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Wednesday: The School in the Hereafter — 11 Comments

  1. Eternal life is outside the gamut of our understanding, making it difficult to describe meaningfully. If you were to take an under-the-sea worm on a tour of a modern city and then take it back to its underwater mates, what could it say about what it had seen? Having seen nothing but the ooze on the bottom of the see until then, it would not even have the vocabulary to describe what it had seen. All it could say is the worm equivalent of, "Wow, I cannot describe it!" That is partly our problem, we do not have the language to describe heaven.

    The other very important point to remember is that having been given the little glimpses of heaven that the Bible does give us, what effect does it have on our lives and attitudes to others. Heaven is not heaven if it is not shared. That does not mean we should irritate people by boasting about heaven like some people who boast about an upcoming holiday. Rather we need to understand the importance of providing a little bit of heaven now to those around us.

    We often make the observation that salvation is not only about the future but about the present as well. That observation should include heaven. We do have the language of heaven right now in our actions towards one another. And at this time of the year, and in the awful circumstances of this particular year, we need to use that heavenly language to give someone else a taste of heaven now.

    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35 KJV

    Still relevant; still meaningful; still expressive!

  2. There are light afflictions which are for a moment. There are also afflictions which go on and on. I have a choice how to see these situations. Godisnowhere. God is nowhere. God is now here.

    Naomi was there in the middle of afflictions, short- and long-term. There was a famine in the "land of milk and honey". She and her husband and 2 sons had to leave Bethlehem, the "house of bread". They relocated in Moab and then her husband died. Her 2 sons married and for about 10 years neither couple had children. Then her sons died. Nothing was turning out as she had expected it would. She returns to Bethlehem and her friends and family there are excited to see her back and shout "Naomi", but she says, "Don't call me that! Naomi means 'pleasantness'. God has afflicted me so call me 'Mara' or bitter. I went away full and I come back empty" (Ruth 1:20-21). Naomi was hurting. She felt old (Ruth 1:12). She felt abandoned.

    We know Naomi's the-rest-of-the-story. We know God led her daughter-in-law Ruth to be humble and loyal to her. We know God led Ruth to Boaz and they gave Naomi a grandson. We see Naomi holding her grandbaby Obed in her lap while her women friends surround her praising God (Ruth 4:14-17). We know that through Obed Naomi was the great-great-grandmother of King David from whose line Jesus was born. Naomi was an ancestor of Jesus through her Gentile daughter-in-law. Things definitely did not go as Naomi expected, and yet in the end we see the golden thread of God's great love for her through time.

    This story seems fitting to me right now ..... Bethlehem.... things not as expected ..... feeling worn ..... come thou long expected Jesus..... heaven.... what do we expect..... hope..... God is now here..... undoing pain and suffering.... joy in our laps.... a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.... shared joy and worship is our future.

  3. As Christians, or as I like to think of myself as a Caring Lightbearer, a large part of our character and of the LORD's character is caring for people. However in Heaven and the New Earth there will be no more tears, hunger or unhappiness so no one will need our care, or am I wrong?

    Do we only love the LORD and our neighbour when things go wrong? Do we only love our spouse or family when things go wrong?

    I believe that as we have seen the LORD loves diversity, so even in eternal life we will have distinct characters and we will enjoy each others company as we discover and experience the vast Universe. What will you enjoy? Having an elephant as pet? Take a trip to the Milky Way? Study what that difficult text really means? Ask Daniel what it was like in the lion's den? Writing a book, singing a new song? Flying to visit another world? Will it be like ours or completely different? Will there still be introverts and extroverts?

    2Co 4:6-9 ISV  (6) For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus the Messiah.  (7)  But we have this treasure in clay jars to show that its extraordinary power comes from God and not from us.  (8)  In every way we're troubled but not crushed, frustrated but not in despair,  (9)  persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.
    2Co 4:16-18 ISV  That's why we are not discouraged. No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are being renewed each and every day.  (17)  This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory, far beyond any comparison,  (18)  because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.
    2Co 5:1 ISV  We know that if the earthly tent we live in is torn down, we have a building in heaven that comes from God, an eternal house not built by human hands.
    2Co 5:7-8 ISV  For we live by faith, not by sight.  (8)  We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from this body and to live with the Lord.

    • I believe in heaven our unity in diversity will be fully realized. Each of us has something unique to contribute, and our diverse talents will create a fuller picture of the image of God as we learn not just from Jesus, but from each other. We are expected to begin this process here on earth, being of one body but many parts as Paul says.

      My question for today is, what am I doing with my talents to work together with other believers to present a more complete image of God to the world, in order to draw people to desire to join us on the road to heaven?

  4. I hope for a place without suffering. With no death! A place where truth and justice are not shadowed. A place where we can see and touch our Saviour, and live with Him forever!

