Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Do We See in Heaven? by Dudley Hall

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  John 17:24 (ESV)
I am always amazed to hear us talk about heaven. We have to speculate about its real nature because it is obviously too grand to fathom. The symbols used in Scripture to describe it suggest that its majesty is unmatched. Golden streets, pearly gates, precious jewels, and penetrating light are just some of the descriptive efforts used to convey the glory of the unfiltered presence of God.

Jesus prayed that his followers would be able to see the glory he had before the incarnation. He suggests that the greatest view in heaven is of him. He is the Father's Son. He is the center of the Father's attention. The Father's love for him has been fully revealed. No wonder it is indescribable. What must that look like? It is more than light and gold and jewels. Jesus is the ultimate object of love. He is the ultimate expression of love. He is the ultimate lover. Whatever love looks like in it fullest expression - that is the glory of Jesus.

John the apostle had his apocalyptic vision on the isle of Patmos and saw enough of this glory that he fell as if he were dead. His was only a vision filled with symbols. If John had actually seen the glory it would have killed him. It is no wonder that we must have new bodies with new capacities when we see Jesus.  (Read the description in Revelation 1:9-20.)

It is a grand hope we have in Christ. It should be noted that if he is the center of heaven, he deserves to be the center of earth. He taught his disciples to pray, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." If we pray and expect that, we can get acquainted with him and his glory now.  The Scriptures are all about him. We don't have to wait to get a glimpse. We can see more than we ever thought possible if we look. Remember the two who walked with him on the road to Emmaus after the terrible weekend of crucifixion. He opened their eyes to see that the whole of Scripture was about him, and their hearts burned.

We have a guaranteed hope of seeing his glory in fullest fashion one day soon. But until then we can see his glory, though somewhat veiled for our protection, in the Scriptures and the saints. Once we see him there, we can find his glory in all creation and declare with Isaiah, "his glory fills the whole earth." Once we see him, the glory of worldly treasure becomes dim. Until we see him, worldly treasure will capture us.

Let us live in light of the glory already revealed and the glory we are promised. We shall see him and it will satisfy.

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