One of these days I am going to take a trip to a place I have never been before. It will be a journey so exciting that I would not choose to miss it for anything in the world. My fare to that destination was paid in full by One whom I have known for many years, but have never seen. I will be traveling light, too, for all of my old baggage was carried away and discarded by Him long ago.
By the way, I must tell you that the ticket for my upcoming trip is for one-way travel only. You see, when my life’s journey is complete...when my work here is done...and when the trials of my life are over...then, I will gladly leave this place when I hear the Lord calling my name.
The Bible teaches that, for believers, this world is not our final home – we are just passing through. The time we spend here in this place is only temporary. Even though we are in the world, we are not of the world...for our citizenship is in heaven. Born-again Bible believers are sons and daughters of the most-high God, and are heirs to His kingdom.
If the rapture does not take place first, then, one day as the Lord has planned and purposed for me, my eyes will close and I will draw my final breath here on earth. I will leave behind a mere shell of bones and flesh that had become very tired and weary from the battles fought – and they will bear the scars of sickness, disappointment, tears, and the pain from life’s many trials.
Immediately, I will be keenly aware of angels surrounding me – each assigned by the Lord God to provide comfort, and accompany me to the Father’s house in heaven. I will feel the soft brush of angel’s velvety wings as they gently, but swiftly, carry me toward a warm, distinctive glow I will see far off in the distance.
Then, as I am brought closer, it will become apparent the glow is radiating outward in every direction from the brightness of heaven’s glory. Located within the grandeur of heaven is a magnificent City bathed in His Light...the Holy City...the New Jerusalem...the eternal Home for the Bride of Christ...the City that will one day come down from heaven to a new earth.
Soon...very soon, I will be Home to finally meet my Savior and Lord face to face!
Only after the angels bring me into the realm of heaven, and, then, near to the City’s entrance, will I begin to understand the Scripture recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:9 which states that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. There are no words in our human languages that could ever begin to describe that which all believers will one day witness first-hand. Its glory simply defies description. Oh, what an incredible place it will be!
The Bible tells us the City is laid out as a square...1,400 miles in both length and width, with a height of equal measure. There are twelve foundations adorned with every kind of precious stone. The wall around the City is of clear jasper stone – allowing the glory of God to shine brilliantly. There are twelve gates around the perimeter of the City...three on each of the four sides. Each gate is comprised of a single enormous pearl.
As I approach one of the pearl gates, I know I will begin to hear the singing of at least a million angels, and large numbers of saints who had arrived in the City before me. Their combined voices will be lifting up beautiful, never-before-heard music in an enormous chorus of praise and worship that will never cease.
Unable to contain my curiosity and excitement, I will gently nudge the nearest gate open just enough to catch a quick glimpse of what is inside. With wide-eyed anticipation, I will peek through the narrow opening to see streets of gold – gold as pure as glass. I will see a river flowing – its sparkling water resembling liquid diamonds. Oh, my! There will be so much more, too...just as Scripture has promised for all who believe.
Then, I will see Him. One look...just one look...is all it will take. I will know He is my Savior, Lord, and Master...the One who willingly gave His life for me...and the One who I will serve for all eternity. When I see Him face to face, all the beauty and riches of that glorious City will suddenly pale in comparison. Being there will be all about Him – not about the City.
My Jesus will quickly swing the pearl gate wide open for me. When I see the broad smile on His face, and His outstretched arms revealing the scars in His nail-pierced hands, I will simply crumble at His feet with tearful humility and thanksgiving. He will tenderly wipe the tears away, and take my hand to lead me through the gateway of Home.
Then, I know He will say, “Welcome, My child. Yours is the kingdom of heaven!”
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The day is coming when each one of us must leave this life. Our bodies will die, of course, but our souls will never die. The soul will be taken to another place. It is entirely up to us as to where the soul will go...for it is our choice. We alone are responsible for our eternal destiny. We must choose the destination while we are alive on this earth, because our choice, or failure to choose, becomes sealed the moment we die. There can be no turning back.
Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. We can only be prepared by first being convicted by the Holy Spirit of our lost spiritual condition, and having a sincere desire for Jesus in our heart and life. Then, we must believe by faith alone on the Name of Jesus...that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. We must believe He paid the full penalty for all of our sins...that He was victorious over the grave, providing the only way we might have life...and then, we must confess that He is Lord over all. That will lead to repentance, God’s forgiveness, and a changed life that is pleasing to Him for His honor and glory.
Salvation is a free gift for all who would believe...and is only given by the grace of God through our faith alone, and not by anything we might try to do to achieve it as told in Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9.
Sadly, many people find it necessary to also place their trust in the trappings of this world, as well as believing they must embrace a man-devised process of rituals, traditions, and good works in order to become more worthy of salvation. Those things are all contrary to Scripture, and are a challenge to the Sovereignty of Almighty God. That belief is a blatant declaration that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not enough. In effect, they are saying that Scripture, the holy inspired Word of God, is wrong. All who follow those teachings are denying the Words of our Lord, and as a result, they will never enter through the gates of heaven to see the lights of glory.
In addition, there are others who believe that God probably does exist somewhere, and if they live their life the best way they can, then, He would not turn His back on them. They, as well as those who follow after other false gospels, pagan religions, godless cults, or nothing at all, will be lost for all eternity after they die.
Jesus said the road to life is narrow, and few would choose to follow that road even after hearing the Truth. Sadly, mankind in their arrogant unbelief has always attempted to cast the Truth of God’s Word aside by plowing a much wider road to satisfy their own twisted desires – all the while being deceived to believe heaven awaits them.
Yes, the moment after those folks breathe their last breath here on earth, the angels will be there to carry away their souls. However, the Holy City will not be the destination. Instead, their spiritually dead souls will be taken to await the Great White Throne judgment where Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you...depart from Me”, as recorded in Matthew 7:23.
On the other hand, the souls of those who have believed on Him...those who have trusted Jesus by faith alone as their Savior, their Lord, and the Master of their life...those who have believed His Word and all of His promises...those who have an on-going personal relationship with Him...and those who long to spend all of eternity with Him, will be taken to the New Jerusalem where they are rightful heirs to the kingdom of heaven forever.
If you have not already done so, please choose to receive Him into your heart and life today. I know that one day I will meet the Light of glory face to face. My prayer is that you would be there, too!