Life in the Society of Heaven

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By John Thiel

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Will you go to that blessed land above? The place of pure and holy angels, the society of heaven. Will you be there? The society of heaven is also depicted as the promised land Canaan that the children of Israel travelled towards. In the Hebrew journey as they came from Egypt to the Promised Land we learnt that this is figurative of us traveling on this planet to the heavenly Canaan. I’m sure you can see we are now at the figurative Jordan. As they came to the Jordan ready to cross into the promised land. Are we there are we not? We are soon as a church to cross over. What does a figure of the children of Israel crossing over the Jordan river teach us regarding the Israel of God today?

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Today the figure of this comes to us and says tomorrow soon very soon, the Lord will do wonders to deliver his people into the heavenly Canaan? What was instructed to them? That they should sanctify themselves. To sanctify yourself, what does it mean? To consecrate, to make holy, to purify from sin. That is the dictionary meaning. This is the entirety of this work. Those three meanings apply to us as we are called upon to cross into the heavenly Canaan.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Being the sons of God, what should happen?

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

When it says that we shall see him as he is, there is a scripture that says no man shall see God and live but when he shall appear the sons of God will see him and live. Why?

1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

We are to sanctify ourselves before we see him. If we are not sanctified before we see him, we will not live as no man cannot look upon God and live. The final work that is to take place in modern Israel is the final work that had to take place for figurative Israel before they could go into the promised land. They sanctified themselves numerous times along the journey and here once more. Through the whole gospel story Gods people have been sanctified all the way along but near the Promised Land there is another dimension of it. The previous sanctification was to bring them to that point like the children of Israel to the point that they had to learn.

The Day of the Lord

Amos 4:12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: [and] because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

If you are not prepared to meet him, you will see him and frazzle. God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

We are on the border. We are soon to see God. As it comes to the last conflagration on this earth which is the flooding of the river and the way the Lord has to make a way through for us. God is going to make the waters stand on a heap. There is a preparation required for that time

Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Here is the picture of Jesus in the foolish and wise virgin parable. The wise virgins will understand. They need to be purified. They need to have oil in their vessels, the Holy Spirit working within. This time when Michael shall stand up, the flooded river needs to be crossed.

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. We will be able to get across the Jordan. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

When the Lord comes, what will he be like? He will be shining like a firmament and Gods people will be shining too and that is why they can dwell and see him. To be there we need to be purified. Here is the symbolic work of Jesus the high priest dealing with the purification of his people;

Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: [is] not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

Recall the parable of the wedding feast? There is a garment to be worn. The garment of his righteousness must be upon his people. He is going to cause their sins to be taken from them.

Zechariah 3:5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. 6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

Here is where what our preparation involves. To be able to walk among the angels that stand by to minister in the heavenly realm for Gods people. Recall the angels are ministering spirits. Ministering for those of us who are preparing for that place. In this scripture we see vividly that God is not going to take us home across the border until we have sanctified ourselves.

Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

They will be walking among the angels and he that sits on the throne will be among them. Why? Because these people have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. These people are whom? See Revelation 7:1-4. There were sealed an 144,000. The angels are holding the winds of strife and that they should not blow until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.  Here you have the symbolic Israel conveyed into the literal Israel. The Israel that is going to cross the Jordan that is alive just before Jesus comes.

They live in the period just before they sanctify themselves. They are the 144,000. It is my purpose to explore the process that we need to engage in so that we will be ready. Is that an important subject? To not just address but to go into to it and study it so we can engage in it. How many times I’ve heard this subject addressed but never going into the detail of practise that needs to be pursued. I do not believe in preaching merely about the subject. I want to fulfil the responsibility that relies upon me to go into the nitty gritty detail. Not just in theory but in application. I’m thankful that we have been given aid. It is not upon me to do this, to help us to go into the nitty gritty detail of actually sanctifying ourselves.

1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

The Testimony of Jesus

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.

The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, what for?

1 Corinthians 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To be able to meet Jesus and not be consumed, God has given us the Spirit of Prophecy so that we may be confirmed unto the end and be blameless. I thank God for the realities that are conveyed. These are not vagaries. These are not emotional highs these are down to earth instructions that come to us via the Spirit of Prophecy which is the testimony of Jesus. We need to be like God so we can see him as he is. Tell me, is this a solemn time? Can I go to sleep today? Can I be a foolish virgin and a wise one that BOTH went to sleep? All ten virgins fall asleep. Should they have fallen asleep? Thank the Lord he is merciful on the wise virgins but there is a company that are not asleep and at midnight there is a cry to wake up the virgins. If we are going to be the people without fault, if we are going to be wide awake, we must listen and study carefully what God has given us in the Spirit of Prophecy. I am going to unashamedly preach from the Spirit of Prophecy.

