Dr. David Jeremiah Presents
Living inthe Ageof Signs
Living in the Age of Signs
When putting letters into alphabetical order, do you sing the alphabet song? Does the melancholy sound of Taps alter your mood? For centuries, educators have harnessed the power of music to aid memorization, and entertainers have struck emotional chords through musical compositions. Music engages our hearts, minds, and souls like no other force on earth. The Bible mentions "music" and "musical" 91 times (NKJV version). Of that number, 74 references are related to worshiping God.
Even if you do not consider yourself to be musically minded, Scripture is clear that music will be an important part of your experience in heaven. Let's look at what the Bible says about heavenly worship and its implications for us today.
Worshiping Together in Christ
The book of Revelation makes it clear that massive gatherings of saints will celebrate in heaven's worship experiences. Here is a sampling of these.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, 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 who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne….
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!"
If we enjoy choirs and orchestras here on this earth, imagine what it will be like when we hear the celestial choirs, accompanied by heavenly orchestras, lifting praise to Almighty God around the throne! And we will be part of that in heaven.
In heaven, worship is not about one, it's about many. Worship is really "worth—ship"—ascribing to Jesus what is His by virtue of His nature.
Corporate worship is necessary. We need the church! And we need each other. There is no such thing as individual Christianity. The word "saints" is always plural in the Bible.
Crescendo of Worship
Worship in heaven just keeps getting bigger and better. It crescendos. In music, "crescendo" means to get louder and louder, to get bigger and bigger; to make more and more of what started as small. A crescendo is to finish big! And the book of Revelation observes an obvious crescendo in praise and worship.
A Twofold Doxology:
. . . to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
A Threefold Doxology:
You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.
A Fourfold Doxology:
And 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, I heard saying:
"Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
A Sevenfold Doxology:
Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
In churches today, we also love to do that in our worship. We like to end big! We sometimes start small and keep changing keys as the music gets louder and bigger and mightier. That's biblical! That's going to happen in heaven, and here on earth we're just rehearsing. Never in the history of Christianity has there been a greater emphasis on worship and praise than there is today. God's people are finding what it means to really worship God with all of their hearts and souls and minds, because one day that's how it's going to be in heaven. Heaven will be a grand crescendo of worship throughout eternity.
Start Rehearsing Today for Heaven's Choir
You and I are constantly bombarded with the reality of this world. Television, radio, and newspapers are incessantly getting us to focus on this world and on our present reality and all of its problems. Yet this reality is in contrast to the reality of heaven. Christians often live as though the unseen eternal things are somehow less real than what we can see, but according to Scripture, they are more real.
It is through worship that our spirits are lifted up into the heavenlies. It is through worship that we are made to see God as John saw Him. And it is through worship that our lives start to have a perspective that spares us from the rollercoaster rides that used to dominate us before we discovered what it is like to really worship Almighty God.
As we rehearse here on earth for the grand worship in heaven, keep these things in mind:
Worship is not about us—it's about Him! Worship is to be offered up to the Lord from our heart, soul, and mind, knowing that the object of our worship is on the throne that we'll see when we look through the door in heaven. Worship gets us in tune with God.
Worship is not about here; it's about there. One of the main purposes of worship is to get our minds off the things of this earth and onto the things in heaven. And only as we're able to do that can we ever hope to function with integrity in our lives. When we see heaven, earth starts to make more sense.
Worship is not about now; it's about then. Worship is the avenue that leads us from the emptiness of this world to the fullness of the next world. When we fail to worship, we confine ourselves to the despair of this life.
For a more complete study of worship, turn to chapter 17 in The Book of Signs.
Jesus Prays: For the Church
Today’s Audio Devotion:
Jesus Prays: For the Church
Bible scholars view John 17 with awe. This is the prayer Jesus prayed near the Kidron Valley after He left the Upper Room but before He entered Gethsemane on the final night of His natural life. It’s the longest prayer we have from Jesus. In verse 11, He prayed for His disciples, for His Church, and for us. He told the Father He was leaving His children in the world as He returned to heaven, and He asked the Father to watch over them, protect them, and make them one.
