Agents of HeavenBy Dan Vis
August 03, 2020
This month we'll be focusing in on what's really most important, here at FAST. Kind of a refresher and refocus month. In light of that, I decided to repost one of my all-time favorite Monday Memos. It is a great reminder of why we must live our lives as an agent for God...
Over the last few weeks I have been re-studying the Gospel of John--and I've noticed a theme. The Bible makes it clear, no one can really speak of heavenly things unless they have seen heaven. John mentioned it in his prologue (John 1:18No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.). It is in the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus (John 3:11-1311 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.). And it is in his message to the crowds that followed Him (John 6:44,46No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.). You'll find it elsewhere as well.
But that doesn't mean we can't discern the things of heaven by faith. While it is true that "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", the next verse says "but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (I Corinthians 2:9-109 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. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.). If we could pull back the veil to the spiritual realm, we would see powerful angels locked in mortal combat, in a great battle between good and evil.
Learning to discern this heavenly realm is essential to us as Christians. The great men and women of faith in Hebrews 11 all died "not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them" (Hebrews 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.). In particular, they lived their lives in pursuit of "a better country, that is, an heavenly". Like Moses, they endured by "seeing him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.).
We too must learn to "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)). The "light affliction" of this world works for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory", but only "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (II Corinthians 4:17-1817 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.).
Truths About HeavenIn my personal contemplation of the grand mysteries of Scripture, three truths about heaven have proved especially inspiring. I try to incorporate a few moments reflecting on these each day into my morning devotions. It's my prayer you will find these just as motivating for you as they are for me:
1) There Are Unfallen Worlds
We exist in a universe of unfallen worlds. Earth was not the first world created. In fact, representatives from these worlds gathered together to watch and celebrate the creation of our planet. Job describes both angels ("morning stars") and representatives from other worlds ("sons of God") shouting for joy when God laid the foundations of this world (Job 38:4-74 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?). Evidently, these beings meet on a somewhat regular basis (Job 1:6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them., Job 2:1Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.).
These worlds were all created by Jesus, of course (Hebrews 1:2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;), but earlier in time, and they never fell. The beings on these world are all pure, and holy, worshiping God to this day (Revelation 5:13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.). Our poor world is the one lost sheep. These unfallen worlds are the remaining 99 who stayed loyal to God (Luke 15:4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?). While we cannot see them, they are watching earth with intense interest. "We are made a spectacle unto the world [Gr: kosmos], and to angels, and to men" (I Corinthians 4:9For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.).
Recognizing we live in a universe of intelligent, thinking creatures, observing all we say and do in an effort to understand the mysteries of iniquity and of godliness, inspires me to live a life that reveals God's redeeming glory, "unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10,21To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, . . . Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.).
2) Sin Will Not Rise Again
The terrible pain and suffering of this world will one day come to an end. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 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 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 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.).
Sin will be completely consumed. Peter tells us that even "the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10But 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.). Nahum puts it this way: "he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nahum 1:9What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.).
One reason sin will never arise again, will be the testimony of the redeemed. Our experience will be such that no intelligent being would ever want to experiment with sin again. We will be antibodies to the universe that serve to prevent a second infection with the virus of sin.
I can't wait, by the grace of God, to be able one day to travel to these unfallen worlds and tell my story, as an official representative of heaven's central government. Not only are we "ambassadors for Christ" here and now, I believe we will have the privilege to serve as ambassadors there and then. In all places, and through eternal ages.
3) Agents of Heaven Now
Our life in this world is in many ways a preparation for the world to come. Our experience here is but a training ground for a larger and more important work there. It's the undergraduate program preceding our graduate school. Or more accurately, our kindergarten to multiple post doctoral projects. We have an exciting future ahead!
But that does not mean our time here is not important. It is. Every small step, growing in discipline, commitment, and perseverance contributes to a character that fits us for our future work. We are officers in an alliance of unfallen worlds right now. And if faithful, in time, we will be promoted to the position of ambassador to the universe.
Further more, our efforts in this training school count! Not only is the battle around us real, but the destinies of friends and family often hang in the balance. Our personal example, combined with personal effort, may just make an eternal difference.
As agents of heaven now, we can check in daily with headquarters through prayer and the study of Scripture. And if Spirit-led, we'll be sure to get daily communication back: instruction and training, assignments and objectives. And we can spend our lives in the thrill of fulfilling those missions. Each day we can go on God's errands, happy to be a member of the winning team.
ConclusionAs you reflect on your life, refuse to be caught up in the day to day details that that bog us down. We were not created for a mundane, pointless existence. No, we were called to a life of adventure. A life of mission and purpose. We are heroes on a daring and difficult journey. A journey in discipleshp. We're chasing after a glorious destiny.
