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Monday: The Heaven of Heavens — 19 Comments

  1. I had my "Heaven of Heavens" moment a number of years ago when I visited Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungles here in Australia. It is one of the largest telescopes in the southern hemisphere and its white dome can be seen from a long distance. Visitors are allowed into a viewing gallery where you can see the size and complexity of the huge optical system. (It would make a great bird photography lens except its a bit too heavy to carry around!)

    On one of the tables near the viewing gallery was a photographic plate that had been taken with the telescope. The plate was covered with fuzzy black dots. It took me just a little while for me to realise that I was looking at a photograph of a very small portion of the night sky and the fuzzy dots were actually galaxies, each one like our own Milky Way. It came home to me that this Universe thing is very very big. "Big" is hardly the appropriate word. I visited Siding Springs during the day. It is on the rim of an old volcano high above the western plains of NSW. You can look out and see the flat plains disappearing into the heat haze 100km away. To the northeast, you can just see the top of Mt Kaputar, another old volcano, 140km away. It is a vast landscape, and you get the impression that you can see forever. Yet in the observatory, that idea of size and vastness is overturned by that simple photographic sample from the rest of the universe.

    We are challenged by the extent of the visible universe but at the same time it gives us some idea of who God is. The "big" picture message for me is not that God is big, huge, powerful, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, or any of the other words we use to describe how "big" our God is. The message is that God is interested in us.

    As I got in my car and drove down off the Siding Springs Mountain, I thought how small I was, but how precious I was to the God of the universe.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

  2. Contrary to the religion of the surrounding nations whose alleged 'gods' required that humans serve them to please them - 'gods' who operated on a self-seeking basis - the One True God that Moses was referring to instead 'lives to give' for the benefit of His creation.

    If we reach a point where we become aware of how vast and all-powerful God is - and yet at the same time how God uses that vastness and power to the benefit of each and every member of His creation - we will then be drawn to worship God from the depths of our soul. And we will also be drawn to treat others with love and compassion as we live to also benefit them - reflecting and sharing our Awesome God who makes all of that possible.

    As the deer thirsts for and is drawn to the stream of life-giving, thirst-satisfying water, so the depths of my soul long to drink in your presence, for you and you alone are my God, my heart's one and only desire (Psalm 42:1).

  3. I find the KJV translation of Rev 4:11 intriguing.
    It raises the question, why did the Triune God decide to create mankind in their image? Did they desire to have creatures to worship them or did they want additional thinking beings with whom they could share the love that was between the three of them?

    Rev 4:11 KJV
    Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

    • Dear Sister Shirley,
      I like your concern about Rev. 4:11.
      What do you think? I am sure you have something in mind.
      To me I saw the verse in the light of love sharing with feeble creatures like us.
      Waiting for your reply.

    • Dear Sister Shirley,
      Regarding your concern in Rev. 4:11. Why do you think the verse is intriguing. Isn't it because of love sharing with feeble creatures like us that God created men? For the Lord has a multitude of Angels to worship and serve Him.
      What do you have on your mind?
      Please reply.

      • Ernst, I like the idea that we were created for the LORD's pleasure, that He gets a benefit from our existence, even more so when we love Him back.

    • Shirley, that is a very interesting thought and in my thinking, on the mark. We should believe we were created in every way in the image/likeness of God and that includes, relationally.

  4. God owns the universe, but He also comes close in our hearts.God’s character is on full display in Deuteronomy 10. God loves first, and longs for our love in return as in verse15. All of heaven belong to God.....
    Deuteronomy 10
    The Message
    12-13 So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.

    14-18 Look around you: Everything you see is God’s—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that’s you!—out of all the other peoples. That’s where we are right now.

  5. We give our children love and, in return, we expect them to love us back. That is one of the characteristics we share with God. We are His children.
    Just as He provides for us, we provide for our children. So, it shouldn’t be difficult for us to understand why God expects in return what He displays and gives us.

    • Your thoughts here remind me of grace. I have to be gracious enough to let my children go in love, as God does for me. It is a constant dynamic sort of flow of love - sometimes it is returned, sometimes not. Nevertheless, I strive to remain in the love state, first with God, and second with the humans around me. The natural order of love.

  6. In Abraham, in FAITH, we are now “the chosen”. (Perhaps we must be careful to not be so exclusive as to think we are the only chosen people as in “SDA”.) As a person chosen by God, my desire, my “whole heart” should be jumping for joy to glorify him! He chose to hear my hearts cry to know him and the joy of salvation! How greatly, one would think, ought my response be in love, humility, and obedience. Oh my joy!

    • Amen, Sylvia, however; Jesus Himself said what His Father's will is for each and every one of us and that is that we should know the Father (who is the only true God) first and foremost and second to know the Father's Son Jesus that He sent to become human and the only one via that each one of us should have salvation through and access to His Father. And as far as being SDA, the SDA Church is the only Church that has the most truth for our times now to lead people to God the Father who is the only True God.

    • Yes, Sister Sylvia, Yes! and Amen!

      Jesus told His disciples, regarding His lost lambs and sheeps, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." John 10:16, KJV.

