The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.
The universe is full of portals, and gates into other dimensions. These gates lead into secret gardens and hidden chambers. The gardens are for the intimates of God, and not to be seen with telescopes or space radars! Access to these hidden splendors is only through Jesus.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“I [Jesus] am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:9-10)
Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits.
I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk.
Eat, O friends!
Drink, yes, drink deeply,
O beloved ones!
(Song of Songs 4:16 - 5:1)
Each of us became “self-aware” at a very age not too long after we are born. Babies tend to assume that they are one with their environment and that life revolves around them. But gradually we all must realize that we arrived here on earth as unique, sensate persons, each showing up here on earth at a certain point in the long history of mankind.
Then, hopefully, we discover we are to live in community with other "selves." We learn, sometimes even as young kids, that no one lives forever—we are not immortal as far as history is concerned. We also must take one day at a time. That is, we are all each “trapped” in linear, historical time. There appear to be no shortcuts. We experience only "now" and make decisions "now." Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is an unknown. Multitasking is not easy.
As we grow up, our world-view usually expands. In flights of fancy and imagination we can soar to other worlds and vicariously enjoy many things —but our mortal bodies constrain us, limit us—and the biological clock ticks inexorably forward. Seventy, eighty, ninety earth years—but we might easily die sooner, many do. Life on earth is perilous! Disasters, disease and accidents happen. Our natural life is marked out in cycles and seasons. Not all the natives are friendly. We encounter hierarchy and pecking order, pride and favoritism, betrayal and disappointment in others of our race and generation. The environment we grow up is light years from being a paradise! We can not attempt to retreat by living in either the past or the future. “Now” is all we have. Infancy gives way to childhood innocence but then adolescence sets in. Then (if all goes well) come in due time our mature, and hopefully productive, years. Eventually retirement, old age, decline and the death of the body, arrive. So it seems.
We will all lose the “container,”--this present mortal body--which we came to love and respect. But the body is not who I am. I only live here temporarily. This means impending death of the body should raise profound questions about an “afterlife.”
The seasons of life are imposed on us from the physical world. The social order around us imposes great restraints on us. Brain washing by the prevailing pagan ambiance assaults us the whole time of our brief sojourn down here. We easily become creatures of habit locked into ruts, habits and tradition. Are we drifting on the finite river of life that may be going nowhere, for all we know?
However, from the revelation given to us from outside the system in the Bible we are told that we are really created spirits. Spirits are not inherently bound by time and space and physical bodies. We are also mostly software—knowing that does not bring much comfort—until and unless we respond to the call of our Creator. He, the Greatest Spirit, desires to connect with my spirit (and your spirit) and this can’t take place without our permission. God does not violate our freedom of choice. The physical world is a realm of shadows. The unseen is eternal!
Let’s assume an individual, you or me, already knows God (through Jesus Christ) and has given Jesus permission to live within us as Savior, Lord, and traveling companion in life. What then? Everything we see and do is forever changed when we know Jesus as a Person! From outside the entire system of the Creation God has told us much about real-reality in His desire to set us free from sin and death. Understanding these matters is all about trusting our Creator the self-revealing one. But many religious people lack a real connection with the Eternal God. The sooner in life we allow God to reconcile us to Himself the better, but there are provisions in the program and mercy of God which allow making up for lost time. (On Knowing God)
“Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9)
Consider the thief on the cross next to Jesus:
“There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.” (Luke 23:32-33)
“...Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
Old age forces everyone who lives life to be aware of their mortality—severe limitations come to all of us, as far as this present life on earth is concerned. But those who know Jesus are enabled to see everything in a grander, transcendent way. The impending death of the old mortal body unlocks paradise and “the best is yet to come.”
“By faith we understand that the worlds (aion, ages) were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
What can a follower of Jesus expect with the death of the Body is imminent? Not some kind of dissolution into the “world soul” with loss of individual identity when we die. Not nirvana (the blowing out of the candle flame) and not reincarnation (starting all over again from scratch). Full disclosure from God is ahead for everyone who dies “in Christ” —or apart from Christ. God is good and does not wish anyone to perish so none need to miss out!
