HEAVEN

THE JOURNEY TOWARD HEAVEN

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).

“…there is not only an outward preparation of the place for the people, but also an inward preparation of the people for the place.  Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people….Jesus is…preparing the place for the people…at the same time prepares the people for the place” Charles Ross (ref#241, p71).

“This life ought so to be spent by us as to be only a journey toward heaven.  We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).  “We ought to make use of worldly enjoyments and worldly business as shall best forward our journey heavenward, and no otherwise”  Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p73).  “We ought to seek heaven by traveling in the way that leads there.  The way is the way of holiness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).

“God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints.  Nothing can move Him from it…He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them….In this day of easy and abounding nominal Christianity; this day when human authority is exalted above the Word of God; this day of error, rebuke, and blasphemy; this day of rapid and excited action; this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of Man; let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, “ go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb 13:13).  Let us rest from our conflict and toil where the Father rests, where the sinner rests, where we may rest—in Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 23rd).

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT).

HEAVEN

CONTINUAL ENJOYMENT OF GOD

“It is the enjoyment of God that makes heaven…” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p18).

“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple” (Ps 27:4 ESV).

FATHER, my longing is for heaven.  Settle me now and allow me to dream…

“…the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes.  ‘For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isa 65:16-17 ESV).

 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-4 ESV).

“The sun shall be no more your light by day, not for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory” (Isa 60:19 ESV).

“…The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center.  His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face…” (Rev 22:1-5 MSG).

 “…What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him.…” (1 John 3:2-3 MSG).

 FATHER, with the utmost praise I thank You for my inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for me. (1 Pet 1:4) 

HEAVEN

A FINAL REST

“…we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17 ESV).

“…eternity…is…called a perpetual now.  Christ’s presence now where we are, is a choice blessing.  Believers wish for it, when they are without it; and would wish to have more of it.  But they cannot always have His presence when they would; nor can they always keep it, when they have got it.  It may please Him to awake and leave them,(Canticles 3:5, 8:4) even when they are best pleased with His company….But in the state of glory above, when we shall be with Him where He is, no fears, no ground or suspicion of any such thing, shall ever enter into the heart of any of the glorified” Robert Traill (ref#225, p124).

“…departing to the Christian is not to die, but to sleep…In view of this truth, how chastened and cheered should be our sorrow when visiting the graves of the holy dead.  No wave disturbs their calm repose.  No painful sufferings, no convulsive throes, no affrighting dreams, no mental wanderings, no confused sounds, no imaginary thoughts disturb their peaceful slumber…The body rests in the tomb, the soul in the paradise of God…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 19th).

“…the souls of the righteous, after their warfare is ended, obtain blessed rest where in joy they wait for the fruition of promised glory, and that thus the final result is suspended till Christ the Redeemer appear.  There can be no doubt that the reprobate have the same doom as that which Jude assigns to the devils, they are ‘reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day’ (Jude 5-6)” John Calvin (ref#113, p659).

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2 ESV).

“…Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival.  The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice.  We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness” (2 Pet 3:11-13 MSG).

HEAVEN

ETERNAL LIFE

“…Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!…” (1 Pet 1:3-5 MSG).

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

“…it is not said merely this is the way to eternal life, but this is life eternal itself – ‘to know thee.’  Eternal life then, is not mere conscious and unending existence, but it is ‘to know thee.’…that living, personal, and experimental knowledge – that knowledge, which includes oneness in will with God, and partaking of his nature; it is the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of him” Charles Ross (ref#241, p206).

FATHER, how easily I skip over a relationship with You as satan constantly puts in my head the importance of working for You.  Work now and rest in heaven is such a logical thought to me.

But, in fellowship with You I feel its solid, unchangeableness —its eternalness. “Eternal life really means that we are sharers of the life of God and are in communion with Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 28th).

This is just another reminder to put relationship with GOD at the top of my priority list and not evangelism or Christian service or any activity that I can accomplish on my own.  FATHER, alert me when I fall into glorifying myself with Christian things and guide me to Your presence where I see and glorify You.

HEAVEN

REIGNING CHRIST

“…behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed”
(Dan 7:13-14 ESV).

“Jesus Christ will come again…He will appear in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come again in glory, with all his holy angels and the earth shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt (Rev 19:11-17; 20:11)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Jesus Christ will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his saints.  He will receive them as friends and brethren treating those who believe and have awaited his return with infinite mildness and love….The saints shall all  be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and reign with him in it for all eternity” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.  Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever.  And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation(Heb 9:27-28 MSG).

