When I was a little girl I had a dream of heaven.
I was in a field of cherry trees in the spring, with blossoms covering the ground. Jesus was there holding my hands, swinging me around and we were laughing. I felt joy. I still see that dream vividly in my mind.
But now I've grown up.
Now I know it was a little girls imagination. It's what I wanted heaven to be. I now know heaven will be so much more. I will actually know pure joy when I see Him face to face. It won't be a dream.
The Bible speaks of Heaven so much more than I'd thought. Most ungraspable, yet beautiful and mind-blowing.
John MacArthur explains the Biblical view of heaven so well in this book, that you begin to see how there is no comparison to the dreams and imaginations of men, women and children who say they have been to heaven and back.
Before reading this book, I didn't realize how many secular books were out there on near-death experiences and that they are so similar to recent Christian publications on dying, going to heaven and coming back. How could that be? How could an unbeliever have the same experience as a believer?
I found this part of the book a bit depressing.
But, when he got into the Biblical view of heaven, I got excited.
John MacArthur shares these words about the love of God and heaven:
"We will finally know perfect love.
First Corinthians 13:13 says, 'Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.'
Why is love the greatest of virtues? Because it is eternal.
In heaven all our hopes will be realized. 'Hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?' (Romans 8:24). All that we have laid hold of by faith will be ours to enjoy forever. Faith will be swallowed up by sight.
But we will love perfectly and will be loved perfectly for all eternity. John 13:1 says Christ loved his disciples cis telos - literally, 'to the end,' to utter perfection.
'Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.' John 13:1
That same love will engulf us forever. And we will finally be able to love perfectly in return."
He continues with some truths about the joy of the Lord in heaven:
"We could summarize by saying that heaven is a place of perfect joy. Our joy in this life is always mixed with sorrow, discouragement, disappointment, or worry. Sin, grief, and sorrow inevitably dampen happiness. An honest look at life in this world produces more tears than real joy.
Our lives here begin with the joy of childbirth, but inevitably end in the sorrows of death and separation. In heaven things will be different. Heaven is a place of undiluted joy. At the end of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the master tells the faithful steward, 'Well done, good and faithful servant...Enter into the joy of your master.' (V. 23).
Jesus's choice of that terminology indicates that one of the dominant characteristics of heaven is joy. Best of all, it's an unending and never-diminishing joy. It must be, because heavenly perfection is never altered."
John MacArthur goes into all of these questions and gives a clarity and enrichment of what the Bible says of heaven.
I found this book helpful in reinforcing my desire to test all things and it encouraged me to continue to look to Jesus and His Word for truth. To put my trust solely in Him.
There are many things we know for sure from Scripture when it comes to heaven. We know heaven is a reality of the true God, not a fairy tale. It's a place His children long for.
It's where believers will someday see God in His fullness of glory. There we will know the fullness of joy, the fulfillment of hope and faith, and God's love eternal.
I'm reading through the Psalms right now and often read of David's desire for heaven. His longing for it. Longing to be in God's presence, longing for God's fullness of joy, longing to be with Him forevermore.
"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11
I'm excited to see Jesus face to face. I'm excited to know the fullness of God's perfect love. I'm excited to see my hope in Him fulfilled. And I'm excited for His joy unspeakable forevermore.
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