Summary: Desciptions in the Bible paint a picture of heaven, using images of the worlds we know. So what is Heaven like?
WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE?
September 2005 • Chris Rowney
These messages are also available as audio podcasts at www.tcfnet.org.au/podcasts
In the movie ‘Return of the King’, the last in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.some of the main characters are in the city of Minas Tirith, about to be besieged by the enemy and attacked. And there is a short exchange of dialogue that is a perfect place to begin our thoughts today.
The gray rain curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise..
In the original books those words appear in a slightly different context, but still in the scene from the movie they faithfully convey the worldview of the author, Tolkien.
A lifelong practicing Catholic. Tolkein was good friends with C.S Lewis and they often discussed their Christian faith together, and for each of these literary giants, a hope in something beyond dying underpinned the lives they lives on Earth.
Facing worldly terrors, Gandalf manages a smile, and his eyes see not hordes of enemies before the battlements of the city, but into the far horizons, a new country…
Gandalf and Pippin are fictional characters in an imagined world very different from our own.
But the Bible tells us the life stories of some very real people, who facing all sorts of life events also managed a smile and had eyes that saw into far horizons, and into a new country..
In Hebrews, after recounting great people of faith the writer says this..
"13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.
15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV.
Have you ever wondered at that little line.. God is not ashamed to be their God…?
Why would God ever be ashamed?
When I think about it perhaps it is because the promises of happiness and prosperity, of security and joy were not fulfilled in the lives of those spoken about. And any God that made a promise which did not take place, would be a God that should be ashamed.
But God is NOT ashamed to be called their God.. because God’s promises transcend the portion of our existence between conception and death, they outmeasure 70, 80 or 90 years on this earth. God is not ashamed for he has prepared a city for them.
I ended my message last week with these verses from Revelation, about that City.
"1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son."
Revelation 21:1-7, NIV.
Last week, from Galatians I declared that if by faith you find yourself IN CHRIST, then you are an heir, and this description is of your inheritence.. Heaven..And I said this week I would talk to you about What heaven is like..
So, what is heaven like?
Let’s begin by asking someone who has seen it!
"1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.