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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Bible Facts About Heaven

Dr. John R. RiceBy Dr. John R. Rice
1895-1980

 

1 - The Comfort of Heaven

"Let not your heart be troubled ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  And wither I go ye know, and the way ye know.  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not wither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." - John 14:1-6

    Heaven was so real to many of the saints of ages past.

Oh sing to me of Heaven
When I am called to die,

they sang.  I can remember in my youth hearing Christians sing with tears streaming down their faces:

I have a mother over yonder,
I have a mother over yonder,
I have a mother over yonder,
On the other bright shore.
Some glad day I'll go and meet her,
Some glad day I'll go and meet her,
Some glad day I'll go and meet her,
On the other bright shore.

    It was sung many times in little churches as people went from one to another shaking hands - sung while tears of joy ran down faces.  Other verses where: "I have a father over yonder" or brother or sister, and last of all, "I have a Saviour over yonder."  It was very real to them.

There'll be no sorrow there,
There'll be no sorrow there,
In Heaven above, where all is love,
There'll be no sorrow there

was a song Mother sang.  Its memory is sweet.  The saints of God seemed to 'stand on Jordan's stormy banks and cast a wishful eye to Canaan's fair and happy land, where their possessions lie.'

    To many, the last stanza of the old hymn written by Samuel Stennett seemed to express a sincere heart longing:

When shall I reach that happy place,
And be forever blest?
When shall I see my Father's face,
And in His bosom rest?

    People sang many songs about Heaven.  "In the Sweet By and By,"  "When We All Get to Heaven,"  "Oh, Come, Angel Band," the magnificent "Glory song" sung around the world in the Torrey-Alexander meetings, had their tremendous hold on people, no doubt because of the happy hope they expressed for Heaven.  The human heart longs for an assurance of a blessed, immortal place where those made righteous, the forgiven, the blessed are at home with God; when sin, disappointment, human failure, heartache, disease and death are forever ended!

    It seems that in recent years there has been more confusion in people's minds about Heaven and less understanding of the Bible doctrine concerning that glorious place.  For one thing, isms and false cults have increased to confuse the mind.  Then there has been a great decrease in preaching about death, Hell, Heaven and judgment.  Modernism and wordliness have discouraged the flabby, soft-living hirelings of the pulpit from preaching about death and what follows.

    But you cannot dismiss Hell without dismissing Heaven.  You cannot ignore or evade the fate of the unrepentant sinner and teach the saints the glories that await the redeemed of God.  The so-called "social gospel" lays stress upon this life, not on the next.  In many quarters it is now regarded as very old-fashioned and passe' to urge people to prepare to die.  Social security, better housing, relief for tenant farmers, better living conditions for the poor and the care of underprivileged children - these have occupied so much of the teaching and preaching of these modern days, that preachers have left hungry-hearted people ignorant about Heaven.

    We out to think and preach about Heaven far more than we do.  Saints should rejoice because their names are written in Heaven and should think of the joy in Heaven over one sinner that repents.  Sinners should continually be warned that they will miss the eternal joys and glories of Heaven and will, like the rich man, lift up their eyes in Hell, being in torment, if they do not repent.

    This world is only an anteroom of the next.  This short life is incidental compared with eternity.  This world is not home to the Christian.  Here we are only sojourners, temporary dwellers in a foreign land.  Our citizenship is in Heaven.  Our treasure should be in Heaven.  Our thoughts should dwell lovingly and longingly on that sweet home of the departed saints, of our Saviour and of our Heavenly Father.

 

Contents                                                                                                                            Chapter 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published 1940

 

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