It may be hard to read.
If you contact me on email@example.com I will send you the link to the whole book in dropbox.
Random Thoughts on Heaven
F. C. Hunting
During the Second World War, Corrie Ten Boom, her sister Betsy and her aged father were thrown into a Nazi Concentration Camp for helping Jews escape the Nazis from Holland. A little time after the war Corrie revisited Germany. Everywhere she went to preach the churches were full to overflowing. And no wonder. in a short period of 27 years, Germany had suffered two ignominious and catastrophic defeats. The capita! of Germany, Berlin, had been flattened to the ground by allied bombing and so had a number of other big cities. The economy of Germany was destroyed and it appeared Germany would be quite unable to recover from the terrible destruction inflicted on her.
So the Americans put into operation the Marshall Plan to aid Germany to rise from the economic ashes. Some ten years after her first visit to Germany Corrie Ten Boom went back to Germany. By now with the assistance of the Marshall Plan, Germany was growing faster economically than any other European country.
This time as she revisited the churches Corrie found them to be less than half full. In trying to cope with the terrible shock of the defeat and destruction of their country many Germans turned to God. They had no one else to turn to. Ten years later with the economy growing, God was no longer needed. So church attendance fell away.
Today, in this country, despite the economic recession (depression would be a truer description) we are in, 80 to 90 per cent of the people are still living reasonably comfortable, and if you examine their lives they can manage to get along quite
comfortably without God. What reason have they to be concerned about God in their lives.
Heaven and Hell are quite irrelevant to their way of living. Indeed to bring God into their life style means they will be imposing restrictions on themselves they simply do not want.
If science (or the way science is perceived by many) has not taken the place of God in the thinking of multitudes, then it has thrown a misty cloud of partial blindness over the minds of many when they try to think of God. Science has cast a mist of doubt over the reality of God.
This is largely due to neo Darwinism theories of evolution, which in the popular media and schools is taught as proven fact, which is far from the truth. Increasingly leading modern scientists are questioning or rejecting the paradigm upon which evolution is based, this they do because various fields of science have facts to be answered which evolution does not and seemingly cannot answer. Furthermore, scientists adopt a most unscientific attitude by rejecting the possibility of God outright. This leaves them with many important facts which they cannot and do not answer, but which they should be able to answer if their theory of evolution is the answer to all we see and know of our world.
Dispensing with God leaves the door wide open to humanism upon which every aspect of our society is being based. This has left us with immense human problems which humanism is incapable of coping with.
If you carry humanism to its logical conclusions, you are left with society where every man is only accountable to himself. And that means chaos.
Heaven and Hell and the Judgment have dropped, it would seem,
right out of Christian preaching and teaching. Yet, nothing has altered the revelation God has made concerning these. They are as plain in the Word of God as they were when Christians in the early centuries were being persecuted and executed for their faith, or when John Wesley went up and down England preaching the Gospel that saved England from a revolution that tore France apart.
Among the many things confronting the Christian church as it tries to give witness to God in our modern, pagan world is clear cut teaching (because of convinced belief in the Word of God) that after this life, there is Heaven to be gained, a terrible Hell to be shunned at all costs, and an inevitable judgment (accountability to God) before God in which we are not only accountable for what we do, but also for what we say and think.
What follows is far from being all that could be said of Heaven, but it may open up the beginnings of serious thinking which all of us, because we are mortal are relentlessly being carried on to a time when Heaven and Hell will be the only realities we shall be concerned about.
THINKING ABOUT HEAVEN
QUESTIONS WE AT SOMETIME OR OTHER ASK ABOUT HEAVEN
I have been trying to think about Heaven.
There will be millions there I won't know and with whom I have had no affinity here on earth.
As I think about Heaven I keep wanting to think of it in terms of this earth and Heaven will not be like this earth at all.
Will I seek out my wife? Will she be waiting for me as old theologians in their attempts to comfort the bereaved said loved ones would? Will I want her there? I want her here - desperately. But, then this desperate longing for her belongs to this earth. And as Jesus said, things there are not the same as they are here.
Spirits do not occupy space. Space is irrelevant to a spirit. Space has no meaning for a spirit. And the Scriptures say there in Heaven we have spiritual bodies and they are not confined to space which is the only thing we know here on earth.
The early churchmen, who argued with each other as to how many angels could fit on the top of a pin, seemed, when I first learned of them, silly and stupid. Perhaps, however, they were
silly only in one part, trying to bring together two things that do and can not correspond with each other.
Angels are spirits. Time and space are irrelevant to them. They are beyond these two factors in which we have to live and move have our beings.
Pins belong to our world. Angels, as spirits belong to a totally “other" world.
The mistake of the churchmen, lay in trying to bring the two together. In doing so it could only end as nonsense (non-sense) which it did.
THE EFFECTIVE WALL
There is an effective wall between us here and saints in Heaven. All the limitations are on our side. We are confined to bodies that move and live in time and space and matter.
What we call the material, dominates. The only world, the only existence we know is material - trees, clouds, people, earth even the chair I am sitting on, the pen I am using - are all matter. It is all I know.
But, because it is all I know, and it is the only world I can live in and adjust to, it can effectively cut me off from the world of the spirit, which is Heaven. Here to be happy and fulfilled I must have things to do to which I attach worth or value.
In the world of spirit, Heaven, these things do not exist. So in that world there must be something other of far superior worth or value.
Here I may get no end of pleasure, satisfaction and enjoyment out of building my house and home.
In Heaven the values are all different. Here, when I stop to think; what are the very best moments for me in life? They are many, these good moments, and I can have them right through any day.
The best of them all is when I am face to face with Jesus. The moments in my Quiet Time or worship, when I am aware of Jesus - these are my best moments.
And these moments are above the material, they know nothing of time or space and they are quite different from many other things in life which I enjoy and love.
LIMITS THIS WORLD IMPOSES ON THE SPIRITUAL WQRLD
There are moments when as far as the restrictions of this life will allow, we enter, however limited it is, into the spirit world beyond.
The barriers or barrier between the spirit world (Heaven) and this world are impassable in this life. The barriers or barrier can only be passed through death. It is a barrier which once we have passed through it, there is no way we can return to what we know in this life.
It may be that those who have gone through this barrier know what is going on here but they can have no part in the events of this life.
Even Jesus, it would seem, because of His humanity had to pass through this barrier of death and having done so He could no longer continue to live here.
