Heaven Discovered - Part 2

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:12, Isaiah 66:22, Revelation 2:17
Will we know one another in heaven? Will we recognize each other in Paradise? The Bible describes heaven as a very real place, a home where we will know each other more fully than we know each other here on earth.
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Yesterday we introduced the study of the beautiful home of the saved, heaven. And friends, I've never found anybody who did not want to go to heaven someday. We discovered some tremendous facts about this place of the redeemed. But one of the great questions that we were not able to answer yesterday concerned recognizing each other in heaven. People say, "Will we know one another there? Can we recognize each other when we get to that great glory land of God?" In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we read these words: "now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Now this text tells us that we're going to know our loved ones in heaven.

One young woman heard her preacher say that we wouldn't recognize our loved ones in heaven. She couldn't sleep that night. She rolled and tossed and finally she nudged her husband who was sleeping soundly and waked him up and said, "John, I've been so troubled, thinking about the sermon the preacher preached today." "Well, what did he say?" asked the husband. "Well, he said we wouldn't recognize each other in heaven and I love you so much, John, I couldn't be happy in heaven if I didn't know you." John turned over wearily and with disgust he said, "Oh, Mary, don't be foolish, surely we're not going to be more ignorant in heaven than we are here on earth." And how true that is, friends. How could anybody ever think that we'd be so ignorant in heaven that we wouldn't recognize our own family. When Jesus arose from the grave, He was recognized by Mary. When she heard Him speak, she knew His voice. Two of his disciples failed to recognize Him when He walked along with them on the road to Emmaus but when He sat down to eat supper with them and offered thanks they recognized Him immediately by His characteristic way of returning thanks.

A few years ago the number craze struck our world and during that time one preacher told the people that in heaven he believed that we were all going to have numbers. Now we have our zip codes, you know, and other numbers to help identify and locate individuals, but friends, wouldn't you hate to think that heaven is going to be that impersonal. The Bible tells us that in heaven your seed and your name shall remain (Isaiah 66:22). It also tells us that God is going to give us a new name that nobody else will know but us (Revelation 2:17). Quite likely that name will represent our experience or our character. If we're noted for kindness or love or zeal our name will likely have something to do with those characteristics. Well, I'm happy to tell you, friends, we're going to be real and we'll have names there. We're told that we're going to see men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets and that we're going to visit with them in heaven, sit down with them, as Jesus described it.

One of the greatest joys of heaven will be to visit with great Bible characters like Paul and Moses and Daniel and Joseph and Job and many, many others. Heaven is going to be a wonderful place for those who have been physically afflicted in this life. In Isaiah 35:5,6 it says, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." I can just imagine those who have been blind in this life drinking in the dazzling beauties of heaven. You know there are 340,000 blind people in the United States alone. I saw many, many score, yes, hundreds of them over in India, many times just crawling around in the streets like animals. Oh, many of these people, friends, will be restored completely in heaven and granted a place throughout all eternity in this paradise we've been describing.

And then think of those who have been unable to speak and have had to use their hands in sign language. Not long ago I watched an entire audience of people who could not hear. Someone was speaking to them, actually preaching to them in the sign language. How thrilling that they will be able to speak and sing, and I'm sure their voices will ring out above all the rest when they sing the praises of God. And those who have been crippled, then they will leap as a hart. The hart can almost literally fly. What can jump so high and run so fast? I can imagine those who have been crippled running down the streets of gold and crying out to those they see, "Look, look, I can run; my limbs have been made whole again!" Oh, this world has become a vast lazar house of sickness, disease, and death. Wherever we go we find sickness and suffering. Almost every home has sickness. But God promises us that in heaven, "the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." Isaiah 33:24. We'll have no need of hospitals or doctors. They'll be out of work entirely. We're mighty thankful for them today but we won't have need at all of them in heaven.

There will be no more insidious diseases like cancer, polio, heart trouble, and tuberculosis. We'll not hear people complaining, "Oh my head, my back, my legs, my arm!" Those people who do nothing but talk about their operations here will just have to find some other favorite subject of conversation in heaven. Just to think that we'll live on and on in the perfect bloom of health and vigor for all eternity, never growing old, never getting sick, and never concerned about death because it will never come.