People say to me stop preaching to me about the Spirit of Prophecy. I’m not going to do so. As you examine the writings it is obvious that it is Jesus that revealed himself to this age. If it is Jesus then the things written down are to be highlighted before Gods people. As it’s the testimony of Christ which will be confirmed unto the end. We have the bible but many people read the bible with poetic fancy, sentimentalism. They don’t do what God says so he says I’m going to give you the help to sanctify yourself. I’m going to give you the testimony of the last days to save you from that.  To enable us to be blameless and sanctified he has given us help. As we launch out in this quest of preparing ourselves, as we see the imminence of Jesus return, the foremast part I want to spend time in his preparation of our character in reference of our attitude in reference to our relationships with each other.

Relationships

To be like God who is a God of relationships, there were three of them Father, Son and Holy Spirit and there was nothing. He looked upon the universe and said I want to share my love. I want to share my love with other creatures. So he made angels and inhabitants of other planets and last of all, this entire planet with inhabitants. This God of relationships has shown us when sin arose in his kingdom of love he would work with untiring effort to redeem the relationship breakdown and to be like him when we will meet him we need to be like him here in our relationships with one another.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

We can all agree that we must be righteous. We must put away sin but we don’t often study into the depth of the second point of this scripture that whosever doeth not righteousness is not of God and he that loves not his brother.

Do You Love Your Brother?

If I do not have righteousness and do not love my brother, I am not of God. We have two facets here. The first facet is to love my brother as God loves.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.

As we explore the love that God has in reference to loving the human race, we will learn what it means to lay down our lives for the brethren. This is the most important part as we launch out in preparation to meet God.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

If I’m going to meet God some day, I need to know and be like him for God is love.

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Prepare yourself to meet him. In our daily life with one another, how do we love each other? As God loves?

1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

What is he saying? How did God love us?

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the unGodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

What sort of a love did he have? While we were yet sinners, herein is love not that we loved God. There was no love to God manifested at all but that he loved us. That love if God so loved us, we ought to love one another. If someone doesn’t love you and fumes and splits behind your back of your sinful nature and you know it and feel it from the influence, would you love that person? Would you die for that person? I observe that you would not. I see people amongst us separating from those that are not nice I see it. Examine it, what preparation would we have? Those that are unlovely, we are to do what God did.  Every church I have been in has cliquey groups including this one. We must learn to be like God toward the faulty characteristics of each other. This is our learning curve this is preparation to live with God and holy angels, this must be our first consideration. To prepare by purifying ourselves from sin, and failing on this second point, what will I be like? I’m putting away all the sins God is telling me are sinful and I’m becoming more and more holy but I fail on this point, what sort of a Christian will I be?

Isaiah 65:5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.

This sends confusion to my mind. Are we not to be separate from sinners? Are we not to touch the unclean thing and come out from among them? Are we not to withdrawal ourselves from those who have a form of Godliness and deny the part thereof? From such turn away?  I’m supposed to have the love of God to sinners as he has and yet I’m to turn away from those who have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof. Is this a difficulty?

The Society of Heaven

I must have the attitude of the society of heaven to sinners. We can’t have our cliquey attitudes avoiding those who are giving us a hard time.

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without [our] measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

What was the measure of God’s love? He reached even with his son Christ Jesus to come so close to us that he became at one. He became like you and me in the flesh. He did not regard it as shameful to call us brethren. He came so close. Who were the people that he couldn’t come close to? He wanted to come close to them but what did they do? We will not have this man to rule over us. The darkness saw the light but hated the light. Those are the people that we withdrawal from. We don’t have to try hard as they don’t want a bar of us.  Those who amongst us who are so weak and speak out of their weakness and express things that are not comfortable for us. What does Paul say?

