IF MOST BIBLE SCHOLARS ARE RIGHT, don’t expect pearly gates, golden streets, and jasper walls—even though that’s what John, writer of the book of Revelation, said he saw in his vision of heaven.
Some Bible experts say John was trying to describe the indescribable. But there’s nothing on earth to compare it to. So the best John could do was draw from images of earth’s most precious objects: gems and gold.
John also said heaven was a cube, 1,400 miles (2,250 km) in every direction. Don’t take that literally, either, many scholars advise. A cube symbolized the perfect sacred space. The holiest room in the Jewish temple was a cube that contained the chest with the 10 Commandments. That room measured only 30 feet (9 m) in every direction. Heaven is unimaginably more than the holiest spot on earth.
Even though John didn’t say much about what heaven looks like, he said plenty about what it’s like to live there:
“God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3–4 New Living Translation).
This is part of an article about Heaven from the newly released Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0.