When a person thinks about heaven and the future hope of entering God’s home in the heavens, he always asks this question: “What will we do when we get to heaven?” Our life here on earth is wrapped up in our experiences, and we think about heaven in these same terms.
Upon our death, or rapture, true believers will be ushered into the presence of our Lord in His dwelling place called heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:8) We will remain with the church in heaven with the Lord until the seven years of the Tribulation are completed on earth. At the end of the seven years in heaven, we will descend to the earth in His revelation at the end of the Tribulation Period. (Revelation 19:11-16) The church will return to this earth with the Lord to rule with Him in His earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:6) After the conclusion to His earthly reign, the church, together with all of the saints of all of the ages, will once again join Him in His heaven for eternity. (Revelation 21-22)
When we think about heaven, we must be careful to not think of it only in terms of our present earthly experiences. The Apostle Paul declared this in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” So, we must search the Scriptures for our answers to these questions about heaven. What a joy to contemplate and reflect upon these things which are “not seen”and “eternal.”(2 Corinthians 4:18) At best, we now “see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.”(1 Corinthians 13:12)
When we enter into God’s heaven, we must remember that we will not think like we do now. Our new bodies and minds will be perfect. (Philippians 3:21) While we are here on this earth in this temporary setting, as born-again believers, we have been exhorted to dedicate our bodies to God in worship as a “living sacrifice.”(Romans 12:2) We are to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) so as to have the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5) The Holy Spirit is living in our bodies and it is His desire for our bodies to glorify our Savior. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) He wants to reprogram our minds with the word of Christ. (Colossians 3:16) Finally, at our resurrection during the Rapture, Jesus and His Spirit will complete this work which they began in us at the time of our conversion. (Philippians 1:6) Our bodies and minds will be perfectly tuned for God and His heaven.
When we are at home in heaven, our experiences will be viewed from the perspective of our new heavenly perfected minds. We will know the very purpose for which we have been created. When we enter into God’s throne room, we will be in awe of His splendor, greatness, majesty, and holiness. (Isaiah 6:1-4; Revelation 4:1-9) We will be moved to hear the special angels, called seraphim and cherubim, who have not rested for thousands of years and have been praising their Creator by declaring: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”(Revelation 4:8) As we look upon our Savior, and experience His angels’ worship of Him, we too we be moved to worship Him.
When we enter heaven after the Rapture and our judgment, we will worship Him as we cast our rewards, the crowns, before His blessed feet. These crowns will represent all of the works in our life on earth that were given as sacrifices of praise and worship to our Lord. Then, we will be overwhelmed with the most awesome understanding of our purpose for living: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”(Revelation 4:11) In that awesome and holy moment, we will know that worshipping God is the greatest honor and privilege in our lives. We were created by Him, just like the angels around His throne, to worship Him. Then, we will also experience what happens when we obey our Creator and truly worship Him. We will be overawed with the greatest joy we have ever experienced in all of our lives. Psalm 16:11 says it all: “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”None of our experiences on earth will begin to touch the awesome and holy joy of that glorious moment that will become an eternal lifestyle in heaven.
Worship is the response of the human heart in the power of the Holy Spirit to who God is and all that He has done. The Scriptures teach that worship is the Spirit directed response to the stimuli of the person of God and His glorious works around us. When the believer is focused up God and His works, the Spirit of God will spiritually stimulate them to worship. Isaiah 26:3 declares: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed [fixed] on thee.” While we are here on this earth we are preoccupied with the things that are temporary, and are seen. When we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will focus upon those things that are eternal and unseen. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Therefore, when we are finally in heaven, we will be face to face with our Lord as we see Him in all of His infinite glory and majesty. In heaven there will be no distractions and we will not be preoccupied with things of lesser importance.
Here is the glory of heaven. We will live in His presence. (John 14:3) We will live with Him and for Him. We will be in total ecstasy as we adore Him and are constantly in awe of Him. Our finite minds cannot comprehend what it will be like to see and continually learn about our incomprehensible God! “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.”(Psalm 145:3)“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.”(Romans 11:33) Life in heaven will never be boring or common. With our perfect minds, we will be constantly stunned by the amazing greatness and majesty of our God. Long ago, the prophet Isaiah was given a heavenly vision of the majesty of God. He wrote: “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train [the robe of His glorious majesty] filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with [two] he covered his face, and with [two] he covered his feet, and with [two] he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”(Isaiah 6:1-4) About 800 years later, the Apostle John wrote of His experience when He was caught up into the throne room of God in heaven. Read his report in Revelation 4:2-8. These two Scriptural reports of the throne room of God give us a little peek into heaven.
The book of Revelation is one of the greatest books in Bible that gives us a window into the worship of heaven. Each time the Apostle John was allowed to look into heaven, he was moved to write about the anthems of praise and adoration that were given to our Lord by the heavenly hosts of the redeemed and the angels. Please read these passages and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about the worship of heaven. (Revelation 5:11-13; 7:9-12; 11:15-17; 19:4-6)
Added to joy of worshipping our Lord will be the experience of being with other believers who also have been completely transformed. Our combined experiences of worshipping Him will not be interrupted with mundane or sinful experiences that flooded our lives on earth. We will love our Lord and one another unconditionally. Our love for others in heaven will be pure and holy. It will not be motivated by selfish manipulation or hypocritical pride. The first and second most important commandments will be perfected in us forever. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”(Matthew 22:37-39) Like our triune God, we have been created in His image. We were made for a relationship with Him and others who have been created in His image.
