Table of contents
Imagine someone tasked you with the lofty goal of teaching advanced calculus to a dog.
This is absurd but just think about how many hurdles you would have to cross to make this happen. First, you have the intelligence barrier. I don't want to speak for your dog but mine... not the brightest color in the box. But, let's say this dog is brilliant. Then, you would have to deal with a language barrier. Let's say you could fix that. Then, you would have to explain numbers. No problem. But, then you need to get the dog to understand their association with each other. Then, simple math. Then, advanced math. Then...... let's just say it would be a long journey.
This would not even begin to describe God trying to explain the vast impossibility of Heaven to us. We live with certain time and space dimensions. Heaven exists outside this. It is a place where the epicenter of God's glory resides. It is impossible to even get our minds around this.
Because of this, the Bible uses various different metaphors to help us get the slightest glimpse of the realities of Heaven. It speaks of Heaven as a city. It speaks of Heaven with rows and rows of mansions. It speaks of the epicenter of God's glory as a throne room with angels singing all around. It can be difficult to parse out the metaphors from the real descriptions but we do know this.
It is without sin and with the full glory of God.
Below are some windows into the beginnings of an understanding and many different Bible references. I would recommend watching the videos. There has been a lot of great work done on this future home for all Christ-followers.
What is Heaven?
Heaven is the name of the divine destination for Christians. Christians are people who submit their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They have placed their faith in Christ alone to wash away all their sin and place them in right standing with God.
Where is Heaven?
Short answer, we are unsure. Paul says knew a man who went to the "3rd Heaven." Ancients of the time saw the first Heaven as the Earth's atmosphere, the second Heaven as space, and the third Heaven as the place where God dwells. Since Heaven is in the Spirit World, we couldn't see with our eyes anyway. It is beyond our visual acuity.
What Will Heaven Look Like?
The book of Revelation spends most of its time in the Throneroom of God. It can be difficult to tell how much of the book of Revelation is literal and what is a metaphor. Because of this, scholars are sometimes divided on how much of the throneroom is literal.
A better image might be the garden of Eden. This is, also, imperfect because it is a place God set up on Earth for His creation. Heaven is altogether "other" from our experience.
Should I believe people who say they have seen Heaven?
It's up to you. There is no Scriptural reason not to believe them. I would only caution you to weigh what they say with God's Word. If they don't agree with the Bible's description of Heaven, go with the Bible. I will admit that I am a little skeptical. Paul had a vision of Heaven but said he was forbidden to mention it. That gives me pause on believing anyone else. I am also hesitant because people's descriptions are wildly different. If you enjoy listening to the stories, go for it. Just be sure the foundation of your hope comes from God's Word.
Heaven is a literal place where God is. His angels worship Him there and so will we on day. One day we who follow Jesus will dwell with God forever.
- Does God live in Heaven?
Answer: Yes and No. Yes, God's Word speaks of Heaven being His "Throne." However, you cannot limit God to one location. He is omnipresent. This means all of time and space are filled with His Glory. It would probably help to think of Heaven as the focused center of His goodness.
- Does God keep people out of Heaven?
Answer: No. John 3:16 clearly states that God did everything necessary so that ALL can be with Him in Heaven. We either choose to accept His sacrifice and serve Him or choose not to. It is our choice. He has already chosen to give us salvation. We must receive it and repent of our sins.
- Can I leave Heaven once there?
Answer: Why would you want to? Perfect peace. No pain. No worry. No fear. In the complete presence of God with no filter.
- Will my pets be in Heaven?
Answer: So... I actually get this question often when the subject of Heaven comes up. There is no Scriptural evidence that our particular favorite pets will be in Heaven. There is scriptural support there will be animals, however, it would be disingenuous to say there is a way to know if your pet will be there. We simply don't know. We'll find out soon enough.
- Is purgatory a thing?
Answer: No. There is no Scriptural support for an in-between plain until you have been "prayed through" or until you have endured enough trials.
Resource for further study: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_123.cfm
Bible Verses on Heaven
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Revelation 22:1-5 Then 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. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Romans 10:9-13 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
2 Peter 3:13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
Revelation 21:21-25 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.
Revelation 21:22-27 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. ...
Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Revelation 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Hebrews 13:14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Revelation 21:1-27 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ...
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Revelation 21:1-4 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 4:1-11 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, ...
Matthew 18:10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Revelation 21:18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.
John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
Revelation 21:19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,
Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
2 Corinthians 5:8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Ephesians 5:1-7 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. ...
Galatians 5:19-25 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ...
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Jeremiah 10:12 It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
2 Kings 2:11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
Isaiah 65:17 For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ...
John 6:50-71 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. ...
Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
Revelation 11:19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
Nehemiah 9:6 You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ...
John 14:1-3 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Revelation 12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
John 6:47-50 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
Revelation 7:13-17 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Colossians 3:1-7 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ...
Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Isaiah 25:6-9 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
John 14:2-4 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
John 13:36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”
1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Philippians 3:21 Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Psalm 19:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
1 John 5:5-8 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Acts 7:49 Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
Luke 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.
Lamentations 3:41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:
Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Psalm 73:24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Matthew 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
Acts 1:11 And said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Psalm 20:6 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Matthew 6:19-20 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
1 Kings 8:30 And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Ephesians 1:18 Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
Psalm 8:3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
John 5:29 And come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
2 Chronicles 6:30 Then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind,