Heaven, usually most believers don’t think deeply about this place until they are sick, or they lose a loved one. Other than the way we usually talk about “going to Heaven”, most of us do not plan and prepare much for that incredibly greatest journey of our lives. Everything we treasure, value, want and have was designed by God and provided for us.
1-MY CREATOR: Carried us from birth (Isa. 46:3-4 “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb: 4 Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.)
2-MY GUARDIAN: Never sleeps (Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose; 1 Cor. 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.)
3-MY DESIGNER: The Inventor of each unique DNA (Psalm 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.)
4-MY FRIEND: Designer of Companionship (Psalm 16:11; Heb. 13:8)
Welcome to the final class going through the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is not only the last book of the Bible and my favorite book in the Bible, but also Revelation is the book that completes the Bibles self-declaration, that it’s complete. Deuteronomy 4:2 says don’t add to the word, which I’ve commanded you. That’s what God said through Moses at the beginning of the Bible, the first five books. Then Revelation 22 verses 18 and 19 says that no one should add or take away from this book. So, it’s complete. We are studying in this last hour, hour 20, the last two chapters. Revelation 21 and 22.
Basically 21 and 22 are about Heaven. Heaven is told to us from the book that’s not from this planet. I remind you, I showed you at the beginning front end of the class, that this entire course actually is part of a one year long personal Bible study. I would encourage all of you as the assignment for watching this course, to actually get a copy of Living Hope. You can get it on Amazon, electronic copy, and just keep it in your pocket anywhere you are, or you can get a physical book from our mission that Bonnie and I serve and teach with. It’s called Living Hope. It’s divided into 365 daily devotionals and it covers all the material that you’ve seen me trying to get through in each hour of the class and you can read the complete form of it.
Why we study revelation, if you remember we covered this at the front end, in the beginning classes.
- To get to know Jesus better than ever before in our life. That’s the bottom line. It’s the Revelation, the unveiling of Jesus Christ.
- Secondly, to understand God’s plan. God designed each of us. He is our creator, and He is our Heavenly Father. He is the one that actually designed our spiritual being for everything He wants us to accomplish.
- Point number three, there on that slide, we can live confidently. The best life to live is to know how you got here, why you’re here and where you’re headed. That’s what Revelation teaches.
Also, I remind you from our first class, that Revelation connects all of the Old and New Testament books into one message.
Do you see the slide there?
- The Pentateuch: the seed of the woman, the death angel, the dispersion of Israel.
- Job: with Satan’s power over weather, and fire from the sky, and over national groups,
- The Historical Books,
- The Psalms,
- The Prophets,
- The Gospels,
- The Epistles,
All of those are connected by over 800 different quotations and illusions from the rest of the Bible. All of those are put into the 404 verses that make up the book of Revelation. So, it is the most completely interconnected book of the Bible.
It helps us to know this, as you see in the next slide, how to live for God in a dangerous world. It was dangerous back when it was written, in the time of the apostle John, as he was being hunted down and finally imprisoned. It’s dangerous today.
I remind you one last time; Bonnie and I would love for you to pray for us. That’s our prayer card, you see it on the screen. That’s my wonderful wife Bonnie. She’s sitting right out there in our virtual classroom. Anytime you see me a little distracted it’s because she’s the one person in the whole world I’d like to spend all my time with. You can see her there and some of the places where we travel the world, teaching the Bible.
Lesson 20, hour 20, Touring the Universe with God the Creator. Who’s also our Father. I would like to just read Revelation 21 as we start and then open in prayer. It says this,
“Now I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away.”
Now pause, if you want to read about that event, it’s 2 Peter chapter 3. God, at the atomic level, completely renews the universe by dissolving it. It says that the elements, that’s the ancient Greek word for the smallest particle, the atoms dissolve. So, God renews the universe, but He makes it as it says. The first Heaven, the first Earth passed away and “there was no more sea” verse 2. “Then I, John, 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 Heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.”
God, our Creator, our Father wants to have us dwell with Him and He wants to dwell with us. It says,
“He will dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself shall be with them and be their God.”
Truly the book of Revelation is a fulfillment of the promise of Jesus coming into the world at Christmas, Emmanuel. Which being interpreted as what? God with us.
Let’s bow together.
