The Reformation Herald Online Edition

The Patience of the Saints

Heaven Begins Now
Heaven Begins Now

Compiled from the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy with comments by Nathan Tyler. Emphasis supplied throughout.

Heaven’s law

How can the whole law be summarized? A lawyer once asked Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36–40).

“The law condemns all sin, and requires all virtue. It demands of man an outward respect, and it requires purity of soul.”1

“Thou shalt not kill.” Sins pertaining to this commandment include murder, violence, suicide, war, hatred, racism, intemperance, overwork.

Virtues reflecting the opposite include the protection and preservation of life, temperance, self-care, healthful living, care for the poor and homeless, and to visit the sick and those in prison.

“Thou shalt not steal.” Sins pertaining to this commandment include theft, robbery, slavery, extortion, conquest, dishonesty. Virtues reflecting the opposite include protecting property, helping others, giving, and exercising generosity and hospitality.

How does heaven operate? “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (Nehemiah 9:6).

“The will of God is expressed in the precepts of His holy law, and the principles of this law are the principles of heaven. . . . But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. . . . In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator.”2

What will be the basis of the judgment? “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:34–40).

Heaven’s children

What challenge does Jesus present to us? “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

“The Jews held that God loved those who served Him—according to their view, those who fulfilled the requirements of the rabbis,—and that all the rest of the world lay under His frown and curse.”3

“The Jews had been wearily toiling to reach perfection by their own efforts, and they had failed. Christ had already told them that their righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven.”4

What is Jesus’ well-known statement about perfection? “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

“The conditions of eternal life, under grace, are just what they were in Eden—perfect righteousness, harmony with God, perfect conformity to the principles of His law.”5

What example does the Father give us? “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

“God is love. Like rays of light from the sun, love and light and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is His nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love.”6

How can we fulfill God’s law? “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).

What opportunity has God given us to demonstrate love? “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?” (1 John 4:20).

What is the essence of true religion? “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

“We cannot come in touch with divinity without coming in touch with humanity; for in Him who sits upon the throne of the universe, divinity and humanity are combined. . . . Then the pity and compassion of Christ will be manifest in our life. . . . It will be as natural for us to minister to the needy and suffering as it was for Christ to go about doing good.”7

What is the context of Christ’s command to “be perfect”? “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43–45).

“To be kind to the unthankful and to the evil, to do good hoping for nothing again, is the insignia of the royalty of heaven, the sure token by which the children of the Highest reveal their high estate.”8

How is it possible to prepare to enter heaven? “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

“The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within. It is the atmosphere of this love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life and enables God to bless his work.”9

What does Jesus want us to do? “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10).

What commandment was He talking about? “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (verse 12).

“Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.”10

Heaven’s rest

What did God promise to Israel going into Canaan? “And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:14).

What is meant by this “rest”? “But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety” (Deuteronomy 12:10).

What happened to those who did not believe? “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest” (Psalm 95:7–11).

Why were they not able to enter God’s rest? “For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:16–19).

Was the promise fulfilled in the day of Joshua? “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 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” (Hebrews 11:13–16).

What about us? “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13, 14).

How does this challenge us? “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).

What is Jesus’ invitation and promise? “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

What will He do for us? “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” (Isaiah 32:17, 18).

How do we receive peace? “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

“Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. . . . As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal.”11

Heaven is here

How do we appear to the world around us? “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2).

“In every one of His children, Jesus sends a letter to the world.”12

“When God’s people open the door of the heart to His love, the light of His glory will be revealed in their work, as we have not yet seen it.”13

References
1 The Review and Herald, February 26, 1901.
2 Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 109.
3 Ibid., p. 74.
4 Ibid., p. 77.
5 Ibid., p. 76.
6 Ibid., p. 77.
7 Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 384, 385.
8 Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 75.
9 The Acts of the Apostles, p. 551.
10 The Desire of Ages, p. 641.
11 Ibid., p. 331.
12 Steps to Christ, p. 115.
13 The Signs of the Times, June 6, 1900.