This is a common phenomenon in the Book of Revelation. In the first chapter John sees Jesus in heaven. Does he really have long white hair and feet like burnished bronze and does a sharp sword come out of his mouth?
No, clearly these are symbols which convey to John the power, wisdom, and glory of the Lord Jesus in his glorified, risen estate. The truth conveyed by the vision of the souls under the altar is evidently their identification with and concern for their brethren who are still on earth.
They express themselves in terms of time and space in order that John and we may understand. Perhaps this also indicates a further condition of the eternal experience: those who have stepped out of time into eternity can, if they so choose, step back into time again, though remaining invisible.
That is, of course, exactly what Jesus did repeatedly during his forty-day post-resurrection ministry. To those in eternity, time may be like a book on our library bookshelf.
If we choose, we can pick up and browse through it at random. We can enter the time sequence found in the book at any place we desire, follow it through for as long as we like, and then lay it down to reenter in consciousness the time sequence in which we normally live. In similar fashion those in eternity may select some period of history which they would like to live through and step back into that time, living out its events, though invisibly.
This, of course, is pure speculation and may not prove to be true at all, but it does at least fit the suggestion of Scripture that in a resurrected state we will be free from many of the limitations of our present body of flesh. One thing is clear. Paul looked forward with eager anticipation to the day when he would put off his earthly tent and move into his heavenly dwelling.
It would be, he says, a "spiritual" body, not meaning, as many have supposed, a body made up of spirit--something rather ghostly and immaterial --but rather a body fully subject to the spirit, designed expressly for the spirit. In this life, we are forced to say, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Let's go! Lewis will help us understand this point:.
The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command.
He said in the Bible that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him--for we can prevent Him, if we choose--He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly though, of course, on a smaller scale His own boundless power and delight and goodness.
The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said. Mere Christianity , p. Yes, something more is coming--something so different from anything we have known up to now that it defies description. Yet it is something so splendid and glorious that, even whispered, it sends chills of expectation down the spine of the universe.
Philips' version of Romans is beautifully expressive of this: "In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us.
The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. Lest we become so enraptured with this splendid future that we lose all interest in the present, the apostle wisely reminds us that the key to this future is in our present experience. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord 2 Corinthians Twice in this passage Paul says that a clear view of the coming glory should mean that our present life is marked with good courage.
Surely that means more than keeping a stiff upper lip. Rather, it means to be full of encouragement, to be joyful, expectant, confident. There are two reasons given for this. First, in preparing us for the glory to come God has given us the Holy Spirit as his guarantee.
We do not need to doubt that the resurrection of our body is ahead, for the presence within us of the Spirit of resurrection makes it sure. Remember that in 2 Corinthians 4 the apostle says, "because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus" vs.
The Spirit knows how to resurrect dead bodies, for He has already done it once. Also, the Spirit has not only effected the resurrection of the body of Jesus but he has also been resurrecting our spirits every day since we became Christians. That power to renew is our guarantee that God will bring us to glory.
The second reason for confidence in the present hour is that though the resurrection life will be mind-blowing beyond description, it is nevertheless true that we are learning how to handle the resurrection body by the way we handle our present body now.
Though resurrection will be something new, it will not be entirely new; even though it will be strange, it won't be that strange.
Somewhere C. Lewis has said that these present bodies are given to us much as ponies are given to English schoolboys--to learn to ride "the ponies" in order to be ready for the glorious stallions that are even now arching their necks and pawing the floor in the heavenly stables.
What is it we are learning now that will be so necessary then? It is to walk by faith and not by sight! That is the operative principle of eternity, and we must learn it here. Certain hymns have reflected the idea that when we get to heaven we will no longer need to walk by faith but can then walk by sight.
It is true that we will then "see" the Lord, but that in no way will eliminate our need to respond to him. In fact, it will increase it! Faith is the human response to a divine offer.
As we live by means of Christ now--by faith in Him--so we will need to live by means of Christ then, by responding to his life and love.
It is for this reason that Paul uses the term "at home" to describe both our present experience in an earthly body and the coming experience when we are "with the Lord. Then we shall be away from the body, but "at home" with the Lord.
