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A LOOK INTO HEAVEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, December 17, 2000


This sermon is going out all across the world tonight on our Web site, on the Internet. People in Australia, and Singapore, and Africa, and Northern Ireland, and France, and all over the world will read it. I hope that these simple words on Heaven will cheer them and bring them hope at this Christmas season, and I hope that some will be saved by trusting Jesus.
Now, please turn with me in your Bible to Revelation, chapter four, verse one as we stand together for the reading of God's Word.
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1).
My great-grandfather led the choir in a little Methodist chapel in Alston, Cumberland County, England. I heard about that place in England all my life from my father and his brothers. Uncle Oscar finally went there and brought back little pictures of the home my great-grandfather John Hymers lived in and the little chapel where he sang and led the choir.
I got to take my wife and boys back to England, to that place, several years ago. We stayed in the old Bluebell Inn at Alston. We went to the place where John Wesley preached in the center of the town. We went to St. Augustine's Church in the heart of the village. A plaque on the wall of the church gave the names of the men who had been pastors (rectors) in that Anglican church long ago. The plaque said that John Hymners (the spelling was later changed) was the rector (or pastor) there in 1532, as I recall, when it was a Catholic church, before the English Reformation.
Then we went to the Methodist chapel outside the town. I had seen it in a photograph which Uncle Oscar made back in the 1960s. The door was open, so we went in. There we met John Elliot, who has now been a Methodist preacher for fifty years in that area. I had my photograph taken in the pulpit where my great-grandfather sang solos. It was a thrilling experience that brought a great many tears to my eyes.
Then John Elliot took us home to meet his wife Winnie and to have tea with them. Later he took us to the lead mine where my great-grandfather had worked long hours before he was able to take his family to the new world. My grandfather, born there, was a child when they brought him to Canada, to the new world. As an old man, his sons brought him to Los Angeles. He died here, in Hollywood, in the early 1930s.
It was wonderful to go to John Elliot's house in Alston, in Cumbria, England, and meet John's wife, Winnie, and talk about what had happened to us all in the years since my father's family left England.
Winnie Elliot, the wife of that Methodist preacher, John Elliot, is a remarkable person. Every Christmas I send her our Christmas letter. And every Christmas she sends me a beautiful reply, telling me all the things that have happened in my family’s home town, far away, in England's green and pleasant land. I just read the letter she sent this year to my wife and boys before they went to bed a few minutes ago.
It is wonderful to read a letter from far away, from a little green place, a tiny old village, in the north of England. I love that place. I will never forget going there as long as I live. How I treasure Winnie Elliot's letters. They are a special part of each Christmas season. They are letters from home - my heart's home - in Alston Moor, in England.
Now, that is the way I feel tonight about this verse in the Book of Revelation. I have never been to Heaven - yet. But the Apostle John saw it. And he has written us a beautiful letter, which we are reading tonight, on the Sunday before Christmas. John saw a door opened in Heaven. A voice said, "Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1). How I treasure this letter from the Apostle John, here in the Book of Revelation! How glad I am that God showed him "things which must be hereafter." Then he tells us what he saw in Heaven.
I long to go to Heaven and see that beautiful place for myself some day. John tells us who will be there, who we will see when we get there, and what it will be like. Thank God for the Book of Revelation! Thank God for this look into Heaven! Now, who will be in Heaven?

 

I. The angels will be there.

     Turn with me to Revelation 5:11. Here we read:

"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb (Jesus) that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Revelation 5:11-12).

Yes, the angels will be in Heaven!

