This post is all about the symbols of Heaven
Are you curious about what Heaven is like? Many people are.
In this post, I will explore the topic of Heaven from a Biblical perspective. I’ll start by discussing who the citizens of Heaven are and how someone can enter this glorious place. After that, I’ll look at the 12 symbols of Heaven and see what they tell us about this wonderful place.
May these truths encourage you as you long for your home in Heaven!
Ready? Let’s go…
What is Heaven?
“What and where is Heaven?” People have asked this question throughout history, and there are many different answers:
- Some say Heaven is where you go when you die, while others believe it’s a state of mind.
- Others view “heaven” in a figurative sense. Let me give one example…The phrase “a slice of heaven” is often used to describe something that is very good or enjoyable. For instance, you might say that a piece of cake you are eating is “a slice of heaven.” Other examples include “heavenly” and “out of this world.” These are both used to describe something that is very good or wonderful.
- According to the dictionary, Heaven is “the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death.” This definition implies that Heaven is a place where we go after we die.
However, all these definitions don’t really give us a clear understanding of what Heaven is and what it looks like. The Bible is the only authority concerning the true meaning of Heaven. It describes Heaven as where God dwells and gives us a glimpse of what Heaven will be like.
After reading this post to the end, you will have a better understanding of this place!
The difference between Heaven and New Jerusalem
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between the current Heaven and New Jerusalem. Many people think that they are one and the same. However, there is a difference.
- Heaven is defined as the dwelling place of God. It is where His throne is located (Isa. 66:1). In Heaven, God resides above the earth, and His glory can be seen by all (Isa. 6:1-5). There are also many angels that live in Heaven. When we die, our spirits go to Heaven to be with God.
- New Jerusalem, on the other hand, is a city that is coming down out of Heaven (Rev. 21:2). It is the place where we will live with God forever after the end of this world (Rev. 21:3-4).
So, as you can see, there is a difference between Heaven and New Jerusalem. Heaven is the current dwelling place of God, while New Jerusalem is the future eternal dwelling place of God and His people.
While there is a difference, I don’t think it changes the fact that Jesus remains the only way we enter Heaven.
So if this is mind-boggling to you- don’t fret! From here on out, I will not put such a fuss about the distinction between the two since I think it will get a bit hairy for my writing brain.
Who are the citizens of Heaven?
The Bible tells us that those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ are the citizens of Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:20). In other words, those who have put their trust in Christ alone for salvation are the citizens of Heaven.
So, how can someone enter Heaven?
The good news is that anyone can! The Bible tells us that “Whosoever believeth in him [Jesus Christ] should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If you have never trusted in Christ as your Savior, I encourage you to do so today. It is the only way to ensure that you will spend eternity in Heaven.❤️
Now that we have answered some basic questions about Heaven, let’s look at characteristics of this wonderful place.
Characteristics of Heaven
- Great beauty: Revelation 21:11 describes it as having “a great and high wall… with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels… [and] the city [being] foursquare.” In other words, Heaven will be a stunningly beautiful place with walls so high that they are guarded by angels.
- Perfect rest: Isaiah 57:15 says that those who dwell in Heaven will “enter into peace… [and] be quiet and free from fear.” In addition, Revelation 14:13 states, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
- Great light: Revelation 22:5 describes it as having “no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] is the light thereof.” Isn’t it marvelous that Heaven will be so full of the light of God’s glory that there will be no need for the sun or moon?
- Perfect righteousness: Revelation 22:3 says that in Heaven, “there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.” In other words, there will be no more sin or evil in Heaven. Instead, we will enjoy perfect righteousness and holiness.
- Great reward: Revelation 22:12 says that those who are “faithful” will be “rewarded” with the gift of eternal life in Heaven.
- Great reunion: In Heaven, we will be reunited with our loved ones who have passed away. What a joyous day that will be! (per 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Samuel 12:23)
- We will have a glorified bodies: In Heaven, we will have glorified bodies that are perfect and free from sickness and pain. (1 Corinthians 15:42-43, 1 Corinthians 15:47-49)
- You will not miss your old life: In Heaven, you will not miss your old life because it will be so much better. (Isaiah 65:17-18)
- No more death or sorrow: Revelation 21:4 says that in Heaven, “the former things are passed away… and he [God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
12 Spectacular Symbols of Heaven & New Jerusalem in the Bible
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it undoubtedly highlights Heaven’s rich meaning and beauty. Some symbols of New Jerusalem are the same symbols in the current Heaven, so I’ve decided to combine my list. Together, the symbols paint a vivid picture of the heavenly realm.
As you read through these symbols and verses, try to imagine what it will be like to experience these things firsthand!
1. The Throne of God
The throne of God is central and important to understanding Heaven. Many verses mention the throne of God in Heaven, but here are just a few:
Isaiah 6:1-5, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and His train filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
Revelation 4:2-11 – “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne… (read the rest here).”
