What Are They Doing Now in Heaven?
Or, They Are Doing the Will of God in Heaven, Just as We Should on Earth
"Thy Will be done in Earth,
as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
by Tom Stewart
Table of Contents
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Preface back to top
What are they doing now in Heaven? Jesus told us more than we thought. They are doing the Will of God, just as we should on Earth. "And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, as in Heaven, so in Earth" (Luke 11:2).
I propose to Scripturally demonstrate that the Saints and Angels in Heaven:
(1) Are still Moral Agents, as we are,
(2) Must continually trust the LORD, as we must,
(3) Are encouraged by the exploits of the Godly, as we are, and
(4) Will always be in a state of being perfected, as we also always will be.
Therefore, when you perform the Will of God, in addition to the good that you accomplish for God, your earthly neighbour, and yourself, you are presently being used by the Almighty to perfect both the Glorified Saints and Angels in Heaven, when they are further encouraged to trust the Eternal God. Thus, because you perform the Will of God, both Holy Angels and Departed Saints are confirmed in their confidence in the rule of His Law of Love, which thereby increases the stability and strength of the Government of the Benevolent God. Moreover, this even greater still secures the Eternal Holiness and Happiness of all, who are Godly. And, it so fully discourages disobedience that the possibility is destroyed that rebellion could ever again find its way into the Heavenlies. "He that doeth the Will of God abideth for ever" (1John 2:17).
The Saints and Angels in Heaven Are Still Moral Agents, As We Are back to top
We have been given the privilege and responsibility of taking every declaration and prophetic utterance of man and holding it up to the scrutiny of the "More Sure Word of Prophecy" (2Peter 1:19) of the Completed Canon of Scripture. "To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). [See our editorial, "Why I Use the King James Version" ---New Window, for a discussion of how God has preserved His Word in the English language and kept us from the error of modern translations.] In these Last Days, we have been told that there will be the advent of False Prophets, i.e., "many False Prophets are gone out into the world" (1John 4:1), and True Prophets, i.e., "in the Last Days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17), so we must be very careful to exercise discernment about what they represent as statements coming from God about this life or Heaven to come. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1Thessalonians 5:21). [See our article, "How to Identify a False Prophet" ---New Window, for Scriptural understanding on how God preserves His people from wolves in sheep's clothing.] What the Scripture teaches us about the Glorified Saints and Angels in Heaven must have profitability for the advancement of God's Kingdom, or such investigation would necessarily come under the classification of "vain jangling" (1Timothy 1:6). Unlike the Medieval scholastic, who attempted many a questionable or useless discussion and subtlety, e.g., to ascertain the number of Angels that can be in one place at the same time-- stand, sit, or dance on the point (or, head) of a pin-- to determine that the Angels in Heaven, as well as Glorified Saints, are still Moral Agents, is of immense Moral Value. "8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the Angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God" (Revelation 22:8-9). Notice that the Angel told the Apostle John that he was numbered among those who "keep the sayings of this book" (Revelation 22:9), indicating that he, too, Morally Chose to obey the Living God. It is said of both the Heavenly Angels and the Glorified Saints, where the Saints are represented by the Twenty-Four Elders, that they all worship God, i.e., "all the Angels stood round about the throne, and about the Elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God" (Revelation 7:11). Worship is a privilege, obedience, and occupation for all Moral Agents for now and for Eternity. "23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the True Worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:23-24).
Angels are Moral Agents, because it demands the Moral Likeness of God in any being to choose to obey a commandment from God, as Holy Angels do obey, while others did not. "Bless the LORD, ye His Angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word" (Psalm 103:20). Though the Holy Angels presently in Heaven have never transgressed, these Angelic Beings take great delight and interest in the Gospel of Redeeming Grace. "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven; which things the Angels desire to look into" (1Peter 1:12). Great must be the sympathy of the Angels in the Salvation, Sanctification, and Glorification of their Human Earthly Brethren, for they do rejoice, when we repent. "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the Angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10). And, yes, though the Angels do not marry, reproduce, or die, i.e., "35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the Resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the Angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the Resurrection" (Luke 20:35-36), they are Brethren. "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy Brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). Angels are numerous, for Scripture has it that they are "an innumerable company of Angels" (Hebrews 12:22); also, the "wisdom of an Angel of God" (2Samuel 14:20) is predicated upon a Right Heart, as it is with man. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). Perhaps, the most important thing that Angels must reinforce in our minds is the Value and Necessity of Worshipping God, for this they do, have done, and will do for all Eternity, "world without end" (Ephesians 3:21). If this is one of the chief duties of Angels throughout Eternity, then should we not better acquaint ourselves with this most important function? "Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone; Thou hast made Heaven, the Heaven of Heavens, with all their host, the Earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of Heaven worshippeth Thee" (Nehemiah 9:6). Most scenes around the Throne of God in the Book of Revelation entail some description of how worship takes place in the Heavenlies; further, we certainly do not need to die and become translated to the Throne before we practice True Worship. "11 And all the Angels stood round about the Throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the Throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 7:11-12). Worship is what Lucifer and one-third of the Angels, i.e., "his tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven, and did cast them to the Earth" (Revelation 12:4), refused to give to the Almighty, i.e., "12 How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (Isaiah 14:12-13), demonstrating that Satan and the Fallen Angels, too, had and have the Moral Agency to reject God. So, worship preeminently identifies the Angels as Moral Agents. "And again, when He [the Father] bringeth in the Firstbegotten into the world, He saith, And let all the Angels of God worship Him [Christ]" (Hebrews 1:6). [Please see "What the Bible Says About Angels: Or, Who Angels Are and What They Do" ---New Window for a Scriptural consideration of our wonderfully helpful Allies.]
