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This question, my friend, is urging you to consider the next great event in human history. That event is the return of the Lord Jesus from heaven to earth. This occurrence will be momentous beyond human description and accompanied by widely divergent emotions. To the prepared, there will be unspeakable joy; to the unprepared, overwhelming despair.
Just before His crucifixion, with great feeling Jesus spoke to His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. 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 14:2-3). He spoke, on that occasion, of a going, a coming, and a reunion. This return could not occur without a departure first, and these two must precede that joyful bliss of an eternal heaven. This will be the hinge point between His crucifixion and the eternity of heaven.
In describing the return of the Lord Jesus, the New Testament says, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This event is often called the Second Coming, and it will be heralded to all earthly residents by a shout, the archangel’s voice, and the divine trumpet. It will not pass unobserved. Even the faithful dead will be summoned, and all those (both living and dead) who are “in Christ” will ascend to meet Jesus “in the air.” This reunion will be the consummate gathering of joyful souls.
But sadly, not all will share in this joyful experience. The Bible describes the judgment, declaring, “We shall all (emphasis added) stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). And again, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations (emphasis added): and he shall separate them one from another . . .” (Matthew 25:31-32) This gathering will culminate with some being invited into heaven and others consigned to the fires of hell. No individual consigned to hell, in the aftermath of that judgment, will ever want anything other than to escape eternal damnation; yet, by their choices and earthly devotions, they shall find themselves in a state of eternal and inescapable torment.
The final book in the Bible, the book of The Revelation, describes in a limited sense the glories of heaven. Heaven is a place where absolutely no sorrow exists. There is no darkness, no devil, and no deception in that place. All is light, joy, and peace in that glorious realm where Jesus, as Lord of glory, reigns supreme. The scene is described, in part, in the last two chapters of The Revelation, and the language used is mystifying, but majestic. The pure river, the great city, the resplendent architecture, the sea of glass, the mingled masses, and the glory of Jesus filling every corner of heaven, will continue forever and ever in unfathomable bliss in that wonderful heaven.
To those who are ready, these promises are trustworthy and hope-infusing, but readiness must be a continuing state. There will be no time, when these events begin to unfold, to get ready. Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly. . . . And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. . . . Surely I come quickly” (Revelation 22:7-20). The Bible describes this as occurring in a moment and in the twinkling of an eye. (See 1 Corinthians 15:52.) A great change occurs, as corruption becomes incorruption and as mortality takes on immortality. Our earthly experience stops, and sorrows and tears and labor and pain no longer exist. These promises await those who are prepared.
You may wonder, my friend, how to prepare for this most-certain occasion. Jesus said those who will inhabit this glorious heaven are those who are born again. He said those who will inhabit this place are individuals who are called, chosen, and faithful. He said those who will live in this place for all of eternity will have “done” what they were taught. (See John 3:3-7, Revelation 17:14, and Matthew 25:31-46.) You cannot save yourself; that is a work of God. But you can enter into the presence of Jesus by calling upon Him and inviting Him to do His miraculous work of salvation in your life. That opportunity exists for all. Some will avail themselves, and some will not. Some will find themselves prepared, and some will not. Where do you stand today? NOW is the time to prepare.