Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Coming Unspeakable Glory

II Cor.12: 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Have you ever seen a pamphlet which shows glossy photos of some vacation spot or some hotel but when you arrived you found that the advertisements far exceeded the reality? Or you pointed out a main course on the menu complete with a succulent picture. But when your plate was placed in front of you it did not match the picture at all. Or you ordered something from the internet or a magazine based on a wonderful picture and description but when it was delivered it left much to be desired.

Well throughout the Scriptures there are glimpses here and there concerning the eternal dwelling place of God we call heaven. The Book of Revelation talks about golden streets and gates of pearl and all kinds of precious jewels. It describes an emerald hue around the throne and it even gives us a vision of the glorified Christ. These glimpses paint for us a picture that is awesome and ethereal and presented with a glorious mystery. Just the visions of Jesus should take our breath away and whet our appetite for the day when our faith will become sight.

But it is impossible to portray in words, much less pictures, what eternity will bring. I mean the Lord uses gold and silver and pearls and other earthly object lessons, but I surely believe those gates will be much more glorious that oyster spittle. My point being that heaven and the dwelling place of God will be far, far above anything we can imagine. In fact, it will reveal a dimension heretofore unknown to any human minds regardless of how soaring the imagination can be. The senses we now know will be irrelevant in the eternal realm even though the Spirit still has to present it to us in terms we can understand and about which we can identify.

So all the future glimpses will pale in comparison to the coming reality. But as glorious and majestic will be the realm itself, the Christ in all His resplendent glory will surpass the lesser glory of the eternal environment. And all the words man could ever invent or speak could never even touch the hem of His glorious garment. The Risen Christ will stand at the center of heaven and be revealed far above any Scriptural or mental portrait that we might entertain. His presence will eclipse all created beings and the Scriptures say His incandescent glory will light the entire expanse of the heavenly city. Even those words taken to the extreme only serve as communication devices deeply handicapped by their inability to present the essence of the reality of His august majesty.

In simple terms no one can know just how great and high and lifted up is the Lamb. Even the word glory can only give a minor hint as to what it will mean in all its fullness. And when we say that we will “see” Him I believe we also remain ignorant of an eternal sense that goes far beyond the earthly kind of sight. I am convinced that seeing in the realm of the eternal Spirit not only is observing something perfectly but also includes a perfect sense of being in His very presence which is knowing, feeling, and literally being completely affected by it. So when we in our new bodies are in the very presence of the Risen Christ we will see Him, know Him, and be overshadowed by His presence and the permeating essence we call His glory.
As you can tell I am searching for words that can convey something I cannot even understand. But quite possibly the greatest revelation to our hearts this side of heaven is the knowledge that no words and no thoughts can even approach what will be our eternal experience as we are brought into a staggering manifestation of the Regal Son of the Living God. Who can know it? Who would dare to say they have seen it yet?  There remains a glory reserved for us in heaven that has absolutely no connection to the fallen and the temporal. Just the very Being of the Risen Christ radiates the power and holiness of the Triune God. Oh my dear fellow believers, think about Him. Yes, think about heaven by all means which is our continuing city, but capture your hearts and minds and think on Him. Lay as a foundation the wonder of His birth, the wonder of His life, the wonder of His wounds, the wonder of His death, and the wonder of His resurrection.

And with the wonder of that foundation already laid, set your mind free to anticipate the supreme wonder of seeing Him draped in inconceivable glory and being worshipped by an almost endless company of angels. In fact, God Almighty has created a handful of angelic beings whose eternal design and mission is to hover around His throne and say, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Think on this: What will those voices sound like given they are spoken by angelic beings in the midst of eternity and spoken within arm’s reach of the Risen Christ? And given what they say I can only imagine those words vibrate throughout heaven itself. Sacred, holy, fearful, and lifted up to worship the Holy One of God.

And although the sight of those heavenly beings and their spoken ministry will be astounding, just one glimpse of our King will immobilize our attentions and voluntarily imprison us into a mighty throng of blood washed worshipers. Spurgeon said that upon the first glimpse of the Lamb in all His glory we will think ourselves a thousand fools for ever having been attracted to anything on this earth. Oh just think on it. To see Him; to gaze upon Him; to bask in His Being. And then imagine that we have been given the utmost privilege of bowing before Him in worship? Oh my.

You and I? Allowed to worship the Great Lion of the Tribe of Judah? We who did everything in our power to resist Him and make ourselves His enemies? We are the ones to whom this surpassing privilege has been given? The Holy One of heaven sits and reigns and yet He receives the praises and worship from former felons in God’s creation? And not only do we get to bless Him in ways that will need eternity and still not be what He truly deserves, but He has clothed us in His own robes of righteousness and given us new and holy bodies, and then called us to worship. What kind of love can this be? It is too much to fathom.

If Jesus had prepared a place for us without sin and glorious in its own right, and if He had promised to visit us in that paradise one week out the year so we could see and worship Him, that would be infinitely more than we deserved or could imagine. But Jesus secured a place for us in HIS PLACE!! We will not need to await His visitation; He will be there forever with us. Can you not feel your heart beat with awe and love and praise and unworthiness and utter amazement? Just to think on that almost makes us crumble now before Him. So much of the church is consumed with the present and the temporal and they have relinquished the eternal and left it safely in some dry doctrinal statement while they go dumpster diving in the garbage heap of this present world.