Once, back in the 1960s I drove my friend, Mr. Gene Wilkerson, from church to his apartment up in Pasadena, north of Los Angeles. We were talking about the events at church that day, so I didn't notice that the gas gauge on my car was nearing empty. On the way back home I ran out of gas. Now the Pasadena Freeway is the oldest one here in Los Angeles, built back in the 1920s. There's no shoulder, no way to get off if you run out of gas as I did late that night. I stopped the car around the edge of a curve. My hands trembled and it felt like my heart was pounding in my throat. I was filled with fear because I knew that the next car that came around the curve would plow into the back of mine. They wouldn't be able to see it until it was too late.
As I jumped out of my car, filled with fear, I heard a horn honking. I looked through a chain link fence that ran along the side of the freeway and saw a strange little man with a big smile getting out of a small light blue Volkswagen Bug. He was working quickly. He took out of his trunk an odd contraption that looked like a combination of a fishing pole and a telescope. He hooked a can of gasoline on the end of that pole, and then reeled it out, like a long collapsible telescope. Up the can of gasoline went, up, up until it came over the top of the chain link fence. I reached up and unhooked the can of gas. "Put it in your car - quickly," he said with a smile. I did, and then I hooked the can hurriedly onto the end of the pole and he reeled it up over the fence.
I fumbled in my pocket and took out a five-dollar bill, which I tried to pass to him through the links of the fence. "No, no," he said, "Don't worry about it. I do this every night. Get going, quick." I jumped into my car and turned on the ignition. It fluttered and then started, and I drove away. Only then, as the car started, did his words ring through my mind, "I do this every night." What? What did he mean, "I do this every night?" I looked back just in time to see him speeding away in the night!
Who was this strange little man who came out of the night and saved me from disaster? As I drove home a verse from the Bible went through my mind:
"But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:13-14).
A few weeks ago Dr. Kenneth E. Gillming, the president of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, told us of a similar experience he had with a strange little man from nowhere giving him gas on the freeway near Springfield, Missouri. When I told him my story, Dr. Gillming said, "That might have been your guardian angel, sent down by God to save you that night." I think he may well have been right! If he was, I will see that little fellow again some day in Heaven. Only this time he will not be driving a Volkswagen and he will not have a collapsible fishing pole contraption with a gas can on the end of it! He will be with the innumerable company of angels in Heaven singing and shouting praises to God:
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne" (Revelation 5:11).

Yes, we will see the angels in Heaven!

 

II. Secondly, the saved of all the ages will be in Heaven.

And you will see all of those Christians if you are saved, if you have been converted. Turn with me to Revelation 7:9. Here we read:
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14).
The word "heaven" appears 559 times in the Bible. And the Scriptures repeatedly tell us that those who are saved will go to Heaven when they die.
When a true Christian dies he goes directly to Heaven. Jesus told the converted thief, "To day (i.e. this day) shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Late that very afternoon the converted thief walked the streets of Heaven with Jesus! The Apostle Paul told us that when we depart from this life, we also go directly to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23). At death, we are immediately with Jesus, if we are converted, having been washed from our sins in the Blood of Christ. "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8).
Many people ask if we will know our loved ones in Heaven. Dr. W. A. Criswell gives this explanation:
How do we know Abraham and Isaac and Jacob? We know them intuitively in the same way that James, John, and Peter knew Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.    
     (W. A. Criswell, Heaven, Tyndale House, 1991, p. 23).

Dr. Criswell says that we will know our saved relatives and friends in Heaven the same way Peter and James and John knew Moses and Elijah when they appeared with Jesus on that mountain (Matthew 17:1-13). Dr. Criswell said that the Disciples knew who Moses and Elijah were by "intuition."

The great Reformer Martin Luther explained it using slightly different words:
Luther, before he died, was reasonably well, and sat with his friends at (the) table. The matter of their (discussion) was whether we shall know one another in heaven or not. Luther (believed we would know each other), and this was one reason he gave: Adam, as soon as he saw Eve, knew who she was, not by discourse (someone telling him), but by Divine revelation; so shall we in the life to come (Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations, Assurance Publishers, 1979, p. 548).

Luther then went to bed, where he died a few hours later. Now he knows for sure that he was right.

