Heaven, the final frontier!
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Heaven is a place, a place where our heavenly father lives, our eternal home. We are not there yet, but one day those of us that serve the Lord are headed there, whether by way of the grave, or suddenly
1 Cor 15:51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
For some, the trump will sound, the dead in Christ shall rise, and we shall behold our king.
For some across this city, Easter is just another ordinance of the church. A time when families unite to eat a big dinner, children eat chocolate rabbits, and we paint and hunt coloured eggs. Christmas is the time that Santa comes to bring gifts, where we deck the halls with boughs of holly, and decorate the tree.
Yet, for us, the church of the living God, these are times we recognize the birth, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus!
He came, He died, He rose, He lives, and He reigns.
Jesus is King, and each day, we recieve the life of His Spirit afresh and anew as we seek Him.
In gratefulness remembering Him who died for our sins and rose again, and pondering with joyful anticipation the fact that like him, we too shall die and rise in Him, if death have it’s way.
Yet this verse speaks of a generation of Christians that will not die, but will be supernaturally transformed to be like Him. Shedding these mortal bodies to receive immortality.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
We know the truth of our Lord Jesus words when He forever declared:
John 11:25 , I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
We see this glorious resurrection applied to the life of a believer in:
Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
God gave Jesus life from the dead. When you accepted Him, He did the same for you. Spiritually, you were dead in your trespasses and sins. Now you are born-again, alive in God, joined with Jesus forever if you choose.
No God did not come to earth to make good men better, or bad people good, He came to make dead people alive. Born-again from within, with old things passed away, and all things become new.
So what is heaven like?
Well, there are three heavens described in Scripture: the heavenlies which speak of the atmosphere where we breath, the place where spiritual warfare occurs, the place where demons and angels fight to influence the minds and souls of men, our temporary battleground.
Then there is the second heaven, a place where the planets hold their courses in the vast expanse of the universe. It is here that astronaughts entered when they went to the moon, and exclaimed: ‘My mind is so clear here, it is so peaceful!’ It should be peaceful, for it is free from the devils influence.
Finally, there is the third heaven, the place of streets of gold, and the glory of God, where the Lamb now sits upon the throne of God. A place of spontaneous worship and glory. The place God calls home.
Isaiah saw it and recorded a glimpse of it in Isaiah 6
¶ In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Benny Hinn’s vision, each time these angels worship and cry holy holy holy, God reveals to them another aspect and attibute of Himself that totally awes them, and immediately they fall back upon their face crying holy, holy, holy.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
You need to put this experience in perspective. It is estimated by Bible scholars that at this time in the prophet Isaiah’s life, he had walked with God for thirty five years as a prophet and statesman for the nation of Israel. He had the ear of kings, and was widely respected and revered before his countrymen.
Suddenly, Isaiah sees a glimpse of God.
5 ¶ Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
At the end of the book we get another glimpse of heaven.
Rev 4: Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
8 ¶ And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
What do you expect?
I worked construction, and good carpenters are paid top dollar. They generally live in the biggest and most ornate houses, because they know how to work, and they know how to design and build. You think Jesus, the master carpenter, and designer of the universe will live in some little shack back in the bayou someplace. He’s humble, but He’s not stupid. Ho, He builds in jewels, and gold.
We see Solomon, and other great kings of the earth accumulating wealth.
2 Chronicles 32:27 And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;
How much more the king of all kings, Majesty enthroned on high?
In heaven, the primary occupation of its citizens is worship. If that is to be our eternal destiny, why is it that so few make it of any value here in this life? We are so filled with things of temporal value, and so unconcerned with eternal things!
We struggle with prosperity, yet heaven has gates made of single pearls, and streets made of pure gold.
Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
Nothing dies there for there is only life.
Rev 22:1 ¶ And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
All of our questions will be settled. All of our losses requited. We will see the king, and all of our loved ones who have gone on before. For Christians, death is not forever. No, we do not need to say goodbye, rather, so long, for God does not see Christians die, but simply His children coming home. It is only the lost that need fear.
We think of the great ministers, and godly kings and queens that have died, to enter into their eternal reward, and cannot help but wonder what their reception was like! Yet, the real question that remains is: how are we doing?
How easy I discover it to be consumed with the things of this life. Busy with temporal things. All good things, yet there were two trees in the garden of Eden. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. Notice that eating of the knowledge of good produced just as much death as the fruit of the knowledge of evil. No, it is the tree of life that we are to be eating of. Religion offers knowledge of good of evil, religious precepts, do’s and don’ts that are the fruit of this very same tree. Life is only found in him. The tree of life is the cross, and is partaken of only in a life laid down before Him in sacrifice, and obedience. Love that kills flesh to live holy before Him. Forgiving those who do us wrong, doing good to evil doers, and overcoming evil with good. This will run contrary to every message the world sends us, yet earns the accolades of heaven.
Some time ago, in 1996 my father died and went to heaven. After that, I attended a conference at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, where I was literally caught up into the third heaven, where I saw my father, mother, and six other recently deceased loved ones dancing before the throne of God. Though i still miss them from time to time, I have never again grieved their loss, they are in HEAVEN! They are alive, and doing fine! For us who know Jesus, death is not goodbye, rather, ‘See you later!’
Heaven is real, and so is hell.
Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and He wants you there.
If you know Him, and are walking with Him, then praying this simple prayer will do you no harm.
But, if you do not know Him, or are not sure if you will go to heaven when you die, this simple prayer, is literally the difference between heaven, or hell as your eternal home.
‘Father God in heaven, I come to You right now, asking that You forgive me my sins against You. I believe that Jesus came, died, and rose from the dead, for me, personally, and I ask You Lord Jesus, to come into my life, and make me new. Reveal to me the life You have planned for me, and give me the courage to walk it out, no compromise, Amen!’