What is Heaven Going to be Like?

So that we get a picture of what heaven will be like, the Scriptures tell us of a time when a heavenly city will come down from heaven to earth—a city that is prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Notice who we will be living with:

 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bridebeautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Nowthe dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with themand be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

 6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herselfready. 8Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:6-8).

Can you imagine what it will be like for you who know Christ to actually be in that moment, to be part of the great multitude shouting hallelujah to God? Imagine knowing that the fight of faith is over and that you will soon enter into the wedding celebration of the Lamb! How can anyone not want such a relationship with God as this? So loud was the sound of all those commingled voices that it sounded like “many waters;” similarly, so great will be the joy of the redeemed of the Lord. What a happy day that will be! Don’t you think the joy on the face of the Lord Jesus will be great as we look upon Him on that day. He will look upon you as He beholds the result of the work He completed on the cross for His people. I borrow from the words of C.H. Spurgeon here:

The marriage of the Lamb is the result of the eternal gift of the Father. Our Lord says, “Yours they were and you gave them to Me.” His prayer was, “Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am. That they may behold My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” The Father made a choice, and the chosen He gave to His Son to be His portion. For them, He entered into a Covenant of Redemption, whereby He was pledged in due time to take upon Himself their nature, pay the penalty of their offenses, and set them free to be His own. Beloved, that which was arranged in the councils of eternity and settled there between the high contracting Parties is brought to its ultimate end in that day when the Lamb takes unto Himself in everlasting union the whole of those whom His Father gave Him from of old.

How wonderful it will be to live with God—the pain of this world will be dried from our eyes by the gentle touch of the Lord Himself. I think He has purposely not told us much about heaven, because many of us would want out of this world before our time. In another place Paul the apostle tells us:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

In our wildest dreams and imaginations of heaven we cannot imagine how good it will be for those of us who walk with Christ on this earth. If your heart is troubled by the way this world is, and what you are going through, let your mind and heart be fortified with the fact that you will one day be with God Himself in His holy house. How that must have encouraged Peter, especially after he had denied Christ, that there was room for even him after he had denied his Lord. Will you be in that place with Christ? You can be! Ask Christ to come into your life and forgive your sin—receive the free gift of life—I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

If you would like to read more on this topic, this meditation was taken from the more in-depth study, found under the Insights into Eternity studies in the middle column, Click on Study 6, The Wedding of the Lamb. Keith Thomas

Jesus said: “My Father’s House Has Many Rooms”

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

It was the night of the Last Supper, before Jesus was to be crucified. Jesus had just told His followers that He was going to be leaving them through the door of death. As Christ looked around the table at His disciples, His heart went out to them. When our hearts are troubled, stressed, fearful and uncertain, when it seems as if our world is caving in—we are to remember what Jesus said here in this passage: “my Father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2). No matter what is going on in your mind and heart, no matter how broken you are, no matter what you are going through, there is a place in the Father’s house for you. He’s saying it to Peter and the disciples, but He is also saying it to us.  Deep down within the very soul of each person born into this world is a yearning for a better place:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It is said that Professor T. H. Huxley, the famous agnostic (who, by the way, invented the term “agnostic” and applied it to himself), reversed his views prior to his death and came to believe in God and a future life. As he lay dying (so his nurse reported), he raised himself on his elbows and gazed into the distance as if surveying some invisible scene, then dropped back on his pillow and murmured: “So it was true! So it was true!”[1]

Yes, it is true. In the Father’s house there are many rooms. Perhaps you have read the English King James Version, which translates the Greek word monai as mansions, but the term really means dwelling places or rooms. The picture is that we will live with God in His house—that His house has many rooms for us to abide with Him. For those of you who have lived with the insecurity of moving from place to place, and in dismal circumstances, take hope! We are talking about having an eternal house in the heavens where we will be at home with God forever! When Jesus said; “I am going to prepare a place for you, we should not think in terms of Jesus the carpenter building each of us a physical home. The Greek word that is translated ‘prepare’ is hetoimazō, the word that is used of an oriental custom of sending a person before kings on their journeys to level the roads and make them passable. The word was also used to describe the disciples going to prepare the Upper Room for the Passover feast (Luke 22:9, 12). The sad departure of Christ was for the way to be prepared for the disciples and us to follow Him to the Father’s house. He went ahead of us to make the way to God “passable” for us. If you are a believer, as you depart this world, then you will see what God has prepared for you.

If you would like to read more on this topic, this meditation was taken from a more in-depth study, found on this page under the Book of John studies, John 14:1-14—Jesus the Way. Keith Thomas

[1]  Selwyn Hughes, Every Day with Jesus, May-June 1996 edition, Crusade for World Revival.

You Will be With Me in Paradise

We are continuing our meditation on the seven last sayings of Jesus while He was on the cross. Today we look at the second saying that was toward one of those who was being crucified with Him, “I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Mark’s Gospel tells us that, “Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him” (Mark 15:32). At the beginning, both of the men crucified with Christ insulted Him in the hope that, if He were the Son of God, they could goad Him into coming down from the cross and help them, too. Later, Luke tells us that one was silent while the other continued in hurling insults:

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).

Jesus told the criminal that he would be with Him that day in paradise. On what basis would this man go to paradise, do you think? What do you think this criminal saw in Jesus that convinced him that He was, indeed, the Christ? This common criminal had seen Jesus being badly treated by all who were witnessing the crucifixion, viz. the high priest, the elders, and the common people. The criminal had also witnessed His forgiveness to the soldiers who had driven spikes into His wrists and feet. The pain the criminal was experiencing was nothing to what he knew Christ was enduring because of the scourging and the crown of thorns on His head.

