The reason why you are reading this is because after I had a near-death experience, my Dad told me about Christ. Strangely enough, in the 1940’s, my father also had a near death experience. This led him to receive Christ after listening to a Navy Chaplain at a place called Red Hill in Hawaii. Before that, someone must have told that Chaplain about Christ. I could keep going back generation after generation, and I would eventually come to one of the original disciples of Christ who knew the command, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”–Mark 16:15. For over 2,000 years person after person kept obeying this command until the Gospel had reached me. If any one of them had failed to obey this command, I might not have ever come to know Christ…And I wouldn’t be writing this. I have a long line of people to thank for their obedience to the command of Christ. If you are reading this, and you know Christ, then you also have a lengthy spiritual heritage. I hope one day to meet and greet each and every one of them, and express my eternal thanks for their obedience. I wonder if my line goes back to Phillip, or Stephen, Joanna, or Peter. Maybe it might have been someone in the crowd at Golgotha who was moved by the words of the thief on the cross and said to themselves, “Yes, I want Him to remember me too!” One day, I will know how the message came all the way down to me…and so will you.
Have you ever thought about your spiritual ancestors? You will meet them one day. I think we are all going to meet them, hear their stories, learn of their persecutions, joys, and trials. There will be warmth, emotion, and we will have kindred spirits. The Apostle Paul looked at his converts as being like his own children. Because of our kindred spirits, I tend to believe they are going to love you like you were their own child. After all, you are their reward! I just hope that none of us have to tell them that their spiritual reward ended with us and that we are the end of their line because we were afraid to share the Gospel. I’m honestly not saying this to play the shame game. I’m just pondering and trying to imagine and visualize this with some sense of real truth and emotion. We know that there will be great joy once we enter into the New Jerusalem, but I also have to soberly wonder: Will there be a time to allow for true sorrow? Think about that.
There are actually two passages in Revelation that speak of God wiping away our tears (Rev. 7:17, Rev. 21:4). Does this mean that there will be no tears at all for the Redeemed? Or does it mean that God will actually be wiping away some real tears and needing to truly comfort us? Remember, we will have real bodies of flesh and bone that are capable of eating just like the resurrected Jesus. I think these bodies will be capable of experiencing emotions as well. The passage in Rev. 7 would appear to sound like Andrae Crouch singing, “No more crying there”.
On the other hand, the Rev. 21 account of “God wiping our eyes” happens right after the judgment of the lost. Have you ever stopped to ponder the emotion of that event and your actual personal involvement with it? 1 Cor. 6:2-3 is a spine-chilling passage that makes it all too clear that we will have a front-and-center, confrontational role in this horribly sorrowful event involving both the world and angels. You will be judging your lost family members, friends, and acquaintances. We may be looking at people that we didn’t forgive when we had the chance. We may be looking at friends or family that we were cold towards. We may be looking at someone that really needed to hear about the love of God from our lips. (Guilt trip? Condemnation? No, I’m just being real and thinking back on my own missed opportunities). If you will allow yourself to think deeply with your heart about the ramifications of 1 Cor. 6:2-3, you will soon realize that there has never been a song or dirge written that can possibly capture the full emotional disturbance and heart-wrenching upheaval that we will have to endure as we carry out this two-fold duty of passing judgment on both the people of our own world and the angels. You must try and comprehend the sobering gravity of this real and upcoming event. Are you getting this? If needed, click on the 1 Cor. 6:2-3 link and take another long, hard look at what you are going to be doing. You are Christ’s body, and it makes perfect sense that we will join with Him, even in rendering judgment. You are going to be looking at your lost loved ones and friends, who may have their hands stretched out towards you, and you are going to have to render a truthful judgment knowing that this is the last time you will ever see them again. That is what it means to judge the world. It is what it is. It is my sincere belief that we will be so overwhelmed to the point that we could never truly “wipe our own eyes”. The pain will be unbearable. We will have no power within ourselves to be comforted and recover from the trauma of this event. You know, I believe Jesus will also be weeping along with us since He is forever our high priest who identifies with our feelings; And, He is also the one who suffered for the world that He loved..It certainly wouldn’t be the first time He had wept. He hasn’t changed.
While I listen to the song Eric Clapton wrote about the loss of his own child, and describes his feelings of believing that he will be separated from his child for all eternity, I begin to catch a glimpse of why the two passages are stated the way they are: “And God will wipe every tear from their eyes” It doesn’t say “they” will wipe…It’s going to take an act of God almighty to comfort us from the sorrow of the Rev. 20 event. Just as Jesus was not in a hurry, and took the time to wash the feet of the disciples, our Father will take His hand and begin to wipe our eyes and heal our hearts for as long as it takes. According to the wording and chronology of Rev. 21, it appears that we will enter the New Jerusalem either after our tears are gone, or as our tears are being wiped. It is then that our sorrow will be gone.
Let’s not forget our Spiritual Heritage, but let us endeavor to carry it forward by also being obedient to the command of preaching the Gospel to every creature. Let’s forgive, let’s love, and let’s share Him while we have the opportunity. Let us press on in His strength so that more people will hear the words that will change the scope of everything as He will look at you, me, and our entire lineage and say, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Before I leave, I would like to pray for each of you. “Father, I pray comfort for those who are already experiencing sorrow in one form or another. In Psalm 56:8 you make a record of our tears and store them in your bottle. You comfort us now in our sorrows and hold us with your hand. You forgive, you cleanse, you make all things new again. Thank you for your sufficient grace and the peace that passes understanding. Make us to lay down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters. We want to thank you for the lineage of those who obeyed your command so that we would hear of your salvation. Empower us like Paul to reach the perishing with the good news so that some will come to you. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle (brokenbelievers.com)
- No Tears in Heaven (challies.com)
- What You Can Look Forward to . . . (harvestworkersdoor.wordpress.com)
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