Father in Heaven, I pray that you would open our eyes, as we have to cover so much material in this last class. I pray that you would encourage all the students to do their devotional journals, to give a title to every chapter, to find the lessons of every chapter and then to write a prayer to you, asking you to accomplish in them the truth from each chapter. Lord, I pray that you would watch over this class period, that every part you want us to learn, that you would just make it so clear by your Spirit. Open our eyes O Lord, that we can behold wonderful things from your truth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Remember the outline of the book of Revelation? Christ’s Church on Earth, the first three chapters. Christ’s Church in Heaven, chapter 4 and 5 and then again, we see in chapter 19, the church at that great banquet that we talked about two classes ago. Then, the major portion of Revelation is the tribulation events that keep going between Heaven and Earth. The perspective, the complete peaceful calmness around the throne and the complete disaster on Earth, reminding us that God is totally in control and serenely He is worshiped while the whole Earth is falling apart during the tribulation. Then, Christ returns, Revelation chapter 19. Christ’s Earthly rule for 1000 years is chapter 20, as we saw yesterday. As well as the final rebellion, that a perfect environment never produces perfect people. Then this final lesson, dwelling with God in eternity, in Heaven.
What’s Heaven like? For most of us we don’t think much about Heaven. Some people think about Heaven when they’re sick, when they think they’re going to die, when a loved one dies. When people ask us, we say, Oh I’m going to Heaven, I’m not worried about death but most of us don’t really think deeply about Heaven. It says in 1 Corinthians 2 something that will help all of us understand Heaven better. I think we don’t talk about it and discuss it among each other very much because, I think, we feel like we don’t understand what Heaven’s going to be like.
I actually know that there were times in my life when I heard Heaven described. As a little boy, it sounded a little boring to me. Singing all the time and not doing anything, it was like sitting in church. That’s what I thought of when I was little, until I started reading the Bible. Look what Paul says, 1 Corinthians 2, it’s on the side in front of you, verse 9 and 10.
“But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ “
That’s where most people stop, verse 9. Basically, the lesson is that you can understand what Heaven’s going to be like. So, don’t worry about it, probably won’t be very exciting, but let’s not think about it. That’s not how it ends, look at verse 10, look at the next verse.
“But God has revealed them to us.” God has told us everything that He wants us to know about Heaven, that most of us haven’t really comprehended in fact, even the new Heavens and the new Earth. There are two Greek words for new. New, different /new, the same. If I have a pair of shoes that I like, and I say I want to get new ones. I could either get a new different kind, go from running shoes to hiking shoes. They’re new. That means that I haven’t used them before, but they’re different. That’s one word for new in Greek. Do you know what the other word is? New, same type. Heaven and Earth are going to be new of the same type. That means that the sky blue, the water blue, plants green. That’s the world we’re going to, it’s not going to be the grass hot pink and the sky is purple. No, it’s going to be new the same. Because look at verse 10, God has revealed them to us.
Let me show you a little bit what He’s revealed. This slide shows a scene probably most of you are familiar with, it’s a funeral they’re carrying the casket to the grave. Everybody’s in black. They’re sad. Most people there are either thinking about death or if they’re believers are thinking about Heaven. Either their loved one is going, or they are reminded, they are headed there.
Let me read to you a funeral that I did recently for a member of the House of Representatives of a state where I was pastoring. This is what I wrote in the funeral, just to explain to you what Heaven’s like.
Jesus visited Kalamazoo on Sunday, November 6th, to meet another of His precious children, just as the dark cold river of death began to flow and the valley of death’s shadow began to creak open. The only one who ever defeated death and destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil, extended His arms toward David. It was about 5:45 AM. All of a sudden David was acutely aware of hearing a voice. As he listened, he realized it was a voice he knew so well because Jesus said my sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.
So, to that voice of his good shepherd, David looked up. On Sunday, for what would be the greatest day of his life, David heard the voice of Jesus coming to take him to Heaven. He saw Jesus standing there, the one crushed for his iniquities. Then he looked at His face, the one who was bruised for his transgressions. He saw those hands reaching out to him, pierced for his sins on the cross. Those nail scarred hands reached out for his. And from that hospital bed, David reached up toward Jesus. While his family were only watching that tired and worn-out body false silent, David had already firmly grasped those hands of Jesus.
He had slipped quietly out of bed and was following Jesus to the place He had prepared for him in his Father’s house in Heaven. As we gather at funerals remembering that special day appointed for David, Jesus Christ had left Heaven and arrived at David’s bedside, just as the valley of death shadow drew near. In that instant, David was glorified. He looked in Christ’s likeness. He stepped into a life that was endless because of God’s amazing grace. For the first time in months, He was unencumbered by a dying body. He was clothed with endless life as he went from there room arm-in-arm with Jesus.
