Archive for September 2013

Heaven – Testimonies of Others   2 comments

There are many who have stepped from this earthly realm into the Heavenly one and returned here again.  Many in the Scriptures had such experiences and many since that time have also gone back and forth.  The door in Revelation chapter 4 is still open and the Lord is still saying to us, “Come up here”.

In past postings, we have looked at those in Scripture who had experiences in Heavenly realms.  Today I’d like to share some things from one of my favorite books on this subject:  Intra Muros, My Dream of Heaven by Rebecca Ruter Springer.  She was a Methodist writer who lived from 1832 to 1904.   And lest the title, “My Dream of Heaven” be misunderstood, my research tells me that the subject of Heaven was a popular one for fiction writers of the day, sometimes referred to as a ‘fanciful sketch’.  But Rebecca obviously had a death experience, went to Heaven and was eventually sent back to earth.  Hers is a very detailed account of the splendor of Heaven and daily life there for the Redeemed.  Here are her first impressions upon arriving in Paradise, the garden of God:

“What a scene was that upon which I looked.  Away, away – far beyond the limit of my vision, I well knew, stretched this wonderful sward of perfect grass and flowers.  And out of it grew equally wonderful trees, whose drooping branches were laden with exquisite blossoms and fruits of many kinds.  I found myself thinking of St. John’s vision in the Isle of Patmos and the “tree of life” that grew in the midst of the garden, bearing twelve manner of fruits, and whose leaves were for the healing of the nations.  Beneath the trees, in many happy groups, were little children laughing and playing, running hither and thither in their joy, and catching in their tiny hands the bright-winged birds that flitted in and out among them, as though sharing in their sports, as they doubtless were.   All through the grounds people were walking, sometimes in groups, sometimes by twos, sometimes alone, but all with an air of peacefulness and happiness that made itself felt by even me, a stranger.  All were in spotless white, though many wore about them or carried in their hands, clusters of beautiful flowers.

Look where I would, I saw half hidden by the trees, elegant and beautiful houses of strangely attractive architecture, that I felt must be the homes of the happy inhabitants of this wonderful place.  I caught glimpses of sparkling fountains in many directions and nearby flowed a river with water clear as crystal.  The one thought that fastened itself upon me as I looked, breathless and speechless, upon this scene was “Purity, purity!”   No shadow of dust, no taint of decay on fruit or flower, everything perfect and pure.  The air was soft and balmy though invigorating, and instead of sunlight there was a golden and rosy glory everywhere, something like the afterglow of a sunset in midsummer.

The houses that we passed seemed wondrously beautiful to me.  They were built of the finest marbles, encircled by broad verandas, the roofs or domes supported by massive or delicate pillars or columns, and winding steps led down to the pearl and golden walks.  Flowers and vines grew luxuriantly everywhere and surpassed in beauty even those of my brightest dreams.  Happy faces looked out from these columned walls and happy voices rang upon the clear air from many a celestial home.”

Rebecca also gives detailed accounts of the saints in Heaven – those she had known and loved on the earth before their death and entry into that glorious realm.  And she speaks much of the links between the two realms, of how we are preparing now on earth for the Heavenly life in eternity. We will study some of these topics in future postings.

May we live each day with eternity in mind, understanding that the choices we make now are shaping our future there.

Heaven – The Sea of Glass   2 comments

Rising up out of this earthly realm with an angelic escort, we suddenly broke through into the Heavenly realm.   Now my eyes were met with an intense shock of gleaming blue.  There were a thousand different shades of indigo, azure, cobalt, royal and sky blue all whirling together like a gemstone cut into millions of facets with light being reflected off each one.   I was standing on the sapphire sea, the sea of glass, the crystal sea in Heaven.

The throne seems to be situated in the middle of this expanse which appears to spread out from there for miles in every direction.   It is the Throne-room of God.  Rev. 4:6 refers to a “transparent, glassy sea as if of crystal, before the throne”. However, this ‘sea’ can change appearance at times.   In Rev. 15:2-4  it is mingled with fire as the victorious, redeemed ones stand upon it, praising the Lamb of God.

In Exodus 24 we find a different account of this ‘sea’.   In the first verse of that chapter God had invited Moses to bring Aaron, his sons and 70 of the elders of Israel and come up into the mountain (Mt. Sinai).   Apparently when they reached the appointed place, they broke through the natural realm and stepped into the Heavenly realm.   Verse 10 and 11:  “And they saw the God of Israel.  And under His feet was a paved work of (transparent) sapphire stone.   He did not stretch out His hands to the nobles of the sons of Israel  (to harm them or hide Himself from them).  And they saw God and they ate and drank!”

One could spend days in passages such as this in the book of Exodus and slowly begin to comprehend what really happened at Mt. Sinai.   Reading chapter 19 very carefully and slowly will reveal why there was so much of the fear of God associated with this place.   Now He was actually inviting not just Moses, but many of the leaders to come up into His very Presence.

However, my point in referring to this passage was to show the different ways that the sea of glass can appear.   Often it is a calm, glassy surface.   At other times the music and praise of Heaven stirs it into large waves like the ocean when the tide comes in.   (Everything in that realm is tied together in oneness with God.  This is also evident in the book of Revelation.   When the saints or the living creatures give praise to Him the 24 elders cast their crowns before Him and the angels worship as well.)   Sometimes this surface becomes transparent so that one can look through it and view the earth beneath, rather like videos taken from space where the continents are clearly visible.

Most often it is the scene of a jubilant celebration.   I have stood among thousands upon thousands of the Redeemed offering their praises in many different ways upon the crystal sea.   They were singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Some were waving banners and brightly colored streamers. But all of this multitude of the Redeemed were moving together as a giant dance troupe choreographed by the Holy Spirit.  The joy and oneness between them was tangible and all were intent on one thing – to praise the One who is worthy of all praise.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come.  (Rev. 4:8)