He must have heard at some time about the promise of the Messiah, one who would usher in the Kingdom of God. He realized that there was something genuine about the claims of Jesus and that He was “the One” who was promised. Even though his understanding may have been very basic, he spoke the words, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).

Repentance and faith are expressed in those words. There was no time to do good works. There was not a creed spoken. No priest had told him of certain things that he must say or do to enter the kingdom. He wasn’t even baptized before he passed from this life, but he was told that he would be with Christ in paradise that very day. There is no such thing as purgatory. It is by God’s grace alone that we are accepted into God’s family. “The cross is the resting place for sin, the tomb for self and the throne for our fears” (Harold St John).

God is not willing that any should perish but that all may come to repentance and faith in Christ. The words that we say are not as important as what is within our hearts. He sees our heart, everything that is expressed, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. Is there sorrow for our sin? Do we see our need of a Savior? By God’s grace alone, this man, was brought to humility of heart and repentance, and, if you are willing, God will do the same for you. Call upon the Lord while He is near!

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 63 at this link, The Crucifixion of Christ (Luke 23:26-49). Keith Thomas

When the Resurrection Takes Place, We Shall be Like Christ

We are continuing our meditation from yesterday on the attack on Jesus by the Sadducees (Scroll down for yesterday’s meditation). The fourth thing Jesus said to the Sadducees is that those who are worthy will be called children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36). Because those who belong to Christ are God’s children, we will look like Him. We will carry His nature, power, and authority. We will be children of the resurrection. Scripture has a lot to say about the resurrection body:

42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:42-49).

A few hours before evangelist Dwight L. Moody died, he caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him. Awakening from a sleep, he said, “Earth recedes, heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go!” His son who was standing by his bedside said, “No, no father, you are dreaming.” “No,” said Mr. Moody, “I am not dreaming; I have been within the gates; I have seen the children’s faces.” A short time elapsed and then, following what seemed to the family to be the death struggle, he spoke again: “This is my triumph; this my coronation day! It is glorious!”

Jesus had gone straight to the heart of the matter when He challenged the Sadducees on their beliefs about the afterlife and eternity as well as eternal reward. He challenged them on the very point that they hoped to use to trick Him, but now, their own beliefs were exposed as being contrary to the very Scriptures they accepted as truth.

His arguments were causing the religious leaders to question their own beliefs, and they were not successful in swaying the crowd away from Jesus. In fact, within a short period of time, after the Temple curtain was torn in two at the death of Jesus, Luke records in the Book of Acts, that “The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). What caused many priests to become obedient disciples? Was it witnessing the temple curtain torn from top to bottom (Mark 15:38), or was it Jesus’ answer to the Sadducee questions? Even the teachers of the law said, “Well said, teacher!” (v. 39).

What about you, dear reader, are you convinced yet that this life is not all there is. That beyond this life, if you have received the free gift of salvation, and turned your life over to Christ, and had your sin forgiven, you too will bear the likeness of the Man from Heaven mentioned in verse 49 above. I hope to see you there.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas

“I Go to Prepare a Place for You”

We are continuing to meditate on the thought that God has called out of the world a people from all nations to be in a marriage relationship to Himself. This relationship is one that is brought about by the greatest of loves, that of agape love, self-sacrificial love. Jesus came to express His love by dying in place of guilty man. The judgment of sin was, “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). God has made a way of escape and sent His Son to take man’s punishment upon Himself—self-sacrificial love. God raised Him from the dead, and now He waits for man to respond to His act of love. In this act of love, He has betrothed those who accepts His death as theirs, into a marriage relationship. When Christ comes, then will begin the festivities. Until then, we are in an engagement or betrothal relationship. We are to live in purity for Him and Him alone. Christians are those who have entered into a covenant of marriage.

I borrow from the words of C.H. Spurgeon here:

“The marriage of the Lamb is the result of the eternal gift of the Father. Our Lord says, “Yours they were and you gave them to Me.” His prayer was, “Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am. That they may behold My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” The Father made a choice, and the chosen He gave to His Son to be His portion. For them, He entered into a Covenant of Redemption, whereby He was pledged in due time to take upon Himself their nature, pay the penalty of their offenses, and set them free to be His own.

Beloved, that which was arranged in the councils of eternity and settled there between the high contracting Parties is brought to its ultimate end in that day when the Lamb takes unto Himself in everlasting union the whole of those whom His Father gave Him from of old.

Next—this is the completion of the betrothal, which took place with each of them in time. I shall not attempt elaborate distinctions. However, as far as you and I were concerned, the Lord Jesus betrothed each one of us unto Himself in righteousness when first we believed on Him. Then He took us to be His and gave Himself to be ours so that we could sing— “My beloved is mine and I am His.” This was the essence of the marriage. Paul, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, represents our Lord as already married to the Church. This may be illustrated by the oriental custom by which, when the bride is betrothed, all the sanctities of marriage are involved in those espousals. Yet, there may be a considerable interval before the bride is taken to her husband’s house. She dwells with her former household and has not yet forgotten her kindred and her father’s house, though still she is espoused in truth and righteousness. Afterwards, she is brought home on an appointed day, the day which we should call the actual marriage. Yet, the betrothal is, to Orientals, of the very essence of the marriage.”[1]

That is what we will talk about next, the home that the Lord has been preparing for us. He said, 1“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:1-3). I’m looking forward to being with Him in that place, I hope you are too.

Taken from the series Insights into Eternity found in the middle column. Click on the study The Wedding of the Lamb. Keith Thomas

[1] http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons35.xxxv.html