7/9/2017 "A person who has gone to heaven"

"A person who has gone to heaven"

Revelation 21: 1-5

Two 100 year old sisters died on the same day and went to heaven. There they were overwhelmed by the majesty and glory of heaven. They were briefly depressed about the fact that they came to heaven too late in that wonder. One sister told the other sister. "If we had not taken oat bran separately, we could have been here five years earlier ….."

In fact everyone wants to go to heaven, but at the same time nobody wants to die. The Apostle John saw the illusion of being exiled to Patmos, a small island in the Mediterranean. He records what he saw and heard in his illusions and reports to us today:

The apostle John describes the kingdom of heaven as "new heaven", "new earth", "new Jerusalem" based on the vision that he saw. And he conveys to us the vivid voice of the Lord, "Behold, I make all things new."

The life of the kingdom of heaven was completely different from our life on earth. The apostle John shouted, "The former things have passed away."

This is the prophecy God has already spoken in Isaiah 65: 7; "for behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind."

Jesus said of this new world: “In the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28) When we enter the kingdom of heaven, you will rejoice with endless wonder as you look at new things.

When the state of Georgia purchased the large residence of the late millionaire William Rockefeller in Jekyll Island, the safe he left prompted people's curiosity. Soon they opened the safe, in which a bottle of wine and a set of false teeth remained. Heaven will never be so empty. Heaven will present surprises and joy that the earth could never provide.

The beauty of this particular heaven is likened to "the bride dressed up as a jewel for the bridegroom" in Revelation. 

Can you imagine the most beautiful bride in the world coming down the church stairs after the wedding? 

In 2 Corinthians Paul wrote his own experience of heaven: “Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows; such an one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12: 2, 4)

The apostle Paul could not describe the kingdom of heaven in any word. It happened to him that he could not imagine for a lifetime. God showed Paul what he prepared for his beloved ones.

When Thomas Edison died, he could not speak a single word. His family doctor noticed that Edison was trying to tell his family something. Doctor bent over to Edison and tried to figure out what he was trying to say: "It's very beautiful over there." This was his last word. It would also be the first word he said in heaven. "It's very beautiful over there."

Among all the glories of heaven, Central will be the majesty of God sitting on the throne. He is the heart of heaven. John heard a loud voice coming from the throne of heaven, not a simple voice: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them.”

This has been repeated many times. The vision was so big and overwhelming that John had to record it repeatedly so that people would believe it. We want him to be with us forever. This is evidence of God's infinite love for us. 

When Jesus was born, he was called Immanuel, which means "God with us." When we reach Heaven with God's mercy, we will stand forever in front of God the Immanuel. It was the voice from the throne of heaven, who dares to doubt it?

Indeed, heaven will reunite us with the rescuer. Little Lisa Greene was only three years old when rescued from fire smoke and flames in Brooklyn, NY, in 1975. When a city firefighter called Marvin Bunch arrived at the scene, the porch had already been burned with fire. Then he listened to the children shouting on the second floor of the house.

Bunch risked and crawled upstairs. And he grabbed Lisa Greene, unconscious, in his arms and went out safely there. Two other children were rescued. Fourteen years later, at age 17, Lisa called the New York City Fire Department to find out who saved her life. He was a retired fire captain living in Las Vegas.

Her family invited the Bunch family to New York as Lisa's guests of honor for Lisa's high school graduation. At the meeting, Bunch said he could not sleep all night until he confirmed the survival of a three-year-old girl who moved to the hospital fourteen years ago. 

Lisa grabbed the hand of Bunch, who saved her life, and thanked her with tears. When we get to heaven, we will be thrilled in tears in front of our divine rescuer who saved our lives.

In some ancient Greek manuscripts, it is interesting that the word "people" is plural in the voice heard from the throne, "he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people." 

It implies that people are all nations. They are gathered around the throne of heaven. It represents the truth that Christianity is a universal religion for all the peoples of earth. Therefore, preaching the gospel to all the people of the world is the ultimate challenge of all Christians living in the kingdom of heaven.

Imagine the people you saved, standing together in the great crowd of heaven. Because of their surroundings of God and their praise of Christ's victory, your life in this land will be praised as a beautiful achievement like the stars of the firmament. 

In the lesson of Revelation today, John now demonstrates the life of those who have entered heaven: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21: 4)

This is beautifully portrayed in the hymn of Norwegian hymn writer Magnus Landstad:
“All trials are then like a dream that is past, Forgotten all trouble and mourning. All questions and doubts have been answered at last, When rises the light of that morning. Have mercy upon us, O Jesus!”

Hans Brorson, who left 70 beautiful hymns in his life, wrote a hymn called Who Is Host Arrayed in White. One part of the hymn written in 1764 is: "On earth they wept through bitter years; Now God has wiped away their tears, Transformed their strife. To heav'nly life, And freed them form their fears."

