By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel
A glimpse of Heaven is given in God's Word in that it is a dwelling place of the Deity; place of everlasting abode of the righteous, and also 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 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 (Revelation 20:12) and be sentenced to eternal separation from Him.
God's Word reveals that He is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). This clearly reflects His desire for the salvation of all who will trust in Him (John 3:16). (Comment)
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. Others have testified, as well, of their own glimpse of heaven.
A Biblical account of a glimpse of heaven is given concerning the first Christian Martyr named Stephen. Being full of the Holy Ghost (or God's Spirit), he looked steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and 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 own life for the one who had given His 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, having died in the faith, being fully persuaded of a God's promises, and embraced them (Hebrews 11:13).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again in a lively 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!
Jesus responded: Because you have seen, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe (John 20:27-29). 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 (Romans 10:9).
Christ returned to the Father in heaven as the first fruits of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20), as the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). As the forerunner (Hebrews 6:20) He entered into heaven to prepare a place for His followers (John 14:3).
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 (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 found 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 of other things, would be a hindrance to a heavenly gain (Mark 4:19).
Jesus, in revealing a glimpse of heaven, said: 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 (Genesis 3:22-24) 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 (Romans 13:14)!
A glimpse of heaven is noted many times in God's Word. If the earthly house of this tabernacle (or earthly body) were destroyed, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (1 Corinthians 5:1). Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him (James 2:5)?
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 (another glimpse of heaven). 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 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.
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 and 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 dine with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).
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