Heaven: The Place of Satisfaction†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Psalm 17:15
Heaven is a place of satisfaction, complete, perfect, eternal satisfaction. All the purpose of almighty God shall be fully satisfied in heaven. When all things are finished, when everything that must be has been, when the present heavens and earth have passed away and God has made all things new, when the wicked have been cast into hell forever and the saints of God have all been transformed into the image of his dear Son, when all things have been completely subdued to Christ, ďThen cometh the end,Ē when Christ shall deliver up the whole company of the redeemed unto God our Father, and God shall be ďall in allĒ (1 Cor. 15:24-28). All Godís elect shall be saved forever. Godís glory shall be revealed in all things to all creatures. Christ shall have all pre-eminence for all eternity.
††††††††††† In heaven the Lord Jesus Christ, Godís dear Son, shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied (Isa. 53:10-11). The Lord Jesus Christ was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. When he was made to be sin, he suffered all the horrible, ignominious wrath of almighty God as the sinnerís Substitute, so that God might be just and the Justifier of all who believe. The agony and death of Christ is called by the prophet Isaiah, ďthe travail of his soul.Ē Our Saviorís travail was unto death, that he might give us eternal life. Isaiah assures us that his death was not in vain. ďHe shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied!Ē Christ did not shed his blood for nothing. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage. In heavenís final glory all the intentions, purposes, and designs of Christ in his death shall be satisfied. Every desire of his holy heart, which compelled him to lay down his life for us shall be fully satisfied. Every soul he loved with an everlasting love shall be with him in his glory. Every sinner for whom he suffered, bled, and died under the wrath of God shall be thoroughly purged of all sin. Every person he undertook to save shall stand before him in perfect righteousness. The whole company of Godís elect, for whom he became a Surety in the covenant of grace, shall be presented by him to his Father, holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight.
And there, in our happy, eternal home, in our Fatherís house in heaven, every desire of the believerís heart shall be fully satisfied (Psa. 17:15). Nothing is a surer sign of Godís wrath and of a manís reprobation than for God to give him satisfaction in this world and with this world. I pity the ďmen of the world, which have their portion in this life,Ē whom God has filled and satisfied with the treasures of the earth (Psa. 17:14). For the renewed soul there is no possibility of satisfaction in this world. We need to be content with Godís daily providence, knowing that our Father is wise and good and that what he does is best. But we find no satisfaction here. That which our hearts crave cannot be satisfied until we get to heaven. But there, in heaven with Christ, we shall be satisfied.
This is what David said. ďAs for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.Ē I take Davidís words to imply that there are two stages of satisfaction for Godís saints in heaven: That satisfaction that is found in heaven between death and the resurrection when we shall behold our Saviorís face in righteousness, and that satisfaction that shall be found in heaven after the resurrection of the body when we shall awake in the likeness of our Redeemer.
BELIEVERS, AS SOON AS THEY LEAVE THIS WORLD, FIND SATISFACTION FOR THEIR SOULS IN HEAVEN. I keep stressing this because it needs stressing. In our day many who appear to be otherwise orthodox in their doctrine, have begun to teach the Adventistsí doctrine of soul sleep. I will not now discuss all the ramifications of that evil doctrine. But it is a doctrine that robs Godís people of comfort in the hour of death and with regard to their departed loved ones. And it is a doctrine that inspires an undue attachment to this world. More importantly, it is a doctrine directly contrary to the Word of God.
As we have seen repeatedly in these studies, the souls of believers, as soon as they are separated form their bodies, are immediately with Christ in heaven (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23), in a state of blessed happiness and satisfaction. It is to this intermediate state of satisfaction, between death and the resurrection, that David referred, when he said, ďAs for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness.Ē
Soon as I draw my final breath And close my mortal eyes in death,
I shall with Christ in glory be, In righteousness, forever free!
As soon as we enter heaven we will find complete satisfaction for our souls in these six things.
1. When we enter heaven, we shall enter into the immediate presence of our God (Psa. 16:11). Nothing in this world is more desirable and satisfying to believers than the knowledge and assurance of Godís presence. We choose, with Moses, not to go anywhere without his presence (Ex. 33:15). It is our Lordís presence with us that makes the ordinance of public worship pleasing (Matt. 18:20). The presence of God comforts us in our trials (Isa. 43:1-5). And our Lordís presence inspires all our services to him (Matt. 28:20). The presence of Christ with his church on earth makes one day in his temple more desirable than a thousand days spent anywhere else. His presence makes his tabernacles on earth amiable tabernacles (Psa. 84:1, 2, 10). We find satisfaction even here in this world, our highest satisfaction, in the manifestation of Godís presence with us.
