A Place called Heaven

Heaven is a country I have never seen, but nevertheless it is a real place, no less real than Singapore, the island state which I call home.  My interest in Heaven dates back to the day in 1935, when I heard the preacher Dr John Sung ask the question to a congregation of perhaps a thousand, “Who among you, having heard the story of the rich man and Lazarus, would like to receive Jesus as your Saviour, to be cleansed of your sins and be given a place in Heaven?”

With many others, I raised my hand, and prayed to receive Jesus as my Saviour.  It was a prayer from my heart and since then my faith in Jesus has grown stronger over the years as I serve Him, my Lord and Master, knowing that I have a place in Heaven, prepared for those who believe.

Time has flown by:  I am now in my ninth decade,  physically declining with the ravage of years.  My help-meet of 56 years recently was called Home to Jesus, and I am increasingly conscious, my call cannot be far away.  But I can face the future with the full assurance that while the  ” … outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16).  So like Paul the Apostle, I am “… willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).

Indeed, oftentimes I pray the Lord to call for me, for with father, mother, wife and many other loved ones gone ahead to the heavenly home, I have a growing “desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil 1:23).  At times my spirit is so moved and uplifted I can truly say I am “… willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” For then, Heaven will, at last, have begun, and my hope come true.

What is Heaven like?

Our only authentic source of information on Heaven is from the record of God’s Word, as it is written “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

What are “the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”? We quote from Revelation 21:3,4: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

What can we learn from this passage about Heaven?  Firstly, Heaven is God’s dwelling place, now ready and waiting for God’s people!  We, who have been saved from the condemnation and penalty of sin, who have been washed, made pure and clean by the blood of the Lamb will be welcomed into the very presence and company of God.  It will be a sweet fellowship, unspeakably warm and affectionate as “between Father and sons.”

The second great fact is:  all the old corruption, curse and sorrow of a fallen world will be a thing of the past, never to trouble us again. Sorrow, death, pain and crying will be banished once and for all from Heaven.

What else do I know about Heaven?  It will be a new experience, beyond imagination, to discover the beauty, purity, unspeakable joys of being in the presence of the Lord Jesus, angelic hosts, and the thrill of meeting loved ones, fellow believers of former days with whom I had laboured in the Gospel, and also the thrill of meeting the saints of old whose names and exploits adorn the pages of Scripture.

It is totally beyond our present limited imagination to forecast or to appreciate what the new Jerusalem, the City of God, will be like – the streets of gold, the buildings of precious stones, the river of “water of life,” the throne of God and the amazing tree of life which bears twelve manner of fruits, a different one each month!

Truly, Heaven will be a brand new and most exciting experience with totally unimaginable surprises, prepared for them who love God!  There, the holy Kingdom of God will be beyond the reach of corruptions, violence, pain, sorrows and travails of earth woes:  all these former things will be no more – all because our Lord Jesus did His great work of redemption and restoration, paying the price with His own precious life blood on Calvary’s cross.

In Heaven, all the redeemed shall be forever singing with the angelic hosts the praises of the Lamb of God, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.  That Heaven is just a breath away.

Dr. Tow Siang Hwa