The Best Is Yet to Come
Some folks have
the idea Heaven is something like a bunch of cumulus clouds painted
with rainbows where spirits play hide-and-seek with ghosts. It’s
a spook world. Pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by, where you float around
on wispy clouds playing unearthly music on immaterial harps forever!
(If I believed Heaven was like that I wouldn’t want to go
there. I wouldn’t be interested! Would you? That would be
say there are three heavens – or even seven. Others say Heaven
is not really a literal place at all; just a state of mind.
“Eventually, everybody will end up in Heaven!” Others
argue, very few will make it.
Why so many
different opinions when God’s Word is filled with stupendous
details about Heaven – this colossal space station up there
in the sky under construction right now! And the reason God wants
us to know what Heaven’s like, is so we’ll want to be
there! Heaven is not a secret God is keeping from us.
In many large
buildings, there are thousands of different keys that fit each lock
on each door. (In Caracas, Venezuela you have at least eight keys
to get inside your apartment building.) But usually the superintendent
of the building has one key that fits ALL the doors, called the
God has one
master key that unlocks the mysteries about Heaven, fits all the
doors. And that master key is the Bible. We don't have to be confused
by human theories or opinions. God’s Word is a reliable “master
source” of information about the future.
“...We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well
to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns
and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
It may surprise
you, but God has revealed in His Word:
1. Where Heaven will be
2. What Heaven will be like
3. Where its capital will be
4. What people will do there
5. What people will be like there
6. Where the saved will live
7. What the capital city will look like
For the next
few minutes, let’s have a bit of fun together; stretch our
imaginations, take God’s master key – the Bible –
and discover the truth about THE BEST THAT’S JUST AHEAD!
Two years ago
Jeannie and I were with a group of Voice of Prophecy supporters
sailing the Greek Isles in the Mediterranean Sea. We stopped at
the incredibly beautiful Isle of Patmos, where the last living disciple
John wrote the book of Revelation. John was a prisoner in exile
on this God-forsaken rock six miles long and three miles wide, located
in the blue Aegean Sea. But there God gave him a vision before he
died: a glorious preview of the future. And he wrote about what
he saw in the book of Revelation:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven
and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out
of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
I still get
all choked up at a wedding, don’t you? Nothing’s more
beautiful and radiant than a gorgeous bride on her wedding day!
city is like a bride, John tells us. And by the way, Heaven isn’t
something that only John saw and knew about. All God’s prophets
throughout the ages have known about it. Because Heaven is crucial
to God’s final plan of restoration. His surprise wedding present
for His bride, the church. Listen:
“And that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you
before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration
of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy
prophets since the world began.”
What is God
going to restore? God is going to restore everything Adam and Eve
stereo nut. I like to listen to good music. Stretch out and listen
to great symphony orchestra cranked way up. But there’s nothing
more disruptive than to have the doorbell ring. Or the power go
off. And suddenly the music stops. Right in the best part! It’s
original music score for this earth was like a great symphony. He
had the score all written at creation. He was the conductor. Everything
was in position and ready! And the music began to play. Gorgeous
music in Genesis 1 and 2! But in Genesis 3 the music suddenly stopped.
Somebody interrupted and botched it all up. And for 6,000 years
now God’s been waiting to get started again with His “unfinished
symphony.” Heaven is God’s strategic plan of restoration.
To restore all six of the precious treasured gifts He’d given
mankind in the first place.
1. LIFE. Eternal
Life, without end.
2. A RIGHTEOUS NATURE – pure and holy character.
3. A PERFECT BEAUTIFUL HOME – the garden of Eden.
4. DOMINION. “Over every living thing that moved upon the
earth.” I believe Adam and Eve could communicate with the
animals like they do at Disneyland or Sea World. Call them by name;
5. PERFECT FAMILY HAPPINESS.
6. FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNION WITH GOD. No barriers. Open fellowship.
original Paradise was His forever symphony. His original score.
