ENCOURAGEMENT TO A CHRISTIAN HEAVENLY ETERNAL VIEW
A Room With Jesus
Where today is the room or mansion Jesus said He would prepare? Is this promised place the same or different from the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem promised?
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In July of 2001 a fine Christian lady surrounded by her family passed from this life. As the family grieved in those first few moments of the realization of her departure a hospital messenger arrived with a letter. Not realizing the circumstances the messenger gave the letter to one of her grandchildren. This grandchild noted the letter was addressed to their grandmother, Ms. Beulah Welch, and opened it to review its contents. Enclosed was a card with beautiful yellow tulips. Ms. Beulah loved flowers and knew the names of many kinds of flowers she grew in her yard in the years before her failing health. The card was titled "A Get Well Wish." On the inside the following words of encouragement were written.
"Many good wishes are sent your way with hope that you are feeling better with every new day. How I pray you are better by now and will soon feel good as new. I am praying for you. Love Arlie."
As fellow believers in Christ these grandchildren rejoiced with tears over the message of that sweet thought sent by Ms. Arlie Martin to her dearest friend of many years. At the moment Ms. Welch received this heart felt prayer of encouragement she really was "good as new" in the presence of her Savior. A wonderful prayer had been answered. The pain and frustration of failing health were gone. No more medicine, doctors, hospitals, tests, pain, sorrow, burdens or troubles. Her new life with Jesus had just begun. Like Ms. Welch many have taken that same journey to newness of life. Those left behind often experience a variety of emotions from the extreme of shock, denial, anger and blame to the other extreme of comfort, peace and happiness in struggle for some level of acceptance. Grief by those left behind is a normal response over the loss of those we know and love.
The longer I practice medicine the larger the storage file of those "deceased" grows. Following my oath to God and fellow man I obstinately fight with every bit of knowledge and power to preserve and sustain life. Yet still the number grows. Recently in filling out an information request on a deceased patient I spent a few somber moments putting faces to the names of those charts. I can remember many of them sharing the joy of family, the delight of living another day and the pleasure of serving the Lord. Thankfully most had confessed hope in Jesus as they faced worsening health. Sorrowfully I know some probably had not. Yet even in some of those with Jesus as Savior I can still see the fear in their eyes as we discussed possible end of life issues. I recalled how they and their families battled many overwhelming emotions over that inevitable arrival at deaths door. It seemed like yesterday they were seeking care and yet some have been gone for years.
As discussed in chapter Relative Time Creation from God’s perspective of time, the material physical life of man is very short. Many in God’s Word realized and testified to this unavoidable fact of life. David shared how a lifetime is but a breath to God and prayed as he lived he would understand how his life was "fleeting." James tells us life is like a "mist" seen for a short time and then gone. The next time you watch water boil note how short a time that water vapor can be seen. Bildad the Shuhite replied, as he sat with his ailing friend Job, lessons learned from older generations - that length of life is like a mere "shadow".Psalms 39:4-5 4 "Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Selah NIV (Emphasis mine) James 4:14 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. NIV Job 8:8-9 8 "Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned, 9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. NIV
Scripture further teaches the time before life, during life, and after that lifetime have already been recorded by God the Father. The days of each person living have been numbered according to God’s predetermined purpose in His kingdom work.Psalms 139:13-16 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. NIV (Emphasis mine)
This fleeting shadow of a mist we call life started with Adam and Eve. It appears while Adam and Eve were made from a decaying creation they may have had opportunity to receive eternal life sustaining energy from God. This prospect existed in the form of "the tree of life" had they not sinned whereby they would have lived forever. With the choice to sin and disobey God the chance for eternal life through fleshly obedience was withdrawn.Genesis 3:22 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." NIV (Emphasis mine)
The death God promised for disobedience was spiritual death, not physical death as discussed in chapter Like Us Knowing Good and Evil. Though innocent, Adam and Eve were already destined for physical death since created from elements of the ground. The resulting failure of the physical material body thereby occurred as a natural consequence of the creations continued division from the sustaining energy of God the Father. God’s judgment upon man’s sin was to allow the natural progression of the decaying body to physical death in a life of constant opposition and struggle to survive.Genesis 3:17-19 17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,’ "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." NIV (Emphasis mine)
Just like that original couple every person born has made the same choice to sin. This choice reaps the same spiritual death of continued separation of God. Since our bodies are made up from a separated creation, every man experiences a natural eventual physical death at God’s appointed time.Romans 5:12 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- NIV (Emphasis mine) Hebrews 9:27 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, NIV (Emphasis mine) Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, NIV (Emphasis mine)
