We tend to view Heaven as a place with an abundance of everything; in particular, everything good. The question is, is this a Biblical interpretation of Heaven? The Bible clearly identifies 7 things which heaven lacks, some of which may surprise you. But they lack, not by omission, but commission; for there is no longer a role for them in Heaven.
1 There is no Temple or Church in Heaven.
This certainly seems to be counter intuitive. However it could not be more clear, as John says in Revelation 21:22“And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, even the Lamb” (MKJV), or “I did not see a temple in the city. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were the city’s temple” (ERV).
What we can understand from this verse is that the Lord God Almighty and Jesus Himself, are the heaven’s temples, heaven’s churches.
A temple, or a church, is a place which people congregate for formal worship. John suggests here that all of heaven is God’s dwelling place and as He is the temple, all is the temple. He is both the place of worship and the object of our worship when in heaven. Revelation 7:15 adds to this view saying “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple. And He sitting on the throne will dwell among them.” All of heaven is a temple, a tabernacle, a place of worship And therein we dwell with God and Jesus.
We tend to think of worship, or “doing church,” as regimented ritual interspersed with songs and standing up and sitting down. This is not the Biblical view we find expressed in First Corinthians 10:31“Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” First Corinthians 10:31 is telling us to do all things we do, all the time, for God, as forms of worship.
This view of heaven as a place of continual worship is also borne out by the psalmist in Psalm 27:4 where he utters his deepest desires to God in prayer saying “One thing I have desired from Jehovah, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to pray in His temple.” This is how heaven was seen in the days of the Old Testament, a place to pray continually in the presence of the Living God. I believe it is a simple heaven-view to which we too, ought to aspire.
2 There is no independent light source in Heaven.
Despite our imaginations of what Heaven looks like, one thing the Bible tells us is that it lacks in an independent light source; there is no sun or moon from which to receive light. Revelation 21:23 explains saying “And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, that they might shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Revelation 22:5a confirms saying “And there will be no night there. And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light.” Thus, from this may understand that all the light comes from God and Jesus. How this works is perhaps hard to imagine, but it confirms the Old Testament words of Isaiah 24:23 that “Then the moon shall blush, and the sun shall be ashamed, when Jehovah of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, and gloriously before His elders.” Perhaps it is beyond our comprehension, how the sun will be ashamed by the brightness of God, who will outshine Himself the sun; yet at the same time, we will be there before Him in His very presence and be able to dwell there. Indeed, Isaiah 30:26 gives us a clear indication of just how bright God and Jesus will be saying: “And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah binds up the break of His people and heals the stroke of their wound.” Yes, the Lord will be seven times as bright as the sun.
But what we are talking about here is not like the light from the sun or any astronomic body of which we are familiar. The light in Heaven is not from an independent source, but from God the Father and the Son together. It is a radiant light unlike anything we know and permeates heaven, while not shining from a “source.” It is perhaps like on the Mount of Transfiguration as recorded in Matthew 17:2 “And He was transfigured before them. And His face shone as the sun, and His clothing was white as the light.” It was sin-like, but not hot and did not burn.
3 There is no security required in Heaven.
There will be no crime in Heaven and as a result there will be no requirement for any security measures. Revelation 21:25 explains that “its gates may not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there.” The larger picture of Revelation 21:24-26 adds to this understanding of the openness of access saying “And the nations of those who are saved will walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour into it. And its gates may not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.”
There will be a constant and continual coming and going in countless throngs, and all in orderly fashion, such that there is no reason to close the gates, (aside from there also being no night).
4 There is no night time in Heaven.
As in Revelation 21:25 we read “And its gates may not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there” and 22:5 adds “And there will be no night there. And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”
There shall be no night time in heaven, as God and Jesus will continually light Heaven without ceasing. Since we will have spiritual bodies in Heaven and not those of earthly flesh and blood, we will also require no time to rest and recover. The source of energy, God Himself, will be the provider of all needs, all the time.
5 There are no needs in Heaven.
In Heaven, all our possible needs will be provided directly by God and Jesus. As Revelation 22:1-2 says “And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of its street, and of the river, from here and from there, was the Tree of Life, which bore twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit according to one month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
This echoes the psalmist who wrote in Psalm 46:4-5“There is a river, its channels gladden the city of God glad, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her at the turning of the morning.” Yes, God is in the midst, and where God is, can only be perfection; without want or lack for anything.
This description also echoes the description of the Garden of Eden, which God Himself prepared for Adam and Eve as in Genesis 2:9-10 we read “And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. And from there it was divided and became four heads.” For not only did the river supply Eden, as verses 11-14 go on “The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which surrounds all the land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. There is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it is that which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.” Thus we see here that whatever God supplies not only fully provisions us, but those around us. For even now, like a river, we are asked to pass on our blessings to be a blessings to others. The “Tree of Life” of Genesis 2:9 above may actually describe one, or two, or three trees, as grammatically, the original expression lacks a definite article. Nevertheless, one can see understand that in singular or multiple forms, God is the Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our Provider. Revelation 2:7 confirms this saying “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
How I pray that all who read are overcomers. Oh How I pray that those who have not read, can be overcomers one day soon!
6 There are no curses in Heaven.
Revelation 22:3-4 says for all to read “And every curse will no longer be; but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will serve Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be in their foreheads. And there will be no night there. And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”
All curses, all those which we currently suffer from in toil and shame, will be overcome and banished. They will be no more, and we shall be free of them: free from the curses of pain, of toil, of agony, of sweat, of thorns, of disease, of sorrows and sins. All earthly curses will cease to be part of our lives in Heaven. For us with only a worldview of experience, such a heaven-view is unimaginable. As Paul told us in First Corinthians 2:9“But as it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,” nor has it entered into the heart of man, “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.””
7 There are no marriages in Heaven.
Matthew 22:24-28 recounts a challenge on Jesus by the Sadducees in an attempt to trick him and show Him up as being against the Word of the Lord asking Him, saying “Moses said, If a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up seed to his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. And the first, when he had married a wife, died. And, having no issue, he left his wife to his brother. The second also did likewise, and the third, to the seventh. And last of all the woman also died. Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be, of the seven? For they all had her.”
The reply Jesus gave was clear and to the point saying in v29-30 “You err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven.”
We can therefore take it as true, that in Heaven there is no marriage. We still retain our individualities and our personal characteristics, either male or female. There is also no biblical reference to imply our adopting an androgynous or sexless figure; indeed, all the examples of those who have returned, as for example Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17), were clearly male and still recognisable (v4). There are many other verses in the Bible to support this view, not the least and most explicit being in Second Samuel 12:23 where King David says of seeing his dead child: “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” King David’s confidence in being able to recognise people in Heaven as they looked in the flesh, should give us comfort that we will be able to recognise our loved ones. But for husbands and wives, the earthly function of marriage for procreation, will cease to exist. Man will no longer have need of a helper, nor the woman of a protector (Genesis 2:18 & Ruth 3:9).
Amen and Amen.