Will we eat there?

Dr. John Hoole



In our last lesson that looked at what kind of bodies we will have in Heaven, someone asked if we will eat there.  This may sound ridiculous as some consider eating and drinking to be unspiritual.  After all, our resurrected bodies will be imperishable.  Why would we need to eat.




         Words describing eating, meals, and food appear over a thousand times in the Scriptures.  And there is an additional 187 times we find, in our English translation, the word “feast.”


Psalm 16:11 say,


                   “…..in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”


         Will the pleasure of eating be one of the pleasures we will enjoy at our Lord’s right hand?


God created mankind with their five senses – touching, smelling, seeing, hearing and tasting.  Those qualities are very much a part of who we are.  The sense of taste gives us, here on earth, a great deal of pleasure.  The average person eats about one ton of food per year.  If the other senses are present with us in Heaven, why not this one.  I believe we will have all of our senses, still active in heaven.


We will certainly be able to see and enjoy the jewel-splendored New Jerusalem, and hear the joyous praise of the angelic choir and the song of the redeemed.  We will be able to touch the golden streets as we walk with our Lord, and smell the fragrance and perfume of heaven as mentioned in Revelation 8.  Why would we ever doubt that we will enjoy the sense of taste?


Who created our taste buds?  God did!  The food we eat is from God’s hand.  Our resurrected bodies will have resurrected taste buds.  We can trust that the food we eat in Heaven or on the New Earth, some of it will be familiar and some of it brand new.  And it will taste better than anything we have eaten here.


Not all Christians believe that we will eat and drink in Heaven.  Some people cite Romans 14:17“The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  The problem with this argument is that it is not addressing the afterlife.  Paul is speaking about our walk with God and the importance of not making other people stumble over what we may eat or drink.


We will certainly have bodies, which will make it possible to eat.  But, since we will never die, I don’t think we will have to eat.


Before getting into what the Bible actually says about eating in Heaven, allow me to ask you a question or two.


Do believers who are already in Heaven eat food?


I present that question as something to think about more than will be answered here today.  One thing that might affect the answer is whether they have a body now.  Their real body will not yet have been resurrected.  Are angels, which are spirits, able to eat – or do they eat?


Today, we live in bodies inferior to those we will have in heaven.  Our present bodies rely on the subsistence of food and drink to help them grow and remain.  But, being hostage to our bodies will be reversed in heaven.


I find it strange that some people believe the biblical language about eating and drinking and banquets is figurative and that we will eat only “in a spiritual sense.”  But how does one eat in a spiritual sense?  And why is there a need to look for a spiritual sense when resurrected people in actual bodies will live on a resurrected Earth?


The scriptures tell us that Jesus ate with people after his resurrection.  The resurrected Jesus invited his disciple, “Come and have breakfast” (John 21:12).  He had actually prepared the meal for them.


John 21:13-14 NIV


13     Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

14     This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.


While this passage doesn’t say Jesus ate with the disciples, it is implied.


In Luke 24:39-43 (NKJV), we find another example.


39     Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." 

40     When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.  

41     But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" 

42     So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.  

43     And He took it and ate in their presence.


These passages, and others we will explore, emphatically link eating and drinking to the resurrected state.  The fact that it is so often repeated means it is not viewed as incidental.  Scripture goes out of its say to prevent us from embracing the very misconception that life in Heaven will be “spiritual,” not physical, and that we will not partake of any of the basic pleasure of this life.


John Calvin once wrote:


“If we consider to what end God created foods, we shall find that he wished not only to provide for our necessities, but also for our pleasure …. With herbs, trees and fruits, besides the various uses he gives us of them, it was his will to rejoice our sight by their beauty, and to give us yet another pleasure in their odors.”


Another biblical passage gives us more insight about eating in Heaven.  One day while eating in the home of a Pharisee, Jesus said to his host:


Luke 14:12-14 NKJV


12     Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.

13     But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.

14     And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."


When Jesus made this reference to the resurrection of the dead, a man at the same dinner said to him:


Luke 14:15 NIV


15     ……"Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”


Since they were, at that moment, eating together, the obvious meaning of “eat” and “feast” is literal.  If the man making this statement was wrong to envision literal eating after the bodily resurrection, Jesus had every opportunity to correct him.  But He did not.  In fact, Christ built on the man’s words to tell a story about someone who prepared a banquet and invited many guests (Luke 14:16-24).  Clearly, both the man and Jesus were talking about actual eating at an actual banquet, like the one they were at.


