By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
A glimpse of Heaven is given in God's Word as the dwelling place of the Deity; everlasting abode of the righteous, and referred to as Paradise. One man stated: Entrance into Heaven is not at the hour of death but at the moment of conversion to Christ (Benjamin Whichcote). A glimpse of heaven is revealed when one yields their life over to the Lord; an unforgettable event that opens the portals of heaven itself!
A Sunday school commentary noted: A day of accounting is coming for all people. We can accept the work of redemption Christ accomplished for us (through His death on the Cross) and have our sins forgiven and be welcomed to a home in Heaven, or we can stand before God in that great day of judgment and be sentenced to eternal separation from Him.
God's Word reveals: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). This clearly expresses His desire for the salvation of all who will trust in Him; not the eternal separation previously mentioned.
A Bible commentary noted: Heaven is a place and the eternal hope of the saved. The glories of heaven belong only to those who have personally trusted Christ for their salvation.
Jesus said: In my Father's house are many mansions (or dwellings): if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).
Heaven's wonders are indeed beyond description. One such attempt is in a book entitled: 90 Minutes in Heaven with others testifying of their own glimpse of heaven.
A Biblical account of a glimpse of heaven is given concerning the first Christian Martyr named Stephen: But he (or Stephen) being full of the Holy Ghost (or God's Spirit), looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man (or Jesus) standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56).
A glorious moment, for a servant of Christ, who was about to give His life for the one who had given His own life for all of mankind; the Lord Jesus Christ! Stephen, being under the influence of God's Spirit, strong in the faith, looking steadfastly to heaven, was given a glimpse of heaven at that moment.
Few have had the luxury of personally witnessing the grandness of heaven, as that of Stephen; yet believe. Scripture reveals: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded (or assured) of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11:13).
Scripture reveals: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again in a lively (or living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fads not away, reserved in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4).
The apostle Peter testified of Jesus' resurrection because He had personally witnessed it. Thomas, disciple of Jesus, doubted His resurrection until Jesus showed him his nailed scarred hands, and where the spear had been thrust in his side. Thomas then proclaimed: My Lord and my God (John 20:28)!
Jesus said to him: Thomas, because you have seen, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe (John 20:29). The lively hope mentioned was not an element of uncertainty (as Thomas' initial response) but guaranteed by Jesus' resurrection from the dead to the believer in Christ.
Scripture reveals: If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
A Bible commentary noted: One is not saved by his mouth's confession, but rather, the mouth testifies readily of the grace of God in Christ which has been received by faith.
Christ returned to the Father in heaven as the first fruits of the Resurrection: Scripture reveals: But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept (or have died) (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is the firstborn among many brethren: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son (the Lord Jesus Christ), that he might be the first-born among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
The ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven ushers in a period of eager expectation. The Christian longs for Christ's coming from heaven when He will seek out His own and raise them up to a heavenly reward.
Scripture reveals: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet 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 (or always) be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). What a glorious future for the believer in Christ who eagerly awaits the Lord's return!
The Psalmist wrote: Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside you (Psalm 73:25). The Psalmist surely seen a glimpse of heaven in finding his happiness solely in a warm and growing relationship with God!
There are many things on earth that may be desirable: Riches, health, friends, food, raiment but nothing compared to God and Christ, and communion with God's Spirit! Jesus warned that the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts (or desires) of other things, entering in, would choke the word (or hinder one's receiving the fullness of God's Word), and it become unfruitful (Mark 4:19).
Jesus, in revealing a glimpse of heaven, said: He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches, To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God (or Heaven) (Revelation 2:7). Man had lost access to the tree of life because of Adam and Eve's disobedience to God but is to be restored again!
Such an opportunity will be returned, to the believer in Christ, when Heaven becomes a reality! What a glorious moment when one enters into those pearly gates after having "Put on Christ" and living in accordance with the Word of God!
A glimpse of heaven is noted many times in God's Word: For we know that if our earthly house (or physical body) of this tabernacle (or earthly body) were dissolved (or destroyed), we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich (to be rich) in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him (James 2:5)?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (the Lord Jesus Christ), that whosoever believes in him, should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).
He that believes on the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides (or remains) on him (John 3:36). God made a heavenly gain, and everlasting life, available through His Son. Acceptance or rejection of so great a salvation lies within each individual!
Scripture reveals: He that believes on him (the Lord Jesus Christ) is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he had not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18). Jesus extends an invitation:
Behold, I stand at the door (the door of your heart), and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door (only you can), I will come in to him, and will sup (or dine) with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).
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