In a world estranged from God the Father it is natural for this physical form to die. We came from the dust of the ground and we likewise shall return. It is our eternal spirit and soul that lives on forever. What comfort do we have in this impending physical death? What happens to us at that moment this body fails? So where does the spirit of man go at death? How does it get there? How will one’s spirit know where to go? What will the spirit do there? Will our spirit be recognized or recognize other spirits? Many questions abound about the dynamics of spirit life after death. Let us consider…
A ROOM WITH JESUS
Spirits Return To God
With fleshly bodies created from material elements and molecules under "the bondage of decay", mankind as God designed and expected passes from this life. These bodies were never meant to be permanent. As temporary vessels at a time appointed by God the body fails in some way to function and the life sustaining spirit is returned to God.Ecclesiastes 12:7 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. NIV (Emphasis mine) James 2:26 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. NIV (Emphasis mine)
The thing that makes man different from all other parts of the material creation is this eternal life sustaining spirit that came directly from God to Adam. God gives it at conception. No other creature of God was created in this way. Other creatures after fulfilling their created purpose simply return to the earth.Genesis 2:7 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. NIV (Emphasis mine)
God gives this special "breath of life" conception making mankind a "living soul." Just as the spirit within that maintains man’s eternal existence of life came from God it returns to God. While the body decomposes to the base elements that compose it the life sustaining spirit leaves at God’s appointed time. James defines for us the moment of death of the body. The body is dead at the time God removes the spirit of life He gave to it. Since the spirit is not corporal there is no physical test or measurement to show one’s spirit is gone from the physical body. In legal matters of medicine today most hold that death is the absence of brain wave activity. This axiom of law is probably true. The body is simply a vessel that serves as a physical extension of one’s spirit and soul. The spirit God gave is the energy that maintains our physical independent existence apart from other energy sources.
In Genesis the "curse" of Adam’s sin explains the mode of physical death for all humanity. We struggle to maintain the life of our physical bodies against the very material creation from which we are made. That material creation has "thorns and thistles" and is "cursed" against humanity to bring "painful toil" and "sweat of the brow" "all the days of your life". The Scripture describes a creation literally at war with our fleshly body. This explains the reason for mosquitoes, chiggers, toxic chemicals, diseases, injuries, bacteria, viruses, ticks and just plain wearing out. The creation always eventually wins claiming unto itself every last molecule and atom in return to the ground. It is when this flesh is damaged, diseased or destroyed to a level that it cannot function independently that God calls for the spirit.
In God’s plan and time eventually something in the creation will overcome the threshold of function required for fleshly existence. It may be a disease, an accident, a mistake, an intentional act of oneself or another, or just plain wearing out. Something critical to life will fail. God has many ways He can use to recall one’s spirit.
It is important to note regardless of the circumstances that moment is in God’s control. God uses the circumstances of everything around us to accomplish His will in this matter. God works in and around the sinful conditions of this world to demand the spirit of life. Many examples in Scripture reveal God’s ultimate control over the events and time of fleshly death. Jesus told of the foolish rich man and the time of God’s call. Isaiah told Hezekiah God’s message that in his illness he would not recover.Luke 12:20 20 "But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ NIV (Emphasis mine) 2 Kings 20:1 1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." NIV (Emphasis mine)
Daniel told Belshazzar King of Babylon in Daniel 5:23 "But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways." NIV (Emphasis mine) just before the Medes and Persians overtook his kingdom. That night his kingdom and earthly life were over.
In our grief over loss of life it is easy to lash out at the instruments and circumstances involved. In matters of life and death we forget God is in control. Society ultimately wants accountability and responsibility for any death of the flesh. In our world we blame the failure of God to sustain, the inability of medicine to work, the blindness of physicians to cures, the mistakes of humanity or the sinful acts of others that brought the harm. Even when the Son of God walked the earth He was blamed for the death of Lazarus.John 11:21-22 21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." NIV
The "curse" of Adam necessitates our struggle to find ways to survive longer and improve the quality of our living. In reality the Scriptures teach physical death is a controlled allowed act of God. He does not actively desire the death of people but He allows it as the natural consequence of a sinful world separated from Himself. As Paul said of death’s cause and outreach "death through sin" and "death came to all men for all have sinned."
Spirits Are Transported By Angels
No place in Scripture are we told spirits have the power or ability to journey anywhere in the kingdom of God independently. There are no examples of spiritual travel to distant worlds or places. The spirit of man is probably helpless when it comes to travel in the spiritual dimension. When the spirit leaves at the death of the fleshly body, it is carried by angels to God’s appointed destiny. Jesus told of this important work of angels in his account of Lazarus’ death.
Luke 16:22 22 "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. NIV (Emphasis mine)
At death when the spirit is dismissed one enters another now unseen dimension occupied by angels and the powers and authorities of God. Witnessing the death of many patients over the years, I have often longed to see those angels arriving and taking the spirit of those departed into their care. I often share my belief in the work of angels with patients and families because it is comforting to know we are not alone as we leave for new places. Angels are there to receive us.
