Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Heavenly Portals

Biblegems #87
Question: Are those who have passed away and gone to heaven able to see EVERYTHING we do on earth?

In the opening verses of Isaiah God calls upon the whole created universe to witness how Israel has rebelled against Him:
Is. 1:2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me

Although this is a figure of speech, it is also part of a rich biblical concept where the created universe is presented as consciously witnessing with intense interest the great spiritual battle waged on planet earth. This concept of God’s created order beyond planet earth witnessing what takes place here is picked up frequently in Scripture:
         Deut. 4:26 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.

In Psalm 50, when God calls upon “the heavens above” to bear witness as He is about to judge His people, we discover that “the heavens”—meaning the angels—“proclaim his righteousness.”
         Ps. 50:4-6 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge.

In the New Testament, the apostles Paul and Peter also call upon heaven and earth to bear witness to God’s dealings with mankind. As Paul writes in Ephesians, those who belong to Christ are already in His presence in the heavenly realms, even while still physically here on earth:
         Eph. 2:6-7 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
         The flip side of this is necessarily also true, that the inhabitants of “heavenly realms” where Jesus now dwells are quite aware of our actions in their midst, even as the creatures of the sea are very aware of the actions of humans who are swimming in their realm.

In fact, the apostle Peter tells us that those in heaven now are cheering us on to finish our earthly race, waiting at the finish line to welcome us in:
2Pet. 1:10-11 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The impression one gets in reviewing these passages is that all creation is watching the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation on earth in much the same way as spectators watch a baseball game or tennis match from stadium seats.
         Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

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