And in Genesis 1, God was so proud to show it off to the universe!
Himself had designed and decorated Adam and Eve’s home. Gave
them perfect health, love, happiness, joy. Everything was peace
and harmony. Total freedom. If they chose to obey God’s simple
eat of the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden, or you’ll
interrupt the orchestra and the music.” But that’s exactly
what they chose to do – to eat of the tree rather than listening
to God. And Heaven’s harmony became the “unfinished
The most tragic
day in the universe. For the first time in Adam and Eve’s
lives, they felt guilt, shame and fear. By their disobedience, they
lost everything: their garden home, their dominion of Earth, access
to the Tree of Life. They lost their happiness, their love, fellowship
with the Creator. Our perfect world became cursed with sin, sickness,
sorrow, and suffering. They were no longer “masters”
– couldn’t go down and call the fish by name any more.
Adam and Eve became slaves. They chose to throw away all their freedoms
and liberties. Paul said,
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves
to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey?”
They sold out
to the Devil. Chose to separate themselves from God and life and
happiness and freedom.
But a loving
God understood. He couldn’t bear to be parted from them forever.
He’d planned too much. Invested too much. Risked too much.
And He loved them so much He couldn’t leave His erring children
without hope. What could you do?
As angels sadly
ushered them out the gate of the Garden of Eden for one last final
time, God promised Adam and Eve something: that one day His own
Son, the Seed of the Woman, would come to die for them so they could
be restored to the family of God and have eternal life again. Right
there in Genesis 3:15 God spoke to the serpent and said:
will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed
and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His
What a glorious
promise! Yes! Jesus Messiah would come! But unfortunately, as generations
passed and homo sapiens multiplied on earth, sin also exponentially
exploded. The human race almost forgot God. People became corrupt,
vile. Immoral. Depraved.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in
the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually.”
evil, it became necessary for God to destroy this wicked world by
a flood in order to preserve any life on the earth! Only eight people
survived! Did we learn our lesson? No.
After the flood,
it wasn’t many generations before people became corrupt again.
But this time in order to preserve a holy people on earth, a remnant,
a special church of God’s “called out” ones.
God called Abraham
and his family out of the idolatrous and corrupt Ur of the Chaldees.
Near Baghdad. Our Marines moving up from Kuwait to Baghdad passed
right through Ur! The Lord said, “Abraham…
“...Get out of your country, from your family and from your
father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make
you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and
you shall be a blessing.”
Do you think
this was easy? Abraham was a wealthy business tycoon playing the
market and trading on Wall Street. His friends derided him and said,
“Abraham, you’re leaving Babylon?” (Yep.) “Where
on earth are you going?” (Dunno. God will lead me.) “What
will you do when you get there?” (Raise up a great nation).
“What? You have no children and you’re 75!” “Who
will protect you?” (Him!)
What a lesson
for God’s faithful people today. We’ve got to trust
God, even when we don’t understand! Hang on in faith, Abraham,
even if you have to leave your friends. Not knowing where you’re
going, or what the future holds. You may not know what the future
holds, but you know Who holds the future!
“By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign
country, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with
him of the same promise; For he waited [looked] for the city which
has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
what’s important: God promised to give to Abraham and his
children all that Adam and Eve lost. That’s why Bible prophets
in all ages looked forward to our day and the restoration of all
Hebrews 11 says
Abraham, Enoch, Noah, Abel, Isaac, Rahab, David, and Samuel –
they all believed in God’s promise to restore what Adam and
Eve lost. But for them, there’s just one problem:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off, were assured of them, embraced them...But
now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore
God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a
city for them.”
greatest of all the messianic prophets, gave a thrilling description
clear back in the Old Testament of the restoration God has prepared
for His saved people:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the
former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”
folks in Washington D.C. – where the snipers were shooting
last Fall. In Los Angeles – where the news reported record
gang shootings all Winter and Spring. In San Francisco, Chicago,
Toronto, and Sydney, Australia…Good news!
