Training for Heaven

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If an astronaut landed before the gates of Heaven (this can’t possibly happen, but entertain the thought), what would happen to him (or her)?

To be direct, if that astronaut were anything like the people Paul prophesied of in the last days, he or she would surely die (2 Tim. 3:1-8). The Bible describes Heaven as a place where no evil can exist or survive (Rev. 21:8,27). Thus, it is more than a physical place to visit. It is a spiritual one that cannot tolerate the presence of evil within it.

Man’s encounters with the Lord and His angels make this clear. Isaiah, in vision, stood before the Lord in His throne room and felt that his death was imminent for his sins (Isa. 6:1-5). Because of their sinful natures, Daniel collapsed after being exposed to the glory of God and his men fled from Him. It took divine strength for him to continue in his vision from the Lord (Dan. 10:5-8, 15-19). The Gospels also testify of similar encounters of man’s experience with divinity (Matt. 17:1-6, 28:2-4; Lk. 22:43; Jn. 18:1-6; Acts 9:1-7).

No one can stand before God for very long in their own strength, as Daniel’s experience tells us, without their sinful nature turning upon them this way. His goodness and purity is so utterly opposed to sin that it cannot exist in His presence. It is only by His mercy that they were not destroyed by His brightness then and by it that we are not destroyed now (Mal. 3:6; Jn. 3:15-17).

Man has shirked this mercy by disobedience to their destruction before (Gen. 6-9; 1 Sam. 6:19, 20; 2 Sam. 6:1-7) and now, man is about to repeat this error again on a global scale. The Bible teaches us that when Jesus returns to deliver His saints, the wicked will be destroyed by “the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:8-12). While the righteous servants of God will praise His coming, the wicked will “wail because of him” and flee from his presence like the unrepentant generations before them (Num. 16:1-4; Rev. 1:9, 6:14-17).

So how can we survive in a place where no evil can or will exist? How can we stand before the brightness of our coming Savior? The testimonies of godly men who were translated to heaven when they were alive and when they were dead (Enoch, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Himself) taught us that we must be trained to survive in the atmosphere of Heaven.

Astronauts are rigorously trained to live in a zero-gravity environment and our training to live in eternity is no less demanding. Every day, the Lord is training us to maintain our integrity and submit daily to His will in matters great and small. Like Moses and Elijah, we have our moments when we succeed. We also have our moments when we fail, and when we do, we get angry. We get upset when we fail to sanctify Him before others. We get weighed down by the challenges of this training. Elijah and Moses had these moments, too (Num. 20:7-12; 1 Ki. 19-17).

But in our greatest trials and moments of weakness, the Lord stays with us as He did with them. He comforts us, strengthens us, and encourages us to continue our training for heaven. As we continue in it in faith, our wills gradually become one with His and when that time in our faith comes (and it will), we will be able to declare before the coming of the last trial, “the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (Jn. 14:30).

As the time approaches for the Lord to return, we must continue to prepare for it. We must train ourselves in His Word (1 Tim. 2:15, 2 Tim. 3:15-17). We must submit our will to His and maintain our integrity in the face of adversity. If astronauts understand the importance of training to survive in space, how much more should we as Christians regard our training to dwell in Heaven itself? No one is perfect; true. But we serve a God who perfects. The translation of Enoch, Moses and Elijah is proof of this.

Will you forsake your training for eternity before the Lord fulfills His greatest promise or will you take it up once again? The countdown to our launch has begun, children of God. In faith, ask the Lord to prepare you for His Second Coming. Maintain your integrity and like the astronauts of today, prepare for your eternal lift-off.

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