As the tears flowed in that hospital room, David could already see the celestial city gleaming before him. Jesus whispered that his room and his Father’s house was finally finished, and he was going to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. On Sunday when his fragile life ended, David came before the God of the universe.
Now think of what that moment was like, what the family saw is what you see in that slide. That’s the coffin with all those flowers on it, in that dugout hole in the ground. But as we learned in our lesson, about 14 classes ago in Revelation 3:5, we come to Heaven led by the nail scarred hand of Jesus, to meet our Heavenly Father because Jesus paid for us and He wants to present us before God as a miracle of grace.
Listen for a moment, what it says in Revelation 3:5 Jesus said, “but I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.” Now pause. Think of every believer you’ve ever known who has already died. Think of yourself. If someday you’re going to be laying in a hospital bed, watching the monitor and seeing people whispering and knowing that your time is getting near, this is what happens next. It’s the most amazing thing to think about.
Just before 6:00 AM, as David died on Earth. Jesus took him by the hand and let him pass the marshaled ranks of angels up the center boulevard to glory. Past the cherubim. Past the flaming Seraphim. Up in front of the very throne of God Himself. David heard the Lord Jesus call him by name, as He presented him in person to God as His beloved child. Then he heard from God the Father say, bring the best robe, put it on him. Think of it, a robe of white bright as the day, pure as light. When the Lord Jesus was transfigured on the Mount in Matthew 17, something happened not only to His skin, something happened to His clothes. His face and His clothes glowed white as light.
What a reward for all of us who have been completely forgiven, to have a robe like that, draped around our shoulders, to be invited, to walk in the shining ways of glory, to join the saints of all the ages, home at last with our Creator and our Father.
I told you in one of the earlier classes that I was going to share with you one of the earliest verses I remember memorizing. It’s in the book of Psalms and it’s so much about Heaven. Psalm chapter 16 and verse 11. It says,
“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy. And at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
I remember memorizing that first and the more I think about it, it describes this moment. We are going to spend eternity following the one who made us, who loved us, who bought us, who’s prepared a place for us and what He says. Three things about Him.
He wants to guide us.
He’ll show us a path of life.
Not only the path of life here on Earth, but the path of life to endless life in Heaven.
I remember when I was in Bible the school many years ago, I was going to class, I was learning to be a pastor. I was told by my professor that it was time for me to learn how to do visitation. The first visitation was hospital visitation. So, the professor gave us all an assignment. He said, over this weekend, you have to go to the hospital. You have to call on someone in the hospital. You have to read the scriptures and pray with them. It’s pass or fail. You got to on Monday, report. I didn’t have a car and I was a poor student, so I walked to the local hospital. I took my Bible, and this is back in the old days before they had so many regulations, I just walked up and down each floor looking in rooms, trying to find someone that I thought would be safe to go and ask if I could read the Bible and pray with them, so I could pass my course.
I finally looked in one room and probably one of the saddest looking people I’d ever seen looked up at me from the bed. As they looked at me, I thought, they need a visit. So, I walked in. I said hi, I’m John from the local college. I’m training to be a minister. I’m supposed to read the Bible, can I read the Bible and pray? It’s my assignment. It wasn’t really a very good introduction. So, they looked with their sad face and said, go ahead if you want to.
So, I read the Bible and shared a little challenge from it, stood by the bed, asked if I could put my hand in their hand, and I prayed with them. Then I said, thank you for letting me do the visit. I turned around and started walking out of the room when I heard, Hey, wait a minute. They looked at me and they said, do you want to do something for me that will help me? I said sure, you helped me, I’ll help you. They said, I’ve been trapped in this hospital for a week, I’m starving. Would you go get me a Wendy’s triple? A Wendy’s triple, this is back in the seventies, a Wendy’s triple back then, I think it cost a dollar. I was so poor. I used to do my laundry with someone else’s laundry because I didn’t have enough quarters. So, I’d find someone in the dorms that was doing their laundry and said, I’ll wash your clothes with mine. I’ll fold them and dry them and everything if you let me do it and you pay for it, that’s how poor I was. I thought a triple, but I was stuck. He helped me, I had to help him. So, I went down the backstairs, walked to Wendy’s, walked back to the hospital, snuck in the backstairs, handed him the bag, the Wendy’s triple. He said, thanks and immediately start eating it. So, I said, you’re welcome. Goodbye. He said, wait a minute, what was your name? I said, Oh and I told him my name. He said, where do you live? I told him where I lived, in the dorms at the university.
