We May Not Long for Death, But We Long for Heaven

Isaiah 25:8 says, “He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears… The LORD has spoken!” (NLT). God could have said death will cease or come to an end. Or fade away. But no, like a great lion, God is stalking Death as His prey. When the moment is right, He will attack, take death by the throat, break its neck, and consume it. Death will not die of natural causes. God will kill it once and for all. The work is already done. His death and resurrection will ultimately overcome. Yet death is still with us. Death is already defeated, but not yet—this is the “already and not yet” paradox.

When Jesus annihilates death, it shall be no more. We will not fear it, and it will have no hold on us. Don’t you long for that day?

Below are some quotes on death and longing for Heaven, our eternal home, that I cite in Eternal Perspectives.

I may not long for death, but I surely long for heaven.  —Joseph Bayly, A Voice in the Wilderness

It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day. —Matthew Henry

Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us from this place and sets us free from the snares of the world, and restores us to paradise and the kingdom. Anyone who has been in foreign lands longs to return to his own native land. . . . We regard paradise as our native land. —Cyprian, Mortality

To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. —Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

A man on his deathbed turned to his physician and mumbled, “What is Heaven like, Doctor?” How could the physician describe Heaven in such brief moments? As his mind searched for an answer for his friend, the doctor heard his dog scratching at the door. “Can you hear my dog scratching at your door?” inquired the physician. The sick man assured him that he could. “Well,” the doctor said, “Heaven must be like that. My dog does not know what is in this room. He only knows he wants to be with me. So it is with Heaven! Our Master is there. That is all we need to know!”  —James Jeremiah, The Place Called Heaven

Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight?  —Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. …There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Can you hear the sighing in the wind? Can you feel the heavy silence in the mountains? Can you sense the restless longing in the sea? Can you see it in the woeful eyes of an animal? Something’s coming . . . something better.  —Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven: Your Real Home

All of us are homesick for Eden.
We yearn to return to a land we’ve never known.
Deep is the need to go back to the garden,
A burning so strong, for a place we belong,
A place that we know is home. —Paul Smith, quoted in Homesick for Eden

O Lord,
I live as a fish in a vessel of water,
      only enough to keep me alive,
      but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.
Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing,
      but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales;
Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness,
      a warm ray to keep me from freezing;
      yonder I shall live in light and warmth for ever
Quicken my hunger and thirst after the realm above.

—The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers

One of the most disconcerting experiences which can come our way is to make a long journey, perhaps even to the other side of the world, and to discover on arrival that we have not been expected. The hotel reservation has not been made, or, even more devastating, the friendly home is all locked up and the warm welcome we have anticipated over the miles is not awaiting us, due to a mix-up of dates or the loss of a letter or e-mail. Heaven, however, is guaranteed not to disappoint…We are expected. —Bruce Milne, The Message of Heaven & Hell

The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler, is naturally anxious to know something about his future home, its climate, its employments, its inhabitants, its ways, its customs. All these are subjects of deep interest to him. You are leaving the land of your nativity, you are going to spend the rest of your life in a new hemisphere. It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now surely, if we hope to dwell for ever in that “better country, even a heavenly one,” we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it.  —J. C. Ryle, Heaven

One day when George MacDonald, the great Scottish preacher and writer, was talking with his son, the conversation turned to heaven and the prophet's version of the end of all things.  “It seems too good to be true,” the son said at one point.  A smile crossed MacDonald's whiskered face.  “Nay, “ he replied, “it is just so good it must be true.”  —Larry Dixon, Heaven: Thinking Now About Forever

I suspect that every saved soul in heaven is a great wonder, and that heaven is a vast museum of wonders of grace and mercy—a palace of miracles, in which everything will surprise everyone who gets there. —Charles Spurgeon, “Feeble Faith Appealing To A Strong Savior”

It is virtually beyond our power to conceive of a future as consistently delightful as that which Christ is preparing for us. And who is to say what is possible with God? —A. W. Tozer, Born After Midnight

For more on the New Earth, see Randy’s book Heaven. You can also browse our resources on Heaven and additional books.

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries