Imagine

Revelation 7:9,10After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Imagine the day this Scripture will be fulfilled. And imagine yourself in the midst of this endless sea of people surrounded by millions of angels who are all focusing on the beauty of the Lord. You lift up your voice in unison with the entire family of God to worship Him and the angelic choir of heaven begins to join you with glorious harmonies never heard by the human ear.   The sight and sound of this first-time experience is enough to overwhelm you, but you are also aware of the sweet fragrance of God’s glory all around you and a whole host of rich emotions exploding inside you.

Your love for God and His family is flowing through you like a river. The unspeakable joy in your heart is bubbling up like a fountain. And the peace of God in your mind gently refreshes you like a cool mist on a hot day. So with tears falling down your face and laughter pouring out of your mouth, you manage to sing the words to this heavenly song: “Salvation belongs to our God.”

As you sing these words, revelation bursts inside of your spirit. All of your life you thought that salvation belonged to you. You believed that Jesus died for you so you could rid yourself of the guilt of sin and go to heaven one day. You believed that Jesus took stripes on His back so you could be healed, was tormented so you could be set free and became poor so you could become rich.

But then it hits you: Jesus did pay the price for your total salvation, but this salvation wasn’t just for your personal benefit. It was for the heart of the Father. God always wanted to have a family who willingly loved Him and each other. But He knew that the free will of man would inevitably choose to trust in himself instead of God, thus giving birth to sin and separating man from God and each other. He also knew that man could not earn his own salvation through good works. So He would have to become the Author of Salvation. That’s why Jesus was slain “from the foundation of the world.”

It was part of God’s plan from the beginning. He would have a family that loves Him and each other, all because of the shed blood of Jesus. Not only did salvation originate in the heart of God, but it was accomplished by the Son of God. Jesus was the firstborn among many brethren in this family of God. Salvation redeemed God’s most prized creation for His pleasure and purpose: a love relationship in the family of God.

At the moment of this revelation, you have every reason to rejoice in your present worship experience, but you now have an altogether different focus: to please your Father. You always longed to please the Father during your earthly existence but you found it all too easy to view your spiritual life from your earthly perspective. So you worship God with everything that is within you. Although your heightened sense of God’s presence within you and around you brings you delight beyond description, the love in your heart causes you to give God all the glory instead of taking some for yourself.

In every direction you see white robes and luscious green palm branches being waved as far as the eye can see. As you look at the faces of individuals in your section of heaven, you then notice that God forgot to segregate you according to your earthly experience. Not only did God forget to put you in the correct racial section, but He neglected to place you with people of your denomination, language, nationality, personality type and culture. With the master genius of God’s plan of salvation, how could He overlook this glitch in the matrix? Doesn’t He know that we can avoid a lot of unnecessary problems if we gather with people who are just like us?

But as you see the love of God emanating from each face, you realize that you are exactly where God wants you to be: in the midst of a diverse people who all love God and each other despite their differences. You instinctively know that God would have it no other way. He created each one uniquely to reflect God’s image in a beautiful way that not only makes everyone important to God as sons and daughters, but necessary for each other as brothers and sisters. You instantly feel acceptance from people that are different from you and at the same time sense your heart rejoicing for them as well.

Now the same river of love that flows freely toward your Father is flowing toward your eternal family. You worship as one together because your hearts have been united by the Spirit of unity. The Spirit of God within you that cries “Abba Father” also moves you to love your brothers and sisters in the Lord, not based on any earthly distinction, but based on the Father’s love for them.

The good news is that we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to experience this heavenly reality! We can please our Father by treating our brothers and sisters the way He would have us to: by loving them with the same love He has put within our hearts. The choice is up to us to see our family NOW the way that our Father sees them. Yes, we have our differences, but God never told us to only relate with people who are just like us. He told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means that if we want to be treated with respect, shown mercy, appreciated for our godly purpose and valued appropriately, we should do the same things for ALL of our spiritual family, not just the local church we attend.

I want to encourage you to read Isaiah 2:1-5 in light of what we just looked into. I believe that both passages are prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. But I also believe that Isaiah 2 will be fulfilled before Revelation 7. We know the end of the story: God will have his eternal family that includes you and me. But in order for that to come to pass, something has to happen.

Isaiah prophesies that in the last days, God’s temple (the church) will be established and elevated in the earth as God’s representation of heaven. All nations and various people groups will stream into it with a desire to learn of His ways and live out His truth. The prophecy goes on to say that the result of diverse people joining forces around a common denominator (the Spirit of truth) is that God will judge between the nations, settle disputes for many peoples, and cause them to stop fighting each other. Not only will they fight for each other because of the love of God, but they will progress in the truth as they continue to walk in the light of the Lord. Truthfully, the last days began 2000 years ago. They began to see the fulfillment of this prophecy, but we will see the fruition of it.

What I see happening in our near future is the Spirit of God moving us to a new level of love, one that is not limited by earthly differences, but one that is motivated by the Father’s desire to have a family that loves Him with all of their hearts and their neighbors as themselves. But arriving at this goal doesn’t happen overnight and it won’t happen just because God wants it to happen. It will happen as God’s people choose to love each other beyond the limitation of their own preferences, doctrinal beliefs, and personal convictions. It will happen as people obey God’s command to receive one another, not based on our earthly standards of unity, but on whether or not God has received them into His family.

Love knows no limits. Perfect love casts out all fear. So don’t be afraid to love. You will be eternally grateful that you did. And so will your Father and your eternal family.

 

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