Heaven is a mystery to us on earth. We get glimpses of it throughout the Bible, but we can only ever have imperfect knowledge of this place where God dwells whilst we are limited by earthly thinking and understanding.

Often, we cannot understand how worship will be so central to eternity, and imagine cherubic-looking angels with harps on fluffy clouds which seem to bear little resemblance to life as we know it and which, frankly, put us off. Some of these images may have arisen from Revelation 5, where the four living creatures and twenty-four elders are said to have a harp and golden bowls of incense representing the prayers of God’s people. (Rev 5:8) Again, however, just because something may not be literally true (as in the case of metaphors) does not mean it is not real or true. We live in a world of cause-and-effect where people think they are the most important part of the world; the reality God describes is not this kind of world at all. Just as we cannot really imagine a world without time, so we cannot imagine how we will spend our time (eternity) in worship. We fear repetition on earth, finding that it leads to monotony and boredom, but this will surely not be the case in heaven!

I don’t have any easy answers to the question ‘What is heaven like?’ or ‘What will we do in heaven?’ I simply know that the Bible speaks of us being in God’s presence and worshipping Him out of hearts that are full of gratitude for who He is and what He has done. As the book of Revelation makes very plain, heaven is wonderful; the alternative, hell, is not. To be apart from God, to be judged by Him and inevitably found wanting, is not the cheerful alternative many would have us believe. Paul said, ‘now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.’ (2 Cor 6:2) Heaven is for those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ: ‘with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ (Rev 5:9) It’s not the automatic ‘destination’ for ‘good’ people; it is God’s free gift to those who believe on Jesus Christ.