And a wonderful future for THIS world too, not leaving this world behind and having a wonderful time in heaven instead. Going to heaven forever isn’t what the Bible promises anyway.
What it does promise is “bringing all things in heaven and on earth together,” Ephesians 1:10. So planet Earth isn’t a bad place we need to escape from. It just needs heaven with it to make it wonderful. Nor do we need to escape our bodies either, as Plato and his ilk suggested, which somehow caught on in the early church and stuck us with the idea of becoming fluffy, disembodied beings somewhere “up” in heaven, rather than living in indestructible and beautifully functioning bodies right here on the Earth.
Clearly, then, God likes this planet a lot. And he said so too, in Genesis 1:31, when he called it “very good” and he set up home here. At one point in our distant past, therefore, heaven and earth were brought together, and for at least one chapter in Genesis it was wonderful.
But how do we know it can be that way again?
Because it’s already happened. There are people who’ve already experienced heaven and earth coming together in their lifetimes. They know what it’s like, therefore, because it happened in them. And the reason it happened is because God planned for some to experience heaven while living in this world now. Not an easy task in this messed up world, but in lessons learned they’d be nicely prepared for teaming up with Jesus for the next step in God’s plan to bring heaven and earth together on this planet on a much grander scale.
For that purpose, therefore, God opens up “the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing” to those he’s called in advance (Ephesians 1:3-4), so they get a real taste of “the powers of the coming age,” Hebrews 6:5. They know there’s a wonderful world coming, therefore, because they’ve already experienced it. It’s just a taste, but a taste sufficient enough to know the difference heaven makes.
And if it makes that kind of difference in people now, think what difference it will make to the planet when God “brings ALL things in heaven and on earth together.” No wonder Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come,” because it’s heaven with it that makes our world wonderful.