by Lambert Dolphin
According to the Bible, heaven is another dimension of reality---commonly what we call the spiritual dimension. The material world is immersed or embedded in the spiritual world. Therefore heaven is not far away, nor remote and inaccessible. As recorded in the gospels, Jesus took Peter, James and John a short step from time into eternity on the Mount of Transfiguration:

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. (Matthew 17:1-8)

Christians already are dwelling in heaven. We are seated there, in Christ with him at the right hand of God. When we became Christians we were placed into Christ and identified with him in his death, burial and resurrection:

"...And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:1-10)

"He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)

"I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." (Romans 16:19-20)

It is the physical body we live in now that links us to the old creation. If we have named Jesus Christ as Lord and invited Him to rule our lives, God has redeemed our spirits and souls, but He has not yet redeemed our bodies:

"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Romans 8:19-23)

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself." (Philippians 3:20-21)

Our new resurrection bodies are ready and waiting for us---they already exist. When we step into that new body we will immediately be attuned to life in heaven. Our resurrection bodies will be like that of Jesus. There is no intermediate state. When we die, we step immediately out of time into eternity, and "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" we time-travel to the day of resurrection and rapture. We are then instantaneously reunited with the believing dead of all ages. That is, all believers arrive in heaven at the same "time." We shall recognize one another in heaven, and believers of all ages will be able to meet together "outside" of ordinary earth-time frames. Resurrection bodies are capable of time and space travel and have vast capabilities our present bodies do not possess. This is in addition to the fact that in heaven we are removed from the presence of sin and our new bodies are sinless.

"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him." (2 Corinthians 5:1-9)

"But some one will ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?' You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being;' the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

"Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:35-58)

Jesus has built a city for believers to live in---it is part of what the Bible calls "the new creation" which stands in contrast with the fallen, dying "old creation." Christians are already dwelling in that New Jerusalem as far as our spirits are concerned. As long as we are still in our old unredeemed bodies we are only aware of the heavenly city by faith:

"In my Father's house [the universe] are many rooms [dwelling places]; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:1-3)

"These [men and women of faith in the Old Testament] all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has [already] prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:13-16)

When God shakes the old creation and it fades away, the new creation and the heavenly city are made manifest:

"For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, 'If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.' Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I tremble with fear.' But you have [already] come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.' This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:18-29)

The church is ultimately described figuratively as both a woman and a city in the Bible. A city is not only buildings and streets and parks and homes it is also a community of people living together. This city is our new family home:

"Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, 'Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married.' Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now. But what does the scripture say? 'Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.' So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman." (Galatians 4:21-31)

A great vision of the New Jerusalem was given to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos near the end of the First Century. In redeeming the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve God has not merely restored them to Eden, the original Paradise. The New Jerusalem is a more glorious home and Eden. Born again as sons and daughters of Jesus, the Last Adam we have been granted higher privileges, position and opportunity than was granted to Adam and Eve:

"...And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.' And he who sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.' And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.'

"Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, 'Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 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; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

"And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man's measure, that is, an angel's.

"The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

"And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day-and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

"Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever...

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood. "I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star." The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let him who hears say, "Come." And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price." (Revelation 21:1-22:17)

Ray C. Stedman offers the following commentary on this section of Scripture. I highly recommend that all those interested in this subject and in Bible prophecy get this recent and outstanding expositional study:

On reading this description people almost always ask, "Is this a literal or symbolic description?" The fact is, in this as in so many other passages of Revelation, we do not have to make that choice. God loves to use literal things to symbolize deeper truths. Throughout Revelation we have seen the blending of literal and symbolic meaning.

Personally, I believe the city will have a literal dimension. It will be a great, visible city, brilliant and glorious, located somewhere above or within the atmosphere of the new earth. Some commentators have suggested that the New Jerusalem might even orbit the new earth like a second moon. It will be characterized by stability, symmetry, light, life, beauty, and ministry.

But it will also have a symbolic dimension. Let us look at the symbols of this new city and interpret their meaning.

The high wall of the city speaks of separation and of intimacy-separation from what is without, intimacy with what is within. If you want to have an intimate garden party you meet in a yard enclosed within a wall. The wall shuts out the outside and protects the inside, creating a safe enclosure for intimate fellowship.

All through Scripture God expresses a strong desire for what He calls "a people for my own possession." In a sense all that exists is His possession for it is His creation. All animals, all creatures are His. The billions of angels are His. The entire human race is His creation.

