An old friend, Jamall Badry, died last week. Three old friends, Bill Willard, Billy Hardy, and Pat Walker, all board members of VTM which is my ministry organization, died last year. I turned seventy a few weeks back. All this has got me to thinking again about the end of this life and the beginning of the new one in eternity. Do you suppose whatever eternity is like, as a place, it may not be "out there" or even "up there" but, perhaps "right here?"
Do you recall when Stephen was stoned he saw the Lord standing at the Father's throne but there's no mention of a telescope? How about when the Prophet's servant was concerned about the enemy attacking and the Prophet asked the Lord to let him see..and he did. He saw angels, hosts of them, surrounding the place. No telescope there either. When the Archangel was sent to announce the birth of Jesus to Mary are we to think of him coming past the milky way making his way to earth to that handmaiden?
Add to all that the fact of the Mt. of Transfiguration where Moses and Elijah were present with the Lord. Are we to think of them coming from a great distance to get there? Is it possible there is a better understanding than that? Does this "better understanding," if there is one, say something to us about our Christian loved ones who have preceded us in death?
As I said, all this has got me to thinking again about something I've mentioned before but want to look at again. Maybe I'm just looking for a comforting word about my family and friends who are dying. There seems to be quite a few deaths and I'm quite sure, all things being equal, there will be more to come, ultimately even my own, if Jesus tarries.
Could it be that wherever heaven is or the Lord is or our loved ones are, it is not a matter, really, of distance from us, but of a different dimension only. What do I mean by this? I'm glad you asked.
Let's just say, what if the physical world we know, made up of multiple dimensions which used to be thought of as only three, but then a fourth, time, was added, but now thought to be as many as from eleven to nineteen depending on the scientist one listened to, were actually separated from the spiritual or eternal dimension, which we can not now know, by simply a matter of dimension and not the distance at all? [Long sentence..read it again carefully observing the commas.] In other words, what if there is the natural realm [Multi-dimensional] and the supernatural realm [Multi-dimensional since Paul was caught up into the third heavens of the supernatural realm remember.] and both are as real as the bible says.
Now suppose we're programed to relate to the natural but also built for the supernatural. It's the scriptures that tell the story of our losing out on the spiritual and being confined to the natural. But further suppose that God operates in both being, as He is, the Person of the one [Spirit..Himself being such.] and the Creator of the other. [The natural.] So He steps from the one into the other manifesting His eteral presence in both. We call it a miracle since wherever God is manifested, is a miraculous moment. Thus all of life is miraculous.[A God-thing.]
Natural man [Lost people] cannot see nor know the spiritual. [1 Corinthians 2-3] But a Christian has been introduced to the spiritual by being born again spiritually, though still living in the natural also. Death, it seems to me, would then move that Christian completely into the spiritual from the natural.
But what if that spiritual is NOT "out there or up there" but right here without our being able to relate to it..YET.!! What does this do to life? Among a lot of other interesting things, it makes ALL of life a sacred thing, as stated above, and both natural and spiritual are lived in to a degree by the Christian. The "spiritual" presently limited to some degree but one day won't be. "Then we shall know even as we're known."
This is why I don't ever say "Oh that's just a natural thing and not a God thing [spiritual] so I'm not interested in it." That makes the natural less than spiritual and second rate as life contrary to scripture. [1 Corinthians 3 "All things are yours."] I'm very much interested in the natural world and enjoy all aspects of it totally. [That's why I'm something of an environmentalist you see.]
I even enjoy a motorcycle ride and celebrate it as a God thing in His creation and my life. I enjoy football, concerts, our swimming pool as a God thing. I enjoy my wife, in every relational sense, the same way. It's ALL sacred to me. This makes that verse "Whatsoever you do do all to the glory of God." that word "glory" [doxa] means "God seen/experienced as present." All of the natural world is sacred to me.
BUT neither do I ever say "Oh that's a spiritual thing and I don't really care about it or believe in it since it's not real or natural." For me to talk that way would be to miss out of half of realty, whichever half I'm not willing to admit as real, whether I understand it all or not. For me.. God is real in both the natural AND spiritual and Jesus is Lord of all. So as the chorus I love says it...
If I live well.. praise the Lord.
If I die well.. praise the Lord.
If I live or die..my only cry..
Is.. Jesus in me.. well praise the Lord.
So, I'm not so sure I'm not "praising the Lord" with my friends who've died, right now, albeit simply separated from them by a little thing called dimension only and maybe not by distance at all. What if........?