“And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:10-12). Heaven will be like a feast where we finally get to have everlasting fellowship with those we love, respect, and hold dear. Far from being a cold, antiseptic, or boring existence, heaven is pictured as a wonderful, joyful banquet, filled with happy guests. There is friendship, warmth, energy, and excitement.
“Blessed are the dead who died in the Lord from now on! ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them’” (Revelation 14:13). The same idea of rest is also found in Hebrews 4:9-10 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7. We should note that the word “rest” does not mean a total cessation of activity. We will not be bored in Heaven. It will be a satisfying rest from the rigors of the physical existence. “The soul now rests from life’s competition, its toil, sorrow, pain, its mental anguish and especially its sin!” (The Bible On The Life Hereafter, William Hendriksen, p. 59). We will be delivered from restless thoughts, regrets, mistakes, and lost opportunities. After spending a lifetime with a mind that never relaxes, but is always worried about upcoming events, stressful situations, and all of the calamities that usually do not happen, Heaven will be that moment of “peace and quiet” that we never found in this hectic, dangerous world – except it will last for an eternity! I think about some of the words used to describe the Christian life and find it no small wonder that Heaven will be quite restful. Life is like a battle that takes a full armament to survive (Ephesians 6:10ff). Similarly, it is a fight (2 Timothy 4:7). It is a race (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). We suffer, we toil, we struggle – we use phrases like “tough it out”, “hills and valleys”, and “life’s not fair”. Will it not be such sweet relief to never struggle again? We will finally be in a place where we do not have to worry about what troubles are coming around the corner, or when the good times will run dry. No cycles of light and darkness, for there will be one, continuously-illuminated day (Revelation 21:23ff).
There will be rest from sorrow and pain, from loss and separation (Revelation 21:3-4). I will never have to attend a funeral, or say goodbye to my loved ones. I will never make the long walk to a grave site to stare longingly at a cold granite slab. Nobody will hurt me, or be hurt.
There will be rest from sin and temptation. Are you tired of Satan dragging you through the same problems over and over again? I am exhausted because of my sins, which burden me because of their frequency! In Heaven, I will never have to wonder where the next temptation will come from, or how long I will be able to hold back desires and attitudes which bring me down.