Heaven as community of the redeemed

Synopsis

The community of the redeemed in heaven will represent all peoples and languages. They will owe this solely to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They will share in the divine life in perfect fellowship with God, free for ever from suffering and death.

Heaven as a divine gift

Ro 6:23

Romans 6:23 (NASB95) — 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

See also Lk 12:32; Lk 22:28–30; Jn 17:2

Luke 12:32 (NASB95) — 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Luke 22:28–30 (NASB95) — 28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

John 17:2 (NASB95) — 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.

Divine preparations made for believers in heaven

Jn 14:2

John 14:2 (NASB95) — 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

See also 2 Co 5:1; Heb 11:16

2 Corinthians 5:1 (NASB95) — 1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Hebrews 11:16 (NASB95) — 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

The redeemed in heaven come from all peoples

Re 7:9–10

Revelation 7:9–10 (NASB95) — 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

See also Is 59:19; Mal 1:11; Mt 8:11; Re 5:9

Isaiah 59:19 (NASB95) — 19 So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream Which the wind of the Lord drives.

Malachi 1:11 (NASB95) — 11 “For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts.

Matthew 8:11 (NASB95) — 11 “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

Revelation 5:9 (NASB95) — 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

The redeemed owe their place in heaven solely to Jesus Christ

Re 7:14 Washing one’s robes in the blood of the Lamb symbolises cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 7:14 (NASB95) — 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

See also 1 Pe 1:18–19; Re 22:14

1 Peter 1:18–19 (NASB95) — 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Revelation 22:14 (NASB95) — 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

The redeemed are identified with Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ acknowledges the redeemed as his own

Lk 12:8

Luke 12:8 (NASB95) — 8 “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God;

See also Mt 7:21–23

Matthew 7:21–23 (NASB95) — 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Believers possess the family likeness to Jesus Christ

1 Co 15:49

1 Corinthians 15:49 (NASB95) — 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

See also 2 Co 3:18; Php 3:21; 1 Jn 3:2

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB95) — 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Philippians 3:21 (NASB95) — 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

1 John 3:2 (NASB95) — 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

Believers share divine life

2 Pe 1:4

2 Peter 1:4 (NASB95) — 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

See also Re 2:7; Re 3:21

Revelation 2:7 (NASB95) — 7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Revelation 3:21 (NASB95) — 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Believers on earth at the second coming will be taken up to heaven

Re 11:12

Revelation 11:12 (NASB95) — 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.

See also Jn 11:26; 1 Th 4:16–17 Believers living on earth when Jesus Christ returns will not experience death, but be taken straight to heaven.

John 11:26 (NASB95) — 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 (NASB95) — 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Conditions in heaven for the redeemed

Perpetual and perfect fellowship with the Lord

Re 21:3

Revelation 21:3 (NASB95) — 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,

See also Ps 17:15; Mt 5:8; Jn 14:3; 1 Th 4:17; Re 22:4

Psalm 17:15 (NASB95) — 15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

Matthew 5:8 (NASB95) — 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

John 14:3 (NASB95) — 3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NASB95) — 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Revelation 22:4 (NASB95) — 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

Joy in the immediate presence of God

Ps 16:11

Psalm 16:11 (NASB95) — 11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

See also Is 51:11; Mt 25:21; Lk 15:7; Lk 15:10; Jn 15:11; 1 Th 2:19–20; Heb 12:2; Heb 12:22; Jud 24

Isaiah 51:11 (NASB95) — 11 So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Matthew 25:21 (NASB95) — 21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Luke 15:7 (NASB95) — 7 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:10 (NASB95) — 10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

John 15:11 (NASB95) — 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

1 Thessalonians 2:19–20 (NASB95) — 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Hebrews 12:2 (NASB95) — 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:22 (NASB95) — 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

Jude 24 (NASB95) — 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

Restfulness

2 Th 1:5–7

2 Thessalonians 1:5–7 (NASB95) — 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

See also Heb 4:3; Heb 4:9; Re 14:13

Hebrews 4:3 (NASB95) — 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:9 (NASB95) — 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

Revelation 14:13 (NASB95) — 13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

There will no longer be any need for the marriage relationship

Mt 22:30

Matthew 22:30 (NASB95) — 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Heaven is filled with the light of God’s glory

Re 21:23

Revelation 21:23 (NASB95) — 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

See also Da 12:3; Mt 13:43; 2 Co 4:17; 1 Pe 2:9

Daniel 12:3 (NASB95) — 3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Matthew 13:43 (NASB95) — 43 “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NASB95) — 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

1 Peter 2:9 (NASB95) — 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Believers will share Jesus Christ’s glory

Col 3:4

Colossians 3:4 (NASB95) — 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

See also Jn 17:24; 1 Th 2:12; 1 Pe 5:4; 1 Pe 5:10

John 17:24 (NASB95) — 24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NASB95) — 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

1 Peter 5:4 (NASB95) — 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:10 (NASB95) — 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Divine glory will banish the memory of earthly troubles

Ro 8:18

Romans 8:18 (NASB95) — 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

See also 2 Co 4:17; 1 Pe 5:1

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NASB95) — 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

1 Peter 5:1 (NASB95) — 1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

There will be no more death or suffering in heaven

Re 21:4

Revelation 21:4 (NASB95) — 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

See also Is 25:8; Is 35:10; Is 51:11; Lk 20:35–36; Re 7:17

Isaiah 25:8 (NASB95) — 8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 35:10 (NASB95) — 10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 51:11 (NASB95) — 11 So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Luke 20:35–36 (NASB95) — 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Revelation 7:17 (NASB95) — 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Believers are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem

Php 3:20

Philippians 3:20 (NASB95) — 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

See also Ps 87:5; Is 35:9–10; Is 51:11; Ga 4:26; Heb 11:16; Re 21:2

Psalm 87:5 (NASB95) — 5 But of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; And the Most High Himself will establish her.

Isaiah 35:9–10 (NASB95) — 9 No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 51:11 (NASB95) — 11 So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Galatians 4:26 (NASB95) — 26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.

Hebrews 11:16 (NASB95) — 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Revelation 21:2 (NASB95) — 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

Their names are enrolled as citizens of heaven

Lk 10:20

Luke 10:20 (NASB95) — 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

See also Php 4:3; Heb 12:23; Re 3:5; Re 13:8; Re 14:1; Re 17:8; Re 20:12; Re 21:27

Philippians 4:3 (NASB95) — 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Hebrews 12:23 (NASB95) — 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

Revelation 3:5 (NASB95) — 5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Revelation 13:8 (NASB95) — 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Revelation 14:1 (NASB95) — 1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.

Revelation 17:8 (NASB95) — 8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

Revelation 20:12 (NASB95) — 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

Revelation 21:27 (NASB95) — 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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