No Introduction Needed
By Dennis Huebshman
Matthew 17: 1-4, “Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John, the brother of James, and led them privately up a high mountain. (2) And He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light. (3) Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with Him. (4) So, Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (Also, Mark 9:2-5; Luke 9:28-33 – Emphasis mine throughout)
We have no real idea of how many people that have ever lived, or ever will live, on this earth that will be in Heaven after the Millennium. It will be a number far less than ever existed here. Jesus made this point in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide, and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (14) But, the gate is narrow, and the way difficult (only because of unbelief) that leads to life, and there are few that find it.”
Prior to the covenant of the Cross, a person was “saved or lost” by whether or not they worshiped and honored the Lord God Jehovah. There were those who did, and their names were put into the Book of Life. They weren’t perfect, and some committed very serious sins, but overall, they worshiped God rather than idols.
David is an example as one who was loved by God, and he in turn loved God; however, he committed adultery and murder proving he was indeed human. He took responsibility for his sins, and God forgave him. That did not take away the discipline for his actions, but overall, his eternity was secure, and as promised, the Messiah came from his seed.
People who worshiped idols of stone, wood or metal disrespected our Heavenly Father, broke His commandments, and they will not have a place in the new Jerusalem of Revelation 21. There were prophecies of a coming Messiah all through the Old Testament, but people still preferred to worship “gods” they could see, feel and touch. This occurs today, but the “idols” are possessions such as automobiles, homes and anything that is put ahead of the Father.
The Jews are God’s chosen people through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel), but even they are not exempt from eternal punishment. Time and again, they turned to idols of nations around them, and time and again they were punished. God was very specific of what He expected, but people would still disobey Him.
Joshua was one who honored the Father. After taking over leadership of the Israelites when Moses died, God showed favor by granting him victories in the Promised Land. At the end of his reign, Joshua told the people they could worship who they wanted, but he and his family would worship the Lord. (Joshua 24:15) Initially, the people said they would worship the True God, but over time they drifted away.
God was patient, and over an extended period of time, gave them every opportunity to turn back to Him. When they didn’t, He allowed them to be taken captive and be enslaved 70 years (Babylonian Captivity).
From the Cross forward, the covenant of eternal life in Heaven is given to any and all who accept God’s Son, Jesus, as their Savior. Because Jesus willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins (John 10:18), God is very specific that this “gift” be accepted, or be separated from Him forever. The difficult part is putting our faith and trust in Him that His word is true. Many People look at this as folly. (1 Corinthians 1:18).
God is patient, and wants no one to fail (2 Peter 3:9), but at some point, He administers discipline. He did not provide any other option than believe and have Heaven, or refuse and have Hell. Satan, from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, has done everything he can to turn people away from the Father and Jesus. He knows our weaknesses, and preys on them. Our greatest tools against this are Bible study and prayer, and to ask forgiveness when we sin. (1 John 1:8-10)
As with David, we are human, and will sin. Jesus was the only “fully human” that led a sinless life. Satan was given the opportunity to “tempt” the Savior at a time when He would be somewhat vulnerable. (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1-13) Even though Jesus was also “fully God”, He allowed Himself to “experience” all that we do in order to have real credibility, yet even so, did not sin.
Our God loves us so much (John 3:16) that He wants a real relationship with us, and not be some unreachable being. Jesus is God (John 10:30), and so is the Holy Spirit (John 15:26).
With all this in mind, there will still be quite a few people in the New Jerusalem. All of our loved ones that will be there will be recognizable to us, and we will be overjoyed to spend eternity with them. The absolute FIRST person I want to see is My Savior, and be able to bow at His feet and thank Him for loving me. Only through His Grace, and the Mercy of the Father, will I even be allowed to be there.
Some have said that the New Jerusalem will not be able to hold all the people in Heaven. Taken literally, it will be approximately 2500 miles long, 2500 miles wide, and 2500 miles high. That will hold a lot of dwelling places made for us by the Carpenter of Nazareth!
Also, through the Transfiguration example, we will know everyone. Jesus didn’t introduce Moses and Elijah to the apostles, yet they knew who they were. With our new bodies, we will also have new minds that are far superior to what we have today. We will never know everything God does, but He will make sure we know each other.
Imagine being able to talk to David, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Ruth, Esther, Job and many others. They will know us too. Worship there will be completely fulfilling, and our “Light” will be our Savior.
Those in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15) will not have any light, but as Jesus described, will be in outer darkness. A prelude to this was when Jesus died on the Cross, the world was cast into a total darkness for about 3 hours, and was darker than ever before. Those in Hell will not be interested in “socializing” as each will be in their own eternal punishment.
It is so easy to accept Jesus and endure a wonderful eternity. However, those that miss it, will do so of their own free will because they just don’t want to believe, or to bother with a relationship with Jesus. God sends no one to Hell. Everyone there will have chosen to be there. Yes, Satan is condemned to his eternal punishment, but he chose it for himself (Isaiah 14), and the Lake of Fire was created for him and his demons (fallen angels).
So, as Joshua said, choose this day whom you will serve. You may not have a chance to choose tomorrow.