In either case, we are "at home. All our tenderest associations gather around the word "home. And when we step into the stunning glory awaiting us, we will feel the same way--at home, relaxed, at ease, because we have not changed our basic method of operation. At home, here in the body, we are learning to walk by faith in a way that feels natural and comfortable. At home with the Lord, it will be the same. This was Paul's own experience in that strange episode he recounts for us in 2 Corinthians There he says he was caught up in the third heaven, the very Paradise of God.
But twice he says he did not know whether he was in the body or out of it. Though the experience was beyond description and he heard and saw things he could not utter, yet it was not unnatural. Paul was simply not aware of his body. For permission to use this content, please review RayStedman. Subject to permissions policy, all rights reserved. Your browser does not support the audio element.
The Apostle Paul tells us about the wonders of Eternity in 2 Corinthians and his description of eternity gives us grounds for confidence and courage as we face the trials and pressures of the present time: Therefore we do not lose heart.
The increasing beauty within The apostle suggests three aspects of our present experience as believers which indicate that something much greater is coming.
The authentic Christian view of trials Furthermore, the apostle stoutly declares that it is our very trials and hardships which actually produce the glory to come! And every thousand years-" -"The same bird every thousand years? And every thousand years this bird flies-" -"-limps-" -"-flies all the way to this mountain and sharpens its beak-" -"Hold on.
You can't do that. Between here and the end of the universe there's loads of-" The angel waved a hand expansively, if a little unsteadily. Crowley subsided a bit. Anyway, this bird-" -"Only it is the end of the universe we're talking about," said Aziraphale. You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you've got to-" He hesitated. There was a moment of drunken silence. Crowley just knew he was going to make some point about the relative hardness of birds' beaks and granite mountains, and plunged on quickly.
And the thing is, when you're gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in waking, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret.
In snatches, they learn something of the wisdom which is of good, and more of the mere knowledge which is of evil. I have no doubt that the children's menu itself tastes better than the meals on it. Or don't you serve fish to minors? Why should we grieve for them? They are now in a place where there is no more shadow, darkness, loneliness, isolation, or pain. They are home. No matter how hard you try, you can't close your heart forever. And the minute you open it up, you never know what's going to come in.
But when it does, you just have to go for it! Because if you don't, there's not point in being here. Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religions, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.
But all eternity to love the dead. In their fat, jewel-toned holders, the candles had pooled into dripping puddles. The body lay in a lake-sized bed canopied with silk, mounded with a multitude of pillows, and stained with blood.
She was young, blonde, with a bright red dress rucked up to her waist. Her eyes, a crystal green, were open and staring. There was no sign of forced entry, and in fact, the security system had been shut down from the inside, by the victim.
There was no sign of struggle. You know what they look like, on her neck there? Bite marks. Like, ah, fangs. Eve spared Peabody a glance. It looks like the vic had a date that went over the top.
Then he bled her out, and she lay there and let him. Eve did another scan of the bedroom before stepping out and into the enormous dressing room area. Bigger than a lot of apartments, she mused, and outfitted with a security screen, entertainment screen, full round of mirrors.
The closet itself was a small department store, ruthlessly organized into categories. One person, she thought, with enough clothes to outfit the Upper West Side, and more than enough shoes to shod every man, woman, and child in that sector.
Dressed for him, Eve thought. Slutty dress, fuck-me heels. So where was the jewelry? She studied the drawers, the cabinets that ran below the rungs and carousels and protective domes. All locked, she noted, all passcoded, which meant valuables housed inside. There was no sign that she could see of any attempt to break in.
There were plenty of expensive bits and pieces sitting around in the penthouse: statuary, paintings, electronics. She stood for a moment, evaluating. Eve was a tall woman, slim in boots and trousers, with a short leather jacket over a white shirt. Her hair was short and brown, chopped around a lean face dominated by deep brown eyes.
We have no eyes to see it fully, and no mind to grasp fully it — and yet we must not refuse to consider it. There is a depth of stars in the Heavens above us, which the most powerful telescope cannot pierce — yet it is well worth it to look into them and learn something , even if we cannot learn everything. There are heights and depths about the subject of eternity, which mortal man can never comprehend; but God has spoken of it, and we have no right to turn away from it completely.
