THE GLORIOUS HEAVENLY HOPE
HEAVENLY CONTEMPLATIONS - PART 2
June 23, 2012
There is a true and profound hunger for knowledge about heavenly possibilities. Though mankind has long lived and died for the idea of life with the Father in the heavens, we have greatly lacked any real information upon which to base such a hope. Accordingly, we expound further on what we can glean from the scriptures to fuel our imaginations about our heavenly inheritance. We invite you to indulge in these contemplation with us in keeping with the scriptural admonition to “set our minds on things above.” (Colossians 2:2)
We believe it is wise to refrain from dogmatically stating when “the end” will come, or speculating about the meanings of prophetic symbolism. As history has shown, doing so can cause great harm to believers when those speculations do not come to fruition. We believe such matters are best left in the hands of the Father alone and to those to whom he has given the accurate unfailing interpretations. We do not at this time possess that information and so we continue to refrain from speculating about who is the wild beast or the harlot, or when the ‘bowls of anger’ will be poured out, etc. Nevertheless, this stance does not preclude us from drawing inferences from some of the visions that have to do with the blessings for mankind. Therefore, in this article, we may utilize some of the words and phrases from the book of Revelation as we propose more heavenly possibilities.
The Heavenly Abodes
In our last article, we postulated that the “many rooms” Jesus spoke of at John 14:2 may be residential dwellings, as well as schools of learning wherein we transition ‘from glory to glory’ (1 Corinthians 3:18), perfecting our personalities until we attain spiritual bodies which will allow us to appear before the very person of the Father. After all, the book of Revelation tells us “the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.” (Revelation 7:17) That sounds to us like education, instruction, guidance and training. Accordingly, we will call these heavenly rooms “training worlds” preparing us for the true spiritual world in our eternal future.
We suspect that these training worlds are physical and material in composition, but made of a material of a higher quality substance than the earth.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
– Revelation 22:1-2
In addition to life sustaining vegetation, we can expect that there would be a life-supporting atmosphere to sustain our new bodies, much like we have a nitrogen/oxygen-based atmosphere that supports our current bodies. But we suspect the weather on those transition worlds would be much more stable than on our planet and thus we can exclude the possibility of severe weather anomalies such as earthquakes, volcano eruptions, burning heat, torrential rains, tornados and the like. For example, we read in Revelation:
“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat.”
– Revelation 7:16
We further read in Genesis that in the beginning, instead of rain falling from above, “streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.” (Genesis 2:6) Maybe the training worlds will likewise be watered. So, we expect the weather and temperature would be rather mild year round.
That leads us to wonder about our new homes. If the Father saw fit to have us on earth build individual dwelling places, it seems likely that there will be individual dwelling places in the heavenly world. But what kind of homes? We suspect there will be walls so that we can have a measure of privacy. But we wonder, since the weather will be so pleasant, will our homes have roofs? What purpose would roofs serve? It is possible that as we recline in our new homes, we will be looking up to the stars as our canopy, with a constant flow of clean fresh air.
Here, when the wind blows, we refer to it as “whistling.” Do you think the wind on the training worlds will whistle? Or perhaps the sound will be melodic, or harmonic. What if the sound of the breeze is a calming song?
Our New Bodies
We already know that we will have bodies and sensory organs that can perceive and experience the beauty the Father has prepared for us:
“However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
We have already postulated that our senses will perceive unimaginable sensations – colors unknown on earth, sounds and languages unheard on earth, taste flavors not tasted on earth. And we suspect that we will feel sensations currently unknown. For example, we know that certain animals have acute senses – they see farther, hear better, and can move their bodies faster than man. We see no reason why we could not possess those abilities.
Maybe while reclining in our homes, we will be able to see much farther into space than our unaided eye can now see. Maybe our ears will be able to truly “hear what the spirit says” (Revelation 3:22) in a way impossible in our current state. We believe that as we progress toward the Father, we will achieve true spiritual vision – the ability to see spiritual persons. We know “No one has every seen God.” (John 1:18) But when we are no longer flesh and blood, and attain spirit bodies, we expect that we will!
Also, when Jesus appeared to his apostles and disciples after his resurrection, he did not have the same body. It was similar to the one he had before his death, but we know it was a little different because when he appeared to his apostles, they were not sure it was Jesus until they interacted with him.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.”
– John 21:12
And we can assume that these bodies will consume some sort of food and drink. We recall that angels consumed the food and drink of their human hosts:
“The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. ‘My lords,’ he said, ‘please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.’ ‘No,’ they answered, ‘we will spend the night in the square.’ But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.”