True He rose from the dead and He was seen by His disciples at various times and in different ways, but even these brief visits from that spirit world, which we call Heaven had to cease.
We like Jesus, through death, will move into another world altogether. A world, of which here, we only have glimpses.
RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEAR SEVENTY AND OVER
I chose to write these random thoughts on Heaven for those over sixty because the biggest proportion of their living is behind them and the next really big event for them will be their passing from this life to the next.
If one happens to be 5 or 10 years older than 70, then that event is so much the closer. As we move into the middle seventies we shall have to come to terms with the fact that we have had our “go” at life. We control less and less, we may influence less and less, and we may find ourselves living in a world strange and different from the world we grew up in and in which we had our “hey day". Much of the current world may seem incomprehensible to us, we have little or no interest in computers, fax machines, and a whole stack of modern technology.
To tell those of us who are 75 we ought to set goals for our lives may be said with persuasive enthusiasm, but will be received with cold indifference. We prefer to live going over wonderful times in our lives, thinking of those who were very important to us, and who maybe, we loved very dearly in days now long gone. All of this with a secret hope we will not yield to the temptation to bore our loved ones and remaining friends or newer acquaintances by endlessly talking about wonderful days, which for us now are in a dead past, and which mean little or nothing to our listeners.
Like it or not we have had our "one go" at life (not always easy to come to terms with) and the next big event for us is to pass from this life into the next.
What is Heaven like?
The truth is, there are all sorts of questions one would like answers to, but to many questions there are not any, not here in this life.
One thinks for instance, what does one do in Heaven all the time through eternity? And some have jibed at this saying they do not want the boredom of a Heaven that stretches into an endless eternity.
That question, of course, is born of this earth. Without realising it we have transposed what we know in this earth to what we do not know about life after this.
If we are talking in terms of Heaven, two things may be wrong in the question. Two things we may not at first recognise. The first is we used the word time. We thought of eternity in terms of what we live and move and have our being in here on earth - time. In Heaven we have entered into another existence where God is, and with God there is no such thing as time, only an eternal NOW - and of that we know nothing.
In our question we also asked "what shall we do?" in Heaven. Again we may have mistakenly transposed what we know in this
life to the next.
Here in this world we place extraordinary and immense importance on doing. Some of us spend all of our time trying to cram into each day as much doing as we can. We do, do, do. We over program ourselves, we over work ourselves. And we secretly despise those who do not. Doing is an idol with us but you would never get us to admit it. It is a "sacred cow" which no one must touch, criticise, or object to.
But in Heaven it may be just possible there is a switch from all this exaltation of doing. Doing may not get any rating at all in Heaven. Of all things, there it may be of least importance. The switch may be from doing to being. Being what we were always intended to be until a terrible thing called sin came along and switched us all off course.
The trouble is, many of us know far too little about being - being what God intended we should be. And all too often, here in this world, we do not give it a high priority. In Heaven, being, may be the head of the list. Perhaps by the time we are 70 we will begin to see, with ever greater clarity, that in preparing for Heaven "to be" is much more important than "to do."
Proof? What is proof? We are great ones for wanting things “proved to us" before we will believe. I remember our old Principal in his logic class 60 years ago, saying: "Gentlemen I can prove it, but I can not prove it to you." There was profound understanding of human nature in that statement. You see one's prejudices (and attitudes and presuppositions and other things) may be very much stronger in determining what we believe than any proof that can be offered. Further there are more kinds of
proof than scientific proof, such as "I will believe it when I see it." There are more ways of knowing than by the knowledge that comes to us through our senses.
When someone asks for proof that there is a Heaven, they may be asking, if it is a genuine question, a nonsensical question. The question may not be as smart as the asker thinks.
For the Christian, belief and faith, play an immense part in his knowing what he, might otherwise be quite ignorant of. We need to recognise faith is not what the little boy said it is: "Believing what you know ain't true." Everybody, Christian or not, uses faith all day long and a lot of what we know is based on the faith we use all day long.
All the Christian does is extend his faith into a world beyond and above this world -- the super-natural world.
Proof! What is proof? We may think we have arguments that are unassailable and therefore our conclusion cannot be challenged. It is beyond disputation. But, then we live on a few years, and discover the premises on which we based our argument are suspect and the proof we thought beyond challenge has a bad wobble in it.
If someone says to me: "I do not accept there is a Heaven." My reply may well be: "you do not accept my belief in Heaven but then you can not prove there isn't a Heaven." So the score is one all. But not quite.
If my friend who says there is no Heaven is right, then when we both come to the end of this life, we both pass into nothingness. But, if I am right about there being a Heaven when we come to the end of this journey, I shall go to Heaven and he will not. He cannot win and I cannot lose.
But enough of these tom-fool semantics. Heaven is much too important than to indulge in such.
Given there is a Heaven, and I have not the shadow of a doubt there is: what is it like? To answer that question I must go to the New Testament. And even then, there may be many questions we would like answered but fortunately or unfortunately cannot be answered until we have arrived in Heaven itself.
Before we can look at what Heaven is like there are one or two prior matters we should think about. They are dying and death. Many people do not want to think about these two. They regard it as morbid or even frightening. But think about them or not they are inevitable for us all. And it is much better, if we can, to get a healthy, robust attitude to both rather than have a morbid fear of them skulking away in some troubled recess of our mind.
A few observations may be in order. Some fear dying (and not without cause) more than death itself. Some appear to live as if death can happen to everyone else but themselves. Some, who scared stiff of the thought of death and for some reason or other will not think of it, seem to have the attitude that somehow when the time comes everything will turn out all right. Others, trying to help us face our own death, (whenever that may be) tell us death is a natural part of life.
IS DEATH A NATURAL PART OF LIFE?
Possibly, for some at least, they have little trouble with this last statement. It seems to depend on what we think is the other side of death. Even at the age of 70 many feel they are only arriving at the zenith of many of their powers - and they could go on and on. It is only their body that has worn out. But now they are 70, right at the peak of their powers, everything stops with death - that is, if there is nothing beyond this life.
But if the Christian view of life, and death, and the hereafter is the right one, then death is a necessary gateway into a much fuller and expanded life not possible to life on this physical world of life bounded by our humanity.
TRAINING FOR HEAVEN
HOW A CHRISTIAN SEES IT
The Christian view is we get the start here, serve an apprenticeship here, that fits and qualifies us for a life that sheds the shackles that bind us here and we begin a life which goes on and is a life ever expanding, growing and developing in the life to come. It will be life without limits. At least without the limits we experience here.