I had no idea what was going to happen. I learned a little Earthly example of what it’s going to be like to tour the universe with our Creator and Father. Probably about a week later, I received an envelope in the mail that I’d never seen paper like that. It was made of cloth. It was engraved. Embossed. It had gold leaf on it. My name, my address on this amazing paper envelope. So, I was so excited I tore it open. I pulled a card out and all the cards said is, be out front of your dorm at 6:00 PM at this date, I’m taking you to dinner. Carl.
That was the guy from the hospital. I couldn’t believe it. I walked out at that appointed time and stood there in my best clothes wondering if anything was going to happen. When all of a sudden, one of those limousines that has too many doors pulled up. A driver came out and opened the door. Inside smiling at me was the man from the hospital. We went to dinner. I don’t want to bore you. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, it was a restaurant that didn’t have any menus. It didn’t have any signs. It looked very private. It looked just like a mansion. They pushed the cart up with a sheet over it. They pulled the sheet back and it was a quarter side of age beef, the whole thing. They sharpen their knives and they told us what kind of cut do you want, you ever heard of a cut of beef? They cut it off of the one fourth of the cow on that cart and grilled it. What a meal. At that meal, Carl says, Hey, what are you doing this summer? I said I’m going to the university studying the Bible, like we’re doing here.
He said where? I said, well, I’m actually going on a mission trip this summer. He says, where? I said to Europe. Eastern Europe. I’m smuggling Bibles behind the iron curtain. He said do you want to go a couple weeks early? I’ll show you Europe. I said, sure. The day came, we flew, he paid for the tickets. I was carrying my bag to get off the airplane. He says, oh wait. We didn’t get off the airplane the way everybody else did. Did you know when you get off the airplane, there’s a door with stairs down to the tarmac. There was a car waiting for us. It whisked us to the back door of a hotel. We went to rooms, we didn’t stop and check in, we went to the back door, we went to our rooms. We went out to eat. We went to a restaurant. I thought we were in an aquarium. The whole wall was glass. They said, what kind of fish do you like? I said what kind do you have? They went, pointed, in the aquarium. I said, Oh, I don’t know… that one. They called someone, dove in, spearfished it in front of our eyes. You talk about fresh fish. That was the first day I toured Europe. The way only the rich and famous do. This guy never asked how much anything costs. He paid for everything. He went into the back door of everything. We never waited in a line. When I toured the Vatican, I didn’t even know that there was a backdoor to that place.
All that, to say this. That was a human, by the way, who became a very good friend, who was a Christian, who was playing with me in the hospital. He knew that I was a Christian with my little Bible and he just wanted to see if I would be humble enough to go get him a hamburger. He turned out to be a multimillionaire oil baron from Texas. But Heaven is what we’re going to see, touring with God.
What are the wonders of Heaven?
- Number one, we’re going to meet our Creator. It says in the scriptures that He is the one who has carried us from our birth. Listen to Isaiah 46, verse 3,
“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth.”
Did you know, your creator is the only person that’s been with you every day of your life? He, it says, has upheld us from our birth. He’s the one who’s kept us alive. He’s the one that says, keep reading.
“Who have been carried from the womb: Even to your old age, I am He, and even to your gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even, I will carry, and will deliver you.”
Did you know that this is actually my testimony? What am I looking forward to most in Heaven?
To meet my creator, the only one that’s been with me every day of my life. Everybody else has come and gone, your parents, those that you love, your friends, they come and go from your life. One person has been with us from the beginning.
- Secondly, my Guardian. You know what it says in scripture, He who watches over you neither slumbers nor sleeps. You know what He’s doing? Romans 8:28. He’s causing everything to happen in our life to work together for good. I can’t wait to meet the one that explains to me all the things I never understood, about what was happening, pending in life.
- Number three, my Designer. He’s the one that invented my DNA. Psalm 139 verses 13 and 14 say,
“For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I’m fearfully and wonderfully made;”
He’s the one that designed all the unchangeable parts of our life. He designed me and picked the family that He wanted to put me in. He picked the unchangeable features of my life. He’s the one that picked and gifted me for His purpose. He designed me for an eternal purpose and yeah, you too by the way and you get to meet your designer.
- My friend. My lifelong guide, Psalm 16:11, the one who has waited every day of my life to show me the pathway He wants me to follow. He said, if you’ll just follow me, I’ll give you endless delights.
In fact, Psalm 16:11, it says “in your presence is fullness of joy.” I’m looking at my cell phone right now and I only have one bar, up here in the mountains in Colorado, where we live. Very poor cell phone coverage. Did you know, I can take this phone and I can go outside and drive around, and I can find where the cell tower is, because the strength of the signal gets stronger and stronger the closer I get to the tower. You know what the Lord says? Do you know, how we know, how to stay close to Him? The closer we get to Him, the more we have fullness of joy.
