25 Mar 2024

Going to Hereafter with a Smile

It was almost like going home. Only we had just come from home and were here in the Christ In Prophecy studio. And there were smiles to go around. We had a joyous time being together in a physical setting for the first time in quite a while.

My friend Mike Hile and I travel together and have done so for many years because I’m now blind and have to have Mike to help keep me between the ditches. So we were in McKinney, Texas, near Dallas to shoot TV programs for Lamb-Lion Ministry and their Christ In Prophecy weekly program.

It was like a homecoming –great to be again with my great friends Tim Moore, the program’s host and head of Lamb-Lion Ministry, and with Dr. Nathan Jones, TV co-host and Lamb-Lion web minister. And it was doubly great to sit right beside my wonderful friend of many years, Lamb-Lion and Christ In Prophecy founder Dr. David Reagan.

Dave, Tim, Nathan and I caught up on things of our lives apart from each other for those intervening years. We did so, even while taping the programs, but especially between the sessions of doing the programs. It was, for me, a heartwarming time of being with those who have been so special in my ministry life.

In retrospect, thinking on the topic for our television get-together, the wonderful time spent there appropriately sparks just an inkling of what that Grand Reunion will be like once in the Hereafter following the Rapture.

Dave and I were in the studio to do programs about two of our books –each of which involves Bible Prophecy, as you might expect. But these books have at their centers the theme of the future for Christians in eternity. These books focus on that Glorious Place Jesus said He was going to go in order to prepare a place for those who believe in Him for Salvation.

Dr. Dave Reagan’s book’s title is How To Die With A Smile On Your Face. My and my co-author Jonathan Brentner’s book has the title HEREAFTER: It’s Far Better than You Imagine.”

Dave, in his unequaled way of presentation, expounded on the marvels that await those who have accepted God’s Grace Gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for the Redemption of fallen mankind.

My title comes from years ago hearing the great radio broadcast personality Paul Harvey expounding on one of his sponsor’s products. He said something like: “If you want to keep your pearly whites from here to hereafter, you should (use whatever toothpaste he was promoting.) The word hereafter made me think what a great title that would be for a book about Heaven.

Dave and I were precisely on the same page from the very start of the program’s taping. As a matter of fact, I accused him of stealing my thunder in using exactly the scripture I was going to use. He was first to speak, and he quoted the following.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9-10).

In our book, HEREAFTER, we further look at the Joyous future that awaits each and every believer when their time on earth is through.

[Book Excerpt]

In Psalm 16:11, David wrote:

“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

When the day described in Revelation 19:1-10 arrives, our joy will know no bounds. Our fondest moments in this life will pale by comparison.

During the TV taping, I was asked to recount my brief clinical death visits to that Sphere that is the Hereafter. I can’t tell you what a joy it always is to do just that. As a matter of fact, I recount that Good Friday experience of April 22, 2011, most every morning when I awake. For some reason those Moments spent in that Realm flood back into my thoughts upon awakening to a new day.

Dr. Reagan brought up during the programs that Heaven isn’t just some ethereal realm or dimension of existence where saints will be floating around as disembodied spirits. He said it is a real place, according to all we know from Scripture.

Again, in our book HEREAFTER, we address this place called Heaven, about which Jesus said the following.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).

A Physical Abode

The Greek word for “place” in John 14:2-3 is topos, which denotes a physical location in almost all its usages throughout the New Testament. It frequently denotes a specific location such as a city, village, or area. Jesus is preparing actual “rooms” in His “Father’s house” for the multitudes that would come to know Him as their Savior since that evening. Our new home will be visible with many amenities that will please our immortal resurrection bodies. Not one saint will feel any disappointment when he or she sees their heavenly accommodations.

The word Jesus chose for “prepare,” hetoimazo, also depicts a tangible, physical preparation. Paul used this same term when asking Philemon to “prepare a lodging place” for him (Philemon 22).

Although my own trip to somewhere on the periphery of Heaven didn’t take me to that final place that the Lord Jesus is preparing, the trip itself was exactly as the Apostle Paul said it would be. He said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5: 8).

