Philippians 3:20-21 – But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (NIV)
John 14:2 – In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (NKJV)
Recently, my husband and I received news from a friend that her twenty-year-old grandson, Caleb Ryan Ballentine, had passed away. Caleb was born with a disease known as Duchene's Muscular Dystrophy, yet he lived much longer than the doctors expected. It was clear that the Lord had a special purpose for this young man's life. His strong faith and courage were an inspiration to all who knew him.
Caleb was blessed with the gifts of art and music: he loved to draw and to play the harmonica. He also had a knack for learning new languages as he communicated with Internet friends from around the world. But what Caleb loved the most was studying God's Word. One of his favourite books of the Bible was Revelation. His grandmother told me that he sometimes quizzed family and friends on the topic of heaven. When I heard this, I challenged myself to see how much I really understood about this wonderful place that we often hear mentioned when a loved one dies.
Most information about heaven comes from the book of Revelation. It is described as a real place with streets of gold, gates ornamented with pearls, individual mansions, the throne room of God, and so much more. However, no one can adequately explain heaven in human terms. In my study, I was intrigued by the following verses written by the apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (KJV)
2 Corinthians 12:3-4 – And I know that this man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows — was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. (NIV)
Caleb's service was called a "home-going celebration", and rightly so, for heaven is his true home. He did not want his family to be sad but to keep telling others about Jesus. He wanted everyone to have the same hope of heaven that he had. This passage points the way:
John 14:5-6 – Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (NKJV)
The word "heaven" occurs approximately 276 times in the New Testament alone. Will you take up the challenge: How many references can you find that describe this beautiful dwelling place reserved for those who have put their trust in Jesus?
Prayer: We thank You, O Lord, that in the midst of earthly struggles, we have the hope of entering a better life with You when this one is over. Give us the strength to keep our eyes heavenward, guiding us always by Your Word of truth. In the name of Him who is the resurrection and the life, we pray. Amen.
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