How Can Millions of People All Be with Jesus in Heaven and Receive Personal Attention?
After the first edition of my book Heaven, this question was one of the most frequently asked. It’s worth considering.
Though it’s possible we may cover vast distances at immense speeds in God’s new universe, I don’t believe we’ll be capable of being two places at once. Why? Because we’ll still be finite. Only God is infinite.
Because the resurrected Christ is both man and God, the issue of whether He can be in more than one place at the same time involves a paradox not only in the future, but also in the present.
On the one hand, Jesus is a man, and man is finite and limited to one location. On the other hand, Jesus is God, and God is infinite and omnipresent. In a sense, then, one of these truths has to yield somewhat to the other. I suggest that perhaps Christ’s humanity defined the extent of His presence in His first coming and life on Earth (humanity thereby trumping deity by limiting omnipresence). But Christ’s deity may well define the extent of His presence in His second coming and life on the New Earth (deity thereby trumping the normal human inability to be in two places at once). Jesus has and always will have a single resurrected body, in keeping with His humanity. Yet that body glorified may allow Him a far greater expression of His divine attributes than during His life and ministry here on Earth.
Since we can accurately say that Jesus’ functioning as a man does not prohibit Him from being God, we must also say that Jesus’ functioning as God does not prohibit Him from being a man. So, although we cannot conceive exactly how it could happen, I believe it’s entirely possible that Jesus could in the future remain a man while fully exercising the attributes of God, including, at least in some sense, omnipresence.
Don't we already see that now? Where is Christ? At the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2). Just before dying, Stephen saw Him there (Acts 7:55). Jesus will remain there until He returns to the earth. In terms of His human body, Christ is in one location, and only one.
But despite His fixed location at God’s right hand, Jesus is here now, with each of us, just as He promised to be (Matthew 28:20). He dwells in our hearts, living within us (Ephesians 3:17; Galatians 2:20). If even now, in this sin-stained world, He indwells those who are saints and yet sinners, how much more will He be able to indwell us in the world to come when no sin shall separate us from him? That indwelling will in no way be obscured by sin.
On the New Earth, isn’t it likely we might regularly hear Him speak to us directly as He dwells in and with us, wherever we are? Prayer might be an unhindered two-way conversation, whether we are hundreds of miles away in another part of the New Jerusalem, thousands of miles away on another part of the New Earth, or thousands of light years away in the new universe.
Consider the promise that when Christ returns “every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7). How is that physically possible? By the projection of His image? But every eye will see Him, not merely His image. Will He be in more than one place at one time?
If God took on human form any number of times, as recorded in Scripture, couldn’t Christ choose to take on a form to manifest Himself to us at a distant place? If He did that, might He not take on a temporary form very similar in appearance to His actual physical form, which may at that moment be sitting on the throne in the New Jerusalem? Might Jesus appear to us and walk with us in a temporary but tangible form that is an expression of His real body? Or might the one body of Jesus be simultaneously present with His people in a million places?
Might we walk with Jesus (not just spiritually, but also physically) while millions of others are also walking with Him? Might we not be able to touch His hand or embrace Him or spend a long afternoon privately conversing with Him—not just with His spirit, but His whole person?
It may defy our logic, but God is capable of doing far more than we imagine. Being with Christ is the very heart of Heaven, so we should be confident that we will have unhindered access to Him.