The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 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. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
- Revelation 21:15-21
I could have asked, “What is Heaven like?”
But no, we have glimpses, like this paragraph taken from Revelation.
I wrote once before about how my wife had attended a women’s Bible Study. The Scripture above was read. One woman said that her Heaven was going to be well-out into the country. There were going to be trees and animals and creeks and ponds. She would never be cooped up inside a city. If that was what Heaven was like, she wanted no part of it. And most in the room full of women whole-heartedly agreed with her. No one thought that the only alternative was Hell.
But not long ago, I watched a television program that had four local pastors, sitting in a panel discussion, answering questions. One said that he didn’t care what Heaven was like, he would only see Jesus. Another said that Heaven IS Jesus. One of the questions was whether we would remember our lives, who we were, etc. Revelation 2:17 says that we will get a white stone with a name that only we know written on it. Is that our new identity? If so, why are we the only ones to know the name? One pastor in the panel discussion talked about how we might not remember anything other than total gratitude that we were in Heaven.
Then one of the pastors mentioned that he had a lot of trophies from his younger days that he had packed each time he moved. He looked like a former professional athlete. One day, he realized that his children would just throw that stuff away. He couldn’t take it with him. That got me back motivated to work harder at the downsizing thing. I spent the next day finishing a few half-finished projects and organizing so that everything is more livable – livable for two people as the day is approaching that I travel south to pick up my wife. We just haven’t set the date yet.
But in thinking of what I wanted in Heaven, memories of my youth with beagles running everywhere would be nice. Since I can’t handle the heat, it would have to be cool, 50s and 60s.
But wait! Wait, wait, wait! I’m making the same mistake, a dangerous mistake, that the women did at the Bible study.
I am dictating to God what I want. God has been working on my mansion for a long time. He knows me better than I know myself. Why do I think that I am so smart that I can dictate what Heaven should be like?
We will love it, if for no other reason, we’ll be with Jesus. The title of this post is a question that we need not trouble ourselves with. We just have to realize that it will be better than anything that we could imagine. It will be so wonderful that we could never come up with the words to describe it. I am sure that the Apostle John’s description above only scratched the surface.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.