questions about heaven

©2018 michael martin | mike@truthquest.org

q&a about heaven

Heaven, as described in the Bible, is an awesome concept, and is the subject of many questions and debates. While the Bible does not answer every question we might have about Heaven, it is important to understand the reality of Heaven and what it means for us today.

Some questions about heaven are complex enough to warrant their own discussions, such as these here:

• Can people who commit suicide go to heaven?

• How old will we be in heaven?

• Will we go to heaven when we die, or when we are resurrected?

Beyond these more complex questions, here are some simple questions we have received concerning Heaven, along with their answers.

a. are angels in heaven to give God company?

Angels are servants who were specially created by God, but God does also desire fellowship, and that’s one reason why He created us and the angels. It was all for His glory.

1 corinthians 1:9

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

b. why doesn’t God tell us when He’s going to take us to heaven?

God knows us. If we, as sinful humans, knew the exact time or date of Christ’s return, we would surely mess around right up until the time He returns. It’s like the parents who go out for the evening and ask their children to clean their rooms before they return home. If the kids know that Mom and Dad will be home at 10 pm, when will they start cleaning their rooms? Yeah, probably around 9:55 pm.

That’s human (sinful) nature, and it’s how we would behave if we knew the day and the hour of Christ’s return. Consider this passage of Scripture:

matthew 24:42-47

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

God is honored when we obey Him consistently, not when we wait until the last minute to do the bare minimum that we can get away with.

Additionally, our fellowship with God is enhanced when we serve Him faithfully, and the opportunities for unbelievers to come to Christ are multiplied by not knowing the exact time or date that Jesus will return.

c. what is heaven going to be like?

Awesome! The best description available about what heaven will be like is found in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Check this out:

revelation 21:1-4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

revelation 21:10-22:6

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The River of Life

22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 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. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Wow! That’s a lot to unpack!

d. how big is heaven?

While the Bible measures the square footage of the New Jerusalem in heaven at 12,000 stadia wide, long, and tall (Revelation 21:15) it doesn’t specifically tell us how large all of heaven will be in total.

My personal opinion on the size of heaven is tied to the fact that God dwells there. Since God is infinite, it would seem that heaven would also have to be infinite. Additionally, since we will live there for eternity (an infinite amount of time) it seems impossible to me that we would ever reach the limits of heaven. And while the Bible doesn’t directly support (or refute) this opinion, I believe it is a reasonable guess.

e. does God have help building all the houses in heaven for us?

This question is not directly answered by Scripture, so I will again answer with my opinion. First, I believe that the power of creation (the ability to create something from nothing) belongs exclusively to God. Everyone else merely takes what God has already created and arranges or rearranges it in different ways to build things.

Secondly, we should remember that God created our current heavens and earth in six day with the power of His Words!

exodus 20:11

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

If God can create the heavens and the earth and all that is in them just by His words, then He clearly doesn’t need help preparing a place for us in heaven. He is the Creator!

colossians 1:16-18

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

psalm 148:1-5

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens,

praise him in the heights above.

2 Praise him, all his angels,

praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

3 Praise him, sun and moon,

praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, you highest heavens

and you waters above the skies.

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,

for he commanded and they were created

Clearly, God needs no help at all in preparing a place for us. That doesn’t mean that He might not allow angels to help Him anyway, but He doesn’t need the help. He’s our awesome Creator!

f. do we have to go to school in heaven?

Leave it to a child to ask this question! But if you think about it, it’s a great question. The answer, I believe, is “yes.” But it won’t be a drudgery like school can sometimes be now. To begin, consider this verse:

1 corinthians 2:9

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”–

Right out of the gate, we know that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived of what God has prepared for us. In other words, we not only don’t know everything, we don’t even have a clue how much we don’t know about what God is preparing.

How much less can we even understand and appreciate God? We can’t even conceive in our minds what His creation in heaven will be like.

God is infinite. Surely we won’t know all there is to know about Him upon our arrival in heaven. So, while the Bible does not specifically answer this particular question, I believe we can assume that we will have much to learn and discover throughout our time in heaven, and that will be, in a way, like going to school.

My opinion is that we will find ourselves constantly overwhelmed by new and exciting discoveries about our Lord every day that we are in His presence, and that we will never cease to be amazed and awed at the new things we learn about our Father every day. God is far too big for us to think we could ever know all we want to know, and for this reason, I believe we’ll all be delighted when “school” is in session!

g. is there money in heaven?

The Bible doesn’t tell us, but it seems highly improbable. I cannot imagine what purpose money would serve in heaven. Here on earth, money is a motivator for us to work so that we can eat and survive, and even get comfortable. While I believe we will all work in heaven, it will not be toilsome. Even here on earth, before there was sin, Adam had a job, as this verse points out:

genesis 2:15

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

This work was not toilsome. It was a good thing. Only after the curse of sin did man’s work become toilsome and difficult. In heaven, work will once again be non-toilsome. We will work because it pleases God, and we will be happy to do so. We will not need money as a motivator.

Greed won’t exist either, and so there will be no need to hoard money. Our needs will be met by God, but I do not believe that money will be of any use.

h. conclusion

Heaven is an amazing place, filled with wonders we cannot even imagine. While the Bible gives us some beautiful and amazing descriptions of heaven and some clues about how things will work, there are still many mysteries we have yet to understand. Often, we can form opinions about what heaven will be like or how things will work based upon the rest of the Bible and what it teaches us about God.

But in the end, we will never know all there is to know about heaven while we are on this earth, and we will likely never be done discovering heaven even when we are living there for eternity!

Whatever the case, we can rejoice that heaven awaits all of those who belong to Christ, and can eagerly await our homecoming, when we will be in the very presence of God!