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What on Earth Is Going On in Heaven? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2020 2:00 am

What on Earth Is Going On in Heaven? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 28, 2020 2:00 am

Heaven will be nothing like people just sitting around on clouds trying to pass the time. So what will it be like? Skip gets to the bottom of that question as he shares the message "What on Earth Is Going On in Heaven?"

This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.

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I just want you to notice not only what John sees but notice what he doesn't see. John doesn't say anything about we're going to be sitting around bored forever on clouds 24 7. He doesn't say anything about seeing Peter at the pearly gates of heaven welcoming us in. Just I saw a door open in heaven and behold you probably know that heaven is going to be a wonderful place.

But do you know why that is? Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares with you what the Bible reveals about the beauties and wonders of heaven. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that paints a striking picture and delivers interesting insight into Middle East affairs. Here is Skip with Joel Rosenberg to talk about this month's offer, Joel's book, The Jerusalem Assassin. When Joel Rosenberg releases a new book, I can't wait to read it.

He never disappoints. Recently, I was able to talk with Joel about this book from his home in Jerusalem. It's about an American president who's about to roll out his Middle East peace plan.

Joel Rosenberg's novels are dramatic stories ripped from the reality of today's headlines. Wow, a Saudi Israeli peace plan. That would be huge. That would be historic.

Let's do it. Let's do a summit in Jerusalem. That's the setup of the Jerusalem assassin.

What's amazing about that is this is a plausible scenario. The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg is our special offer this month. Your hardcover copy of The Jerusalem Assassin is our thank you gift when you give $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach with Skip Heitzig. So call now to get your copy. 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. I hope you will order your copy of The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg. You'll get a behind the scenes look at global events and you will be supporting our media ministry.

That's 800-922-1888 or online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, we'll be in Revelation chapters four and five for today's study. So let's join Skip Heitzig. Well, a while back I had a real privilege of going to the White House in Washington DC where a few of us were invited to meet with the president over issues regarding faith-based organizations and how they interface with the government. Well, you just got to imagine how cool it was to stand in the White House, go from the green room they call it to the red room to the east room, this big huge meeting room where the president would come in and that huge portrait of George Washington is there, that famous portrait and just taking it all in.

I was there with Jim Dobson, Max Lucado and several others. So I'm looking out the windows of the White House from the inside and I'm thinking wow this is cool. Okay, now that was cool but we're about to read again John's tour of God's House and he sort of says the equivalent when he says behold. That's like kind of the Bible way of saying wow. A couple of times he says behold as he checks out God sitting upon his throne. Now as we work our way through some more of these verses this morning I just want you to notice not only what John sees but notice what he doesn't see. John doesn't say anything about we're going to be sitting around bored forever on clouds 24-7. He doesn't say anything about seeing Peter at the pearly gates of heaven welcoming us in. Just I saw a door open in heaven and behold. By the way I heard this little joke about a cat who died and went to heaven. Let me just tell it to you. Cat died went to heaven and Peter was there at the pearly gates and Peter said you know you've been such a good cat all of these years.

Anything you want you name it it's yours. The cat said well you know what I've lived with a poor family my whole life it's been tough and I could only sleep on the hard wooden floors and Peter interrupted said say no more. Instantly appeared a fluffy satin pillow for that little cat to sleep on in heaven.

So he was very excited. A few days later six little mice died in a tragic accident they went to heaven. Peter was there at the pearly gates welcoming the mice into heaven said hey anything you want here you've been good little mice whatever you want is yours. And so this one little spokes mouse said to Peter you know Peter we've had it tough our whole lives we've had to always run run run.

Dogs chase us, cats chase us, women with brooms chase us. It'd be really nice in heaven if we could have roller skates. So Peter said say no more and these cute little tiny roller skates were outfitted for all these little mice. Well about a week went by and Peter decided I'm going to check up on the cat so Peter goes the cat's sleeping on that nice little soft pillow and gently wakes the cat up and says hey how you doing? Are you happy here? The cat said oh Peter big stretch.