Glorified Saints are still Moral Agents, that is, they have not become incapacitated in their ability to obey God by virtue of their promotion into the presence of God. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in Heaven: and the First Voice which I heard was as it were of a Trumpet talking with me; which said, Come Up Hither [the First Come Up Hither, which is the Pre-Tribulational Rapture], and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1). [Be encouraged that there is a Pre-Tribulational Rapture by our article, "Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?" ---New Window.] As we have already seen, all the inhabitants of Heaven engage in the morally, eternally fulfilling experience of worshipping God, and what we shall see following the Pre-Tribulational Rapture will be a gathering of all the Angelic and Human inhabitants of Heaven to worship God, as witnessed by the Apostle John in Revelation 4:1-11:
So, the presence of this Throne Scene following the Pre-Tribulational Rapture, establishes the fact that both Glorified Saints and Heavenly Angels are still Moral Agents; and, the fact that God has created and preserved such Moral Agency in the Inhabitants of Heaven further indicates the necessity for the continued exercise of Moral Agency throughout Eternity for worship-- for when can worship be exhausted upon such a Worthy God?-- and for any other Heavenly Employment to be devised by our Benevolently Wise God. "33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the LORD? or who hath been His counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:33-36). [Also, our "Commentary on the Book of Revelation" ---New Window is available for further comments on this and other chapters of the Apocalypse.]
The Saints and Angels in Heaven Must Continually Trust the LORD, As We Must back to top
The Creator derived great pleasure from all His acts of creation, i.e., "for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11), but His particular pleasure comes from our willing, eager, and devoted confidence in Him, i.e, "without Faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Why then would He, the "Confidence of All the Ends of the Earth" (Psalm 65:5), possibly allow our confidence in Him to end for all of eternity, simply because we have already given Him our confidence for this small speck of life? "God forbid that we should forsake the LORD" (Joshua 24:16). LORD, "Thy servant, who is devoted to Thy fear" (Psalm 119:38), desires the privilege to dwell "in the secret place of the Most High" (Psalm 91:1) "under the shadow of Thy wings" (Psalm 17:8) as long as Thy Glory shall endure. Amen. "The Glory of the LORD shall endure for ever" (Psalm 104:31). We, instead, take great pleasure in finding our Eternal Refuge in trusting in the LORD. "In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge" (Proverbs 14:26). Our trust in Him will be our Everlasting Strength. "Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is Everlasting Strength" (Isaiah 26:4). It is the desire of every Moral Agent, who trusts in Him, to be everlastingly found of Him, with the assurance that no power or force will ever "pluck them out" (John 10:28) of His hand. "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a Perfect Heart and with a Willing Mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever" (1Chronicles 28:9). Unlike an unending treadmill that frays and exasperates its user with hopelessness, trusting the LORD forever is Peace and Rest for the soul. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). This can only be true because we have been designed by an All-Wise Planner to perfectly fit this role of "trusting in the LORD" (Psalm 112:7). How can anyone thoughtfully oppose such wise design unless it be Moral Madness? "This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead" (Ecclesiastes 9:3). And, who has ever successfully opposed the LORD? "39 See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. 40 For I lift up My hand to Heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41 If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me" (Deuteronomy 32:39-41). Did not the Roman governor Festus (60 AD), who held the Apostle Paul prisoner, accuse our brother of the madness of trusting in the Resurrection of Christ, when he himself was guilty of rejecting the evidence put forth by Paul? "And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad" (Acts 26:24). And, we, like Paul, should respectfully respond, "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness" (Acts 26:25).