I think that in God's marvellous way of doing things He has slowly been preparing me for Heaven. Much, much more than we will admit we get very attached to this world. And this attachment takes many forms and occurs in many ways. It goes on without our noticing or realising it is happening.
For many, many Australians, Australia is a very, very good place to live. If, as we say, much of Australia is harsh and rugged, it is very beautiful once we have cultivated enough beauty in our souls to be able to respond to it. The early settlers to this land saw no beauty in it whatever for no other reason than it was different from the country from which they came. They wanted this country to be the same as the one they had left.
Maybe, consciously or unconsciously, we want Heaven to be like his world which we are to leave. Perhaps this is a good reason why God is giving me a little preparation for Heaven.
It can be most comfortable and most pleasant living in this world if we resist the urge to get into the "rat race" with all its toil and tensions, struggles and frustrations in order "to get on" in life. (This is very pathetic but we do not see it that way.)
And we can get very attached to this comfortableness and the things that make it so. We do not want any change that will take this comfort from us.
So, it may be, that for some of us at least, God begins here preparing us for His Heaven.
SOME WAYS GOD PREPARES
God really does this preparation gently although we may not think so at the time He is doing it.
In my case God began His final preparation (it had really been going on for many years only it was not self-evident) with three happenings. I ceased having any ministry in a church. I lost my life's partner, and there was a sudden curtailment of robust, physical energies I had always enjoyed. In the space of a year life was suddenly different from all I had previously known it to be. My life, or what had been my life, just was not there any more.
Thus, as I see it, began my final preparation for Heaven. The realities of life, what living is really all about, and the true values and purposes in living became greatly enhanced.
I realised I had had "my go" at life. I could not do a thing about what was past. I could not change it or alter it. Mistakes or failures could not be remedied. And if I had missed out on God's plan for my life (I am most confident my life has been His plan for
me) I could not go back to begin again.
THE REAL VALUES OF LIFE
So the real values in life took on more and more prominence. Values such as seeing God in the mundane. Most, any day I awake I only do the most mundane of things but it is in them, if I care to, that I walk and talk and commune with Jesus. Even as write this I am conscious of His Presence here in this room. Being has become very much more important than doing unless it is to take a towel in such a way as Jesus did so that the glory God may shine through the act.
All the values of Heaven are different from the values that dominate and drive men here. To be weaned away from these is no loss if they are replaced with values that dominate Heaven (indeed are the only values that can exist in Heaven).
RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT HEAVEN
I am the resurrection and the life" said Jesus, John 11:25. Just exactly what does that mean and what does it say about Heaven (anastasis; a rising or standing up).
Perhaps we should look first at one or two things that may help us. In all of the Old Testament there are practically no definite ideas of a life after death at all. (See Psalm 65; 30:9; 88:5; 10-12; Eccles. 9:10; Isaiah 38:18.) However there are one or two glimpses that suggest one or two writers had some idea of immortality (Psalm 16:9-11, 13:23, 24; Job 14:7-12).
GROWING JEWISH BELIEF IN LIFE AFTER DEATH
In the years that followed the close of the Old Testament a strong belief in a resurrection took hold of the majority of the Jews. But not all, to which the Sadducees bear witness.
So on that day when Jesus came to Martha and Mary four days after their brother had died He said: "Your brother will rise again" John 11:23 (anistemi; to set up). To this statement Martha gave the then current Jewish belief "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
She was saying that at the last day her brother would be set up for rising again. On this matter Jewish thought had come a long way from what you find in the Old Testament. It is at this point, to Martha that Jesus declares the emphatic definite Christian belief of the resurrection, John 11:25.
'I am the resurrection and the life," v. 25.
The resurrection is not something different from, apart from, extra to Jesus. The resurrection is not something Jesus has which He hands out to some people. He is resurrection.
We can easily see death as the end - the end of our existence -the end to all that we know. We come up to death and everything stops. We inevitably come up to the precipice - death - we drop over - into what?
Jesus is here saying death is not an end - a leap into the unknown - nothingness. It is merely a door-way into the life. Life that can only be described as resurrection life because it is life beyond this.
When Jesus says "I am the resurrection and the life," we have a
part of all Whom Jesus is. Have the life of Jesus and you have resurrection life. In having Him I have all that He is, and that includes resurrection.
(Interpolated note. The Jews by the time of Martha and Mary had come from only a vague, misty belief in a life after this to a fairly clear cut belief in a resurrection. How this belief developed and crystallised is shown in the Apocrypha. Thus over the 400 years between the close of the Old Testament and the coming of Jesus, belief in a resurrection had become fairly clear to many Jews. The Sadducees opposed and did not believe in a resurrection adhering to a view in Ecclesiastics.)
To ask "What is Heaven like?" can be a misleading question unless we are very careful. When we ask that question, "What is Heaven like?" it almost always starts us off trying to answer it terms of what we know of this world. We are familiar with this world. We are not at all as familiar with the supernatural world, a spiritual world of Jesus and God.
COMPARING HEAVEN WITH THIS WORLD
In this world, with which we are so familiar, there is good and bad, suffering and sorrow, pain and death. So when we think of Heaven we are apt to single out what we know as the good, love and joy, peace and contentment. And we think of Heaven as being those wonderful qualities. We also think of Heaven as not having any of the bad.
Of course, all of this is what Heaven is like, but it is much more, much, much more. And it is this much, much more, we have so much difficulty in understanding and grasping.
For instance, we can say this, in Heaven we will have perfect oneness with God, but do we grasp what we are really saying when we say we shall have perfect oneness with God.
In this world I enjoy many lovely things. The world is so full of beauty if we have it in our souls to respond to it. I saw a new born babe last night, five weeks old. She was exquisitely beautiful and I am sure all who were present, young and old, were filled with wonder at a creation, a human being so truly beautiful. Yes, there are many lovely things in this world. They are very high moments when we experience these lovely and beautiful and good things in life.
THE HIGH MOMENTS OF BEING IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS
For me the most wonderful, the one above all others of these good things in this world, is when of an early morning in my Quiet Time I come face to face with the living Lord Jesus Christ.
This is something other, higher, more full of wonder than all other good things of this world. In Heaven this marvellous privilege of being in the Presence of Jesus, knowing all that He is and all He has done for me, and in me; and which I have only touched the fringe, in Heaven this will be brought to perfection, completion (Phil. 1:6). But who can imagine what that will be?
