The eternal joy of heaven

What a hope our Lord has given us! What joy we shall experience! Our eternal joy when we are brought to heaven will be the culmination of our hope in this life. What will be our joy in heaven? Our joy will be that of the saints described in Revelation 7:9, 10: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” We will be in the company of the elect from all ages for eternity, praising God for delivering from so great a death, from such a hopeless situation, for providing the Mediator to pay for our sins. Also Revelation 21:3, 4: “ And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” All of our earthly life and worries and sorrows will pass away and will be replaced with eternal joy!

Not only is our hope in our being delivered from the troubles of this life, but also that when God takes us home and in the end resurrects our bodies, we are going to see him face to face in our flesh! “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). We will be in such a state of perfect righteousness and holiness, that the holy God will allow us to see him in his full glory. When Moses beseeched God to “shew me thy glory” (Exodus 33:18), God replied, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (v20). And then in verse 23, “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” We on this earth cannot see God and live. He is too holy for our eyes to behold and not be struck dead in an instant. In Isaiah’s vision of the throne of God in Isaiah 6 the seraphims were covering their faces and their feet with their wings. A few verses later in the chapter, Isaiah says, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (v5). Isaiah thought he was a dead man, for he had seen God. This same holy God we will see face to face because we will have been clothed in white robes of his perfect righteousness and holiness. Meditate on this!


The Eastern Side of Jordan

Moses was dead. The people of Israel were gathered together just a three days march from the eastern side of the Jordan River. It had been forty years since the twelve spies had given their reports regarding the status of Canaan. Only Joshua and Caleb gave good reports because they trusted God. Since then, many Israelites had died in the wilderness because they provoked God. They murmured because they wanted the food of Egypt, they murmured because they wanted water, they murmured because they were tired of manna. God sent fiery serpents and swallowed people whole in the earth; many died from the labor of wandering in the harsh environment of the wilderness for so many years, or were slain in battle. Yet God did not abandon them. Always Moses was there, pleading on their behalf, that God would remember his promise and preserve the people for the sake of his glory. When people were dying by the thousands because of the bites of the venomous snakes, God had Moses set up a pole with a brass serpent; when they looked upon it they were delivered. When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up in the pit, Israel was delivered from those who sought to supplant Moses, the man who mediated with God in their behalf. God is always faithful. He always heard the cry of his people and though he may have chastised them severely, he provided deliverance and cared for their needs. Always he directed them to trust him. Now, after forty years of struggle, they would soon enter into the promised land.

What a startling picture this provides of our lives! How we complain against God, how we murmur and despise his gifts. We are truly a stiff-necked and rebellious people. Nevertheless, though he may chastise us, God never abandons us. Always we have our perfect mediator, Jesus Christ, pleading in our behalf. One day, we too will stand on the eastern side of Jordan. He will bring us to the promised land. Let us learn from this history, and remember that the LORD is on our side.