The Bible calls heaven, our eternal home, and blessed hope. If we are more at home here on the earth than we think we’d be there, then we don’t yet have the revelation of heaven that God wants us to have. Our hope and faith needs to be enlightened with revelation and infused with a desire for our future home.
The hope of heaven is what has enabled me and my family to deal with my Daddy’s recent departure from such a positive eternal perspective. Though we miss my Daddy greatly, this eternal perspective is also what allows us to live our lives with greater joy and anticipation from surely knowing that my Daddy is among that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on in our own race to the finish line.
“Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us” (Heb. 12:1).
This huge crowd of men of faith or cloud of witnesses does not observe us from a mere natural standpoint. They are not concerned about our earthly status in the sense of our wealth, prestige, or reputation. They are not concerned about how many houses, lands, cars, or material possessions we own. They are mainly concerned about one thing: The condition of our spiritual lives, and the salvation of sinners and maturity of the saints.
For example, the late Kenneth E. Hagin had an Enoch-like experience he describes in his book, “Following God’s Plan For Your Life”, where he was taken up to heaven. There he saw his sister Oleta, who had died of cancer at just 45 years of age. Hagin was allowed to talk to her. She told him since her arrival in heaven that she had already seen several family members, while expressing concern for others on the earth who were presently away from God. She told Brother Hagin that he should talk to her eldest son about the Lord and that he would listen to him. These things are real friends. Heaven knows what goes on spiritually down here on the earth. What an incentive to run our race and fulfill God’s plan for our lives! What an incentive to finish strong! What an incentive to be about our Father’s business!
We can even suffer in this life for the gospel’s sake because of the future joy that is ahead for us in heaven, and the glad reunion with our saved loved ones who await our arrival. I can almost hear my Daddy’s voice now cheering me on from among that cloud of witnesses. “Go Bert! Go! You are doing well! Stay close to Jesus! Love and forgive everyone! Stay strong in your calling! Keep preaching the truth of the gospel! Run faster! Stay on course! Bring more souls to heaven! Keep reaching out to our family! Go, son go!!!”
I draw great strength from my Daddy’s life and greatness in God. He was a very imperfect man who had many shortcomings and made many mistakes, but he was never ashamed of the gospel. His greatness lay in that simple characteristic. That is why Jesus confesses his name before the Father and the angels (Lk. 12:8).
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32-33).
Death has truly lost its sting. The grave has truly lost its victory (1 Cor. 15:55). When we who’ve born again understand what death truly is, it loses its power and grip over us. We are no longer in fear to the bondage of it. Death is the beginning of our transition to heaven. Could it be that the reason so many people have a fear of death and such uncertainty about heaven be because of the lack of teaching and revelation on it? Could it also be that the reason people have such unsatisfied desires in this life is because they were made for another world that is filled with perfect joy, peace, and satisfaction?
Jesus paved the way to heaven for us. He wanted us to be with Him forever. He is not trying to keep anyone out of heaven, but He is working to get us all in.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me… “ (Jn. 17:24). He endured the horrific death of the cross and being separated from His heavenly Father for the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:2). That joy was you and I. Oh, glory to God! Jesus loves us so much that He chose to take on the sins of all mankind by offering His blood as the perfect sacrifice and suffer such a grueling death, so that He wouldn’t have to live without us! That should be enough to melt every man’s heart and submit to Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The apostle Paul had come to many revelations. One was of heaven. He’d been caught up there and witnessed some of its glories.
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2).
Paul here is speaking of himself. His visit to paradise was so real he didn’t know if he was in or out of his body. His experience was so great and glorious he couldn’t find words to describe it (v. 4). This foretaste of heaven gave him a strong desire to return rather than to stay here on the earth.
“For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23).
Paul drew enormous strength from his visit and revelation of heaven. Such is the purpose for these last few blogs – to make heaven more real to each of us so that we will stay encouraged and never quit or give up, knowing what our final destination is. Heaven should have a major influence on how we live our lives on this earth.
If you are a sinner or a backslider, repent of your sins and give your life to Jesus. If you are saved, don’t ever quit or give up. I want you all to make it and have an abundant entrance into the joys that await us who’ve lived for Him. I can guarantee you that every trial, every pain, and every sacrifice you make for His glory will be worth it all in the end.
Jesus loves you and wants you with Him forever.