Won't It Be Wonderful There

Bible Book: John  14 : 1-3
Subject: Heaven

I have found myself this week thinking about the subject of Heaven. And I have thought of the words to the old hymn by Homer Morris, “Won’t It Be Wonderful There?”

The songwriter said…

Verse 1

When With The Savior We Enter The Glory Land, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?

Ended The Troubles And Cares Of The Story Land, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?

Verse 2

Walking And Talking With Christ, The Supernal One, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?

Praising, Adoring The Matchless Eternal One, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?

Verse 3

There Where The Tempest Will Never Be Sweeping Us, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?

Sure That Forever The Lord Will Be Keeping Us, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?


Won’t It Be Wonderful There? Having No Burdens To Bear?

Joyously Singing, With Heartbells All Ringing, Oh, Won’t It Be Wonderful There?

James Packer wrote…

We know very little about heaven, but I once heard a theologian describe it as “an unknown region with a well-known inhabitant,” and there is not a better way to think of it than that. Richard Baxter expresses the thought in these lines…

My knowledge of that life is small,

The eye of faith is dim,

But it’s enough that Christ knows all,

And I shall be with him.

(James Packer, Your Father Loves You)

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

I read about a Sunday School teacher who asked the children in her class, “How many of you would like to go to Heaven?” All the children raised a hand except little Derrick. The teacher diplomatically inquired why he didn’t raise his hand. Derrick replied, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Spellman, but my mommy told me to come right home after Sunday school.”

I’d like to stay here in this world as long as God will let me, but I am ready to go should He call me home today.

Merrill Unger writes…

Scripture evidently specifies three heavens, since “the third heaven” is revealed to exist. According to 2 Corinthians 12:2, the apostle Paul was caught up to “the third heaven.” It is logical that a third heaven cannot exist without a first and second. Scripture does not describe specifically the first and second heaven. (1) The first, however, apparently refers to the atmospheric heavens of the birds and of clouds. (2) The second heaven may be the stellar spaces as seen in Genesis 1:14-18. It is the abode of all supernatural angelic beings. (3) The third heaven is the abode of the Triune God.

The Bible describes it as being “in the sides of the north.”

(Psalms 48:2) Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

(Isaiah 14:13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

In his book, Facing Death and the Life After, Billy Graham writes, “A little girl was walking with her father in the country. As she looked up into the star-studded sky, her eyes were filled with wonder. Turning to her father she asked, ‘Daddy, if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, what do you think the right side will be like?’”

I love the way Peter states our calling to Christ’s glory. He said…

(1 Peter 5:10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

He points at once to The Reality Of Glory and The Region Of Glory.

In Revelation 21:9-22:7 the apostle John describes the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city. J. Dwight Pentecost in his book Things to Come correctly proposes that it describes the eternal habitation of the resurrected saints during the Millennium. The city, which is a literal city, descends from heaven and is doubtless to be considered as something distinct from heaven. (Unger)

But because the city is so inseparably linked in our thinking to Heaven and the concept of Heaven, I want to deal with it here in our study.

I. Let’s Consider The Attributes Of The Heavenly City

A. Notice The Introduction To This City (Revelation 21:1-4)

1. It Is Prepared By God Revelation 21:2

(Revelation 21:2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

adorned – Greek 2885. kosmeo, kos-meh'-o; from G2889; to put in proper order, i.e. decorate (lit. or fig.); spec. to snuff (a wick):--adorn, garnish, trim. (fixed up, spruced up, decked out)

(John 14:2-3) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} 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.

2. It Has The Presence Of God Revelation 21:3

(Revelation 21:3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

If Heaven is where God is, then the New Jerusalem could be classified as Heaven.

3. It Is Perfected By God Revelation 21:4

(Revelation 21:4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

B. Notice The Inscriptions Of This City (Revelation 21:10-14)

1. The Inscriptions Of Twelve Names In The Gates Of Glory Speaks Of The Old Testament Saints

2. The Inscriptions Of Twelve Names In The Groundwork Of Grace Speaks Of The New Testament Saints

This city is dedicated from top to bottom to the people of God in every age.

C. Notice The Impressiveness Of The City

1. It Is Impressive In It’s Measurements Revelation 21:15-17

Taking the measurements of the city literally, the breadth and height and width are equal, being 12,000 furlongs, which would be 1,500 miles each way.

2. It Is Impressive In It’s Materials Revelation 21:18-21

The foundations of the walls of the city are described as garnished with all manner of precious stones such as jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, etc. The twelve gates are set each one so that they consist of one huge pearl. The city street is said to be pure gold.