Adam knew Eve when he first saw her. No one told him who she was. God Himself gave Adam this awareness - through "Divine revelation," as Luther said (cf. Genesis 2:22-23). God revealed who she was to Adam, and God will reveal to us our saved friends and relatives in Heaven.
Friends will be there I have loved long ago,                     
     Joy like a river around me will flow,                     
Yet just a smile from my Saviour, I know,                     
     Will through the ages be glory for me.                     
             ("O That Will Be Glory" by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932).
What a joy it will be to find that I am suddenly in Heaven! People are flocking around me. Here is Dwight Moody! There is Frank Norris - God bless him! Why, here is David Livingstone, and Fanny Crosby, and Fannie Mae Jones, and Gladys Aylward! There's my friend from school days, long ago. Here's Uncle Porter - I'm so glad to see him! And now my mother holds me in her arms! How wonderful to see the saved in Heaven!
But I want to caution you. There were a great many of my relatives whose names I could not give. Some of them might have gotten saved at the last moment, as I dealt with them on their deathbed. But with the death dew on their brows, and chemicals and pain killers clouding their minds, I know that the chances are small that they truly were converted. Most of them, I know, will not be in Heaven.
When they lived on earth, they were far too "busy" for church. They were far too "smart" to seek after Christ, to get their sins washed away in His Blood, and get saved. Religion was not for them when they lived in the world. They thought I was too extreme - a fanatic about Christianity - they thought. They never came to hear me preach. They were too busy. Their lives on earth were too important. Now they are dead. The members of my family have nearly all passed from this world.
What do they think now? They are conscious, according to the Bible. What do these relatives of mine think now that "in hell (they) lift up (their) eyes, being in torments"? (Luke 16:23). Do they think I am too extreme now? Now, in the flames of Hell, do they think I was a fanatic to become a Christian and live for God? Or do they scream out in the flames - "Oh, what a fool I was! I threw my soul away! Oh, why didn't I listen! Why, oh why, did I lose my soul?"
After you die, there is no second chance. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). As C. T. Studd (1862-1931) put it, "Only one life, 'Twill soon be past…"
Peter Lunn, the organist at Martyrs Memorial Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, wrote me a note the other day. He said:
I found your Web site. I hope to visit it again from time to time. I remember you from many years ago when you preached at a mission in my church…I recall your favorite hymn at that mission. I believe we sung it every night. The hymn was "Eternity"…I am reminded of you every time we sing it or every time I hear it.

The song that we sang every night in those evangelistic services was this:

Eternity. Eternity.                                                   
Where will you spend eternity?                                         

It is fairly upsetting to be confronted with that thought, "Where will you spend eternity?" People become agitated and upset when confronted with the fact that they are unprepared for eternity.

Even if you go to church, you are not ready for eternity. You must have a real conversion. You must be born again. Your sins must be cleansed by the Blood of Christ. You cannot go to Heaven otherwise. Make sure that you are saved. Come to Christ and be washed from sin in His Blood. Don’t rest until you have settled this.
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1).
When that door was opened in Heaven, and John looked in, he saw angels in Heaven. He saw those who have been saved throughout the ages in Heaven.

 

III. And, thirdly, he saw the Saviour in Heaven. We will see Jesus in Heaven!

Now turn with me to Revelation 5:8,
"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb (before Jesus)…And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation"              
   (Revelation 5:8-9).

 

Yes, we will see Jesus, the Lamb of God, in Heaven. The Apostle Paul said he had "a desire to depart (from this life), and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1:23). And the apostle John wrote:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and 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"     
     (I John 3:2).
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,                     
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ,          
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrows will erase,                
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.                    
     ("When We See Christ" by Esther Kerr Rusthoi).
Hymn writer Fanny J. Crosby was blinded at the age of six weeks by acid, incorrectly put into her eyes by a physician. She was never bitter about it. She once told a minister, "If at birth I had been able to make one petition (one prayer), it would have been that I should be born blind." "Why?" asked the surprised preacher. She answered, "Because when I get to Heaven, the first face I will ever see will be that of my Saviour!" Here's the hymn she wrote about it:

 

When my life's work is ended, And I cross the swelling tide,   
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see,           
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,          
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
Oh, the soul-thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,    
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;                     
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love, and grace,
That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,                     
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,                     
I shall know Him, I shall know Him                         
By the print of the nails in His hand.                     
    ("My Saviour First of All" by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

 

Jesus Christ went to the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. Jesus Christ shed every drop of His Blood so your sins could be washed away. Jesus Christ arose literally and physically from the dead, as a flesh and bone resurrected body, so you could have eternal life in Heaven. Will you turn to Christ? Will you make time to be in church every Sunday? Will you set aside that time for Christ, no matter what "comes up"?  And will you throw yourself completely on Jesus Christ by faith? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
The moment a sinner believes,                               
And trusts in his crucified God,                      
His pardon at once he receives,                           
Redemption in full through His blood.                      
     ("The Moment a Sinner Believes" by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

 

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Revelation 5:8-14.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "When We See Christ"

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

 

THE OUTLINE OF

A LOOK INTO HEAVEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in
heaven: And the first voice which I heard was as it were of
a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither,
and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter"
(Revelation 4:1).

       

    1. The angels will be in Heaven, Revelation 5:11-12;
      Hebrews 1:13-14.
    2. The saved of all the ages will be in Heaven,
      Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14; Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; II Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:23; Hebrews 9:27.
    3. The Saviour will be in Heaven, Revelation 5:8-9;
      I John 3:2; Acts 16:31.