I say let others wrap themselves in the tattered garments of this present world. They cannot save, they are not redemptive, they are not eternal, and surely they are not His garments. I must set my face like a flint toward Him and toward being with Him one day of unimaginable glory. I refuse to set my Lord and Savior on the shelf while I go play in the fallen gardens of those who care not for Him. The true treasure is in Him and Him alone. Jesus, high and lifted up, and exalted before all the nations! Please understand, as Paul said through the Spirit, that our lives are not here. They are hid with Christ in God.

Can you even comprehend something like that? So many who profess Christ are still looking for and scurrying to build a life here on earth. But let us be painfully honest here. If it was up to us to keep our lives we would have long since ruined them and turned them into unholy dust. But once again Jesus has triumphed and has Himself secured us. Our lives ARE IN HIM IN HEAVEN! The deeper we dig the richer His treasures. Even saying we don’t deserve it is to minimize the concept. Go ahead all you that seek prosperity on this earth. We have our eternal prosperity already reserved for us in Him. Go ahead and pretend you can buy divine favor here and now. God already holds our very lives in Himself. Go ahead church, play your moral and political games. But as for us we look for Him and Him alone. All your organizing and your schemes and your machinations will one day be revealed as nothing. A glory awaits those who know Him. And bound by that knowledge we are pilgrims doing His bidding and spreading His message and looking for that day when all will be consumed in His presence.

I do not profess to know all the specifics about prophecy. I cannot tell you with absolute certainty when he will translate His church. I do not know the identity of the antichrist. I am puzzled by some of the imagery in the Book of Revelation. But this one thing I do know and that the Scriptures make unmistakably clear.

“for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

I Jn.3: 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

And brothers and sisters, it is that day to which we must look and live. Selah.


Anonymous said...

Awesome description! Amen. I so need to understand how such a God would step down to humanity and offer Himself up for us.

I don't have any imagination or energy when it comes to thinking on how Wonderful He must be. The dryness here in the now, and trying to build my faith to face tomorrow or even the next hour is the challenge. But if I had a season of peace in body and mind, I'd be wondering on the imaginable in heaven.

Now I'm not going to go all weird here on your folks, but am just sharing something about myself. Since I was a kid, I remember maybe a half a dozen times feeling this great great sense of 'the heavenly' and having a sense of deja vue. Of course, we know that everyone has those deja vues, and it's probably some brain mechanism that happens to our carnal minds.

But these half a dozen or so sense of 'places' I was imagining happened either in a dream or while I was walking home or sitting on a tree looking and thinking about God and stuff. It would be a really beautiful hot summer day and the sun would be just streaming in a certain way - the grass was green and smooth and there was this sense that these different places were not of this world. One instance, I remember my mom was getting ready to go out with friends to some country club, I was maybe 7 and sitting outside our back yard and this 'place' that I could see in my mind was unimaginably heavenly. It wasn't heaven. It was earth, but everything was total peace, like a little dirt road, green beautiful trees, landscape, flowers, and the road continued beyond this colorful valley to 'somewhere' where I knew it must be wonderful.

I had been a psychologically abused kid in many ways and while 'seeing these places' there were always connected to me silently praying to God (talking to him) about how wonderful the blue sky and sun was and the warmth felt (we lived in a 8-month winter/4month summer climate) so seeing the sun and feeling the warmth was a treat.

I could say it was a child's imagination, or a brain chemical, or a way to deal with my situation by trying to escape, but no, these pictures or places periodically pop up in my mind and I feel that strong sense of holy beauty and as soon as I sense them I pray to the Lord and thank Him and ask Him, "is this a tiny glimpse of heaven"? And it's not just the beauty of the place itself, it's the feeling I get, this overwhelming inner completeness of having arrived at this place that was meant for us all. There are no people in these scenes, but I get a sense there are small gardens and farmlands. Then, there are ocean scenes, where the sand is white and the water is turquoise and the longing to be there is so strong; then another scene, is where my grade 1 picnic with the nuns who took us to a brook on a farm by a grove of trees and for some reason I see that place which far exceeds what I experienced that picnic day. It's like these places are alive with with God's presence and nothing bad or no rot or corruption forms there. And those sun streams, that shine and make me feel like it's a place of innocence and joy and rapture.

Hope you all don't think I'm crazy. These half dozen scenes rarely come to me, unless I am sitting, meditating on scripture, or thanking God for something. I don't really see anything now, but 'feel' those places. Thank you Jesus.


Anonymous said...

1John3:3 and all of us who has this hope , purify ourselves
Just as He is pure: 1peter 1:23 we purify ourselves by
Obedience to the Truth for sincere love of the brotherhood from a pure and fervent heart

Cherie c. said...

Jackie, dear sister in the Lord,

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Chris Baumgart said...

The Heavens interact with those here on earth that are His. Prayer and a walk of growing Faith exchanged for temporal pleasures allows the Divine to rest in you and work out the Lords great Commision...saving souls. Let's continue the work so that others can share in Christ's glory. Thank you Rick for the wonderful descriptive above.