Job 19:23–27, 2 Corinthians 12:1–6, Revelation 4:1–11 (read online)
John Wesley and George Whitfield were once total brothers in the faith and theology. Eventually, however, there were divisions, and the amicably went their separate ways on positive terms. Yet, people still assumed that there was something more serious.
“One day, after Whitefield’s decease, John Wesley was timidly approached by one of the godly band of Christian sisters who had been brought under his influences and who loved both Whitefield and himself:
“‘ Dear Mr. Wesley, may I ask you a question?’
“‘ Yes, of course, madam, by all means
“‘ But, dear Mr. Wesley, I am very much afraid what the answer will be.’
“‘ Well, madam, let me hear your question, and then you will know my reply.’
“At last, after not a little hesitation, the inquirer tremblingly asked, ‘ Dear Mr. Wesley, do you expect to see dear Mr. Whitefield in heaven?’
“A lengthy pause followed, after which John Wesley replied with great seriousness, ‘No, madam.’ “His inquirer at once exclaimed, ‘Ah, I was afraid you would say so.’
“To which John Wesley added, with intense earnestness, ‘ Do not misunderstand me, madam; George Whitefield was so bright a star in the firmament of God’s glory, and will stand so near the throne, that one like me, who am less than the least, will never catch a glimpse of him.'”
What will Heaven be like? There have been many books written and dreams shared. The corporeal reality is that dreams and visions are still a human attempt to understand the divine reality. How can we embodied and finite (corporeal) creatures attempt to understand the infinite and divine. Old cartoons had the dead with wings, halos, and harps. Those that are musically inclined may indeed be playing harps in eternity, but if you know any drummers, you could see that as unlikely. Those that love to speak, preach, and teach will probably be out of a job. Maybe. Perhaps they will be the ones declaring, “Holy, holy, holy.”
Then there is the question of, “Will I see [someone] in Heaven?” Often we asked this question if we don’t know the salvation status of a person. Sometimes we wonder about ourselves. Take John Wesley. While he and Whitefield parted, he had such esteem for Whitefield (and so little for himself) that he believed that Whitefield would be so much closer to the throne of Heaven that Wesley would not see him due to the brightness of God’s glory. That person we are concerned for may indeed be in Heaven, but we may not know.
1) For those reading this in a small group setting, let us agree that the answer to the following is spoken and shared in a safe space. What do you think Heaven will be like?
2) Why do we concern ourselves for what comes after this life? How do you respond to those who don’t “known” what will be in the afterlife? How do you respond to those who believe there is nothing after this life?