Humans have longed to know what heaven looks like. Regrettably, the same desire has led many to develop misconceptions and wrong ideas about heaven. So, what does heaven really look like according to the Bible?
What does heaven look like? If you have asked this question, you are not alone. Throughout history, human beings have imagined what heaven might be like.
False description of heaven
Some of the most popular depictions of heaven are that it is full of clouds with bright lights. They believe that there’s a huge gate at the entrance where the Apostle Peter welcomes the departed while holding a rooster.
People think of heaven as a place where God is surrounded by naked angels or babies. These heavenly creatures play harps and stare at God’s place for eternity.
That’s how most Christians see heaven. If you look at other religions or belief systems, you’ll find a myriad of conflicting and even confusing traditions.
The focus of our study today is not what people think about heaven, but what the Bible reveals. While it’s nice to speculate what heaven looks like, we are going to read clear Scripture to give us an accurate picture of heaven.
So, let’s begin!
God’s heavenly throne
There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. The third heaven refers to the place where Yahweh resides. Therefore, if we wish to know what heaven looks like, we should read how His throne is described in the Bible.
We can find a vivid description of what God’s throne would look like in the whole chapter of Revelation 4.
1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
We can see here how the Apostle John was seeing a vision of God’s heavenly throne. He saw a door standing open in heaven.
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
This proves that in heaven, there’s a throne where God sat on.
Now, what does God look like?
3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
God’s glory is so immense that the Apostle John simply described what he was seeing using words we can comprehend.
So, God sitting on His throne would look like a jasper and a sardius stone. Around the throne, there’s a rainbow that looks like an emerald.
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
So, there are multiple thrones in heaven and we can see here that God is not alone in heaven. He is surrounded by 24 elders who are clothed in white robes. On the heads of these elders, they had crowns.
These elders are spirit beings created by God, Himself. These are not human beings. They could also be angels or ministering spirits with a high rank.
5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
The glory of God is so powerful that there are constant lightings, thunderings, and voices coming out from the throne.
In front of God’s throne, there are the seven lamps of fire that represent his seven spirits. This may refer to what Isaiah 11:2–3 mentioned, which includes the Spirit of Yahweh, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the LORD.
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal…
So, you can just imagine the floor in God’s throne room looks like crystal, a sea of glass.
And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”
Verses 6-8 continue to describe more details of what is inside the throne room. We are introduced to the four living creatures that are out of this world.
Notice that these four creatures are located around and in the midst of the throne. All of them are full of eyes and they have six wings.
The four living creatures look like a lion, a calf, an animal with a face of a man, and a flying eagle. These creatures don’t rest and what they do is worship God.
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”
The 24 elders join the four living creatures in worshiping God.
As you can see, what you just read is a divine revelation that we can’t know by ourselves. I hope you get to appreciate how special this knowledge is. Only a few people really understood this verse and this gives us a glimpse of what heaven really looks like.
Heaven on earth
This is what most Christians fail to understand. The majority of Christians today believe that when they die, they will immediately go to heaven and dwell there forever!
Yet, as we will see, it is the Kingdom of God that will descend from Heaven to earth!
The New Jerusalem
The New Jerusalem came down from Heaven. Its origin is from heaven. Thus, knowing what the New Jerusalem looks like gives us a better understanding of what heaven looks like as well.
Let’s start reading:
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
Once the earth is cleansed by the great fire, all the bodies of water on earth will evaporate. Thus, the sea is now gone.
Not only that but the first heaven and the first earth have also passed away. All things are new. We see here that new heaven and new earth are now present.
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
We are seeing here the magnificent and dramatic descent of the New Jerusalem from heaven. This is the time when God will finally dwell with men!
What an awesome and powerful vision John was having!
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
As a result of God dwelling with men, all the negative things will be gone. They will be a thing of the past. They will be just history.
Imagine a world where there is no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain!
Indeed, this is what heaven looks like!
More details about the New Jerusalem
Today, we see Jerusalem as the boiling point of conflict. We see how so much blood has been spilled in this hotly contested land.
With the three major religions claiming Jerusalem, it is full of problems and chaos — something that is far from the meaning of its name, City of Peace.
However, the Bible reveals that this will not always be the case. There will come a time when the Jerusalem we know today will be replaced by the New Jerusalem coming out from heaven.
Let’s read what the New Jerusalem looks like:
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
We see here how John was brought to the New Jerusalem, which is filled with God’s glory.
11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
We can see here how glorious the New Jerusalem is. The city is full of bright light that looks like a jasper stone.
The New Jerusalem comes with a great high wall. It has four sides and each side comes with three gates, with a total of 12 gates. Each gate comes with one angel and on the gates are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The city also has 12 foundations, with the names of the twelve apostles written on them.
15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
The size of the New Jerusalem is massive!
It’s kind of hard to imagine this. According to some estimates, one side of the city is 1,500 miles long. To give you some perspective, If you can drive 50 miles in 1 hour. Without stopping, it will take you 30 hours to drive 1,500 miles.
What is so amazing is that the walls of the city are also as high as 1,500 miles! This means that the walls of the city go beyond the earth’s atmosphere. It really is a supernatural city, worthy to be called the New Jerusalem of God.
18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
We could see here how the New Jerusalem is adorned with various precious stones which include the jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst.
To make things even more amazing, the twelve gates were twelve pearls. I’m imagining it would look like a huge pearl that can cover the whole opening of the city.
The city streets are also adorned and made of pure gold that looks like transparent glass.
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
We are given more details in Revelation 21 and what heaven would look like.
We see that the temple within the city is God and His Son Themselves. They are also the Source of its light. So, there’s no need for the sun and moon.
As we can see, there will still be kings and nations at that time. These nations would continually give honor to God and the ones that can only enter the City would be the beings written in the Book of Life.
Striving to be part of God’s Kingdom
We just had a glimpse of what heaven looks like according to the Bible. We can see that Heaven is full of glorious things that even our human mind can’t comprehend.
How wonderful would it be to spend eternity in God’s presence as He dwells with men on earth? We can see that heaven is more than just clouds, huge buildings, or naked angels.
How traditions describe heaven is an insult to the real glory of God. It doesn’t just utterly fail to capture the true beauty, glory, and majesty of Heaven, but it became a reason for people to ridicule God’s reward to the righteous.
Thankfully, you can know the truth and you just knew the truth through this post. If you wish for more people to know the truth about heaven, please don’t hesitate to share this with your friends and family.
Above all, we must realize that the reward waiting for us is GREATER than what we can ever imagine. The suffering, pain, and trials we go through today are nothing compared to the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
So, let’s all strive to be part of that Kingdom. We can all be sure that the sacrifices we make will be all worth it!