One of the interesting characteristics of our modern church culture is the phenomenon of believers speculating about Heaven. More often than I care to remember I have heard believers say, “Well Uncle Will is in a better place now, he always loved to golf and eat ice cream, so he is finally getting his fill of ice cream and can play golf all day.” First, there is very little consideration of whether or not Uncle Will actually had a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Second, the idea of heaven being a place where people go and get what they want is totally unbiblical.
In actuality, the Bible says almost nothing about Heaven. Most all of our popular ideas of Heaven are simply the fanciful imagination of men. There are about 4 places where it is clearly described in the Bible, and all cases are very similar to this case presented in Isaiah 6:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
Note that there are no golf courses, and no Blue Bell ice cream. Note also that Isaiah, one of the most righteous men to ever live, is not running up and high-fiving the entity on the throne, and is certainly not calling him “dude”. No, Isaiah’s response of seeing the throne room of God, and the entity on the throne is one of total repentance, and realization of his sin and unworthiness. Note when Isaiah says he is a man of unclean lips and from a people of unclean lips, God does not argue with him . . . it is clear what he is saying is true. In order that Isaiah is not consumed by the sight of God, God does provide a unique atonement for him with the coal from the altar. Otherwise it is likely that Isaiah would have been consumed.
This verse points out an important truth. Our modern church culture has had a tendency to create a low view of God. A being just like us, just a little bigger, a little better, a little more powerful. And if we play our cards right he might just hook us up with some cool swag.
The truth is the Bible warns us over 300 times to “fear God”. A popular teaching is that fear does not really mean “fear” but means to respect or have reverence. To this we must ask, when the Holy Spirit inspired the scriptures did he not have access to those words . . . respect and reverence? Certainly fear was used as the perfect word to describe one aspect of our relationship with God.
Yes, the Bible also teaches that God loves us. The thing is though, we can not really understand that love until we understand just how much trouble we are in, and how unworthy we are of His pardon. This is true repentance, and this is the beginning of a saving faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.