From Rock City to Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta to Legoland, even unlikely Vampire tours, the Atlanta area offers a variety of tours for almost any tourist.
But what it doesn’t offer is a view into Heaven. We do have some glimpses into Heaven from the Bible, mostly in Revelation 4 and 21, from John’s perspective.
Before I begin, let’s remember that Revelation is a prophetic book (that means that the things described have not yet fully occurred, although they will, and are slowly coming to fruition). Let’s also note that Revelation, while still true in nature, has numerous references to figurative imagery, as John could not describe in human terms what he saw in a divine place. For example, when John describes the four horsemen in Revelation 6 (during the opening of the first 4 Seal judgments), we don’t know if these four horsemen are riding literal horses, or figurative horses. On that note, I believe that John did his best to describe in human terms what he saw. I also believe that the true essence and beauty of Heaven can only be envisioned by the human heart, and not through our minds.
However, we do have some descriptions, which even in human words, are extremely beautiful. I’d like to share some of those passages with you today:
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. (Revelation 4:2-4 NKJV)
In Revelation 21, we find a glimpse of the new Heaven:
10 … the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Revelation 21:10-27 NKJV)
Just think . . . some day, Christians all over will be able to experience the true radiant beauty that Jesus is preparing for us.