In the last few years, I have received sobering announcements not only in the mail, but also on Facebook, and by word of mouth.
You see, many friends and family have died for various reasons, including the world pandemic.
Yet we should not be devastated if we and our loved ones know Jesus personally. Death is kind of a graduation or promotion: promotion to God’s promise of heaven.
The best is yet to come- the promise of heaven awaits
I remember graduating from college and all the promises that were ahead. I was looking forward to my first job, my first paychecks, and moving to a new location.
I also remember when I got my first job promotion. I felt like I had finally arrived in life.
We can have the same excitement as we think about being promoted from this life to the promise of heaven.
We can look forward to a full-time job praising and serving God forever. We also will have perfect health (no sickness, pain, or disappointment).
We will be relocating and have a new address. Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for those who love Him, and what a place it will be.
Furthermore, we won’t need a GPS to find heaven, because He will personally escort us there.
The best is definitely yet to come. Just being in the presence of Jesus forever- no politics, no evil, no heartbreak. Now that is something to look forward to.
“Eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) ESV
What does the Bible say about heaven?
There are many verses in the Bible that mention the word, Heaven. The King James Bible uses it 327 times in the Old Testament and 255 times in the New Testament.
The promise of heaven in the Old Testament
Heaven is clearly a topic of importance and many of the authors describe joy in heaven. (Psalm 16:11) Other points about heaven include:
- The heavens that we can see now declare God’s glory (Psalm 19:1)
- Elijah was taken into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings2:11)
- God resides in heaven (Lamentations 3:41)
- Those of us who are guided by God’s council here on earth will eventually live with God in heaven. (Psalm 73:24)
These are just a few of the verses in the old testament that speak of the promise of heaven.
The promise of heaven in the New Testament
John, Paul, Peter, and other writers discussed heaven. Some were quotes of Jesus, some quotes from the Old Testament, and some original words as given to them by the Holy Spirit. Examples of what they wrote are:
- Our citizenship is in heaven where we will have new, beautiful, perfect bodies. (Philippians 3:20-21)
- Heaven is full of joy every time a sinner repents and follows Jesus. (Luke 15:7)
- When we receive Jesus into our lives, we are given hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7)
- What we treasure or value will determine our future home. If we value heavenly things, then we will live with God in heaven someday. (Matthew 6)
- We can’t earn the right to live in heaven. It comes by the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The New Testament focuses more on the “how” of obtaining the promise of heaven.
What did Jesus say about heaven?
Other than the Lord’s prayer, probably one of the most well-known passages Jesus spoke about heaven is found in John, chapter 14.
“Let not your hearts be troubled … I go to prepare a place for you … And I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also … No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-4)
The promise of heaven is selective
Jesus made it clear that not everyone will be with Him in heaven.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Talk is cheap. Anyone can say they believe in God. They may even do work for Him, but not be part of the family of God. Family members obey the Father.
Working for God and obedience are not the same thing. Obedience is summed up in the two great commandments, “Love God, and love people.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Yet even keeping these two commandments is not what saves us. They simply are the evidence of our faith in Jesus Christ to save us.
“A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 2:16)
The promise of heaven is our eternal hope
When you think about it, there are many promising things here on earth. But ultimately, everything we have will eventually change. All we hold dear deteriorates and vanishes.
There is no real, lasting hope here on earth. Everything is temporary, momentary, and a blip on the screen of eternity.
Contrast that with the promise of heaven. This earth is not our home if we are following Jesus and His teachings. We are hardwired for something better, and that something is a forever life with God in heaven.
So even in terminal illness, we can look forward to God’s promise of heaven. In fact, terminal illness is our transportation to heaven when we know Jesus personally.
If you don’t know Jesus, you probably have questions. The people at Chat About Jesus have answers. You can text, call, or chat with them online any time of the day or night.
A gift with the promise of heaven
God does not want us to fear the future. In fact, the apostle Paul said that to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21).
Many near-death experiences have verified that someone escorts us to the promised land, the promise of heaven.
The following song was written and recorded by Chris Tomlin. Take a listen and enjoy the description of heaven in the song, Home.
I also want you to have this Scripture card. Simply download it as no email is required. There are four on a page so feel free to share with someone.
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