The word “garnished” in verse 19 is the same Greek term as the word “adorned” in verse 2.

garnished – Greek 2885. kosmeo, kos-meh'-o; from G2889; to put in proper order, i.e. decorate (lit. or fig.); spec. to snuff (a wick):--adorn, garnish, trim.

3. It Is Impressive In It’s Majesty Revelation 21:22-22:3

a. The Majesty Involves The Lack Of A Temple

(Revelation 21:22) And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

b. The Majesty Involves The Light Of Translucence

(Revelation 21:23) And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

c. The Majesty Involves The Lord On His The Throne Revelation 23:1-3

No temple is there because the Triune God is unveiled in all of His glory. No light is needed because the unobscured glory of God is revealed in the city. In the heavenly city paradise is restored, and the river of the water of life flows freely. The reference in 22:2 to “the tree of life” yielding its “fruit” monthly and its leaves being for “the healing of the nations” may have reference to the city during the millennial period.

I am mindful of the words of another songwriter who said…

We read of a place that’s called heaven; It’s made for the pure and the free

These truths in God’s Word He hath given How beautiful heaven must be

How beautiful heaven must be; Sweet home of the happy and free

Fair heaven of rest for the weary; How beautiful heaven must be

II. Let’s Consider The Activities Of The Heavenly City

What goes on in Heaven?

1. We See The Dutiful Activity Of Heaven

(Revelation 22:3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

2. We See The Dining Activity Of Heaven

(Revelation 19:9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

(Luke 12:37) Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

George Atkins wrote…

Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too;

Let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new.

Then He’ll call us home to heaven, at His table we’ll sit down;

Christ will gird Himself and serve us with sweet manna all around.

3. Then We See The Delightful Activity Of Heaven

The primary activity of Heaven seems to be worship!

A. Notice The Constant Worship Of The Beasts Revelation 4:1-11

1. Let’s Think About What The Beasts Signify

(Revelation 4:7) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

Cf. (Ezekiel 1:10) As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

This suggest the fourfold ministry of Christ as set forth in the four gospels – He is the King (the lion) in Matthew, He is the Servant (the ox) in Mark, He is the Son of Man (the man) in Luke, He is the Son of God (the eagle) in John.

2. Let’s Think About What The Beasts Say Revelation 4:8-11; Cf. Isaiah 6

(Revelation 4:8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

B. Notice The Comprehensive Worship Because Of The Book Revelation 5:4-14

1. How Glorious Is The Situation With This Scroll

(Revelation 5:5-7) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. {6} And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns (suggesting His complete power) and seven eyes (suggesting His complete perception), which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. {7} And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

2. How Glorious Is The Singing Of This Song Revelation 5:8-14

(Revelation 5:9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

song – Greek 5603. oide, o-day'; from G103; a chant or “ode” (the gen. term for any words sung; while G5215 denotes espec. a religious metrical composition, and G5568 still more spec. a Heb. cantillation):--song.

Beethoven had his “Ode To Joy,” but in the latter day we will sing an “Ode To Jesus!”

(Revelation 5:12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

power – Greek 1411. dunamis, doo'-nam-is; from G1410; force (lit. or fig.); spec. miraculous power (usually by impl. a miracle itself):--ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

riches – Greek 4149. ploutos, ploo'-tos; from the base of G4130; wealth (as fulness), i.e. (lit.) money, possessions, or (fig.) abundance, richness, (spec.) valuable bestowment:--riches.

wisdom – Greek 4678. sophia, sof-ee'-ah; from G4680; wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):--wisdom.

strength – Greek 2479. ischus, is-khoos'; from a der. of is (force; comp. eschon, a form of G2192); forcefulness (lit. or fig.):--ability, might ([-ily]), power, strength.

honour – Greek 5092. time, tee-may'; from G5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concr. and collect.) valuables; by anal. esteem (espec. of the highest degree), or the dignity itself:--honour, precious, price, some.

glory – Greek 1391. doxa, dox'-ah; from the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (lit. or fig., obj. or subj.):--dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship.

blessing – Greek 2129. eulogia, yoo-log-ee'-ah; from the same as G2127; fine speaking, i.e. elegance of language; commendation ("eulogy"), i.e. (reverentially) adoration; religiously, benediction; by impl. consecration; by extens. benefit or largess:--blessing (a matter of) bounty (X -tifully), fair speech.

Here is the eulogy for the One who was dead, but is alive forevermore.

