Devotional: Ezekiel 36:22-38; 37:24-28
So what will life be like in Heaven?
Can you think of a moment in your life you didn’t want to end? It was so wonderful, so surreal, so amazing you might say it was “heavenly.” Perhaps it was when you were sitting barefoot on the beach, toes slightly curled in the sand, the sound of waves gently crashing upon shore, and all you could think was “This. Is. Amazing. I never want it to end!” Or perhaps your moment involves your closest family and friends surrounding you with love and joy and laughter. Or the majestic sight of mountains as far as you can see; with the crisp mountain air revitalizing your lungs; the voice of nature singing to your heart. No matter your moment, I propose to you that what really tugged at your heart was the enjoyment of that which is good and pure. The enjoyment of God’s creation which he declared in Genesis 1 as “good” and “very good.” It’s in these moments we long for life to never end and wonder if life in Heaven could really be as great.
But life in Heaven will be more than we could ever dream of! Randy Alcorn says “The best of life on Earth is a glimpse of Heaven.” Because one day Heaven will be on a restored and redeemed new earth; freed from its bondage to corruption and sin (Romans 8:18-25). Yet even the very best this life has to offer lacks the greatest experience we could ever have….being in the physical presence of a loving and faithful God. To be in the presence of God will satisfy every longing, every desire, every hope, every dream we could ever imagine. The very presence of God is what makes it Heaven for “Being with God is the heart and soul of Heaven. Every other heavenly pleasure will derive from and be secondary to his presence. God’s greatest gift to us is, and always will be, himself.” John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So what will life be like with God’s throne upon the earth? The Scriptures give us a few insights. Ezekiel 40 – 48 offer eight detailed chapters of God’s future Temple [Throne] on earth. When we consider the prophecies of the Old Testament that concern times yet to come there are some very educated (much smarter than me) scholars who say many of these prophecies are merely symbolic. But I am a literal girl. I take God’s Word as it says. I don’t think God ever intended His Word to be confusing. Certainly there is symbolism in the Bible and certainly there will be things we cannot explain or don’t understand, thus the essence of faith. But if the prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming had exact literal fulfillments then I have no reason to believe the prophecies concerning his second coming will not have exact literal fulfillments as well.
So with that being said….Ezekiel 47:1 states that flowing from the inner sanctuary of God’s Temple will be a trickle of water. It will flow out of the temple and continue to increase in-depth becoming a powerful river. Is there symbolism here? You better believe it! Remember the woman at the well in John 4:1-14. When speaking to her Jesus refers to “living water” and says “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Then in John 7:37 Jesus said “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” (NASB) God’s Word is so cool! Absolutely water in the Bible symbolizes the life-giving ability of the Holy Spirit. But I think there is also room for a literal interpretation here. Verses 8-9 go on to state, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah [the plains of Jericho], and enters the sea [the Dead Sea], when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.” Revelation 22:1 affirms this river is flowing from the very throne of God! And the life-giving power of a river flowing from the very throne of God will bring life to the Dead Sea now so filled with salt that nothing can live in it! It will be so clean and pure that fisherman (v.10) will stand beside the sea and simply throw their nets in for an abundant catch! (Anyone up for some fishing?) Verse 12 goes on to say that the trees on either side of this river will be so bountiful they will yield fresh fruit every single month. Can you imagine how incredibly wonderful the fruit from these trees will be??!! (Yes we will eat in Heaven!)
Land that was once desolate will be “like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities fortified and inhabited” (Ezekiel 36:35). Famine and hunger will be no more.The land will be so bountiful that it need not lie unseeded for any length of time. But as soon as a crop is harvested it will be planted again. And as soon as the land is planted it will be time to harvest (Amos 9:13-14). Now being married to a farmer I can’t help but get just a weeeee bit excited about Amos 9! Other scriptures say “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat” (Isaiah 11:6). “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra” (Isaiah 11:8). “It shall continue in summer as in winter” (Zechariah 14:8). Night will no longer be and neither will the sun “for the Lord God will be their light” (Rev. 22:5). No more sunshine because the light of God’s glory will be all we need!
All the nations will serve the LORD (Daniel 7:14). And we will live in righteous unity for God will put His Spirit within us (Ezekiel 11:19-20). God says, “My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27). My friend the earth is going to be rocked with God’s presence upon it! The abundant outpouring of God’s blessings will be overwhelming and unending.
When shall these things come to pass? Only the LORD knows and his timing is always perfect. Isaiah 60:22 says of these prophecies, “I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it.” Amen and Amen!!
Heaven is going to be incredible. Will you be there?
- (Quotes taken from Randy Alcorn’s Heaven (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2004), pp. 28, 171)
- All Scriptures unless otherwise noted are quoted from the ESV.