Editor’s note: This column is part 12 in a series about the biblical end of days and the book of Revelation.
Saving the best until last, this week in our end times study we look at heaven. We know it will be a good place, but why? What will it be like?
It will be a new, physical universe, made of material matter. Jesus’ glorified resurrection body, the one he has now in the angelic heaven is an example of what our new bodies and universe will be like. How and when will this take place?
Second Peter 3:10-12 tells us: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.”
None of us will be here when this happens. This will occur after the resurrection and the raptures, and at the same time as the judgment day. The final judgment will happen in the angelic heaven while our physical world is being renovated by fire.
The result of this cosmic change will be a new heavens and new earth. It may be the point of this will not be to annihilate this universe, but to purify and to remake it. This new universe will be our eternal, final heaven. It will be a space/time universe. We will be living on the new earth (Matthew 5:5) where “the meek shall inherit the earth.”
The new universe will be forming during the final judgment. We can see a foretaste of the holy city, New Jerusalem. Shaped like a cube.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2). This holy city lands on the new earth. And here we are in the final heaven, our eternal home.
I believe this home will have soil, water and plant life. It may have animals. There will be the pleasures of paradise: plenty of food, water, and fruit.
There will be no more danger, discomfort, death, disease, aging or accidents.
There will be no tears nor bad memories.
I believe will recognize people we new on the former earth. There will be a whole new universe to explore, yet plenty of time to rest.
Now for the best part. We will see God. He will make himself visible to us (Revelation 21:3). This is what will make the new earth heaven — being in God’s presence.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
So too, will Jesus be there. Revelation 22:3-4: “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”
We will see both God and Jesus.
This column completes our look at the end-of-time series. If you missed any of the columns, request them via email and I’ll gladly send them to you.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children’s Ranch for nearly 40 years. He’s a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.