1 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast of things without [our] measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

The Corinthian church was the most corrupt church. There were homosexuals in the church. He describes these people that are members of the Corinthian church. If you know someone in the church that is a questionable character, do you go out of your way to that person in love? Would you be prepared to give your life for that soul?  The way to know that I am like God is to love as he loves the sinner. The sinner that is crying out and turning to the help that God wants to give. That is created to listen and pay attention and hear Gods word. There is not one person amongst us is someone that doesn’t want to be with us. That is why they are here. Some may be coming a bit weary, why do I have to keep going to church, they are not nice people there, learn to be like Jesus. Explore this detail very closely. This is a sinner who has no strength to do what is right and here are a holy people looking upon this person;

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the unGodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Are you an enemy of God? None of you want to be that. we have been reconciled. Every single one of us has been reconciled. Do we have love for one another that we will bear each other as God has born our sins? This is the only way we will see God. Examine yourself if you want to be ready to cross the border. Why do we love God? Because he has loved us like this. When I see how sinful I am, I marvel that he would love me. If I love him because of that;

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

This means that if my brother or sister, husband or wife has done a terrible sin, I will still love them. I will give my life for them. God wins the sinner to himself by that kind of love.

We Want To Be In Heaven One Day

In another church I came from, there was a woman who said I don’t want my husband to be there because they couldn’t stand living with their husband. They will never be there unless they repent of that. If there is any thought in my mind that makes me distasteful to my brother or sister and I cannot conquer in my heart and they give me a erky feeling that I don’t want to be in their presence, If I don’t conquer that, I will not cross the river Jordan. We are given time still to clean our heart out from all those characteristics that are not of God. To love my erring brother or sister the way God loves erring me, what did we learn? Few understand their own hearts. We have a form of Godliness but don’t understand that I’m erring more than others around me. We often see fault in others rather than me.

Whoever we are that looks upon another and says that’s too much, that sin is too heavy, I can’t live with that, let them remember that you can’t live with God with that attitude. Not knowing how to deal with the faults and erring ways of others, what do we do? We withdraw. We lift up our nose, we roll our eyes and we stay away from those people. When we do come across to them, we come across to them as holier than thou. You can’t come across to a person as that if you have the love of God in your heart. you will not be patronising anyone. You will not look upon them with a barrier there. That is not the character of God. This is where cliquey behaviour comes from. We are spend our times with those that are not easy to get on with are out there on a limb. What are we to do with the error and erring?

Does the Truth Hurt?

When a preacher preaches, he should not do the cutting. Let the truth do the cutting. It hurts bad enough when the truth hurts but when another person says see and points their finger at you, is that love? If we have the love, we will grow up in him.

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Oh do I have to get compacted into a little space with someone who is so erring in my life?

Compacted

We become the body of Christ compacted in his church. I hear voices many times saying, let me out of here. Here you have the truth. I want to grow up into him to have a kind of love that is his. Then stick with it. As you see someone erring, learn from the society of heaven what to do. We are to edify each other in love. Provoke each other to what? Be frustrated with each other? No. To love. Is that what you do in the home and church? Examine ourselves in the light of the society of heaven as we will have to dwell there one day. If I have not learnt to dwell here on earth with that attitude, I will not enjoy it there either. This is why a woman said I don’t want to live with my husband in heaven. There comes a thought, is not my husband going to change there? What is being said is that I’m not willing to put up with it now while I’m learning to be the person God wants me to be. We tend to hold onto our human mentality instead of the heavenly mentality. There is something that we must learn from what we have been reading here. We must speak the truth in love.

Something to Learn

Human beings, themselves given to evil, are prone to deal untenderly with the tempted and the erring. They cannot read the heart; they know not its struggle and its pain. Of the rebuke that is love, of the blow that wounds to heal, of the warning that speaks hope, they have need to learn. {AA 516.3}

How do we deal with each other? Untenderly when we ourselves are prone to do evil. How can you give someone a wound in love? You have to learn that. how can I give someone a warning, and leave behind a sense of hope. You know how it is said, if you don’t do this you will burn in hell. What hope have you got? We have to learn something from the mentality of heaven.

To rebuke that you can feel that the person can feel love is something we have to learn. Can you see what our activity must be now? Can you feel that yes I am being rebuked but can I see hope? I can learn of him who loves sinners. He hasn’t cast me off. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. We are to warn with the voice of hope.

Jesus

We know that Jesus gave his life for us and that he died with us for our sins but now as our high priest what is he like and what are we to be like?

