Early Christians had a great desire for Heaven. Paul expressed such a longing in 2 Corinthians 5:2 when he wrote, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.” Also listen to Peter in 2 Peter 3:11-14, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. ” Our cry should be that of Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:22, “O Lord, come!”, and of John in Revelation 22:20, “Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
The apostle Paul had the hope of being with his Lord. He expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” That desire can also be seen in Philippians 1:23. “For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” He spoke to the Thessalonians of “our gathering together to Him” (2 Thess. 2:1).
That day will be a day of great marvel. We will marvel at His own glory. The apostle declares in 2 Thessalonians 1:10, “When He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” We will also marvel in the fact that we will be like Him. Paul says in Philippians 3:20-21 that Jesus “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” And John tells us in I John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
What Christian wouldn’t want to escape the troubles and cares of this life? All faithful Christians are promised trials and persecutions upon this earth, and in this we should glorify God (2 Tim 3:12. Life for a Christian is hard, not easy. Job described man as one who “is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Paul experienced some rough times. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 he said he had “stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things, what come upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” Yet consider what he wrote in Romans 8:18. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Reflect on the sweet rest Heaven will bring. As John recorded in Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”‘
Consider the great promises God had made for us. Revelation 21:4 declares, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Listen also to the Lord in Luke 20:35-36. He said, “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
Thus, there will be no more blindness or deafness. No more cancer or heart disease. There will be no more arthritis, diabetes, or emphysema. Never again will one have to pick out a coffin for a departed loved one. Cemetaries and death will not be in Heaven.
Life here on earth is but a vapor but heaven is eternal (Jam 4:14). The Scriptures are clear as to the permanent nature of our reward. 1 Peter 1:4 says we have “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” Paul affirms in 1 Corinthians 15:42 that though one’s “body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.”
Think of being able to talk with Noah about the flood. Reflect on speaking with Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. What an experience to get a first hand account of Pentecost from Peter! What a thrill to see Stephen and the man who held the garments of those who stoned him walking side by side! Think of the saints of our own time who are waiting for us to join them. Gospel preachers, elders, Bible class teachers who have helped us to be what we are before God. Perhaps those dear to us who are waiting there- wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, children, friends. Please God, hasten the day!