What if anything will these angels tell us? Probably to "Fear Not!" As one reads the greeting of angels in God’s Word that seems to be their most used greeting. To the mortal the immortal can be overwhelming. It’s all going to be new and awesome. Most people living have never actually seen an angel little else be touched by one. At the moment the spirit leaves the hope of a world beyond all imagination will come to view. As we drink in the first views of our future eternal destiny I can already hear as so many have before heard from those angelic messengers saying "Fear Not!"
As I share about this duty of angels I frequently reassure patients I will do everything in my knowledge and power as God allows standing in the way of their coming. I also tell them as I pray and work to maintain fleshly health, "I don’t wrestle with angels." Why? Jacob wrestled with an angel and ended up with a dislocated hip. No one is a match for an angelic messenger of God. When the angels come at God’s appointed time there is nothing anyone in all the creation of God can do but watch.
From a human standpoint at death the fleshly body appears lifeless. When I legally pronounce someone dead I write that physically their body has "no palpable pulses, no heart or lung sounds auscultated (listened by stethoscope) and pupils fixed and dilated" (showing no brain activity). However from Scripture I know in a world we cannot see there is much activity. Many deaths recorded in Scripture show angelic or supernatural involvement in continued life in another form after physical death of this body. These are witnesses to those still living that all does not end at the last breath and heart beat or when brain waves cease.
For example Jude tells how the devil was disputing with Michael the archangel about the body of Moses. While there is not a detailed explanation this probably refers events that took place after Moses death.Deuteronomy 34:4-8 4 Then the LORD said to him, "This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants'; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there." 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day. 7 Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated. 8 So the sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end. NASB(Emphasis mine) Jude 9 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" NIV (Emphasis mine)
The "body" throughout Scripture is used as a general term referring to the external containment vessel of the spirit and soul. It is used speaking of both earthly and spiritual bodies as seen in chapter With What Body? Even though Moses was in good health the time appointed for his life had come to a close in God’s plans. God removed Moses life giving spirit and placed his flesh in the ground to return to dust as all before and since.
After this apparently in the spiritual dimension not seen there was a disagreement between Michael and the devil over Moses body. This is not a disagreement over the one hundred twenty year old flesh in the ground somewhere in Moab. God has already ordered the flesh to return to the dust from whence it came so there is nothing for the devil to dispute there. While this may seem unique as a one time event Jude may be illustrating proper respect for authority even when wrong with a common event that takes place when every spirit departs from the body of this flesh. The devil does not only dispute over Moses, he is shown in Scripture to accuse those "before our God day and night." The Apostle John in Revelation was shown the day this evil continual ministry of the devil will come to an end when he is cast from the Second Heaven in the middle of the tribulation.Revelation 12:10 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. NASB (Emphasis mine)
There is a choice of destiny to the Father’s house or the torments of Hades when entering into the dimension of the spiritual realm. These destinies of the Father’s House are discussed in more detail a little later in this chapter and torments in Hades was introduced in chapter Who Turned Out the Light? Battles in a world not seen today rage every moment between forces of evil and God’s forces of good. Looking at the bigger picture it may be that Satan as the god of this world felt he had a claim to the body of Moses. Satan makes Jesus intercede continually night and day for every saint. Similar altercations like that between Michael and the devil over Moses are frequent heavenly skirmishes over every person that dies. Perhaps in elaborate heavenly legal proceedings of heaven’s court room Satan points out sins and justification for hell. Praise God Jesus for those who have come to Him as “enmity” intercedes pointing to His applied blood thus preserving our body (whatever our form at the time) in God’s presence.Genesis 3:15 15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel. " NASB (Emphasis mine) Revelation 12:10-11 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. NASB (Emphasis mine) Hebrews 7:23-25 23 And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. NASB (Emphasis mine)
It is part of the duty of angels to watch over and minister unto God’s children. These creatures of God tirelessly carry the spirits of those whose flesh has failed to God’s presence.Hebrews 1:144 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? NIV
Another example of activity beyond this fleshly body is that of Jesus. On the cross at His time of death, Jesus gave up his spirit to God the Father. He allowed God to take charge of His destiny at that moment. Read the account of his death.Luke 23:46 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. NIV
(Emphasis mine) Matthew 27:50 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. NIV (Emphasis mine)
If the Lord delays His coming, all of us will one day as the song says "cross that river to the other shore." Praise the Lord we do not cross alone. We will have great company at that moment. God’s angels will appear visible to our new spiritual awareness. We will hear them comfort us as we are beckoned to come into their care and protection from any railing accusations against us. Jesus intercedes continually always on duty as our "High Priest" and "enmity" against any force of evil that might come against us. We will feel safe and secure as we leave this flesh behind.
Amazingly many people at their last breaths, final words and expressions share celestial themes. Often heard are words and body language communicating the brightness of light, awe-inspiring peace, irresistible tranquility and a restful stillness. At the beginning of the journey what is it that they see, feel, and hear in that new consciousness that brings such a dynamic experience? I believe it is the arrival of those angels in their wonderful ministry to the heirs of salvation as the eyes of spiritual understanding are opened.
