THE GLORIOUS HEAVENLY HOPE - PART 4
HEAVENLY CONTEMPLATIONS II
June 23, 2012
The tremendous response we received to our series “The Glorious Heavenly Hope” has shown us that 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 decided to 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 “keep our minds fixed on the things above.” (Colossians 2:2) And we invite you to share your thoughts with us on our Contact Us page, as they may very well encourage the entire association of our brothers worldwide who, like you, have accepted Jesus’ invitation to “Come.” (Matthew 11:28)
On this site, we repeatedly refrain from answering questions about 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 heavenly possibilities.
The Heavenly Abodes
In our last article, we postulated that the “many abodes” 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, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life.” (Revelation 7:17) That sounds to us like education, instruction, guidance and training. Accordingly, we will call these heavenly abodes “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.
“And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side [there were] trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees [were] for the curing 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:
“They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat.”
– Revelation 7:16
We further read in Genesis that in the beginning, instead of rain falling from above, “a mist would go up from the earth and it watered the entire 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:
“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that 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 man has seen God at any time.” (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, take your breakfast.” Not one of the disciples had the courage to inquire of him: “Who are you?” because 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:
“Now the two angels arrived at Sodom by evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot caught sight of them, then he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the earth. And he proceeded to say: ‘Please, now, my lords, turn aside, please, into the house of your servant and stay overnight and have your feet washed. Then you must get up early and travel on our way.’ To this they said: ‘No, but in the public square is where we shall stay overnight.’ But he was very insistent with them, so that they turned aside to him and came into his house. Then he made a feast for them, and he baked unfermented cakes, and they went to eating.”
– Genesis 19:1-3
So it is no surprise that Jesus, in his newly resurrected body, also ate the food of men:
“Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after his being raised up from the dead.”
– John 21:12-14
Verse 15 says Jesus “breakfasted” with his apostles. (John 21:15)
But because the new bodies are different, we wonder if they will have an additional energy system that sustains these bodies. Notice this:
"Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations: To him that conquers I will grant to eat of 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 “to time indefinite.” (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 “the lame one will climb up just as a stag does.” (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.
“And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred, because on it he has been resting from all his work that God has created for the purpose of making.”
– Genesis 2:3
We are told that we will be able to “enter into” God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1-11), and Act 3:19 speaks of “seasons 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 ‘dance and leap around before Jehovah.’ (2 Samuel 6:16) In the parable of the prodigal son, there was “a music concert 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 Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor 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. If so, please share them with us and with one another. 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, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.”
– Philippians 4:8
Rejoice in your hope! We welcome your comments. Continue to Heavenly Contemplations - Part III - Unfolding the Universe