The divine Teacher bears with the erring through all their perversity. His love does not grow cold; His efforts to win them do not cease. With outstretched arms He waits to welcome again and again the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. His heart is touched with the helplessness of the little child subject to rough usage. The cry of human suffering never reaches His ear in vain. Though all are precious in His sight, the rough, sullen, stubborn dispositions draw most heavily upon His sympathy and love; for He traces from cause to effect. The one who is most easily tempted, and is most inclined to err, is the special object of His solicitude. {Ed 294.2}

The father of the prodigal didn’t go into the pig pen with him, he was waiting. If someone has been really rebellious and apostate to you, are you prepared to receive them like Jesus? We get angry with a bad behaved person but what does God say? That poor soul, I know why they are doing this. He reasons and traces from cause to effect.

Jesus, who died for us, loves us with a love that is infinite; and we must love one another. We must put away all selfishness, and work together in love and unity. We have loved and petted ourselves, and excused ourselves in our waywardness; but we have been unmerciful toward our brethren, who are not as faulty as ourselves. {RH, April 22, 1884 par. 9}

The Pharisees were much faultier than the harlots and publicans but it didn’t look like that. It is much harder to wake up as a sinner from pride than someone who has committed adultery.

The Lord loves us, and bears with us, even when we are ungrateful to him, forgetful of his mercies, wickedly unbelieving; but consider, brethren, how relentless we are to one another, how pitiless; how we hurt and wound one another when we should love as Christ has loved us. Let us make a complete change. Let us cultivate the precious plant of love, and delight to help one another. We must be kind, forbearing, patient with one another’s errors; we must keep our sharp criticisms for ourselves, but hope all things, believe all things, of our brethren. {RH, April 22, 1884 par. 9}

Be not only patient with someone who is easy to get one with but be patient with one another’s errors. That is the love of God. As we make strides individually to the perfection that we must have to be like God to overcome our sins, let us be occupied with the underlying trait that will govern our fellowship on this journey. The underlying trait of kindness, long suffering and forbearing and earring ways. God’s sacrificing love has been the source of drawing us to hm. Let that same love that is burning in our hearts draw us together by the very love that has drawn us sinners to him.

Forgiveness

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15. Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful toward others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God’s pardoning grace. {COL 251.1}

To be a partaker of Gods pardoning grace, I will be ready to forgive the most erring sinner.

In God’s forgiveness the heart of the erring one is drawn close to the great heart of Infinite Love. The tide of divine compassion flows into the sinner’s soul, and from him to the souls of others. {COL 251.1}

If it doesn’t flow to the souls of others, is it there? We must open our heart to the forgiveness of God in our own heart so I can let it flow to others.

The tenderness and mercy that Christ has revealed in His own precious life will be seen in those who become sharers of His grace. But “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9. He is alienated from God, fitted only for eternal separation from Him. {COL 251.1}

If we still feel guilty for our sins of the past, then we don’t believe that God has forgiven me. If we feel this canker, then how we can flow that love on to others. The Lord is still pleading our cases. He is revealing the things that mar our life so that we can become like him. This attitude that we have been exploring is not just of God but of the entire society of heaven that we are preparing to dwell with. In our next study we will look at the attitude of the angels to us sinners to see their attitude so that I might be fitted for that place.

Observe the Mentality of the Angels

We are called to walk among the angels.

Angels are watching with intense interest to see how man is dealing with his fellow men. When they see one manifest Christlike sympathy for the erring, they press to his side and bring to his remembrance words to speak that will be as the bread of life to the soul. {COL 148.4}

The angels are looking to see where there is a human being that is manifesting the grace of Christ. They rush to the side of that person and give them words to speak. The interest in the realm of heaven is intense.

God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. {COL 148.4}

If the lost sheep is not brought back to the fold, it wanders until it perishes. And many souls go down to ruin for want of a hand stretched out to save. These erring ones may appear hard and reckless; but if they had received the same advantages that others have had, they might have revealed far more nobility of soul, and greater talent for usefulness. Angels pity these wandering ones. Angels weep, while human eyes are dry and hearts are closed to pity. {COL 191.3}

O the lack of deep, soul-touching sympathy for the tempted and the erring! O for more of Christ’s spirit, and for less, far less, of self! {COL 192.1}

Let us be like the angels. The angels weep over those who appear hard and reckless.  We want to live in the society of heaven. We want to live them. Will we learn this most important and original principle? If I a sinner wants to live with God, I must permit the forgiving love of God and compassion into my heart so it can flow into the heart of others.

Amen.

Posted on February 5, 2010, in Angels and Heaven, Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Amen. How can we look down on someone when we ourselves are just as ‘wicked?’ Mayw e love as God loves.

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