[The angel] showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. Revelation 21:10
The Bible pictures heavenly happiness in terms of good things we know on earth: banquets and music; rivers, fruit trees, a paradise of animals living in peace; mansions, massive walls, streets of gold. Some of these splendid pictures may be literal. Others may turn out not to be literal. They are God's way of giving us the nearest hint we can grasp in our present situation.
Imagine you had to describe the taste of ice cream to people who had never eaten anything but oatmeal. How would you do it? You could compare it to the best-tasting oatmeal they'd ever eaten, and their mouths might water. But no oatmeal comparison could prepare them for the delicious taste of ice cream. Or suppose you had to describe the Eiffel Tower to tribal people who had never seen a building grander than a mud hut. What would you say? You could compare it to the biggest, most impressive mud hut of their most important chief, and that might impress them. But it still wouldn't capture the splendor of the Eiffel Tower.
How, then, can God describe heaven to earthlings who have never tasted or seen heavenly reality? God uses terms that we can understand: banquets, music, gold, jewels, and more. But only when heaven comes to earth will we taste what it's really like. Heaven will be all that Scripture pictures--and much more.
Lord, "you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Thank you for preparing such a splendid place for us. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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