Aug 13

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How sweet the word, how beautiful the thought, of heaven. As the old song rings out, “How beautiful heaven must be;” then the words of another song comes to mind: “Sing To Me Of Heaven!” As the old preacher had reached the end of his sermon, he walked across the podium and as he did so, he talked about heaven and as he spoke so gently of heaven he looked up and it was as though he was actually looking into heaven itself! I also heard L. O. Sanderson preach on heaven and concluded that such a subject should be left to older preachers. L. O. Sanderson was such when I heard him. The words of the songs just written fit well into brother Sanderson’s sermon.
Another song addresses heaven, in these words: “Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely — I’m not discouraged I’m heaven bound — I’m just a pilgrim in search of the city — I want a mansion, a harp and a crown.” It is a song of encouragement. We may not have much of this world’s good but we are just passing through. As a pilgrim I am truly in search of that city that Jesus told the disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2).
Years ago, I went to India to teach the word of God to them. The last thing we did was visit the Taj Mahal and saw it’s beauty and it is truly a thing to see. There are a number of stories about how it was built as it was built for a burial place of the king’s wife. It is one of the ten wonders of the world but it falls to ashes when put beside heaven. The wall of China is nothing to behold when put beside heaven! The beauty of heaven has yet to be told because words we have nothing that truly can compare with heaven! God has given us word pictures but words can only relate to things of this world and heaven is not of this world!
Sometimes we use the Book of the Revelation of Christ to tell us about heaven, but many times words have no relationship to heaven. For instance, many times these words are used: “And 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” (Rev. 20:4). But these words are describing a victory for the church over the Romans. How welcome it must have been when the church that had been battered first their countryman, then, by the Romans; how sweet at taste the words of Revelation twenty-four must have sounded when they first heard them from the pen of John, the apostle. It does not take away from the beauty, nor, the sweetness, of heaven. No, heaven is above and no man, nor, any army of men can touch heaven and what we have waiting for us!
Between now and heaven is the place called Abraham’s bosom, which is “paradise” part of Hades. Even here we are blessed. Hear the word of Jesus to the “rich man,” who desired that the poor man touch his lips with drops of water; Abraham said unto him, there was no way to have the “begger” to cross “great gulf” between them. However, in the end of time, Paul lifts our hearts with these words: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:13-17). Heaven is on the other side of these words. Let us notice what the apostle pointed out for us. First however, allow me to point out that believing is absolutely necessary. Here is what Paul wrote on this: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again.” Now to our points: 1) we are not to sorrow as others, 2) Jesus will bring with “them which are asleep”, 3) “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,” 4) this will be done “with the voice of the archangel,” 5) also “with the trump of God,” and 6) “the dead in Christ shall rise first;” and secondly: 1) then we which are alive “shall be caught up together with them (the dead in Christ) in the clouds,” 2) then, we shall “meet the Lord in the air,” and finally, 3) the grand conclusion “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” How many times have we read and heard read these beautiful words?
But, Paul had one more verse for us. In verse eighteen he wrote: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” And this we have done! Heaven, beautiful and sweet, and on and on we could go but we can never get better than the inspired word.

–Frank R. Williams

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