Heaven, And Why I Want To Go There - No.1

The subject of heaven should be near and dear to the heart of every Christian. All my life I have heard people sing, preach and talk about this place called heaven. They even pray about going there after they die. When songs like “Beyond the sunset,” “An empty Mansion,” “How beautiful heaven must be” and many others, are sung people are expressing a desire to go to the place where we long to spend eternity.

Yet, in spite of all of the talking and singing about heaven, and people expressing their desire to go there when they die, most people really don’t know much about heaven. Many people think of heaven as some vague, obscure place far, far away, a place they have never seen. They think it would be nice to go there, but since they know little about it, they don’t get overly excited about making the proper preparation to get there. This is true even among many members of the Lord’s church.

This lackadaisical attitude in preparing for heaven is seen in the way many Christians treat the public worship service. They think that professing a belief in God, getting baptized, showing up for services every Sunday (unless hindered by relatives, job, vacation, etc.), not to get involved in the work, but to take the Lord’s Supper visibly, but not heart-felt 1.Cor.11:28-29, putting a little something in the collection basket, then enduring a sermon (which is usually too long for them) is fulfilling their obligation to God. When the services are over they leave the building feeling they have completed their worship to God until the next Sunday. They have occupied the pews, gone through a form of worship, feeling they have done their duty, not recognizing what a great privilege it is to be able to worship and honor God. Yet, they think doing this has prepared them to go to heaven after they die. But preparing for heaven takes more than mere form.

Thinking that maybe if people knew more about heaven, it might motivate them to put forth more effort in getting ready to go there. Recently I preached some sermons on heaven and now I am writing about the subject. When was the last time you heard a sermon on heaven. That is one reason I am writing this article, and some following, on why I believe there is a place called heaven and why I want to go there?

Why believe in such a place called heaven? One reason is that there is an innate desire in humans for something better than this world. God created this world as a beautiful place, starting with the Garden of Eden. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” Gen.1:31. He made it for man to enjoy Ps.104; Eccl.3:10-11. Yet man messed it up by allowing sin to enter into the world. As a result the world became filled with sickness, pain, sorrow, death which we have to endure as we live here in this world. Sin is everywhere Rom.3:9-18, 23. As a result we look for a better place where we can find the satisfaction not found in this world Ps.17:15; 55:6.

This desire for a better place in the hereafter has been a universal longing for all civilizations, past and present. The ancients wrote and taught about a nirvana, a paradise, a happy hunting ground. The Egyptians even built their pyramids for the dead and placed provisions in them for the hereafter. This desire still exists today. When we sing the song “Home of the soul” we are singing about heaven. It causes our hearts to soar, as we sing of the place where we want to spend eternity. We know in our hearts that this world does not offer us the lasting satisfaction and rest the soul longs for.

Justice requires such a place. Things certainly are not right here on earth, since the wicked seem to prosper while the saints suffer for doing right. This creates a longing for a place that will set things right. Heaven promises such a place. Note 2.Thes.1:6-7. “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled (saints being ‘persecuted for righteousness’ sake’ Matt.5:10–t.t.) rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.”

It is abundantly clear that things will not continue as they presently are on this earth. “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” Heb.13:14. That is the city Abraham by faith looked for, “For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” Heb.11:10. Peter tells us that one day this earth will be no more 2.Pet.3:10-11. So, after this world is destroyed where will we go? We will certainly go someplace.

In a previous lesson about Lk.19:16-31, we learned that we will be going to one of two places in hades (the waiting place of departed spirits). The majority will go into torment, then at the judgment into hell to suffer eternal punishment Matt.7:13-14. The people of God, Christians, go into Abraham’s bosom (paradise) to wait for the judgment, then into heaven for eternity Matt.25:46. But each one determines to which place one goes while living here on earth. We sing the song, “Only a step,” and truly there is only a step, a heartbeat, between us and the eternal home of the soul. “Death and decay, and passing away are written upon the wings of time, and timely things.” Even though I don’t know everything about heaven, I can talk about some things the Bible does reveal about it.

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. (to be studied next week)

By Tommy Thornhill

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