Heaven in the Bible: What the Bible Says about Heaven

Willow Creek | September 6, 2023

Are you the kind of person who saves the best part until the last? Heaven is the best part, and it is always last. What the Bible says about Heaven and what it describes is amazing, and how we can all be there for eternity. 

Here is what the Bible says about Heaven, these words spoken by Jesus Himself:

“My Father’s house has many rooms; 
if that were not so, would I 
have told you that I am going there to 
prepare a place for you? 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” —John 14:1-4

Imagine this scene for a moment; this short description of Heaven says so much about the place of Heaven. Jesus speaks of His Father’s—the God of the universe—house. The house with many rooms is Heaven, and God will create a space designed for each of us in His house.

I’ve just observed my children lovingly create a nursery for their new baby’s arrival. Even though they don’t know the baby yet, they have a vision of what they might love—books, stuffed animals, pictures, and fresh paint on the walls. 

Our heavenly Father knows each of us intimately and creates a space for us to be with Him when we die. He knows I would never really want to live in a mansion, and He knows what I do love: a small cabin surrounded by trees, my people, books, and a stream. What does your ideal house look like? Because that’s the space He is creating for you. Beautiful, right?

To me, the best part of these verses is that He is coming back for me so that I can be with Him forever

Heaven has been on my mind recently as I watched and listened to two friends sitting close to loved ones doing the hospice vigil. I offered condolences to another friend yesterday, and another is staring at a terminal medical diagnosis. I often wake as dawn breaks, my pillow stained with tears. I have the hope of Heaven as I breathe in and give thanks for a new day, a new chance. Many mornings, I’m not sure I could take two steps forward without the hope of Heaven. 

What The Bible Says About Who Goes To Heaven

I hope the Bible convinces you that Heaven is where you will enjoy living for eternity. Maybe you are also curious about what the Bible says about who will be living next door to you in Heaven. How do people make it to the house in Heaven that God has prepared?

Again, the Bible and Jesus’ words tell us about this. The words in John 3:16 are so specific and straightforward. God loved the world and all the people in it so much that He sent His perfect son, Jesus, to die in our place. We gain eternal life in Heaven if we believe in Him and accept His sacrifice for us on the cross. 

When Jesus hung on the cross, He demonstrated this verse. Let’s use our imagination for this scene. Jesus was surrounded by a jeering crowd and two men who had committed offenses that deserved punishment. As they hung together talking, one of the thieves admitted he was a sinner and deserved punishment. He recognized that Jesus wasn’t guilty of any crime. He then asked Jesus to remember him when he got to his new kingdom or Heaven. And then—Jesus responded instantly, saying:

“… today you will be with me in Paradise.”Luke 23:43 

I don’t know about you, but I’m crying right now with the weight of these words. First of all, Jesus, in His pain, assured the thief that he would be in Heaven. Please note what Jesus didn’t say, “Hmm, I notice that you haven’t led an exemplary life, didn’t do this or that, or go to church every week.” Jesus wanted the thief in Heaven because he confessed his sin and believed in Him, even at the last minute. He chose all of us, but like the thief, we must admit our sins and believe that Jesus sacrificed His life for ours.         

Nothing to Fear

Finally, I’d like to share one final story from my own life. I sat with my mom as she was inching her way home to Jesus. God gave me such a gift in the last moments of her life. Despite being a follower of Jesus for many years, I have struggled with anxiety. I still feared death, the process, and the worry of watching someone I love die. 

In those last days, the Bible and hymns comforted all of us. God was very present; it felt like my family and I were the only hurting people in the universe. In the last moments, my dad was sitting and holding my mom’s hand. I was standing at the foot of the bed. My mom’s eyes were closed, and she hadn’t spoken for a few days.

My sweet dad suddenly said, 
Lorrie, say hi to Jesus for me, okay?” 

At that exact moment, she opened her beautiful blue eyes, smiled brightly, looked over my head, and breathed her last breath. I was convinced she embraced Jesus as her soul left the room. I cried happy tears, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that death is not something to fear but something to welcome. My mom greeted Jesus on my birthday nine years ago, and in doing so, God gave me a phenomenal present: She was home with Jesus in her mansion, which I’m sure looks like the beloved home where I grew up.

In those last days, we read the Bible and listened to music. As I wrote about Heaven, this song written by Greg Ferguson filled me with such joy. If you have time, let these lyrics sink in. What a Day it Will Be 

Want to learn more about Heaven? See our resources on Heaven here.

What Does Heaven Look Like?

Is There Life After Death?

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