The Next Life
What is it like when one first steps out of this life into heaven? What is the first experience one has? What will we see? What will we do? Where will we go? These questions come to mind as we think of entering into the next life. How much change from this life to the next life is there? All indications are that it will be a glorious, wonderful, exciting change, no one will regret. We are told that we will be as the angels who never marry.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:29-32
That says a great deal about the change we will experience there. All angels are addressed, or referred to, in the Bible in the masculine sense. I do not think that means that a woman or girl will lose her identity. It does raise some thoughts on the aborted babies, children, the mentally deficient and others. Do spirits come in different sizes? Are there baby spirits, male and female spirits?
Here are some interesting questions:
- Will we see our family members as still our family?
- Will we see former friends and acquaintances and know them?
- Will the men be men and the women, women?
- Will children be children and babies be babies there?
- Will we appear to be a certain age?
- What is life going to be like?
We are told very little. We know it will be far better, more wonderful, and exciting. I do not think we will have any sense of loss when we leave this life and enter the next. Today, people dread dying. We do all we can to live longer. The instinct to live is a quality that God put in our nature, so we would fulfill our days here. But when this life is complete it will continue with the Lord, we are told in scripture.
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8
Could it be that when we emerge into the next life, we will see people differently? Instead of having family units as we did on earth with fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, in heaven we may all be just one big family. We will be God's family, the children of the living God. Will we know everyone there when we see them, just as we know our brothers and sisters on earth? This is possible. Remember Moses and Elijah when they met Jesus and three of the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration? Moses had lived around fourteen hundred years before and Elijah was the great prophet, some seven hundred years earlier. But both of these men were known by Peter when he saw them.
And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. Matthew 17:3-4
How did Peter know who these men were? We know Peter did not have a picture of them. He didn't know what they would look like, yet when he saw them he knew them. Was it because they were in the family of God? As members of an earthly family know one another, maybe in the next life when we meet other believers, we will know them because we are sons and daughters of God and they are our brothers and sisters.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Paul explains that we will be recognizable in our resurrected body, yet it will be better than we can imagine, for it will be made to live in forever. We will still have our own personality and individuality, but these will be perfected through Christ's work. The Bible does not reveal everything that our resurrected body will be able to do, but we know it will be perfect, without any infirmities. The bodies we will receive when we are raised from the dead will be glorious, like Christ's resurrected body. Those who struggle with pain or disabilities have a great hope in the resurrection.
Certainly we will love and respect everyone when we see them. There will not be any put-on or pious or holier-than-thou, attitudes. Life will be lived on a higher level where there is no sin of any kind present. We must not make up our own ideas about eternity and heaven by thinking of it in human terms. Eventually we will find out, and it will be far beyond our greatest expectations. Just as Adam's human body was suitable to his natural life on earth, when we are resurrected, God will give us a transformed, eternal body suited for eternity.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 1 Corinthians 15:35-38
Think of the changes in a dry hard seed when it produces life. So life will far exceed what it once was. All planned by an all wise, omniscient, omnipotent God who loves us unconditionally, and has proved it by the death of his Son upon Calvary's cross. The sights and sounds of heaven will enrapture us. Perhaps in awe we will behold the beauty of the glory of God.
Will the angels escort us around? Will we be taken on a tour? Will we have orientation classes? What's awaiting us? Only when we enter the Paradise of God will we ever know these things.
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever. Deuteronomy 29:29
Reading in the book of Revelation we read of Jesus coming to earth riding upon a white horse. We remember Elijah left this world in a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire. Are these creatures symbolic of something or are there going to be animals there? Personally, I think so! If God has so much variety in the animal kingdom here, why wouldn't he also have a grand variety of creatures who will socialize with us in the endless ages to come?
If in this life we have enjoyed many of God's blessings in a fallen world, just try to imagine living in the presence of God where there is no curse or Devil! Think of living where there are no deteriorations, no breakdowns, and night never comes, to end that one eternal day. We will always be doing something we want to do. No matter our task or assignment, we will be exuberantly serving our great God and Savior. There we will desire to accomplish His will. Today, we sometimes struggle to do the will of God. But, with the new environment and a sinless nature, living in heaven will be, "out of this world!"
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21
A sobering thought is made clear here to all believers. What we will have there is what we have sent on ahead. This life now is investment time. Today, we are investing for our future. What we do here for the Lord is being laid up in heaven for us when we get there. Many have the erroneous idea that everyone will have the same rewards. Today, too many believers are putting their savings in the financial centers on earth. Let me challenge you to make regular deposits into heaven's bank account. When we get there I'm afraid we are going to wish we had been saving more for eternity. Have you been saved? Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior? Please do not miss out on heaven. You will sadly regret it forever. Let me end with this word;
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
Father thank you for the hope of heaven. Preacher