Heaven And The New Jerusalem | New Earth

13 min


Heaven Is A School

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Eternity Will Provide Endless Opportunity for Learning and Growth—Heaven is a school; its field of study, the universe; its teacher, the Infinite One. A branch of this school was established in Eden; and, the plan of redemption accomplished, education will again be taken up in the Eden school. Heaven 146.1

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Only through His Word can a knowledge of these things be gained; and even this affords but a partial revelation. Hvn 146.2

The prophet of Patmos thus describes the location of the school of the hereafter: Hvn 146.3

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…. And I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:1, 2. Hvn 146.4

“The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Revelation 21:23. Hvn 147.1

Between the school established in Eden at the beginning and the school of the hereafter there lies the whole compass of this world’s history—the history of human transgression and suffering, of divine sacrifice, and of victory over death and sin. Not all the conditions of that first school of Eden will be found in the school of the future life. No tree of knowledge of good and evil will afford opportunity for temptation. No tempter is there, no possibility of wrong. Every character has withstood the testing of evil, and none are longer susceptible to its power. Hvn 147.2

“To him that overcometh,” Christ says, “will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7. The giving of the tree of life in Eden was conditional, and it was finally withdrawn. But the gifts of the future life are absolute and eternal. Hvn 147.3

The prophet beholds the “river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” “And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life.” “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 22:1; 22:2, R.V.; 21:4. Hvn 147.4

“Thy people also shall be all righteous:
They shall inherit the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.” Isaiah 60:21. Hvn 147.5

Restored to His presence, man will again, as at the beginning, be taught of God: “My people shall know My name: … they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak: behold, it is I.” Isaiah 52:6. Hvn 148.1

“The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3. Hvn 148.2

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple…. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.” Revelation 7:14-17. Hvn 148.3

“Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:” now we know in part; but then shall we know even as also we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:12. Hvn 148.4

“They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.”Revelation 22:4. Hvn 148.5

There, when the veil that darkens our vision shall be removed, and our eyes shall behold that world of beauty of which we now catch glimpses through the microscope; when we look on the glories of the heavens, now scanned afar through the telescope; when, the blight of sin removed, the whole earth shall appear in “the beauty of the Lord our God,” what a field will be open to our study! There the student of science may read the records of creation and discern no reminders of the law of evil. He may listen to the music of nature’s voices and detect no note of wailing or undertone of sorrow. In all created things he may trace one handwriting—in the vast universe behold “God’s name writ large,” and not in earth or sea or sky one sign of ill remaining. Hvn 148.6

There the Eden life will be lived, the life in garden and field. “They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” Isaiah 65:21, 22. Hvn 149.1

There shall be nothing to “hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 65:25. There man will be restored to his lost kingship, and the lower order of beings will again recognize his sway; the fierce will become gentle, and the timid trustful. Hvn 149.2

There will be open to the student, history of infinite scope and of wealth inexpressible. Here, from the vantage ground of God’s Word, the student is afforded a view of the vast field of history and may gain some knowledge of the principles that govern the course of human events.But his vision is still clouded, and his knowledge incomplete. Not until he stands in the light of eternity will he see all things clearly. Hvn 149.3

Then will be opened before him the course of the great conflict that had its birth before time began, and that ends only when time shall cease. The history of the inception of sin; of fatal falsehood in its crooked working; of truth that, swerving not from its own straight lines, has met and conquered error—all will be made manifest. The veil that interposes between the visible and the invisible world will be drawn aside, and wonderful things will be revealed. Hvn 149.4

Not until the providences of God are seen in the light of eternity shall we understand what we owe to the care and interposition of His angels.Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come as men, in the garb of wayfarers. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes; they have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They have thwarted the spoiler’s purpose and turned aside the stroke of the destroyer. Hvn 150.1

Though the rulers of this world know it not, yet often in their councils angels have been spokesmen. Human eyes have looked upon them. Human ears have listened to their appeals. In the council hall and the court of justice, heavenly messengers have pleaded the cause of the persecuted and oppressed. They have defeated purposes and arrested evils that would have brought wrong and suffering to God’s children. To the students in the heavenly school, all this will be unfolded. Hvn 150.2

Every redeemed one will understand the ministry of angels in his own life. The angel who was his guardian from his earliest moment; the angel who watched his steps, and covered his head in the day of peril; the angel who was with him in the valley of the shadow of death, who marked his resting place, who was the first to greet him in the resurrection morning—what will it be to hold converse with him, and to learn the history of divine interposition in the individual life, of heavenly cooperation in every work for humanity! Hvn 150.3

All the perplexities of life’s experience will then be made plain.Where to us have appeared only confusion and disappointment, broken purposes and thwarted plans, will be seen a grand, overruling, victorious purpose, a divine harmony.Hvn 150.4

There all who have wrought with unselfish spirit will behold the fruit of their labors. The outworking of every right principle and noble deed will be seen. Something of this we see here. But how little of the result of the world’s noblest work is in this life manifest to the doer! Hvn 151.1

