June 13, 2014
Revelation 21:2, 3
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
What Will Heaven Be Like? Where will we live and what will we do in heaven? The popular depiction of this eternal place is that we become angels, flitting from cloud to cloud with our newly acquired wings, playing harps or maybe polishing our halos. Or maybe we think we will be like Clarence the angel in “It’s A Wonderful Life.” In this 1946 movie, Clarence it sent to earth to earn his wings by showing George Baily (played by Jimmy Stewart) that his life is worthwhile by taking the banker through an experience of what life would be like if George had not lived.
First of all, people do not become angels in heaven! Angels are a separate order of created beings with specific purposes. And one of their roles – according to Hebrews 1:14 – is shown in the form of a question: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation? ”
As discussed in last Monday’s blog, What Will Heaven Be Like? – I, once our physical bodies are resurrected, we will be like Jesus – glorified physical bodies perfectly adapted for spiritual living! So where will we live for eternity? The answer is in Revelation 21:9-11:
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud
voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and
He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will
be with them and be their God.
The description of the New Jerusalem is too long to reproduce in this blog because it constitutes all 27 verses of Revelation 21. But here are some highlights concerning the eternal city:
• Verse 4 – “…there shall be no more death…sorrow…crying…[nor] pain…” in that place.
• Verse 11 – “…her light was like a most precious…jasper stone, clear as crystal.”
• Verse 12 – It has twelve gates, each made out of a single pearl, and named for the twleve tribes of Israel, and each guarded by an angel.
• Verses 14, 19 and 20 – Twelve foundations of various precious stones support it, inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles.
• Verse 16 – The length, width and height or it were all equal – approximately 1,379 miles.
• Verses 18 and 21 – The wall is of jasper, and the city of transparent gold.
• Verse 22 – No temple is there. “… for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
• Verse 23 – No sun and moon shine there. “…for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light.”
• Verses 24 through 27 – Although the gates are open by day with no night there, no evil is allowed in that city. Only the saved will enter, bringing in glory to God.
According to The Lausanne Movement (http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/ detail/11972#article), there are about 300 million evangelical Christians in the world as of 2010. If we take double that number of true believers through the centuries, then 600 million will inhabit New Jerusalem. I one time began a Bible study with this statement, along with the size of New Jerusalem – approximately 1,379 miles on a side. One man made a comment, “Will we all fit in that place? Won’t we be too crowded?” I then began to lay out the logistics of it all:
• Each side (including top and bottom – and I will get back to explaining why I include sides, top and bottom – is 1,901,641 square miles in area.
• If we are just figuring the bottom surface of New Jerusalem, it works out to a bit over two acres per person! (1,901,641 square miles ÷ 600 million people x 640 acres/square mile = 2.028416 acres/person).
Could Jesus walk on a wall or stand on the ceiling in His glorified resurrection body? I mean, He could pass through locked doors, He could appear and disappear at will, gravity seemed to have no power over Him when He ascended into heaven! If we will be like Him (see I John 3:2), we might comfortably inhabit all four sides of New Jerusalem, and the top as well as the bottom! That would mean we would have over twelve acres per person! And it says nothing in the Bible to disprove there might be several levels for habitation within that new city! The point is, we will not be crowded in the New Jerusalem!
After the Bible study I mentioned earlier, the man who asked the question about being too crowded said, “I sure hope we don’t get too lonely there! Will we even see another person?!!”