Some churches are accused of holding out to others the carrot of "heaven" so they can beguile people and take unfair advantage of them. Offer them the "pie in the sky" and they will follow the leaders commands in blind obedience, or they may forfeit heaven. In spite of the "carrot" and the "pie" and the cult influence, let's take a look at heaven, according to the scripture.
Jesus offers eternal life to all who receive him by faith. So, if eternal life is given, then people have to live somewhere, forever, right?
The eternal dwelling places in the Father's house are taken from the imagery of Jewish family life. Jesus utilized that imagery when he said, "In my Father's house are many rooms." For in that culture when a son married, he added an apartment to his father's house, and the son and his bride took up residence in the father's household. Believers will enjoy that same family fellowship in the Father's household in heaven.
Heaven is also pictured as a banqueting scene, emphasizing the fellowship, relaxation, joy, and happiness in Christ's presence.
John describes the new heaven and new earth in great detail. Many would place the new heaven and the new earth as following the renovation of the heavens and the new earth, after Satan and man rebel against God. This does not suggest the annihilation of the original heavens and earth, but a transition in which the heavens and earth are sanctified.
In the book of Hebrews it describes the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem as: The Angels, The New Testament believers (identified as "church of the first-born"), God, The Old Testament believers (identified as "spirits of righteous men made perfect"), and Jesus. The New Jerusalem is pictured as a holy city, coming down out of heaven; many understand that the New Jerusalem will hover over the earth. It is a literal city because it has measurements. The brilliance of the Shekinah of God will illuminate the city. The city itself will be secure; it measures fifteen hundred miles long, wide, and high with the throne of God at the top. The foundation stones are adorned with various kinds of precious stones.
Above all, the blessing of the New Jerusalem will be that God will dwell in fellowship with man. There will be no need for a priest; believers will have direct access to God. Sorrow and the things that caused sorrow will be removed in the New Jerusalem. But Christ will be central there, and believers will serve Him and enjoy His fellowship for all eternity. That is heaven!
Grant Jeffrey writes in his book, Heaven The Last Frontier, “Heaven is the last frontier. Like other frontiers in human history, it will challenge us with new opportunities, possibilities and experiences. Unlike the previous frontiers on Earth, Heaven will be unlimited in time and space. It will inspire us to join as participants in the dynamic, creative plans of Jesus Christ as we embark on a greater adventure than any we have ever dreamed of. The eternal quest of our human spirit yearns for a Heaven in which we can explore the infinite possibilities of an unlimited universe. Our future blessings in Heaven will begin with the ending of all evil, suffering and adversity. But it will also provide the fulfillment and enhancement of all the real joys and happiness of human life. The language in the Bible describe our rest after satisfying labour and the elimination of toil and grief. These passages do not suggest a life of inactivity or boredom. The promises are of an active, purposeful and joyful life in a creation filled with beauty, fairness and justice.”
References: John 14:2, Matt. 8:11, Isa. 65:17, Rev. 22:1-22:5, Heb. 12:22-24, Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns- p. 379. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, p.398.