Our temporary sojourn on the planet is limited to four dimensions as far as the body is concerned— but I am not my body and you are not your body either. You and I are a persons, created spirits temporarily at home in history living one day at a time. There are good reasons to believe that the universe beyond our present 4D cubby hole probably has twenty dimensions!
Nathan Wood has described time on earth as (1) originating in the future, (2) flowing into the present and (3) fading into the past. This view is helpful in helping us see our present entrapment in linear, historic time. Like it or not we can dwell in neither the past nor the future but in the present, in our present bodies that is). All I really have is now. See Who is God, What is Time, by Ray Stedman.
Time was created along with everything else during creation week. God Himself is spoken of as “the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity.” What we perceive as “past, present and present” are evidently eternally “now” to God. He knows the end from the beginning. But history from beginning to end does move in linear, historical calendar time. God reveals Himself in history. History is going somewhere. Our experience of time is marked by times and seasons.
On the subjective level we all can experience big changes in the subjective “quality” of time, of course. Living a good life “down here” is an admired goal for many whether or not they are allowed to “go to heaven when they die.”
Please consider the possibility of time travel from our individual death as scoped out in the Bible. When we exit earth time, we can expect to time travel into the presence of God. This is not a trip from here to eternity to meet God. The place we travel to is to the Rapture, to meet returning Lord Jesus in the air. (Those who die outside of Jesus are dispatched to an event commonly called The Last Judgment, or The Great White Throne Judgment)
We are safe in drawing some inferences about life in heaven in our all new resurrection bodies.
Note: We do not know how to handle “no-time” because we find meaning in life only by living in a universe where time flows forward into the future. Heaven can not be “timeless.” God is not timeless either—He encompasses past, present, and future as eternally “now.” He has “all the time in the world” to relate to each one of us!
When we read through the last book of the Bible, the Book of the Revelation, the time interval from the Rapture (4:1) to the Second Advent of Jesus (19:1) can be seen to be right around seven earth years. “Earth dwellers” on have no other clocks to go by. But “heaven dwellers” are not so limited. For us in New Jerusalem additional time lines are open to us. The expression “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8) will surely take on new meaning for us subjectively in heaven.
The internal flow of time within the Book of the Revelation is generally forward in linear time. John the writer was a visitor living in an old mortal, earth dweller’s body. Heaven dwellers will have a very different sense of time. “Heaven” is not a confined space having a life span of only years.
Our choices on earth now are apparently set in concrete as soon as they are made. Consequences follow choices rather inexorably. The future is full of uncertainty and great possibilities of course because it is now under development and not merely a projection of the past at all. Our daily choices are being woven into a grand tapestry of history! A dear friend told mine half a century ago that we ought not to get involved in the tangled threads on tbe backside of the tapestry. She gave me perfect advice. Yes, some editing is allowed, such as the blotting out of all our sins (past. present, and future) when we receive Jesus and are spiritually reborn. Under special circumstances our "wasted years" can be restored.
You may have been with someone when they died. They were here with us one minute and suddenly gone. Often they literally “expire,” —breathing out their last breath and then going somewhere else. SomeOne from the other side is apparently welcoming them and they are eager to go home. If they are reconciled to God that is. We who stay behind can not take part in the transition sequence of events. Apparently, in the consciousness of the departed person there is no delay or gap in time or consciousness between their leaving earth and arriving at the destination. We may wait many years before we are admitted to heaven and joint the rest.
There is no “intermediate state,” no limbo, no soul sleep, no delay and no loitering. These concepts are not found in the Bible. Time and eternity are connected! The dying Christian perceives the Second Advent of Jesus as if it were happening now, not in the far distant future. To be absent from the body is yo be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6) with no delay. Trapped in linear time as we are now we can not grasp the reality of being absent from the body and at home with the Lord. Nor do we realize that a very literal Paradise has been prepared for us.
Then one said to Jesus, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:23-30)
Our present physical, mortal, bodies have several internal clocks. “If you use an average of 80 beats per minute, your heart beats about 4,800 times per hour. That's a whopping 115,200 times per day. Over the course of a year, your heart would beat about 42,048,000 times! If you live to be 80 years old, your heart would have beaten approximately 3,363,840,000 times!” Many systems in the body run automatically like clockwork without our conscious control. Science insist on accurate time keeping. Historians are as precise as they can be in telling us about our past. Distances in space are convenient described in “light years” which is 9.4607 × 10^12 km (nearly 6 trillion miles), at the present speed of light.
