Sermons

Summary: The study contrasts Heaven with our present situation. What can we expect in Heaven? For many of us, we need to change our perception of what shall be.

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also, he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” [1]

Perhaps you remember the advent of the new millennium; I certainly remember that transition. Do you remember the Y2K problem? We were told that we might well witness the end of the world on January 1, 2000. It was a time of great anxiety. Our computerised age appeared unprepared for the transition that would take place. People worried we could move back to a Stone Age overnight. Lynda and I watched a fireworks display while seated on the village green in Jasper. We couldn’t help but wonder what the dawn would bring. It’s hard to believe that almost two decades have passed since those days.

Of course, there were no serious interruptions to life as we had come to know it. Certainly, there were no planes falling from the sky. Electricity continued to be transmitted into our mountain village at least as reliably as it had ever been transmitted. The two traffic lights in the townsite continued to work as they were supposed to work. We continued to drive between Jasper and Valemount allowing me to provide pastoral oversight for the two churches with which I then laboured. Despite all the hype and the fear generated by breathless newscasters reading the copy provided each evening, little of consequence occurred.

Nevertheless, the advent of a new millennium did stimulate many people to think about new beginnings—and endings. To be certain, the excitement generated by that date passed quickly. In the ensuing years, no one could have foreseen what was coming in this brave new millennium. Who could have foreseen attacks by Muslim fanatics aimed at the American homeland? We couldn’t have anticipated that Canada would be drawn into a worldwide conflagration with our forces engaged in Afghanistan. America would elect its first black President and also its first reality-star as President in the early years of the new millennium. No one can predict the future and we cannot know whether any one of us will live to see what will happen in coming years, much less the condition of our country as the years unfold.

There is always the possibility, rather, I should say the certainty, that the righteous shall be removed at some point in time. And though many fellow believers have ceased living as though the Rapture may occur momentarily, the Word of God stands sure in the promise of Christ’s return. The Word cautions that, “We who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with [those who are raptured] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” [1 THESSALONIANS 4:17]. When that glorious promise is at last fulfilled, what then? What happens after we are taken to be with the Lord?

We haven’t time to review in detail the timetable detailing the events on earth following the Rapture of the Faithful that is laid out in the Word of God. Nevertheless, when the faithful are removed from this earth, God’s great timetable will be set in motion. The judgement of the nations, the Millennial reign of Christ and the last great battle when all evil shall at last be put down forever are yet to be witnessed by followers of the Christ. Though we shall see these events, we are not direct participants since the Son of God will be the primary actor in all that takes place. Nevertheless, these events are assured, resting on the promise of the Living God.

In the time set aside for the message this day, my goal is to encourage the people of God by directing attention to a time known only to God, though it is revealed to us through His Word. I want us to look forward to a time when all who have believed, all who have been redeemed, shall have been united in perfection before Him and before His throne. I pray that together we shall draw fresh courage from the promise of God that His beloved people shall dwell together with Him in eternity. Join me as we consider that day when time shall at last be changed into eternity. Through the unveiling of what shall follow Christ’s return we are able to learn of God’s intention for us, a consideration made possible because our God has drawn back the curtain separating the temporal from the timeless when He gave John the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

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