Spirits Go To A Room With Jesus
While the Scriptures tell us the angels return our spirits to God just where might our future be? Where are we going? Thomas had these same thoughts as he listened to Jesus teach on their future spiritual home. Read the words of Jesus of the place of our destination.John 14:1-6 1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV (Emphasis mine)
Thomas has two questions here. He wanted to know "where you are going" and "how we can know the way?" The where as Jesus responded was "to the Father." The how was through Jesus. Jesus added the "when?" by saying "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." NIV (Emphasis mine)
Popular Christianity mistakenly refers this "coming" to the Second Coming. One must remember the entire journey of Jesus on His way to the Father in Heaven. He was about to spend three days and three nights in Hades in the heart of the earth. In His resurrection in conquering sin and the grave He would "come back" taking possession of all that trust in Him as the "how we know the way" to the Father.
Our destiny is to be returned to the Father in His presence to live in the "Father’s House." Remember no one has ever seen the Father in this material creation. The Father has not fellowshipped with the creation since Satan’s tragic fall. But that does not mean we cannot go near in our spiritual bodies to the Father into His House.
Where is the Father? How many times have we prayed the Lord’s Prayer? Look at the words of Jesus in that example prayer.Matthew 6:9 9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "`Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, NIV (Emphasis mine)
God the Father is in heaven, and it is there now the angels carry God’s children. Jesus promised He was going to prepare a "place" for those who trusted in Him. So just when is this special opportunity available to those who repent of sin and trust in Jesus as the only way to the Father?
The when is best understood when one understands what the "place" or "rooms" are not. This "place" Jesus refers to at this time is not the "New Heaven and the New Earth" to come described by John in Revelation 21-22. Further it is not another intermediate construction for use during the thousand year reign of Christ of a place in heaven for those raptured until the New Heaven and Earth are created at the end of the age. If so it would be empty because during the millennium Saints are not in heaven but are on the earth assisting Christ as His priests.
Remember when Jesus spoke at this time the spirits of those deceased were in Hades. As discussed in chapter God Blesses With a Loving Plan when Jesus arose from the grave He took those Saints in Hades with Him from Hades to Heaven giving gifts unto men. So while other Scriptures speak of future blessing of the Second Coming, John 14 was a promised fulfilled in Jesus return from the grave and subsequent ascension to the Father that is available today to all believers in Christ at death. The "place" or "room" Jesus speaks of is today located below God’s throne in the second heaven or paradise. [See Diagrams Appendix 1- The Present Heavens and Appendix 2 - Fulfillment of the Times]
In the seventeenth century the translators of the Authorized King James Version translated this word "mansion." In that day anyone of authority and power lived in a large house or mansion. Cultural and social influence made these men feel a God of such power and authority as to create the heavens must live in a mansion. While a wonderful thought the word does not imply individual large, spacious, protective, and functional dwelling somewhere in the country of heaven. Size or magnificence is not the subject of Jesus teachings. Jesus simply promises we will have a position or location in the Father’s House that has plenty of space for all who choose to come.
While the details are yet unknown the most important blessing we will receive in Jesus is that the Father’s House will be our home forever. We will dwell there as adopted children with the full rights of sons. We will receive an inheritance our Father has determined. There our heavenly Father lovingly through His Son will provide everything we need.
Following the pattern or copy of the Tabernacle given to Moses, this area would be equivalent to the Holy Place. The area under the front of the tent contained the table of shewbread, the lampstand and the altar of incense. The Holy Place of God’s pattern was always a very active and busy place. The priests ministered there daily. It was not like the Holy of Holies where only once a year the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of a sacrifice on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The ministry of this part of God’s pattern was energetically observed daily.
Every day after ceremonially cleansing themselves, at the call of the Chief Priest all priests who deemed themselves clean would gather in a circle. The Chief Priest would remove his headdress and around the circle they would draw lots by raising random numbers of fingers. As the lots fell one priest would prepare the table that contained the unleavened loaves of bread. The next would prepare the incense. The third lot determined who would burn the incense.
An example of this is Zechariah who was the father of John the Baptist. He served as a priest in the temple. As a member of the course of Abia on duty at the temple lots were cast and the third lot representing the burning of the incense fell on Zechariah. It was during the daily burning of that incense that he heard the news from the angel regarding the ministry of his son John the Baptist.
