• 55°

Heaven is where the Lord is

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: Is Heaven a state of mind or a real place and is it really the place God lives, or is that simply symbolic? — H.R.
Dear H.R.: God set a firmament in the midst of the waters, divided the waters from the waters, and called the firmament “Heaven” (Genesis 1:6-8). The word firmament is one we aren’t accustomed to hearing anymore; it comes from a Hebrew word meaning “firm” or “fixed.” The Bible clearly defines Heaven as a created place. God said, “My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens” (Isaiah 48:13, NIV; see also 1 Corinthians 2:9).
While Heaven captures our imagination, it’s more important that the God of Heaven captures our souls; for God is greater than Heaven. The Bible says, “The… heavens cannot contain [Him]” (1 Kings 8:27) — but He can contain His whole creation in His hands. He measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, marked off the heavens, held the dust of the earth in a basket, and weighed the mountains on scales (Isaiah 40:12).
The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9. NLT). Just because Heaven is beyond the reach of man’s satellites and telescopes, however, does not mean that Heaven is beyond the reach of our hearts.
“[Christ] is the image of the invisible God… by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:15-16, 1984 NIV). Heaven is where the Lord is, and Christ is Lord of Heaven and earth. He is able to rule from Heaven and also live within our hearts.
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)