I suppose the one thing that scares us about death is the unknown. The unknown which is, for most of us, the other side of death. But, there is much that we could know only we do not bother to think about it.
Every born again Christian who has truly yielded to Jesus knows they enjoy and experience a life, a something that has come into their lives, which is altogether different from the life experienced
by natural men. In a quick summing up of what they are experiencing in living, they would say "I am enjoying a little bit of Heaven."
EXTRA THOUGHTS FOR THOSE OVER 70, OR NOT YET 70
Up till now, I have not gone to famous, and greatly loved passages of Scripture. Such as I have written so far all started when I asked some Christians what Heaven is like. Each of them are definite about going to Heaven, but at best some quoted a passage or two from the Scriptures but did not seem to be able give much content to the passages they quoted.
For instance, it is easy to quote, "We shall be like Him, (Jesus) for we shall see Him as He is." Does this mean we shall share, have the very nature of Jesus? The very nature of God? Peter says this, 2 Peter 1:4. This starts for every Christian down here. But how far do most of us, in this life, progress to being as Jesus . How much do we manifest we are "partakers of the divine nature?" We are much better at quoting such passages than we
are in making them real in daily living.
Of one thing we can be certain, if we are to be like Jesus in Heaven, some most radical and far reaching changes are going to take place in us.
NEEDED RADICAL CHANGE
So let us look at one of the famous passages, spoken by Jesus.
"I am the resurrection and the life he that believeth on Me though he die yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
John II: 25, 26.
With the introduction of this important passage we may need to become a little technical, but hopefully not obscure. We shall study what God, in the New Testament means by death, resurrection and life. We shall try to bring these together as they relate to the life after this - or what we call Heaven.
In John 11:26, 32, 37, 50, 51; the word that is used for death or being dead or dying is used of the separation of the soul (the spiritual part of us) from the body (the physical part of us). Death and life are opposite, but death does not mean non-existence. While spiritual death (the fate of those who do not believe in Jesus) is thought of as "conscious existence in separation from God." W. E. Vine.
"Unbelievers who die in separation from God remain in eternal separation from God;" W. E. Vine. "I said," Jesus speaking, "unto you that you shall die in your sins, for except you believe that I am he, (that I am the One I claim to be) you shall die in your sins," John 8:24. You shall die separated from God.
Believers, both now and eternally, are freed from this death of unbelievers. "This is the bread that comes down out of Heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down out of Heaven, if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever, and the bread which I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world," John 6:50, 51.
“And, Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes on me though he die, yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes on me shall never die," John 11:25, 26.
The man or woman who has eternal life imparted to them by Jesus through their faith continues in the next life the eternal life they have received here. What has begun here as eternal life continues in the life to come. What we call death is not the end. It does terminate life here as we know it. But, in reality death is only a door-way into another life, either life separated from conscious awareness of God, separated from God. Or, it will be life in conscious existence with God.
It is because of this, the New Testament letters place such a heavy emphasis on learning to know God - and Jesus - here and now. Learning to know - more and more Whom God is. Learning to know and experience the mighty power of God which makes our eternal life possible and real.
HEAVEN IS DIFFERENT
NOT WANTING HEAVEN
There have been those who have said they do not want to go to Heaven with its monotonous going on and on throughout eternity. Once again it seems to me that such thinking applies to what we experience in this life and not to what we shall experience of life in Heaven. Here we are always conscious of the passing of time. Here we are conscious of the past, the present, and the possible future.
But, with God there is no past, present, and future. For Him there is no such thing as time in His existence. He is the Eternal Now. All things are present to God. Confined as we are to this planet and our all too human limitations, we may find this concept of God beyond our understanding. But then many, many things we believe about God are beyond human understanding.
In Heaven we shall be part of God's Eternal Now. "Time shall be no more," is part of an old hymn we once lustily sang.
WHAT ADAM INTRODUCED
There is something about Heaven to which I should draw your attention. I may not be able to give a full explanation, but you may want to think about it as I have tried to.
We need to go right back to the beginning in order to think about this. When God created Adam and Eve they were neither moral nor immoral, they were neither good nor bad. They were amoral. That is natural, neither good or bad. It was God's intention they were to convert the natural into the spiritual, and were to do this by obedience to God. This they failed to do.
In doing so two things took place which have affected us all.
First, they introduced something into this world. They introduced something wild, violent, mad, untamed into this world which we know as SIN. All the evil in the world, pain and suffering can be traced back to what we call SIN.
All of our thinking and all we experience in this life is tainted with sin that Adam introduced so long ago. Thus, however wonderful and glorious and desirable Heaven may seem to us, because of sin, we always see through 'a glass darkly'. The most glowing concepts we have of Heaven are always something less than what Heaven is actually like.
Adam did another thing in which we all share. He not only introduced something into the living of human beings, he deprived us of something which we all share.
Adam deprived us from being able to continually live in a face to
face relationship with God with nothing ever occurring to besmirch or rupture that relationship in any way.
Most mature Christian have their moments, their times, when they are so still before God they are very much aware of Him, conscious of being one with God. They commune with God. They are in a 'face to face' relationship that John 14:21-23 says, we are to have.
Someone like me finds it impossible to describe such communion, such oneness with God. That we cannot describe such oneness or communion with God should not disturb us. Who can adequately describe what love is to one who has never loved. Yet millions of people who have truly loved know exactly what you are talking about when you talk of real love. So do all who have experienced this exquisitely beautiful relationship of actual oneness with God know what you are talking about when you talk of communing with God with nothing between God and you.
All these words grope and are inadequate to describe what Adam, and all who have come after him, have deprived us of in communing with God.
Heaven will restore this lost oneness with God. Something which here, we only dimly see or recognise. The words I know best describe the restoration of what we have lost but Heaven will restore are :
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man
the things which God hath prepared
for them that love Him."
I Corinthians 2:9.
For then :
"We shall be like Him
for we shall see Him as He is." I John 3:2.
NOT WANTING HEAVEN
There may be many reasons why men and women have little or no interest in Heaven.
A few of the many reasons may be, the thought of a holy, just, and righteous God may be quite frightening to many. God is a being they do not want to meet up with. For one hundred years evolution has been taught so as to (falsely) dispense with the need for God.
Science has ousted God from His world and universe. Science has not, nor can it ever, displace God as has been so popularly presented.
It would seem that great numbers of people live as though they will be here forever. They never think, it would seem, of what happens after death, and so dispense with any need to think of what takes place after death. This they do by using the shallow quip, "Well no one has ever come back from the dead to tell us all about it."