For just a second, let me talk to you about our creator. The one who created, and guards, and designed, and guides us through life. Just a little glimpse of His power, what Heaven’s going to be like. The side in front of you is a little electron microscope picture of the life that’s in one drop of water. Listen to this, the power of life that God has built into the world, if you want to understand it, if you understand how great Heaven’s going to be, look at the detail that God gives to ditch water and pond water and water.
You see, just by the side of the road, there is not any water on Earth that is not preeminently the seat of life. There’s not a bay or creek or a shelf or a sound on the face of the Earth that does not team with life. Even a drop of ditch water can hold 500 million microscopic creatures so small, that a teaspoon of water to them would be like the Atlantic Ocean to us. That’s the scale and the difference in size. Those, half a billion, infusoria live comfortably in a single drop. In one drop of water, are a thousand species of these creatures. Some are herbivores, some are carnivores, some have shells, some have none. They have mouths, teeth, muscles, nerves, glands, unbelievable complexity that God designed and look at the colors of them in those slides. God designed that for invisible little dots of life in a drop of water. Now here’s something all of you have probably seen.
This is one dandelion; we consider it a weed. Did you know dandelions show the incredible, unbelievable power of God our Creator? One dandelion, the plant, during one season, makes 5,000 airborne seeds. That’s what God designed and created for them. If you collected all those seeds in that little white puff ball and all the ones that come up in the summer and put them back into the ground, those 5,000 seeds would make 25 million seeds the next summer. Do you understand? 5,000 times 5,000 is 25 million. So, year one, 5,000. Year, two 25 million. Now 25 million times 25 million. You understand the exponential growth of just the creative power God put in one dandelion seed. Those who study plant life say that those plants, if replanted on the fifth year, every inch of planet Earth would be covered with dandelions. That’s how explosive the growth of one seed is. You do the same with corn. You can do the same with almost any type of plant. They could cover the Earth in five to seven years.
- One of the wonders of Heaven, that I think about often, is that God is my Completer. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy word was found and I did eat it, and thy word became for me, the joy and rejoice in my heart; for I’m called by your name.”
Do you know what Heaven’s going to be like? We’re going to meet the one who satisfies delights and thrills our hearts because He is the one that designed everything we treasure, we value, we want, and we have in life, God designed it. Think of anything good that you’ve ever experienced. Think of anything delightful, anything exciting, God designed them. He’s going to be the one that completes us. In fact, the word for complete, Shalem is what we get the word peace, like shalom from, it’s the same Hebrew form.
- He’s also the changeless one. Jeremiah 1:12 tells us that He’s watching over His word to perform it. It also says that He never grows old. He doesn’t become weary. He’s the only self-sufficient one. He is unchanging. He will always love us. He will always care for us. He will always delight us.
- Finally, look at the universe. Something I was reading in the British paper, a British company signed up to map everything that the Europeans space agency was finding, as they were mapping the universe, the known universe. So, they went out and they took this picture of the whole universe and divided it into little quadrants. They assigned each university that had astronomy and telescopes in Europe to do a quadrant and to number, make a star chart, number all the stars. So, one British university got this quadrant and as they looked in it, everything they thought were stars in their quadrant turned out were galaxies. So, they zoomed in on the galaxies and they weren’t galaxies, they were clusters of galaxies. Basically, the project has never been finished because every time they look and enlarge what we see there and think those little dots are stars, it turns out that those dots are galaxies. Then when they enlarge it more, those galaxies are clusters of galaxies.
Almighty God, Genesis 1, He created the stars also. It’s almost an afterthought. He is so endless and vast. Think of the colors of the universe. Think of the sounds. Think of the macrocosm, this, and the microcosm, those infusoria.
We will be touring the universe with the one who created it. Who’s also our Father.
Revelation reminds us that Genesis started all of this and Revelation finishes it. What do I mean by that?
- The creation of Heaven and Earth, Genesis 1:1; a new Heaven and Earth Revelation 21:1. The Earth is created in chapter 1 verse 1 of Genesis. The Earth passes away and a new one comes in 21:1 of Revelation.
- There’s a river and Eden in Genesis 2:10. There’s a river of life in Revelation 22:1.
- The death starts in chapter 2, verse 17, and there’s no more death in Revelation 21:4.
- The first marriage is in Genesis 2:18. The last marriage Revelation 21:9.
- I could give you pages of what begins in Genesis and God completes in Revelation.
