Thursday, November 18, 2010

Heavenly foretastes

I've been involved in two fairly large funerals this week, one with over 300 in attendance and one with over 500. They were for a young man and woman (by young, I mean 51 and 37 years old respectively) who had died after battles with cancer. Each of them is in heaven now, and each of them had expressed a longing to see Jesus as they faced the immediacy of their deaths. And as I officiated at one of the services last night, and then conducted the interment this morning, I couldn't help but look forward to that day when I too will get to see my Saviour face-to-face.

In fact, there are a couple of verses in Revelation that have really sharpened my sense of anticipation regarding such things. And the two phrases in these verses make it clear to me that Jesus intends for us to experience genuine foretastes of heaven -- heavenly teasers, if you will -- for those who follow Him.

Revelation 21:3 says, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man." What an amazing promise! God dwelling with us! Then in Revelation 21:23, speaking of the heavenly city where we'll one day dwell with God, it says, "its lamp is the Lamb." In other words, God's glory will illuminate it all! The Lamb of God -- Jesus -- will be so glorious to behold and He will dwell among us forever! It's verses like that that make me long for heaven. They give me hope of an indescribably wonderful eternity with an ever-loving God. That's a big encouragement at funerals like the two we've had this week. And it's a big encouragement amidst all the unpleasant things life might throw at us.

But the really encouraging part is that we don't have to wait for heaven to sample such wonderful promises! We don't have to wait for heaven for God to dwell with us or for the Lamb to give us light. God has given us heavenly foretastes here on earth, and I want to find encouragement in them. Otherwise I can end up ungrateful in this life. Jesus said in John 14:16 that the Father would send His Holy Spirit "to be with you forever." And that's not just to be near us so that we can behold Him, but that's to live inside us. That's like saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is in man." What an awesome foretaste of Revelation 21:3. And the Lamb who will be our lamp has already shone His light into our hearts "to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6) and has already given us His Word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105)!

Yes, there's a great deal to joyfully anticipate about heaven, but there's also loads to enjoy here and now as God's kingdom comes in our hearts. I want to live in the good of the samples that God gives us of the heavenly wonders we have to look forward to!

© 2010 by Ken Peters


Andrew Mick said...

Thanks Ken, that's so true and we need reminding of it. I have found myself pining for Heaven more lately, realizing this old, aging world is reeling from all the ugliness of sin. Great post - thanks.

Ken said...

I'm with you Andrew in the pining for heaven. I'm more eager than ever to see Jesus in His glory! Thanks for the feedback.