A San Diego Union-Tribune story, 3/8/19, noted that only one of formerly 9000 Blockbuster Stores remains, and that in Bend, Oregon. Netflix K-O’d the company. Tower Records still has a brick and mortar presence in Japan, but none in America. One Howard Johnson’s exists in Lake George, New York, the last of what had once been the nation’s largest restaurant chain. Dollar Tree remains a strong presence, but has closed nearly 400 of Family Dollar Stores in 2019.
By mid-February, 2019, retailers had closed 2187 stores in the U.S. All of this has a spiritual application. The kingdom of God on earth began with one man, Abram, Genesis 12:1-2, but what exponential differences distinguished it from all other enterprises. End Part I
Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain” celebrates the restoration of the Union after the Civil War. It also grieves the loss of President Lincoln. Each of the three stanzas ends with a reference to that loss: “Fallen cold and dead.” “You’ve fallen cold and dead.” “Fallen cold and dead.” The Union saved, YES! Abraham Lincoln, DEAD! Not a dream; a nightmare. The cause outlived the person who embodied it, because the cause soared greater still, however great the man.
But Jesus and the Kingdom of God, co-terminus, exist together, indivisible! He is both the Cause of the Kingdom and the essential Person in the Kingdom! Forgiveness of sin is experienced because he rose from the dead. Heaven is won because Jesus lives. Hope in tomorrow flourishes because Jesus Reigns forever.
And if we still can’t find in the promises what moves us to accept and live for Jesus, personalize them. All who now sing so low they can’t hear themselves will then be belting out hymns like Enrico Caruso, in solos or in vast choirs. Those who can’t imagine themselves standing in front of people talking will be preaching like Billy Graham.
Those who don’t know a scripture verse larger than “Jesus Wept” will be quoting long passages from David’s psalms and Paul’s epistles. Those tone deaf will be composing cantatas. Those who can’t move their hips except to walk will be like David, leaping in sacred dance before the Throne; or, like Joy Hurley, unfolding their arms in the sacred allure and soft moves of hula.
Those who don’t know high C from a C-note will find themselves experts in trumpets, guitars, violins and—Sergio Saucedo—accordions. They will all play in sacred harmonies the soaring passion of Elijah and the towering “lift you off your seat, rise from your seat and stand on tip-toe” strains of the Hallelujah Chorus.
And...for those who like to keep their distance from others—who feel uncomfortable hugging...we’ll be laughing and hugging everyone in sight and, when We All Get To Heaven, there’ll always be someone in sight!
The last word: hold lightly what we now cannot keep. Hold firmly what in faithfulness to Jesus Christ we cannot lose! Fini
Isaiah 64:4 says, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Paul quoted an altered version of the prophet to stress the difference between those deaf to and open to the Spirit’s teaching I Corinthians 2:6-16.
This writer has discovered that even those open to God’s truth can hardly comprehend it, let alone adequately communicate it. We must ask God for help in doing both.
Thus, if the information in this blog has confused, not enlightened, you about Heaven, hang in there. One day ahead, and forever after, we’ll be illuminated and never again confused. Since God’s promises for our future remain beyond our mental and spiritual capacities, hang in there. One day ahead, and forever after, God will increase both capacities to envelop it all. We’ll find ourselves repeatedly saying, “”Uh huh,” I understand. “Uh, huh,” that makes sense. “Uh huh,” it’s all clear now.”
We now have a daily experience with the Living God and his Living Son. Yet nothing like what’s to come when we stand in their presence, our mortal bodies transformed into an infinitely greater spiritual body with an equivalent brain!
However, what we know of God NOW; what we experience with God NOW; right now, today, in daily life, we’re bridling with courage facing either life or death, problems or potentials. Even now, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us. Hallelujah! End Part VI
The new heaven and earth are coming. The New Jerusalem will be the sole city of God’s beatific Heaven. This part suggests what MAY partially constitute our life there—as the least of what God has prepared, which human brains can only imagine in our present state. But in contrast with our earth-bound life, these possibilities.
Eternal life with God reveals secrets heretofore hidden; and revealing, calls constantly to mind, and never forgotten. It’s a life where our eyes see everything and miss nothing. Where our brains understand every mystery and retain it all with encyclopedic perfection. Where the spirit inside our new body develops luxuriantly in unmeasured grace.
A life where sorrow vanishes forever; where joy begins and continues always. Where righteousness rules without exception. Where safety guards and nothing makes afraid. Where tears stop and laughter begins to never end.
A life where we can start anew and go on—in a bliss that soars. A life that’s stimulating, spectacular, substantial AND all the while safe, secure, steadfast, worth being prolonged eternally.
A life whose depths cannot be plumbed, or heights climbed, or breadths enveloped. A life whose meaning remains inexhaustible however thoroughly investigated. Whose exegesis deepens with each new discovery; whose significance grows with each new revelation; whose dimensions expand with every explanation; whose experience exceeds itself as it’s practiced. End Part V
Paradise is a life of recognition. It’s also a life of peace.
In this part, Paradise is not a life of education. While worth considering, this is my opinion, so hold it lightly. The dead in Christ NOW aren’t ages and eons beyond US in knowledge of and experience with God, Abel knowing more than anyone since he was the first to die.
No education is continuing in Paradise. At rest means....AT REST...no worries, no study, no concerns, no knowledge of this life. Fully conscious, those present remain peaceful and care-free. Fully-aware of others, they remain profoundly cordial, gentle and festive. While in motion, they never disturb. While completely crowded, they enjoy plenty of room.
AT REST, they await the Savior’s Return to earth, as we do. They want history to conclude, as we do. They want HEAVEN to begin, as we do. They want the New Jerusalem to come down to the new earth, as we do. For they know, as we do, that means the end of NOW and the beginning of an endless TOMORROW.
And what that means is: education in the mysteries of God’s presence and ways awaits the consummation of history. So Nothing Begins in Heaven over THERE until it’s ALL OVER, OVER HERE! End Part IV
The story continues, citing reasons NO ONE should miss being in Heaven.
It’s a life of bodily resurrection, not mere spirit immortality. That entirely new idea in the first century is no more welcomed by many in the 21st. When we say bodily resurrection, however, we don’t mean the skeleton men rising from their graves and contesting the Argonauts in the movie Jason and the Argonauts. No, but splendid, powerful physical specimen clothed in brilliant light that would immediately bring us to our knees before them, much as the apostle John fell as a dead man before the Glorified Christ in Revelation 1:12-17.
Which leads to the question, “Do the dead in Christ now have bodies?” NO. They are presently spirits—souls—Revelation 6:9 says. When their body died, THEY ascended to Paradise to be with Jesus.
It’s a life of recognition. Are the dead aware of each other? YES, remember...YOU...the spirit within your body recognizes ME—the spirit within mine. Once WE—the spirit within us—exits the body—the body dies, but WE live on. Since it’s the spirit within us who recognizes the spirit within others, why wouldn’t we continue to recognize others who have left their body?
It’s a life of peace. What are the dead in Christ doing? They REST—Luke 16:25, Revelation 14:13. Even Revelation 6:9-11 relates to rest. While the souls of God’s people question WHY their positive service to humanity would be attacked and vilified, God graciously soothes them with the assurance that they can wait...i.e., rest from cares and concerns in perfect security until his perfect will is achieved in history.
Resting...in a state of constant ecstasy...likely sharing with each other their personal spiritual journey through life to endless life, perhaps rejoicing in Song. End Part III