Heaven is much better than we can possibly imagine. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1Corinthians 2:9). Heaven is more than a place where the former things are passed away, i.e., "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain" (Revelation 21:4); but, it is most importantly the place where Christ is. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3). Much as we long to think about the Eternal Blessedness of Heaven, Heaven would not be the Sinless Paradise advertised, if anyone ever again did sin in Heaven. "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27). We have God's Word on it, that "no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5). But, for this to hold true-- and, we have God's Verity that it will-- then, both Morally Capable Saints and Angels will forever behave differently than did those Rebel Angels of old. "God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Greek, tartaroo, the ancient Greeks place of punishment for the wicked dead, equivalent of the Jewish Gehenna] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto Judgment" (2Peter 2:4). If the Omniscient God knew that Lucifer and his cohorts would rebel, why would the Creator give Man or Angels His Moral likeness? Not only did it please Him to do so, i.e., "for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11), but it was the wisest way to morally draw Elect Men and Angels to Himself. "I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love" (Hosea 11:4). Without breaking the mechanism of the Moral Agency of Angels or Man, He recognized that no one would ever come unless He morally drew or persuaded them. "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the Last Day" (John 6:44). The Swift Judgment of the Evil Angels no doubt had such a shocking effect upon the Creation that God, in His Eternal Counsels, saw fit to introduce measures that would secure the confidence of the Elect. "According as He [the Father] hath chosen us in Him [the Son] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in Love" (Ephesians 1:4).
For this reason, the Protoevangelium-- the first good news-- was already seen shortly after the Fall of Man. "And I will put enmity between thee [the Serpent] and the woman [humankind], and between thy seed and her seed [the Messiah]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel [at the Cross]" (Genesis 3:15). Providence is the sum of God's past, present, and future dealings with us, and Providence is best illustrated by our confidence in all the workings and ways of the Sovereign God toward us, i.e, "I being in the way, the LORD led me" (Genesis 24:27). The History of Providence in this life can be seen in the progress of the confidence and trust placed in God by His Elect under the progressive unfolding of: (1) the message of His Unshakeable Law, (2) the message of His Holy Prophets, and (3) the message of His Everlasting Gospel.
The Unshakeable Law with its thunderings affirmed:
To continue this wonderfully blessed display of means to secure the confidence of the Elect, God's Holy Prophets were sent in unbroken succession from Moses to Christ, to:
Crowning this magnificent attempt to draw Elect Man and Angels and to secure their confidence in Himself, the Everlasting Gospel will be preached to all mankind until Christ Returns, because:
Therefore, the blessedness of trusting God will be secured for us in this life, and our trusting will be an encouragement also for the Glorified Saints and Heavenly Angels to keep on trusting the LORD in Heaven to come. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and Whose hope the LORD is" (Jeremiah 17:7). You may say that our part in encouraging the Faith of the Glorified Saints and Heavenly Angels must be pitifully small; but, what joy to know that we may contribute anything to the good of all the Godly, who have gone before us! "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10).
The Saints and Angels in Heaven Are Encouraged by the Exploits of the Godly, As We Are back to top
We have seen that both Saints and Angels in Heaven are still Moral Agents, and must still trust the LORD for their continued Happiness and Holiness in Heaven (as we must on Earth), but why would they still have such an interest in the Salvation, Sanctification, and Glorification of Mortal Man? "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven; which things the Angels desire to look into" (1Peter 1:12). Because all Moral Agents-- which includes Angels-- are bound by the Eternal Moral Law of Love to seek the highest good of God and the good of their neighbours-- which includes us-- as themselves, the Angels are seeking our good as "ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14), as they have been commissioned by the Almighty to Graciously Support the Saints on Earth. "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD" (Leviticus 19:18). Be warned, our worship is only to God, and never to Angels, i.e., "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of Angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Colossians 2:18). Yet, our gratitude to God for His Help that He gives through His Angels, we can see does have a positive effect upon the Angels, as well, for we know that Angels rejoice, when Earthly Moral Agents choose to do right, e.g., when Sinners repent. "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the Angels of God over one Sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10). When a Fellow Christian shows us a kindness, we thank them, but we understand that if it was good, it came from God. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). While we carefully reserve True Worship to God alone, we are commensurately grateful to Man or Angel, when Help or Grace is given. "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour" (Romans 13:7). Our foundational motivation for obeying and serving God is love of God, i.e, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15), but we understand that our obedience may very well benefit others, Glorified Saints and Heavenly Angels included. "We are bound to thank God always for you, Brethren, as it is meet [Greek, axios, befitting]" (2Thessalonians 1:3). Encouragement is always strength received from the Almighty to keep us from failing. "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD" (Psalm 31:24). Whenever and whoever strengthens us to do the Will of God, in both, we have been encouraged. "Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast wrought for us" (Psalm 68:28). May God use us to encourage and strengthen all of our Brethren in Heaven or upon Earth, Man or Angel. "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD" (Psalm 27:14). Why wouldn't we want to do whatever we could to encourage both the Glorified Saints and Holy Angels? "But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality" (2Corinthians 8:14). Remember that the Departed Saints have been an instrument for our encouragement, while they were here, and the Angels have been used by God to do already so much for us, for example:
