But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22–24)
Heaven is absolutely real and precious far beyond words. It is the “rest of” the kingdom of God, the “paradise” Jesus referred to. The city of God is currently there.
For the time being.
Remember—Peter explained in his sermon that Jesus remains in heaven until his return, when all things are made new:
“Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:21)
Until—so much gravity and excitement contained in that word, such patient anticipation. When the time comes for God to restore everything, Jesus leaves heaven and comes to earth. To stay. The heavenly Jerusalem comes to earth, and “God’s dwelling place is ... among the people” (Revelation 21:3). Heaven is not the eternal dwelling place of the people of God. The new earth is, just as Revelation says. Just as the entire promise of the renewal of all things says. Just as Jesus explained, and the Bible declares.
Better said, we get heaven and earth; both realms of God’s great kingdom come together at the renewal of all things. Then will we truly say, “It’s heaven on earth.” For it will be.
Jesus is in heaven at this moment, but Jesus is anxiously awaiting another Day. He is readying his armies; he is cinching the straps on his saddle. There is another event his attention is absolutely fixed upon: “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).