Thursday, November 26, 2015

Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. . .He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither . . . mourning nor crying nor pain any more . . . I will give . . . the fountain of the water of life . . . It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates . . . The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass . . . and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass . . .  and there shall be no night there . . . the river of the water of life . . . flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb . . . on either side of the river, the tree of life . . . for the healing of the nations.”  (Revelation 21:3-6, 12, 18, 21, 25; 22:2).

Heaven 1Most readers believe these verses are speaking of heaven.  Since the book is riddled with symbolism, isn’t John using what was precious to first century folks to illustrate his point?  What is heaven really like?  Is it made up of physical, earthly riches or is of the Spirit?  Remember, God is Spirit!  He created gold.  Did He need it prior to creation?  Do we need to possess it after death?

Let the reader attempt to visualize how wonderful it will be in heaven.  An impossible task, but try!  When you’ve finished your attempt, ask yourself if you were already there, would you want to return here?  Return to again experience the pain, suffering, disappointment, sadness, heartaches, ridicule, lies, hurts, betrayals, punishment, torture, failures, waste, sins, imperfections, sickness, and death that this world offers?  Think of a loved one who has already passed away.  Would you want him or her to leave heaven’s splendor and God’s immediate presence to return so you could hug and tell things you meant to but didn’t?  Then, watch them go through death again?

Did you know that God’s Word went through a miraculous conception and spent nine months in Mary’s womb (John 1:1ff)?  He saw the light of day in Bethlehem as the baby Jesus and spent thirty years as Joseph and Mary’s son before beginning his heavenly mission.  He gave up heaven!  He gave up his position as the Word to become a man.  He gave up heaven’s indescribable riches to experience life’s imperfections and disappointments.  He did that to fulfill God’s prophecies, to live without breaking God’s law, and to be THE payment for our sins.  He took our sins and we partook of his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He died so we could be with God in his realm forever.  That’s how much God loved us (John 3:16).

What will heaven be like?  We know that we shall be even as He is (1 John 3:2-3).   However, our finite minds cannot comprehend the grandeur of the infinite.  So, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  What will heaven be like?  It will be where we have eternal fellowship with our God.

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”   (Hebrews 10:38-39).