C. Notice The Chorus Of Worship By The Bride Revelation 19:1-9

1. We Will Praise The Lamb In His Revenge Revelation 19:1-3

2. We Will Praise The Lamb In His Reigning Revelation 19:4-6

When Calvin Miller, the professor of preaching at Southwestern Seminary, pastored in Omaha, Nebraska, he talked with a new Christian about the glory of heaven. The man asked, “What are we going to do all day long for eternity?” Dr. Miller said, “We’ll praise the Lord.” The new disciple responded, “Forever—for ten million years—we’re going to stand around and praise the Lord?” The pastor affirmed this truth, to which the young man replied, “Couldn’t we just stop now and then and mess around a while?” The worship of heaven seems uninviting for many because we tend to compare it with the worship we experience at church each week.

(Leadership Journal, Fall 1988)

But John Newton wrote, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun!”

III. Let’s Consider The Access Into The Heavenly City

A. Notice The Invitation Associated With This Access

(Revelation 22:16-17) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. {17} And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

1. There Is An Invitation From Heaven the Spirit and the bride say, Come

2. There Is An Invitation From Humanity let him that heareth say, Come

B. Notice The Inhabitants Associated With This Access

John Hannah said, “Two things will surprise us when we arrive in heaven: who is there and who is not.”

Somebody told this story…

Following a campaign speech, a young man rushed up to Senator Everett Dirksen and said, “Senator, I wouldn’t vote for you if you were St. Peter!” Dirksen eyed the young man for a moment, then said: “Son, if I were St. Peter, you couldn’t vote for me, because you wouldn’t be in my district.”

Who won’t be there?

1. The Defiled

(Revelation 21:27) And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

2. The Dogs

(Revelation 22:15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.


a. The Pooches

dogs – Greek 2965. kuon, a prim. word; a dog [”hound”] (lit. or fig.).

b. The Poisoners

sorcerers – Greek 5333. pharmakos, the same as G5332.

5332. pharmakeus, from pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); a druggist (“pharmacist”) or poisoner, i.e. (by extens.) a magician:--sorcerer.

c. The Prostitutes

whoremongers – Greek 4205. pornos, from pernemi (to sell; akin to the base of G4097); a (male) prostitute (as venal), i.e. (by anal.) a debauchee (libertine):--fornicator,.

3. The Devil

(Revelation 20:10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Who will be there?

(Hebrews 12:22-24) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, {23} To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, {24} And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

1. The Living God

2. An Innumerable Company Of Angels

3. The General Assembly And Church Of The Firstborn

4. Jesus

C. Notice The Importance Associated With This Access Matthew 22:1-13

1. This Passage Speaks To Us Of The Call Of Royalty vs. 1-10

2. This Passage Speaks To Us Of The Consequences Of Refusing

(Matthew 22:11-13) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: {12} And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. {13} Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

He didn’t come the way that the King intended.

A Sunday School teacher told his class about the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. He highlighted the plight of Lazarus and the blatant neglect of the Rich Man. One was privileged in this world, while the other found peace in heaven. After the teacher had shared these truths, he posed this question to his class, “Now, which would you rather be, boys, the Rich Man or Lazarus?” One guy raised his hand and replied, “I’d like to be the Rich Man while I’m living, and Lazarus when I die.” God has not granted us the option of serving both kingdoms simultaneously.

(Our Daily Bread, Dec. 27, 1992)

Will Heaven be your destination?


One day when George MacDonald, the great Scottish preacher and writer, was talking with his son, the conversation turned to heaven and the prophets’ version of the end of all things. “It seems too good to be true,” the son said at one point. A smile crossed MacDonald’s whiskered face. “Nay,” he replied, “It is just so good it must be true!”

(Philip Yancey, Disappointment With God)

Sweet By and By

Today’s history is given by the author himself, Sanford F. Bennett.

Mr. Joseph Webster, like many musicians, was of an exceeding nervous and sensitive nature, and subject to periods of depression. I found that I could rouse him by giving him a new song on which to work.

He came into my drug store, walked down to the stove, and turned his back on me without speaking. I was at my desk writing. Turning to him I said, “Webster, what is the matter now?” “It’s no matter,” he replied, “it will be all right by and by.” The idea came to me like a flash of sunlight and I replied, “The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn?” “Maybe it would,” said he indifferently. Turning to my desk, I penned the words as fast as I could write. I handed the words to Webster. As he read, his eyes kindled, and stepping to the desk, he began writing the notes. Taking his violin, he played the melody and then jotted down the notes of the chorus. It was not over thirty minutes from the time I took my pen to write the words before two friends with Webster and myself were singing the hymn, The Sweet By and By.

And this song has been helping the melancholy and depressed ever since…

There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar,

For the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there.


In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore;

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore the melodious songs of the blest;

And our spirits shall sorrow no more - not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above we will offer our tribute of praise,

For the glorious gift of His love and the blessings that hallow our days.