Nov 19, '10 12:02 PM
By Regner Capener
In case nobody has told you yet, you look like a million dollars! Yup. Fact is you’re worth more than a million dollars – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Got some more French Roasted Columbian Supremo from San Francisco Bay Coffee Co. in the pot. Hurry up and pour yourself a cup so we can get started.
Before we get started today, let me pass on a quick word to all those who may be receiving the Coffee Break in their inboxes for the first time. Periodically – in fact frequently – I receive recommendations from folks who think their friends or acquaintances might enjoy receiving these posts. Sometimes those recommendations sit in a file until I can get to them. This past weekend saw several hundred additions.
That said, if you are among those receiving a Coffee Break for the first time and after reading choose not to receive it, please click the “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the post. On the other hand, if you like what you read, I’d appreciate a confirming “Subscribe” click. Thanks. We don’t want to be accused of spamming folks with articles they aren’t particularly interested in. If you missed the first part of this discussion and want to catch up, you can either go to http://www.AnotherCoffeeBreak.com and read it there, or email me and I’ll send you the previous Coffee Break.
Continuing now with my narrative in sharing my first visit to Heaven, did I mention the fact that the place was huge? Honestly, it was almost like being on another planet. In previous Coffee Breaks, I’ve talked briefly about my visit some 14 years ago or so to the Garden of Eden and the spectacular colors that abounded. What caught my attention, although I didn’t fully understand the significance of what I was seeing, was that the colors were pure. It wasn’t until years later hearing Jesse Duplantis talk about the same thing that I realized what the difference was: there was no death in the colors!
If that doesn’t make sense, let me explain it like this. Whenever you look at grass, at trees and bushes – at plant life of any kind – you see death present. Sure, you see the greenery, the colors of the flowers, the trees and all, but you also see a brownish tinge to just about everything. That brownish tinge is the evidence that the plant is dying. There is both life and death present.
In Heaven, there is no death whatsoever. That said, there is no brownish tinge to the plants, the trees, the flowers or anything growing. What’s even more fascinating is that each plant, each flower, each tree, each blade of grass gives off a sound. Individually, that sound doesn’t represent much but collectively they add to the sound of the praise and worship that fills the atmosphere.
Do you remember something that Jesus said to the religious Pharisees when they griped about the fact that the whole multitude of disciples were praising and magnifying the Lord during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem? With their religious mindsets they were unable to recognize Jesus as the Son of God and therefore deserving of praise and worship. They couldn’t see that any praise given to Him was in fact passed on to Father, and that Father God was being worshiped in the process.
Jesus’ answer to them was, “I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (See Luke 19:40)
And that’s a fact, folks! Literally everything that God created was designed with praise and worship inherent in its makeup. The fact that we don’t see it much in the world today only reflects the contamination that has taken place because of sin. Even in this contaminated environment when you come into a place where there has been much praise and worship of the Lord over a prolonged time, the entire atmosphere is charged with His presence.
During the years we were at Trails’ End in Post Falls, Idaho and had such stupendous and miraculous displays of the presence of the Lord during our praise and worship gatherings, when folks came to visit, they frequently remarked about the peace and the electrically-charged atmosphere. Even folks who had no relationship with the Lord were drawn into His presence because of the continuous sounds of praise and worship that had gone forth (and were continuing).
Sorry for the digression but you get the picture. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26a)
You get the picture. There simply cannot be death in Heaven. Everything I saw reflected the life and the light that is Him! Hence, the light had a brilliance we know nothing about here on earth. The red of the roses was redder and purer than anything we see here. The green of the grass, the green of the trees, the varying colors of all vegetation were pure and without contamination. Relating back to my experience a few years ago of being transported to the Garden of Eden, I’ve come to realize that the Garden of Eden was nothing more than a duplicate of Heaven. It was a re-creation of Heaven here on Earth. That’s what Adam and Eve gave up. (I’ll talk more about them later.)
How do you explain eternity? How do you explain “without beginning and without end”? We are all created beings with a finite beginning. We have a “time-space” mentality that has no reference point for timelessness. Nevertheless I got my first taste of eternity with this trip to Heaven. Let me see if I can at least shed some light that will help you understand the concept of eternity as I saw it.
