There are times when I hear people talk about heaven and it makes me cringe. Not because the topic is unappealing but because their perspective is distorted. People will say, “I can’t wait to walk on streets of gold.” “I might be poor on this earth but in heaven I’ll have a mansion on a hilltop.” It’s not an understatement to say I loath those sentences. What is the focal point of going to heaven? Is it to make up for your current poverty? Is gaining wealth really the reason you want to go to heaven? Isn’t that a blatant show of materialism? Ugh.
Heaven isn’t about a reward as much as it’s about reconnecting to God.
Through the original sin we were disconnected to God. We have a relationship because of Jesus but we don’t fully know Him yet. I Corinthians 13 says, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
Someday we will be unshielded from God, in direct contact with Him. To some, being in the presence of God seems more like torture than pleasure, because you’ve envisioned Him as boring.
If God isn’t Someone that you ever envisioned hanging out with, enjoying a good meal together or savoring a memorable conversation then you haven’t thought about heaven enough.
God has been shuffled in our understanding to this bland but holy being, distant and untouchable. There is no fun, no enjoyment, no laughter in His presence. It is extremely easy to spot an unbeliever with this mentality. You will typically hear them say that they would rather go to hell and party with their friends than to be in heaven with God. What they don’t understand is that God is love and beauty and creativity and that life without Him is torture.
Imagine a place with no visions of beauty, nothing interesting, nothing creative, no love. A place of darkness with no beautiful scenery, no magnificent sky, no outstanding traits like honor or sacrifice. A place where no one loves you, you are completely alone, in despair, engulfed in never ending bleakness. Envision a place with not even the tiniest shred of hope, everything is desperation and discouragement. That is hell. Not a party with friends but distant from God.
So what is God really like?
It’s impossible to know all about Him now but here are some thoughts about what we do know.
Please do not imagine God as some boring man with a white beard who speaks in 16th century English. Often we see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s amazing painting as a true image of God, it is not. No one has seen Him unfiltered and even if they could, paint and brush in the hands of a master artist couldn’t convey what He looks like. Some churches are boring so it would seem natural that God is boring too. Some Christians are boring so you think their God is too. I believe the boring God myth was designed by Satan because it is the exact opposite of who He is. God is intensely interesting!
There are 3 major references to seeing Heaven in the Bible – John in Revelation 4, Isaiah in Isaiah 6 and Daniel in Daniel 7. Let’s look at two of these references and determine if these brief glimpses show an interesting or mundane God.
From Isaiah 6 –
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
From Revelation 4
“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever.”
Do either of those references seem boring or mundane to you? Would you be yawning in the background or would you be nervous, excited and overwhelmed? There is no boredom, it is a spectacle beyond our understanding.
God simply put is the Most interesting. Actually that list of “mosts” could go on, He is the most creative, the most intellectual, the most powerful, the most beautiful, the most loving Being ever. When we finally get to see Him, we will be undeniably drawn to Him because He has so much to give. It will not be a matter of duty but intense desire to spend time with God. More than any mansion, streets of gold or crystal sea this is how I envision heaven.
All around you in every direction are people who love and genuinely care for you. Beauty is floating like a heavy fog covering everything. There are interesting, creative, exciting things to do and see every moment. God talks to you, he puts His arms around you and kisses you. His love for you is obvious in actions and words. He tells you stories about things that you never imagined or things that you always wanted to know the answer.
Join me in this dream of being with God, enjoying His company, living a life basked in His love. Too many songs, sermons and books have gotten caught up in the trivial and material things of heaven.
Who cares if you have a house, a mansion or a cardboard box in heaven? You’re with God.
You have an opportunity to be around Someone who is shockingly interesting, clever beyond measure, insanely insightful. Currently our default is to turn on the tv, pick up our phones or hop on the internet, there our default will be God. In Psalms 73, it is explained very clearly.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
How could you possibly be bored or uninterested sitting beside Someone so enthralling?
He has experiences and time to tell incredibly interesting stories. He has seen volcanoes erupt from all angles. Great moments of history have passed before His eyes and He has insight from all parties involved. He knows why and how everything happens. He can show you why the planets each move in their own pattern, around and away from some point. Treasures of knowledge that have been kept, will be displayed for all.
When you read ANY Biblical account of heaven one thing always happens. People are not enamored with the vast wealth but with God. The entire focus becomes Him.