My Hope of Heaven

Until I began reading the Bible at the age of 21, I had no idea of what heaven was truly like. My childish view of heaven had been mostly formed by popular culture; from cartoons, television shows and movies like “Heaven Can Wait.” In my mind heaven was a really boring place where disembodied spirits wandered aimlessly through a mysterious London-like fog. The picture I had built-up in my limited imagination was just slightly better than the first level of Dante’s portrayal of hell; far from the beautiful paradise that I now believe it to be.

When I began reading the Bible’s descriptions of this place called heaven, I was shocked by how different it was from my naive view. I am now convinced that it’s vital to have an accurate view of heaven in order to maintain a genuine (joy and peace-giving) hope for this life and the next.

I know this will sound strange, but it’s true; while I’m not in any hurry to die, since forming a proper Biblical view of heaven in my mind, I’m really looking forward to the day I see heaven! Maybe you’ll better understand what I’m looking forward to after reading the following description of the real heaven.

  • We will not be disembodied spirits. We will have bodies like Jesus had after He was resurrected (1 John 3:2). Bodies that defy the laws of physics, as we now understand them. A body that can walk through walls (John 20:19), but also has flesh (Luke 24:39). A body that is able to eat (Luke 24:42-43) and drink (Luke 22:30); we’ll even drink wine in heaven (Matthew 26:29).
  • Heaven is a place of perfect peace, but not the R.I.P. kind of peace (I always associated that with lying undisturbed in a coffin, which is not only morbid, but also really boring). I’m talking about inner and outer peace forever; no more crime or war (Isaiah 2:4). A place where now ferocious animals like lions, wolves and bears will graze on grass next to sheep and cows (Isaiah 11:7-8). There will be no more death, mourning, crying or any kind of physical or emotional pain (Revelation 21:4).
  • The location of the permanent heaven was the biggest surprise to me; heaven and earth will one day become one and the same (Isaiah 65:17 & 66:22, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1).
  • The government of the permanent heaven will be a perfect monarchy because Jesus is perfect (just and merciful) and He’ll be the King (John 18:36).
  • There will be many cities in the permanent heaven and Jesus will appoint good rulers over these cities (John 19:17-19 & Isaiah 32:1). No more campaign ads!
  • There will be many, many building and homes, some of which will make the Taj Mahal look like a starter home (John 14:2).
  • There are even gold-paved streets (Revelation 21:21).
  • There will be no sun or moon in the sky (Revelation 21:23) because there’s no need of them. God created them to mark time and separate night from day (Genesis 1:14), but there is no night in heaven (Revelation 21:25) and by definition eternity is timeless.
  • There will be no more oceans and seas (undrinkable water) (Revelation 21:1).
  • There will be no more wilderness (uninhabitable places), no deserts, wastelands or ice-covered areas (Isaiah 32:15, 35:1-7, 41:18-19).
  • There will be no more deep valleys or high mountains (Isaiah 40:4, Psalm 46:2, Luke 3:5).

I don’t know how many beings will live on this new earth, but the usable portion of this current earth accommodates 7 billion people (right now);  the new earth could easily accommodate 3 or 4 times that number.

Those with a true understanding of what the real heaven is like, and KNOW that they’ll be living there forever, are people of hope; they’re also good and productive citizens in this life as they’ll be in the next. I like the way C.S Lewis said this in his book Mere Christianity:  

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”


About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on August 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Wonderful post. Wendy -greenlightlady – suggested I read your blog. I’m glad she did. Blessings!

  2. Again, good stuff. I’m lovin’ it! So glad you responded to my latest blog or I might never have found you out there in the world wide web! I pray God’s richest blessings on you and yours, today and in the coming years. K

  3. Hi Bill, I came upon your blog after you like one of my posts (thank you, by the way :-)) I like your style of writing and just want to say thank you for being so honest and down to earth, and for all the scripture references – the bible truth is the only truth that really matters. It would be nice if all christians were as honest as you are and also as able to let His words abide in them as you seem to be. I have a question about your isaiah verses above – how do you know they are about heaven? Thanks, Justine

    • Thank you for your kind comments, Justine.
      Regarding the verses I used from Isaiah; they’re speaking about God’s universal reign (over the earth). The verses I used, verses like, “…they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war…” can only apply to a time when God has destroyed all opposition.
      I’m not an authority on Bible prophecy, but I think many who are would correctly say that, technically speaking, some of the verses I used from Isaiah apply to the so-called “thousand year reign,” the thousand year period where God is reigning over earth, but hasn’t yet “created a new earth.” But generally speaking the verses I used apply to both the Thousand year reign and the new earth (permanent heaven) and I think that prophecy teachers would agree with that.
      Thanks again, Justine.

