“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4 NKJV).
When I purchase airline tickets, I prefer to confirm my seats for each leg of the flight as quickly as possible. I like aisle seats, near the front of the cabin, and those are usually the first ones to be taken. If I wait until I check in for the flight, it is very likely that I will not get what I prefer.
The word “reservation” carries a certain connotation of privilege. At a wedding, a funeral, or a banquet certain seats are set aside for family members or honored guests. Most people willingly concede the rights of those groups to have special treatment. But at some of these occasions those not so honored may be envious, desiring themselves to be among the select few. They share Haman’s weakness, wanting to be the one “whom the king chooses to honor” (Esther 6:6).
Christians have no need to be envious. We all have a place in heaven reserved especially for us, an incorruptible and eternal inheritance that will be given to us by the Almighty God who is our loving Father.
Jesus himself has promised to prepare that place for each one who believes in and follows him (John 14:2). Yes, I am aware that an argument can be made that the promises of John 14 through 16 are given only to the eleven surviving apostles. While I agree that the promises of the Comforter and of inspiration were for them alone, the promise that he would return to gather them to himself and take them back with him is extended elsewhere to all believers (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).
The key thought of John 14:6 is that Jesus will himself prepare a place, and it will be prepared specifically for those whom Jesus has chosen. The rooms of the righteous have already been reserved. They are ready for occupancy.
The apostle Paul expanded upon this same theme. “Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Paul was convinced that a crown exists with his name already on it. Not only that, but similar crowns await all those who look in faith to the return of Jesus.
Many religions teach some form of afterlife, whether it be reincarnation, Nirvana or some variety of heaven. Christianity is unique, however, in its emphasis upon the eternal life of the individual. Every resurrected soul will be given a new, incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
The righteous dead are not just an impersonal mass. Every faithful follower of Christ will be personally welcomed and comforted by God (Revelation 21:4). Everyone who overcomes will be given special blessings and gifts (Revelation 21:7, and compare chapters 2 and 3).
In eternity God has the time, the ability, and the will to give infinite personal attention to every resident. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have a place reserved just for them (Revelation 21:27). They will receive special treatment. Forever!