Apr 04

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In this third and last article in this series of articles on heaven, we will try and do the impossible; that is to describe heaven in earthly terms and in contrasting terms. Even words which may not refer to heaven may yet be true of heaven. What can this possibly mean?
People have read and have been thrilled at these words: “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. 21:4). These words may not refer to heaven, as pointed out in an earlier article, but we can be sure, there will be no tears in heaven, there will be no sorrow in heaven, there will be no crying in heaven, there will be no pain in heaven, and there will be no death in heaven! All these things are by nature earthly and all in heaven will be heavenly by nature. So, yes it is possible for words which may not actually refer to heaven in the context to describe the nature of heaven nevertheless.
Give thought to the following contrast between the “terrestrial” body and “celestial” body, as Paul writes; the “terrestrial” body is described as: corruption, dishonour, weakness, natural, earthy, and mortal; while the “celestial” body is described as: incorruption, glory (honor), power, spiritual, heavenly, and immortality. (1 Cor. 15:40-53). As Paul describes the “celestial” body, is he not also describing heaven? Yes he is! However, do we really have the ability to understand something that is “incorruptible” and “immortal”? How can we, seeing all that we know is corruptible and mortal? Here is our problem; here is God’s problem, if you will, in trying to describe heaven to us mortals! Nothing corruptible can truly describe the incorruptible; nothing mortal can truly describe the immortal.
Let us go back to the beginning, to creation. Here we read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …” (Gen. 1:26). Moses wrote that God – and this is the Godhead, as seen in the plural pronoun “us” in the text – made man in “our image,” and “likeness.” These words must refer to the spirit of man, the part of man that is unseen! So, even though within us is a “spirit” that is made in the “image” and “likeness” of God, like God, it is unseen and indescribable! It is immortal, in that it will always exist; either in heaven or hell. However, this “spirit,” if heaven is the eternal home, will be clothed upon with a body that is incorruptible, and immortal. Why is this? Because this is the nature of heaven!
Now, just for the sake of writing, let us suppose that the following words were written to describe heaven: “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” (Rev. 21:18-21). First, these words are highly figurative! What would an immortal spiritual being have need of a street made of mortal, corruptible “pure gold?” Here is the real question: “Do these words, even if they were used to truly describe heaven, make you want to go to heaven?” Is this your motivation for eternal life? I think not! We can have material things, yes, even gold, in this life!
The desire to enter heaven is not material in nature; as these are the desires of this life! No, heaven is far more than these! The apostle wrote: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet 3:11-13). Seeing that all material things, including this earth, shall be “dissolved,” Peter says, “nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth.” Peter is not writing about a purified earth and heavens, but a “new” earth and heavens. The key word is “new” which is used two times. It is the Greek “kainos” and means, “1) new, as respects substance , unheard of.” Of course, Peter must use words which we know as in other cases, otherwise, they would have no meaning whatsoever!
But, keep in mind, the “new” is of the “unheard of” nature; truly indescribable to the human mind. Heaven is unlike anything we know; so far above all things of this life that words do not have the ability to describe it. So, what can we say? What a place, a place of the heart, a place of the spirit, a place of all our desires! Friends, it is a place prepared only for those who obey the gospel and live faithful until death. Don’t miss it!!

— Frank R. Williams

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