Alexander Maclaren had an interesting application. Jesus was leaving people behind, but He knew how to commit the ongoing work to the Father. “Happy [are] we if we can leave our unfinished tasks to be taken up by God, and trust those whom we leave undefended to be shielded by Him!” wrote Maclaren.
Let’s learn from the Lord to do all we can and to entrust the future prayerfully to the Father.
Christ’s prayer for us should be our aim and deepest desire for ourselves.
The concept of worship is often misunderstood. Worship is not about singing songs with raised hands on Sundays, though hopefully that is part of it. Worship is a matter of the heart. God calls us to live our entire life as an act of worship to Him. That means living in constant recognition of who God is and rejoicing in His goodness. It means reflecting His holiness through our words, actions, and decisions.
Living worshipfully requires the Holy Spirit's power. It requires a constant fight against our sinful nature.
What will the world be like without the burden of sin and with the full radiance of God? It will be a place to experience worship like we have never known before!
Life in heaven will be spent in the presence of our righteous God. We will have glorified and perfected bodies. We will no longer struggle with the sin of this world. We will be filled with a wholehearted desire to worship, whether we are singing His praises in a choir or walking the streets of gold or conversing with Old Testament prophets.
In heaven, our worship will be full and rich and unhindered—grander than we have ever experienced.
There will be endless reasons to worship in heaven, but let's examine six of them:
Heaven Is a Place of Ultimate Residence (John 14:1–3)
Everybody talks about heaven—even folks who don't believe it is a literal place. They refer to a "heavenly" experience, or the place where parents tell children their pet has gone, or some undefined dimension where people go when they die. But that is not how the Bible talks about heaven. It is not an invention of fantasy writers or a figment of creative imaginations. Heaven is a literal place according to Jesus in John 14.
Heaven is the ultimate residence for all who belong to God's forever family.
Heaven Is a Place of Ultimate Rejoicing (Psalm 16:11)
Psalm 16:11 says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Wherever God is, there is joy. And because God is in heaven, we know it is full of joy and pleasure. In other words, heaven is going to be fun!
If you mention heaven to someone who's not a Christian, they might say it sounds boring. Satan would love for us to believe that! Neither heaven nor its inhabitants will be boring. We will have been transformed into the image of Christ and will be perfect. It's hard to imagine how exciting it will be to live in an environment that has not been marred by sin. But that's exactly how heaven will be (and is today).
Heaven Is a Place of Ultimate Recognition (1 Corinthians 13:12)
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that "Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."
I am often asked if I believe we will know one another in heaven. My answer is always the same: "Absolutely!" After His resurrection, Jesus was recognized by His disciples. He was different in some ways, but He was still Jesus of Nazareth. When Christ appeared with Moses and Elijah at His transfiguration, the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17), which suggests we will know each other in our post–resurrection bodies. How will we be able to "sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven" if we can't identify who they are? (Matthew 8:11)
Heaven Is a Place of Ultimate Relationships (Hebrews 12:22–23)
In heaven we will join "an innumerable company of angels . . . the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven" (Hebrews 12:22–23). Heaven is going to be filled with millions and millions of people and angels. Since angels spoke to human beings on earth, it's probable that we will speak with them in heaven, too.
In addition to all the people we've known in this life who we will know again, think of the ones we have known of—saints who lived in past ages and generations about whom we have only read and marveled. It will be wonderful to cultivate those relationships, but they will pale in comparison to getting to know Jesus Himself. There will be no long lines or people pushing and shoving to get next to Jesus. That kind of earthly pressure will have no place in heaven. We will all be able to meet and know our Savior without the confinements of space and time.
