As I continue to mourn the loss of my friend, Chris Bayer, I find myself wondering what he’s doing right now.
Have you ever wondered such a thing about a loved one who has died? I always think about it. There’s the usual pat answer to that question that goes like this: he’s worshipping Jesus. That’s expected, of course. But we can also do that down here. Certainly he’s worshipping Jesus. But that’s not going to fill all of his time. After all, Heaven is a real place. It’s not just “spiritual only,” it has physicality and substance. So what kind of things does Heaven have?
It has a temple where God is worshipped (Revelation 11:19). I imagine that Chris has already been there and seen the throne of Jesus (Matthew 25:31).
Having the temple implies that there are buildings in Heaven. This implies design and construction. In fact, it’s more than implied. Jesus said he went to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). What that looks like, we don’t know. But buildings also imply walking paths and possibly streets of some kind. Heaven is at least a city, if not more. All of this implies infrastructure, and it’s infrastructure that must serve the needs of billions of angels and people, possibly far more than we have on earth when we consider all the people who have gone to Heaven until today along with the myriads times myriads of angels (Revelation 5:11).
But Heaven isn’t just a lot of buildings. There may be some kind of technology, possibly different from what we know on earth. There are chariots of some kind (II Kings 2:11). Angels wear cloths (Ezekiel 10:7). Someone has do make those things, possibly from other things, just as we do on earth. This implies industry.
In the New Heaven and New Earth there is a river (possibly many) and fruit trees, and a landscape of unknown make up that is there for our enjoyment (Revelation 22:2).
But Heaven isn’t a big vacation. We have responsibilities here, and we’ll have responsibilities there too. In God’s Garden of Eden Adam was tasked with the care of the Garden. Will there be any less such a thing in Heaven? There is a hierarchy of authority such as we see with the organization of the angels and the 24 elders of Revelation 4:4. This implies administrative responsibilities for the care of things, and the heavenly society. If so, then there is a culture to be learned and absorbed into.
And what is culture without people? There will be a lot of people to meet. From the famous, like Paul and Moses, to the unknowns of history that make up the vast majority of Heaven’s population. It’s been said of my friend, Chris, that he never met a stranger. How much more is this true of him as he meets people in Heaven.
Some of this is speculation by implication. There is so much more that we could say, but suffice it to say that Chris is not bored, or doing just one thing. He’s busy embracing a new experience, in some ways similar to what he’s known and in many ways totally new, even alien—but good.
This gives me hope. There will be a boundless, unlimited number of experiences that we will have in Heaven, and later in the New Heaven and New Earth. We’ll interact not only with others, but with an environment whose make-up we can’t fully imagine. And right now, at this very moment, it is a real place, in real time, occupying real space, with real people and real things we have never seen. And if the good things of the earth are any foreshadow of what is to come, then it will be amazing and wondrous indeed. And best of all, Jesus is at the center of it all.
So, right now, at this moment, I wonder what Chris is doing. Because he’s doing something, whatever that might be, imminently worthwhile, fulfilling, purposeful, and meaningful. And I can’t wait to join him, and so many others, sharing in the joys, enjoyments, and responsibilities of Heaven.