It may be that for many life here has been so tragic, so painful, so cruel and unjust they find it very hard to want to continue after death.
Then too, it has to be said that no longer is Heaven presented by the Christian church as a life and existence gloriously attractive and a marvellous continuation and expansion of the highest and
noblest, and most wonderful moment of anything we know on this earth.
Few people seem to consider the life God is giving them here is meant to be an apprenticeship, a wonderful preparation for the full enjoyment and participation in the glorious life we shall know with God in His Heaven.
If we are able to conceive an accurate picture of the joy and glory of Heaven this picture will leave us with an increasing longing and desire that whenever life here ceases for us we will pass to participate in the glory that is Heaven.
A CRITICAL QUESTION
FOR AND AGAINST
Is there life after death?
The Sadducees said an emphatic "no." The Pharisees just as emphatically said, "yes, there is life after death." The Sadducees who rejected all of the Old Testament as Scripture except the Pentateuch, the first five books in the Bible, and sought to prove from those five books that there was no life after death. The Pharisees were never able to produce such proof for their case. (The Old Testament has indeed very little to say about life after death.)
Further, to prove there was no life after death the Sadducees had a passage they used against those who said there was life after death which no one, it seemed, was able to answer. Using Deuteronomy 25:5-10, they quoted the case where there were seven brothers (Mark 12:18-27 Luke 20:27-40). The first married and died childless. It so happened that each of the six brothers married the woman according to the law and each died childless. Now, said the Sadducees, if there is life after death and the body is raised, to whom will the woman belong because each of the brothers had her to wife and none had children by her. It was a question the Pharisees could not answer.
So using their trump argument to prove there is no life after death the Sadducees put it to Jesus.
Taking the Pentateuch which the Sadducees believed to be Scripture, the Word of God, Jesus pointed out how grievously the Sadducees were in error: they did not know their own scriptures for in the resurrection men and women do not marry as they do here. Further had they not read what God Himself says, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. God is not God of the dead but of the living."
When Jesus went up the mountain side which we call Mount Transfiguration, two men appeared talking with Him. See Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13.
They appeared in majesty, and glorious splendour, and brightness. Peter, James and John who were with Jesus saw who the men talking with Jesus were. Moses, whom all the Jews regarded as their great law-giver; and Elijah, whom the Jews regarded as their greatest prophet. Furthermore, they overheard what Moses and Elijah were discussing with Jesus.
In his commentary on this passage, Dr Barclay suggests that God's two messengers, Moses and Elijah are confirming Jesus is on the right path and is to go on to the cross, and resurrection and ascension into Heaven. From there to reign at God's right hand.
EXPANDING OUR THINKING OF HEAVEN
HEAVEN: FLEETING MOMENTS WE HAVE HERE
In this life on earth there are occasions when we experience moments of glorious joy, rapturous beauty, companionship full of delight. These grand moments are not constant. They are rare and we look to them as the superb highlights of living to be carefully treasured in memory.
At the pinnacle of these grand moments are times, which most of us would feel are all too rare, moments when, in communion we are in the very Presence of God. These moments in the Presence of the living God exceed all other moments. They have a glory and a wonder about them that defies description.
FROM ANOTHER WORLD
These moments belong to another world than this. They belong to the world where God is, that is a spiritual world, filled with the beauty and Presence of God, and where all creatures seek and rejoice in God's glory and only seek and be what is pleasing to Him. This other world, Heaven, is eternal. Henry Francis Lyte in his beautiful hymn: "Abide With Me," sums up life in this world.
"Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O, Thou Who changest not, abide with me!"
HEAVEN IS OTHER
Heaven is something remarkably other, than what we know here. We may be hopelessly groping, when we try to talk about Heaven because we need to use words and concepts that belong to this world and they are not good enough to describe Heaven.
When we try, as we occasionally will, to think about Heaven, the words of Paul best describe it.
"As it is written,
Eye hath not seen,
Nor ear heard,
Neither have entered into the heart of man,
The things which God hath
Prepared for them that love Him."
I Cor. 2:9.
For myself, I am well content with that. All the more so because the Heaven to which I go, will have Jesus.
Life on this earth is correspondence to environment. That is, everything that lives on earth lives because it adapts to its environment.
THE AMAZING TRANSFORMATION
In a passage of writing the like of which has never been written since, the remarkable 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, Paul speaks of our certain resurrection. It is an amazing piece of certainty and assurance. In it he states this glorious certainty.
"So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown in corruption,
it is raised in incorruption.
It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.
It is sown in weakness,
it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body
it is raised a spiritual body.
There is a natural body and
There is a spiritual body."
The spiritual body with which Christians will be raised will correspond perfectly with the life of Heaven. It will adapt in every way to life with God, and all other heavenly beings.
The full glory of this resurrected life in which we will live with God can only be vaguely imagined here. Something of life in Heaven is contained in words in Revelation 5:9-13.
"And every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea and all that are in them, heard I saying:
"Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
Such rapturous joy at all Jesus has accomplished and such limitless praise of Jesus is quite beyond our comprehension.
HEAVEN IS SO DIFFERENT
In this world many of us are slaves to materialism. The things that give us importance or worth or standing in this world are things we claim to own or the dominance which some political power gives us over our fellow men. None of these things give standing to anyone in Heaven. Indeed, they may be the very things that exclude us from Heaven for they give us a false impression of our value and importance and may completely blind us to the inexorable truth in these words of Jesus: "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 8:36. Certainly he won't be able to give anything he here possesses.
It would seem we all too easily forget we are mortal. We all steadily progress to a time when life for us here on earth ceases.
It is not unhealthy morbidism to seriously contemplate the provision God has given to all men so that they may confidently meet Him in the hereafter. The fool is the man who lives as if he of all men will escape death.
WHAT WILL HEAVEN BE LIKE
The answer to such a question is difficult to give and the reason is that Heaven is unlike most of what we know here on planet earth. The differences between Heaven and earth are truly vast. So vast we find it almost impossible to imagine what those differences are.
As a beginning we move into a totally different existence , and as the only existence we know by experience is our life here on planet earth, it is most natural that we try to build our concepts of Heaven on the best of what we know here, but always earthly concepts break down when we apply them to Heaven.
