Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”
Our Bible verse for today: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God and the testimony they had given. They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the one who is holy and true, how long until you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood? So they were each given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little longer until the number would be completed of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters, who were going to be killed just as they had been.” Revelation 6:9-12 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “A little more about the intermediate heaven”.
In Revelation 6:9-12 we’re reading about some Christian martyrs who had been killed for their faith on earth and who have been waiting in the intermediate heaven for the fulfillment of all things.
Like much in Revelation, this passage includes some strange imagery that is not easily explained. But in his book “Heaven”, author Randy Alcorn did an excellent job of drawing some insights from this scene which helps us to better understand some important truths about the intermediate heaven. I will share a few of those insights with you this morning:
When these people died they obviously left earth and relocated to heaven.
They remembered their lives on earth.
They were fully conscious, rational, and aware of themselves, others, God, and the situation on earth.
They were free to communicate directly with God.
They asked God a question and they received an answer. That means that even though they were in heaven, they did not know everything – there was still learning going on. Evidently in heaven we continue to explore and learn marvelous things.
The fact that they were given white robes to wear could be symbolic language, but it could also indicate that each individual has a form that is something more than we would normally think a spirit would have. They were recognizable and they were clothed.
There was a strong sense of family ties with “brothers and sisters”.
It’s unlikely that this specific group of martyred saints were some unique group to which special truths and attributes had been assigned. All people depicted in the Bible are real people who are like the rest of us, and who are representative of the rest of us. Normally what’s true for them is also true for us. So in all likelihood it’s safe to assume that in many ways their experience is similar to what ours will be.
We’ve now spent a few days considering the intermediate heaven, but since it’s a temporary destination for us, I think we have now spent enough time there. Let’s move on to the New Heaven, the New Earth, and to our resurrection bodies. Tomorrow we will do exactly that.