Let’s talk about some of the joys of Heaven. I remember as a little boy we used to sing a song; I’m going to Heaven, can’t wait. Going to see Jesus, can’t wait. But you know the older I get, in fact I remember when I was counting down the days to marry Bonnie, I was just hoping the Lord wouldn’t return before we got married. People have all these different feelings when you think of about Heaven because we’re not sure. One writer, Dave Hunt, said for most Christians Heaven is a place where they desire to get to eventually, but not until they’ve lived out their full days on Earth, experienced all their hopes, ambitions, interests. Contrary to what Christ taught and the early church lived, most believers are really bound up in the life they aspire to live in this world. To be suddenly raptured to Heaven would be, for most Christians, an unwelcomed interruption to their Earthly plans. That’s because most of us have not embraced what it’s like to be in our Fathers house.
What is it going to be like? Let me just show you some of the ways the Bible’s revealed it. Do you see that slide? That’s the breastplate of the high priest. Do you see the 12 stones? Upper left one is a golden brown. The top middle one is green. The one to the right is a ruby red. Then you get to the diamonds, look at the purples and greens and pinks and all of the flecks and colors. Those 12 stones of the high priest’s breast plate, that is described in the book of Exodus, those are the primary colors of Heaven. The beauty. The crystal sea around that throne, we talked about, about 15 hours ago in chapter 4, right? The lightning emanating. The sound of the thunder. The flaming Seraphim surrounding. That river of fire. All of that is some of the beauty of Heaven, but what is all that beauty for?
It says in Revelation 11, verses 15-19 that God says, that the great focus of Heaven, of His creation, of His going with us through life, of His designing our DNA, and all the laws of the physical universe, and the fact that He came and found us and completed us and is never going to change as the almighty God should prompt worship. Look at revelation 1, we covered that many days ago, but I remind you of the emphasis that Heaven is going to pour into our hearts of worship.
Chapter 11, verse 15. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And […] voices in Heaven saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.” Verse 16, “and the 24 elders who sat before God […] fell on their faces and worshiped and said, ‘we give thanks to you, O Lord God Almighty.’ “ Look at this “who is and who was and who is to come.” The never changing one. And it says that “those who fear your name, both small and great,” are the ones that are falling around this throne, that He’s completed, He’s found and befriended, that He designed, that He’s causing all things to work together for good, as our creator. Do you see how these seven elements of Heaven are really just the basis of worship?
It says in Revelation 21 in verse 2, that the holy city, new Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven from God prepared as a bride. I clipped this out. One of the authors down in this classroom, if you could see over here, I have many, many shelves of books that direction. One of my favorite authors, his name was Dr. Harry Rimmer. He was an amazing scientist, very brilliant. In his lifetime he wrote many books, but as he was nearing the end of his life in 1953, about 67 years ago, only a week before his death, he was listening to a radio preacher preaching about Heaven. A week before he died, he wrote this letter and mailed it and actually arrived at this radio preacher’s studio after that great author and scientist, Harry Rimmer died. This is what that radio preacher, his name was Dr. Charles Fuller, who had just started a radio series on Heaven, this is what he read the next week on his show. I’ll read it to you.
He said, Dr. Rimmer writes: Dear Dr. Fuller, next Sunday, you’re going to talk about Heaven, and I’m interested in that place because I’ve held a clear title deed to a bit of property there for more than 55 years. I did not buy it. It was given to me without money, without price. The donor purchased it for me at tremendous sacrifice. I’m not holding it for speculation, the title is not transferable, and it’s not vacant. For more than a half a century I’ve been sending materials out, of which God the great architect and builder the universe has been building a home for me. A home which will never be remodeled or repaired because it rests upon the Rock of Ages. Fire can’t destroy it. Floods will never wash it away. No locks or bolts will ever be placed on its doors because no vicious person can ever enter that land where my Father’s house is. There is a valley of deep shadow between me and the place where I live in California and that place to which I shall journey very shortly. I can’t reach my home in the city of God without passing through the dark valley of shadows, but I’m not afraid because the best friend I’ve ever had will guide me through that same long valley. He went through that valley long ago and drove away it’s gloom. He has stuck by me through the thick and thin, since we first became acquainted 55 years ago. I hold His promise in printed form, the word of God. He will never leave or forsake me nor leave me alone. He will be with me as I walk through the valley of shadows. I will not lose my way when I’m with Him.
In revelation 21, we find Jesus doing what Harry Rimmer so confidently trusted the Lord to do, preparing a place for us.
What is it going to be like? It says in John 14:2 and I’ll read that verse, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; I’m going there to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me. That where I am, you may be also.”