  4. Love this post! Thanks for the scriptures… Studying heaven with our sons. 🙂

      • I was just talking to my brother about you and how much you’ve inspired me. I’m sharing you with everyone I know. Your message is SO powerful and needs to be heard by everyone. Love to you…

        • Thank you Lori; that means a lot! To be honest, I don’t like blogging. I joke about being a hermit hiding out at home, but it’s basically true. Going out has become increasingly difficult with my physical limitations. Blogging is probably good therapy for me, but every time I post I feel “exposed,” like a recluse that’s suddenly surrounded by a large group of people in the town square:-) I don’t blog because I want to; I do it because my desire to encourage people going through difficulties is greater than my desire to be reclusive!
          Thanks again for your encouragement.

  5. Thank you for sharing this post about the wonderful hope of Heaven, and for liking my post called “Hopefully”. We also have a post about Heaven and about the incredible love of God that we will only fully understand and experience when we finally know the Lord even as we are known. Our post is called “To Infinity…and far, Far, FAR Beyond!”. It is now on both of our blogs.

    C. Boyd.

  6. Wow! This is one of the simplest, yet truest, articles I have seen on heaven. Good presentation too.

  7. Reblogged this on Enchanted pen and commented:
    A simple, practical-as-well-as-magical perspective of heaven.

  8. Wow, you did a great job sharing the Biblical illustration of heaven. I wonder…have you read “Heaven is for Real!”? It’s a WONDERFUL book, true story of a little boy who experienced heaven, told by his father who is a pastor. It’s an engaging book that’s hard to put down. My then 4th grade son and I curled up on the couch and read it together in a weekend. If you haven’t read it, I hope you will soon! Blessings to you! 🙂

  9. I like your sense of humor:) You are right–many people have wrong thinking about heaven. We have so much to look forward to–an amazing future awaits us:)

    • Yes, Ajfits7, we are in Heaven for a short 7 yr layover back to a restored earth where Israel is today. While in Heaven we will be rewarded for our faithfulness to God’s Word. Some will suffer loss of rewards. We will all receive our assignments for what we will be doing during the Millennial Kingdom.

  10. The more I read the Bible’s description of heaven, the more my eyes are opened to the beauty and the peace within the Christian’s own world.

  11. This post was the first of yours that I read, and I read your “About Bill” page afterwards. Knowing your story puts this in a completely different context, and my immediate prayer to God was for you and your family, as well as praise for the work He has done – and continues to do – through you in spite of this affliction. It is a true testament of His glorious plan that He is using you in this way. I can only imagine how such a circumstance would make you long for Home, or at least repeat the final prayer of Revelation, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

    Thank you for your words, your message, and your life.

  12. You’ve brought up something so important when you mention Heaven and Earth becoming one. In Revelation we see not God taking the people up to Heaven into His presence, but the New Jerusalem coming down onto the Earth. The reign of Jesus is going to be right here. I used to wonder how Heaven could be enjoyable, just doing nothing but bowing down for all eternity; that was because I had a flawed view of how the Bible describes Heaven.

    Great post, and thanks for the reminder!

    Also, in case anyone is interested, my pastor just preached on this yesterday, and he said much the same thing you did:

  13. I don’t ever think what heaven will be like. I did see a show on a channel this year about heaven. But I never really thought about it. Reading your blog got me thinking what is heaven like.

  14. we in the Body of Christ take so much for granted about eternity with out really digging, and therefore, the world follows suit. This is very important stuff. Thanks!

  15. We are one day closer to our eternal home!

  16. StephenWhoElse

    Wow, this is a great eye-opener. Until now I have never seen a more complete description of heaven that is based on scripture. Thank you for this.
    It is very encouraging!

  17. Well done. I came upon your blog after your visit on mine. I’m glad I did.

  18. I enjoyed reading your blog, and agree with you that we miss great joys in this life because we forget to keep are hearts set on our final goal. How amazing it is to think of the Heaven that scripture describes.

    Oh, and loved the C.S. Lewis quote. Thank you for blessing my day more!

  19. Great post! I look forward to my heavenly home! 🙂

  20. Thank you for this post! I also appreciate your comment on my blog directing me here 🙂

  21. An outstanding piece of writing. Very inspiring.

  22. Noel Williams (prhayz)

    I can only imagine streets of gold and walls of jasper.

  23. I love how you said the Taj Mahal will look like a starter home compared to some of the buildings in heaven. This post is a must read for all believers. Your last line of the C.S. Lewis quote summed up your words perfectly. His Chronicles of Narnia sure helped me to believe that heaven will be action packed! It motivates me here & now… ~ Wendy

  24. It does seem like true believers are living in heaven right now.

  25. God bless you for such and awesome article! Many thanks to Wayne for reblogging, or I would not have seen this.

  26. Great piece of writing, Bill. More Christians would benefit from taking a longer look at our future.

  1. Pingback: My Hope of Heaven « wayneaugden

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