Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What makes heaven heaven?

What makes heaven heaven? The unhindered, unsullied presence of God!
A.W. Tozer.  Attributes of God: Journey to the Father's Heart. p. 134

Almost certainly every Christian has at one time or another asked, "What is heaven like?"  Maybe we looked at Revelation; maybe we read books like Heaven is for Real; maybe we asked other people about their ideas.  But at any rate, I suspect that every Christian at one time has found themselves wondering what heaven is like.

Revelation gives us great detail about the dimensions and such of heaven.  The author painstakingly gives descriptions of the walls, the streets, the throne, the gate, and so much more of heaven.  No other place in the Bible is such great detail given about heaven.  As I read passages like this, I can't help but be distracted with the details.  I wonder what it will be like to see streets of gold.  I wonder how beautiful it will be to stand at the gate.  The details of heaven have distracted me from one great detail of heaven: Heaven is heaven because as A.W. Tozer writes, it is the "unhindered, unsullied presence of God!"

During the last days that Jesus was on earth, we are given insight into the intimate conversation that He had with His disciples in the Upper Room.  He told them that one of them was going to be a traitor.  He told them that He would suffer at the hands of the religious leaders.  This undoubtedly frustrated the disciples.  I'm sure that anxiety had set in and that doubts crept into their hearts.  

Then in John 14, Jesus begins a process of calming them.  "Let not your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in me" (Jn 14:1).  Other the next several verses, Jesus explains that He has to go away and that there will be a time when He will come to take them to be with Him.  There is talk about a house with many rooms, and we undoubtedly visualize heaven.  What is surprising is that Jesus does not give any other details of this place.  He doesn't talk about streets of gold or the throne room of God.  He doesn't tell His disciples about a pearly gate or does He give any dimensions.  All He says is that He will come again and take them to be with Him.  Jesus knew that the best thing about heaven is that we will be with God.  There were no details to distract us.  He just spoke of a foundational truth that we will be with Him -- in the unhindered, unsullied presence of God.

At the same time, we are reminded that the presence of God is with us on earth (Mt 28; Heb 13).  How will the presence of God calm your anxieties today?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you John......I know I felt his presence today, and I thank you for making me more aware of being in the palm of His hand. I missed being at Bible Study today......thankful I can watch it on St. Paul web site.Sally