(From March 21, 2021 Blog)

     Before she died, the outspoken atheist, Madelyn Murray O’Hair, was asked if she wanted to go to heaven.  She sneered, “Who wants to go to a place where all they do is sit around and sing hymns and play harps?  Speaking for myself, I’d rather go to hell.”  Although there isn’t a great deal of detail about heaven in the Bible, the last few chapters of Revelation give enough information to stimulate in us an intense desire to go there when we die.

     Heaven will be a place of delicious food.  Heaven is called “The wedding supper of the lamb” (Revelation 19:9) and “The great supper of God” (Revelation 19:17).  To those who are spiritually famished, the promise of the bread of life in heaven draws us like the aroma of fresh cinnamon rolls to a hungry traveler in an airport.

     It will be a place of refreshing water.  “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).  Nothing tastes better to a really thirsty person than cool, refreshing water.  To the spiritually dry, the living water of God is an irresistible invitation.

     It will be a place of incredible beauty.  The New Jerusalem is described as a “Bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).  The streets, the walls, the gates are said to be made of valuable jewels.  To those who appreciate excellence and enjoy breathtaking scenery, heaven will be a tourist’s paradise. 

     It will be a place of new beginnings.  “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5).  Revelation speaks of a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).  To all of us who have made serious mistakes and long for a second chance, the promise of a complete “do-over” sounds heavenly!

     It will be a place of welcome rest.  Those who die in the Lord are guaranteed “rest from their labor”(Revelation 14:13).  To those who are weary and “heavy laden,” heaven promises a relaxing change of pace.  The pressure will be off!  We can relax!  Our physical energy will be renewed, and our spiritual batteries recharged!

     It will be a place of meaningful service.  “…the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3).  To those who really want their lives to count for something significant, heaven promises the ultimate purpose.  There will be so many meaningful things to do.  Every day will be full of challenging opportunities.

     It will be a place of sinless perfection.  “God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4).  No cancer, no still ultrasounds, no divorce, no hurt feelings, no pandemics…Christ will reign in perfection!  Think of it,  no politics!  I can hardly wait!

     It will be a place of uninhibited worship.  The greatest thing about heaven is that we will meet Jesus Christ in person.  We’ll join the multitude in shouting, “Hallelujah!  For our Lord God almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!” (Revelation 19:6-7).  Think of the thrill of worshipping God when He can be seen before us!  “God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

     It will be a place of loving relationships.  “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the lamb” (Revelation 19:9).  One 80-year-old saint says he’s looking forward to heaven because “I’ve got more friends in heaven than I do on earth!”  Think of the joy of being reunited with parents, children, grandparents, and Christian friends who have preceded us in death!  To those whose hearts ache over an empty chair, heaven holds the hope of a magnificent reunion.

     Friends of ours were vaccinated against Covid several weeks ago.  This wonderful couple are in their mid-eighties and have pretty much isolated themselves from close human contact for the past year.  They pinpointed the exact day when the vaccine was to take effect, and they could confidently circulate again.  That morning when the wife got up at 7:00 a.m., she soon heard a knock at the door.  There stood her 52-year-old son.

     “What are you doing here?” the mother naturally asked.  “Is something wrong?”  “Nope.” the son replied.  “I’ve been sitting in the driveway since 5:30, waiting for the lights to come on.  It’s been 15 months since I hugged my mamma, and I can’t wait any longer!”

     For those of us who have been separated from loved ones because of death for many years, there’s coming a day when we won’t have to wait any longer!  What a day that will be!


Friends will be there I have loved long ago;

Joy like a river around me will flow;

Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know,

Will through the ages be glory for me.



Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.