Yet He has created human beings with free will, the ability to choose Him or reject Him. Henceforth, only those human beings who choose Him are truly a people for His own possession. The saints alone are His possession, because with them He can share the depths of His heart. They satisfy Him and fulfill Him just as a bride satisfies and fulfills her husband.

The gates symbolize means of entering and leaving the city. There is an amazing verse in the gospel of John where Jesus says, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." (John 10:9) This seems to be a portrayal of the widespread ministry of believers throughout the eternal ages.

The new universe will surely be as big or bigger than it is now-and its vastness is orders of magnitude beyond human comprehension as it is! Billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars like our own sun, sprinkle the heavens for as far as our greatest telescopes can see. Each of those stars may be circled by planets-perhaps even many earthlike planets.

These may be new limitless worlds for us to encounter, explore, develop, and experience. Every moment of eternity will be a new adventure of discovery.

The gates of the Holy City are named for the tribes of Israel. It is a perpetual reminder that "salvation is of the Jews." Access to the city is through Israel-not merely because it was the Jewish nation that gave us Jesus, but also because Israel gave us the Old Testament prophets and the godly traditions and practices of the Old Testament. Many of those brilliant but enigmatic Old Testament passages that now puzzle us will someday come to life as profound jewels of truth. Scripture that once perplexed us will one day lead us to adventures we never dreamed of in this life.

The foundations symbolize those aspects of the New Jerusalem that give it stability and permanence. They are named for the twelve apostles. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was replaced in the apostolic band by Matthias, as we learn in Acts 1. These foundations speak of New Testament truth and practice. Spiritual realities that we only faintly grasp now will become startlingly clear and meaningful in that eternal plane of existence-and especially those three things which Scripture says will abide forever: faith, hope, and love! "But the greatest of these," says Paul, "is love."

Language is inadequate to express the beauty and truth that is embedded in this description of the Holy City in the fact that the truths of God's Word will never pass away, in the fact that faith, hope, and-above all!- love will never pass away, but will go on and on, enduring beyond this dying and temporary world and crossing the divide into that new heaven and new earth! How can everyday language express a reality that is light-years beyond the reach of our deepest joy and highest exhilaration? Yet it is my prayer, as you read these words, that God would enable the inner eye of your imagination to catch a glimpse of the profound experience that awaits us in the new heaven, the new earth, and that shining new city.

When God measures, it is a sign of His ownership. The number 12 appears repeatedly in this account: 12,000 stadia, 144 (or 12 squared) cubits, 12 gates, 12 foundations, 12 angels. The number 12 in Scripture symbolizes government. This, then, is the fulfillment of the prophetic words of Isaiah, "The government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

The city is amazingly vast, measuring 12,000 stadia long, high, and wide. In modern measurements, 12,000 stadia equals roughly 1,500 miles-about the distance from Los Angeles to St. Louis or from New York to Denver. For comparison, the moon is about 2,160 miles in diameter. The fact that the city measures exactly the same in all three dimensions does not mean that it is a perfect cube, only that it is a city of perfect proportions and symmetry. It may be intricately formed with spires and domes and graceful buttresses and bridges, or it may be a perfect pyramid. Whatever its shape it will symbolize perfection and it will be the realization of utter beauty.

Let your imagination savor this image: a structure of crystalline transparent gold surrounded by a wall of diamond-like jasper, rising from a layered, kaleidoscopic foundation of precious stones of all colors. Light cascades from great jewels embedded in the sides like the light from an intensely bright rainbow. The entire effect is so brilliant and variegated that it can only be described as heartbreakingly beautiful. To see it would bring tears to your eyes and a throb in your chest.

The multicolored foundations, as we have seen, symbolize the twelve apostles. They portray the fact that the truths proclaimed by the apostles shine forth with a many-faceted and brilliant light. Paul, in Ephesians 3, says that "now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms." The Greek word in this passage for "manifold" (polupoikilos) literally means "many-colored" or "multicolored." The image Paul gives us is like that of the twelve multicolored foundations of the New Jerusalem: God's brilliant, prismatic wisdom flashes forth through the vehicle of the twelve apostles.

Each gate is composed of a single pearl (which suggests the existence of some very large oysters!). Despite all the jokes you have heard about Saint Peter standing at the "Pearly Gates" of heaven, there are in fact twelve such gates-and we don't see Peter guarding any of them!

