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What Is Heaven?

Real or Make Believe?

The late Reverend Billy Graham shares his thoughts on heaven..

Q: Is Heaven a literal place, simply a state of mind, or a kind of dream?

Heaven is a literal place. It is not an imaginary world or fantasy land in which to dwell.

God created Heaven with its vast array of authentic characteristics (Genesis 2:1). Jesus did not ascend to a lofty dreamworld following His resurrection, but returned to sit at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). Abraham didn’t cling to the promise of living in a state of mind; he looked forward to “the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10, NIV).

The Old Testament heroes of faith longed for a literal place—“a better country—a heavenly one … for [God] has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16, NIV). Jesus told His disciples, “You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:4, NIV). That place is Heaven and Christ our Savior is there now, preparing for our arrival.

Having confidence that Heaven is a literal place is important, but even more so is that we know how to get there. The only GPS that can give you flawless direction is the Gospel Plan of Salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

By nature, people are bent toward home. Far better than any dream you can imagine is the supernatural transformation that will take place for all of God’s people in His heavenly home. I hope you’ll be there.

Q: What will we look like when we get to Heaven?

The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about Heaven. However, this question is put to rest—at least in part— “What we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2, NIV).

It is only natural to be curious about what we do not know. We long to know what is over the hill. Many have searched the Scriptures for a hint of what our bodies will look like in the afterlife.

What we’ll look like in Heaven isn’t stated in the Bible, but it seems that we will recognize one another, just as Moses and Elijah were recognized by the disciples who were witnesses of Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). The Bible says “for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NKJV).

Part of Heaven’s glory is that our bodies will be transformed, and we will become like Jesus Christ in His perfect resurrected body. We won’t be subject to the ills and ravages of old age like we are now, for we will be changed.

Only God could take two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and make every person who has ever lived an individual—totally unique. It’s not inconceivable, then, that God in Heaven can perfect His children—who bear His image—without changing their individual uniqueness.

While the Bible doesn’t say exactly what we’ll look like, it does tell us that our faces will reflect the face of our Redeemer. “[Wewill see Your face in righteousness; [weshall be satisfied when [weawaken in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15, NKJV). Heaven will not only reflect our earthly desires; instead we will reflect Heaven’s King, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q: Will we live in literal mansions or palaces in Heaven?

The Bible assures us that in Heaven we will be living in God’s dwelling place forever, and it will be glorious beyond description. It will be greater than any earthly palace or mansion.

Kings are confined to living in palaces. Owners of vast properties live on estates behind locked gates. God’s Word, however, says that Christ will make us joint heirs in the Kingdom of God—and just as God’s habitation extends beyond the boundaries of creation, so will ours—without confinement.

He owns it all and is going to share it with His people. He is the King and landowner of Heaven, earth, and the whole universe. No earthly court, no Wall Street investor, or astute accountant could ever calculate the extent of God’s estate—for it is priceless.

Jesus told His disciples, “I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me” (Luke 22:29, NIV). So when Jesus, the heir of the incalculable estate tells us, “I go to prepare a place for you” we cannot fathom what He has in store. But we do know that “the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17, NIV).

For most of my adult life, I have lived in a comfortable log house on top of a mountain, and I love this place. My wife, Ruth, oversaw the building of our home and though she’s no longer here, her touches are in every room. We raised our five children here, and watched them explore every hideaway and clump of trees around our home.

These are fond memories. But I’m looking forward to a better home—a perfect home—whose Builder and Maker is God. It will have no flaws, because it is the House of the Lord—and “on no days will its gates ever be shut” (Revelation 21:25, NIV). The day I step through the gates of splendor, I’ll finally be free of the confinements of earth

Q: Will we have work to do in Heaven, or will we just sit around and do nothing?

God never intended for people to be idle and unproductive—on Earth or in Heaven. Heaven is about serving—not ourselves, but Jesus Christ: “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3, NIV).

We will have the highest honor of serving God in Heaven, and our joy will be full, because we will reign with Christ forever (Revelation 22:5). The Lord has always been at work—creating, forgiving, loving, comforting, correcting, guiding. And certainly the greatest work Jesus did was not in the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, but rather, during those three dark hours on the cross, dying for us.

Still today, Jesus Christ is at work in Heaven, interceding for us. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17, NIV).

In Heaven, God observed a day of rest after creating the world in six days—but nothing in the Scriptures indicates He took a day of rest because He was tired. When we receive our heavenly bodies, we will also work and not grow weary. And we will have rest; the Bible says that “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (Revelation 14:13, NIV).

God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden in perfect conditions and told him “to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15, NIV). When God created the animals, He brought them to Adam to “see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19, NIV). If God gave man pleasurable work on earth in the beginning, then the same will be true in Heaven. There will be no drudgery in Heaven.

Heaven is a place of service, and those who are going there long to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant … Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV).

If you would like your life to change in an instant, consider giving your life to Jesus Christ. Jesus died for you, me, and everyone who has ever been or will be on earth.

To learn more about this amazing God who gave His life so you may live, go to: https://www.asafeplaceonline.com/learn-more

“For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new creation. The old life is gone. New life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

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