“We were not created for a mundane, pointless existence. No, we were called to a life of adventure.”
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Reflect on these powerful truths now and then. Allow them to seep into your identity, to shape your reality, to transform your life. We are called to be valiant champions (Psalms 60:12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.). Mighty men and women, that "know their God", who are "strong, and do exploits," teaching many (Daniel 11:32-3332 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.). Through Christ, we can be, and must be, "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.).
May these truths inspire you to climb higher in your walk with God!
CommentsDo the grand mysteries of the Bible motivate and inspire you? What do you do to weave these themes into your daily life? What role does heaven play in your life here and now? Share a comment below.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/05/20|
|I love the enthusiasm in your post JoAnn. That's exactly how I feel every time I dwell on these truths. My heart just sings out with excitement! So important to reflect on this as often as we can!|
|Posted by JoAnn Moon on 08/04/20|
|Thank you for reminding me that we are on a grand adventure. I realize I have been looking at challenges as burdensome, but when I remember that I am a mighty soldier of God and in His power I will have victory I feel encouraged and excited to live this adventure with God. Romans 8:32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? God has freely given us all things.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/22/20|
|Amen Frances! I know I can't wait for heaven! Can't come soon enough. :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/16/20|
|Personally, I think that's probably my favorite part of the whole memo. Maybe my favorite part of the whole Christian life! Thanks for highlighting that Thea!|
|Posted by Jeannie Marcoux on 02/10/20|
|Recently, the elders and their wives (includes me) have been engaged in active spiritual warfare regarding a situation at church. It has required nights of prayer, many hours of writing and engaging together for wisdom and seeking God together for what to do. Time has been spent studying the Word and writing letters, sending out emails to counter lies regarding false teaching, and phone calls to warn our members. The great controversy has been up close and personal, and tiring. Yet the Lord is empowering us with energy and is raising a banner through our efforts against the flood of the enemy. It has brought our members closer together.
I am struck after reading this memo of the work of angels that often we do not see, as they fight in constant spiritual warfare. Their work profits us with an atmosphere of joy and peace. Unfortunately, we often feel complacent in our peace, and not alert to the reality of the snares Satan is setting up for our feet. I am so thankful for the angels who are working tirelessly on our behalf, and for the Word of God that preps us ahead of time for any of Satan’s traps. Prayer opens channels of light and wisdom from the throne of God to guide us in every emergency. And in unity with one another, we gain strength and counsel.
Thank you for Psalms 60:12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies., it is going into my verse pack today.
“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/30/19|
|Agreed Michael. It's an amazing theme to inspire poets and speakers though! :)|
|Posted by Michael Polski on 08/27/19|
|Heaven cannot be adequately described by the most eloquent, poetic, or accomplished speaker or researcher. It is so far beyond human mortal imaginations!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/26/19|
|Glad this encouraged you Emmanuel! And yes, let's all keep encouraging each other!
So true Marion. We too have so many friends struggling in different ways. Can't wait for Jesus to come...
|Posted by Emmanuel Ajiroghene on 08/26/19|
|I must say, this piece is amazing and so inspiring. I look forward to that time when sin will come to end. But for now, keep inspiring us to inspire others.
May God bless your ministry richly.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/06/19|
|I think once we see the glories of the heavenly realm and compare it to the heartache of this dark realm, we will feel exactly the same way Valerie!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/05/18|
|I feel that same excitement Nancy! It IS a privilege, and honor--esp as we can learn to keep our thoughts running in right lines. Glad this post could bring a bit of inspiration to your day!|
|Posted by Shirley Phillips on 12/03/18|
|Those were tears of joy and gratitude in what a beautiful adventure we are on with our Creator:)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/03/18|
|Hi Shirley! Hope those are tears of joy. :) We miss you and everyone back in Illinois. Please say hi to Paul and the rest.|
|Posted by Shirley Phillips on 12/03/18|
|Dan, I am sobbing because we are being drawn closer and closer to God, through His Word. How exciting that you have these revelations and share them with us. Thank You! And God Bless Fast Missions:)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/03/18|
|That's great Ann! Learning to dwell on this unseen world is so important. And the reality of angels is an important part of that. Appreciate your post!|
|Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/03/18|
|I often think of the unseen world around us, the 4th dimension, and I like to cultivate a sense of the angels that protect and guide us through life. As I age I need more of their assistance especially when driving on a rainy night. AND a constant prayer is for help with how I use my gift of speech. I need angel help! Psalms 141:3Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips., Matthew 12:36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment., Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers..|
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