by Allan Knapp
 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The Geezers men’s group at URC has been reading Living Life Backwards, by David Gibson. (The Geezers are self-identified Coronavirus “vulnerable individuals” due to their elderly status. Contact Tim Herwaldt if you are brave enough to want in.) Gibson expounds on the book of Ecclesiastes with the main focus of looking ahead to Heaven as a vital source of hope for Christians. The promise of eternal life with God is clear in scripture; John 3:16 is the most famous example.
So, we hope in Heaven. What is it going to be like? The fallen nature we inherited from Adam is so ingrained in each of us and in the whole of creation that it is very hard to envision a new Heaven and new earth without sin.
We know some things that will NOT be in Heaven – no tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev 21:4). We would expect that disappointments would be no more. Have you ever longed for an unavailable item? That discontinued favorite Kool-Aid flavor? Or toothpaste container? Or pudding in a can? Or maybe you just can’t find paper goods, meat, hand sanitizer or face masks. No shortages, outages, or discontinued items in Heaven!
But there are some positive indications in scripture about life in Heaven. Contentment is a common word used for rising above creation’s groanings. The fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control – will surely be present. Paul gives a list in Philippians 4:8 of items to think about: things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
And Isaiah 9:6-7 is a prophecy of Jesus’ reign which contains the intriguing phrase “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” Peace in Christ’s kingdom will always increase. Math students will appreciate the illustration: the peace curve has an upward slope. We don’t know if it will be an exponential increase or will “flatten,” but because peace is a good thing, eternal life will get better and better forever!
Our worship services can certainly be a foretaste of Heaven. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Communion is a sign of the feast we will enjoy with Christ. Our fellowship with each other is a prelude to being in Heaven with people from all tribes and tongues and nations.
Revelation describes lots of singing in Heaven. I suspect that songs will be a bit different there. Were you ever listening to a song that you wished had more verses? Or that the group would just keep singing the tune you loved? Songs in Heaven won’t be like that. Not only will everyone hit just the right notes, but all the songs will be just the right length. Contentment will abound.
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