While I tend to take interpretation of the Bible more literally, I do accept that Scripture contains many figures of speech.  But it is incorrect to assume that because some figures of speech are used to describe Heaven, all that the Bible says about Heaven, therefore, is figurative.  When we are told that we will have resurrection bodies like Jesus, and that He ate, why should we assume he was speaking figuratively when referring to Heaven.


Speaking of eating, drinking, and the physical properties of life on the New Earth, theologian Wayne Grudem writes:


“There is no strong reason to say these expressions are merely symbolic, without any literal reference.  Are symbolic banquets and symbolic wine and symbolic rivers and trees somehow superior to real banquets and real wine and real rivers and trees in God’s eternal plan?  These things are just some of the excellent features of the perfection and final goodness of the physical creation that God has made.”


We are commanded, “Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  What will we do for eternity?  We will glorify God in our bodies.  We are told, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  What will we do for eternity?  Eat, drink, and do all to the glory of God.


For Christ after His resurrection, eating here certainly was not to keep his body alive, for it was now glorified and would never die.  He could have abstained from eating without any resultant physical issues.


When Jesus met with the apostles in Galilee, He used eating as final proof that he was no ghost, but had a real physical and tangible body.  By eating at this time, He also showed that the resurrection is not just a spiritual event of the soul as some heretics have espoused down through history.


The fact that Jesus ate following his resurrection, is a strong argument for the bodily, physical resurrection of Christ.  The message of the resurrection is not only about the immortality of the soul, but is about the immortality of the body.  According to Romans 10:9-10, nobody is truly Christian until he or she believes in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.


In Acts 10, Peter shared his testimony of experiencing the reality of the resurrection.


         As he did, Peter made a point of telling of the food and drink they enjoyed with Jesus following the resurrection.


Acts 10:39-41  (NIV)


39     "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,

40     But God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 

41     He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen-by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.


What was the key evidence of the reality of the physical resurrection of Christ’s body?  It was the fact that after He died He came back to drink and eat – some of the main acts of a living body.


It is folly to spiritualize the resurrection, as many have done.  It is a flat rejection of God’s Word to do so.  Not only did Jesus eat in His resurrection body, He taught that eating and drinking would be a part of the eternal kingdom.


Luke 22:16-18 NKJV


16     I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 

17     Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 

18     for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 


In Luke 14:15, we read:


         …..Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of Heaven.


We also know, from the Old Testament, that when God and angels took on human form, they ate human food.   One such time was when God and two angels visited Abraham.


Genesis 18:1,2, 5-8  (NIV)


1       The LORD [Jehovah - God] appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.

2       Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.


5       Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way--now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say."

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three measures of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread."

7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it.

8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.


Most of us like to eat.  Every reference to sitting at a table and having a banquet in heaven should forever free us from the myth of floating around without bodies.  The Old Testament also tells us that during the Millennial reign of Christ, He will prepare a banquet on Mount Zion.


Isaiah 25:6 NKJV


6       And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees.


                   (The last verse of the previous chapter identifies this mountain as Mount Zion.)


Feasting involves celebration and fun, and it is profoundly relational.  Great conversation, storytelling, relationship-building, and laughter often happen during mealtimes.  Feasts, including Passover, were spiritual gatherings that drew direct attention to God, his greatness, and his redemptive purposes.


People who love each other like to eat meals together.  Jesus said to his disciples, “I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Luke 22:29-30).


On another occasion Jesus said:


Matthew 8:11 NKJV


11     And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.


Feasts in the Bible are also often celebrations of victory.  The victory became a time for national rejoicing and success.  Here we see joy and the abundance of good things combined with the presence of the Messiah when He comes to reign.


Revelation 19:7-9  (NIV)


7       Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

8       Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear."  (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

9       Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."


What do people do at any supper – especially a wedding supper?  They eat and drink, talk, tell stories, celebrate, laugh, and have dessert.  This is especially true of wedding feasts in the Middle East,  where such feast could last a full week.  When we attend this wedding supper of the Lamb, we will not be guests – we’ll be the bride.