Some Instances of Angels in the Scripture: Sent by God to Help Man
The Saints and Angels in Heaven Will Always Be in a State of Being Perfected, As We Will Always Be back to top
Neither Man nor Angels are infinite, and both will always be in a State of Change throughout Time and then Eternity, either for the Better or the Worse, as evidenced by the fact that: (1) Godly Men will increase in the Light forever, i.e., "But the path of the Just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the Perfect Day" (Proverbs 4:18), and (2) Ungodly Men, who are like forever "wandering stars [Greek, planetes, wanderer], to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 13), will "wax worse and worse" (2Timothy 3:13). Unlike the Demonic Angels, who were ejected immediately from Heaven, Man is in a Probationary Period, while in this life on Earth-- not continuing into a Purgatory, as falsely taught by the Roman Catholic Church. Scripture clearly teaches for the Departed Godly that they are immediately present with the LORD in Heaven, i.e., "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD" (2Corinthians 5:8), while Judgment alone awaits the Departed Wicked, i.e., "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). If there was not a limit to this Probationary Period, then the devils in Hell would eventually be paroled; however, Scripture affirms that the "devils also [intellectually only] believe [that there is One God], and [merely] tremble" (James 2:19). The Gospel or Good News is that there presently exists the opportunity to repent and return to believing and confiding in God; but, this is only a limited offer. "12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the Living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:12-13). Wicked Men are already degenerating and will continue to degenerate forever, in the same fashion as God made the bush to burn "and the bush was not consumed" (Exodus 3:2), i.e., "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2Timothy 3:13). What joy, but the Righteous will continue to "grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18), forever, and will never hint at overtaking, much less eclipsing the glory of the Eternal God! "I am the LORD: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another" (Isaiah 42:8).
This Mortal Life is the Period of Probation that determines whether we will spend an Eternity in Heaven or in the Lake of Fire. "15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 19 I call Heaven and Earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19). Not only would the devils persuade themselves that there will always be another day for repentance, but the Unelect Wicked cannot be compelled to believe that there will ever be a time too late to repent. "13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city [i.e., the City of Destruction], and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time [i.e., a limited duration], and then vanisheth away [i.e., a definite ending]. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the LORD will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good [e.g., to repent now], and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:13-17). If the Probationary Period did not definitely end, then there would never be a need for the Great White Throne Judgment of the Ungodly. "And I saw a Great White Throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the Earth and the Heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them" (Revelation 20:11). And yet, we have been solemnly warned that God "hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained [Christ Jesus]; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). For there not to be an end of the Probationary Period, we would have to discard the rest of Scripture that tells us plainly that there is a Great White Throne Judgment, there is a Lake of Fire, and there is a Second Death. "12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and Death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And Death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the Second Death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire" (Revelation 20:12-15). Of course, a Thoughtful Saint could never cast aside Plain Scripture, for that would be paramount to casting God's Word behind their backs, and God has forewarned how He would respond. "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:19).
We are perfected by incremental increases in our knowledge of the LORD in this life and in the next. "Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the Earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:24). We so imperfectly grope after God-- it is only a marvel of Grace that we ever did Savingly Find Christ-- yet, we will never so fully discover God that He will be completely found out. "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out" (Job 37:23). With an Infinite God, we can be occupied for an Eternity with discovering Him. "Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered" (Psalm 40:5). If Heaven's Occupation was only to Learn of Christ, then that alone would give Heaven Full Employment! "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). That knowledge is worthy of being gained now because it only aids us in our obedience of Christ. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2Corinthians 10:5). And yet, Scripture reveals that God must preserve us, for we would be overpowered with even a small measure of the Glory of God! "1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the Temple. 2 Above it stood the Seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts: the whole Earth is full of His glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts" (Isaiah 6:1-5). Angels, who are greater in knowledge and power than we, bow in humble, unceasing adoration of God. "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Revelation 4:8).