“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting
nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls
Salvation, and your gates Praise.”
Just think –
NO violence! No smart bombs. Isn’t that WONDERFUL to think
about? No need there for weapons to defend and protect ourselves.
No rapists or thieves! Walk those streets of gold with no worry
of being attacked or robbed?
Our Voice of
Prophecy evangelistic team last year in COLONIA TOVAR, near Caracas:
We were out in the country taking a drive in a 4WD. It was so breathtaking,
we stopped to photograph. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a white Ford
Bronco roared up. “Bang! Bang! Danger! Americans go!”
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard
shall lie down with the young goat...and a little child shall lead
planet Earth to its original beauty,
“And the inhabitant will not say, ‘I am sick’...”
My dad with
your triple bypass, no heart attacks! Lon, no more cancer or AVMs.
No allergies, friend. (Isn’t that great news?)
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened...”
my blind friends, like Robin and Stephanie Dawn, will want to see
is: the face of Jesus! Oh, what a glorious day that will be. I want
to be there to see you see Jesus! And you folks watching these Bible
lectures by sign language, listen to this:
“...the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped…Then the
lame shall leap like a deer...”
No more wheelchairs,
Jeff…or, Estelita in our VOP office with one leg amputated.
No more quadriplegics, friend! No more crutches! Everyone will have
goes grandma on the Sea of Glass!) Sparkling. Glittering. Sensational!
Walking on water.
“...and the tongue of the dumb sing.”
have vocal chords that can sing in 4-part harmony! What a happy
day! But there’s more…
“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
Near where I
live in California it’s a citrus paradise. My Chinese friend,
the late Dr. Philip Chen, could grow five different kinds of citrus
on one tree. But in the beautiful new earth the Tree of Life has
12 different fruits every month!
“They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant
vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build, and another
inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days
of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall
long enjoy the work of their hands.”
realize our wildest dreams! Unrestricted! Limitless innovations.
Creative and ingenious inventions because in Heaven, there’s
no lock on earth that God won’t let us pick! Heaven is a real
place with real people doing real things. The Bible says people
will know us by our own names, and even by our idiosyncrasies. Our
long nose, or big ears, or big hands – they will be perfect
noses and ears and hands. Our voice will be similar. Smiles. Laughter.
“‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will
make, shall remain before me,’ says the Lord, ‘so shall
your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass,
that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,’ says the Lord.”
will be one grand “family reunion” party that we’ll
never tire of! We’ll have such a good time, the Bible says
even God will laugh.
goes Grandma again on the Sea of Glass!)
“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion
with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain
joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
If that doesn’t sound exciting – you’re dead!
Wonderful, joyful celebrations as we assemble each Sabbath from
traveling all over the four corners of the universe. We come back
at the speed of thought...back to the Capital City, the Holy City,
on Sabbath to praise and sing and have fellowship.
And you know
what? Our Bible says right at this very moment there’s the
sound of construction and jack hammers and saws sawing, hammers
hammering and paint sprayers buzzing, because Jesus said He went
away to personally build us each a mansion. Can you imagine Jesus
up there with the angels helping? Building mansions beyond description?
Paul says we wouldn’t believe it if he described it to us.
Majestic. Perfect. Because Jesus Himself builds that mansion.
But then Isaiah
surprises me even more to say, “Lon, you’ll get to build
a house, too. A second home. And Jesus will help you as the Heavenly
Architect and Divine Carpenter.”
build that home in the country – or by the water. Or, on a
mountain. Then each weekend we’ll go into the capital city
of the New Earth and stay in our mansion in the city.
Now, it may
surprise you that this is all going to take place right here on
this re-created Earth – the future home of the saved. For
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
(The meek don’t
have much of it today; most of it is in the hands of finance companies!)