You do not need a "towel wiping" in heaven. God wipes out all the tears on Earth. There shall be no more death. This vision is ongoing. Isaiah expressed this as follows: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:8)

The apostle Paul repeated this prophecy as follows: “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)

Paul describes the prophecy of Isaiah's death as Jesus' Easter victory, with the words "Death is swallowed up in victory." Many people on this earth, even Christians, live in fear of death for life, but the fear will no longer exist because there is no more death in heaven. Death is forever destroyed.

God is forever in His people. When John saw this vision, what did the cruelly persecuted Christians think? What did Psalm 23 say? “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;” (Psalm 23:4)

Another aspect of John's heaven is that there is no suffering. No more illness, no more scars exist in heaven. The Apostle Paul even claims that this future vision of heaven relieves the pain on this earth: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

In other words, the pain you suffer today is less painful because you have promised a painless life in the coming world. One of the greatest sufferings of life on this planet is that death separates those we love from us. In Heaven, the people of God will no longer be separated because of death. In Heaven's dictionary, the word goodbye will no longer exist.

The apostle John, who recorded the book of Revelation, was expelled from the lonely island of Patmos and broke up with all his loving friends. He would have longed for a life that is no longer separate from the people of God. Every time a beloved person in Christ dies or leaves us, we can endure with faith in Christ for a life of heavenly eternity. In the vision of the apostle John the kingdom of heaven, we look at another promise of heavenly life.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer [any] sea.” (Revelation 21: 1)

According to ancient times, the great dragon that caused all evil on the earth came from the sea. The sea meant the abyss of darkness. Satan behind all sin prevailed in the sea. So the sea symbolically separated mankind. However, the sea, the abyss of sin, is no longer visible. This means that sin and evil no longer exist in heaven. We cannot yet imagine what it is to live without sin. We will all be Christlike, and we will bless, serve and support each other only for the glory of God.

The people of heaven will not understand the meaning of the words crime, violence, jealousy, and falsehood. Because no sin is committed, no one needs to ask for forgiveness. Everything will be a life of peace, joy, love and celebration. Heaven is the final destination of God's people. It is expressed in the words of a man sitting on the throne saying: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Alpha and Omega were the first and last letters of the ancient Greek alphabet. It is the English equivalent of A and Z. God is saying here that he is the source of our life in this world and the destination of our life in heaven.

About 6,000 Americans die every day now. Where are they going? God has a place for those who believe in Christ in the future.

Your destination is a much more exhilarating experience than the travel process. Because of the desire for that destination, we are not afraid to end our journey of faith on earth. “And He who sits on the throne said, it is done.” (21:6)

The word of the throne declares "it is done". It means that you have finally done everything you need to get to heaven. It is no longer possible for others to intervene in your salvation. God on the throne says, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." 

Sometimes we ask for put it in writing when we are not sure about someone 's promise. God did that for us, and for all who will come, he wrote it in the Bible. So nobody can add to it or take it from it. It is written in ink that cannot be erased. This article is written as the authority of the throne. No one can reverse this record, as no one can ever upset the throne.

If heaven is our final destination, this earthly life is a pilgrimage to its destination. If we are following Christ, we are all engaged in His work. There are only two qualifications for such pilgrims to enter the kingdom of heaven. They are the Bible's command. 1) repent, and 2) accept Christ as your Savior.

To comply all the provisions of the US income tax code, you must fill out 392 different forms. Likewise, two things are necessary to pass to Heaven. We must prepare for God's final call at any time. 

Near Sioux City, Iowa, the survivor of an airplane crash in 1989 was thrilled with his survival, crying, "Here I was, sitting on the edge of eternity." But not all of us were sitting on the edge of eternity every day.

Many people die unexpectedly. A man in a city was shot dead by a stray bullet while he was mowing his lawn. A woman in another city was killed by a bullet through her window while her watching television. Another young man in the city died in a car accident on a leisurely road at night. The drunk driver crossed the yellow line and caused a frontal crash.

In this world, no one is guaranteed to have their own safety. We must be ready to die at any time. The journey of this pilgrimage can be very long or short, but their destination in Christ is the same. We are all people to meet in the throne of God. We will rejoin in His presence with joy.

There is one more thing to notice in the vision of Revelation. The apostle John also reports, "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God, made ready for a bride."

This implies that if Christ is in our hearts and governs us, we can enjoy some degree of heaven on earth as well. Of course the heaven is not yet complete. Because there is always sin and evil on earth. Nevertheless, the joy of your heart to live in heaven on this earth should continue to expand to all. He (she) is increasingly turning his life into a heavenly figure. This is what the Lord's prayers mean: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

When we pray, something in heaven is sown in our hearts. The Holy Spirit brings this. Paul wrote in the Bible: “Therefore if any man is in Christ, [he is] a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

How much do they like if your beloved people who died in Christ and already in the kingdom of heaven see your today’s worship? Because they know their pain and difficulties because they have experienced a life on this planet Your destination is a thousand times better than your trip, and the experience of reaching its final destination will surely surpass all the sorrow, suffering, and discouragement of a pilgrimage on the planet.

We are traveling to a new heaven where God is staying in the center of His people forever. Any death, separation, and absurdity that we are experiencing now will be new to God's majesty in such a short time.

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