September 3, 2012

Revelation 15:2-3 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb.

This passage is the source of the persistent image of heaven being a place where everyone is carrying a harp. However, I think it serves better to illustrate the fact that John was out of his depth in terms of language to describe what he was seeing. After all, what are “the harps of God,” which is how the Greek puts it? For me, the best take-away is that heaven is filled with music praising God. That is entirely consistent with what my wife and others who have had “near-death experiences” report. As someone who loves music and who loves praising God, that’s a pleasant prospect! Also, though we have nothing specific in the Scriptures to say it, I would be confident that in heaven, everyone will have perfect pitch! That could well be the function of “the harps of God,” because we will all take our cues from Him and be in harmony (on all levels) with Him. We have many clues as to what heaven will be like, but nothing that is a really adequate description. That’s hardly surprising, because heaven is as infinite as God. We cannot know everything about it before we get there, and that’s just as well. We do know God’s love, and can trust that He has prepared better for us than we can imagine.

I’ve been asked about heaven/the afterlife just recently by someone who’s rather anxious about his own prospects, and rightly so, because he’s lived much of his life in rebellion against God. We are confronted with our own mortality in various ways, and one person cannot have saving faith for another. There are many for whom I care a great deal to whom I would like to impart saving faith, including the man just mentioned, but all I can do is share how God has touched me, and the Gospel that is available to us all. I am to be sensitive to God for His appointments, to be available to speak or write His words when someone is prepared to receive them. I cannot save anyone, but He can use me to save anyone. That is true for every believer, and I need to communicate it to those in this church, so that we may all operate in the expectation of God using us to draw more people into His kingdom, for His glory.

Father, it’s appropriate that the longer I’m on this earth, the more I think about leaving it. Thank You for the assurance I have, both of Your plans for me right here and of what You have prepared for me for eternity. I so desire for everyone I love to have that same assurance, yet so few of them do. I ask Your grace and mercy, and I offer myself as Your instrument to that end. Father, I ask for a mighty harvest of souls into Your kingdom, not just for this earth but for eternity, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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