Joseph Brazil | @blackdog575
I was watching my nine month old daughter playing on the floor the other day when the thought hit me how perfectly content she was. She would pause now and then from gnawing on a toy and or in the middle of her jabbering to look up at me to see if I was still watching. In her world, there are no worries beyond being fed or having her diaper changed on time. She lives, for now, in what we might refer to as a relative heaven, where everything is secure.
Adversely, this idea of contentment is nothing but a weak fallacy, being a simple perception of what man believes heaven to be.
In the Bible, the disciple John describes in lucid detail what a small peek behind the curtain revealed toward the true magnificence that is Heaven. His account, the last book of the Bible titled Revelation, is full of metaphorical descriptions, which go beyond what most, including myself, can easily decipher. As a kid, I would often poke through the book, randomly hunting for the most obscure descriptions and try to build an image of what John’s vision foretold. No matter how hard I tried my human mind couldn’t come close to imagining what is in store for those who have and will receive Christ’s free offering of salvation.
In the fourth chapter of Revelation, John depicts the throne of God as enameled in jasper and carnelian, two gemstones that usually take the color of blood red, and are offset by a rainbow of emerald encircling the throne. Twenty-four elders are seated around, dressed in white with crowns of gold upon their heads. From the throne comes thunder and lightning, and there are seven lamps ablaze in front of a sea of crystalline glass.
And that’s not all. Not even close.
John further describes the throne of God as having at its center four creatures: a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. All have six wings and are covered with eyes. Day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”
It makes sense, then, that the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 2:9, states how “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, or human heart can believe what is in store for those who believe after this life is no more.”
If your mind’s eye isn’t already overcome, John records how he heard the voices of “many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand,” singing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”
This is only a sample of the vision John was given. But the fact remains: Heaven far transcends any human reckoning. Doesn’t it leave you a little shaken?
Whenever I read this chapter, or other books in the Bible that deal with the “end times,” such as Daniel in the Old Testament, I’m reminded not only of the incredible sights and wonders I’m bound to discover one day when this world passes away. I’m left convicted of my duty as a disciple of the living God, being giving a single commission to spread the good news that Jesus is alive and has forgiven a debt no price could pay.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus leaves his disciples to return to Heaven but not before imparting upon them instructions for present and future believers to follow: “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
He has left us in charge of seeing everyone we come into contact with, directly or indirectly, is given a chance to come to salvation through Christ Jesus.
I once heard a startling analogy. Imagine you owned the remedy for the most lethal disease known to man. Maybe this illness had taken a friend or family member. Wouldn’t you do everything in your ability to see people were educated on this cure? It’s a sobering thought, and it leaves me feeling guilty for obsessing over my own material wants and wishes for self-promotion.
Realistically, we’re not going to save the entire world from mankind’s fate. There will be those who accept Christ’s salvation, and there will be those who refuse it. But our function as believers is to do everything we can to see the Kingdom of Heaven advanced, even in our small sphere of influence at work, school, or home, so that everyone is given the chance to live forever in heaven with the Almighty God.
I have loved ones who’ve already gone to be with the Lord. What a feeling of hope and restoration it gives me knowing they are, at this very moment, among the multitude of angels John saw praising the Lord. And how wonderful it will be to one day stand among them for all eternity, looking on the face that shines as bright as the sun, and join in the medley of singing of His greatness.
Joseph Brazil is a teacher from eastern New Mexico. He enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, watching sports, and studying blues guitar. He is a student of history, and likes sharing with his wife in a good period-piece flick. You can find him on Twitter at @blackdog575.