Our Performing of the Will of God is Used by God to Confirm the Stability and Strength of His Government back to top
What concern should we have about God's Government? Much every way, especially if we find that God requires the consent of Holy Moral Beings in the conduct of His Government. "Know ye not that we shall judge Angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" (1Corinthians 6:3). Whoever practices the Will of God participates in the Government of God. "Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Manifestly, to reject Christ is to reject the Government of Christ and to walk in open rebellion against Him. "11 And as they heard these things, [Christ Jesus] added and spake a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear [they expected Him to immediately assume an Earthly throne]. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman [referring to Himself] went into a far country [referring to His upcoming return to the Throne of His Father in Heaven] to receive for himself a kingdom [Christ's Earthly Millennial Kingdom], and to return [Christ's Second Coming]. 13 And he called his ten servants [all mankind are supposed to be His servants], and delivered them ten pounds [Greek, mina, money equivalent, where one mina equals 100 drachmas (ancient Greek silver coins)], and said unto them, Occupy [Greek, pragmateuomai, trade or carry on business] till I come [the duty of all, but heeded only by the Godly]. 14 But his citizens [the Ungodly ones] hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us ["Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:16)]. 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading [how much they had gained through trading with His money]. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities [rewarded both proportionally to their gain, which was proportional to the initial investment given to each]. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin [had the appearance of faithfully storing the investment, but had no real confidence in Christ to attempt to gain by trading with it]: 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere [Greek, austeros, harsh, rough, rigid] man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow [unwilling to take up any expense, pain, or hazard, because he lacked any real confidence in Christ]. 22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury [if unwilling to increase His initial investment by personal trading, at least give it to the bank and collect interest]? 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds [use it or lose it]. 25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him ["For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" (Matthew 13:12)]. 27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me [it is appointed unto man, after the Probationary Period, to be judged for good, or in this case, for ill]" (Luke 19:11-27).
But, upon the Wicked damned in the Lake of Fire, He imposes His Sentence of Death, rules over them, and His Omnipotence prevents their escape and contact with the Redeemed and with the Angels in Heaven: (1) He fixes a great barrier between the Godly and the Ungodly in Eternity, i.e., "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence" (Luke 16:26), and (2) He controls with untold amounts of pain their ability to harm the Godly, the Holy Angels, and Heaven, i.e., "50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 24:50-51). Without respect for the Law of God, there will be no Stability for the Government of God-- only stubborn rebellion. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1Samuel 15:23). To despise God's Law and Government is to despise God. "7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 30 They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof" (Proverbs 1:7, 30). And, to despise God and His Statutes is to attack the very foundations of His Government. "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the Righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). God places great emphasis on being stable as a Rock, and therefore, His Government will also be as stable as a Rock. "2 And he said, The LORD is My Rock, and My Fortress, and My Deliverer; 3 The God of My Rock; in Him will I trust: He is My Shield, and the Horn of My Salvation, My High Tower, and My Refuge, My Saviour; Thou savest me from violence. 32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? 47 The LORD liveth; and blessed be My Rock; and exalted be the God of the Rock of My Salvation" (2Samuel 22:2, 3, 32, 47). Just as He is a Rock, the citizens of God's Government are to be stable and steadfast. "5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your Faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the LORD, so walk ye in Him: 7 Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the Faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:5-7). Paul, likewise, described James, Cephas (Peter), and John as stable "pillars" (Galatians 2:9) of the Early Church, and the LORD Jesus promises the blessing of making His overcoming people pillars in the Heavenly Temple. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of Heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name" (Revelation 3:12). Our steadfastness is not self-induced, but it is a product of our confidence in Christ, Who is our "Sure Foundation" (Isaiah 28:16). "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the LORD" (1Corinthians 15:58). And, the very fact that we stedfastly complete our sojourn on this planet in Faith, indicates that we are Genuine Christians. "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14).
