Thinking About Heaven
Can you imagine a city so large that it encompasses two million and a quarter square miles? The northern boundary is 1500 miles as well as the east, west and southern boundaries. Not only is the size of the city massive in length and width – the height of the city is also 1500 miles. Is it possible to wrap the mind around a city of this size? Imagine further this grand city being made of pure gold and the walls that stretch for 1500 miles in either direction are made of jasper. The foundation of the city is made up of a myriad of jewels with twelve gates made of one pearl each. All the streets are paved with gold but have no street lights adorning the curb. This incredible city with its gates standing open eternally is brightened by the glory of God. If we can imagine a city so unbelievable and majestic then we have shared in the tendril of “the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:10).
John’s account of the “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1) burst from the pages of holy writ. The Revelation captures the imagination from beginning to end as the war between righteousness and evil plays out on the parchment of John’s book. The trumpet of victory sounds in the latter part with the triumph of the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16) when all that opposes God is banished in the “second death” (Revelation 20:11-15). Rising with wonder is the promise of the city long ago given by God to His saints in illusionary words as Divine seeks to instill in mortality a view of Heaven.
The terms of length and height and materials are only figurative as God seeks in the feeble mind of man to instill an image of Heaven that is beyond anything man could ever dream of. We are not to understand the fullness of its beauty. It is beyond man’s greatest imagination to come to terms with a city of such vast space and splendor; and that is the point of the illustration. If man could ever understand fully the blessing of eternal life then man has mastered the knowledge of God. Yet the Lord keeps man far from the level of knowledge that would give him hope and the longing for something beyond his power.
The Almighty wants his people to think about Heaven and when thinking about Heaven to consider how great God is and how blessed man is to be allowed to dwell in such a place. This is not something built by man; this is built by God. The Hebrew writer alludes to this promise in Hebrews 11:13-16. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
If a man lives to be one thousand years old he will only grasp the hem of the garment understanding what Heaven is like. What a wonderful life to live and think about something so beautiful and so grand. David said, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works” (Psalms 145:5). Think!