As has been previously mentioned all the work of the tabernacle of Israel pictures the work of God in the Heavenly Tabernacle not made with hands and not of this world. Consider for a moment some of the Scripture describing this area of the temple. [See Appendix – 7 Figure –4 – Figures –Artists conception of the Holy Place]Hebrews 9:2 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. NIV (Emphasis mine) Numbers 4:7-8 7 "Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it. 8 Over these they are to spread a scarlet cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place. NIV (Emphasis mine) Exodus 40:22-28 22 Moses placed the table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of the tabernacle outside the curtain 23 and set out the bread on it before the LORD, as the LORD commanded him. 24 He placed the lampstand in the Tent of Meeting opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle 25 and set up the lamps before the LORD, as the LORD commanded him. 26 Moses placed the gold altar in the Tent of Meeting in front of the curtain 27 and burned fragrant incense on it, as the LORD commanded him. 28 Then he put up the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. NIV (Emphasis mine)
The Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting represented the Paradise of the Second Heaven. Paradise would be the place God prepared for those who trusted by faith in His provision of salvation. The "table" pictures God’s continual provision of everything needed to maintain them. The "lampstand" represents God’s life sustaining Light. The "incense" depicted the prayers and worship of God by the Saints as they dwelt there.
By the description of the Divine model of that earthly Tabernacle the Holy Place is a vigorous energetic lively place for believers in Christ. In this place prepared by Jesus with God the Father these spirits are far from being "asleep" as many would make them. These Saints eat from the table prepared by the Lord there, enjoy the worshipful presence of the Light of God the Father, and pray with request to God.
As noted in chapter Tabernacle Not Made With Hands only the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to make intercession only once a year. Like the pattern only Jesus sits today at the right of the throne of God the Father in the Holy of Holies. No other person has yet to ever enter the Holiness of God’s immediate presence. That day will come in the New Heaven and The New Earth when all those saved will enter the Father’s presence at the same time. But like the daily ministry of the priesthood of the Holy Place - believers are ever so near in a special place in the Father’s house prepared by our Savior.
In the culture of the time of Christ the term “asleep” was often used to describe those who had physically died. In the literal sense the word meant to lie down to rest or slumber. As seen in Scripture in the figurative sense it was used as a softer term than death or dead to refer to those who had experienced fleshly death. Just as we do today, saying someone was asleep somehow made the loss and grief easier to bear. It was used much like our telling others one has “gone to heaven” instead of just straightforward saying one is dead.John 11:11-16 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep." 12 The disciples therefore said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep , he will recover." 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him. " NASB (Emphasis mine) Matthew 27:50-53 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, 52 and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. NASB (Emphasis mine)
Paul used this word asleep in writing to the Thessalonians to describe those who were “dead in Christ” and their future hope of life in Christ. He in depth described God’s plan for those who had passed from this life after trusting in Christ.1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. NASB (Emphasis mine)
When this term "asleep" is used it does not literally mean believers that are in the presence of God are sort of anesthetized and oblivious to the activity of God. The room with Jesus before the throne is not a recovery room where deceased saints await arousal when the spiritual operations of God upon the earth are complete. God’s children are always shown to be there with eyes wide open, ears listening, mouths praying and ever learning as we watch our Father work His eternal purposes before them.
The Apostle Paul believed that after his death he would continually exist with Christ. He or no other New Testament writer mentions any delay to life with Christ after fleshly death in a sort of soul sleep. As he awaited trial in chains in Rome in one of his wonderful prison epistles he shares with the Philippians his thoughts about his possible future death. The term "asleep" in Scripture describes inactivity on the earth until "awakened" in the resurrection again to service with Christ in His one thousand year reign on the earth. Believers, even after the example of Jesus activity after physical death for three day and three nights in Hades, while not resurrected to the promise of eternal life on the earth are described in the Greek language as continually existing very active with Jesus in spirit after death. If an active awareness of Christ after death were not true Paul would have been in error to assume death would bring the advantage of continual existence with Christ he believed.Philippians 1:23-24 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. NASB (Emphasis mine) Philippians 1:23-24 23 For I am being compressed from the two, having a desire in order that to depart, and to continue to exist with Christ a much more greater advantage. 24 Because to remain in the flesh is more necessary on the account of you. (Personal translation)
Scripture teach believers will see God’s glory and meet Jesus after death. One of the most exciting accounts of a believer’s spiritual view just before his death is that of Stephen. Consider Luke’s inspired account of those final minutes.Acts 7:55-56 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." NIV
As Stephen preached his heart out to that crowd of unbelievers he being full of the Holy Spirit saw into the heavens of God. While still a short time before his death his spiritual vision of God’s glory and the Lord standing at the right hand of God is real. No doubt all believers will experience this same spiritual awareness at death.
The Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church wrote one of the lengthiest discussions about what happens to a child of God in fleshly death. He told the members of the church of Thessalonica they would be with Jesus even if asleep in earthly inactivity.2 Corinthians 5:1-10 1 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 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. NIV (Emphasis mine) 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. NASB (Emphasis mine)
Paul said when we are away from the body we will be "at home with the Lord" and "whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him." The instant we pass from this life, angels will carry us to our new home with the Lord. We will be at that place Jesus has prepared. Over the years a Southern Gospel song has popularized the arrival to that new home. In the song I Bowed On My Knees And Cried "Holy" he shares a dream of going to a city called Glory. He sees mansions, angels, friends, Abraham, Isaac, Mark, Luke and Timothy as he looks around. After a short period he exclaims, "Then I cried I want to see Jesus – the one who died for me!".
