There is nothing on earth that is good enough to really represent how wonderful heaven will be. But because He loves us and wants us to look forward to what He has in store for us, in the Scripture, God sometimes stoops down to give us pictures that might help us anticipate it.
In his sermon, Nothing Upon Earth Can Represent the Glories of Heaven, Jonathan Edwards points out eight of them:
1.) The state of the blessed is called a crown and a kingdom.
2.) Another thing the Scripture makes us of as a similitude to shadow forth to us the glory of the blessed, is a treasure.
3.) Heaven is likened in Scripture to a splendid and glorious city.
4.) Heaven is represented by a garden of pleasure.
5.) The glory of the blessed is compared to light…
6.) The blessedness of the saints in glory is compared to a feast and banquet.
7.) Their glory is compared unto glorious robes.
8.) And lastly, their blessedness is compared to rivers of pleasure and life, as if they might not only drink as much pleasure as they would, but might even swim in it and be overwhelmed in delight and joy.
And yet, while these images are helpful and encouraging, we must remember that none of them are enough to really give us an idea of how amazing heaven is going to be. As Edwards once put it, “Although perhaps they give us as bright a picture and image of it – or would do, if fully understood – as we are capable of receiving in this life, yet ’tis but a very faint shadow. ‘Tis but a glimpse, and a small glimpse too; they are things that are quite beyond our conception. Nothing that we see upon earth will serve to give us a notion; those things are so much more excellent, so much more pure, more refined, noble and exalted, we have never yet seen anything with our eyes, or heard anything with our ears, like it.”