What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Our Abode After Resurrection?

I believe that when we die that we wait on Jesus Christ to return as he said he would in Acts 1:11. I agree with you that the spirit (breath) returns to God and our bodies will return to dust. We will be made whole at the resurrection. My question is will we live in heaven (which heaven) or we will live here on earth? Rev. 21 indicates that his kingdom will come here. He brings our rewards with him. Rev 22:12. The Bible says that our treasures are laid up in heaven, the meek will inherit the earth, we will have a heavenly home. This does not sound like we will be in heaven but maybe a heavenly home. Before Gen.1 was God not living in his heaven and then he created the heavens, where the planets and stars are and where the fowls fly. He tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth so why would we or how could we live in one of the two heavens. The bible says that no man has been to heaven where God is but that which came from heaven. So why are we taught that we go to heaven when we die? Thank you and I hope you can help me with this.


First we must distinguish between the abode of God we call heaven and the heavens that were created in Genesis 1:1. As you point out, the latter is where the planets and stars are and, on a lower level, where the fowl and airplanes fly. This is called the heavens, but these are physical areas and have nothing to do with where God dwells. Paul talks of a “third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12:2. This comes from the idea that the earth’s atmosphere is the first heaven, the stars are in the second heaven, and the abode of God is the third heaven. This is where we lay up treasures, because the other two are clearly physical and corruption would still occur there. Confusion can occur between the uses of the word “heaven,” although most times that it is used with “earth” it is speaking of the physical skies and earth.

Another common phrase, especially in Matthew’s writing, is “the kingdom of heaven.” Most, if not all, times that is used it is talking about the church on earth. Christians are in that kingdom now.

It is also true that the New Testament, in all its hundreds of mentions of heaven, never directly says that we will be in heaven after the final judgement. Even Matthew 25, the best description of that judgement, only says that the righteous will inherit the kingdom prepared for them and have everlasting life.

So we have to look at indirect references to our final abode. Philippians 3:20 says our government is in heaven, but doesn’t say our abode will be. 1 Peter 1:4 speaks of an inheritance reserved for us in heaven, but that could mean it is in heaven now but will be given to us on earth. (That might be stretching what Peter is saying a bit, though.) Jesus told his apostles in John 14 that he was going to prepare a place “in my father’s house” (which would be heaven), and would take them to be with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:10 says Jesus died “that we should live together with him.” So we just need to know where Jesus is, and that is where we will live. “[Jesus] is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” (1 Peter 3:22) “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9:24) If Jesus is, as these scriptures indicate, in heaven, then it must be that we will be in heaven with him.

Wherever we are, we know it will not be a physical place but a spiritual one. “It is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:44) Wherever we will be, it will be someplace to accommodate a new, spiritual body. Since the physical body we now have could not inhabit a spiritual heaven, it stands to reason that if we are to have a spiritual body it is so we can inhabit spiritual realms.

The passage you mention in Revelation 22:10 does not say he will bring our reward with him. It speaks of his reward, not ours. His reward is that he can give to every man according to their works. The passage says nothing about what he will/did give.

The passage in Revelation 21 speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. This can not be talking about heaven, the dwelling place of God, for several reasons. First, the events of the book of the Revelation were “soon to come to pass” (Revelation 1:1). So the entire book is most likely in our past. Second, the Revelation is a book of symbols, so it would be a mistake to take the things in it literally. Third, as I mentioned before, when heaven and earth are used together the chances are high that the Bible is speaking there of the physical heavens where the stars are or where the birds fly. Fourth, the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 can not be heaven because it is said to come “down out of heaven.” Heaven can’t come out of heaven. So what would Revelation 21 mean if not a picture of heaven?

I tend toward the belief that Revelation 21 and 22 are a picture of the church, in symbolic form. Since he is speaking of spiritual things it would be wrong to assume that “no more death,” for instance, is physical and everything else is spiritual. But, if this is not a picture of heaven, then I will spare you the details, because it doesn’t apply to your question.

In summary, we will not be living in a physical realm but will be changed to a spiritual one. We will be living where Jesus is, and that is heaven. All this, of course, assumes that the “we” in those sentences are those who are following Christ, who have been immersed to have their sins forgiven, and have been raised to walk in a new life. Those who oppose God have a separate spiritual realm in their future, and would rather be among those in heaven.