Here on earth, people move from one country to another, looking for better life. In the process, they get that country’s citizenship to avail of all the benefits that it provides. But as they live as citizens in their new-found country and realize that it cannot meet their expectations, they soon find themselves wanting to go back to their former country or search again for a greener one. When will their quest for a better life end? In his epistle to the Philippians, the apostle Paul revealed a better citizenship that we all should long for. He said, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
The quest for a better country will continue to dominate the minds of people as they seek to satisfy their physical needs, but because of the fallen nature of the world we are living in, there is no such place here on earth. “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Heb. 13:14). The truth of the matter is that we are all aliens and strangers here, but there is something in our DNA that longs for something eternal, and this causes us to not be content with what this world can offer. Again, the Book of Hebrews says, “Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16).
While we all want to have an enduring city, as enduring as heaven itself, many of us just do not have a clue of what heaven looks like and what it can offer. The Bible describes heaven as follows:
Holy – Heaven is a holy place. In the Book of Revelations, we are told, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Rev. 21:27). It is for this reason that we need to be washed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
Eternal – It is an enduring city and where eternity resides. In describing heaven, the apostle Paul said, “Now, we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Cor. 5:1). King David acknowledged the eternal kingdom of God, saying, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom” (Psalm 45:6).
Abode – Heaven is the dwelling place of God. In his prayer, King Solomon said, “Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive” (1 King 8:30). King David also said, “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them” (Psalm 11:4).
Villa – Heaven will be the residence of believers. It is a villa – a luxurious and spacious residence. Jesus himself described heaven saying, “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” (John 14:2). Each one of us will have our own mansion, bigger and more luxurious that what we have here on earth, and the city itself will be beautiful, as described in Revelations 21:16-21.
Exclusive – Heaven is reserved exclusively for the believers. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). Also, the Book of Revelations gives a short list of those who are excluded from heaven when it says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Rev. 22:14-15).
New – Everything in heaven will be made new. The Lord said, “I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true" (Rev. 21:5). In his vision, the apostle John said, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2). Hallelujah!