Heaven Is a Place of Ultimate Responsibility (Matthew 25:23)
Some people imagine that we will be playing harps all day in heaven, but we will have individual responsibilities. In His parable of the talents, Jesus portrayed the master as saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord" (Matthew 25:23). Our talents will accompany us in heaven, and we will use them to serve the Lord. Revelation 22:3 says it this way: "His servants shall serve Him" in heaven.
We will spend eternity carrying out God's kingdom purposes. Our motives and methods will be pure, and every project will be a success. There will be no compromises and no sinful agendas. There will only be work performed in wholeness of heart for the glory of God.
Heaven Is a Place of Ultimate Reality (2 Corinthians 5:2)
Finally, heaven will be a place of ultimate reality—not ultimate fantasy, as some like to think.
Romans 8:22 and 2 Corinthians 5:2 tell us that Christians and even the natural creation "groan" to be set free from the curse of sin. In our hearts we know there is something better than we are experiencing in this world. And that is because God has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
We were created in God's image. The temporary lusts of this world will not temper our eternal longings (1 John 2:17). The wickedness of this world will not taint our eternal domain (1 John 5:19; Revelation 21:27). The judgment of this world will not touch our eternal souls (2 Peter 3:7).
Our citizenship is in heaven, Paul says (Philippians 3:20), and that is where our heart is. Heaven is the Christian's place of ultimate reality—Eden restored, if you will. We will experience the kind of sinless Paradise and perfect harmony God created "in the beginning." We will never grow tired of worshiping our risen Lord.
For Your Phone or Tablet
Official Mobile App and Lock Screens
Unscramble the six words below and place the answers in the space provided.
Use the circled letters to unscramble the final clue.
be to Him
who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
Blessing, honor, glory, power
Unexpectedly, John found himself summoned to appear before the majestic throne of the King of the universe. Like a preview of coming attractions, he received a glimpse of what will be happening in heaven while the Tribulation unfolds on earth. His vision is recorded in Revelation 4.
John was at a loss to describe the great beauty he witnessed—the magnificent glory of God. All he could do was try to compare it to earth's most precious treasures, rare jewels and gemstones.
An emerald rainbow surrounded the throne, but unlike the arcs we're familiar with, this rainbow was a full circle—a reminder that all things are complete in heaven. Rainbows also remind us of God's faithfulness that spans from the earliest days of Noah and the patriarchs to the end of days. Just as God rescued Noah and his family from worldwide disaster, He will rescue His Church through the Rapture.
In Revelation 4:4, John described twenty–four elders dressed in white, crowned in gold, and seated on their own thrones. These saints probably represent the Church before the throne of God.
John said, "From the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices" (4:5). When the Lord gave Israel the Law, His presence was accompanied by lightning, thunder, and a voice from heaven (Exodus 20:18). Today, because of Jesus, the throne of judgment has become the throne of grace for believers (Hebrews 4:16).
John also described a "sea of glass, like crystal" surrounding God's throne (Revelation 4:6). And around the throne were four living creatures—the same ones Ezekiel saw in his vision of heaven (Ezekiel 1:5–14). These are the angels who will execute judgment on the earth. They also lead worship in heaven.
In the midst of the thunder and lightning and voices, the angels burst forth with shouts of praise: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come" (Revelation 4:8).
The elders were overcome with awe, reverence, and adoration in the presence of God. They fell down in worship, casting their crowns before His throne.
When we arrive in heaven, we will want nothing more than to bless God and give Him all that we are, all that we have. Of course, all we'll have to give Him will be the things He has given us—our "crowns," our rewards. We will joyfully offer them to Him, saying, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" (4:11).
In heaven, the Church will experience an intimacy in worship that the angels can't know. It's something only those who have been rescued and redeemed can understand. We were lost and now we are found. We've been forgiven and set free.
We'll worship more fully in heaven, but we can begin to express our gratitude now.
Holy Lord, I worship You today for all that You are and all that You have done! You alone are worthy of all my praise!