How gloriously happy and satisfied those saints must be who have entered into the immediate presence of God in heaven, never to be separated from him again. Blessed indeed are those in heaven who have entered into perpetual, uninterrupted communion with the triune God. The presence of God in heaven means that Godís saints there enjoy perpetual satisfaction. What fellowship they enjoy in the full experience of ďthe grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost!Ē
There is nothing in all the world so delightful to the hearts of believing sinners as sitting with Christ at his table, to be brought into his banqueting house, smell the sweet spikenard of his grace, and have him display the banner of his love over them (Song of Sol. 2:4-6). There is nothing so glorious and satisfying in all the world as real worship! But imagine what it will be like in that world of glory to be in communion with God our Savior forever! What satisfaction! What delight! What glory!
2. In that glory world we call heaven, all who now long to be like Christ shall be satisfied, for we shall be perfectly conformed to our Redeemer. Today we see him by faith. And beholding him by faith we ďare changed into the same image from glory to gloryĒ by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18). But in heaven we shall see Christ clearly as he is. We shall have a full and perfect view of him. And when we see him as he is we shall be like him (1 John 3:2).
It was the object of God in predestination, that we should be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). In heaven, that which God predestinated before the worlds were made shall be brought to pass. We shall be like Christ perfectly. Every power and faculty of our souls shall be a perfect reflection of our all-glorious Savior. Every faculty of the glorified soul shall be swallowed up in Christ. In our understanding, we will have a clear and unclouded view of him. The thoughts of our minds will be always toward him. Our will will be entirely submissive to and conformed to his will. The affection of our hearts will be set upon Christ and things above. Our memories will be fully stored with heavenly, spiritual things. We will have memories not of sorrow and pain, but of mercy and grace. John Gill wrote, ďThere will be nothing irregular and disagreeable in the soul, in its motions, thoughts, and actions.Ē
3. Our souls will find satisfaction in heavenly conversation. Heaven will be a place of much talk and conversation. There we shall carry on conversation both with the angels of God and with the spirits of just men made perfect. How we will communicate in that state, I do not know. What the language of heaven is, I cannot tell. But we will communicate with one another freely, spiritually, and profitably about the things of God.
4. Our souls will be satisfied with perfect knowledge in heaven. ďFor now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am knownĒ (1 Cor. 13:12). As soon as we drop this robe of flesh, everything that hinders us in spiritual knowledge shall be gone. Then we shall have perfect knowledge of God in all his attributes and works, of the Son of God in all his offices, works and grace, of the Spirit of God in all his being and gracious operations, of the angels of God in all their secret missions of mercy for us, of the providence of God in all its intricate details, and of one another. I do not doubt that we shall learn forever. Yet, even while learning, our knowledge will be crystal clear and pure. It will not be contaminated by sin and unbelief!
5. We shall be satisfied with perfect holiness. ďAs for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness.Ē In that blessed state our souls shall be entirely free from sin. The guilt of sin is now removed from us by the blood of Christ. But when we stand before Godís throne we will be completely free from the pollution of sin, the dread of sinning again, the body of sin, the being of sin, and all the consequences of sin. In heaven, there will not even be any more sorrow for sin! That happy day cannot come soon enough, when we shall no longer groan and struggle with sin. In heaven, as soon as we leave this world, we will be perfectly holy, unblamable, and unreprovable, without spot or blemish. We will have no sinful thoughts, no impure desires, no evil inclinations, no wicked will. This holiness and freedom from sin will not in any measure be the result of our own free will or good works. We have none. It will be the result of Godís work alone.
6. And in heaven, we shall be satisfied with perfect, eternal peace (Psa. 37:37). Peace! Sweet peace! Nothing is more desirable and satisfying than peace. Perfect peace is given to all who trust Christ now. But what shall that peace be which we shall have when we enter into the joy of the Lord? (See Isa. 57:1-2; Matt. 25:21).
Immediately after death, Godís saints enter into heaven to forever behold his face in righteousness and find perfect satisfaction in the presence of God, in conformity to Christ, in heavenly conversation, in perfect knowledge, in perfect holiness, and in perfect peace. Yet, there is another, even higher stage of heavenly glory.
IN THE RESURRECTION OUR BODIES AS WELL AS OUR SOULS SHALL FIND PERFECT SATISFACTION IN HEAVENLY GLORY. David referred to the resurrection of the body when he said, ďI shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness.Ē We often speak of the salvation of the soul. But the Bible never does. The Bible speaks of the salvation of people, the salvation of both the body and the soul. And the salvation of Godís elect will not be complete until Christ has redeemed our bodies from the grave at the resurrection (Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:14; 4:30; 1 Cor. 15:41-58). At the resurrection there will be a glory put upon the bodies of Godís saints, as well as that which is put upon their souls. The purpose of God will not be satisfied, the soul travail of Christ will not be satisfied, and the heartsí desire of Godís saints will not be satisfied until all the bodies of Godís elect are saved and gathered into glory.
