I want you to see that this future home now being prepared for us will actually fulfill God's original plan for man's perfect happiness. It will match the exquisite beauty and glory that God incorporated into the Garden of Eden. Isaiah described it this way: "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." Isaiah 64:4.
The prophet here declares that "since the beginning of the world" men have neither heard nor seen the fullness of God's plan. The intimation is clear - men once did see, hear, and know of the wonderful things God has prepared for His people. In fact, that plan was revealed to Adam and Eve in all its glory. God wanted the earth to be like Eden, the Garden of the Lord. He gave four tremendous gifts to our first parents - life, a righteous character, a beautiful home, and dominion over the earth. They could have possessed those gifts forever by simply choosing to obey God in the matter of the one forbidden tree. Through obedience to His will, God intended to make the human family ideally and eternally happy.
Angels must have wept when they saw sin come into the human family for the first time. Immediately, all of those original provisions began to be withdrawn. Adam and Eve began to die according to the pronouncement of God; their dominion passed for the time into the hands of Satan; the image of righteousness was marred within them; and they were driven out of the garden home. The first three chapters of the Bible present the picture of this great loss. The entrance of sin and the story of the fall of man is graphically told in Genesis 1, 2, and 3. But the last three chapters of the Bible picture the exact opposite by telling of the restoration of all things. The exit of sin and Satan, and the removal of the curse is depicted in Revelation 20-22.
Now let me assure you that the home of the righteous is going to be right here on this earth. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 5:5. In giving His Beatitudes He said: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Mark it down well. God's people will finally dwell in this beautiful world, not as it is today, but as it shall be prepared for the saints.
This is really most natural when you think of it. God planned for His children to live here when He created the world. He placed our first parents in a paradise without spot or blemish. Now it is true that the devil came into the picture and interrupted God's plan, but he did not change that plan. God will finally carry out His great original purpose as it was revealed in the Garden of Eden. He will restore this earth to its first dominion. He will make it sinless and perfect again, and His people will live here in the beauty of Eden restored. The wicked today have more of the earth than the righteous, and I suppose the finance companies have more than both groups together. But some day, God says, the saints will inherit the earth.
Surely no one would want the earth in its present condition, because it's quite a mess now. We can thank the Lord that when He gives it back to us it will be altogether different from what we see around us today. In Isaiah 65:17 we read these beautiful words: "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth." That is the Old Testament account, but turn to the New Testament and you will read the same thing in Revelation 21:1. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth."
This old blood-soaked world of ours will be replaced completely, and all trace of sin will be removed forever. Peter describes it in these words: "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13. That is the kind of world I want - a world in which righteousness dwells! God is going to have a pure, clean planet again. Listen, if a man should neglect to take the opportunity to live there, he will commit the most colossal blunder of his life! That is the most tragic mistake anyone could ever make. May God help us to make that home a glorious assurance without fail.
It is shocking how many weak and twisted concepts of heaven people have accepted. Most folks think of it as some far-off ethereal place - and that is about all the average man knows about heaven. He believes it is "up there" somewhere. Yes, it is "up there," and we can agree with him that far, for when Jesus went away, He went up. (Acts 1:9. ) And He said: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2, 3.
Please notice that Jesus called heaven a place. New York is a place, and heaven is going to be just as real as New York. Jesus declared that He is going to get a place ready and then come back to take us with Him to that place. This is not some ghostly, unreal idea. The righteous will not sit on clouds out there in space, playing harps and singing hallelujah choruses all during eternity. This is a very false and unbiblical picture of heaven.
The only reason a few people do not want to go to heaven is that they don't know what it will be like. You may find a person now and then who will tell you plainly that he doesn't care to go to heaven, but that is only because he has a misconception about it. Popular myths have made heaven seem dull and uninteresting.
The truth about heaven makes it one of the most exciting places imaginable. The capital city of that future glory land is called the New Jerusalem, and it is currently under construction according to the testimony of Jesus and Paul. It will cover an area greater than Virginia, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island combined. If you find that unbelievable, don't take my word for it. Here it is in the Bible: "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." Hebrews 11:16. Here we are told that God is getting a city ready for His people. He is preparing one now.
This raises some questions. What kind of city is God building for His faithful ones? Where is it being made ready? Revelation 21:2 answers: "And I John saw the holy city ... coming down from God out of heaven." In paradise at this moment, far above the stars and planets, God is preparing mansions for you and me. Someday that gleaming white city will descend right down to the earth and settle here as the eternal home of the righteous. How big will it be on completion? Revelation 21:16 tells us: "And the city lieth foursquare, ... and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs."
You will notice that the city is perfectly square and the circumference is 12,000 furlongs, or 1,500 miles. Since a furlong is one-eighth of a mile, this means the city is 375 miles on each side. Believe it or not, 450 New York Cities could be placed inside its gigantic walls. The streets are pure gold, and the gates of it are solid pearl - not merely composed of pearls, but actually made of one solid pearl. Imagine, if you can, a city of these dimensions being right here on this earth!