Thursday, October 4, 2018

What We Won’t Be Seeing in Heaven

The sun rising over the Tyrrhenian Sea reminds us of what
lies ahead for us on distant shores.
“What will Heaven be like?” That’s an interesting question to ponder, at least for those of us who believe our time on earth is just a tiny fraction of our eternal existence. The Bible speaks a lot about Heaven. Author Randy Alcorn wrote an expansive book on it, appropriately entitled Heaven. (I hope the creative mind that came up with the title received a huge bonus!) Other books and countless articles also have addressed the topic. But we still don’t know exactly what it will be like. 

Jesus told His followers, “In my Father’s house there are rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3). Other translations, instead of “rooms,” use terms like “many mansions” or “dwelling places.” While offering assurances of life after this one, Jesus didn’t volunteer other details.

Billowy clouds hover over this ancient,
ornate church in Assisi, Italy.
In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” The apostle Paul was quoting from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Some commentators have observed this applies to spiritual understanding we can’t gain from our senses. But it also could be alluding to what awaits us on “the other side of eternity.”

We wonder, therefore, what will we see there? And hear? And do? Good questions all, without definitive answers. So we speculate. But there’s another curious question worth considering: What won’t we see, or hear, or do in Heaven?

The answer to this could be many things. I doubt there’ll be a need for air conditioning. We probably won’t have Popsicles. Will we need bathtubs, or shaving cream? Don’t expect to have clocks or watches, even of the digital variety. I don’t think time will be an issue when we have all of eternity. Maybe we won’t even have Sunday school. But in giving this some thought, here’s a short list of serious, everyday things that, according to the Scriptures, we definitely won’t encounter:

Hospitals, doctors and nurses. Funeral homes, undertakers and cemeteries. Pain medications and opioids. Crutches, canes, wheelchairs and Band-aids. Ambulances, paramedics and EMTs. Police cars, law enforcement officers and jails. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Politicians and legislators. Courtrooms and lawyers. Murder mysteries. TV crime dramas. Horror movies. 

How do we know this? Because each of these is related disease, death, injury, discord, law breaking, hatred, ungodly thinking – and sin. According to the Scriptures, none of these will have a place in the eternal home God is preparing for us. In the last book of the Bible we read, He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Things that bring pain and sorrow will be eliminated as “the old order.”

Isn’t it good to know death, sorrow and evil will not exist in Heaven? We won’t be turning on the evening news to get the day’s “body count.” There will be no need to fear a dreaded phone call bearing bad news about a loved one. We’ll not be awakened in the middle of the night by sirens announcing a fire, traffic accident, response to a misdeed, or someone’s health emergency. As Isaiah 25:8 declares, He will swallow up death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from every face and remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. For the LORD has spoken.” 

And we won’t see elderly folks huddling around a table to compare their latest maladies, or bemoan the toll taken by the passage of years. We’ll be made new, and never again fret about getting old. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.' Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).

To be honest, I’m getting more and more eager to discover what we will not be seeing and experiencing in Heaven. How about you? 


David Tuckerman said...

A friend from a previous church posted the following on Facebook today-

"No greater treasure can be conceived than the Son of God.
Moreover, our ability to savor this inexhaustible treasure will not be limited by human weaknesses. We will enjoy the Son of God with the very enjoyment of his Father. That’s what Jesus prayed for!"

Joy Unbound


That’s what Jesus prayed the night before he died. Imagine being able to enjoy what is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever. This is not now our experience. Three things stand in the way of our complete satisfaction in this world.

One is that nothing in this created world has a personal worth great enough to meet the deepest longings of our hearts.

Another is that we lack the strength to savor the best treasures to their maximum worth.

And a third obstacle standing in the way of complete satisfaction is that our joys here come to an end. Nothing lasts. But if the aim and the prayer of Jesus in John 17:26 come true, all this will change. He prayed “that the love with which you, Father, have loved me may be in them.” God’s infinitely well-pleased love for his Son in us!

If God’s pleasure in the Son becomes our pleasure in the Son, then the object of our pleasure, Jesus, will be inexhaustible in personal worth. He will never become boring or disappointing or frustrating.

No greater treasure can be conceived than the Son of God.

Moreover, our ability to savor this inexhaustible treasure will not be limited by human weaknesses. We will enjoy the Son of God with the very enjoyment of his Father. That’s what Jesus prayed for!

God’s delight in his Son will be in us and it will be ours — our delight in the Son. And this will never end, because neither the Father nor the Son ever ends.

Their love for each other will be our love for them and therefore our loving them will never die, nor ever diminish.

Devotional excerpted from The Pleasures of God, page 27
John Piper Solid Joys Desiring God

Bob Tamasy said...

Thanks, David. I appreciate these insights!