Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Heaven's out-of-the-box life

Golden pier at sunset
Photo courtesy Pixabay.com
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 12:18-34

" 'He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.' " - Jesus, Mark 12:27

Continuing on with the theme of resurrection and the resurrected life, in our passage today we read of the Sadducees (who didn't believe in a resurrection) trying to trip up Jesus. They posed a situation (based on Deuteronomy 25:5-10) to which there was no resurrection-consistent answer—at least that was their hope.

Jesus turned their question into an exposure of their mistaken thinking by answering with Scripture (a bit from the Pentateuch—something they did believe in). He took them back to the story of the burning bush, where God said to Moses, "'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' " (Exodus 3:6,16). Of course by Moses' time, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were long dead. Yet God said "I am…" (present tense) their God now. Therefore, Jesus reasoned, they were not dead but existing in some post-dead, resurrected state, for "He is not the God of the dead but the God of the living."

Jesus' answer to these Sadducees, in addition to affirming that there is such a thing as resurrection, gives us another little glimpse behind the scenes into the afterlife—a glimpse that is both revealing and mysterious. The writer of my Bible's notes says:
"It is erroneous to think of heaven in terms of earth. Life in heaven will not be an extension of the present temporal existence. The power of God will provide for new and greater relationships that transcend the physical relationships of the present order" - J. Lyle Story, study notes, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1332.

This bit "Life will not be an extension of the present temporal existence" got me hunting for more details about heaven's out-of-the-box life. Here are some things I found:
  • We won't be in marriage relationships but like the angels (from our passage - Mark 12:25).
  • Death will no longer exist - Isaiah 28:5; 1 Corinthians 15:54.
  • God will be the panacea to all the sorrow, crying, and pain we may feel on our arrival and banish those things forever after - Revelation 21:4.
  • Inhabitants of heaven will have transformed bodies - Philippians 3:21.
  • People "… of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues" will be there, praising God - Revelation 7:9.
  • There won't be night there or the need of physical light-producing stars like the sun - Revelation 22:5.
  • In heaven, we'll see earth's trials and hardships in true perspective - 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:18.
  • We will be with Jesus (John 14:3), see His glory (John 17:24) and contribute to it (Matthew 13:43; Romans 8:17).

There are probably more but I'm sure you get the picture.

So today, when you and I are tempted to let the realities of this life get us down, let's remember to meditate on the future and our post-earth life, till we can identify with Paul who said: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" - Romans 8:18.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I long for the time when the things I've listed above are fact. "Even so, come Lord Jesus." Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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