Christ's coming will end the flood of crime that has swept over this earth. In Isaiah 11:9 it says, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." There will be no hurting, no destruction, no more criminals, gangsters, no prison houses, insane asylums, no need even for a police force. There will be no more waiting around a dark corner ready to strike you over the head or stab you in the back or shoot you with a gun and rob you of your possessions. There will be no more dark, fearsome corners or alleys. We can even roam through the wilderness without fear, of course there won't be any wilderness as we know it here. It says the wilderness is going to blossom like a rose.

If you are a lover of good food, you'll have a real treat in store when you get to heaven. There will be fruits in abundance and they will not be blighted by disease or bugs or worms. When you sink your teeth into a luscious peach, you need not fear that you'll encounter a worm that got there before you did. The grapes will be huge and luscious. Oh yes, and the figs, pomegranates and other delicious things! The Bible tells us the Lord will feed us with a hidden manna. Haven't you wondered just what that might be? It must be the food of angels. I can imagine that it's a very delightful dish. All the foods of heaven will be delicious, but perhaps it wouldn't be enjoyed by those who have developed perverted appetites down in this world. So, friends, we really ought to be learning to eat the things that the Bible tells us are good for us while we're still here waiting for Jesus to come.

In that heavenly paradise there will be no depression either. There will be no need to worry about where the next meal is coming from. The Lord Jesus is going to provide everything for our needs. Sometimes folk get depressed here and often they need to get electric shock treatments to bring them back to reality again. Discouragements come upon them. Problems press in until they actually are not themselves. They go out of their minds. There will be no such as this in heaven.

But somebody says, "You've been talking about the city of God. What about the text in Matthew 5:5 which says, ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.' Doesn't the Bible say that we shall inherit the earth?" Oh yes, friends, that's right. The Bible tells us that someday this beautiful city is going to come down out of heaven and settle upon this earth and become the capital of our world. Now we're told in Revelation 21:1, 2, "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." Notice that John said he saw the city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. John also tells us that God is going to dwell among men. Yes, someday this beautiful city is going to come down to this earth and God will rule His universe from this earth. Then it will be that the meek shall inherit the earth as Jesus prophesied.

The Bible also tells us that before the city becomes the capital of the earth, God is going to renovate this earth by fire to cleanse it from all disease, filth, and sin. In 2 Peter 3:10-12 I read, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" Notice that the earth is going to be cleansed and purified by fire. And reading on, Peter tells us in the next verses, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2 Peter 3:13, 14. After the earth has been cleansed by fire, there will be a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Think of it! This earth, that has fallen into disgrace and sin, has been reclaimed now through the blood of Jesus, and will someday be elevated to the highest position in the Universe of God. The Lord Himself is going to rule from the world, from His capital city, the New Jerusalem, and we shall be His servants and dwell in His presence.

After the wicked have been burned in this fire that has burned the earth, we shall have the esteemed privilege of watching God recreate this earth and make it into a beautiful place as it was before sin ever entered. There will be music such as we've never heard. We'll hear the angels sing, myriads of them, as far as the eyes can see, around the throne of God in perfect order. When the strings of thousands of harps are struck, a melody will ring out like a mammoth pipe organ, I imagine. Thousands of trumpeters will play their melodious tunes in harmony beyond anything we've ever known. When the angel choir sings the celestial melodies of heaven, it will make the mightiest Handel Messiah of this earth seem like a quartet by comparison.

Yes, we've attended great meetings and conventions in this world, but we've never attended any meeting like that one is going to be, friends. Perhaps the greatest thrill of all will be when God sings. Did you know that He'll sing? In Zephaniah 3:17, the prophet tells us that God is going to stand in all of His glory and magnificence and sing. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." Don't you look forward to that, friends? This will be the greatest of all! To think of the pouring out of God's love in this melody that will be sung by God Himself. Human ears have never heard anything like that will be.

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