I.e., when the last heartbeat happens upon passing from this life, we who know Christ for Salvation are instantaneously in that Heavenly Sphere. To this, I can attest firsthand, although it was obviously not yet my time to go all the way to the place prepared for me in the Hereafter. The trip was, however, instantaneous –in the twinkling of an eye speed. I was sent back, among other reasons, to tell you about that Abode that is, as our book subtitle has it, far better than you can imagine!

If you are not yet in God’s Family, for whom Jesus Himself is preparing places of unimaginable splendor where we will live in Glory Forever, here is how to become part of that Family. You will then be certain to go to the HEREAFTER with a smile on your face.

“That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and will believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).



A Future Palm Sunday Celebration

On Palm Sunday, we remember Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem just five days before His death on the cross. Matthew records the messianic hopes of the crowd reflected in their shouts of “Hosanna,” or “O Lord, save us” (Matthew 21:9). The word originally signified a cry for help in the Hebrew, but over time became an expression of praise to the Lord (see Psalm 118:25).

The multitudes also proclaimed, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” as they watched Jesus, seated on a donkey, ride into the city (Matthew 21:9). These words, taken from Psalm 118:26, signified their belief that Jesus was the long-awaited King of Israel.

Why am I recounting a past fulfillment of prophecy? It’s because it points to a future time when Jewish people living in Jerusalem will welcome Jesus as their King, reciting the words of Psalm 118:25, just as their ancestors did so long ago. The outcome, however, will differ greatly.

During the week after His triumphal entry, Jesus spoke these words:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Matthew 23:37-39).

When Jesus made this prediction, He knew that a brutal death upon the cross awaited Him. Fully aware that the previous cries of “Hosanna” would soon change to “Crucify him,” He looked forward to another entry into Jerusalem when He would also hear the words of Psalm 118.

The outcome of His future arrival, however, will be far different.

The latter-day repentance of a Jewish remnant, also prophesied by Zechariah (12:10-13:1), will lead to those in Zion truly welcoming Jesus as their King, and it will be a kingdom that awaits Him rather than death upon the cross.

Current events in Israel make the fulfillment of Jesus’ words seem impossible. The nation is fighting for its survival as the result of deadly attacks on all sides. In addition, it faces mounting world pressure for it to give up its fight against terrorism and reward its oppressors with a nation of their own. How could the nation survive for long if the world forces a two-state solution on it? But God!

The almost constant warfare and criticism will someday lead to Israel’s acceptance of the peace terms offered to them by the antichrist. However, just as Jesus also predicted in Matthew 24:15-17, this will also not end well for the people. However, the betrayal and necessity to flee Jerusalem to avoid death will bring many Jews to saving faith in their Messiah by the end of the Tribulation. Not long after His Second Coming, they will welcome Jesus into Jerusalem as their King.

The differing “Palm Sunday” events illustrate two important truths regarding Bible prophecy:

First, what we see often differs from reality. When Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem in fulfillment of the words of Zechariah, the disciples could never have imagined that He would be hanging on a cross in less than a week.

Likewise, when we look at current-day Israel, steeped in worldliness and deadly conflicts, is it not difficult to imagine the fulfillment of Jesus’ words? Yet we know that a future group of repentant Jews will again shout, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” as He again enters Zion to reign over them as their King.

Bible prophecy enables us to look beyond what we see and believe what it reveals about the future. Apart from what we read in the New Testament, how could we expect Jesus’ soon intervention in our world to take us home to glory?

Second, the fulfillment of Bible prophecy always exalts Jesus, always. As followers of Jesus, we anticipate meeting Jesus in the air and, after that, suddenly appearing with Him in glory with imperishable bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4). During this time, we celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb as praise for our Savior thunders throughout Heaven (Revelation 19:6-10).

The book of Revelation magnifies the Lord Jesus from beginning to end. The apocalypse is all about His unveiling as the head of the church, the One who brings judgment upon the earth to take the kingdoms of the world away from Satan, His all-glorious return to the earth, His spectacular kingdom during which time we will reign with Him, and His ultimate victory over death that will lead to the wonders of the eternal state.

Sound biblical teaching on future things always springs from the words of Scripture, not what we see, and glorifies Jesus by fixing our hope on Him and on Him alone as our expectation of what is and what is to come. That’s why we believe that a future day is surely coming when Jesus will again arrive triumphantly in Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

It will also be a joyous day for us since we will reign with Jesus in the kingdom that will follow.