Our Performing the Will of God is Used by God to Confirm and Perfect (or, Complete) the Holiness and Happiness of the Godly back to top
Holiness and Happiness in the Godly are dependent upon a disposition or willingness to perform the Will of God; therefore, both Saints and Angels on Earth and in Heaven must be willing to perform, actually perform, and continue to perform the Will of God, if they are to continue in Holiness and Happiness forever. "Thy will be done, as in Heaven, so in Earth" (Luke 11:2). Happiness results from obedience to the Will of God. "Blessed [Greek, makarios, happy] are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it" (Luke 11:28). "6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:6, 8). Holiness is the moral attribute of God that disposes God to a moral perfection or purity, whereby He is directed to do right in opposition to that which is sinful and wrong-- doing what is on the whole best to be done, perfect in degree and kind. "And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts: the whole Earth is full of His glory" (Isaiah 6:3). This doing of right is the Will of God. "Shall not the Judge of All the Earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Since the willful transgression of right action is sin-- "sin is the transgression of the Law" (1John 3:4)-- then, when God chooses and performs His will, it is a demonstration of His Holiness. "He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He" (Deuteronomy 32:4). On man's part, willingness to do and actually doing the Will of God makes us Holy, i.e., "Be ye holy" (Leviticus 20:7; 1Peter 1:15, 16), in which Holiness further disposes us to do that which is the Will of God, as opposed that which is sinful and wrong. On God's part, Holiness is God pronouncing us holy and clean after we have rightly acknowledged our need of cleansing, i.e., "5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts. 6 Then flew one of the Seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged" (Isaiah 6:5-7). Further, our Holiness is God continuing to pronounce us holy and clean because He has drawn us to perform His Will, i.e., "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him" (John 6:44). Though we lay much emphasis upon our necessity to perform the Will of God, we must remember that "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). This careful blend of Man's Free Will and God's Divine Sovereignty is exquisitely balanced by the Holy Spirit in His Word:
Have you ever wondered what the verse at the very end of the Faith
Chapter (Hebrews 11:1-40) meant, i.e., "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without
us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40)? A "Roll Call of Faith" had just been completed, where all the
Saints named were "sanctified by faith" (Acts 26:18). "39 And these all, having obtained
a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they
without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews
11:1-40). The second to the last verse of the chapter says, "And these all, having obtained a good report [Greek, martureo, witness, testimony] through
faith, received not the promise" (Hebrews 11:39). In what sense can it be said that they "received
not the promise" (Hebrews 11:39)?
What promise did they not receive? In this instance, "promise" does not refer to God's act of promising, but to the promised
end result of a Better or Heavenly Country, in answer to which God has prepared
for them a City, i.e., "14
For they that say such things declare plainly
that they seek a country. 15 And
truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might
have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore
God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a City" (Hebrews 11:14-16). What is the name of that City?
New Jerusalem. "1
And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth: for
the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, New
Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her
husband" (Revelation 21:1-2). New
Jerusalem represents God securing the faith and love of His people forever. "3 And
there shall be no more curse: but the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it;
and His servants shall serve Him: 4 And
they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.
14 Blessed are they that do His commandments,
that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates
into the City" (Revelation 22:3, 4, 14).
The phrase, "that they without us should
not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40),
refers to the Saints on Earth having an integral part in the further perfecting or
sanctifying of the Saints (and Angels) in Heaven. How are the Saints in Heaven "made perfect" (Hebrews
11:40) in this sense? By unfolding the character of God to Earthly
Saints, who respond with faith and love to His Word and works, both the Earthly Saints
and Heavenly Saints (and Angels) will be Eternally Sanctified. Their confidence and
trust in God will be forever secured: (1) "For
the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (Proverbs 3:26), (2) "O
taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him" (Psalm 34:8), and (3) "The
name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10). Exercising faith, while in your
present circumstances, not only benefits you, but it will help to secure all Saints
and Holy Angels for all Eternity. "And
the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness
and assurance for ever" (Isaiah 32:17).
When we perform the Will of God, we become inescapably happy in spirit and heart-- and, our emotion of happiness will only catch up thereafter. "3 Blessed [Greek, makarios, happy] are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 Blessed [happy] are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed [happy] are the meek: for they shall inherit the Earth. 6 Blessed [happy] are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed [happy] are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed [happy] are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed [happy] are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed [happy] are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 11 Blessed [happy] are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake" (Matthew 5:3-11). When one part of the Body of Christ suffers, the whole Body suffers. "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it" (1Corinthians 12:26). But, the Scripture immediately informs us that when one part of the Body of Christ is happy and rejoices "or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it" (1Corinthians 12:26). That Scripture confirms for us that the rest of the Body of Departed Saints in Glory must be increased in Happiness, when we, too, are Happy. And, have we not already demonstrated that the Angels also are rejoicing with the rest of the Saints? "Rejoice with them that do rejoice" (Romans 12:15). Since True Christian Happiness is premised upon the Will and not the Emotion, then we must accustom ourselves to being happy contrary to the appearance of our outward circumstances:
Doing the right thing is to do the Will of God, and this will produce Happiness in us and in all of the Godly, who understand it, which means that the Departed Saints and Holy Angels will especially be glad and appreciate your holy performance of the Will of God. "Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye Righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart" (Psalm 32:11). "The Righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in Him; and all the Upright in heart shall glory" (Psalm 64:10).
