In the book The Rapture: Catching away of the Saints, I dealt more elaborately with the afterlife bliss the saints have with God eternally; and indeed, the chapter on “A Glorious Dawn”, captured more of that. We can only recommend that work to all who want to make Heaven and do not wish to visit its content here. What we have set out to do here is virtually different. We want to ponder over few Scriptures out of the hundreds dealing with the subject matter of eternity with God; and see how we can make ourselves ready to be part of that eternal sight that no mortal can comprehend, and no human can express.
Entering that indescribable glory and so being with God forever: This is the chief purpose of living now. To miss it is to miss all. Our life today is probationary. The way we carry ourselves today will determine our place in the afterlife. God has designed a path for us, a narrow path that we must follow to get to heaven: His desired haven for us. Satan has his own designed path too, a broad way that many flood into with full back to the design, call and expectation of their Creator and God. Yet, God is longsuffering, patiently waiting for men to come away from all the satanic dangles, and sinful glamour arresting men’s attention, grabbing their hearts and ushering them into eternal fire of hell. In Isaiah 57:11 God says:
“And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered Me, nor laid it to thy heart? Have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest Me not?” God is still holding His peace! But for how long! In the meantime, He tells us in verse12 or the very next verse of this Isaiah 57: “I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee”. God continues to draw man’s attention to his sorry life state through the Holy Scriptures, His Holy Spirits, nature, man’s own conscience, and the lives of God’s genuine saints (those who are lights of the world, salt of the earth and written epistles indeed). God would continue to remind and sometimes upbraid men of their sinful lives and evil works. And He waits for those who will heed and return to Him the Fountain of life; and will not force them to so do or to return, for man is made god at creation and with a will or willpower to act accordingly. Man can choose to act right or otherwise. Man is god! He is made so by God.
But right at the Garden of Eden, man chose to move away from God; man acted the god he is, but he acted wrongly even though he has all within him and the wise counsel of God with Him to be able to act otherwise. And there and then too God declared the righteousness of man: “Adam where art thou?” Man has sinned and come short of the glory of God. Man lost the holy nature of God. Man died spiritually, for the soul that sin shall die, and which death is separation from the eternal God and Source of life and all that pertain to life and spiritual wellbeing.
Jesus, Rest Now and Eternally
But at Calvary Jesus Christ reconciles all that. Man can now have back the holy nature of God and eternal life of God. In Jesus sin is conquered, eternal death vanquished! Because it is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of God, on that final day when God shall finally declare the righteousness of men and their works and when the truth of “they shall not profit thee” shall eternally dawn on man, grace is today calling men to repentance and a return to God.
God is waiting patiently for men to turn from all licentious, obscene, mendacious and all forms of evil that has peopled the broad way that leads to eternal damnation with multitudes ‘that found it’. For how long will God hold His peace? No man knows. Man can breathe his last anytime; and the rapture of the saints by Jesus Christ can take place anytime: and whichever of these two comes first leaves indescribably fearful eternity for those who do not heed the call of grace.
Jesus has offered the sacrifice; He has paid the price, and it is a finished and perfect work. And He gives the call in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”. It is rest now, rest in the midst of turmoil around, peace in calamity-ridden world; and a blissful rest after now that is eternal. Blessed forever are all who heed that call of grace and remain with Him:
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.Wherefore, comfort one another with these words!
Nothing can be more comforting. Whilst this is so, to get to that rest however, there is also a caution that all purchased inheritance of God or all those purchased by the Blood of Jesus Christ must heed while on this side of eternity they still find themselves. Hebrews 4:1-9 cautions: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (italics are mine).
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” – Revelation 14:13. There is a rest for the saints that no human dictionary has any descriptive word for!
All Things made New Eternally
"He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new" – Revelation 21:5. Halleluyah! Ponder awhile: All things new! Think of the extent of ‘all things’.
I bet you don’t know what ‘all things’ are. You know few things. And even if the few we know are all to be made new by the ingenuity of man or man-made machine, what startling news. But now we are referring to all things, and all of them made new by God – the all knowing or omniscient God! And in that newness we shall inhabit through all eternity.
Eternal Freedom from Death, Tears, Sorrow, Crying, Pain etc
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for former things are passed away" – Revelation 21:4. O how man fears death! Think of a place where there shall be no more death. And indeed anything that reminds of it or near it: No sorrow, crying or tears; even no pain!
That sounds like a strange language to humanity that is always overwhelmed by these. Can man since Adam think of life without sorrow, tears, cries and pain and the sundry and uncountable things, issues and news that bring them about? Gone! Can this brain figure out such a place? Can you describe such a place? Even things that are in no way near this have been described by man as utopia, which is ‘ideal and perfect state’ that is not achievable by man anyway’. That is how man is so reduced in thought and ability.
So then, how can a man tell of a society where there will be no death, sorrow, crying and pain! But this is only a starting point of what a wonderful God has in stock for His own people. If you will hear it properly: ‘for former things are passed away’. What! Yes, not just only death, sorrow, crying, tears or pain and all things, issues and news that bring them to us but indeed, all former things are passed away. What are former things? The best computer that man can ever device cannot tell, list or compute that. But it is all gone, passed away forever! Then what? Hear Revelation 21:5 by way of reiteration: "He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new". Halleluyah!
Eternal Freedom from Hunger, Thirst
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" – Revelation 7:16-17.
This is another condition of eternity with God that sounds strange to the Adamic race, and it will be almost a failed trip explaining to man how hunger and thirst cannot and will not be part of life of any people and that forever.
