Heaven is a community of incredible, precious and eternal fellowship.
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. Revelation 21:10-13
Thirty men, red-eyed and disheveled lined up before a judge of the San Francisco police court. It was the regular morning company of “Drunks and disorderlies.” Some were old and hardened; others hung their heads in shame. Just as the momentary disorder attending the bringing-in of the prisoners quieted down, a strange thing happened. A strong, clear voice from below began singing:
“Last night I lay a sleeping
There came a dream so fair.”
Last night! It had been for them all a nightmare or a drunken stupor. The song was such a contrast to the horrible fact that no one could fail of a sudden shock at the thought the song suggested.
“I stood in old Jerusalem,
Beside the Temple there,”
The song went on. The judge had paused. He made a quiet inquiry. A former member of a famous opera company known all over the country was awaiting trial for forgery. It was he who was singing in his cell.
Meantime the song went on, and every man in the line showed emotion. One or two dropped on their knees; one boy at the end of the line, after a desperate effort at self-control, leaned against the wall, buried his face in his folded arms, and sobbed, “Oh mother, mother!”
The sobs, cutting to the very heart of the men who heard, and the song, still welling its way through the courtroom, blended in the hush.
At length one man protested, “Judge,” said he, “have we got to submit to this? We’re here to take our punishment, but this—” He, too began to sob.
It was impossible to proceed with the business of the court, yet the judge gave no order to stop the song. The police sergeant, after an effort to keep the men in line, stepped back and waited with the rest. The song moved on to its climax:
Sing for the night is O’er!
Hosanna in the highest!
Hosanna for evermore!
In an ecstasy of melody, the last words rang out, and then there was silence.
The judge looked into the faces of the men before him. There was not one who was not touched by the song; not one in whom some better impulse was not stirred. He did not call the cases singly–a kind word of advice, and he dismissed them all. No man was fined or sentenced to the workhouse that morning. The song had done more good than punishment could possibly have accomplished. —Author Unknown
The New Jerusalem, the City of God, is a celestial city where believers go for eternity is not a physical place. In this city, there is no need for street signs and roads and curbs and gutters and parks and alleys. None of those things that you find in today’s modern cities are required. Our final destination has a unique purpose. It was not built with urban development nor to put on display the engineering mastery of human beings. This place is different. The place we call heaven was designed to restore something humanity’s sin robbed us of, a real community.
A Broken Community Restored
It is easy to get distracted with the concept of heaven. Trying to find its location or attempting to describe it in terms we can wrap our feeble minds around. Or even, to answer the skeptic who doubts the validity of its existence. Heaven to me is simple. Heaven is a perfect community of the redeemed. It is a wonderful fellowship of believers who share a common treasure. A treasure that they did not earn, but was given as a gift. However, this gift was not cheap, it came at a high cost. It cost the Creator of the universe the life of His one and unique Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly gave up His life on a hill between two thieves to restore what humanity destroyed with sin; community. Heaven is the outcome of the work of Jesus on the cross. It is uninterrupted fellowship, unstained by sin, untainted with human frailty; pure as fresh snow, love undefiled, and a trusting relationship in the presence and the family of God.
Heaven is going to offer you community like you can never experience it here on this earth. In heaven, this community is built on trust, transparency, authentic, profound, significant, open relationships for all eternity. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait. That is why the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,”
You can hear in Paul’s words that desire to live in this new community. His soul groaned for that opportunity. Here is how Jesus describes heaven.
Jesus said, ” 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Heaven represents for us a permanent refuge. It is the place our soul truly belongs. And God has built you a home on the foundation of the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus puts the keys to the home in your hands and makes it yours.
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