Listen: God is going to restore Planet Earth to its original perfection,
a glorious New Earth! By the way, this is another reason no one
is in Heaven yet today, because Jesus says this earth is where God
is going to finally re-create Heaven. This earth will be our final
ultimate home, recreated. Repeat out loud with me one of Jesus’
most wonderful promises:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe
also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it
were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare
a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will
come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you
may be also.”
The only reason
Jesus is coming, friend, is because He doesn’t have a one
of us with Him yet! Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer,
to pray that day of restoration comes soon.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in
not up there yet. So, we need to pray that prayer every day. But
now, for the grand finale of the story, let’s go back once
more to the Isle of Patmos and consider in detail the magnificent
city John saw in vision. Poor John! It seems as a prophet he had
a hard time finding the right words to express the grandeur of the
Holy City. As gorgeous as pictures on the screen are, as mind-boggling
any visualization, and as crazy and preposterous as our zany imaginations
try to picture Heaven, Paul says you aren’t even close!
“...Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into
the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who
But wait a minute!
Most people fail to read the next verse that says,
“But God has revealed them unto us through His Spirit...”
to give us a “sneak preview.” If He described what it
was really like, we’d be so absolutely astonished and blown
away we wouldn’t believe it! So, in the Bible it’s like
looking through dark sunglasses. We use our imagination a bit –
there goes Grandma! But the half has not been told! If Peter could
walk on water, so can we!
So say John
and Isaiah and all the prophets. It’s all true! John tries
hard to unfold details of the Holy City. But then he puts his pen
down, takes a deep breath and says: Wow! “It is too fabulous
to be true!” (But we have God’s Word for it!) John continues:
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth and...there was no more
sea. Then I, John, saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down
out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
Then he struggles
in his attempt to use human language to tells us about the city:
“...Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper
stone, clear as crystal.”
“Then he measured its wall: 144 cubits [66 meters]...”
“The 12 gates were twelve pearls...”
So there are
pearly gates, on which are written the names of the 12 tribes of
the children of Israel, Verses 21-22. The streets and the city are
pure gold, transparent as glass. Verse 16 gives the measurements
of this city…
is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth.
And he [the angel] measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand
furlongs. [Then it adds]: The length and the breadth and the height
of it are equal [or, proportionate].”
A furlong is
one-eighth of an English mile, one-fifth of a kilometer. So translated
into everyday arithmetic that makes it some 1,500 miles around!
375 miles on each side. But maybe it’s a perfect cube? (Perhaps
in 3-D. This would mean 375 miles high!) Will it be big enough?
Tokyo has nearly
35 million people. New York, 20 million people. Seoul and Mexico
City each have nearly 20 million each.
has estimated New Jerusalem, if you calculate it carefully, could
easily house two billion people! (In the “first dimension”
only!) In other words, there will be room for everyone who wants
to be there.
“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light...”
The twelve foundations
have the names of the apostles on them, and are garnished with precious
stones precisely the colors of the rainbow, so it LOOKS like it’s
sitting on a rainbow! And,
“...a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding
from the throne of God and of the Lamb...On each side of the river
[is] the tree of life, bearing twelve [kinds] of fruit...”
– a different
fruit each month. Perhaps a trunk or both sides of the river, joining
like a Banyon tree above the river. And,
“There shall be no night there...”
“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and
of the Lamb shall be in it...”
And then the
most wonderful promise found in Revelation 21:4…
will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more
death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for
the former things are passed away.”
wait for that, can you? I never get used to a funeral. But what
will we do to keep us busy in such a wonderful place?
No crime, no
sickness, no hunger or disease – no regular “jobs”
like we have here! Just peace and harmony forever! What to do? Listen:
we’ll get to do all the things we ever dreamed of doing here
and zillions more!
Build our dream
home in the Alps, plant our own vineyards on the Riviera. Jesus,
the Creator, will be there to open to us the mysteries of Creation.
We’ll never quit learning new things. Science. Astronomy.
