My ten-year-old granddaughter and I had a lot of fun the other day, talking about fruit. We had just read the verses in Revelation 22 about the tree of life that bears 12 different kinds of fruit: “The angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.”1
When I was on earth, I told My disciples that I was going to prepare a place for us to be together forever.1 This place is for all of you who have invited Me into your hearts and lives‚ and I want it to be the most wonderful place there has ever been, perfect in every way. I have also made beautiful dwelling places for you to live, so you can be comfortable and enjoy the beauties of your heavenly home.
I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God. I want to know one thing—the way to heaven.
The world is but a great inn, where we are to stay a night or two, and be gone; what madness is it so to set our heart upon our inn, as to forget our home?
I was thinking recently about death—how in spite of all the advances in medical science, death happens eventually to every living creature.
I was curious to see what the Bible had to say about this, and found some amazing things.
Death, it turns out, was not part of God’s original plan for His creation; it was the result of man’s disobedience to God. God had intended for man to live forever, but He could no longer permit that because of man’s fallen, sinful nature. Death is the penalty of sin, and it is one we all must suffer. “Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”1
The Bible tells us a lot about what to expect when we get to heaven—what it’s like, what we will be like, and what we’ll do there. There have also been numerous accounts from people who caught glimpses of heaven during brushes with death, and other people have seen departed loved ones in visions or dreams, or received messages from them with details of what they found life in heaven to be like.
As I was walking this evening on the country roads in the hills behind my house, I realized that next week it will be five years since I last saw you, since you left us.
At first I was saddened by the thought, but suddenly it struck me differently. Five years in heaven. You’ve spent five years in heaven. What that must be like!
Rounding a bend, a spectacular sunset came into view. The sky was awash in pinks and blues, amplified by a pre-monsoon day that had alternated, sometimes suddenly, between sunny, brilliant blue skies and rain clouds.
The Bible doesn’t say there aren’t going to be any tears in heaven. When we get to heaven and face God, we will no doubt all have a few tears to shed for mistakes we made and opportunities we missed and loved ones that we’ll wish we’d loved more and been kinder to. We will all have something to be sorry about and ashamed of then.
But isn’t God wonderfully loving and merciful? He says He’s going to wipe away all those tears. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”1
In my high school literature class we studied the Jean-Paul Sartre play No Exit, in which hell’s occupants are confined to a room and have nothing to do but engage in fruitless, pointless discussions.
In David Brandt Berg’s article“The Green Door,” hell is a polished hospital-like facility with rooms full of people involved in much the same work they did on earth, but without any hope of achieving anything worthwhile: scientists engage in endless experiments that bear no results, soldiers fight battles that never end, trains never reach their destinations, and rockets don’t make it off the ground. Nothing ever gets done. In Inferno, the first part of Dante’s epic poem A Divine Comedy, part of hell is pictured as an endless mountain range that one must keep climbing, one peak after another.