A Foretaste of Heaven

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Heaven - Believers’ Future Abode
Many believers want to know more of our heavenly abode—our destined heritage. The Holy Scriptures, of course, is the only place where light on this subject is to be found. Of those passages we all have personally appropriated over the years, the Apostle Paul’s brief reference in Philippians is perhaps the most widely repeated.
“To be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:2323For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23)). In addition, we have David’s: “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psa. 16:1111Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11)). Isaiah informs us that heaven is a thrice-holy place. The attending angels were heard to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:33And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:3)).
In Acts 7:55-5655But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:55‑56), Stephen also saw heaven opened, and his testimony was that he saw the heavens opened and “the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” The Apostle Paul tells of his vision caught up to the third heaven. There he heard unspeakable words, “which it is not lawful [possible]  .  .  .  to utter” (2 Cor. 12:24). And, finally, the Apostle John tells of his experience to “come up hither.” He saw a throne set in heaven in the midst of a rainbow and the one sitting on the throne likened to the beauty of precious stones. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four elders clothed in white raiment with crowns of gold on their heads (Rev. 413And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And 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. (Revelation 7:13‑14)).
From these references, we conclude that to be in heaven is to feel the presence of the great I AM of eternity and to spontaneously adore and revere Him. We (Christians) will also be with and like Christ in that holy habitation where the brightness of His eternal glory spreads an effulgence of light to which no mere mortal being would dare approach (1 Tim. 6:1616Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16)). It is there that we will see the Lord Jesus Christ exalted, having been given a name which is above every name—“Lord of lords, and King of kings.” At that proclamation every one in His presence bows the knee in humble praise and worship. Every eye is focused on the imposing throne and its majestic Occupant. Every voice ascribes blessing and honor and glory and power unto Him that sits upon the throne. There follows a universal and spontaneous outcry of “Alleluia.”
Days of Heaven Upon the Earth
Some might ask, “Is there any place on earth where a foretaste of this wonderful and glorious heaven can be found?” It certainly won’t be found in the institutions of higher learning or in government planning rooms. Even the court rooms, where justice and righteousness should be on display, have turned from God. Is there, then, no such place here? Happily, God’s Word does provide an affirmative answer. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)). “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him” (Psa. 89:77God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. (Psalm 89:7)).
A foretaste of heaven can be found where Christians are directed by the indwelling Holy Spirit to gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There—in a holy, righteous manner—will be praise and worship with reverential fear directed to the eternal God for His marvelous plan of salvation in pardoning and justifying guilty sinners. Hymns will be sung, Scripture references cited and prayers of thanksgiving offered for the distinct purpose of exalting the Lord Jesus Christ and remembering Him in His death. There will be joy in an assembly so occupied. And in heaven itself Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith, will view the firstfruits of that joy which He anticipated when He endured the cross at such a great cost.
Such an experience is the proper, Biblical hope of every Christian from every kindred and tongue and people and nation. May the joyful expectation of faith giving way to sight cause our voices to unite in a mighty chorus, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
R. Erisman