  5. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:14

    The School in the Hereafter
    Allow me to name it; The School of Here and After. My school is here/now, learning at the feet of Jesus. I can say like Paul, but what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ....And being found in him not having my own righteousness, but the righteousness by faith. Knowing Jesus now, understanding his lifestyle, how he lived, having fellowship with him in his suffering, understanding his power in his death(which he had power to use but choose not to save a sinner like me) understanding his resurrection power.
    While I am here now, I want to be like Jesus in character. I see heaven as a bonus. I place where I go for a holiday but not to be so good for that place but no good for this present place. I want to be a friend to the friendless, the hurting, the lonely, the faithless, the heartless, those who will not eat even on Christmas, my Christmas tree should have gifts to present to others to let them know about the love of Jesus. When I work my thought and action should be on how to help someone as I pass along. Many times we say we give, but its the same people who we like keep benefiting from the gifts, our friends and families, the blessings new go out of our circle.

  6. Whatever we might understand now of what the “new heavens and a new earth” will be, those who today delight in the Lord, and like Him, are “meek and lowly of heart”, will in the new world “delight themselves in the abundance of peace”(Ps 37:11). If we still delight in this world and its pleasures/amusements, the next world will seem mysterious and even undesirable. The school of the hereafter will be experienced only by those who today delight to do God's will, seeking with all their heart to understand what it is that they might obey it(Ps 119:1,2). Only as we "in all [our] ways acknowledge Him" will He be able to direct our path(Prov 3:6).

    How do I envision the next life? “Eye hath not seen....” tells me it is no use to try and envision what comes in specific details, but we do know what will “no longer” exist, and for now, no more sin and its curse is what I look forward to, and more than this, that we will be "in the presence of [God's] glory with exceeding joy"(Jude 24)!

  7. Every time someone says we can't even imagine what God has prepared for us, I cringe a bit because they quoted only half a sentence, the rest is but He has revealed them to us through the Holy Spirit - so those who love Him do know! But is it really talking about Heaven or the wisdom of God. If we look at the whole passage I believe that it comparing human wisdom with Spiritual wisdom. Through the Holy Spirit we can understand the mystery of the wisdom of God (which the rulers of this world don't) which up to that time had been hidden from the world. That is so amazing and wonderful, something for us in this life, which is more important than knowing about the hereafter and it affects our life in the here and now.

    1Co 2:6-10 EMTV (6) However, we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are being destroyed. (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the wisdom having been hidden, which God foreordained before the ages for our glory, (8) which none of the rulers of this age knew. (9) But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (10) But God has revealed them to us through His Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God's mind.
    1Co 2:12-16 EMTV (12) Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Holy Spirit which is from God, in order that we might know the things granted to us by God; (13) which we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Holy Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man. (16) For "Who has known the mind of the LORD, that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

    • I understand what you are sharing Shirley, and agree that this verse often quoted to describe the lack of knowing the hereafter, was not written with this meaning in mind. This is why it is only partially quoted when attached to the subject of the saint's reward to come, many times by Ellen. This is actually a quote by Paul from Isaiah, who also is not speaking about heaven to come.

      Just borrowed words, out of context, that make a great point.

  8. I think the best way to describe our sinful earth and heaven to go back to Creation...taking darkness and turning it into the light; something beautiful. It is also like salvation. One day we are unsaved, dark hearts, no hope...then Jesus comes into our hearts and we are changed! We see hope, we have light... and heaven is so much more than that!

    Some of the things I look forward to in heaven: 1st and foremost is Jesus and meet my guardian angel(s) and listen to the many many times my angel saved me! Reunite with my parents who are currently sleeping in the grave...
    Activities I will do: pet wild animals without fear- especially the cat family; eat 1 huge strawberry every morning in bed- my strawberries will be planted outside my bedroom window; take a hike to the ocean and ride a whale, and on my way back, tromp through the snow- wearing the same clothes! And spend every Tuesday evening watching a sky-wide panorama of Jesus' narrating Redemption's plan and all the unknown Bible stories! Of course, listening to the angel choir. And attend my continuing education class on God's creating humans from dirt and all the pathophysiology involved! Oh my, so many things and there is an eternity to do them all! Can't wait!!!

  9. For as long as we live on this earth, the seen things belong to the old word, the things unseen belong to the new world; we rely on Scripture and the Holy Spirit to discern/reveal the difference.

    2Cor.4:17-19 - How are we to understand: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory?” Is it appropriate to think of this glory as “*great*” because it is the "absence of the ravages of sin", or are we blessed with unimaginable mercy and grace when being allowed to partake in God's Glory?
    The new life is based on nothing the old man can achieve; all its governing laws are spiritually based. Using the word ‘great’ to me implies a type of quality-assessment by which the writer evaluates the new life based on the same pattern as the old one – ‘using mind-based criteria’.

    I do not want to indulge my mind to depict life in *heaven* outside of what I know from Scripture. Maintaining faith, trust and love are still conditions to be maintained before we enter the new life. Shouldn’t our learning be more focused on our spiritual journey which will assure our arrival instead of filling our minds with fantasies about what we do not know? Phil.2:12-16KJV


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