The fact is that these gates of pearl have a deep symbolic significance. A pearl speaks of beauty born out of pain. The beauty of a pearl comes from the pain of an oyster. A pearl is formed when a tiny grain of sand gets inside an oyster's shell, causing the oyster to become irritated and uncomfortable. The oyster relieves its pain by covering the irritating grain of sand with a soft, lustrous nacre that hardens into a beautiful, glowing pearl.

This is a beautiful picture of how the redeemed have emerged like a beautiful, luminous pearl out of the pain of Jesus Christ. The Lord told a story of just such a pearl. "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls," He said. "When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."(Matthew 13:45-46) The merchant in the story is Jesus, who gave up everything-His prerogatives as God, the worship that is due Him, and even His mortal life-in order to redeem the saints, which He deemed a pearl of great price. He sold all He had to purchase you and me for Himself...

Throughout Revelation we have seen references to a temple in heaven. That temple remains throughout the Millennium as the original model from which the earthly temple is copied. But in the new heaven and the new earth there is no temple. Why? Because the true temple, of which the one in the old heavens is a symbol, is the True Man, Jesus Christ Himself. God in man is the temple.

That is why Paul says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"(1 Corinthians 6:19) If God dwells in you, then you are a part of this heavenly temple. You share the honor of being the dwelling place of God.

The radiant light of truth emanates from this profound truth. People can see all things clearly by that truth. So glorious is it that there is no need for the sun or the moon. It does not mean that there is no sun or moon in the new creation. It simply means that the city is so bright that it needs no additional illumination. It will be lit continuously by the glory of God, which has come to dwell in man.

The gates of the city will never be shut because there is no night, and thus no need for protection. Cities close their gates at night as a defense against enemies. But there is nothing that can harm in the new world that is to come. The kings of the earth will bring their glory in-not to compete with the glory of God but to have it revealed by the light of God. Nothing impure can enter that city, because only the redeemed will be admitted.

Here is a thrilling picture of abounding fertility, of life on every side-a river of life, a tree of life, yielding life-giving fruit and leaves for the health of nations.

This description parallels Old Testament passages such as Psalm 46:4, which says, "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God."

Similarly, the prophet Ezekiel relates his vision of a river, wonderful for swimming, which flows from beneath the threshold of the temple where God lives forever. Since there will be no eternal temple structure in heaven, the only temple that could exist in heaven forever is the one described in Revelation 21:22, which says "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." (Ezekiel 43:6-7, 47:1-12) Again, this is a parallel image of the crystal clear river that flows from the throne of God in the New Jerusalem.

The tree of life that is found by the river in the New Jerusalem is identified with the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:9, the tree of life is growing in the center of the garden, alongside the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Garden of Eden disappeared from the earth sometime after Adam and Eve were exiled from it, but in Revelation 22:2 it appears again in the center of the Holy City.

The river symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Jesus said of those who believe in Him, "streams of living water will flow from within him," to which John adds, "By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believe in him were later to receive." (John 7:38-39)

The tree is a symbol of Jesus Himself. He is the way, the truth, and the life-the tree of life. When we obey the Word of God we are feeding on Jesus, drawing life from the nourishment He offers. The tree of life gives us spiritual health, enabling us to flourish as we obey His word and live by His example.

From this magnificent scene of the life of the Holy City flow three ministries that the redeemed saints will perform:

First, empowered service. The saints will joyfully serve God. There is no greater privilege, pleasure, or joy that you and I could ask than to spend eternity in service to the God of our salvation.

Second, intimate fellowship. The saints will see His face and bear His name, just as a bride bears her husband's name and sees his face.

Third, enlightened authority. The saints shall reign for ever and ever...

What is it that causes boredom? Selfishness! The feeling of, "I want to be gratified, I want to be pandered to, I want to be indulged, I want to be excited, I, I, I!" But in heaven there will be no selfishness. There will be continual excitement, discovery, anticipation, gratitude, praise, and the joy of being a partner in an eternal adventure with God Himself! (from Ray C. Stedman, God's Final Word: Understanding Revelation).

Vivid as this imagery of the heavenly city is, it is impossible to describe adequately to earthly, fallen creatures trapped in time, heavenly realities, objects and situations in the multi-dimensional time frame of eternity. The Apostle Paul hints at this in describing his experience of being caught up into the Third Heaven:

I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:1-9)

A final word of encouragement:

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. (Revelation 3:12)

Recommended reading: C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce--a fanciful journey to the outskirts of heaven.

(c)October 4, 1993 by Lambert Dolphin, used by permission

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