Would God create man hungry for food and yet make no food in all the world for man to eat? By the same token, we expect every legitimate longing of the heart one day to find fulfillment.
That will happen in heaven, our eternal home.
Following final judgment, all true believers enter a place of rest, eternal refreshment and joy. The rest of mankind will be forever punished -- away from the presence of God and all good.
Where is heaven? It is where Jesus is. A very real place, located somewhere in our universe. Following the renovation, our eternal home will likely include the new earth and the rest of the sin-free universe as well.
Revelation 22 gives a beautiful picture of our life there with God. "No longer will there be any curse," we are told in verse 3. All the blighting results of sin and its guilt forever lifted!
Now, see the stream of God's Life flowing as a river from His throne, verse 1. Utterly pure, without any of earth's pollutants. (And the world's spiritual evils are worse than physical!) Coursing right down heaven's main thoroughfare, this beautiful stream says to all, eternal life is now yours forever.
Look again at the radiant scene. Lining the banks of the crystal river is the tree of life. That is the very tree we all lost when Adam sinned. The opening chapters of Scripture showed it growing in the Garden of Eden. After sinning, Adam and Eve were driven from the garden so that they would not partake of the tree's fruit and live forever as they then were.
The tree of life represents Christ. Sin separates us from Him, our Life Source. We perish forever apart from Jesus our Lord. Knowing Him brings new life to us, John 17:3. In God's heavenly city we shall have free access to our Savior and His life.
Thus, the precious tree bears fruit constantly - every month - and its leaves are "for the healing of the nations," verse 2. The heavenly home is where hearts are healed! Read 2:7 and 22:14.
Our life in heaven will be wonderful beyond description. See I Corinthians 2:9. Our text reveals to us glorious features of that life. Let us see them
Surprised? You thought heaven's "rest" a lasting lazy vacation? Not at all. See verse 3.
It is true there will be no more curse in the sense of sweat and toil in order to make ends meet. But there surely will be none of the self-centered type of vacationing and retirement to do at last "what I've always wanted to do." Many modern men long to dodge good honest work. That is sin and rebellion. We are supposed to work and be productive as long as we are able. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work," Exodus 20:9. God's complaint against man is that he is so unproductive, Romans 3:12.
"His servants will serve him," says our text in verse 3. Responsibility, opportunity, accomplishment, progress will all flood our new life with a true reason for being. A forever, growing existence, rising like mountain peak upon mountain peak, will carry us from one degree of meaning and satisfaction to the next. Note, too, that God will personally supervise and lead us in our heavenly occupations as we praise and honor Him.
Our text moves on to another glorious feature of our life in heaven: "They will see his face," 4. Beautiful! See also 7:14, 15. Remember the longing of the Psalmist: "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" 42:2. Now, will he be filled to overflowing at God's holy presence. Jesus promised, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God," Matthew 5:8. Study also Psalm 16:11 and 17:15.
Christians are even now to love Jesus, the Lord of glory, I Peter. 1:8, 2 Corinthians 4:6. But, what will it be like when we see Him as He now is!
We could never stand His full glory - unless God had first given us brand new, glorified natures. Remember how John collapsed at the vision of Jesus in 1:17. Then, we have Paul's own testimony of the heavenly sights he once experienced. In 2 Corinthians 12, he refers to this vision or actual trip to heaven 14 years earlier. (Which figures out to be about the time of Acts 14:19, 20.) There in verse 7, he confesses those glories were so wondrous that he required a sharp, humbling "thorn" in his body to prevent pride. The sight of Jesus in glory is enough to up-end an apostle!
Peter never forgot His view of the Son's majesty and wrote of it, 2 Peter 1:16. It was years ago that he had fallen on his face before the sight of Jesus transfigure before him, Matthew 17:1-8. The point I wish to make here is that Peter's heart was so filled with delight that he, in effect, cried, "Lord let's stay here forever!" He had a glimpse of what will one day be ours eternally.
Finally, recall the experience of the martyr Stephen who was so ravished by his vision of Jesus in glory that he cared not for the angry mob that rushed upon him. Scripture records, "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'” Acts 7:55-56.
"And they will reign for ever and ever," 5. Who? All the sons of God. What victory! "Then the saying that is written will come true, 'death is swallowed up in victory.'"
" Where, O death, is your victory? where, O death is your sting?"
Now see the great honor that will be ours pictured in Revelation 3:21. "To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne." What honor!
Then will come our entire release from all the old hang-ups. In quiet authority we shall survey all past defeats, and they shall hurt no more - forever. Amen!
This new life is open to all who call upon Jesus Christ to be their own Lord and Savior. John 1:12.