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What is Heaven Like? - The Book of Revelation
Week 33, 2018
The study of Revelation is a study of a spiritual experience that John had and the things that he saw while “in the Spirit.” His vision concludes with the kingdom of heaven coming to earth, so we will take a little time to examine one of the most fascinating and frequently asked questions today:
What is heaven like?
The main purpose for addressing this here is so that we can better understand how the kingdom of heaven will ultimately impact the earth, and how we can be a part of helping to prepare for this. I have had a number of prophetic experiences where I was caught up into the heavenly realm, or heaven. I have friends that have had similar experiences. These experiences are actually quite common in church history, and seem to be becoming more common today. This is a sign that we are indeed coming to the end of this age and the coming of the kingdom of heaven to earth.
As these get closer, we can expect the encroachments of heaven to increase. This is the Lord drawing us to what is to come, and the powers of the age to come, to prepare the way for the Lord. This is the beginning of the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, which must be done throughout this world before the end of this age (see Matthew 24:14).
The following are some of the things I have learned about heaven, or the heavenly realm, from my experiences, as well as from friends and notable historical figures who had similar experiences. We must keep in mind that prophetic revelation is given for encouragement, edification, and at times exhortation, as well as revealing strategy and vision. It is not given to establish doctrine—only the Scriptures are given for that. However, we do see at times in Scripture that prophecy is given to illuminate doctrine, as in the case of Peter having the trance that led to him going to the Gentiles with the Gospel. Peter was right to act on this revelation, but it was also right that this was not accepted as a doctrine of the church until the leaders saw it in the Scriptures.
For this reason we should not accept any vision, revelation, or prophetic experience that in any way conflicts with the testimony of Scripture. Others that I do not accept, and that trouble me, are those who claim to have gone to heaven and witnessed things that trivialize heaven. There is a dignity and majesty to God that exceeds even the greatest of these on earth, and that dignity and majesty pervades His realm. His angels are not Gerber babies playing games. They are of a brilliance and magnificence hardly imaginable by those whose only experience is this present age.
That being said, heaven is not stiff. There is a pervading joy and exuberance far beyond anything that I have witnessed on earth, but it was not silly. There is a royalty beyond any earthly royalty, and a nobility beyond any earthly nobility, that pervades heaven. There is a holiness that pervades heaven that is not legalistic, but rooted in the nobility and royalty of the King. This holiness is one of the most compelling and attractive aspects of the atmosphere of heaven. It is based on how we should conduct ourselves in the presence of our awesome God.
The worship there is not because God needs it, but because it is the only way one can react before the glory and majesty of God. You just have to express your adoration for Him because He is love, and in His presence, He compels the greatest love from all. Worship is something that you cannot help but do in His presence, and it is so wonderful to be able to express ourselves to Him in this worship that there may not be anything else as wonderful that we can experience. There are too many other things going on in heaven to discuss, and all of them are wonderful, but worship is the highlight of all—the greatest thing we will be doing and the main thing we will want to do.
The greatest music ever heard on the earth does not compare to the least in heaven. However, the worship on earth—even the driest, struggling worship that we do here—can touch God more than all of the worship in heaven. In heaven you cannot help but to worship, and He knows this. When we are struggling through all of the battles and trials on earth and we still thank Him and try to worship Him—as feeble as it is at times—it deeply touches God, and all who are in heaven witness it.
This worship from the afflicted is even a witness to principalities and powers of darkness. It is such a witness that the angels and other majesties in heaven declare that those who demonstrate such faith and devotion when going through so much are worthy to be their judges. For this reason one of the most important things we can do to prepare for heaven, and our part in the ages to come, is to not waste our trials. Rather, let us use every one as an opportunity to grow in our faith and trust in God, and be thankful through them.
Next week we will continue to seek to see from heaven’s perspective.
next week 34