I've never been happier in my life and those meals on wheels that you're sending over they're the best. Okay so I've decided that's going to be my new answer for are there animals in heaven? I guess it goes how far do you want to take this thing? Well John in revelation chapter four and five John describes the ultimate adventure we've seen so far as he saw and he looked that throne set in heaven and one who sat on the throne this brilliant light show of resplendent display of God's God's magnificence and brilliance. Randy Alcorn who has written a number of things about heaven wrote this Satan labors to give people an inaccurate view of heaven. Our enemy slanders three things God's person, God's people, and God's place. Some of his favorite lies concern heaven.

That actually makes sense. I would say that Satan has a vested interest into lying to people about heaven because if you remember heaven used to be his hangout his digs he was forcibly evicted from heaven and it must drive him nuts as he realizes our future home was his ex-home and so he tells all sorts of misconceptions about what heaven's going to be like. That's why it's always good to look at what the bible says and John chapter four and five tell us what John saw in heaven. Now today we continue we looked at verses one through three last time of John chapter four.

Now we turn our focus from the throne and the one who sat on the throne to what's around the throne. What the inhabitants of heaven are doing and we find the main thing they are doing is they're worshiping. So it's safe to say in heaven one of the things you're going to do is worship.

It's not the only thing you're going to do by the way there are more. The bible says you'll be given tasks to do. You will administrate in the kingdom age. You're going to have to worship in the kingdom age. You're going to help rule and reign with Christ but one of the things you and I will do is worship.

In fact I'll put it this way. One of the few things you can do right now that you will do forever in heaven is to worship God. You see there won't be any evangelization in heaven. We're not going to have any crusades in heaven. You won't be personally witnessing to anybody in heaven. You won't be feeding the poor in heaven. You won't be discipling people in heaven. But you will be worshiping in heaven.

That's something we can do right now. So how did they do it and how do they do it in heaven? How could our worship now closely reflect that which goes on in heaven?

It's pretty exciting to even think about that. This last week we had a sister in our fellowship go to heaven. She was on her deathbed. She was on her deathbed.

She was quite ill for a couple of years and Saturday night she was tuning into our broadcast. They would always listen at home and she heard last week's description what John saw in heaven and it so captivated her the next morning she wanted to hear it again. So she got up and was listening to the live broadcast about heaven and her family was around her talking and she kept saying be quiet and eventually she cried out to God, God deliver me from this body. Well she was taken to heaven. The place we were describing the place she could only imagine in her mind's eye today she's enjoying that very place and the comfort of heaven the comfort of those thoughts to her and her family was indescribable.

Today what we want to look at as we continue is two things. Basically the occupants the prominent occupants in heaven the other ones that John sees as he looks around the throne and then the occupation. What is their primary occupation as we see it in heaven? So let's look at the others that are in heaven.

John is definitely not alone verse 4. Around the throne were 24 thrones and on the thrones I saw 24 elders sitting clothed in white robes and they had crowns of gold on their heads. Now who are these 24 elders?

Some suggest they're angels. I don't believe that angels are never called elders in the Bible. Others suggest these represent the 24 priests in the Old Testament. Remember there were 24 courses in the priesthood that were administered throughout the entire year for the temple worship.

Again I don't think that's it. They were never called elders either. I think it's best to see the 24 elders as representing the whole church and here's why. Eight times in the New Testament believers are said to rule and reign with Christ in eternity.

We're going to rule with him. We're going to reign with him and here these 24 elders are sitting on thrones helping administrate. So as there were 24 priests that represented the whole nation these 24 elders represent the whole church and I think it's pretty definitive as you go down into chapter five and in verse nine of chapter five you listen to the song they sing and they say for you have redeemed us by your blood out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Only the church can sing those words.