All we need to believe is what Jesus taught us. This world is not our home. Our home is in Heaven. Life on Earth is camping.
Heaven is a permanent place. Hebrews 11:10. “He,” that is talking about the patriarchs, “waited for the city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Heaven as a permanent place. When people portray Heaven they always talk about Heaven as something that they can’t quite understand. Think of it as the perfect home created by the Father who loves you most, who designed exactly what He knows, because He’s the one that designed us down to our DNA. He knows what will delight us and that’s our Father’s house.
It’s permanent, this idea that there will be no more night, there will be no, look what it says in verse 5 of chapter 22, it says there’ll be no more night. “There will be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”
So, what’s it like to enter Heaven? Jesus tells us something. Luke 23:43 is probably one of the best trips to Heaven anybody ever had. Jesus is hanging on the cross, taking each breath in a labored way, dying with the weight of the sin of the world on Him. While that’s happening, He’s talking with what little oxygen He has and strength, to the thief. As He talks to Him, that thief realizes who He’s talking to, realizes His sinfulness, cries out for salvation to the Lord, and look what Jesus says in verse 43 of Luke 23.
“And Jesus said to him,'[…] today you will be with Me in paradise.’ “
If the Lord tarries, each of us are going to have to cross through the valley of the shadow of death but when we do Jesus said, I will be with you. I’ve done so many bedsides with dying saints and their families gathered around. Everybody’s struggling to understand, and I always tell them when their beloved one breathes their last and the color drain out of them, I say, do you know we know for sure where Jesus was just now. In the whole universe, you know what? He came because it says, “yea, though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death.” Psalm 23, “I will fear no evil; for thou,” the good shepherd, “are with me.” Jesus comes, He has an appointment to take each one of us home.
What will Heaven not be like? Look at verse 27 of chapter 21 of Revelation, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, […] but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
What will be in Heaven? Fellowship, visible face-to-face communion with Christ because we will see His face. Revelation 22:4 says, “and His name shall be on their foreheads.” That’s what we long for. It says in 1 Corinthians 13:12. Now we see dimly in a mirror. We’re reading, we’re trying to understand, but then we’ll see Him face to face. That’s what Heaven’s like. That’s what we’re waiting for. Seeing Him face to face and becoming like Him.
Heaven will fulfill us forever. It says in the very last phrase of Psalm 23, “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” My Father’s house.
What keeps us from thinking about Heaven? Real quickly, I’ve written them down for you. Beware of the big five. These are the worms that spoil the fruit. Have you ever gone out and picked apples or peaches or something and you haven’t processed them, or clean them or canned them, or whatever you do yet? You leave them too long sitting and all of a sudden, there’s this swarm of fruit flies or there some kind of bugs crawling on them. You cut open the Apple, there’s a worm. What are the worms that spoil the fruit of expecting to be with our creator and guardian, designer, all these wonderful things? What would keep us from that?
- Number one, a desire for comfort and convenience. Did you know that there’s a lust for comforts and convenience? That people won’t do things they aren’t comfortable with. As a pastor for decades, I knew that whenever it snowed or rained, the congregation would be down by about 20%. The heavier the rain, the more people wouldn’t come. Why? Because it’s very, very uncomfortable to walk through the rain. It’s very inconvenient. Especially if you have to walk very far in the parking lot. Yet I’ve seen pictures of football games and all types of athletics, and parents at soccer games where it’s pouring rain and they’re standing there under their umbrella. They wouldn’t miss one minute. Beware of the worm of comfort and convenience or recognition.
- What’s recognition? People don’t want to do anything for the Lord unless someone thanks them for it.
- Did you know, it’s very insecure to serve the Lord. The Lord says they hated me. They’re going to hate you. If you want to serve the Lord, it’s very insecure. In fact, the neediest parts of the Earth, are the most dangerous parts of the Earth. If you really want to serve the Lord, watch out for living for comfort, recognition, and security.
- The fourth one, this is what I see more and more now than ever before, exceptionalism. You know what that means? We hear teaching from the Bible, and we think, yeah, that verse applies to them, that applies to them, in fact I can think of three people needing to hear that. We think it applies to everybody except me. That God understands that I have needs or I have weaknesses or whatever, so I can’t obey Him, but they need to. Exceptionalism totally ruins our desire for Heaven.
- Then pride. Pride is me with unmortified pockets of pride. It’s comparing my sin with other sin and saying mine’s not as bad. I am at the center of everything.
