The author, Randy Alcorn, has spent his adult life researching, writing, and lecturing on heaven. Though the 533-page book has been out only a few years, it has become the standard on the subject.
Simply titled “Heaven,” Alcorn’s book is widely acclaimed. Rick Warren said “This is the best book on heaven I’ve ever read.”
Joni Eareckson Tada commented, “Randy does an awesome job of answering people’s toughest questions about what lies on the other side of death.”
She continues, “‘Heaven’ provides a clear and very readable guide to grasping all that the Savior has in store for those who trust in Him.”
Alcorn not only discusses in detail the present heaven, but teaches (as does Scripture) that ultimately there will be a new heaven and earth. The present heaven, the New Jerusalem, will come down to the renovated earth, and we will live here and occupy the earth.
But that is future. Today one minute after you die you are in heaven, if you know Christ. You will be in surroundings that now are beyond comprehension. It will be glorious.
Pastor Erwin Lutzer says: “So much is different, yet you are quite the same. You have entered heaven without a break in consciousness. ... our minds, our memories, will be clearer than ever before.”
Lutzer continues: “Think of your purest joy on earth; then multiply that many times and you may catch a glimpse of heaven’s euphoria. ... Remember that the entire personality carries over into the life beyond.”
He says, “Heaven has its differences, but it is populated with your friends, who are still the people who once dwelt on the earth. They are still your friends.”
The Bible gives us numerous insights into heaven. The four Gospels alone refer to heaven more than a hundred times, mostly by our Lord himself. Here are a few of His statements about our eternal home:
- “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
- “Store up ... treasures in heaven” (v. 20)
- “Powers of heaven” (see Mark 13:25)
- “Angels in heaven” (v. 32)
- “Sinned against heaven” (Luke 15:18)
- “Heavenly things” (John 3:12)
- “Bread from heaven”(6:31, 32)
- “In my Father’s house” (14:2)
Ministers, philosophers, and wise men may speculate about what lies beyond the grave, but our Lord does not speculate — He knows. Christ is as familiar with the other side as He is with this life.
It seems that when the Apostle Paul was stoned and left for dead, he went to heaven (see 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). It is significant that Paul did not speak of what he saw or thought. Instead, he dwelt on what he heard. Was it music beyond what we can imagine?
Or did he hear rapturous praise so harmonious, so pure and totally worshipful that he could not explain it?
Whatever he heard, he either could not put into words or was forbade to do so.
Pastor Savage asks, “Where had he gone? He said he went to the third heaven — beyond the starry heaven ... and he had been there and back in a little while. How fast did he go? Well, he went farther than jets and faster than jets. Do you know how fast I think he went? He went as fast as thought.”
Jonathan Edwards, the early American preacher, anticipated heaven. He enjoyed walking slowly along paths, praying and meditating. Sometimes he would stop, pick up a little clear stone and look through it at sunlight. Children thought he was eccentric and would ask him what he was doing.
Edwards would simply reply that he was thinking about heaven. One day, a critic said the problem with Jonathan Edwards was he had eternity stamped in his eyeballs.
Adam Clarke, whose commentaries on the Bible are studied around the world, said about the hereafter when he was 84 years old: “I have passed through the springtime of my life. I have withstood the heat of summer. I have culled the fruits of fall.”
He continued, “I am even now enduring the rigors of its winter, but at no great distance I shall see the approach of a new eternal springtime. Hallelujah!”
What more could a loving God do for us than to let us live for Him here, and then with Him there for eternity? Only the mind of our Sovereign Lord could conceive such a loving and generous plan.
Think of stepping on shore
and finding it heaven!
Of taking hold of a hand
and finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air
and finding it celestial!
Of feeling invigorated
and finding it immortality!
Of passing from storm and stress
and finding perfect calm!
Of waking and finding it home!
—Robert E. Selle