What we know about physical reality is often described as a “four-dimensional space-time continuum.” But mathematics and careful study suggests that the total universe, visible and invisible, has perhaps ten or twenty additional dimensions. This makes sense because we sense intuitively that we are not merely delimited by our physical bodies. If every follower of Jesus actually experiences the Second Advent of Jesus as the very next event awaiting them as they die, they we are forced to think of “time and eternity” in a far different way than tradition supposes.
“...(He) has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel...” (2 Timothy 1:9-12)
Jesus promised two thousand years ago to return physically to earth in the same manner as He left his disciples way back then.
“...Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Luke 24:59-53)
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
As noted, the invisible connection from a saint dying in Christ 2000 years ago has the same length in true space time as your connection to Jesus is, and mine. Realizing this shows that Jesus did not time warp to a distant galaxy at His Ascension. He is not watching the clocks in heaven waiting there for us to be ready to pray Him back to earth. He has not gone on vacation.
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-3)
The successful conquering of death by Jesus on our behalf has allowed him to be “seated (now) at the right hand of the majesty on high, “there to wait until His enemies should be made a stool for his feet.”
The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.” (Psalm 110)
We are enabled now to outline a sequence of events for every time traveler leaving earth and in transit to New Jerusalem. A number of people now living have had Near Death Experiences (NDEs) which are powerfully etched in their memories. Some accounts are convincing and some are not. Not all visions come God. Hallucinations, dreams, psychedelic experiences are often very convincing to the recipient. Alleged experiences with the living God must be consistent with Biblical revelation. Experience is never convincing proof of unseen realities!
The central figure in heaven is Jesus. All creation is about Jesus. We have an available litmus test.
“...bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.
“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath...”
Upon exiting earth’s four dimensional space time, the next event waiting to all followers of Jesus Christ (when they die or a the Rapture) is "The Judgment Seat of Christ." The Bema Gate
Here it is helpful to switch gears to a look at life outside the box. “Out of body experiences” do this to a limited, in those who are allowed such glimpses into eternity. God Himself is not trapped in time as we are. He is the Author of time and space and all that is. Past, present and future (all the ages of history, as well as your entire life and mine), are present tense now to our Creator. He has all the time in the world to hear and respond to our cries for help and our frightened pleas when “accidents” happen.
The Way Back to Paradise — Eden regained
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24)
A very new Body is waiting!
Can we expect to be allowed back into Eden. Yes, of course. The Cross of Christ bars the way back to those who are uncrucified. Cherubim with whirling swords points the way back through the portal of the Cross.
The Bride of Christ: Jesus Takes a Wife
The Final Seven Years
The return of Jesus to earth is frequently mentioned in the New Testament. For two millennia God has been calling out a special group from earth known as the true church or as the Bride of Christ. The Lord Jesus will return, first, for His church privately, and then seven years later with his church.
The Rapture and the Second Coming
The Rapture: Various Views
Jesus, His people in the tribulation period
The program of God for the end of the age apparently will involve a removal first of all those who know Jesus from ancient times til now. They will be gathered together to New Jerusalem (“heaven”) at the Rapture. There all will enjoy new bodies and a new environment in company with Jesus. The citizens of heaven will probably number billions of people! At any given time in history it seems likely that only a few percent of people on earth have known Jesus, the sum total could number several billion. (Surveys of religions in the world today often show a third of the population on earth is Christian but 5% is probably more realistic, http://www.ldolphin.org/Remn.html).
New Jerusalem as an Orbiting Satellite
City of God/city of Man
The “heavens” as described in the Bible are delineated as follows: The lower atmospheric envelope of earth is the “first heaven.” Next as one ascends is the “second heaven” where the sun, moon and stars as to be found. The “third heaven” is the home of God and the angels. In this article the orbiting satellite city of New Jerusalem is assumed to be found embedded in the Third Heaven.
The Coming Kingdom of God on Earth
November 13, 2018
December 27, 2018
December 29, 2018
February 7, 2019