Dr. James L. Snyder Ministries
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General Essays > The Glory Of Heaven


Lately, we have been inundated with books and movies about heaven. It seems that anybody who has ever had a thought about heaven is writing a book or producing a movie along that line.

        I must confess that I have not read any of the books nor have I seen any of the movies. This is not a critique of those things. I guess my basic thought is simply this; I do not want anybody in Hollywood trying to explain to me what heaven is all about. Hollywood has its ideas; those ideas are not rooted in the Scripture. They take what they call “literary license,” and we, the public, pay dearly for that license.

        I want to know about heaven, but I want to know about heaven as explained to us in the Bible. I take the Bible as the word of God and what it says I want to embrace. Also, what it does not tell us I do not want to explore. I want to know what all the Bible says about heaven.

        I begin with what Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). I take it for granted that Jesus, who came from heaven, had more of an insight into heaven than any celebrity in Hollywood. I will take His word for it any day of the week.

        To begin with, many people have misunderstood the word “mansions.” They take the word, look around the world, see all of the mansions man has made, and think that is exactly what they are going to find in heaven. I do not think we will find anything in heaven created by man. That would be rather disappointing to find that there.

        In the Greek, the word “mansions” has to do with residence or an abode. This residence will reflect, not the glory of man, but the glory of God. Whenever man touches anything, it always deteriorates. God, on the other hand, can never deteriorate and what He touches always exceeds any of our expectations. That is just the way God is.

        Man has a lot of expectations, but cannot deliver on any of it.

        The glory of heaven is not going to be a demonstration of man’s ability. The glory of heaven is going to be a demonstration of God’s ability in all of this. What God has in store for us is beyond human imagination.

        When we think of the glory of heaven, we need to put our focus on Christ. Heaven is the eternal abode of Christ. If we want to understand the Christ of heaven, we need to go to Revelation 1:12-20. This is the Christ of heaven.

        Some insist on worshiping the Christ hanging on the cross.

        Christ hanging on the cross was a moment in history of which we are most grateful for and is the foundation of our salvation. The Christ we worship is the Christ in Revelation chapter 1. He is the Christ of glory who has been glorified and has put the glory into the glory of heaven. He is not the meek and lowly Galilean, rather, he is our glorious risen Savior who resides in heaven and gives heaven all of its glory.

        If we were to go to heaven and not find Jesus Christ, it would no longer be heaven.

        If we were to ascend into the very pitiful and their discoverer Jesus Christ, His presence would turn hell itself into heaven with all of its glory.

        The glory of heaven is Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, not only does heaven not have its glory, but it has no real significance to anybody.

        When I go to heaven and will not be dazzled by the Golden streets and the mansions on each side of the street, but I will be dazzled by the presence of this resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is our anticipation of heaven.

        Often, when some celebrity dies, everybody talks about them going to heaven. Yet, if you would examine their life there is nothing in their life that even suggests that they are heaven bound. These people would find heaven to be a terrible place. It would be terrible because heaven is not all about them. Heaven is all about Him.

        These people want to go to heaven, but they are not very comfortable around heavenly people while they are here on this earth. I have searched the Scriptures and I do not find any “red carpet” in heaven. These celebrities would be very uncomfortable if for some reason they ended up in heaven.

        I think it’s clear to say that nobody goes to heaven who does not know they are going to heaven. It is not a surprise that comes after death. Nobody ends up in heaven and says, “Wow, I never expected to come here!” That is sheer foolishness.

        Jesus made the way to heaven quite clear. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). If you refuse or even ignore Jesus Christ, there is no other way to heaven. Some have said that there are many roads to heaven, but that is not a scriptural viewpoint. Many people would like to believe that, but it is not the truth as presented in the Scriptures.

        Many people agree that the apostle Paul was one of the most brilliant men of all history and quite articulate. If anybody could describe heaven to eyes, it would be him. But Paul said, “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

        If the apostle Paul could not describe what he saw in the heavens, I am not going to take the word of anybody else.