“…Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.  Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us, who blood-washed our sins from our lives, Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father, forever—and yes, he’s on his way!  Riding the clouds, he’ll be seen by every eye, those who mocked and killed him will see him, People from all nations and all times will tear their clothes in lament.  Oh, Yes” (Rev 1:4-7 MSG).

“…Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him!…” (1 Thes 5:9-11 MSG).

“Because of that obedience, God lifted him high [JESUS] and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, even so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11 MSG).

HEAVEN

DAY OF THE LORD

“Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,” (Joel 2:1 ESV).

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved….as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls” (Joel 2:30-32 ESV).

“…the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:12-13 ESV).

“…the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble.  The day that is coming shall set them ablaze…so that it will leave them neither root nor branch” (Mal 4:1 ESV).

“Behold, he [JESUS] is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.  Even so.  Amen.  ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:7-8 ESV, brackets mine).

“(‘Behold, I am coming like a thief!  Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!’)” (Rev 16:15 ESV).

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  I, Jesus,…testify to you about these things…” (Rev 22:12-13, 16 ESV).

HEAVEN

FACTS OF HEAVEN

“Death not only cannot destroy a Christian, but it cannot hurt him….a child is frightened in the dark where there is no danger, because he is a child, so a good man may be frightened at the terrible looks of death.  But he will find this awful appearance to be only a shadow, that can look terrible but can do nothing terrible” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p116).

“The city of the great King – heaven – is a place of active service.  Redeemed spirits serve Him day and night in His temple.  They never cease to fulfill the good pleasure of their King.  They always rest, as far as ease and freedom from care are concerned, and they never rest, in the sense of laziness or inactivity.” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 12th PM).

“When the soul departs from the body it is received by the blessed angels and conducted by them to the third heaven….Luke 16:22: ‘And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p118).

“Heaven is far above the stars.  So it is said that Christ ascended far above all heavens (Eph 4:10)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p119).  “There shall be no more indwelling corruption, wicked thoughts, or sinful dispositions to torment them….Rev 21:4” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p120).

“…more important than all the physical beauty of the heavenly city, more important than the fellowship we will enjoy eternally with all God’s people from all nations and all periods in history more important than our freedom from pain and sorrow and physical suffering, and more important than reigning over God’s kingdom—more important by far than any of these will be the fact that we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him. ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men’” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p1164).

HEAVEN

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33 ESV).

“…the Kingdom of God!…How shall we make it more than a phrase?  We cannot look at the words without turning to Him Who spoke them.  We Christians, to find our knowledge of the Kingdom of God, must look to Christ our King” James Nisbet (ref#296).

“Everything Jesus revealed about the Kingdom, He was actually revealing about God Himself” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).

“Jesus Christ made God known.  In every action, every word spoken, He displayed the character of the Father.  For Christ to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, was not just to say that God was near, but to say that His heart—the King’s heart—was being offered.  Think about this…it was the very hand of God that extended the Kingdom of God.  That extension was not one of conquest or subjugation, but one of invitation.  God, through Jesus Christ, offered us His heart” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).

FATHER, when I think of a King, I think of power yet JESUS did not depict You wielding power.

“God is holy and just, as well as almighty—since God is love—the true revelation of him could not be a mere outward sign; it must be a living Person, manifesting in words and deeds the very character of God” Charles Ross (ref#241, p81).

…the purpose of seeking the Kingdom is not to find it, but to find myself in it….The search for God has never been a distance issue, or even an understanding issue.  It has always been a surrender issue….to seek first the Kingdom is not to seek for it, but more appropriately it is to search out what has already been laid open to us.  It is to search out the heart of God….we discover His heart, and we discover who we are in Him” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).

HEAVEN

THE FIRST RESURRECTION

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years….This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev 20:4-6 ESV).

“…we who are alive…will be caught up…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17 ESV).

 “…the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever’” (Dan 7:18 ESV).

“The way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to nearly every action and thought through the day.  If our sense of future is weak, we live listlessly.  Much emotional and mental illness and most suicides occur among men and women who feel that they ‘have no future.’…The Second Coming of Jesus…is the most important thing to know and believe about the future.  The practical effect of this belief is to charge each moment of the present with hope” Eugene H. Peterson (ref#262, Introduction to 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, p504).