Although people will eat and drink in heaven, it will not be because they are hungry or thirsty.


Revelation 7:16  (NIV) informs us;


16     Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.


That does not mean we will not desire to eat.  It means our desires will be met.  We will never go hungry or go thirsty.


Did Adam and Eve hunger in Eden?  Presumably they did.  Will we thirst on the New Earth?  I don’t really know the answer to that question.


But, in Revelation 7:17, we are told:


17     For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."


                   God doesn’t say we won’t need to drink.  Rather, he says he will lead us to drink.


Some people argue that we won’t eat or drink in Heaven because they are aghast at the thought of digestion and elimination.  Could God make it so our new bodies would not go through the same digestive and elimination processes they do now.  Certainly, He could, but will He?  I don’t know.  But no aspect of our God-created physiology can be bad.         Did Adam and Eve experience digestion and elimination in a perfect world before sin?  I don’t know.  Jesus never sinned, but his body functioned just as ours do while He was here.


One of the most conspicuous evidences for eating in heaven is the tree of life.


Revelation 22:2  (NIV)


2       …On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.




I think that is what it says in verse 14, later, where we read;  Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life.”  We will have access to the fruit of these trees.  There is going to be new fruit every month which we would partake of.


In Revelation, chapters 2 & 3, we find the seven letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor.  In the words to the very first church, Ephesus, we find these words.


Revelation 2:7  (NIV)


7       He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.


There should be no doubt that we will eat from the fruit of these trees.  God wants us to enjoy eating in heaven.


Here is another thought to think about.  In Luke 16, Jesus portrayed the rich man in hell, as having the capacity to enjoy a drop of water on his tongue.  What a paradox that would be if He gives those in hell bodies with taste buds, but denies them to the saints at the wedding feast in heaven.


We know that none of us has tasted all the delectable food God has created in this world.  There are thousands of dishes we have never had a chance to try.  I believe there is every reason to believe that in heaven we will be able to taste every food God has created.  And possibly food not only on this planet, but everywhere else in the universe.




The Bible reveals that there is at least one.  In Psalm 78, we have what is called “angel’s food.”


Psalm 78:24-25  (NIV)


24     He rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.

25     Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.


Not only is the bread of angels mentioned, but it also talks about the grain of heaven.  It is quite possible that there are many different kinds of food that the people on earth have never tasted.  For all we know, it’s possible that the twelve fruits of the Tree of Life is totally different from anything we have ever tasted.  They could all be new ones, just made special, for the Bride of Christ.  I don’t think any of us would dare to say God has exhausted His creative ability.


If you will allow me to make a play on word, the Bible tells us that all He created were the work of his fingers.  What would happen if He used both hands.


We do know that all the good things that have come from the hand of God is this life is only a small preview of the things to come.  The best is yet to be.


The communion table is symbolic of the hope of believer’s to one day be with Jesus.  To eat at His table in the Father’s house is promised to us.


This symbolic meal shows forth His death till He comes.  It is but a taste of the good things to come.  It is interesting that Jesus wanted us to remember Him always, by means of a symbolic meal.  Eating with Jesus in heaven will be the fulfillment of all that He did for us on the cross.


Our heavenly bodies certainly won’t need what is now essential;  food, drink, oxygen, covering.  But we will be fully capable of enjoying all these things.


If God surprises us with something we cannot now conceive, that is all the better.  But until then, the literal hope of the enjoyment of eternal eating is not only legitimate, we have an obligation to thank God and rejoice in the hope of eating in Heaven.


You and I have never eaten food in a world untouched by the Fall and the Curse.  The palate and taste buds were injured in the Fall, as were all food sources.  The best-tasting food we’ve ever eaten was not nearly as good as it must have tasted in Eden.  That will also be the case on the New Earth.


The person who has eaten the widest variety of meals on Earth still has not taste countless others.  How many special dishes will you discover in Heaven?  As yet, you may not have tasted your favorite mean, and even if you have, it didn’t taste as good as it will there.  The best meals you will ever eat are all still ahead of you in Heaven.


If it seems trivial or unspiritual to anticipate such things, remember that it is God who promises that in Heaven we will sit at tables, and feasts, and enjoy the finest foods and drinks.


I do think He wants us to look forward to eating at his table.