“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3)
They say when a loved one moves to heaven one feels closer to it. The hope of being reunited with that loved one makes heaven even more real. When enough of your saved loved ones move to heaven they say you can even become homesick, especially as the revelation of your eternal home grows in you.
My Daddy departed this earth on Friday morning August 5th at approximately 7:30 (you can read about the night and day of his departure in my last blog). The night before his morning departure I was in a meeting hearing a man speak on the glories of heaven. The man, Dean Braxton, had been clinically dead for an hour and 45 minutes and was taken to heaven where he saw and heard many things.
I knew my Daddy was close to his earthly departure and heavenly arrival, but I did not know that in less than 12 hours he would actually be there. The Lord used Dean to get me ready not only for his departure but for his arrival as well. In a certain sense, his description of heaven and what it was like to die and go there put me there ahead of my Daddy.
Here are some high points of Dean’s journey to heaven that he testified of on that imminent and preordained night of August 4th.
EVERYTHING IS RIGHT IN HEAVEN
Everything in heaven is right; nothing is wrong. Everything and everyone is glad you are there. Also, everything is alive; there is nothing dead there. True death is not having the Father and the Son or the Holy Spirit in your life. Not having Jesus as your Lord and Savior and not being in right relationship with God is the death of all deaths. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mt. 22:32b).
It seemed that if you were not right with God you would be burned up by His brightness. Terror is what you would experience if you were not right with Him. However, those who were right with God could look at Him with a pure heart and they experienced perfect joy and peace. The feeling, however, was actually past peace because there isn’t anything in heaven to be peaceful from.
Everything is alive and in perfect order where Jesus and the Father are. They do not live with death. On the earth we live with death and decay all around us and become desensitized to it in thinking that there is an end to everything, but in heaven life goes on and on and never ends. The Father and Jesus are pure life, light, and love, and you become one with what they are.
Everything in heaven is light and life. The buildings, atmosphere, and landscape are all light-like. The buildings look almost like glass and they shine with the glory of God. They can also move around from place to place. The trees, flowers, bushes, grass, mountains, hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, etc. are all alive and cannot be described in earthly terms.
THERE IS AN INDIVIDUAL LOVE YOU EXPERIENCE IN HEAVEN
Our brother Dean testified that when you looked at any part of Jesus’ body you felt such an individual love. Everything about Him loves you. His feet, His hands, and His entire body love you.
“Jesus loved me so much that I did not have to look at His face to experience His love. His feet showed me love. If all I saw was His feet I knew He loved me. It was not only that He loved me, but it was like I was the only one He loved in all creation. I knew He loved others but it seemed like I was the only one He loved.” Dean Braxton
You can look at any part of Jesus’ body and know He loves you. By looking at His hands you know how much He loves you. You can still see the nail piercings in His hands and experience His overwhelming love that comes forth from them. They seem to say to each individual, “I love you and only you.” You know He loves others, but it feels like He only loves you.
I lost it when I heard that part. I cried and laughed and praised God with deep adoration. We cannot yet fully comprehend how much it cost in pain to His physical body so that we could have a relationship of life with Him (Is. 52:14-15). We love Him because He first loved us! (1 Jn. 4:19)
WELCOMING PARTY GREETS YOU UPON ARRIVAL
The final high point I will share on heaven is that there is a welcoming party that includes far more than those you knew in your earthly years. The party of saints who will greet you upon entering heaven go all the way back to every generation of your blood line who were saved. It is not a small number of people. God is a God of genealogies. We see in the Old Testament when the lineage of the prophets, priests, and kings were listed, and again in the gospels when Jesus and Mary’s genealogy is traced back through many generations of time (beginning of Matthew and Luke.). How wonderful to know that every saint and born again child of God will be greeted by so many with great joy unspeakable and full of glory upon their arrival in heaven!
An announcement is made upon every saint’s arrival I heaven, for just as the angels know and rejoice when one sinner repents on the earth (Lk. 15:7, 10), so too they know when one is about to arrive in heaven. It comforts me to know that when my beloved earthly Daddy was about to depart as I spoke by speaker phone into his ear just minutes before his departure that his name and coming arrival had already been announced in the annals of heaven. The angel came for him at that moment and escorted him home while his welcoming party rejoiced and ushered him into the glory of our heavenly Father’s house forever.
GRIEF TURNED TO JOY
For the first two days after his departure I grieved for the loss of my earthly Daddy. It hurt deep inside not to have him with us any more. We feel this grief because separation was not in the original design of God. It is a part of the curse. However, our hope and rejoicing must be centered in the glad reunion that awaits those who’ve tasted of eternal life. When I began turning my focus toward the reality of heaven and of one day being reunited with my Daddy my level of grief changed and took on a new dimension. Hope and joy sprung forth and my heart began to grow lighter. Of course, I miss him, as we all do our departed loved ones, but when I filled my mind and heart with thoughts of heaven my rejoicing in Daddy’s gain outweighed the sorrow of his loss.
Here is a poem I wrote and read at the closing of my Daddy’s memorial service that expresses this well:
Why should I cry? My Daddy is alive and in the midst of the glories of heaven
Why do I want to think of my loss?
Instead of my Daddy’s gain
Why should I wail in a pagan dirge of despair?
When my Daddy is with Jesus in the Father’s care
My Daddy didn’t die; he just went home
To the born again Christian death is not a defeat
It is a victory and a triumph of the highest degree
So can I be full of sorrow when my Daddy is so happy?
Should I be full of mourning when he is rejoicing with great joy?
You see, my Daddy didn’t die – he just went home.
Praise God! This is the lot and portion of every born again saint. Hallelujah! We are all homeward bound. Until then let us work for the Master and bring many more people to Him while it is yet day, for the night comes when no man can work.