NONE OF THE DESTRUCTORS IN HEAVEN
For instance, there is no sin in Heaven nor has there ever been, nor will be. The horrific ravages sin has caused here on earth are totally absent in Heaven. We live in a world where most men reject God, ignore God, or rebel against God, so much so they follow the ways of the ruler of the air whose spirit is at work in the lives of all who are disobedient to God, Ephesians 2:2-6.
Who can imagine what an existence will be like where every being wants only the glory of God, where everyone seeks only to do, and wholly delights in pleasing God. They desire no other. This is their consuming passion.
THE IMAGINATION BREAKS DOWN
In Chapter 5 of John's Revelation, we are given a brilliantly glorious glimpse into the glory and supremacy given to Jesus. Even as you read this superbly majestic passage you are conscious that words cannot describe the glory and praise being ascribed to Jesus. John sees ten thousand times ten thousands of angels and they are all proclaiming the worth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power, and riches and wisdom
and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing."
WHAT WILL HEAVEN BE LIKE?
A new Heaven and a new earth. Not a recycled old earth so tainted with sin and what the devil has inflicted upon it, as he has acted over, and controlled the lives of men as the Prince of this world.
Jesus has already hinted at the total newness, total difference from what we here experience.
"I go to prepare a place for you." said Jesus, (John 14:2) and one of the most remarkable things will be that what Jesus has prepared will have no sin. None of the ravages of sin such as we see at work in this world will exist. It is almost impossible to imagine what this will be like for everything we know, men, the earth, are all distorted, marred, uglified (to coin a word) by sin (usually by men controlled by sin and therefore in one way or another controlled by the devil).
There will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more hatred, no more grief, no such thing as death. What sin has done to this world will be banished. It will no longer exist.
HEAVEN: WHAT HEAVEN WILL NOT HAVE
Sometimes we can best describe Heaven by using negatives. To describe some realities, the inspired writers of the Bible use negatives. Try for instance to describe the glory of God in a positive way and your description will fall flat. God's glory is so utterly beyond anything we know or have ever experienced, our finite language falls miserably short of even beginning to describe what the glory of God its like.
THE USE OF NEGATIVES
It may be that here on earth we do not have anything that even remotely approximates to what Heaven is like, but we do know what existence is like here on planet earth. Using what we know of life here, John, by using negatives creates within us a longing of Heaven and enables us to form some pictures in our minds of what Heaven will be like by telling us what it will not be like.
A SILLY ATTITUDE TOWARDS NEGATIVES
A cautionary note may be useful at this point. Some people seem to have a mild obsession to make everything appear positive. For anything to be labelled negative is to instantly discredit it. This, of course, is nonsense. And indeed many may be able to build an accurate picture (as far as humans can) of what Heaven is like by stating what it is not like, than by stating what it is. In John's vision of a new Heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21) he creates a vivid picture for us with negatives. God Himself will be with His people and be their God. Every tear will be wiped away. What a picture this is at a time when it seems as if almost the whole world is weeping. There will be no more pain, no more crying, no more mourning, no more death
This old order of things, which impinges on the lives of all will have passed away. Such is the glory of God and the Lamb - there is no need for the sun or moon to give light, nor is there any need for a temple in which to worship, for God and the Lamb are the temple.
THE RESULTS OF SIN BANISHED
All the things that sin produces, heartache, suffering, greed, cruelty, man's terrible inhumanity to man will all be done away. When John says there shall be no night there, what an inconceivable wealth of glory those few words contain. Night, darkness, represents all that is evil in this world. It will all be gone. Try to visualise, if you can, your existence without any evil of any kind.
Any visualisation of Heaven is quite beyond us. A description of Heaven, no matter how wonderful, beautiful and glorious, is pathetically inadequate and less than what it will be.
"We shall be like Him (Jesus)
for we shall see Him as He is"
I John 3:2.
When Jesus appears we shall be like Him. What an incredible transformation that will be. Can anyone visualise or imagine what that will be like?
We shall become as He is.
IN THE LIKENESS OF JESUS
Our likeness to Jesus when we see Him does not mean we shall be exactly the same as Jesus. This cannot be, for He is the Second Person in the Godhead. In coming to this world Jesus emptied Himself, becoming nothing, in taking on the form of a man. When He ascended into Heaven after His death and resurrection, He assumed His Godhead at the right hand of the Father.
To become like Jesus means we take on all the wonderful graces manifested and displayed whilst here on earth. This is a likeness which should begin here and be completed in Heaven (Philippians 1:6; I Peter 1:5; Jude 24). Heading these graces Jesus displayed here on earth was His passionate loyalty to God. determination above all things to do the will of God. His unwavering love for God so that He could truthfully say: If you and know Me you will see and know God, (John 14:7 -10).
Let us try, however far short in our thinking we may fall, to think about this. We shall not share the Godhead of Jesus for He is God the Son and a created being can never share or become part of the Godhead. There is no created being as God is and Jesus is of the Godhead.
I Corinthians 15, on the resurrection, says something transpires that can never happen here. We receive a spiritual body. A body like the resurrection body of Jesus. Jesus when resurrected was no longer restricted by His physical body. He appeared when doors were shut. Yet, He invited His apostles to feel Him and touch Him so that they would know it was Him beyond the shadow of doubt.
Paul in this famous chapter of 1st Corinthians, declares, this body which we have now is perishable, but in the resurrection it is
raised imperishable. Here it is in dishonour, but it is raised in glory. Here it is a natural body, in the resurrection it is a spiritual body. And this has to be because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. This amazing transformation has to take place for we are to bear the image (the likeness) of the Man (Jesus) from Heaven.
BEING TRANSFORMED HERE
This transformation begins here. And it is set forth for us in Ephesians 2. This chapter begins when we lived in our trespasses and sins, when we followed and conformed to the ways and fashions of this world. Indeed, although we did not know it we were following the prince of the power of the air, the devil.
Then God stepped in. God was allowed to take over in our lives. Although we were dead in our sins and shortcomings we received new life through and in Christ. Indeed God made us alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. God gave to us the very life; the resurrection life of Christ.
It was the life with which God raised Jesus from the dead. So began a transformation to be completed in the resurrection.
It is to culminate in Heaven, when we shall be like Jesus, the same as Jesus, for we shall see Him as He is. Our family likeness to Jesus will be completed.
PREPARATION FOR HEAVEN
MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCE
No Christian lives their Christian life on their highest peak of their Mount Transfiguration. They may start gloriously and for a time it may be so. Then God will take them down into the valley and that is where they may live most of their lives - in a demon infested valley, where there is argument, accusations, pain and suffering, all of it crowned with some bewildering failure.
