Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series.
Continuing thoughts on the blessing of knowing heaven is real and awaits those who truly follow God, it is good to notice some things about heaven.
The writer of Hebrews spoke of heaven as a rest. “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them, but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest … There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1-11).
In thinking about going to heaven, the words of this passage must be studied closely. Heaven is not a place obtained without a person striving to get there. The children of Israel had to follow God according to his instructions if they wanted to enter the land of rest. Today, man must also follow God to enter the rest of heaven. God does not owe man anything. He blesses man with the opportunity and means to enter heaven — gospel obedience and a faithful life.
The rest of heaven will not mean the ending of activity, for there will be worship of God around his throne (Revelation 5:1). Some would say this is a contradiction, but think back to the Sabbath day. This was a day of rest, but also a day of activity as man served God. Those who enter heaven will have no problem with praising and worshipping God; it will be a pleasure. God is always pleased when man seeks to worship and serve him.
Paul knew that heaven awaited him and all the faithful of all time. It had been his desire to make the journey to heaven before, but he knew he had work to do for the Lord (Philippians 1:20-26). Near the end of his life, he said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Each follower of God should look to this great apostle to see a pattern to follow.
Matthew recorded the words of Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labors and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). It is God’s desire that all be saved and enter in to the rest of this glorious city (1 Timothy 2:4). This idea shows Jesus’ mission to save mankind (Matthew 1:21, Luke 19:10, John 14:6). Such a great blessing knowing that heaven is waiting.
Those who open their minds and hearts to God’s word know that eternity in heaven awaits all who follow God according to his will (Matthew 7:21-23). What a great blessing it is for man to know that heaven does exist, and if one simply obeys the gospel by believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, repenting of sins, confessing the name of Christ before men, being baptized for the remission of sins, and then living each day for God as his faithful child, heaven is obtainable.