– Genesis 19:1-3
So it is no surprise that Jesus, in his newly resurrected body, also ate the food of men:
“Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’”
– John 21:13-15
But because the new bodies are different, we wonder if they will have an additional energy system that sustains these bodies. Notice this:
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
– Revelation 2:7
We know the tree of life has qualities different from our trees on earth. We are told there was one such tree in the Garden of Eden in the beginning of our creation, and that as long as one was able to partake of that tree, they will continue to live forever. (Genesis 3:22) This supports Paul’s words that the bodies we will be given would not deteriorate – they would be incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:53) because we would continually feed of the tree of life. With that added energy supply, we suspect that our bodies will be able to do phenomenal things. Perhaps this is what Isaiah meant when he said “then will the lame leap like a deer.” (Isaiah 35:6)
In these training worlds, we cannot imagine that we would be without high art and supernal culture to provide diversion and rest. Our perfecting would certainly not be all work. We know that God “rested” from creation.
“Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
– Genesis 2:3
We are told that we will be able to “enter into” God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1-11), and Acts 3:19 speaks of “times of refreshing.” Also, when Jesus was on earth, he periodically encouraged his apostles to take time for themselves to refresh themselves. So we are certain that there will be pleasant diversions in between our study and work. Probably even types of entertainment that we had not even considered. What might we do during our periods of rest?
In our previous article, we postulated that there would be new, beautiful and complex singing. (Revelation 14:3) We also expect that with these new strong, healthy, beautiful bodies, we will probably dance. In ancient Israel, King David is said to ‘leap and dance.’ (2 Samuel 6:16) In the parable of the prodigal son, there was “music and dancing.” (Luke 15:25) Why would music and dancing be taken away? Here on earth, while some dancing can be vulgar and offensive, there are many other forms of dancing that is extremely beautiful and inspiring. We are certain that in the training worlds, any music or dancing would be done in a way that would honor our Father and each other.
In fact, we believe there will be many things to entertain and refresh us. What do you suppose heavenly comedy is like? When we think about humor, we notice that some of the most entertaining humor has to do with reflecting on things we did in the past, or things we did because we did not know better. So we think it is possible that there could be humor and comedy in the training worlds that would not be offensive or belittling to others.
Remember, too, that being artistic is considered a “God-given gift.” Some among us are especially gifted singers, dancers, painters, poets, songwriters, musicians, sculptors, etc. Why wouldn’t such people be able to continue to pursue and perfect their “God-given” talents? And maybe some of us who were not gifted with such talents would like to learn them. We suspect there will be master teachers – artisans – who will instruct us in the new and varied forms of art.
Teachers and masters of not only music and singing, but also such things as painting, sculpting, building, horticulture and various forms of designing. Maybe we will learn to paint with not just pigments, but maybe with light. Maybe there are chefs who design tastes. Maybe the music scale will have more than seven notes. Maybe poets will have new words or a completely new vocabulary to formulate their pieces. Maybe there will be dramatic acting, orating and storytelling. Perhaps these master artisans will perform for us – heavenly concerts. In fact, we have often wondered if the visions seen by prophets of old were actually dramas acted out by angelic personalities! So many possibilities; so little time to postulate!
Finally, companionship. Jesus’ teachings were based on loving one another, being kind to one another, looking out for one another. That leads us to conclude that we will continue to have affectionate relationships with one another. And since we are told that God is not partial and that “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female” (Galatians 3:28), we suspect that applies to other types of beings as well. In other words, will we develop close and endearing friendships with other types of beings? We think so.
We considered in the prior article that we would need to learn the languages of the heavens. Maybe we will be given a personal guide and interpreter who will accompany us on our journeys as we become familiar with our new home. If so, we suspect that we will be spending a lot of time with our new guides. Some of these guides might be advanced humans, creatures of angelic origin, or entities created for the sole purpose of amusing and accompanying us so as to facilitate our advancement.
When we are finally perfected, we believe we will have not only eliminated all animalistic tendencies, but we will have experienced the height of all possible human joys and all positive mortal sensations. We believe our perfecting will be a masterful completion such that we have no longings for things of the past. We will be poised and ready for our final translation of “glory” to the very presence of the Father.
These are just some of the things we have thought about. Maybe you have thought about other things. Since “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), we doubt that anyone could come up with ideas that are not in some way possible, as long as those ideas are in harmony with the nature of the Father:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
– Philippians 4:8
Rejoice in your hope! We welcome your comments.
“Your Brothers in the Faith"