What Can We Know About Heaven?

What Can We Know About Heaven?“Now my idea about heaven is …” and then the writer or speaker reveals himself far more than he tells us about heaven. The materialist, sensual, mystical, aesthetic, and surrealist all have a field day with heaven. It is “pie in the sky” to those who ridicule its reality; and an extremely plush “paid vacation” for those who equate “real” with earthly literalism. “Heaven” is a divinely revealed place, state, or condition; and we can know only that which is revealed about it in God’s word. We say “place” with some hesitation, using accommodative language; for “location” is space related, and may lose its literal significance when applied to eternity. But God’s word is directed to time and space related beings, and information about deity and eternity are necessarily couched in terms that translate into mental images. We cannot truly imagine “eternity” or things eternal in nature, so we must expect the Bible to use anthropomorphisms: whereby things of God, totally incomprehensible to mortal man, are described in the time and space terms of man.

Jewish typology finds its final usage here. God built a literal people, a literal nation, through whom His Son would put on flesh and dwell among men. He used these people, a distinct advantage to them, as His vehicle for demonstrating God-to-man dealings (Rom. 3:1f; 9:4-5). Then, as His eternal purpose began to reach its fruition in Christ, the literal kingdom of Israel is seen as a type of His spiritual rule over whosoever will. Christ reigns on “David’s throne,” and is our High Priest “after the order of Melchizedek” (Acts 2:30f; Heb. 6:20f). Scattered Israel finds a “highway” and “returns … in righteousness” (Isa. 10:20f; 35:8f); and all Christians are “Abraham’s seed” or “the Israel of God” (Gal. 3:29; 6:16). It should come as no surprise that heaven is called “New Jerusalem”; and praise to God there is described in Jewish terms: “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8).

FATHERS DAY

FATHERS DAYThe third Sunday in June each year is Father’s Day – a special day to remember and celebrate earthly fathers. The day also affords an opportunity to reflect on the influence a father has in his home and the blessing of a godly father. In the home, a father has an extraordinarily great and lasting impact on his wife and his children, and his influence extends to eternity as well.

It is truly intriguing how often the Bible employs the word father or some form of the word; such words occur 1718 times in the King James Bible. Certainly, many of these occurrences refer to God and His fatherhood, but the point remains clear – whether in relation to the physical family or the spiritual family of God – that the concept of fatherhood is rich with meaning and value.

Consider some fathers of the Bible. There is Noah (father of Shem, Ham, & Japheth), Abraham (father of Isaac), Isaac (father of Jacob), Jacob (father of thirteen children), Amram (father of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam), and many others. A man who is a father has the opportunity to be a tremendous blessing, in terms of character, strength, and godliness to his family.

Standing in opposition to God’s beautiful portrait of fatherhood in the Bible is description of fatherhood in the present society. In many cases, television shows denigrate fathers and insult the institution of fatherhood. Magazines all too often present fathers as uninvolved in the lives of their families and in fact perhaps distant from them. It is easy to think of children who have little and perhaps even no association with their fathers; that is indescribably sad. Sometimes, fathers are portrayed as expendable and unneeded. Society will continue to suffer when children do not have the influence of a strong father and when fathers do not follow their God-given responsibilities.

We wish a Happy Father’s Day to each father of the congregation and wish for you also to know how much you are appreciated. Let us be thankful for our fathers and consider some passages to aid in appreciating a godly man and a godly father.

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVEIf a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy, he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing, he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness, he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity, your child will live with peace of mind.

 

With what is your child living?

Dorothy Law Nolte