The bottom line, Jesus said in Matthew 25:23 our goal in life is to hear what Jesus said here. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” “Enter into the joy of your master.” Our goal in life is to hear His well done.
- Is that your goal in life?
- Is that your hope?
- Is that what motivates you?
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought of, actually I can’t believe it, when I woke up, I had a hymn on my mind. I was listening to Sunday service yesterday. I heard John MacArthur say that he, probably the most recurring thing in his mind, are great hymns. So, I went to sleep last night, thinking of all the great hymns I know the words to. One of them was still playing in my mind this morning and I think about His well done. Is that what’s playing in your mind? When my life’s work has ended and I cross to the other side, Oh, I want to see my savior first of all, and hear His well done. Will you hear Christ’s well done?
Early believers thought much of Heaven. Graham Scroggie the great commentator said, not without reason did the early church study Revelation because they so wanted to do what He said to do. To be ready for when He came. What do we need to do?
We need to fall in love with Jesus all over again. When the Bible opens in Genesis, we find ourselves transported to the garden of Eden. When the Bible closes in Revelation 22, we look forward to the fringes of eternity, paradise that exceeds anything we could ever imagine. Absolute breathtaking beauty. That’s the one who created us. Who’s walked us through life. Who designed every part of our life? Who’s been our guide that we followed. As our friend who completes us. Unchanging. Only protects us as Almighty God.
What should Revelation do to us? Luke chapter 1, verse 77. That’s the verse you probably hear at Christmas time often. It’s also a motivator. This is what Revelation, understanding this book did to the early church and can do to us. This is what it says in verse 77, “To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercies of our God, with which,” verse 78, “the Dayspring from oh high has visited us;” Look at verse 79, “to give light to those who sit in darkness.”
For just a moment. I want to tell you about a conference Bonnie, and I were at, there were missionaries that serve in the 64 closed, limited access countries of the world. One of them is serving in Myanmar and it’s called the darkest spot on Earth. They got up and as they shared their story of what God was doing in that country. They said we’re in the North, the North is the darkest spot on Earth. 90% of all the men are addicted to heroin, to opiates, to what they grow there, and sell the drugs. They say over 90% of the men are addicted. There’s a civil war, the longest one going on in the world history, in that place. There are more demon shrines in the northern part of Myanmar than any other part of the world, these shrines are at the top of every hill. They just wept as they talked about how hard it was, how dark it was, how much spiritual oppression they felt. But then they looked at us and they said, we do it because we want to shine the light of the gospel and share the word of God in the darkest spot on Earth. Did you know, they’d never do that if they want it to be comfortable. They talked about how hard it was to go to the market and carry every drop of water. It’s certainly inconvenient to live there. No one really knows what they’re doing because they can’t be there according to the country. It’s a closed country. They’re very much without security. There’s a war raging around them. They certainly didn’t think that the Bible excepted them and kept them from obedience to go into all the world. So, they humbled themselves for the simple purpose of hearing His well done.
I want to close this course, two slides left, here’s the question. Who’s the driver as you travel through life? You know what Galatians 2:20 says “I am crucified with Christ, so it’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I live today in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This is the crucified life. You know how I like to illustrate it? Reminds me of my wonderful wife, Bonnie. We will be driving across the country and Bonnie will say, Hey, can I drive? Usually I like to drive, but if I want her to drive, you know what I have to do? I have to put on the blinker, I have to pull over to the side of the road, I have to put it into park, I have to turn off the car, I pull out the keys, I get out of my door, I walk all the way around, open her door, and I hand her the keys. I say, you can drive. That’s what surrender to the Lord and getting His well done is about. Every day of your life, getting up and saying, Lord I’m pulling over my life to start this day. I want you to drive all day and put it in gear. Turn off the car, hand Him the keys and put Him in the driver’s seat. Are you going to pull over your life each day and hand the keys to Christ and get in the passenger seat? Who is the driver? Galatians 2:20 says it should be Christ.
I want to say thank you for listening. I hope you’ll pray for us. In fact, two things on the screen I’d like you to do. Why don’t you friend us on Facebook? My name is just, John Samuel Barnett. You’ll find me on Facebook and tell me about what you’re doing for the Lord, how you did in this class, whether you are keeping up on your devotional journal and getting through each chapter of Revelation. Once you do that, keep going, do the rest of the Bible.
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Revelation: know and follow Jesus, understand God’s plans, live confidently for Him.
Let’s bow for word of prayer.
Father, thank you for letting us have these 20 hours together. Bless your word to our hearts. In the precious name of Jesus we ask this, and all God’s people said, Amen.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Exploring The Book of Revelation here.
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