God does not put a protective picket fence around us because we are Christian. What life dishes out to others it dishes out to Christians.
How then do we maintain the spiritual glow? How do we go through life without whimpering no matter what the injustices of life may be? There is only one answer. The love of Christ must constrain us. When we love Jesus we will be constantly looking unto Him. We shall have our eyes fixed on Him.
If you, with all your heart love Jesus, you will understand what I am trying to say and a lot more. If you do not love Him you may be wondering what in the wide world I am talking about.
THE NEW TESTAMENLSHOWS US HOW WE CAN KNOW GOD
I suppose we could say that the whole of the New Testament is designed and programmed (modern terminology) to enable us to know more clearly, more accurately Whom God is and to be increasingly learning Whom He is. Even when it deals with sin, this is its purpose for sin obscures God, blinds us to God, makes God seem remote from us.
When it teaches about what Jesus has done for us it does so in order that we shall have such accurate insights as to Whom God is, we shall be attracted to God, our wonderful Father, with an overwhelming, passionate desire for Him.
Being what we are and God being Whom He is, this of necessity means we shall be constantly, incessantly learning more and more of God - that is, knowing Him personally as Moses did, face to face (John 14:21-23).
GOD AND HEAVEN
If we think of Heaven as where God is, we need, if we can, think a little about God. It is when we begin to do this that all thought breaks down. And this happens when we try to think of God as He really is. Our problem lies in this. How can the finite think of the infinite. God is totally other than anything we know. We know of nothing in our experience that is like God. We are created beings, everything we know from experience has been created. Nothing of any kind about God has been created. God needs nothing from His creation. He is completely sufficient in Himself. Nothing in creation can either add to or take away from God. We need God but He does not need us.
we take any one of the attributes God has revealed to us: His holiness, His justice, His grace, His infinitude, His power, His knowledge, His love, His mercy; each of these is infinite and so every other attribute He has revealed about Himself. There is no limit or any limitation to any one of God's attributes. We can know because of revelation, this is so of God, but these are quite beyond our powers to deduce from anything we know from experience.
In Heaven we move into a totally different world or existence from this world where everything is created. Heaven is not bound by the limits of time and space and matter as we are on planet earth. In this world we are fairly well acquainted with the physical and the material but these do not exist in Heaven.
God is so other, than anything we know. We are dependent on revelation and Jesus to be able to form adequate concepts of Him here in this life.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR HEAVEN
We have thought a little about Heaven, and if we said no more than we have said you could be left with the presumption all will make it to Heaven. Will this be so?
Currently our society is dominated by humanism. Our thinking, our ideas, our morals, our ethics and our philosophies of life are all humanistically dominated. What God has to say about any one of these is almost totally disregarded. And yet it is only what God has to say in the matter as to who qualifies for Heaven that determines the matter. Perhaps we should say that God is the ultimate Who decides who qualifies for Heaven.
THOSE WHO MISS OUT
In my childhood and early manhood the prevailing thought about those who would miss out on Heaven, were those whom God saw fit to punish for the bad or evil lives they lived. God would disqualify them from His Heaven by punishing them for their sin.
A more accurate understanding of those who miss out on Heaven is that men eliminate themselves. It is not God Who keeps them out of Heaven, they keep themselves out. We briefly look at ways in which this is done.
Multitudes totally ignore Heaven - and God - altogether. Observe the way men live their lives, listen to their topics of conversation, see what absorbs their interests, or you can look at T.V., listen to radio, read newspapers and there is not a mention of God, or Heaven. This despite the fact that all of us capable of thinking know that the one absolutely certain thing in this life is that we all shall die. There is no escape.
If men think at all about existence beyond this life it is confused and remarkably blurred. You will come across many and varied confused and uncertain opinions and sometimes weak and woolly hopes but never any reassuring certainty about Heaven. Certainty about Heaven is reserved to be found in Christians -and not always with them.
For most, life is nicely comfortable in this country. We are never hungry, we are well clothed, we have comfortable homes, sport and entertainment adds plenty of interest to life, who needs God? A God Whom we falsely think would upset the good, comfortable time we are having if we let Him take charge of our lives.
Whilst most of us readily admit we are not perfect, nonetheless, if we think about Heaven at all, we are sure that we are not bad enough for God to keep us out of His Heaven.
There are those who rely upon false hopes for their chances of Heaven. They pin their hopes of Heaven on their church, the good lives they live, or the good deeds they do, or that they believe in God or say prayers every night before sleeping. We could go on looking at ways men, not God, exclude themselves from God's Heaven.
The really big thing that the majority of people never come to terms with is that they are sinners. They have no idea how effectively sin cuts them completely off from God and any chance
of His Heaven. We are not talking of what most seem to regard sin to be - a lie, here and there, a bit of dishonesty to gain ones own ends, some petty pilfering, or cheating with income tax.
Sin is much, much more serious than these. Sin is rejecting God - men and women will not have anything to do with God. Sin is doing things my way, and being very proud of ourselves for doing so.
Sin is running our lives without having any regard for God whatsoever - and millions do just this. Sin is my tenacious holding on to my right to myself. Sin may manifest itself as something all recognise as very evil, or it may clothe itself in an attractive, pleasing life style, but however attractive to men it steadily rejects God.
Perhaps the most serious of all the ways by which men eliminate themselves from Heaven is their refusal to have anything to do with the means God has provided for them to become acceptable to Him.
God sent His Son to this earth to die on a cross in order to bear the sin of the world but men will have nothing to do with the one and only way they can be acceptable to God in His Heaven. However "evil" or "nice" a person may be they do not want to hear about their need of a Saviour and that Jesus is the Saviour they need.
OUR NEED TO BE DEFINITE
There is no matter about which we should be more definite and certain than our future destiny after death. To have this certainty and assurance we need to turn to the Word of God and follow through what God says in His Word.
For the sake of clearness and simplicity we shall make a statement of exactly what God says in His Word and then give passages of Scripture which you can look up to verify the statement.
1. You are a sinner, Romans 3:22-23.
2. Because you are a sinner you need saving, Rom. 6:23.
3 Jesus and Jesus alone can save you, Acts 4:10-12.
4. In order for you to be saved by Jesus, you must deliberately and definitely receive Jesus as your personal Saviour, John 1:10-12.