How many toil unselfishly and unweariedly for those who pass beyond their reach and knowledge!Parents and teachers lie down in their last sleep, their lifework seeming to have been wrought in vain; they know not that their faithfulness has unsealed springs of blessing that can never cease to flow; only by faith they see the children they have trained become a benediction and an inspiration to their fellow men, and the influence repeat itself a thousandfold. Many a worker sends out into the world messages of strength and hope and courage, words that carry blessing to hearts in every land; but of the results he, toiling in loneliness and obscurity, knows little. So gifts are bestowed, burdens are borne, labor is done. Men sow the seed from which, above their graves, others reap blessed harvests. They plant trees, that others may eat the fruit. They are content here to know that they have set in motion agencies for good. In the hereafter the action and reaction of all these will be seen. Hvn 151.2

Of every gift that God has bestowed, leading men to unselfish effort, a record is kept in heaven. To trace this in its wide-spreading lines, to look upon those who by our efforts have been uplifted and ennobled, to behold in their history the outworking of true principles—this will be one of the studies and rewards of the heavenly school. Hvn 151.3

There we shall know even as also we are known. There the loves and sympathies that God has planted in the soul will find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages, the sacred fellowship that binds together “the whole family in heaven and earth” all are among the experiences of the hereafter. Hvn 152.1

There will be music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived. Hvn 152.2

“As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there.” Psalm 87:7. “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.” Isaiah 24:14. Hvn 152.3

“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3. Hvn 152.4

There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul. Hvn 152.5

All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s children. With unutterable delight we shall enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. We shall share the treasures gained through ages upon ages spent in contemplation of God’s handiwork.And the years of eternity, as they roll, will continue to bring more glorious revelations. “Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20) will be, forever and forever, the impartation of the gifts of God. Hvn 152.6

“His servants shall serve Him.”Revelation 22:3. The life on earth is the beginning of the life in heaven; education on earth is an initiation into the principles of heaven; the lifework here is a training for the lifework there. What we now are, in character and holy service, is the sure foreshadowing of what we shall be.Hvn 153.1

“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”Matthew 20:28. Christ’s work below is His work above, and our reward for working with Him in this world will be the greater power and wider privilege of working with Him in the world to come. Hvn 153.2

“Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” Isaiah 43:12.This also we shall be in eternity. Hvn 153.3

For what was the great controversy permitted to continue throughout the ages? Why was it that Satan’s existence was not cut short at the outset of his rebellion? It was that the universe might be convinced of God’s justice in His dealing with evil; that sin might receive eternal condemnation. In the plan of redemption there are heights and depths that eternity itself can never exhaust, marvels into which the angels desire to look. The redeemed only, of all created beings, have in their own experience known the actual conflict with sin; they have wrought with Christ, and, as even the angels could not do, have entered into the fellowship of His sufferings; will they have no testimony as to the science of redemption—nothing that will be of worth to unfallen beings? Hvn 153.4

Even now, “unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places” is “made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God.”And He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places: … that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:10, RV; 2:6, 7. Hvn 154.1

“In His temple doth everyone speak of His glory” (Psalm 29:9), and the song which the ransomed ones will sing—the song of their experience—will declare the glory of God: “Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the ages.Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy.” Revelation 15:3, 4, R.V. Hvn 154.2

In our life here, earthly, sin-restricted though it is, the greatest joy and the highest education are in service. And in the future state, untrammeled by the limitations of sinful humanity, it is in service that our greatest joy and our highest education will be found—witnessing, and ever as we witness learning anew “the riches of the glory of this mystery;” “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27. Hvn 154.3

 

“It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2.Hvn 154.4

Then, in the results of His work, Christ will behold its recompense. In that great multitude which no man could number, presented “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24), He whose blood has redeemed and whose life has taught us, “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.”Isaiah 53:11.—Education, 301-309. Hvn 154.5

Christ Will Be Our Teacher—Do you think we shall not learn anything there? We have not the slightest idea of what will then be opened before us. With Christ we shall walk beside the living waters. He will unfold to us the beauty and glory of nature. He will reveal what He is to us and what we are to Him. Truth we cannot know now because of finite limitations, we shall know hereafter.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 162 quoted in The Adventist Home, 547.Hvn 155.1

Heavenly Knowledge Will Be Progressive—All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar—worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings.They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through the ages upon ages in contemplation of God’s handiwork.With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.—The Great Controversy, 677, 678. Hvn 155.2

And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character.—The Great Controversy, 678. Hvn 155.3

Higher Education in the Future Life—Christ, the heavenly Teacher, will lead His people to the tree of life that grows on either side of the river of life, and He will explain to them the truths they could not in this life understand. In that future life His people will gain the higher education in its completeness. Those who enter the city of God will have the golden crowns placed upon their heads. That will be a joyful scene that none of us can afford to miss. We shall cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus, and again and again we will give Him the glory and praise His holy name. Angels will unite in the songs of triumph.Touching their golden harps, they will fill all heaven with rich music and songs to the Lamb.—Ms 31, 1909 quoted in The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:988. Hvn 156.1

Plan of Redemption Will Continually Unfold—In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption.With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their salvation has cost. Hvn 156.2

The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore—humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father’s face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary’s cross. Hvn 157.1

That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!”—The Great Controversy, 651, 652. Hvn 157.2

Eternity Cannot Fully Reveal God’s Love—All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue cannot utter it; pen cannot portray it.You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the heavenly Father; and yet there is an infinity beyond. Hvn 157.3

You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world.Eternity itself can never fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will open to our understanding more and more. And it will be ours to realize the blessing which Paul desired for the Ephesian church when he prayed “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:740. Hvn 158.1

 

 


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