From the writings of Paul and other Scripture the songwriter was right. The first thing we will do upon arrival to our new home is go to see our wonderful Savior. On entrance we will bow before Jesus and confess He is Lord. It will be a wonderful ecstatic moment for all believers in Jesus Christ. The event will be the climax of all our lives.
I once stood in line in the early eighties to see Fetus Hagan of the television show Gunsmoke. My turn finally came. I handed him my pen and paper to get his autograph, and he asked me who to dedicate it. All I could do is stare. He was so real. I could not manage to utter a word. There just like on television from my early years was Fetus Hagan. I was star struck.
I imagine my meeting with Jesus will be the same. I will be Lord struck! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords will sit before me. A current gospel song Let My Words Be Few by Phillips Craig and Dean shares how on earth we may be found just looking to Jesus in Heaven unable to utter a word. He sings "I stand in awe of you and I let my words be few Jesus I am so in love with you." At the point of death our love for our Savior will finally come to fulfillment. There He will be right before us.
Another song that wonderfully expresses this moment in meeting Jesus is I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe. Note the words.I can only imagine/ What it will be like/ When I walk by Your side/ I can only imagine/ What my eyes will see/ When your face/ Is before me/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine Surrounded by Your glory/ What will my heart feel/ Will I dance for You Jesus/ Or in awe of You be still/ Will I stand in Your presence/ To my knees will I fall/ Will I sing hallelujah/ Will I be able to speak at all/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine I can only imagine/ When that day comes/ And I find myself/ Standing in the Son/ I can only imagine/ When all I will do/ Is forever worship You/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine Surrounded by your glory/ What will my heart feel/ Will I dance for You Jesus/ Or in awe of You be still/ Will I stand in Your presence/ To my knees will I fall/ Will I sing hallelujah/ Will I be able to speak at all/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine/ I can only imagine/ When all I will do/ Is forever forever worship/ I can only imagine
What will Jesus say to us? What comes next? As he spoke of the events after death, Paul wrote "we must appear before the judgment seat of Christ". As one reads the Scriptures it appears as we arrive in heaven before the Lord one of the first items on the agenda for believers is to face the Judgment Seat of the Lord. Consider other writings from the Word of God on this matter.Hebrews 9:27 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, NIV (Emphasis mine) Romans 14:9-12 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: "As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, `every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. NIV (Emphasis mine) 1 Corinthians 4:5 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. NIV
As we arrive to heaven before the Lord, our lives are reviewed. I believe we will be so focused on Jesus and His words to us at that time we will not know anyone else is there. The Lord will expose everything ever said, done, or left undone in our lives. The good is rewarded and endures – the evil purged and burned in loss. In the end no matter the outcome we will experience great peace, joy and fulfillment resting in the presence of our loving Savior. As we confess Jesus as our Lord and bow before Him each will receive his praise from God.
Spirits Continue To Pray and Worship
Other Scriptures share activity in this place prepared by Jesus. John was shown martyred Saints of the first half of the tribulation period.Revelation 6:9-11 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. NIV (Emphasis mine)
In this passage we see believers making prayer request to the Lord. They worship Him as Sovereign, recognize His holiness and truth, understand Him to be the judge of all the earth, and request His swift judgment as they remember their past afflictions. These believers each receive "white robes" signifying the glorified bodies and reward for righteous activity in the work of God’s kingdom. They are not overlooked, but Jesus answers them exhorting patience and explanation for their understanding his actions. They experience a loving active vibrant relationship together.
Believers in the presence of God are not described as asleep or anesthetized oblivious to the activity of God. The room with Jesus is not a recovery room where we await arousal when the spiritual operations of God upon the earth are complete. God’s children are always shown to be there with eyes wide open, ears listening, mouths praying and ever learning as we watch our Father work His eternal purposes before them. Consider another vision of John in the tribulation.Revelation 8:3-5 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. NIV (Emphasis mine)
Here we see the prayer of Saints under the throne answered by God the Father. The Saints there from all ages pray for God’s judgment upon the sin of the earth. They know after God judges the kingdom they have longed for will come. In response God escalates His judgment upon the earth.
