‘Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’
5 He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’
6 He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.’ Revelation 21:1-8 niv.
So where is this place? What is so great about this future place after all don’t we have everything we need here?
We all live in a world that screams to us of brokenness, something isn’t quite right. We see this in the suffering of the vulnerable, we see this in the destruction of human life, we see this in the destruction of God’s creation. We demand God fixes it without any thought to our role in it. We attack one another because we see things differently; we insist that as humanity it is down to us to fix it but we can’t even get everyone to agree what the problem is.
We definitely know that here and now isn’t paradise, deep down we know we were made for more than this. Inside many of us, at one time or another, we experience an emotion of lacking, an insisting there must be more to life than this. This is often the root of addictions – looking for something beyond ourselves an unachievable satisfaction. A unquenchable appetite for more.
When Jesus was on the cross there was a thief next to him who recognised Jesus as the King of all and in that moment, Jesus promised he would be with him in paradise. That promise holds true for everyone willing to do what the thief did? Recognise his own sin and turn to the one who can deal with it.
There is much the bible has to say about Heaven, the place beyond the here and now, the place where eternity with God will be guaranteed. The place where only goodness and love will be shared. No more tears, no more pain, no more evil. Everything we cry out for in our demand for justice.
So what is stopping us from making that step? Of turning to Christ the Saviour of our souls.
For some of us we have views about God and the world we live in but we aren’t prepared to investigate who God is for ourselves. Maybe we’re afraid of the unknown or maybe we’re afraid that God will demand too much of us.
Whoever we are and where ever we are on the journey of life, for now we need to read God’s word and ask God to show us who He says he is not who other people say he is. When we do that we learn to put our trust in Jesus as we come to understand why he had to die on our behalf and why his resurrection brings us the promise of new birth. Then we will see that we need Jesus because his is both the perfect human and our Creator God. Because he is both humanity and beyond humanity as Creator, then he alone can bring us into the promised land.
When we are convinced of God’s truth about himself and we commit our lives to living in light of who Jesus is rather than the darkness of our sin and the sin we see in the world we live, we will begin to see the world as God sees it, we will begin to see others how God sees them. In the words of the blind beggar in John 9:25 and the wonderful words of Amazing Grace ‘for I was blind but now I see’.
We will then know what we have been rescued from and we will begin to grow in a desire and a willingness to know more of what the future holds. And we will want others to know the hope that we have as Christ lives within us, through the presence of the Holy Spirit who guides and directs our lives and together we will learn how to become ready for paradise…
……the place God has planned for us to live with Him, forever.