As we can see from these verses, Heaven is a place of great glory and majesty where God reigns supreme.
2. The Tree of Life
This tree is first mentioned in the Garden of Eden, where it was a source of food and life for Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:9). However, after they sinned, they were banned from the Garden and denied access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24).
But in Heaven, there will be no more sin, and we will once again have access to the tree of life.
Revelation 22:1-5 says: “…In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations...”
As we can see, the tree of life will be a central part of Heaven, providing food and healing for all who dwell there. And because there will be no sin in Heaven, we will have free and unrestricted access to it.
3. A River of Life
This river is first mentioned in the Garden of Eden, where it flowed from the tree of life and provided water for the garden (Genesis 2:10). As I stated earlier- after Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished from the Garden and denied access to the river of life (Genesis 3:22-24).
However, there will be no more sin in Heaven, and we will once again have access to the river of life.
Revelation 22:1-5 says, “Then he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb….”
4. A Golden Bowl of Incense
This bowl is first mentioned in Exodus 30:1-10, where it was used in the Tabernacle as part of the ritual of the incense altar. The incense that was burned in this altar was a symbol of the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 5:8).
Revelation 8:3-5 says: “Then another angel, having a golden bowl full of incense, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the bowl and filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.”
5. A Golden Censer
This censer is first mentioned in Leviticus 16:12, where it was used in the Tabernacle as part of the ritual of the Day of Atonement. Likewise, in Revelation, incense that was burned in this censer was a symbol of the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 5:8).
There will be a similar censer in Heaven. Revelation 8:3, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
6. A Rainbow
This rainbow is first mentioned in Genesis 9:13, where it was used as a sign of God’s covenant with Noah after the Flood. The rainbow is also mentioned in Revelation 4:3, where it surrounds the throne of God.
Revelation 4:3, “And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.”
Let’s review another verse that mentions a rainbow:
Revelation 10:1 says: “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from Heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.”
7. Many rooms
In John 14:2, Jesus mentions that in His Father’s house, there are many mansions. The many mansions are also mentioned in Revelation 21:3, where it is located in the New Jerusalem.
The word “mansion” is translated from the Greek word “mone.” This word doesn’t necessarily mean a physical house, but instead refers to a dwelling place or abode. So per that explanation, spiritual symbolism may exist in the term “mansions.”
So what does this mean?
The bride of Christ is New Jerusalem. This means we will become New Jerusalem. We (the bride of Christ) are possibly the “many rooms” or “many mansions” as described in the Holy Scripture.
All in all, whether it is a physical or spiritual significance (or both!), as believers, we can be assured that as long as we remain in Jesus, we have a place prepared for us in Heaven. The New Jerusalem is our future home, and we can look forward to living there with God forever.
(Also read: Galatians 2:20-21, Romans 8:9-10 Galatians 5:16-17)
8. A Crystal Sea (sea of glass)
This crystal sea is first mentioned in Revelation 4:6, where it surrounds the throne of God. The crystal sea is also mentioned in Revelation 15:2, where it is in front of God’s tabernacle.
Revelation 15:2 says, “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God”
9. A Street of Gold
This street of gold is first mentioned in Revelation 21:21, where it is located in the New Jerusalem. The street of gold is also mentioned in Revelation 22:2, where it runs through the middle of the city.
Revelation 21:18 says: “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.”
10. Book of life
In Revelation 21:27, we are told that those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life will enter New Jerusalem.
As many know, this book of life is a list of all the people who have ever lived, and it is used to determine who goes to Heaven and who goes to hell. The book of life is also mentioned in Revelation 17:8, Revelation 13:8, and Revelation 3:5, showing that the book of life is a list of all the people who have been saved by the blood of Christ. If you want to make sure that your name is in the book of life, make sure that you have been saved by the blood of Christ.
11. Pearl gates
Pearl Gates are described in Revelation 21:21 – “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”
Yes! You read that right! The pearl gates surround the entire city of New Jerusalem, with each gate being made of a single pearl. I’m already in awe at the sheer extent of this splendor! MTV cribs has nothing on this LOL. (I had to sneak in a bit of silly in this post hehe🤣)
12. White horses
In Revelation 19:11-16, there is a rider called the “Faithful and True.” The rider is Jesus Christ, who will return to earth on a white horse to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom. On his robe and on his thigh, he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11-15 says: “I saw Heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of Heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”
And that’s it, folks, the symbols of Heaven!
I hope you enjoyed this post (it took me a long time to study, reflect and compile it!). All Glory be to God!
I’m thinking of writing another blog post concerning this topic since I’ve found my study on Revelation surprisingly fascinating…stay tuned.
P.S I also briefly talk about Heaven in the following blog posts: