Monday, October 6, 2014

The Surprises of Heaven

 Rev 21:1-12

Heaven IS for REAL!
To Jesus every day I find my heart is closer drawn,
He’s fairer than the glory of the gold and purple dawn;
He’s all my fancy pictures in its fairest dreams, and more,
Each day He grows still sweeter than He was the day before.

The half cannot be fancied
This side the golden shore;
O there He’ll be still sweeter
Than He ever was before.

People have some strange conceptions about heaven, don’t they? I have been at the funerals of unbelievers, atheists and complete unregenerate people and folks have stood by the casket and said the nuttiest stuff. How they are really raising hell up there. How they are really partying. How they are now our angels watching over us.

Some people envision us lounging on clouds with wings and halos strumming harps – or maybe throwing lightning bolts at us.

Here are a few of the things that just might surprise you about heaven:
1.     We really will strum harps in heaven
Rev 14:2  And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3  And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

2.     We are not angels in heaven – Angels are another class of being created by God apart from the human race. They are super human in their strength and abilities. When we go to heaven, we don’t become angels, we don’t get wings or halos. We sing songs that angels cannot sing, because they have never been redeemed.

3.     There is only one street in heaven
Rev 21:21  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

         4.     Heaven is a cube!
Rev 21:16  And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

5.     There will be tears in heaven until the Great White Throne (after the tribulation and the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth)
Rev 7:17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Rev 21:4  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.

6.     We will work in heaven. (But there is no curse – it is blessed work!)
Rev 22:3  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Look what the Tribulation saints are up to in heaven. Rev 7:14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

7.     It will not be about us (for the most part) After all, we are His kids and are therefore pretty special and it seems to be in His nature to lavish His own with the very best. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.  But primarily Heaven is going to be about the One Who made it all possible.

Rev 4:8  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

8.     There will be one more war in heaven
Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

          9.     There is a Tree in Heaven that bears a different fruit each month! It is somehow in the middle of the street and on both sides of the river of the water of life.
   Rev 22:2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

              10.      The Throne of Jesus is going to be a huge surprise to you.
Rev 4:1  After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

a.     The appearance of Jesus Himself.
Rev 1:12  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

b.     There are 24 thrones surrounding Christ’s throne. On these thrones set the 12 apostles of the NT and the 12 patriarchs of the OT, therefore representing all believers of all time.
Rev 4:4  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

c.      There are 7 Spirits before the throne
Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Rev 3:1  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Rev 4:5  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

d.    There are some interesting creatures also surrounding the throne
Rev 4:6  And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

e.      There are 2 different kinds of bottles setting around the throne, salty and sweet. The salty ones contain the tears of the saints. The sweet ones contain the prayers of the saints.
Psa 56:8  Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
Rev 5:8  And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

11.             You will get a tattoo in heaven (name of God on your forehead)
Rev. 7:3, Rev. 9:4, Rev 14:1
Rev 22:4  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

12.           You get a personalized white stone and a secret name! (and even some hidden manna)
Rev 2:17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

What? Well, some things are best left to be mysteries! However, we can speculate.
• In ancient Greece, jury members would cast a white stone to signify an acquittal, whereas a black stone proclaimed the defendant guilty.
• A small object called a “tessera,” made of wood, stone, clay or bone, conveyed special privileges to its owner. The ancient Romans used tesserae as tokens of admittance to events in the arena.
• One of the better-accepted explanations of the white stone has to do with the high priest’s breastplate, which contained twelve stones. Each of these stones had the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved on it (Exodus 28:21). As he ministered in the temple, the high priest bore the names of God’s people into God’s presence. In the same way, the “white stone” with the believer’s name written on it could be a reference to our standing in God’s presence.
• The white stone may be a translucent precious stone such as a diamond. The word translated “white” in
Revelation 2:17 is leukos and can also mean “brilliant, bright.”
* The best meaning of the white stone probably has to do with the ancient Roman custom of awarding white stones to the victors of athletic games. The winner of a contest was awarded a white stone with his name inscribed on it. This served as his “ticket” to a special awards banquet. According to this view, Jesus promises the overcomers entrance to the eternal victory celebration in heaven.

13.         You will not always be in heaven once you get to heaven. The Bible says that where He is, there we may also be. It also says that we will behold His face. Suffice it to say that wherever Jesus is, that will be heaven. The 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ will find us back here on earth, ruling and reigning with Him as kings and priests. The New Jerusalem comes down from God out of Heaven to the new earth.

14.        The Judgment seat of Christ is going to be a complete shocker to all of us!
a.     You will discover just how complete the cross was and is.
b.    You will discover the extent of God’s grace
c.      You will discover the lavishness of His riches glory
d.     You will discover the wasted time and effort of your earthly journey (knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men)
e.       You will understand, finally, how relatively insignificant your earthly sufferings were.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
f.        All of the things that will be revealed about you, your work, your heart, that you thought nobody ever noticed.

But here are the 3 main surprises of heaven I want to share with you...
1.     You will find that there will be those in heaven who are there that you did not expect
 2.  You will find that there are those who are not there in heaven whom you did expect
 3.  You will find that you are finally, actually there! Not that you are there, if you are saved, that should not surprise you. But that you have actually made the move.

It will be like going on a trip, you have saved up for it, planned it, looked forward to it, desired to get out of town, get to your destination, but until you are finally there, even then it takes a bit for the realization to set in. Once you are getting into vacation mode, it is time to go back home and back to work or school… but not so with heaven!

*Don’t let heaven surprise you. If you have not truly come to Christ for the forgiveness of your sin, you aren’t going to heaven. Heaven is only for those whose sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus.
*Don’t get to heaven and think you are going to get a ton of rewards if you are unfaithful to Christ here.
*Don’t go to heaven thinking that your family and friends are all going to be there just because they are good people, or Americans. Someone has to bring them to Jesus or they aren’t going to be there. You are that someone.

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