The Bible rejoices in saints who are triumphantly celebrating perfect life in heaving right now. Here are ten reasons to join in this joy.
10. In the first and second centuries AD, Christians would celebrate the death of a martyr—a Christian killed “in the line of duty” for living their faith—with an all-night vigil on the anniversary of the martyr’s death (known as his or her “birthday,” celebrating entrance into eternal life in heaven).
9. Eventually, more of these celebrations were taking place because more Christians had been martyred. All Saints’ Day (held in November) was initiated to celebrate not just martyred Christians, but all Christians who had died and now live in the triumph of glory in heaven.
8. Jesus gives a vision to the apostle John, which John shares in Revelation 7. He sees a “great multitude that no one could count” as he peers into heaven where the souls of believers who have died are living. The astounding volume of believers in heaven is more than we can even count!
7. What kind of people are in heaven right now? The souls of departed believers “from every nation, tribe, people, and language.” Eternal life is not awarded based on any color except red, that being the blood of Jesus.
6. These believers in heaven are “standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” On earth they had a faith-filled consciousness of God’s presence, but in heaven the presence of God is immediate, all-surrounding, and everlasting.
5. They are “wearing white robes.” Pure. Spotless. No stain of sin whatsoever. Arrayed in the very righteousness of Jesus Christ.
4. They are “holding palm branches in their hands” like the Israelites had done during the Feast of Tabernacles, commemorating God’s care during the wilderness journeys and his final gift of rest and relaxation. So the souls of believers in heaven enjoy rest at last. The troubles of the wilderness are ended.
3. In a loud voice they cry out, “Salvation belongs to our God!” There is only one owner of our eternal salvation. It is not the devil. It is not depression or sin or guilt. It is not worry or shame or guilt. They do not own us. The God of salvation owns us!
2. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” For now, this vale of tears, we experience sorrow and grief and pain. Such is the result of sin in the world. But, with the caring compassion of a parent’s touch, God will put an end to all sadness in the eternal joy of heaven. Nothing will hurt.
1. These joys belong to believers who have died, and whose souls are at rest in heavenly glory. Someday soon we, too, will join them. Until the Last Day when Jesus will come to resurrect from the dead all bodies of all people, and those bodies will reunite with the souls of unbelievers in hell or believers in heaven.
PRAYER: O God of heaven, I rejoice today in your eternal love, and in your creation of heaven as the everlasting place of perfect companionship with you and all believers. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Revelation 7:9-17. What one thing about the quality of the heavenly life astounds you like it hadn’t before? Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read.