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Pictures of heaven (3)

September 1995 | by William Macleod

Temple Mount, Jerusalem
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The Holy City

Since heaven is a city we know that there will be a lot of people there. They gather from a wide area. John saw ‘a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues … before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands’ (Revelation 7:9). Jesus described heaven as ‘my Father’s house’ in which there are ‘many mansions’ (John 14:2). There is plenty of room and every amenity there. Abraham was called by God out of Ur of the Chaldees. Ever afterwards he lived in a tent, showing that ‘He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Hebrews 11:10). We too are strangers and pilgrims here. We ‘desire a better country, that is, an heavenly’ (Hebrews 11:16). We cannot stay here. Our eternal home is ahead.

This is a holy city. Nothing unclean shall enter it and no sin shall be committed there. ‘His servants shall serve him’ (Revelation 22:3), heartily and without grudging, in a way that they were never able to do here but yet desired. We shall be fully renewed in the image of God in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. We shall be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). ‘We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2). Locked outside heaven are ‘dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie’ (Revelation 22:15). Are we longing to be holy? Are we pressing towards that mark? (Philippians 3:14).

The city is called New Jerusalem. The old Jerusalem was where the temple was situated, where God resided and where he was worshipped. How much more can this be said of the New Jerusalem? There is no temple there (Revelation 21:22), because it is all temple and the constant activity is praising God. Ancient Jerusalem was the capital of God’s people. The palace was there and from there they were ruled. So in the new heaven and new earth will be the throne of God and of the Lamb (Revelation 22:1). God will dwell in the midst of his redeemed people. Can you imagine yourself worshipping God unceasingly and being eternally happy doing that? Surely the child of God looks forward to this with delight.