“O Paradise! O Paradise! I greatly long to see, the special place my dearest Lord in love prepared for me.” Frederick W. Faber.
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty
Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hell
The third day He rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy catholic Church;
The communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And the life everlasting.
“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1
When I was a little girl, I heard a minister preach about eternity – and it terrified me. I remember laying in my bed, trying to wrap my childish mind around the concept of eternity – of something that would never end. My heart began to race with panic, and I cried myself to sleep that night. I am far removed from that little girl, and God has graciously taught me many wonderful truths from His Word. I still cannot wrap my gray-haired mind around the concept of eternity – but I am no longer afraid.
In this final phrase of The Apostles’ Creed, we are going to see what God’s Word has to tell us about heaven and about everlasting life.
Psalm 103:19 tells us the significance of this place called heaven. “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” Heaven is the dwelling place of God, the place where He rules over all of His creation. Heaven is so much more that the image that we have drawn in our minds. Heaven is not sitting around on fluffy clouds, strumming harps, bored out of our minds. It is a place of wonder and amazement, everything will be glorified because of the awesome presence of God. The colors of heaven will be more brilliant that anything we have seen on earth. Plants more beautiful, food more flavorful, music more glorious (the angels will be singing after all).
Revelation gives us the most description of heaven. In Revelation 3:12 Jesus speaks of the city of God, “the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from God.” In this New Jerusalem we will drink “from the spring of the water of life” (Rev. 21:6). The Holy City will shine “with the glory of God,” with the “brilliance of a very precious jewel” (Rev. 21:11) Try to picture with me the descriptions in Revelation 21 and 22: The city is made of pure gold (the purest gold on earth is 24K, but the gold of heaven is “as pure as glass’) with walls of jasper, the foundations are twelve precious stones, the gates of the city are made of giant single pearls The gold that our world revolves around – that’s just pavement in heaven, where the streets are made of pure, transparent gold. There is no sun or moon, “for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” The city’s water source flows from the throne of God, as clear as crystal. And the tree of life will be a source of nourishment, healing and life to all.
But here is the most beautiful sight of all: “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face…” (Rev. 22:3-4, emphasis added). We will see the face of God, the face of our Savior! As a writer, here I fall silent. What words could I offer to describe the glory of beholding the face of Jesus?
And we will have to privilege of looking into His face – forever. For we will have life everlasting! As hard as it is to comprehend, it is one of the foundations of our faith – eternal, everlasting life.
Life everlasting is the promise that has kept the heart of the Christian faith beating steadily through trial, persecution, and oppression. It has been the song on the lips of the martyrs down through history. Life everlasting is not just about existence that never ends. It is about LIFE that never ends. It is about our heavenly home and the uninterrupted presence of God. It was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus, and secured at His resurrection, and when you accepted Christ, He “put His Spirit in [your} heart as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22).
What are some of these “everlasting blessings?” Glad you asked! How about everlasting love (Ps. 103:17); everlasting righteousness (Ps. 119:142); an everlasting kingdom (Ps. 145:113); everlasting joy (Is. 35:10); everlasting salvation (Is. 47:17); everlasting kindness (Is. 54:8); everlasting light (Is 60:19 & 20); an everlasting name (Is. 56:5); and an everlasting Father (Is 9:6)? Do you see now, why eternity doesn’t frighten me anymore? It will be an everlasting paradise (Rev. 2:7)!
Holy Father, Sometimes life is so hard here, and I cannot find a reason to carry on. Fill my heart with this hope and assurance: this world is not my home, my “citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). Someday, I’m going home to walk on streets of gold! Amen.