The Home of the Soul
Since the dawn of creation, men in every country have longed for a more blissful home beyond this veil of sorrows. The American Indian looked forward to a reunion with his comrades and loved ones in what he conceived to be a happy hunting ground.
Fortunately, we live in a civilization upon which the Bible has made so great an impression that it can be purchased in practically all cities in the world. In its sacred pages we are privileged to read of a glorious land beyond the sunset's beaming glow across which the shadows will never gather: "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life ' clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; itnd his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 22: 1-5)."
It has been taught by some that the Old Testament writers had no conception of immortality. The research of these who thus contend has not been exhaustive enough. Daniel said, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:2)."
Others conjecture that this earth in which we now dwell will be purified by fire, and thus purified will be our future and final abode. This doctrine is in coDflict with some of the plainest utterances of inspiration, and is therefore false. With reference to this earth, the writer to the Hebrews declared, "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come (Heb. 13:14)." Our present home will be burned up when Christ returns; it cannot therefore be the final dwelling: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (11 Peter 3:10)." The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that 144,000 will dwell in heaven, but the rest -- the Jonadabs -- will dwell on earth! This assumption is based' upon Rev. 7:4 in which 144,000 are mentioned, but the passage doesn't intimate that said 144,000 will be the only ones in heaven. In addition to that number, there was "a great multitude which no man could number" (Rev. 7:9) in the temple of God (Rev. 7:15) in heaven (Rev. 11:19)."
I am sure that the Bible reveals that heaven is the home for the ransomed at the end of life's way. Jesus entered into heaven itself as our forerunner (Heb. 9:24; 6:18-20). A forerunner is one who goes before. As Jesus is the forerunner of the faithful into heaven itself, unless the faithful follow him into heaven, then will someone please explain the sense in which Jesus is our forerunner'? I am sure that the explanation, like old B~elshazzar, can be weighed in the balance, and found wanting! "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ f rom the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5)."
The above passage declares that the salvation it contemplates will not be revealed until "the last time." This observation answers the theologians who contend that we have salvation in its fullness during our present life span. In this sense, we will not have eternal life until "the world to come (Mark 10:30)."
I would not feel that I had adequately dealt with a theme of this nature until I had set forth the conditions of God's word upon which eternity in heaven depends. Man, in his unregenerated state, is a sinner, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)." A sin once committed can no more be undone than can a crime against the state; it may be pardoned. God is ". . . of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity . . . (Hab. 1:13)." Unless we have our sins forgiven it is certain that we cannot dwell in the presence of the Lord, but will " . . . be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2 Thess. 1:9)." Jesus came into the world to save the world from all sins (Matt. 1: 21). It was the purpose of God that he shed his blood for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28). When he died on Calvary's tree the rocks were rent, tombs were opened, and the sun refused to shine. Into hades he went to break the armor in which the devil trusted; he divided his spoils to arise on the third day triumphant o'er death, hell, and the grave, declaring that all power both in heaven and upon earth had been given him; that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16) ; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46, 47). When he ascended back to heaven as the conquering Christ, and was coronated Lord of lords and King of kings.. heaven's part in man's redemption was accomplished. Peter, holding the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:19), exhorted the Jerusalem gathering to "... Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38)." Those who had been washed in the blood to receive forgiveness of sins are commanded to be faithful unto death with the assurance that they will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10) . Upon this obedience, and by the merit of the shed blood of Jesus, we will be resurrected in the Lord to exclaim, "O death, where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy victory (I Cor. 15:55)?"
Truth Magazine I:5, pp. 10-11