A Few Misconceptions
The only thing we really know about heaven is what we read in the Bible. We have glimpses, statements made in general or in passing about the glory and state of heaven. I believe this is intentional, as humans we are very materialistic in our thinking and heaven is not going to be a new home we can decorate to our taste, it isnít a place we will change to match our cultural heritage or fad, heaven is Godís and we have been invited to spend eternity with HIM not heaven.
1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth..
People assume that this heaven is Godís heaven, that He will start everything all over again, this is not true. The heaven He refers to in context is the earthís heaven, our atmosphere. Remember Genesis 1:1;
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
He did not create His own home, He was creating ours. Godís heaven does not need to be renewed, it is perfect and there is nothing corrupt in it, 1 Corinthians 15:50,53
50. What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever.
If you want a picture of what heaven looks like now the best place to look is in Revelation 4 where John was taken up to see the things that will take place in the end times. It paints a picture of a beautiful place but remember it is a description and not a photograph. John is describing something so different from what we know as humans that he uses earthly analogies to paint a picture we can comprehend.
If we partition the Word correctly we can see that there are 2 futures for mankind, one for the Church and one for the Jew, ultimately I believe they will probably align into one, but for the foreseeable future we have 2 futures unfolding in the Bible.
The first future is the one of the Church, the called out ones who are a spiritual race destined to be with Christ serving Him and being with Him forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:17;
17. then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
A rapture verse for the Church describing our accent to be with Christ for ever (see what is the church for more info). We are looking and hoping for a heavenly home with Christ, transformed from our mortal bodies into the immortal, from flesh to spirit, that is Ďspirití in form and not Ďaí spirit (a bodiless apparition or ghost). As we read earlier flesh and blood can not enter into heaven.1 Corinthians 15:35 onwards goes into our future bodies and is quite specific in that our bodies now are suited and were formed for our life on earth and will not work or be acceptable in heaven. Verses 51 to 53 sum it up quite clearly.
51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
The second future is the one for the Jew, and all those who havenít learnt to partition the Word of God yet. The Jews are and always have been looking for a Kingdom on earth and a King to rule them. I donít want to go too deep in to the past and why but simply Jesus came down to set up the Kingdom on earth and with the help of the Jews (a chosen religious race) would bring blessing to the whole earth. Unfortunately they messed up and missed out. BUT a promise was made and a promise will be kept. Jesus will return and will set up His kingdom on earth and the 12 tribes of Israel will assist Him in the day to day running of the Temple in the ĎNewí Jerusalem.
2. In my Fatherís house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
People are trying to put earthly familiars on a heavenly future, forgetting that Jerusalem is not heavenly, it will come down to earth, yes it is being prepared, possibly now in heaven, but its resting place will be a physical earth.
SO WHAT IS HEAVEN
I didnít want to be this study just a look at the pictures of heaven, you can read that for your selves in numerous places, catching glimpses of where angels live and the geography around the throne, or the mount of God. Heaven is just one part of our future which may or may not be our main residence, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, which will mirror Eden in its beauty and perfection.