Spirits Converse Over Matters Of This Earth
One of the richest Scriptures telling of the activity of life beyond the death of this body is found in Jesus account of the "rich man" and "Lazarus". There is no definitive reason to doubt the description as true to real events known to Jesus. Consider this important text full of principles of that new life.Luke 16:19-31 19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, `Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 "But Abraham replied, `Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 "He answered, `Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 "Abraham replied, `They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 "`No, father Abraham,’ he said, `but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 "He said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’" NIV (Emphasis mine)
This Divine record tells us much about post earthly life. Remember these events occur at a point in time before the crucifixion. Until Jesus’ resurrection the spirits of the dead were transported to Hades in the heart of the earth. This place of the dead was separated into two areas by a great chasm that could not be overcome. Those with faith in a Messiah for salvation from sin resided in the area called "Abraham’s side" or "Paradise." Those who rejected Christ abode in "torments" an equivalent of modern concepts of hell. [See Appendix – 1 The Present Heavens]
While this is a book on heaven, it should be noted the place Jesus prepares for those who come to God through Him is contrasted by hell. The particular words for the separated locations apart from God are discussed thoroughly in chapter Who Turned Out The Light? Hell is a place of "agony in fire" and "torment." It is filled with eternal consciousness of separation from the blessings of God, dissatisfaction over one’s condition, and worries about those acquaintances and loved who also still reject the Savior. As well there is regret over things undone regarding spiritual matters, denial of prayerful requests to change God’s design for sharing the gospel, and inability to leave or ever improve their tormented agonizing life.
The place in the blessing of God’s care is much different. While Paradise of the Old Testament is not the current room or place now prepared by Jesus, the fundamental nature of that place is basically the same. Those who hoped in Christ experienced a place of freedom from the curse inherited through Adam, fellowship with other believers, and knowledge shared concerning God’s purposes and plans.
Using the negatives of hell those in Paradise did not have the torment, agony, distress, worry, need, pain or disappointments experienced there. From this account we learn those in spiritual afterlife existence remembered their past, understood their present, recognized other people apart from their physical shell they had never met or seen, indulged in conversation of past and present events and shared truth about God’s work.
We can imagine the place Jesus prepared for those who come to God by Him will be much better than this Paradise described by Jesus. What else could make God’s care better than just described? Remember Jesus and God the Father were not there in Paradise of the Old Testament. The blood of redemption was not yet before the throne. With the debt of sin now paid Jesus and the Father are accessible for conversation, teaching, comfort and fellowship.
Today with Paradise moved to below the throne of God believers experience the presence of their Savior and the Light of the fellowship of God the Father through the intercessory work of Jesus Christ. We enter into a rest with our God and His Son forever. Praise the Lord! Still - it will be better if you can believe it. The icing on the cake comes in The New Heaven and The New Earth.
Spirits Continue To Grow Spiritually
Old Testament Saints were not ignorant concerning many complex spiritual truths. These Saints in Paradise shared and conversed constantly about the hope of their salvation in the sacrificial death of their Messiah. In the experience of the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus revealed His glorified state, Moses and Elijah were present. These Saints from Paradise discussed the coming death of Jesus. They knew what had to happen for salvation.Luke 9:30-31 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. NIV (Emphasis mine)
With the arrival of Jesus to the spiritual world of the dead came new opportunities for spiritual understanding. Those deceased Saints of the ages must have listened intently to every word as Jesus further explained God’s plan, purpose and will.
Peter tells of the activities of Jesus in Paradise as an illustration of the importance of baptism. One group of Saints present perished in the flood of Noah. They had disobeyed failing to listen to the messages and warning of God calling for repentance. Living outside the will of God these Saints suffered chastisement and missed the blessings of God in the same way those Saints who willingly disobey the command for baptism after salvation.1 Peter 3:18-21 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, NIV (Emphasis mine)
While Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, Peter tells us one of the things He did there was preach. The Lord Jesus Christ is never idle. As Jesus did through out His ministry He continues to preach to those believers that are with Him explaining the mysteries of God’s kingdom. From the illustration of Peter, Jesus will even explain God’s judgment upon the disobedience of our past lives.
As Paul spoke to the Corinthian believers about his attitude toward eventual death he wanted them to experience comfort and peace of heart. It is easy to let the prospect or actuality of death overwhelm us as we find "outwardly we are wasting away" in a body that will fail one day. Listen to Paul’s challenge.2 Corinthians 4:16-18 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. NIV
We lose heart because of temporal focus and unrealistic expectations of this fleshly life. We live in denial of our "wasting away" and fix our eyes on what is seen rather than what is unseen. In the prayer meetings of our churches lists abound of the sick. As one saint put it, "We spend more time praying the Saints out of heaven than praying for our mission to win the lost to heaven."
There are several problems inherent to our society that influence this improper perspective about death and the Lord’s work. First, Medical Science gives the illusion of being able to cure everything that ails us. Praise God for the advances He has allowed to improve the quality of our life and we are taught in Scripture to readily use them.
Thankfully the rapid advancement of Medical Science has eliminated many things that once would have ended life where they now are easily overcome. Just one hundred years ago the average life span was just forty-six. In the year 2000 this increased to into the eighties. However this vast rapid improvement in our longevity gives us the feeling death will never come. Someone will always find a cure or way to preserve us from every ailment or disease.
