Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” (1 Chronicles 16:31)
My last post explored scripture pertaining to our heavenly bodies. We know there will be no more pain, suffering, disease or death in heaven. This is often our first thought when someone we love is dying or has passed away. Our old natural bodies will be exchanged for heavenly bodies, specifically designed for life in heaven. We will have spiritual, imperishable bodies that will be raised in glory and power. Biblical scripture gives few details about the look of our heavenly bodies, but The Transfiguration of Jesus and the appearance of Moses and Elijah on a mountain, as well as the sight of Jesus alive on Earth after His death on the cross and before His ascension, give us some insight.
In my current examination of the scriptures, I found two more scriptures to share with you on the topic of our heavenly bodies. They are written below. I hope these scriptures will further encourage you as meditate on the hope of heaven.
“For 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. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
Amen! These bodies sound so wonderful! Now that we have an idea of our appearance in heaven, let’s go look around at our future address! Today we will examine what heaven actually is: God’s dwelling place, his residence–his home! Unlike his makeshift home here on Earth, heaven is his permanent address.
Men have tried to build a dwelling place for God on Earth that would match the grandeur of heaven, but everything on this Earth falls short. Heaven is simply too wonderful, indescribable, incomprehensible and unique for us to create something of comparison. Here are some great scriptures where men have expressed this difficulty:
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)
“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)
“But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?” (2 Chronicles 2:6)
“But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18)
“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?’ says the Lord. ‘Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?'” (Acts 7:48-50)
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” (Acts 17:24)
For a time, God did dwell on Earth in the Tabernacle and eventually in the Temple man built for Him. He traveled around with the Israelites in the Tabernacle before He had a semi-permanent Earthly location in the Temple. “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.”(Exodus 25:8) God described to Moses exactly, down to the last detail, how the Tabernacle should be built and what should be included in it. There are 15 chapters in Exodus devoted to the topic! The Tabernacle was actually patterned after heaven. “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.” (Hebrews 9:24) Therefore, we get our first glimpse of heaven by exploring the Tabernacle. To be specific, the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the tabernacle, represents heaven itself.
The Most Holy Place–the Holy of Holies– was separated from man by a veil. This was the dwelling place of God. “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman. Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the Testimony behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.” (Exodus 36:32-34) No one was ever to go behind the curtain, except once a year when the high priest went in on the Day of Atonement so God could cleanse the people of their sins. “And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” (Leviticus 16:16:) This could only happen after atonement was made for himself, his family and the priesthood. This involved sacrificing one goat and setting another free in the wilderness. The blood of the sacrificed goat was sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant, poured out on the mercy seat–the only piece of furniture inside of the Holy of Holies–and applied to the alters as the high priest exited the sanctuary. God’s would then forgive His people of their sins.
God was able to dwell with His people on Earth once He had forgiven their sins. In order for us to dwell with God in heaven, we have accept that Jesus came to Earth and atoned for our sins. In the next part of this series we will learn what atonement means for us–for you personally– and how it changes our access to the throne of heaven. Do you want to know how you and others get special backstage access to GOD? Stay tuned to find out!
Pray this Prayer: “Dear Lord, I thank You that Jesus made atonement for my sins. I thank You for the forgiveness of sin. I look forward to the day when I will make my permanent address heaven where I can be with You. Help me never to forget that Earth is not my home. I am merely a traveler passing through on my way to heaven, taking as many people on the journey with me as are willing to go. Please help me to share the hope of heaven with others who aren’t sure where their final destination will be. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”