They have to be the church singing that. So the 24 elders representing the body of believers in heaven, I believe at least, then look at verse five there's more. And from the throne proceeds lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne which are the seven spirits of God.

What on earth is that? Does that mean there are seven holy spirits? No it doesn't. We know from Ephesians and from Corinthians there's one body and one spirit. They're not seven. This is simply apocalyptic symbolism and notice that John ties the seven spirits of God with the seven lamps burning. Or if you know the temple or tabernacle the seven fold lampstand called the menorah. So as these seven lamps are the seven fold lampstand the seven spirits of God I believe represent the seven fold working of the one holy spirit. There's a text for that in Isaiah chapter 11 verse 2. It mentions the spirit of the Lord.

That's one. The spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. The seven fold description of what the single holy spirit does. And there's more.

Verse 6. Before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal and in the midst of the throne and around the throne were four living creatures, get this, full of eyes in front and in back. Now is that wild or what? The first living creature was like a lion. The second living creature like a calf. The third living creature had the face of a man. The fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures each having six wings were full of eyes around and within and they do not rest day or night saying holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. The term living creatures is a bit misleading. When you think of a living creature you might think of an animal. I remember I used to read a book to my son Nate when he was growing up called Where the Wild Things Are.

Remember that book? When I hear the term living creature that's what my mind goes to, those wild things. The Greek term is zoi and it simply means a living thing, a living thing and as you read this vision of John it's almost identical to what Ezekiel saw in Ezekiel 1 and 10 and he described them as cherubim. These are the four cherubim like Ezekiel around the throne of God. These are a special classification of angelic beings. They guard the glory of God. They help administer judgment on the earth. Frankly I can't wait to see these four cherubim. Just the description it's sort of hard for me to get my mind around them. Ezekiel even says they were mobile, they had wheels and there were eyes on the wheels.

I just cannot wait to check this out. Well there's more. Look at chapter 5 verse 6 and 7. And I looked and behold in the midst of the throne, remember he saw the throne of God, that's the throne, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders stood a lamb as though it had been slain having seven horns seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Now the lamb is Christ. We find that imagery throughout the book and the lamb is called Christ. He's the hero of the book.

He's the hero of the story because in this chapter he is said to take the scroll, the title deed of the earth to bring full redemption to the earth, to rule and reign forever. And so here's the church along with the angelic hosts, the four living creatures, worshiping and looking at Christ in heaven, seeing him in his glory which is exactly what Jesus prayed for. In John chapter 17 he said, Father I want those that you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, the glory which you have given me before the creation of the world. So we're looking around and we're seeing a lot more in heaven than just a throne and one who's sitting on it.

But there's even more than that. Look down at verse 11 of chapter 5, and I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, the elders. The number of them was 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands. This is heaven filled with the angelic hosts. There's a lot of angels. There's a lot of angels. 17 Old Testament books and 17 New Testament books all mention angels. 103 times in the Old Testament. Another 165 times in the New Testament angels are mentioned. They're prominent. They're around.

They minister to us, the Bible says, and they'll be in heaven worshiping with us. Huge choir. How many are there? A lot.

You could say, well, I'm going to do the math. 10,000 times 10,000. A hundred million angels. Did you know there was a theologian in the 1200s named Albertus Magnus who came up, he thought, with the precise number of angels? He wrote, he said, there are precisely 399,920,004 angels.

How he ever came up with that number, I do not know. We don't know how many there are. This construction simply means innumerable. In Greek, it's muriades, muriadon, kaikiliades, kuriadon, translated myriads upon myriads upon thousands upon thousands. This innumerable host, so get the picture, there's the throne, there's the land, there's this four cherubim, these wild looking creatures with life in and around them, 24 elders representing the church, and as far as the eye can see, the angelic host.

That's what John saw. Now let's turn from the occupants in heaven to the occupation. Their primary occupation is worship. Now it is funny, whenever you bring this up to people and you say, as they ask, well what are we going to be doing in heaven? And if you say, well we're going to be worshiping in heaven.

