And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
~ Revelation 22:4
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
~ 1 John 3:2
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
~ Hebrews 11:16
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
~ John 17:24
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
~ Matthew 25:32-34
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
~ Romans 8:17
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
~ Philippians 1:23
A Brief Account of Heaven, by J. C. Ryle. The following contains an excerpt from his work, “Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John”.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.—John 14:1-3
We have in this passage a very comfortable account of heaven, or the future abode of saints. It is but little that we under- stand about heaven while we are here in the body, and that little is generally taught us in the Bible by negatives much more than positives. But here, at any rate, there are some plain things.
Heaven is a “Father’s house”—the house of that God of Whom Jesus says, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father” (Joh 20:17). It is, in a word, home: the home of Christ and Christians. This is a sweet and touching expression. Home, as we all know, is the place where we are generally loved for our own sakes and not for our gifts or possessions; the place where we are loved to the end, never forgotten, and always welcome. This is one idea of heaven. Believers are in a strange land and at school in this life. In the life to come, they will be at home.
Heaven is a place of “mansions”—of lasting, permanent, and eternal dwellings. Here in the body we are in lodgings, tents, and tabernacles, and must submit to many changes. In heaven, we shall be settled at last and go out no more. “Here have we no continuing city” (Heb 13:14). Our house not made with hands shall never be taken down.
Heaven is a place of “many mansions.” There will be room for all believers and room for all sorts, for little saints as well as great ones, for the weakest believer as well as for the strongest. The feeblest child of God need not fear there will be no place for him. None will be shut out but impenitent sinners and obstinate unbelievers.
Heaven is a place where Christ Himself shall be present. He will not be content to dwell without His people: “Where I am, there ye may be also.” We need not think that we shall be alone and neglected. Our Savior—our elder Brother, our Redeemer, Who loved us and gave Himself for us—shall be in the midst of us forever. What we shall see, and whom we shall see in heaven, we cannot fully conceive yet, while we are in the body. But one thing is certain: we shall see Christ.
Let these things sink down into our minds. To the worldly and care- less they may seem nothing at all. To all who feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of God, they are full of unspeakable comfort. If we hope to be in heaven, it is pleasant to know what heaven is like.
We have, lastly, in this passage a solid ground for expecting good things to come. (Our sinful flesh) is apt to rob us of our comfort about heaven. “We wish we could think it was all true.” “We fear we shall never be admitted into heaven.” Let us hear what Jesus says to encourage us.
One cheering word is this: “I go to prepare a place for you.” Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people: a place that we shall find Christ Himself has made ready for true Christians. He has prepared it by procuring a right for every sinner who believes to enter in. None can stop us and say we have no business there. He has prepared it by going before us as our Head and Representative and taking possession of it for all the members of His mystical body. As our Forerunner, He has marched in, leading captivity captive, and has planted His banner in the land of glory. He has prepared it by carrying our names with Him as our High Priest into the holy of holies and making angels ready to receive us. They that enter heaven will find they are neither unknown nor unexpected.
Another cheering word is this: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” Christ will not wait for believers to come up to Him, but will come down to them, to raise them from their graves and escort them to their heavenly home. As Joseph came to meet Jacob, so will Jesus come to call His people together and guide them to their inheritance. The second advent ought never to be forgotten. Great is the blessedness of looking back to Christ coming the first time to suffer for us, but no less great is the comfort of looking forward to Christ coming the second time, to raise and reward His saints.
Let us leave the whole passage with solemnized feelings and serious self-examination. How much they miss who live in a dying world and yet know nothing of God as their Father and Christ as their Savior!