Viewing Eternity

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, 
looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 
‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open 
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed,
‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’
Then he fell on his knees and cried out,
‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ 
When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Acts 7:55-56; 59-60 (NIV)

One of the most saintly women I have ever known lay dying. They were a very musical family and one day the family were gathered around her bed singing her favourite hymns as she struggled for every breath of air. Suddenly she interrupted the singing and said out loud, “Oh…I’ve got to go now!” and breathed her last.

What or who did she see? The family and I believe she saw the angels who were  coming to carry her home to heaven.

Our Bibles give us views into the death of several of the Lord’s saints. From those descriptions we can make good assessment of the last scenes in the lives of various believers in our own day. This is such a comfort to the family around their loved one and rightly so. To witness time and eternity come together as the saint finishes their earthly journey and steps into the Father’s eternal home is an inspiring and sacred moment.

However, believers should view death as an enemy according to 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 (NIV)

“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Death is a mark of the curse as we see from Genesis 3. Death shall come even to the godliest of saints. However, in the case of believers, all death can do is give them more of Jesus than they have ever experienced in this life. While death temporarily separates believers left behind from the one who passed, the reunion with those already gone before and the glorious sight of Jesus Himself more than compensates.            

Viewing eternity from here is second only to being there and taking in all the unimaginable glories to be seen there. Keep a light grip on the things of time and always be ready to let go in order to take hold of the eternal realities that are to be enjoyed forever.

When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

When the praise of heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters’ noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

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