Why We Aren’t Yet in Heaven

Wim Malgo (1922-1992)

This is the centerpiece, the true message of Revelation: “Behold, he cometh with clouds” (Rev 1:7). John shows us Jesus as the regal Lord, to whom God has given all judgments and all authority in heaven and on earth. Everything is in Jesus’ hands! Having solved the matter of humanity’s guilt on the cross at Calvary, the issue of power will now finally be solved at the end of this world time.

For the children of God, it is a wonderful fact that both questions are already solved in principle by faith. That is, the Lord Jesus has cleansed us through His blood and redeemed us from the guilt of sin, and He has redeemed us from sin’s power as well. “For sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom 6:14). What we haven’t yet been redeemed from is the presence of sin, the sin in us. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom 7:18). This fact explains why believers sometimes become true monsters. They are not yet under the rule of God’s Spirit. But there is victory! Paul exclaims, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).

What is the basis for His return? His love. Because of this love, He has bought His church with His own blood. How tremendous it is, when Revelation 1:5 states in one breath, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” According to our natural thinking, it should be the other way around: first washed, and then loved. But it’s just the opposite: He loved us first! He loved us when we were still in the filth of sin; worldly people who were His enemies and pursued evil things.

The result of this unspeakably great love is unimaginable: after He washed us with His blood, he also “made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev 1:6). And immediately afterward follows the promise: “Behold, he cometh” (v. 7).

Why do we have to stay here on earth once we’ve converted? Wouldn’t it be best to go straight into glory? The deep meaning of our presence here on earth is for us to make the victory of Jesus Christ visible until His revelation. This is our limited-time task, until He visibly solves the matter of power Himself. That is why Hebrews 2:8 contains this apparent contradiction: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

Why don’t we see it yet? Because we’re still on earth. But we are the victory-bearers; we carry the banner of Jesus. In this interim period (between His first and second comings), it is our responsibility to administer the victory of Jesus. Paul expressed this quite authoritatively: “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place” (2 Cor 2:14).

In other words, before He is visibly revealed, He reveals Himself through us. Paul uses a metaphor from the life of the ancient Greeks here. The winners of the competitions, the “Olympics” of the times, were led around in triumph before thousands of spectators in the arena, to thunderous applause. They were, as Paul says, crowned with a perishable wreath, with a perishable crown. And, he continues that whoever carries Jesus in his heart is always led around in triumph, spreading the fragrance of His knowledge. That is, the reality of Jesus Christ’s victory is spread in all places.

How does this look in your life, in your workplace? Your occupation, whether high or lowly, is irrelevant. It’s all about “triumphing in Christ”; that is, spreading the fragrance of His knowledge wherever you come into contact with people. Paul also speaks from personal experience: “But when it pleased God […] to reveal his Son in me…” (Gal 1:15-16).

Yet the time is no longer far off when the Lord will reveal Himself in person, before the entire world: “Behold, he cometh […] and every eye shall see him” (Rev 1:7). This revelation of the Lord Jesus will happen within a very short time. For example, in Revelation 1:1, it speaks of “things which must shortly come to pass,” or in 3:11, “Behold, I come quickly.” In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, it is mentioned four times: “…to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done” (v. 6); “Behold, I come quickly” (v. 7); “And, behold, I come quickly” (v. 12); “Surely I come quickly” (v. 20).

The word that is rendered in most translations as “soon” or “shortly” has a twofold meaning. Seen from a salvific point of view, He will come soon, for a thousand years are like a day and a day like a thousand years to the Lord. He has already been gone for “two days”; He will come soon! But it also means that the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ will happen suddenly, in one fell swoop.

It is written in Romans 9:28, “For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” In the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), this reads, “since the Lord will execute his sentence completely and decisively on the earth.”

Midnight Call - 09/2019

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