Have you suffered a major illness? Have you lost someone you love? I have. And the older I get, the more I look forward to the glory of Heaven with Jesus.
This weekend we are learning a new/old song about heaven. It’s based on the old hymn, “When We All Get to Heaven”. The original song was written by Eliza Edmunds Hewitt. This amazing woman was a school teacher in Philadelphia and a christian volunteer who was deeply devoted to teaching the Bible to kids. Eliza’s goal in writing her songs was to reach children and teach them the basic truths of the gospel. She also enjoyed a long personal friendship with Fanny Crosby, another famous worship song writer. The new song we are learning was recorded by Matt Redman with new verses.
But before we jump in, a few opening thoughts about heaven…
First, Heaven is the place where God dwells and the Jesus is preparing for us. However, it’s also good to remember that the point of heaven is not that we “get out of here”, but that God brings his rule and reign (heaven) down to us in the new heavens and the new earth.
Secondly, there are two major views about what happens in heaven. 1. We know that we will have eternity to worship/contemplate/learn more and more about our infinite God. 2. We will be reunited with all believers throughout history without any sin or death. These are both true, but I’d like to add a third thing we know about heaven. 3. Heaven will be all of that and more…we will be face to face with God!
Lastly, I think it’s important to remember that this song is sung by believers and to believers. We still hold that heaven is a place for believers and that salvation is through the work of Christ alone and his grace and mercy to us as sinners.
Alright, enough talking…let’s jump in…We start at the end of time. That’s right, the first verse comes from Revelation.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” -21:4
One day You’ll make everything new, Jesus
One day You will bind every wound
The former things shall all pass away
No more tears
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. -1 Corinthians 13:12b
One day You’ll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear
And then we come to heaven and the chorus that most of us have heard before. It comes from 1 Corinthians and Revelation. I love the added heading in the ESV version before Revelation 19. It reminds us that all believers will be “Rejoicing in Heaven” because of the salvation victory of Jesus over sin and death.
[Rejoicing in Heaven] After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God… -19:1
Then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
…thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:54-56a
When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory
Onto the next two verses. Verse 3 refers to the book of 1 Corinthians…
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. -1 Corinthians 13:12a
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. -1 Corinthians 15:52-53a
One day we will see face to face, Jesus
Is there a greater vision of grace
And in a moment, we shall be changed
On that day
Finally, we are encouraged by Paul not to lose heart, but to finish the race…
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. -2 Corinthians 4:17
And one day we’ll be free, free indeed, Jesus
One day all this struggle will cease
And we will see Your glory revealed
On that day