As Jodi and I were reflecting upon our wedding ceremony, we remembered that her sister sang Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us. When we searched for the hymn on You Tube, we found a rendition by Leigh Nash. Since I liked her voice, I looked to see if there were any additional videos featuring her. I found several, but the one that I especially paused to watch was the song entitled My Idea of Heaven. In the video, the scene continues to switch from Leigh singing the song and then to couples sitting on a living room couch. Each person on the couch has a white board upon which they wrote down their idea of heaven on earth. Some of their thoughts included:
- Snuggling on the couch eating ice cream
- Being your baby’s daddy
- World peace
- A cold beer on a hot beach with my angel
Heaven on earth. What makes your list? Time with your loved ones? A great meal? An awesome sunset? I am thankful for those amazing moments God allows us to experience the goodness of His creation. Every so often we get a glimpse of what life can be without the presence of sin.
Recently, I have been camped in the first several chapters in Revelation. John, too, had a glimpse, an amazing vision of heaven. In fact, he got a front row ticket to see some amazing things, some amazing events, some amazing beings. What struck me afresh was the view he got of Jesus Christ as recorded in the very first chapter of the book.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands; 13 and in the middle of the lamp stands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
I think after seeing what he did, John’s white board description of his idea of heaven would be very different than most of ours. In reality, it would probably simply read this:
Do you recall John’s response? It was one of fear (“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man” [v.17]). Jesus is incredible and He is holy (thrice holy [Isaiah 6]…as holy as possible]. Awe and fear are natural responses. The description of what Jesus is like from John’s initial glimpse is instructive and you would be blessed by reading a few commentaries about the passage. In fact, that is a great way in which we can genuinely experience heaven on earth. And what a gift we have been given to do just that–the Bible! The Bible is all about the central character of heaven and of history itself–Jesus Christ. The Old Testament clearly points directly to Jesus via promises, prophecies and types. Jesus Himself is actually recorded as having invaded time and space prior to His incarnation, His walking among us (see Genesis 1:1 [Colossians 1:16], Joshua 5:13-15, Isaiah 6:1 [John 12:41]). The New Testament teaches us about His life, words and works (Gospels), how He built His Church (Acts), how He wants His followers to live (Letters) and what He plans to do in the future (Revelation).
Are you regularly (hopefully daily) spending time in God’s Word?
There is nothing wrong with the lists above provided by, I presume, the married couples (though World Peace isn’t going to happen until the Lord Jesus returns). We should enjoy God’s gifts in moderation (ice cream and cold beer are both equally sinful if used in excess). But no matter how good a dessert or a refreshing beverage tastes, God’s Word is better. It is better than creation and that which is created because of its essence and its effects. Consider these words from Psalm 19, written by someone who loved general revelation (sunrises, sunsets, stars, canyons, hills, etc.):
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
The descriptive words used for the word of God and what it produces are clear in this passage. As a result, the author calls it “more desirable than fine gold” (the most valuable earthly possession he can think of). He also said it is sweeter than honey (the sweetest earthly possession he can think of). Here’s my guess: If David were sitting on a couch and given a white board and asked about his idea of heaven, he just might have written: God’s Word.
What are your thoughts? In particular, do you find God’s Word pleasurable, especially your glimpses of Jesus? I hope that you do. If not, plead with God to open your eyes. It’s something only He can do it and we all very much need it done for us. It is a matter of life and death. Seriously. You can have a taste of heaven in this life, but God has to reach down and allow it. Ask him to do that. Today. It is that important.