The subject is one, which we must never approach without the Bible in our hands. The moment we depart from "God's written Word," in considering eternity and the future state of man — we are then likely to fall into error. In examining points like these, we must have nothing to do with preconceived notions as to what God's character is like, and what we think God ought to be, or ought to do with man after death. We only have to find out what is written. What does the Scripture say? What does the Lord say?
It is foolish to tell us that we ought to have "noble thoughts about God," independent of, and over and above, Scripture. The noblest thoughts about God, which we have a right to hold, are the thoughts that He has been pleased to reveal to us in His "written Word.
I ask for the attention of everyone into whose hands this paper may fall, while I offer a few thoughts about eternity. As a mortal man, I deeply feel my own insufficiency to handle this subject. But I pray that God the Holy Spirit, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, may bless the words I speak, and make them seeds of eternal life in many minds.
The first thought that I bring to your attention is this — we live in a world where all things are temporary and passing away. Surely, a man must be blind who cannot realize this. Everything around us is decaying, dying, and coming to an end. There is a sense, no doubt, in which "matter" is eternal. Once created, it will never entirely cease to exist.
But in a popular practical sense, everything about us is dying except our souls. No wonder the poet says, "Change and decay all around me I see — O You who does not change, abide with me! We are all going, going, going — whether eminent or unimportant, gentle or cruel, rich or poor, old or young. We are all going — and will soon be gone! Beauty is only temporary. Sarah was once the lovliest of women, and the admiration of the Court of Egypt; yet a day came when even Abraham, her husband, said, "Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.
Strength of the body is only temporary. David was once a mighty man of valor, the slayer of the lion and the bear, and the champion of Israel against Goliath; yet a day came when even David had to be nursed and ministered to in his old age like a child!
Wisdom and power of the brain are only temporary. Solomon was once a marvel of knowledge, and all the kings of the earth came to hear his wisdom — yet even Solomon in his latter days played the fool, and allowed his wives to "turn his heart after their gods.
As humbling and painful as these truths may sound, it is good for all of us to realize them and take them to heart. The houses we live in, the homes we love, the riches we accumulate, the professions we follow, the plans we formulate, the relations we enter into — they are only for a time.
The thought is one which ought to awaken everyone who is living only for this world. If his conscience is not completely seared, it should stir in him a great searching of his heart.
Oh, be careful what you are doing! Awake to see things in their true light, before it is too late. The things you live for now, are all temporary and passing away! The pleasures, the amusements, the recreations, the profits, the earthly callings, which now absorb all your heart and drink up your entire mind — will soon be over.
They are poor fleeting things which cannot last. Oh, do not love them too much; do not hold on to them too tightly; do not make them your idols! You cannot keep them, and you must leave them.
Seek first the kingdom of God, and then everything else will be given to you. Never, never forget that it is written, "The world and its desires pass away — but the man who does the will of God lives forever. The same thought ought to cheer and comfort every true Christian. Your trials, crosses, and conflicts are all temporary! They will soon come to an end; and even now they are working for you "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Fight your daily fight under a steadfast conviction that it is only for a little while, and that rest is not far off.
Carry your daily cross always remembering that "what is seen is temporary. The second thought that I bring to your attention is this — we are all moving towards a world where everything is eternal. That great unseen state of existence, which lies beyond the grave — is forever! Whether it is happy or miserable, whether it is a condition of joy or sorrow — we know that in one respect it will be utterly unlike anything in this world — it will be forever.
There will be no change and decay, no end, no goodbye, no mornings and evening, no alteration, and no annihilation. Whatever there is beyond the tomb, when the last trumpet has sounded, and the dead are raised — we know it will be endless, everlasting, and eternal.
We cannot fully realize this condition.The only problem is Abe and his partner Edith are the angels of death. Things quickly spiral out of control when Abe's plan to get Jeff killed off with his next appointment, Tony, fails. After being "saved" by Abe, Jeff rediscovers life and asks his girlfriend, Zoe, to marry him and celebrate their passion.