I want to go to heaven, how about you?
Each day here only further reinforces my desire. But why? What is the motivation? Why is heaven so wonderful?
We find glimpses of heaven throughout scripture: the garden in Eden, the tabernacle/temple, and the church. What do these seemingly disparate places have in common? The common theme running through these places is God’s presence.
In the beautiful garden, God walked in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). There was provision, purity, and God’s presence.
In the tabernacle – the movable house for the Lord – the glory of God resided.
“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34, 35).
When Solomon dedicated the temple he said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever” (2 Chronicles 6:1, 2).
When man sinned, God’s presence was withheld. In Genesis 3:17-24, Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden, and removed from the intimacy of God’s closeness. When Israel’s idolatry became too much, God’s presence left the temple, never to return (Ezekiel 10).
Later the prophet Ezekiel prophecies concerning the presence of God returning to his people. Exodus 43 is a beautiful look at the coming kingdom in the form of the church. The church is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), and his presence can be found within his people.
From creation on, man has been searching for the fulness of God’s presence. The real draw to heaven is that it is the dwelling place of God.
This God who dwells in heaven is holy. When Isaiah is given a vision of heaven he is introduced to the One the seraphim describe as “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3). When John is taken to heaven in the spirit, he sees four living creatures who never cease to say “Holy, holy holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8).
This God who dwells in heaven is glorious. This glory is overpowering (Revelation 15:8), and beautiful (Psalm 96:6).
This God who dwells in heaven is victorious. The Rider on the white horse conquers over his enemies (Revelation 19:11-20). The defeat of Satan (Revelation 20:7-10), and the victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:24-26), allows us to live forever sheltered from pain, despair, and loss.
This God who dwells in heaven is loving. His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136). In love, God wipes away every tear (Revelation 21:4) and holds close those who have held onto him.
Any place fit for such a being has to be wonderful beyond our imaging.
God is why heaven is wonderful. God is why we long for that eternal place. Desire him, and find your fulfilment in him.