The difference between the Glorified Saints and the Heavenly Angels is not their ability to choose morally (for they both are Moral Agents) nor their ability to be positively affected by our Right Conduct on Earth (for they both are encouraged when we obey), but the difference between the Glorified Saints and Holy Angels is that the Angels are a separate, distinct, and higher order of created beings-- though we may still call them companions, associates, and fellows-- which are greater in power and understanding than the Saints on Earth and in Heaven. "I am a companion [Hebrew, chaber, companion, fellow, associate] of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy Precepts" (Psalm 119:63). Further, concerning the Saints in Glory, they most certainly possess greater blessings, privileges, and opportunities than we, the Saints on Earth:
The True Happiness of all Holy Moral Beings is to worship God eternally, because:
It becomes apparent upon reflection that we understand but little of the occupation of worshipping God here or in Eternity. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the True Worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him" (John 4:23). What the LORD Jesus meant when He said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:24), is that God is an Infinite and Pure Spirit that "dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48) and cannot be worshipped or serviced by any external worship of man's hands, as if it was essential to His being or character, i.e., "Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25). True Worship appears twofold: (1) identifying the character of God, e.g., God's faithfulness: "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the Faithful God" (Deuteronomy 7:9), and (2) trusting the character of God that has been revealed, e.g., the "Faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations" (Deuteronomy 7:9). True Worship is the supply by the Infinite God to the need of the Finite Worshipper-- throughout all Time and Eternity-- of whatever is understood to be His character and our deficiency. During the Time of this life, we trust the Faithful God for escape, i.e., "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is Faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13). Throughout Eternity, we will trust "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS [Hebrew, Jehovah tsidkenu, Jehovah is our righteousness]" (Jeremiah 23:6) to clothe us with righteousness, i.e., "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10). We understand that "naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither" (Job 1:21), so our acknowledgement of and dependence upon the LORD Jesus Christ to clothe us with His Righteousness is an example of True Worship. "Even the Righteousness of God which is by Faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference" (Romans 3:22). [Two important works by our Christian brethren from the nineteenth century are offered to aid us in this understanding of True Worship. In Christ Jesus ---New Window by A. T. Pierson (1837-1911) expresses the mutual relation of Christ to the Believer, where "a preposition 'in' followed by a proper name 'Christ Jesus' -- is the key to the whole New Testament." Also, The Relations of Christ to the Believer ---New Window by Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) is another aid to understanding the True Worship that searches for understanding of the character of Christ to trust in all His titles, names, capacities, and relations.]
Our Performing the Will of God is Used by God to Destroy the Possibility That Rebellion Will Ever Occur Again in the Heavenlies back to top
Who can even imagine sin and rebellion in the Heavenlies? But, alas, the Sin of Pride did take place in Heaven, for that is how Lucifer [Hebrew, heylel, light-bearer] and one-third of the Heavenly Host became Satan [Hebrew, satan, adversary] and the demonic spirits. "3 And there appeared another wonder in Heaven; and behold a Great Red Dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars [Rebel Angels] of Heaven, and did cast them to the Earth: and the Dragon stood before the woman [Israel] which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child [the Messiah] as soon as it was born" (Revelation 12:3-4). How could this have ever occurred? Obviously, the foreknowledge of the Creator knew that this would take place before it occurred. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18). In the Wisdom of God, the Almighty understood why He must allow traitors, such as Lucifer and Judas Iscariot, to play out their roles. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Psalm 76:10). If the All Knowing God were not to allow such rebellion, then He would effectively negate the value of Free Moral Choice that He intended, when He created Angels and Man "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27). Time and Eternity will vindicate the wisdom of God's decisions and design. "All Thy works shall praise Thee, O LORD; and Thy Saints shall bless Thee" (Psalm 145:10). Question: Why should God have bothered with the creation of any Angel that would sin or any Human that would not ultimately repent and be saved? God rightly created Men and Angels, who would sin and be ultimately judged, because:
So, the All Wise God has created the most perfect opportunity to magnify Himself through the Judgment of Evil Men and Angels, while showering upon the Righteous Moral Agents of Man and Angels, an indescribable and unending display of His Love. "Thanks be unto God for His Unspeakable Gift" (2Corinthians 9:15). So amazing is God's Love for His Glorified Saints and Holy Angels in Heaven that words and descriptions fail to convey what the Godly will experience throughout Eternity. "He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
Can we know if sin will ever again occur in Heaven? Certainly. How can we know? The Omniscient God says so in His Infallible Word that sin will never again occur in Heaven! "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27). If Heaven will ever again have sin in the hearts of its inhabitants, why should God be so adamant against allowing anyone into Heaven, who is not Holy? "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). Why should God insincerely make so much about not sinning here, if we will still be committing sin in Heaven? "9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (1John 3:9-10). How can anyone hope to be free from the bondage of sinning here, if we will not be entirely free of it in Heaven? "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). If we can only hope to live on in the bondage and servitude to sin now, i.e., "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24), why do we think it will be any better in Heaven? However... "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). [Please read our article, "Must We Then Sin? Or, A Response to the Doctrine of Sin Nature or the Doctrine of Original Sin: Or, A Clarification of What is Sin, Why We Sin, and How Not to Sin" ---New Window, to see that deliverance from sin and sinning must occur in this life, or we will never get the opportunity to experience that Heaven is better than here.] "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23). If man only were to say that no sin would ever occur again in Heaven, then why should we believe it? But, if God gives His Word that sin will never again enter into Heaven, then it must be so. "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). Further, we know that God hates sin in the camp, i.e., "And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it" (Joshua 6:18), and He loves the unity of the Brethren, i.e., "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1); so, we know by negative and positive statement that it is consistent for God not to allow sin, which would destroy the harmonious unity of His Holy Moral Agents in Heaven. "41 The Son of Man shall send forth His Angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 13:41-43).
