authority then.
1 Corinthians 15:51-54, Philippians 3:21, John 5:28-29
In heaven we will not simply be disembodied spirits. We will have a physical form that is eternal and glorified. Jesus' resurrect body could move through walls and locked doors, but could also eat and drink. In heaven, our bodies will be fit for the full life of God. A body that is ultimately satisfied, knows no pain, no tears, no sorrow, no sickness, no death. Bodies that will be without blemish, perfect, imperishable, ageless.
Ness Wilson, Naomi Sisson, Liz Clark, David Scarborough
Heaven is the definition and source of all true beauty. We catch glimpses of it in creation, work of artists and each other. In heaven we will rule with Christ over creation and never get weary of creating or enjoying ruling.