Let me start with the 139th Psalm. The entire Psalm is a description of David’s eternal existence with the Lord – or perhaps I should better describe it as the fact that he pre-existed with the Lord before he was born here on earth. Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, let me show you how he puts it:
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand, When I awake, I am still with You.” (Psalm 139:13-18 NASB)
It may not be immediately obvious to the casual observer, but his phrase “When I awake, I am still with you” denotes the fact that there was a fundamental recognition of the Lord built into his DNA which pre-existed before he was born. Hence, David was first a spirit being in the presence of the Lord before he was born here on earth.
OK. Don’t look at me in that tone of voice. I didn’t make this up. Take a look at something that the Lord said to Jeremiah:
“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Jeremiah and the Lord knew each other before he ever was born here on Earth. That word “knew” in the original Hebrew text is yada’: to know or to ascertain by seeing, to recognize and acknowledge. There was a recognition of each other, a knowing of each other’s character and makeup. There’s a whole lot I could bring into this discussion on this topic, but I don’t want to get too sidetracked.
One more illustration should suffice. God is having a conversation with Job with He asks the following questions of him:
(1) “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare now if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4)
(2) “Was it in concert with thee that I ordered the morning light: and that the day spring knew its appointed time?” (Job 38:12 Sept.)
(3) “Behold now behemoth, which I made with you.” (Job 40:15)
(4) “Wilt thou lay thine hand upon him [Leviathan] recollecting the battle made by his mouth? Do not so again!” (Job 41:8 Sept.)
Job 40:15 and Job 41:8 make it abundantly clear that Job was present in spirit form with the Lord to see Creation unfold. The Hebrew text of Job 40:15 can be translated two or three different ways: (a) “…which I made at the same time I made you;” (b) “…which I made when you were there;” and (c) “…which I made with and around you.”
Anyway you slice it, you have a picture of Job being present to see it happen. Job certainly lived after the Flood. The Septuagint records him as being a grandson of Esau. He wasn’t there in person at the time of Creation. He didn’t live in the Garden of Eden. In fact, mankind hadn’t yet been created when God created the animal kingdom. (See Genesis 1:24-25.)
I don’t want to belabor this issue, and I’ve already taken up more time with this subject than I’d planned in this Coffee Break. Perhaps I’ll do a separate Coffee Break on this topic some time later. What I’ve been getting at is the fact that when I was in Heaven, there was a sudden realization that I’d been with the Lord long before I was ever born into this world. The Lord makes this abundantly clear to Jeremiah, too.
Many of you, in fact, have periodically had the distinct impression that you are much older than you really are (in terms of earth years, that is). Our spirits are ageless. We were first created as spirit beings and spent time with the Lord long before He breathed us into the bodies we now inhabit. Once a person gets a hold of this fact, they have their first revelation of eternity. And there’s a whole lot more!
This is a revelation that – once it begins to unfold in your being by the Holy Spirit – will give you a much greater understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who He is, His being in Father and Holy Spirit, and their being in Him. Beyond that, you will begin to see how it is that once we are in Christ and He is in us, we are also in Father and Holy Spirit – that we are literally becoming One with them!
As you will soon see, during my conversations in Heaven no one “talked down” to me as though they were talking to a nine- or ten-year-old. Every conversation, every discussion, every question and answer took place on a mature, adult level. The conversations were spirit-to-spirit, not flesh-to-flesh or those that come out of one’s intellect. Truth was communicated in such a way that it would forever register in my being, and set the stage for my entire life. Even when I’ve somewhat shuttled the memories of those discussions into the background, the truth of God’s Word was conveyed … no, imparted and engraved into my being to be drawn upon at any moment!
And, as already noted, one of the things that became immediately apparent when we were standing at Heaven’s gates was that one of the essential reasons for my being there was to have the opportunity talk and converse with just about any of the Patriarchs, the Kings, the Prophets, the Apostles – and anyone else I had a yearning to meet.
