Summary: Death is not the end but really the beginning of something wonderful and unimaginable. Come and learn more about Heaven.
After having served for decades in Africa, a missionary
couple, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Morrison, were returning to New York to retire. After years of service they had no pension and their health was failing. They were worried and discouraged. They were on the same ship as President Theodore Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his African hunting expeditions. No one paid any attention to the missionary couple. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President and his entourage.
During the voyage, the missionary said to his
wife, “Something is wrong. We have given
our lives in service to God in Africa all these years and no one cares a thing about us. Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us.”
When the ship docked in new York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of news of the President’s arrival. No one was there for the missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East side hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.
That night the man said to his wife, “I can’t take this, God is not treating us fairly.” His wife replied, “Why don’t you go into the other room and tell that to the Lord? He did just that and returned a short time later but his face was different. His wife asked him what happened. “The Lord settled it
with me,” he said. “I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one even met us at the dock. And
when I finished complaining, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said ‘BUT YOU ARE NOT HOME YET.’” This earth is not our home.
Our fleeting years here on earth are but a minuscule portion of our journey. There is another whole realm of life beyond this sphere in which we now exist. It is a place where God will make right all the wrongs of this life. It is a place where we will know life in all its richness and fullness. Heaven will be wonderful, beyond our wildest imaginations. As believers, we are just pilgrims journeying to our heavenly home. Scripture, therefore, refers to us as “…STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THIS EARTH…..” (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11)
Writing to the Philippian believers, Paul said “…OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN…”
“Here was a picture the Philippians could understand. Philippi was a Roman colony. Here and there at strategic military centers the Romans set down their
colonies. In such places the citizens were mostly soldiers who had served their time in the service and were rewarded with full citizenship. The great characteristics of these colonies was that, wherever they were, they remained fragments of Rome.Roman dress was worn; Roman justice was administered; Roman magistrates; governed ; the Latin tongue was spoken and Roman morals were observed.”
In a political sense, the Philippians knew what it was to be citizens of a far-off city (a place where most of them had never even been). On an immeasurably higher
plane, believers belong to a “heavenly city” as Hebrews 13:14 makes very clear. “Through the use of this analogy, Paul was saying to the believers,‘Just as the Roman colonists never forget that they belong to Rome, you must never forget that you are citizens of heaven; and your conduct must match your citizenship.’” (69/611/ Barclay)
Just before His impending death, Jesus spoke to His disciples about this place called heaven.He left them with these memorable and reassuring words:“LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED. TRUST IN GOD; TRUST ALSO IN
ME.IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE ARE MANY DWELLING PLACES; IF IT WERE NOT SO, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU. I AM GOING TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU…..SO THAT WHERE I AM THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO.”
When Jesus said, “in my Father’s house,” the very
words He used changed the whole character of the abode of the dead.“No longer was death to be viewed as an eerie journey to an unknown and frightening destination. For the first time people were able to
think of death as a going home to their heavenly Father.It was seen as an entering into the presence of their Creator where all would be joy and light and love” (Maclaren). It was viewed as the one place where all the wrongs and inequities of this life would be made right. It was seen as the place where we would finally be reunited with loved ones who had died in Christ.
“When Jesus said ‘IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE ARE MANY DWELLING PLACES…’ the Greek word that He used for ‘dwelling places’ also means ‘abiding places.’