Pastor Dennis Smith
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks of “signs and wonders.” The phrase refers to supernatural occurrences or phenomena that elicit astonishment, and it usually signals the power of God. For example, in 2 Corinthians 12:12 we read, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” Those miraculous deeds worked by Paul were not simply sideshow tricks intended to entertain and wow people but were God’s stamp of approval on the apostle’s message and ministry.
But I’d like us to think for a few moments about other wonders. I mean wonders that await us in heaven. The Bible gives us some glimpses of heaven and a heavenly future, but they are often just that, glimpses that leave us with questions. I have recently had more than one person ask my opinion on whether loved ones who have gone on to heaven can see us, or whether there will be resumed familial relationships in heaven. These are understandable and intensely personal questions. Some folks might wonder if there will be those still bearing some physical infirmity in heaven, or whether we will be children or adults in heaven depending on when we enter glory. Will we recognize and know each other?
Although I might have my opinions on some of these things, the Bible frankly does not give us answers to all such questions. What the Bible does reveal about heaven is just what the Lord wants us to know, and he has left us with some curious facts that engage our imagination. There are wonders awaiting us in heaven. God hasn’t revealed to us everything about heaven, and I think there will be things there that will elicit astonishment!
For example, the Apostle Paul said also in 2 Corinthians that he knew a man who had been caught up to the third heaven, paradise, and who “heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (And he was surely referring to himself, speaking in the third person out of humility.) We can only wonder what those words might have been and why man was not permitted to speak them. Will they be revealed to us then?
Then in Revelation 21, the Bible tells us there will be a new heaven and new earth, speaking, I believe, of a remade or recreated cosmos. And what about that holy city that John saw coming down from God, the new Jerusalem? Twice he refers to it as a bride, and once specifically as the Lamb’s wife, yet it is described as a city wherein dwells God and the Lamb, and into which those who are in the Lamb’s book of life may enter. Some have suggested that the city is referred to as the bride metaphorically because of its inhabitants, the people of God. Perhaps that is the explanation, but if not, what are we to make of the scene?
We might also wonder about our reception into heaven. How intimate will be our relationship with the Lord? It seems that we will do more than simply worship at a distance. Consider the white stone with a new, secret name written on it that Christ promises to give in Revelation 2. Will he hand it to me? The thought seems almost unimaginable. Or will he send it by an angel?
Whatever that future, eternal state holds for us, we do know that we will be in the personal, visible presence of God and the Lamb. Wonder of wonders. Let that motivate us to faithfulness.