Typically the response is, is that all? Because that sounds kind of boring. It sounds like one long church service. That's how we think about it.

Now this is why people resort to saying these things at funerals. I know that right now he's up in heaven playing golf, golf, or I know that right now she's hiking in some mountain in heaven or some earthly activity. We always confine heaven to earthbound activities as if, well there could be nothing better than golf or hiking or baking or whatever.

We have to come up with something they like doing here on earth. As I read through Revelation 4 and 5, I get this idea that John isn't bored up there. It's not like he's twiddling his thumbs going, oh great, we're just like worshiping all the time. In fact, the theme that I keep getting from Revelation 4 and 5 is there's nothing more fascinating than God himself. He is taken by this.

This is shock and awe for John. So let's just consider the kind of worship going on in heaven and see how that interfaces with us now because the name of this message is what on earth is going on in heaven? Answer, worship. So let's see how our worship interfaces with that of heaven.

I want you to notice first of all the proper response in worship that is in heaven. Look at chapter 5 verse 8. Now when he, that is the lamb, when he had taken the scroll.

So there's a definite action going on. The lamb is taking the title deed to the earth which will imply full redemption through a series of judgment and his second coming. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb each having a harp, golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints and they sang a new song sang.

So it's when they saw the lamb take the scroll. Their worship was a response to what he did and here's the principle I want to make. Worship must be intellectual.

Now hear me, follow me. Worship must be intellectual. It's what you see or know God to be or do that causes a response to God. Worship is the human response or the human reaction to a divine action.

They knew what that meant when he took the scroll and now here is the intelligent response. They worship the Lord. You see worship involves the mind. We must think about what God has done, who God is.

It's a response. One person who wrote a lot on heaven said this, at times throughout the day as I work in my office I find myself on my knees thanking God for his goodness. When I eat a meal with my wife, when I talk with a friend or if I take my dog out for a walk, I worship God for his goodness. The world is full of praise prompters but heaven will overflow with them. I'm gonna lift out that little phrase. Praise prompters. I like that.

Learn to live your life being prompted by different things. Well look what God is. That's Lord thank you for that. Praise you for that.

In heaven he says will overflow with them. So the action of God prompts the reaction of the heavenly host and that is worship. Jesus said in Mark chapter 12 verse 30, you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength. Please dismiss the idea that worship is a mindless activity that we just kind of get pumped up into a frenzy and disengage the mind. No we engage the mind and I think powerful worship is when your mind is stretched by the words of a song that give you a full understanding of God. I remember when I was first a Christian you know and I thought just singing God is love from above you know that kind of stuff just sort of same words I love you I love you I love you Lord that was just where it's at and I never liked hymns because I grew up saying that's just old stuff. They don't know how to worship.

We do. Then I started reading the hymns and I started listening to the depth of knowledge and theology that the hymn writers had and as I would sing the hymns it would stretch my understanding of who God is and it helped me worship even more. That's Skip Heitzig with a message from his series From the Edge of Eternity. Now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and others to God's Word.

In the book of Revelation John gives us a glimpse into the throne room of heaven. Because of that we have great joy knowing our future is to reign with Jesus forever and we want to share that hope with as many more friends like you through this ministry. Will you help make that possible? Your generous gift today will help keep these teachings on the air to make an eternal difference in many more lives as you connect them to Jesus. Here's how you can give. Give us a call at 800-922-1888 to make a donation 800-922-1888 or give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate that's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Your support is vital to help connect more people like you to Christ so thank you for giving generously. And just a reminder you can watch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4 p.m. Mountain. Check your local listings and be sure to come back again next week as Skip Heitzig helps you discover what actually happens in heaven and how you'll join in to experience it all. Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-24 04:31:01 / 2024-03-24 04:40:03 / 9

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