But thank God “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters". The shepherding role of the Lord-Shepherd over His flock that Psalm 23 and others speak of ‘in shadow’ comes now consummately and it is eternal. The Lamb in the midst of the throne shall feed and lead them to the living fountains of waters. ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want’ now takes eternal meaning! Psalm 36: 8 represents this as eternal abundance and satisfaction. "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink the river of Thy pleasures" – Psalm 36:8.
Think about this future occurrence. Think about being abundantly satisfied; and that with the FATNESS OF GOD’S HOUSE! Think about God making them drink; and that of the RIVER OF HIS PLEASURE!
Eternal Fulfillment of Creation Purpose
"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them" – Revelation 7:15. Being before the throne of God of all creation, serving the Ancient of Days day and night, and He dwelling among hitherto vessels of clay: Who can explain this? Who can tell it! O Paradise regained! And how the saints shall forever be grateful to Him that so love us that He gave His Only begotten Son to pour His gracious love on us and took our sins in that unfathomable sacrificial work on Calvary Cross, and how they shall equally be forever grateful to Him Who gave the Comforter to His Church to seal, comfort and pilot us to a glorious eternity. And really the redeemed cannot thank Him enough throughout all eternity.
O that we may have grace to live here with that place in view. May we always live with eternity in mind: For to be before the throne of God of all creation eternally, to serve Him day and night eternally, and for Him to dwell, and that eternally among former worms (which we are presently) who can explain this? This is purpose of creation realized finally!
Eternal Life Path, Fullness of Joy and Pleasure
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" – Psalm 16:11. Three things here we should note. There is a path of life, presence of God and God’s Right Hand. The purpose of the rapture is to usher us into this. It is to usher us into the path of life, into His presence, and to His Right Hand side and therefore into (His) pleasures for evermore. The rapture is what God uses to show us path of life, eternal life with God, and the path of the God of life; a path that leads to or is His eternal presence and or Right Hand or right hand side: Where there are PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE!
Eternal Sons and Eternal Inheritors of all things
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son” – Revelation 21:7. The saints shall be eternal sons of God. And they shall inherit all things. The mind cannot comprehend this now, it is too limited to imagine what that fully consists. It suffices to know that they shall inherit all things. All things the Father has are the Son’s; and now, for the Son’s sake have become the saints’ for by Him they have become sons of God and sons forever. Talk about all the riches of God in high places in Christ Jesus; they shall now be the saints’ forever! That is the result of Calvary!
And remember too that God shall make all things new; and those ALL that He shall make new shall be inherited by the saints for they (the saints) ‘shall inherit all things’. That is the result of Calvary!
Eternal Kingship and Reign
“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever” – Daniel 7:18. Daniel by the Spirit goes further: “Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” – Daniel 7:22. And in Daniel 7: 27 we read also “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him”.
The saints shall be kings and lords and shall rule the earth one thousand years under the King and Lord in His millennial reign of the earth in the first instance; and thereafter for forever and ever or in all eternity under the King and Lord: He is King of kings and Lord of Lords!
Eternal Shining Lights
“They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever" – Daniel 12:3. The brightness and radiance that shall be the saints after now no man can explain, and no man can understand. The brightness of the saints shall be as the brightness of the firmament; and their shine as the stars forever and ever. The brilliance, glow or illumination of one saint is incomprehensible. His will be angelic glory and eternal shining light.
If the brilliance of one saint is so, think of the glow of this place called Heaven, or of the millennium reign of Jesus Christ when He comes to the earth to rule with His saints, and then indeed of the New Jerusalem; and because we must represent it just the way it is we cannot but now draw from Scriptures verbatim and extensively so.
The Eternal Holy City
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His Name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.
How do we get to such a place?
It is only by faith. In Romans 5:1-2 we read: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Verses 6-9 of this Romans 5 explains: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
That is, our salvation is all unmerited. It is given unconditionally. It is all grace, received by faith. We are justified by faith which gives us peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access by faith into God’s grace wherein all the saints stand. And by faith we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; which glory though we partake in now in a measure, but it speaks here of His glory that shall be revealed in its fullness to the saints and which shall be their portion and habitation eternally when Jesus comes to take home His jewels.
And by faith too we keep holy or overcome sin for it (faith) is the victory that overcomes the world; and sin being the chief thing there is to be defeated in the world anyway. And we add the rider on purpose because of many ‘faith, breakthrough and miracle’ messages bombarding us today. Also, without faith it is impossible to please the Lord. By faith we keep our focus on Jesus Christ, Who actually is the Author and Finisher of our faith. By faith we can now obey Him and His injunctions. By faith we serve Him faithfully laying our treasures in Heaven; and subsequently by the same we bring our hearts into Heaven. By it we live here on earth as heavenly citizens waiting for the coming of our King to take us home. By faith we know that we are pilgrims here, here to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints and to therefore fight the good fight of faith as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Marching to Zion: Song of the Soldier-Pilgrim!
Saints must therefore live with eternity in view. They must live looking up. They must expectedly be watching out for the glorious appearing of their King; and indeed be marching on to meet Him, marching away from all that lures on this side of eternity; marching away from the broad way overwhelming multitudes on the way of eternal destruction. “We're Marching to Zion” Isaac Watts once wrote. How Watts’ hymn and its refrain and music by Robert Lowry will always remain instructive and sonorous:
1. Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
Join in a song with sweet accord
And thus surround the throne,
And thus surround the throne.
We're marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We're marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.
2. Let those refuse to sing
Who never knew our God;
But children of the heavenly King,
But children of the heavenly King
May speak their joys abroad,
May speak their joys abroad.
3. The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets,
Or walk the golden streets.
4. Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
We're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
To fairer worlds on high,
To fairer worlds on high.
Igho writes from Warri
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