"Heaven" as a biblical term describes the chosen dwelling place of God, as well as the eternal destiny of all redeemed children of God. “To be in heaven” means to remain with God in Christ, where there is no longer death, grief, crying and pain. Heaven is described as "everlasting joy", "bliss", "peace" and "God's righteousness". (1 Kings 8,27: 30-5; Deuteronomy 26,15:6,9; Matthew 7,55; Acts 56-14,2; John 3-21,3; Revelation 4-22,1; 5-2; 3,13 Peter).
Are we going to heaven when we die?
Some make fun of the idea of “going to heaven”. But Paul says that we are already deployed in heaven (Ephesians 2,6) - and he preferred to leave the world to be with Christ who is in heaven (Philippians 1,23). Going to heaven is not much different from what Paul said. We may prefer other ways to express it, but it is not a point why we should criticize or mock other Christians.
When most people talk about heaven, they use this term as a synonym for salvation. For example, some Christian evangelists ask, "Are you sure you will go to heaven if you die tonight?" The real point in these cases is not when or where they come - they simply ask if they are safe from salvation.
Some people think of heaven as a place where there are clouds, harps and gold-paved streets. But such things are not really part of the sky - they are phrases that point to peace, beauty, glory, and other good things. They are an attempt that uses limited physical terms to describe spiritual realities.
Heaven is spiritual, not physical. It is the "place" where God lives. Science fiction fans may say that God lives in another dimension. It is present everywhere in all dimensions, but "heaven" is the area in which it actually lives. [I apologize for the lack of precision in my words. Theologians may have more precise words for these concepts, but I hope I can convey the general idea in simple words]. The point is: to be in "heaven" means to be in the presence of God in an immediate and special way.
Scripture makes it clear that we will be where God is (John 14,3; Philippians 1,23). Another way of describing our close relationship with God at this time is that we will "see him face to face" (1 Corinthians 13,12:22,4; Revelation 1: 3,2; John). It is a picture that we are with him in the narrowest possible way. So if we understand the term "heaven" as God's dwelling place, it is not wrong to say that Christians will be in heaven in the future age. We will be with God, and to be with God is rightly said to be in "heaven."
In a vision, John saw God's presence that finally comes to earth - not the present earth, but a "new earth" (Revelation 21,3). It does not matter whether we “come” to heaven or “come” to us. Either way, we will be in heaven forever, in the presence of God, and it will be dreamily good. How we describe the life of the coming age - as long as our description is biblical - does not change the fact that we have faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior.
What God has in store for us goes beyond our imaginations. Even in this life, God's love is beyond our understanding (Ephesians 3,19). The peace of God is beyond our reason (Philippians 4,7) and his joy exceeds our ability to express it in words (1 Peter 1,8). Then how much more is it impossible to describe how good it will be to live with God forever?
The biblical writers did not give us much detail. But one thing we know for sure - it will be the most wonderful experience we've ever had. It's better than the most beautiful paintings, better than the most delicious foods, better than the most exciting sport, better than the best feelings and experiences we've ever had. It's better than anything on earth. It's going to be a huge one
by Joseph Tkach