Of course I wanted to meet Adam and Eve. Enoch was a fascinating individual, as was Noah, but I couldn’t wait to meet Abraham. How he was chosen by the Lord, and how he responded in the face of contrary upbringing, contrary times and contrary circumstances was a story I wanted to hear directly from him. The setting for our discussion took place at the edge of an open field sitting on what seemed to be a marble bench. Looking one way I could see lush greenery. Looking another direction brought the sight of rolling hills and fields of golden grain ready for harvest. Behind us was the city itself with gleaming architecture and designs that defied imagination: buildings with spires, gorgeous palaces and dwelling places fit for kings.
There was an air of simplicity mixed with stupendous elegance. The sound of praise and worship continually filled the air. It was always there. So were the indescribable fragrances of the presence of the Lord.
Abraham was anything but the picture of a decrepit, worn-out, 175-year-old man when I met him. He was robust, muscular, appearing tanned and in the prime of life. If anyone had asked, I’d have guessed him to be around 40 years of age. He seemed to be expecting me and although the Lord Jesus made the initial introduction, there was an instant knowing in my being that this was Abraham. His whole demeanor communicated confidence, patience, faith and trust, along with a solid sense of authority.
I might point out that some of the conversation was verbal and some of it was simply transference of thought. Sometimes I only thought about what I wanted to say and he was answering before the words ever came out of my mouth.
As Abraham began to speak, he painted pictures of his early life in Ur of the Chaldees. I might as well been transported there in person, so graphically did he describe things for me. He drew a picture of his father as a Babylonian priest and maker of idols – one who religiously performed his duties and responsibilities to the gods he served, and one who profited immensely from his creation and sale of idols of stone, wood, brass, gold and silver. His father, Terah (whose name has been alternately translated, “Ter is lord,” or “ibex:” – metaph.: hard, stubborn and rebellious as the ibex goat) became quite wealthy throughout the years adding to what he had inherited from his father before him (and had sizeable holdings of cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys – not to mention monetary wealth).
Abraham (then known as Abram) was about 50 years old the first time he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him. He was still in Ur at the time. [This is confirmed in Acts 7:2-3.] As he related it, he was about his daily affairs helping his father with the flocks and herds. Although unaware of the reality of God Almighty, Yowd Hey Vav Hey (Jehovah, as His name has been Anglicized), he’d seen enough of the superstition and silliness associated with the various gods to last him a lifetime, and wanted no part of his father’s business in idols. Terah in fact employed a fair number of skilled carvers and artisans to keep up with the demand for the sale of idols, and his place as a Babylonian priest lent an air of authority and mystique to his idol sales.
The voice of the Lord speaking audibly in Abraham’s hearing came as something of a shock, as he described it. Used to the deadness and lifelessness of the idols his father made and sold, to hear a voice supernaturally as audibly as though a person was standing next to him and yet not see where that voice was coming from was more than a source of curiosity. It would have been spooky and surreal had it not been the voice of the Lord God and conveyed the peace, the authority and power of His presence.
It was at this point in his narrative that I stopped him momentarily and asked him, “How was it then, that having grown up among idols – your father being an idol-maker and a priest of Babylon – you were able to respond to the voice of a God you’d never seen, and apparently had no knowledge of?”
The look on Abraham’s face was both knowing and humorous at the same time. He grinned as he responded to me. His answer has stayed with me for my entire lifetime – and it is an answer which was the simple thread of truth I heard in all those with whom I conversed during my stay in Heaven.
“Once you’ve heard the voice of God,” he said smiling, and yet with a soberness that penetrated me, “there is NO other voice!”
As I pondered that answer, he continued, “Do you understand what I’m telling you? Every other voice that clamors for our attention and strives to communicate something to us fades into nothingness once you hear the voice of God. His voice has all authority, all power, all peace and all love embedded in it. His voice takes precedence over everything! It commands your attention! You can’t ignore what you hear.”
I’m running long again. This is a good place to stop. We’ll continue with these conversations next week.
Next: Heaven III: The Patriarchs, Part 2.
Never have we seen such a time in history as this! Never has there been a more urgent need for the pursuit of the presence of the Lord in our lives! Never has it been so critical that the body of Christ understand Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins!
Blessings on you!
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