      We, "SDA" are not in an exclusive club of "God's chosen people", no more than the Jews (Hebrews) in the Old Testament were exclusively God's chosen people. All throughout Deuteronomy, the Lord always instructed the children of Israel on how to treat the "strangers", with mercy and justice. It was never God's desire to have the exclusiveness in the worship of Him, this was one of the many man-made doctrines. Israel was God's chosen people for one purpose only - to show the glory and power of the ONE true and living God to the rest of the world.

      Now, the children of Israel, or Jewish people living today, are no longer "privileged", they in the same situation as we all are; we all have to decide to choose Jesus as our Savior, then we are accepted as His chosen people. As one of the Elders at my church, Sister Pat, preached last Sabbath on the story behind the song "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back". I learned a lot from her message, and was especially surprised to learn that this song is not in our church hymnal, strange.

      But after we become a part of the "chosen people of God", our spiritual journey doesn't stop there. I often feel that I am not doing enough to fulfill the Gospel commission given to us by Jesus Himself, to go out there and find His lost lambs and sheep:
      Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
      20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

      We have to finish the commission that Jesus gave to us. I know it's hard, with the pandemic, and especially when most people are not interested in hearing what we have to say (even among our own families and friends), but we have to keep doing it, the Gospel commission, and leave it to the Holy Spirit bring His lost lambs and sheeps into His fold. (Because we definitely do not want God to allow the Rocks to shout it out.)

      God bless.

  7. Before I read our Thought question for today, I wrote this simple paragraph (in preparation for teaching this Sabbath School lesson):

    Our Sabbath School lesson goes on to say, “Especially clear in Nehemiah 9 is the theme of God as the Creator and who alone should be worshiped. He made everything, even 'the heaven of heavens, with all their host'(Nehemiah 9:6)".

    Why is this not clear to us today, or clear to all the people living around us? That God is worthy to be worshipped, and obeyed, because He is the Creator. He made everything, the heavens and all the planets, the moon, the sun; He also made everything on Earth and in the Seas. I personally don’t understand why it is so hard to choose God, to worship God, to say with our own mouths that the Lord is worthy to be praised.

    But Romans 14:11-12, says of the final judgment:
    "11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
    12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."

    "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches". Revelation 3:6

  8. I believe that "Heaven of heavens" just means the same as saying "The Universe." In other words, the heaven that is "Beyond the visible atmospheric cloudy heaven." God does not need a special universal place for Him to exist or inhabit. He is everywhere and at all times. He is just "A Prayer Away" too and according to King David, He never slumbers or sleeps either.

  9. Hi Sister Brigitte,
    I agree with all that you have said, but I would like to respectfully add something to your writings.

    I love how you said, and rightfully so, "I see our Heavenly Father to train us [or training us] to be His children 'fit' to live in the heavens of Heavens - with Him in His abode."

    I like your phrase tremendously, because it is speaking to me. As I've observe the recent astronautical trips and activities into the outer region of the earth's gravity, or into outer space, I'm starting realize that what is really behind all of this is "the search for a new Earth" (that's the name of a tv series, or something like that).

    But we, as you say, "we (God's children) have to be fit to live in the heaven of Heavens". We are NOT FIT to live on another planet, or to go beyond our own galaxies. Don't get me wrong, I love History, Science, and all other knowledge, so I am not against space exploration.

    But in my opinion, we are "Not Fit" because we have not come to appreciate what God has already given us here on this planet, Earth. When all this civilian space travel started I told my husband, "Yes, we are in search for a new planet to live on, and destroy it like we are destroying this one". This is why we are "not fit". If we have not learn to care ("to keep and dress") the Earth that God has already given us, then why would God allow us to inhabit another planet? He would not do that. But of course, we (in general) being the rebellious people that we are, will try to "inhabit" another planet anyway.

    I already told my husband that I am not interested in taking a civilian space ride, but he can do it if he wants to; there's no sin in doing that. But for me, the only space trip I'm interested in taking is the one that we all will take at Jesus' second coming.

    In the meantime, let's do our part to care for this planet, Earth, that God created and made specifically for man. Into eternity, we will have all the time we need to learn about other civilizations and other planets. (Note: Again, I am not discouraging the study of space exploration and the astronautical sciences.)

    God's blessing to you all.

    • Hi Toni - thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matters of heaven. You made a good point about us ‘not appreciating what God has already given to humanity; why would he permit to allow mankind to populate other worlds. I agree, it’s a preposterous idea and evidence of the vanity of science detached from ‘reality’.
      God’s blessings to you and your loved ones as well!

  10. What means of heaven?
    Why heaven of heavens?
    How does it correlate with deutoronomy?
    To what extent the heaven of heavens relate with our weekly lesson title.

  11. The "Heaven of heavens" is an expression used in Deut 10:14 in the KJV:

    Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

    A modern translation puts it like this:

    “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. Deut 10:14,15 NLT

    ... so it is with the gamut of our current study.

    It is a figure of speech to emphasise the point that God, the creator of everything, is interested in us. That theme is repeated over and over again in the Old Testament as today's lesson points out.


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