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Heaven brings to mind warm and pleasant thoughts. Even for one who has a non-Biblical concept of “heaven,” heaven is not, “Ugh, I don’t want to go there.” The true heaven, the Scriptural heaven, is filled with peace, joy, love, holiness, and life – in Christ. No evil and sin are present. Jesus says to the wicked in His parable of Judgment, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) All evil is out! “The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) No evil in heaven!

What a joy for sinners! I remember as a child thinking, “I can’t wait until I’m grown; then I won’t get hollered at anymore.” That is ultimately true in heaven! No more will you be a disappointment to your Father, no more will you make “stupid” decisions, no more will your thinking be infested with the lies of Satan. Imagine the smiles from your Father, smiles forever. In Christ’s cross-for-you and His empty tomb, all sin is removed from your record. Then imagine the smiles on everyone else too!

The contrast between heavenly life and earthly life is striking. Perhaps we might compare an unmown, ragged lawn with the same lawn freshly cut and neatly trimmed; or a kitchen counter full of dirty dishes and the same counter neat and clean, with a fresh lemon scent; or the exterior of a house dirty and paint peeling with the same house freshly coated. In Jesus, all is first rate in heaven!

The Bible does not spell out the details of heavenly life and joy. We naturally think of it in earthly terms. When our son was young, he caught us by surprise saying he didn’t want to go to heaven. We asked, “Why?” He said, “Because there won’t be any toys there.” We had told him several weeks earlier that his toys on earth would not be in heaven, but he would have something better. We can only think of the joys of heaven in earthly terms. From His parable of Judgment, Jesus describes heaven as a kingdom. “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:24) A kingdom! A blessed kingdom that will never end. A blessed kingdom whose great Ruler will never depart nor any of its citizens, not even in death! Security and joy forever!

A pastor said, “When I was a school kid and school ended for the year, it seemed like there were miles of summer vacation ahead! Now summer seems to last about a week.” In heaven there will always be miles of heaven to come!

The Bible’s words about heaven are beautiful: “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.” (Revelation 21:4 KJV) Not even death will interfere! In Christ, “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (I Corinthians 15:26) Death will not be hiding on the horizon. Sin—and death, its wages—have been fully conquered in Jesus.

Where will heaven be? There is no exact answer in the Bible. The world as we know it will be destroyed and a new one will come. “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. . . . Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells!” (2 Peter 3:10-13)

Heaven awaits. It’s yours in Jesus. Let’s go there!

Richard Kanzenbach is pastor of Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church in Lemmon, South Dakota.