Heaven is more than we can imagine, but God reveals more about heaven than we might think. And many of these drive to the heart of some of our deepest questions about our life now and life after life, in heaven. We’re looking at 21 things we can surmise about heaven as shared by Randy Alcorn in his book, Heaven. Today, we’ll look at the final seven observations from Revelation 6:11.
“Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)
15. “Then each of them. . . We retain our individuality in heaven; we don’t become part of some cosmic dust, as some would imagine.
16. Robes suggest physical forms, not spirits. (Why would spirits need a robe, unless the reference is merely symbolic?)
17. God answers questions! We read in the previous verse that they asked, “How long?” In verse 11, “they were told to wait a little longer.” This indicates we won’t know everything all at once in heaven, but our knowledge and understanding will progressively unfold.
18. Even in heaven, they have to “wait a little longer until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” Alcorn infers from this that “unlike the eternal heaven, where there will be no more sin, or curse or suffering on the New Earth (Revelation 21:4), the present heaven coexists with and watches over an Earth under these woes. We will be aware of the suffering on earth.
19. “How much longer” suggests there will be a sense of time in the present heaven. Whether “long” and “longer” imply time as we measure it now, we don’t know, but there is a sense of passing time.
20. There is a sense of the family of God in heaven and earth. “Their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters” indicate a strong familial bond and common purpose. There is no indication of denominational differences, only a common focus on the Heavenly Father.
21. God is Sovereign. He knows ALL, what will happen, when it will happen, and how it will unfold. He is aware of your pain and suffering right now and he knows the answers to your prayers. What a difference it makes praying to a good and Sovereign God who knows you and cares for you and works all things for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). Your woes do not escape his attention. Your pain is not wasted. This is not some “wishing upon a star” or “having a happy thought.” Only a Sovereign God can provide the assurance we seek.
Just as these three verses in Revelation tell us what to expect in heaven, there is a consistency of scripture that reinforces itself. We’ll be called to give an account of our actions on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 12:36). Eternal rewards “hinge” on our faithfulness (1 Corinthians 3:14). God keeps a record of all we do on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:11-13). Should knowing everything we say and do was being recorded change the way we interact with others?! Additionally, it appears that people in the present heaven see what happens on earth. We are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). “There will be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7).
This is might lead us to ask, “Do people in heaven pray for us on earth?” We know that Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34) and that the martyrs pray (Revelation 6:10). We must conclude, that no matter how we feel, we are not alone! It remains a mystery, how people in heaven will be aware both of the suffering on earth and the joy of God’s presence. We can only presume that joy predominates this in a similar way that while we care for others, we are not totally undone regarding their suffering. We find ourselves sad for suffering, but joyful for the outcome! In the eternal heaven, when the old order of things has passed away, there will be no more death, crying or pain. None!
Like the atheist man who once told me, “You Christians have one thing we atheists don’t – hope! We are not to “grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13) We have the hope of reunion with loved ones who’ve gone before us; a time when “we will be with our Lord forever.”
“Therefore, encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18″