Second is our misinterpretation of God’s will in illness and healing. I have listened to countless Saints who believed if one simply had enough faith Jesus would heal every infirmity of the flesh. I watched several years ago as a Pastor suffered the terrible effects of an end stage illness. His church members on multiple occasions alluded to this Pastor’s and others lack of faith for his failure to improve. This Pastor as well suffered deep depression because He felt the same way. These and others fail to realize in our prayers we ask for healing in God’s will. While we may not receive healing unless we ask, just because we ask is no guarantee God’s will is to heal. While as James says the prayer of faith may "make the sick person well" in healing of illness - God’s will may be for such illness to strengthen the sick and others in His grace.James 5:14-20 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. NIV (Emphasis mine) 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. NIV
A final reason we struggle is very few in our society have seen the experience of death. Death most of the time no longer occurs at home with the care of family members. Most often for at least two generations it occurs behind curtains and closed doors of hospitals. There is no closure for families in those final moments of life that will remind us that our time will eventually come.
Now our food from animals is prepared far away whereby we do not see loss of life. While teaching these lessons I asked how many in the congregation had rung the head of a chicken. Older women raised their hands while younger winced at the thought. The younger conveniently bought their food packaged and ready to cook. We are so distanced from death our lack of understanding of it brings great overwhelming fear.
As I make the following statement I must do it with great care. If misunderstood people might make harmful decisions about medications and therapies. Let me say prior to these thoughts that no one should ever start or stop medication without first consulting their physician. The thought I wish to consider for a moment is that I have noticed modern Christians have more trouble accepting illness and death than the secular unbelievers. Our churches are filled with believers taking tranquilizers of various kinds. Many are anxious and depressed over personal illnesses, ageing or the loss of others. We want medicines that make us forget because our temporal view of these adversities brings great psychological pain.
Depression is a biological process with causes either by genetics inheritance, learned maladaptive behavior or a combination of both. In many people the illness of depression or anxiety beyond normal grief is strictly biological. It is just like an unavoidable cold, diabetes or heart disease. However it also occurs due to our maladaptive behavior in excessive overuse of the nerves of our brain. Our brain’s functional capacity and threshold for enduring stress is inherited to some degree. This is why some do better than others when continually thinking about fears and worry.
It is our constant thoughts about our life that depletes the brain of necessary chemicals essential for the proper function of our nerves. There is a proven relationship between the special chemicals, called neurotransmitters, and ones emotional state of well-being. In many these chemical levels are out of balance because of improper focus of thoughts and actions – not genetic biological disease. The medication is necessary because it is this world that is the perpetual focus of the heart. Symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness, withdrawal, sadness, changes in our threshold of irritability, loss of memory, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, emotional liability and thoughts or even plans of death or suicide. The brain without unlimited resources works to such fatigue nerves falter. Coping comes in overeating as the body craves replacement of chemical shortages, fleshly sins escaping to pleasure or prescription medications.
As Christians end of life issues are our greatest testimony to share with the world that we really believe what we claim in eternal life with Jesus Christ after death in the hope of resurrection from death to new life. The end of the road may not be easy and may include suffering if the will of God be so. Yet through prayer and wise strategy God can receive glory in our dealth even as in our living. Dr. John Dunlop in his book Finishing Well to the Glory of God  shares nine strategies to help prepare for a God centered exit from life.
Let Go Graciously
Treasure God's Love; Love Him in Return
Grow Through Adversity
Embrase a Biblical View of Life and Death
Complete Your Agenda
Make Appropriate Use of Technology
Changing Gears from Cure to Comfort Care
Rest in Jesus
Jesus challenged His disciples to respond appropriately to personal illness or loss of others. Listen to Jesus statement.John 14:1 1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. NIV (Emphasis mine)
The choice is ours. With trust in God illness and death can be faced in peace, comfort and acceptance knowing God will greatly care for us. The ultimate end is living forever with our Lord Jesus and God the Father. We eventually go to a wonderful place – A Room With Jesus. There we actively await the further unavailing of God’s future plans.
Will our wait be long? Probably not. If our life is but a breath to God in God’s time things pass much more quickly in the "Father’s House." It is the knowledge of God’s time that enabled Jesus to share He would come "quickly" and the prophets to say Jesus was "even at the door." We will not be there long by God’s standard of time until the Lord returns.
End Notes: John Steczynski, Full Time Facility, Department of Fine Arts, Drawing, Boston College. Used by permission.
rooms NT:3438 mone (mon-ay’); from NT:3306; a staying, i.e. residence (the act or the place): KJV - abode, mansion. place NT:5117 topos (top’-os); apparently a primary word; a spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy; whereas NT:5561 is a large but participle locality), i.e. location (as a position, home, tract, etc.); figuratively, condition, opportunity; specifically, a scabbard: KJV - coast, licence, place, X plain, quarter, + rock, room, where. Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
 Grahm Lotz, Anne. Heaven My Father’s House. (W Publishing Group, 2001), p. 1ff, Book theme discussed the Father’s House.
 Luke 1:8-25
 Dunlop, John. Finishing Well to the Glory of God : Strategies from a Christian Physician. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2011, 17-18