A Vision of Utopia


The Pleasures of Heaven

Key Bible Verse: I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. (Revelation 21:3)

Dig Deeper: Revelation 21:1-7

The book of Revelation’s visions for the final heaven are stacked with celebrations, music, applause, festivals, and festivities. In his study of how Jews at the time of the New Testament understood God’s final utopia, Eric Gilchrest discovered the features of Jewish utopias. Jewish utopias involved wealth, the temple, rivers and water, wine and food, pleasant fragrances, music and light and great weather, peace, fellowship and society; plenty of work for each person, and the presence of God. Then he examined Revelations 21-22 and found nearly identical themes: the final heaven, therefore, must be seen as a utopian vision.

What is utopia? Full and lasting pleasure for all. With God at the center, we will be intoxicated with the deep, ecstatic joy of being known by God and knowing God. Plus, with God at the center, all pleasures will lead toward God, all happiness will be aimed at God, and all our pleasures will be attuned to God’s pleasures.

Heaven is utopia, and a utopia can be described as our greatest deep joys on full display. We are leaning into that utopia of pleasure even now. Heaven is God’s promise that, on the basis of Jesus’ bodily resurrection, we will be raised to a new kind of heavenly,embodied, ecstasy-seeking life.

– Scot McKnight in the Heaven Promise

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