I have had several encounters in my lifetime of gathering with the saints of God to worship our Lord. It has been my observation that this corporate time of worship, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, is a most sweet and rewarding experience. As we sing and pray with other Spirit-filled believers, we are moved to joyfully lift up our Lord in great praise. All of this is a little taste of heaven. We cannot begin to imagine what it will be like to gather with all of the saints of all of the ages in the throne room of God. We will, with heavenly perfection and holy motives, in spiritual oneness express our adoration of the One who has chosen us and changed us to be like Him. There will be a real sense of belonging. We will be at home with our Savior and all of the redeemed of all of the ages. What a day that will be!
Heaven is not just a place of worship, but also a place of work. The Lord has created us to worship and serve Him. (Ephesians 2:10) Real worship always leads to sacrificial service. When Jesus repelled the temptation of Satan to worship him, Jesus said: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”(Matthew 4:10) We always serve whatever or whoever we worship. What we treasure is what we worship. (Matthew 6:19-24) As believers, we are exhorted by the Bible to set our minds on Christ and things above. (Colossians 3:1-4)
The treasure of heaven is not streets of gold, but Jesus. It will be our highest honor to serve Him in whatever capacity is demanded in our new life in heaven. Believers are repeatedly called “servants” (the original Greek word means “bond servants” or “slaves”) in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 1:1; 6:11; 19:2, 5; 22:3, 6)Revelation 22:3 simply declares: “… and his servants shall serve him.” Speaking of the martyred Tribulation saints, Revelation 7 gives us an incredible insight into the worship and service of the saints in heaven. Verse 15 says: “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Therefore, we can conclude that our constant and endless service to our Lord will take place around His throne. Our service will also be viewed as a participation in reigning with Christ forever in His eternal kingdom in the new heaven and new earth. (Revelation 22:5)
Our experience in heaven will be similar to things on earth. We will eat. (Revelation 22:2) We will travel about within the New Jerusalem and the new earth. (Revelation 21:10, 12-14, 24-27; 22:14) We will enjoy living in the New Jerusalem, with incredible views within this city that is a cube in shape, measuring about 1,500 miles in each direction. We will occupy our dwelling place that Jesus promised to prepare for us. (John 14:2-3)
Our experiences in heaven will also be different than life on the earth. The newly created earth within the newly created heavens, and its city, will be perfect and pure. The city of the New Jerusalem and its streets will be “pure gold.”(Revelation 21:18, 21) The river flowing out of the throne of God will be “pure” and “clear as crystal.”(Revelation 22:1) The new earth and its city will be flawless. Nothing will ever defile this new heaven, earth, and its city. (Revelation 21:27) The construction of the city will remind us of our redemption. The 12 gates into the city will be named after the 12 tribes of Israel, reminding us that “salvation is of the Jews.”(John 4:22) The foundations of the walls of the city contain the names of the 12 apostles, who gave us the gospel of redemption and the New Testament. The 12 gates of the city each had a door that is one pearl, which will remind us of the suffering of our Lord Jesus from our salvation. (Revelation 21:21)
The dimensions of the New City of Jerusalem, being 1,500 miles high, tell us that there must be a totally different arrangement of space and gravity compared to earth. Since there will be no sun or moon (Revelation 21:23) there will be no concept of time like on planet earth. Best of all, when the end comes after Christ’s kingdom on earth, there will be no Satan, sin, sinners, or effects of sin in our eternal dwelling place in God’s heaven. Satan will be banished to the Lake of Fire “to be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)“And God shall wipe away their tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more plan: for the former things are passed away.”(Revelation 21:4)
However, we must understand that this perfect description of heaven where there is no Satan, sin, sinners, or effects of sin, does not come until the end of time, after the kingdom of our Lord ends on earth and the first heaven and first earth are passed away. (Revelation 21:1) Many preachers have quoted Revelation 21:4 and interpreted it out of its context. The promises of Revelation 21:4 do not take place until the end of time. Many believers think that there will be no disappointments or tears in the believers’ current experiences heaven. Please notice that Satan is constantly before the throne of God, accusing the saints of God “before our God day and night.”(Revelation 12:10) This will continue until he is cast out of heaven at the mid-point of the Tribulation Period. (Revelation 12:9-12) Some believers come before the Lord in heaven with great passion calling for the Lord to bring His vengeance upon those who persecuted and killed them. (Revelation 6:9-11) Some saints will be moved by great sorrow in heaven and “God shall wipe tears from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17) During the Tribulation Period, believers in heaven will be very much aware of the wrathful judgments of God taking place on earth. At one point, heaven will be silent in anticipation of the awesome and deadly judgments that are about to take place on earth. (Revelation 8:1) When the great evil religious power structure on earth is finally destroyed near the end of the Tribulation Period, all of heaven will erupt in anthems of praise. (Revelation 19:1-3)
From these texts, we must conclude that the current experiences of the believers in heaven will be a godly reaction to being in the presence of the One who is directing His creation from His throne in heaven. Those in heaven seem be able to observe the flow of angelic traffic as angels are dispatched to earth to carry out their godly assignments. (Revelation 8:1-2; 11:15-17) These saints must be in constant awe of their Lord as He carries out His will on earth “as it is in heaven.”(Matthew 6:10) In heaven, their future is bound up in His purposes. Their personal agendas will be completely surrendered to the will and plan of God as they perfectly worship and serve Him in His throne room.
The contemplation of these future experiences and privileges in heaven give us great hope and joy. It is no wonder that the reader of the book of Revelation is promised a special blessing. (Revelation 1:3) When the believer looks at the earthly judgments of the Tribulation Period, he can look at them, with the aid of the Scriptures, from a heavenly, rather than an earthly perspective. There is no wonder that the Apostle John was moved by the Spirit of God to respond: “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”(Revelation 22:20)