I imagine that there hasn’t been a single person who has placed their trust in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that hasn’t thought briefly about what ‘life’ will be like, when we take up residence with our Almighty Father.
Most talk about the gates of the city, the streets inlaid with gold, reunion with loved ones and friends that have gone before. We all will praise God and give Him glory for the beauty and abundance of heaven.
There are a few things we’ll seek to clarify today and some other things we might want to speculate on. If nothing else expand our understanding of the possibilities. There is no way possible we can today or at any point fully understand the magnificence of our eternal existence with the Spirit, the Son, and the Father. There are clues in scripture that permit us to understand what Jesus went to prepare for us.
We will never have the capacity or vision to comprehend the fullness of what awaits us, but perhaps we can get a better glimpse today.
A common thing people will say is that when we get to heaven, we become angels.
Don’t be disappointed but we will not become angels. God created angels for His purposes and so are we. There are humans and angels. We shouldn’t be disappointed as the scripture tells us we will be higher than the angels.
When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life.
1 Corinthians 6:1-3 (NLT)
There in the beginning of the third verse, “Don’t you realize that we will judge angels?”
We simply will not become angels. But then again when we shed this body of flesh, our spirit is transported before the throne of God where we acquire a new perfect body.
We associate the angels with power because of what we read they can do that we can’t. Things like appearing out of nowhere, glowing with light, hover in the air, and on and on. We revere these abilities because from where we sit, these are way beyond our abilities.
As a result, because we know that God’s got Awesome plans for us when we get to heaven, we assume correctly that we will not be on a par with God Himself so what is the next best thing in our thinking? An angel, right?
Wrong… I would like to say I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but the next best thing isn’t becoming an angel. The next best thing is to assume more of the attributes and capabilities of God because of our new domicile and our new perfect bodies.
As a result, the next best thing, would be something that is much closer to God’s nature and abilities than the angels ever could achieve.
A new environment, a new body
Let’s try to get a better concept of what the possibilities and realities are related to where we take up residence and what our form can accomplish in perfection it cannot do today.
As I cautioned earlier, we can’t realize everything this entails but the ‘where and who’ of our future selves, give us a much better concept of what potentials exist.
I will throw out this caveat, none of us have the intelligence and understanding that God has. He always is superior to us in every way. The things I am about to speculate on are most times just that, speculation. However, they are speculation based on what God says about Himself, our relationship with Him, and the transformation of surroundings and our form as noted in scripture.
Setting this up
Let’s first set this up and that will become the basis for our speculation what the result of our new digs are.
Most of us understand that God exists outside space and time. We may not think much about it, but we recognize it from our understanding of God.
God sees both space and time from outside of space and time. He created it. Because He is outside of it and can view it all at once, He knows everything there is to know inside space and time. This all appears to Him as one singular instance, every war, every birth, every death, the moment He spoke the universe into existence, the time His Son hung on a cross, and even the rapture of the saints at the end of days.
The Lord looks down from heaven; he observes everyone. He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth from his dwelling place. He forms the hearts of them all; he considers all their works.
Psalms 33:13-15 (CSB)
God sees all of this as one instance.
God also is present in all of space just as he is present in all of time.
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
Psalm 139:7-10 (NLT)
Please reread this passage again carefully. Nowhere can one go to not be in the presence of the Lord. He is everywhere because he has created everything which is in this bubble; we exist in calls space and time.
If we live where God lives, we too will be outside of space and time then much of what lends itself to God’s attributes like knowing things and being present everywhere then potentially become associated to us, because we also are then outside of space and time looking into it.
Potentially, we can conceive of the destruction of this bubble of space and time and the establishment of a new space and time which will contain a new heaven and a new earth.
Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming. Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat. But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:11-13 (CSB)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
Revelation 21:1 (CSB)
If we can assume that we then will have the same benefits that God does living outside of space and time, then we also will share in much of these amazing mysteries we understand God having.
If we pass on to heaven before the final conflict scheduled for this space and time, we will probably be able to observe everything and anything throughout its existence in that bubble. We could likely do that until the point that God destroys it and, in its place, creates a new heaven and earth. I will assume that this new heaven and earth are in a new space-time bubble because all things appear to be renewed in this process.
The process described in Second Peter states, “the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat. But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”
If we don’t pay attention, we can miss the pieces of information God’s laid out for us.
This will be something new and different from today. We will not be like the angels, we will be transformed into something greater than the angels. How can I know this?
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (CSB)
I believe this function of knowing fully, even transcends the viewpoint of space and time we gain when we live with God. I believe what Paul is referencing here is something beyond perspective that become part of our makeup with our new body.
Our minds can’t possibly contain all the knowledge of God. So, if we are to know as we are known tells me that God’s got something planned that will grant us that access to the knowledge He possesses. Understand this will not make us equals with God by no means but as the children of God we will possess much more of His attributes than we can know.
God will place us in the role of judging the angels themselves. We read it earlier in First Corinthians.
Don’t you know that we will judge angels?
1 Corinthians 6:3a (CSB)
The last thing I want to cover is the multitasking ability that God owns. I believe to a considerable extent we will share in that ability as well in our new home. I say this because we will be constantly giving God glory and honor.
I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
Revelation 5:13 (CSB)
At the same time there will be a banquet and we will be with and recognize key characters from the scriptures.
I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 8:11 (CSB)
Now this brings up another interesting consideration. If we are all in new perfect bodies with everything set to perfection in accordance to God’s will. I would have to imagine that we will look nothing like we do now, or as we ever have been. Potentially I could imagine that there will be a sameness about us.
But because we will know as we are now known, we will recognize everyone for who they are despite the change of appearance.
In the book of Revelation, it also describes some features of the New Jerusalem.
He then carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a precious jewel, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. The city had a massive high wall, with twelve gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the twelve tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. The city wall had twelve foundations, and the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb were on the foundations.
Revelation 21:10-14 (CSB)
This and dual citizenship in the New Jerusalem and the new earth suggest strongly that we have an ability to be doing numerous things simultaneously, as we continue to serve God, praise God, and absorb the wonder of all that He has done.
Our concept of what it will be like living with God is woefully incomplete. But we are not going to be bored, we will be busy, we will be rejoicing, and we will thrive in the final fulfillment of the love we were made for as we take up residence “Living with God!”
In His Grace,