Is there eating in Heaven?

Written by Paul J. Bucknell on December, 24, 2021

Eating in Heaven? with Study Questions

Eating plays a wonderful and significant place in our lives. Eating delicious food, bite by bite, delight us, and all the more when a good chef is around! I still remember how our son made some fantastic omelets when we visited.

Consider the pleasure of the fragrance, texture, color, and taste for which God created our senses. If you like eating, you should love God.

Eating also is a place to engage with friends and family. Doesn’t the company of your friends enhance your meal? With the advance of knowledge, we now know how food and eating serve an even more critical place in our lives by providing nutrition for healthy bodies. God made all of this without our help!

The Holy Scriptures begin and end with eating, leaving us with a strong image of food and eating, which will continue to serve an essential place in our lives—even in heaven.

After considering the “Tree of Life,” we will answer two questions about eating in heaven.

1. Will believers ever eat in heaven? (Rev 2:17)

2. Do angels eat food in heaven? (Psalm 78:23-25)

The Tree of Life

“8 The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:8-9).

God made the garden, man and woman, and the trees with their fruit. Our Creator formed us to see, feel, sense, smell, eat, digest, enjoy, and be helped by the food He gave us. Eating, then, forms a cycle of delight, especially when we remember God, in His goodness, provided them for us.

From observing these God-given blessings, we have the spiritual discipline of giving thanks for our food. Remembering God’s provision for our favorite meals dramatically enhances the joy of a great meal with friends. We perhaps catch a glimpse of another question behind the ones above: “Will God take away this wonderful gift of eating in heaven?”

If you like eating, you should love God!

The Lord explicitly sets the Tree of Life right in the middle in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:9). We can only assume that He wanted to preserve the best of circumstances for humanity and offered this tree’s fruit to Adam and Eve. Alas, we know they chose the forbidden fruit over the Tree of Life and were cast out of the Garden.

God in His graciousness returned the opportunity to eat from the “Tree of Life,” even though they had sinned, and the Lord had cast them from the Garden.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the Paradise of God” (Rev 2:7).

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:51).

God the Father sent Jesus to die for us and reopened the door to life by issuing life itself. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48). By faith in Christ, we regain the opportunity to enjoy this life—His life, and enjoy His chosen fruits forever.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter by the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14).

“1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev 22:1-2).

Like the original Garden of Eden, God provides the most abundant picture of delight with a river and rows of fruit trees bearing fruit and leaves for healing. His people get to share this forever in the new garden recorded at the end of the Scriptures, giving us a glimpse of eternity.

From this introduction of the Tree of Life, we find that God has provided a beautiful hope that there is not only eating but the amplest, most delicious, and a wonderful sampling of food for His people. Let us remember, however, this picture does not include those outside of God’s kingdom. They must believe in Christ to experience forever the greatest delights that God has for His people.

Now, onto our two specific questions.

God’s goodness seen in this eating cycle

1. Will believers eat in heaven? (Rev 2:17)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it” (Rev 2:17).

These specific questions need to be answered under the general framework given above. The question on whether believers eat in heaven no doubt refers to Revelation 2:17’s “hidden manna.” The manna, God’s heavenly food, suggests eating in heaven as a future blessing.

Although I have spoken about other verses that indicate eating in heaven, I doubt “hidden manna” refers to specific food but, like Revelation 2:7, serves as a reference to our eternal hope in Christ, the Giver of life. Jesus is the “Bread of Life.” He is the One who came down from above, and therefore faith in Him gives spiritual sustenance to journey to God’s Promised Land of heaven.

30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven” (John 6:30-32).

Jesus is the hidden manna, hidden from the world but life-giving to those seeking the Lord. Their faith in Christ assures them of eternal life. This verse, however, does not help our understanding of eating in heaven. There is ample support for that truth; let me mention one connected to our resurrected bodies.

Our Resurrected Bodies

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise….15 So when they had finished breakfast…” (John 21:12-13,15).

When we gain our resurrected bodies, we, like Jesus, will be able to eat. Jesus ate the bread and fish, promising a like capability as the first fruit of the resurrection (cf. Luke 24:30). This matches the images planted in Revelation 21, ample fruit trees along the waterway. Again, we must enter the garden of life to obtain its delights. The Tree of Life, connected with the Book of Life, points to Jesus through which we find life. The fruit of the other garden trees indicate the abounding delights for those dwelling in the new garden in the coming heavens and earth.

As a side point, John partly uses this picture to teach us of the inherent goodness of the human body. Some cults consider the body evil (the early cult of Gnosticism), which wrongly applied Greek notions to Christianity. Hinduism possesses this same inferior perspective of the body, as seen in the spiritual discipline of yoga.

The body is inherently good, and God will raise up our bodies even as He raised Christ with a new body: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (cf 1 Cor 15:20). Our persons remain the same but will have new bodies which can enjoy the many delights of life—like eating!

We can further solidify our answer of “Yes” by referring to the great wedding feast of the Lamb that Jesus will celebrate with His Bride (Mat 25:1-11). Or we can consider the future coming Lord’s supper.

28 For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Mat 26:28-29).

Our celebration of Holy Communion is in memory of Christ but points forward to “that day,” when the great feast is held in His Father’s kingdom.

“Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15)

2. Do angels eat food in heaven? (Ps 78:23-25)

23 Yet He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven; 24 He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven. 25 Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance” (Psalm 78:23-25).

We don’t know for sure that angels in heaven eat like humans. They can eat when they take on human form, such as when they shared the hospitality of Abram and Sarah, announcing the coming birth of Isaac before descending on Gomorrah (Genesis 18; cf. Heb 13:2).

Psalm 78:25 certainly could be taken at face value—angels have and eat bread. However, I wouldn’t stress this point one way or the other, as the “bread of angels” also could be symbolic of food that daily descended from the sky. Verse 23 stresses this point; He opened the doors of heaven—where angels dwell—and rained down manna.

If forced to decide, I would adopt the literal view—angels have their unique food. But I’m open to the symbolic picture where angels represent the world above, the place from which the manna came down.

If angels do eat, it’s more like the resurrected bodies of humans—they can eat, but it serves a different purpose than nutrition, perhaps because God’s light and presence strengthen one’s body. Perhaps, it is similar to how trees receive energy and sustenance from the sun.

Since angels, at times, joined humans for fellowship on earth, I suspect they likewise will do so in heaven—the new heavens and earth where they will further inquire into the great redemptive work of the Lord (cf. 1 Peter 1:12).

Summary

God’s redeemed people will eat with Christ in the coming kingdom. Angels probably will also eat with them even as they celebrate God’s glory together.

Bible Study Questions on Eating in Heaven

  1. Why do people enjoy eating?
  2. How is the Tree of Life different from the other trees in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8-9)?
  3. Read the Old and New Testament verses on the Tree of Life again and describe what kind of fruit this Tree of Life might offer.
  4. How is Jesus connected to the Tree of Life and Hidden Manna?
  5. Why might Revelation 2:17 not help us understand whether God’s people can eat in heaven?
  6. Will people who refuse the Tree of Life or the Bread of Heaven be able to eat in heaven? Explain your answer.
  7. Can angels eat food? How do we know?
  8. Does Psalm 78:23-25 teach us that angels eat? Explain.
  9. How would you answer someone who asked if God’s people eat in heaven?

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