Astro-physics. Mathematics. Geometry. We’ll be able to travel
any time we wish. “Whoa! There goes Grandma on the sea of
glass!” We’ll have forever-time to be with our friends
and loved ones. [I want to go with each of you...for 2,000 years!]
And each weekend
we’ll return back at the speed of thought to spend Sabbath
in our city home, praising God and singing with the angels and Jesus
– our special time to fellowship with our Lord.
Well, you may
ask, “Sounds too good to be true. So glorious! Can I be certain
that I can make it there?” The answer is simple – yet
some people try to make it so complex. Jesus turns our master key
in the lock to get every one of us into those Pearly Gates. He’s
your ticket to Heaven.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s
seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
If you accept
Jesus as your Savior and LORD (He’s Boss)...THEN the same
promise made to Abraham is your promise, too. [Paul calls this the
“in Christ” motif. Explain: All promises from Genesis
to Revelation!] They’re yours forever, friend.
why today God wants you and me to know the best is yet to come!
Are you homesick for Heaven? I am. Don’t you want to be there?
I do! God gives us an invitation today:
In the last
verses of Revelation. Most beautiful in all of Scripture…
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things
in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright
and Morning Star. And the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’
And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts
come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. For
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this
friend! You can be a part of God’s fabulous tomorrow –
if you invite Him into your heart.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am
coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
In one of the
“Chicken Soup” books comes a touching story from Seattle.
It’s about the 100-yd. dash competition in the Seattle “Special
Olympics” for the disabled. Nine contestants (all physically/mentally
disabled) position themselves at the starting line. The gun fires!
They take off, arms flailing in a half-sprint. One little boy, however
– barely off the blocks – trips and falls on the asphalt.
As he tumbles to the ground, he lets out a mournful wail and begins
to cry! Hearing the forlorn sobs from well up the track the other
eight runners reduce their already slow pace. Turn around. And they
go BACK! All eight of them! They pull their fallen athlete to his
feet. Then the entire group links arms and WALKS to the finish line
together! In the thunderous standing ovation, cheering for the nine
Gold Medalists lasted for ten minutes!
So innocent. So unhuman-like! Loving someone undeserving. Giving
an opponent a break! That’s what Jesus has done!
says that’s why He came down to the race track of life because
we’ve all fallen down and become disabled. He came to pick
us up and set us free from our problems and our sins and our self-centered
broken lives. To link arms with us and go “marching to Zion”
right on to the finish line!
And the best
news is those golden crowns, those Olympic gold medals? They won’t
be given to just one winner. But to everyone – everyone who
finishes the race. Jesus is on the track right now. He’s here.
He has come. And He is reaching down around each of us. Lifting
us up! Giving us another chance. And today he offers to pick us
up, put His arms around us, and walk us all the way to the finish
line and give us Heaven!
Would you close
your eyes for a moment? Perhaps bow your head. I want you to use
your imagination and think about Heaven. Imagine it’s evening
up there right now. Two lone figures (Christ and Gabriel) are walking
silently in the gathering dusk of the city. All alone, they pass
a huge section filled with mansions...As they walk along the silent
streets, it’s Gabriel who breaks the silence:
“Master! They’re so lovely, so perfect, and so wonderful
as only You can make them.”
“Yes Gabriel, they are. If only they weren’t so empty.”
“But didn’t You plan sometime ago to go down and receive
“Yes, but not yet.”
“But Master, I look down and see the people. They seem so
content! Like they don’t even want to come to this place.”
“Yes, Gabriel, I know.”
They walk in silence. Tears begin to flow. Again it’s Gabriel
who breaks the silence. He turns and says, “Jesus,”
(Jesus loves to be called that!) “when are You going to get
“Not yet. A little longer.” (He realizes so few are
They walk a bit further. This time it’s Jesus who breaks the
silence. Through tear-dimmed eyes He turns to Gabriel and says,
“Gabriel, don’t they want to come home?”
Do we? I ask
you to look into your heart. Would you be happy if He’d come
today? Do you really want to go Home?