5. You receive Jesus as your personal Saviour:
a. Through faith, Acts 16:29-33.
b. You must repent, Acts 2:38, 17:30- 31.
c. You must be baptised, Acts 2:38, buried with Christ in which you die to your old life and rise to a new life in Christ, Romans 6:3-4.
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF YOUR NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.
A. You now set about ridding yourself of all in your old life that will prevent you from growing into the Christian God intends you to be, Romans 6:19-23, 8:1-11, 12:1-2.
B. You set about putting into your life the things that will enable you to grow as a Christian and become the disciple of Jesus God wants you to be, Colossians 3:1-21.
C. God has given you the resources which will enable you to become a Christian who will be satisfactory to God, 2 Corinthians 3:18.
a. God has given you His living Word - the Bible -especially the New Testament, Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:105; James 1:22; I John 2:5, 14.
b. God has given you His Holy Spirit to enable you to become the usable disciple He wants you to become, Acts 2:38; John 14:15-18; Galatians 5 :16-18, 22-25; 2 Peter 1:3-4.
c. God has given you the means to instantly restore a right relationship with Him should you for any reason impair that relationship, I John 1:5-2:2.
d. God has made it possible for Jesus to live His resurrection life within you, John 14:23-24; Ephesians 3:16-i7; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; John 15:1-8.
e. Prayer as taught us in the New Testament can be the means whereby we may commune with God and come face to face with Him. God may talk to us and we to Him, John 15:6-7, 14:12-14.
f. The Church. Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for it. True spiritual fellowship with the saints is most encouraging, most inspiring and very important for Christian growth, and Christian balance. Think how balanced Jesus was all through His life, Ephesians 5:25-27.
MANY OTHER PASSAGES
There are many other passages which a little diligent reading of he New Testament will bring to light.
It is the simple truth when we read in the Scriptures that God in Jesus Christ has enriched us in every way ... and we do not lack my Spiritual Gift as we wait for Jesus Christ to be revealed. I Cor. 1:4-9, and God through His divine power has given us everything to lead the life a Christian should, both to glorify God here on earth and fully equip us for Heaven, 2 Peter 1:3-4.
“But I am in a strait betwixt the two," wrote the great Apostle, “having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is far better: yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake." Philippians 1:23, 24.
Soon I am going to know the answer to the all important question: What happens when one dies? I shall know the answer to the generations old question men in every age have asked: If a man dies shall he live again? That question is not an academic one for me. Soon, it could be within a month or it may be two or three years away, but soon I shall slip into the great beyond that is so different from everything I know here. There, there will be no time, no space, no matter. I shall pass beyond these most
familiar things in which all of my long life has been lived.
Some, many years younger than I am, have suggested that what I have written applied to them exactly the same as it does to me. They, I have been assured, could also be but one heart beat away from eternity and they ride in motor cars for they live in a world that is no stranger to sudden and most unexpected death. And this is true. But they can also look at death as an optional. They can look at it as something way in the future, twenty or thirty or more years away before they get anywhere near my age. I, on the other hand, whilst I cannot give you a week or month or even a year for that matter, know that my departure will be soon.
We were a group of old people, sitting at tables of six enjoying a lovely luncheon about three weeks ago. Two of the elderly ladies who appeared to know each other were talking. I do not think I had ever seen them before. As I was right next to them I heard what they were saying. "I never give it a thought, I never think about it" one said in the most emphatic way and with a touch of belligerence in her voice as if to warn anyone off from being so foolish as to talk to her about the subject. And the subject she was so flat and final about was death and what came after death.
I cannot think of a day when I have not thought of death. I have watched people die both in hospital and out of hospital. Conducting burials has been a part of my ordinary life. Friends, even loved ones, whom I have known over long years are quietly, one by one, slipping out of this life, and the news sessions, for weeks have told of thousands dying in Africa and killed in war in Europe, and in the most recent days the death toll brought about by an earthquake and tidal wave in Indonesia has been steadily rising as more victims are being discovered.
A long time ago I quietly slipped into this world without knowing it. I spent quite a time before I realised I was here. When this
realisation seemed to have fully developed in my consciousness I further realised I must be here for a very important purpose. This purpose, or rather the growing realisation of it brought God, and Jesus, the Bible and fact that I am a sinner and desperately need a Saviour and that Jesus alone is the Saviour of men into my life to become the dominating factor in my living.
My entrance into this life, completely unknown to me at the time, was in many ways the experience that started it all - my life here on planet earth - in many ways quite an adventure - and for me a quite wonderful one. A. B. Facey called his time here on planet earth, "A Most Fortunate Life." That was the way he saw his life. But Mr Facey missed out on one important factor which would have turned that word "fortunate" into "wonderful" or even glorious". He missed out on a supernatural companion, Jesus, Whom He could have allowed to enhance and in many ways transform every aspect of his living. His loss was immense.
I have long regarded this life as an apprenticeship for my more intimate life with God in His Heaven. And I have never been quite able to understand why so many of my fellow Christians give such importance in their thinking and planning and decision making to the things of this world all of which they will leave behind. They seem, I hope I am wrong, to make this world the “be all and end all" of living. For many, God and all that goes with Him, appears to come well down in the list of their priorities.
The new birth" or "being born again" for many, seems to have become a vague theological term with little importance or meaning to life. To me, the existence to which I am going, is so incredibly different from anything I know here that it is absolutely imperative that I undergo a most radical change and transformation and it is of such a nature only God can affect it. Being born again or from Heaven so that one becomes a new creation altogether is an essential beginning to this radical change
that prepares us for this coming life. It is the beginning that makes it possible for God to be able to effect the necessary and radical transformation which must start here if any of us are to qualify for His Heaven, and go on to enjoy it.
When one fills in eighty years and more on this earth and more, by any calculation, one knows that one's time here is quite measurable. Thus it was I decided I would think a thought or two about Heaven. I knew that what Heaven will actually be like when I get there may be quite different from what I am capable of thinking it to be this side of the Great Divide. Nonetheless, having had my one go at life here on earth I thought it would be good to think a little of the wonderful life God has in store for those who have loved Him here, and however falteringly, have genuinely sought to do His will.
One other thing has had a great attraction for me - God Himself.
I want to know as much of Him as I possible can. I know that everything about God is infinite in the true and real meaning of that word. I know that He is totally "other" from anyone I can imagine or know here. He is quite beyond my little mind to comprehend Him. He is altogether wonderful but that word wonderful is a creature word and hardly begins to express the glory and wonder of God.
Heaven is being in the immediate Presence of God. No wonder Paul said to be with Jesus is far better.