The Kingdom of Heaven is, for us here on Earth, a place of mystery and wonder, with its streets of gold and the absence of all things evil. In the bible, His words to us, and through the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ, God offers us glimpses and insight as to what we can expect in heaven as His children. It is not offered freely; we must believe in Him and seek His truth and His will for our lives.
What is this place called heaven and why should we strive to go there?
Heaven is God’s kingdom, His home and separate from “the heavens” which is the sky. The book of Revelations tells us in chapter 21 verses 1through 4 “(1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great 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 shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (KJV).
What will this new heaven be like?
God gave John a vision of the end time, including a glimpse of the glory of God’s new kingdom. John described this new heaven in Revelations chapter 21 verses 10 through 27, “(10) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, (11) having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. (12) It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. (13) There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. (14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (15) The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. (16) The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. (17) And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. (18) The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. (19)
The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; (20) the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. (21) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (22) I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temples. (23) And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (24) The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. (25) In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; (26) and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; (27) and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (New American Standard).
There will be a new earth, one with no suffering, no pain, and no hunger. God’s home, Heaven, will descend to the new earth and He will reign from His throne. Those who believe in God and Christ Jesus and follow God’s commandments, and strive to know and follow His will for their lives, will be a part of this new kingdom. Being a part of the new kingdom, whether a resident of the new heaven or of the new earth, it will be glorious, a fulfillment of all God’s promises to his creation.
How might this new earth come into being?
God spoke much unto His disciples and taught them and showed them visions of what was to come. He told them of the future of earth as we know it, that at the end of time it will be consumed by fire and pass away. That He, God the Creator, will have for His followers a dwelling place that is holy and without sin or suffering. Peter tells us in 2 Peter, chapter 3 verses 10 through 13, “(10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (11) Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (13) But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (New American Standard). No one on earth will know the day or the hour when the Lord will come to claim His people and will, on that day, unleash His judgment upon the inhabitants of this world.
Where are your treasures stored?
Do you keep your treasures in a bank? Are they in a vault, protected by the steel and stone of this world? Where will those treasures be when the Lord returns and all is destroyed by fire? Jesus was very specific when He told us about storing up our treasures. All things of this world will pass away and everything will be made new. The Lord spoke to us in the book of Matthew, chapter 6 verses 19 through 21 and 24, “(19) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; (21) for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (24) No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (New American Standard).
If we cannot see heaven, or go there, how are we to store up our treasures there?
Stop thinking of worldly treasures and start building up your heavenly storehouse. Faith in God, belief in Jesus Christ, acceptance of and adherence to the will of God in your life: these things the Lord loves and He will use them as building blocks for your mansion, your new home on the new earth. Spread the good news to people who do not know of Christ and His miracles. Show love to your enemies, this does not mean to condone their behavior, it means to know they are creations of God who deserve to hear of His love and forgiveness, and to be forgiven as our heavenly father, God, forgives us. God does not forgive us unless we ask for it. We must repent of our sins and ask the Lord’s forgiveness and help in changing our lives, these are treasures to be stored up in heaven.
The kingdom of heaven will be a glorious reward for all who believe in Jesus Christ and lives their lives according to God’s will. He has instructed us to live our lives to glorify Him. We can do this by showing love and compassion to all people; by being good, doing good works, and thinking only of honoring our heavenly Father. When something or someone makes us angry or causes us to lust after that which we do not possess, give it to God, singing His praises in our hearts and He will reward us richly in heaven for all eternity.