In heaven, will we experience time?

The Bible is not clear about how time will work in heaven. Referring to the New Jerusalem, which is where those who have faith in Jesus Christ as Savior will dwell with God forever, Revelation 21:23 says "And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb." Some take this to mean that without the sun or moon, by which we base our time measurements, there will be no time in heaven, at least not as we know it now.

Additionally, 2 Peter 3:8 indicates that God is not bound by time: "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Since heaven is God's dwelling place, perhaps those who dwell with Him will also not be bound by time.

Yet, the Bible does make reference to time in heaven, as in Revelation 8:1: "When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." We don't know if John, who was alive but experiencing a special revelation, counted the half an hour as he would have on earth, or whether those in heaven also realized this measurement of time as well.

Though we don't know if time as we know it exists in heaven, we have an indication that people in heaven are aware of time passing on earth. In Revelation 6, John describes the fifth seal being opened. He sees the souls of martyrs. "They cried out with a loud voice, 'O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer …" (vs 10–11). Those souls know about the passage of time and were told to "rest a little longer" though we don't know how long or how that time is to be measured.

Later, John writes about the passage of seasons and months and the passage of time in heaven. It may be that he could only describe these occurrences in terms he could grasp. It does seem that he describes a 12-month repeating passage of time, like a year. "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:1–2).

We don't know, from the Bible, what time will be like in heaven, but we do know that God establishes time for situations and events. There is a beginning (Genesis 1:1), night and day (Genesis 1 and 2), and other references to God working in time. He created time, at least for us while on earth.

There is much about heaven that is beyond our understanding, and beyond a clear description even of what John saw. We do see that God is good and that He has prepared and is preparing a good place for us to be with Him forever. "And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son'" (Revelation 21:5–7).


Related Truth:

How can I be sure that when I die I will go to heaven?

What will we be doing in heaven? Won't it get boring if we are there forever?

Will people still have free will in heaven?

When we're in heaven will we remember our earthly lives?

What does the Bible say about the new heavens and the new earth?


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