This body must be sown in the earth in corruption. It is a vile body, corrupted by sin. It shall be brought into the corruption of death and laid in corruption in the dust of the earth, where it must rot and decay. But this very same body must be raised up to glory in incorruption, where it will no more be corrupted by sin, disease, or death. ďThis corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.Ē Then shall Death be swallowed up in victory!
This body must be sown in the earth in dishonor. If there is anything noble, appealing, and pleasing about it, it will quickly fade away. Soon this body will become fit only for the company of worms beneath the cold, dark sod of the earth. But it shall be raised in glory. Yes, this body shall come forth from the grave in the perfection of beauty and comeliness, fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ. And it shall shine like the sun in heaven.
This body of flesh must be sown in the earth in weakness. Soon it will lose all strength and vigor. In the end it shall be carried by pall-bearers to the grave. But it shall be raised in power. It shall be raised in strength and fitness, able to live forever without aging or getting weak, able to move quickly from place to place, even from earth to heaven in an instant, able to attend the service of God and the Lamb forever, without weakness and weariness. In the resurrection, we will never again have to complain that ďthe spirit is willing, but the flesh is weakĒ (Matt. 26:41).
This body must be sown in the earth a natural body. By reason of sin, it is an animal like body, supported by animal food. And it must die as animals do (Eccles. 3:19-20). But it shall be raised a spiritual body, subsisting like the angels of God forever, never to die again. Then our bodies will no longer be encumbrances† to our souls as they are now. Then our bodies will assist us in spiritual services. They will be fitted for spiritual employments and suited to spiritual worship. And in our resurrection bodies we shall be satisfied. When our bodies are raised from the earth and united with our souls, in the perfection of our whole being we shall be brought into a heavenly state of everlasting glory. I do not know that I can adequately describe the glorious satisfaction that awaits us. But it is so blessed that I must try to give some sense of it.
In heavenís glory we shall see the living God (Job 19:25-27). Now we walk by faith. Then we will walk by sight. Now we see God by faith, through his Word. Then we shall behold his face in righteousness. We shall see him face to face, as he is (2 Cor. 5:7; Psa. 17:15; 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2). I do not mean that we will see God physically, in the essence of his Being, and comprehend him. That is not possible, because God is the infinite, incomprehensible Spirit. But I do mean that we shall have a clear, unclouded apprehension of Godís perfections and glory as we behold the full revelation of God in Christ, the God-man. We will see all the fulness of the Godhead bodily in Christ (Col. 2:9). As we behold Christ, we will perfectly apprehend God the Father in all that he is and has done, God the Son in all that he is and has done, and God the Holy Spirit in all that he is and has done. ďIn my flesh shall I see God!Ē ďThen shall I be satisfied!Ē
In heavenís glory we will see all the holy angels. We will see the angels in their shining forms, ranks, and orders, those thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers made by Christ to be ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those whom he chose to be heirs of salvation. We will see those sons of God, those morning-stars that sung together and shouted for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth. We will see those bright spirits who sang at Christís incarnation, attended him in his ascension, and shall return with him when he comes to judge the world in righteousness.
All Godís saints will see and know one another in this glorious world of bliss. Just before he died, someone asked Martin Luther, ďSir, will we know one another in the other world?Ē Luther answered, ďAs Adam knew Eve to be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh by the revelation of God, though he had never seen her before, so shall the saints of God know one another in heaven.Ē As the apostles knew Moses and Elijah on the mount with Christ, though they had never seen them, or even a picture or description of them before, so shall we know the saints of God in heaven. In heaven we will know parents, wives, husbands, children, and friends far more perfectly than ever we knew them on the earth.
There will be no strangers in heaven. If there were a stranger in the heavenly company, freedom and joy would be greatly hindered. Who is free around a stranger? In heavenís glory when the bodies of Godís saints are raised up to glory we shall see and know one another and all Godís saints. We shall all see the Bride, the Lambís wife, in all the beauty which God has given her. We shall see and know every believer. And we shall love and esteem them all perfectly.
Here is another aspect of heaven satisfaction - In heavenís glory we shall possess everything that is good and be free from everything that is evil (Rev. 22:4-5). Total deliverance from sin, freedom from Satanís temptations, deliverance from troublesome, oppressive, wicked men, freedom from all afflictions, total freedom from distress and that which causes distress, shall be ours forever. There will be no more fightings without or fears within, no more doubts, misgivings, and no more unbelief! Everlasting joy shall be our portion. Sorrow and sighing shall flee away!
Once more, the saints of God shall find satisfaction in their resurrection glory in their everlasting employments. Then all our conversations will be holy conversations. We will live in the perpetual worship and praise of our God. And we will enjoy the everlasting perfection of love. This heavenly glory is the gift of Godís pure, free grace in Christ. If we look for such great and glorious things in the world to come, it ought to affect the way we live upon the earth now (2 Pet. 3:11, 14; Col. 3:1-4). Such a hope of glory ought to inspire in us the utmost consecration to our Lord Jesus Christ.