By your doing of the Will of God, the good that you will do to promote the Holiness and Happiness of the Redeemed and the Heavenly Host should not be underestimated or underrated. "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10). Like the Widow's Mite, we must contribute "all the living" (Luke 21:4) that we have. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). For God not to have revoked the design of placing His Moral Image in Man, means that He expects to successfully persuade us to forever leave off our sinning without destroying our Moral Agency. "He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Philippians 3:21). God's Sovereignty is thereby intact, and Man's Free Agency is exercised fully in magnifying God. "With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy Commandments" (Psalm 119:10). The beauty of God's design in fashioning us as Moral Replicas of Himself is that it is a demonstration of eminently wise creation, for when we do obey, we reflect His Glory. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). Since it is impossible to choose to be both holy and sinful at the same time, i.e., "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24), when Jehovah succeeds in causing us to choose Him, there can be no rebellion. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15). God's dealings with us have tended to stabilize us for this lifetime and will continue to do so throughout all Eternity, i.e., "I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love" (Hosea 11:4). Everything revealed to us about Him teaches us that God will be gloriously successful in causing His Heavenly Citizens to forever choose to walk in Love, Knowledge, Judgment, and Holiness, i.e., "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" (Philippians 1:9). Just look at how God has already conducted Himself throughout the ages:
Additionally, His Glory will be seen in His Second Coming, i.e., "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). Simply put: No one can deliver the goods the way that God can deliver! "There is no other God that can deliver after this sort" (Daniel 3:29)!
Conclusion back to top
It is a tribute to the Heavenly Father that He is able to establish a Perfect Kingdom that will so effectively and thoroughly discourage sin that it will be said, "There shall in no wise enter into [the Holy City, New Jerusalem] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Revelation 21:27). That the All Wise God of Love can accomplish such a feat without annihilating the Moral Agency of Heaven's inhabitants, should cause God to be given the loudest praise! "Great is our LORD, and of great power: His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5)! The credit for such an exploit is manifestly not to be laid at our feet, for "we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10). Instead, All Glory should be given to the Everlasting God, "which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13), to bring to pass a blessed government and circumstance, where never sin will molest. "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11). It is an honour to be able to contribute anything to the common weal of the Saints and Angels of God on Earth and in Heaven; and, it is humbling to think that we can now have even the smallest part in the ongoing Holiness and Happiness of the Citizens of Heaven. "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His Temple" (Psalm 27:4). By the Grace of God, when we do get to Heaven, we, of course, will continue to grow in our understanding of God, and will continue to bless and benefit our fellow dwellers of the Celestial City. "3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 13 Till we all come in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:3, 13). Just to be associated with the LORD in His Place is high privilege. "For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:10). We know that we must "fight the good fight of Faith" (1Timothy 6:12) and let the LORD loose our hand from the plough, before we can say with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith" (2Timothy 4:7); but, by the Good Grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, we claim by Faith that victory! "Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies" (Psalm 108:13). "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Corinthians 15:57). "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy name's sake" (Psalm 79:9).
Amen, and Amen.
[For more information about the Heavenlies, see "What the Bible Says About Heaven" ---New Window. Also, D. L, Moody's "HEAVEN: Where It Is, Its Inhabitants, And How To Get There" ---New Window offers Scriptural and anecdotal information, such as: "When I was a boy I thought of heaven as a great shining city, with vast walls and domes and spires, and with nobody in it except white angels, who were strangers to me. By and by my little brother died, and I thought of a great city with walls and domes and spires, and a flock of cold, unknown angels, and one little fellow that I was acquainted with. He was the only one that I knew in that country. Then another brother died, and there were two that I knew. Then my acquaintances began to die, and the number continually grew. But it was not until I had sent one of my little children back to God, that I began to think I had a little interest there myself. A second, a third, a fourth went, and by that time I had so many acquaintances in heaven that I did not see any more walls and domes and spires. I began to think of the residents of the Celestial City. And now so many of my acquaintances have gone there, that it sometimes seems to me that I know more in heaven than I do on earth."]
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