As the Bible tells us, God has "set eternity in the human heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). You and I were made for heaven. Throughout history, God has even allowed some of His followers to see a glimpse of heaven while they were still alive on earth.
In the New Testament, we read the story of Stephen, who was stoned to death as the first Christian martyr. The account tells us that as the enraged mob picked up stones and closed in around him, "Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God'" (Acts 7:55-56). As Stephen said this, the people rushed at him and stoned him to death.
"Earth is receding; Heaven is opening; God is calling; I must go."
Another follower of Christ who was granted a glimpse of heaven before he died was the popular and well-known preacher Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899). After preaching a sermon on November 16, 1899, he collapsed. Though doctors didn't know what caused the illness, Moody suffered from congestive heart failure. Sensing death approaching, Moody confided to his closest friends, "Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don't believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before."
Three days before Christmas, Moody lay on his deathbed. Though he struggled to breathe, Moody had no fear of death. Those who were with him said that he seemed to see things no one else could see. His last words were, "Earth is receding; Heaven is opening; God is calling; I must go."
If you've placed your trust in Christ, when your earthly life is over, you'll have the indescribable experience of going home to be with your Father in heaven. There, you will experience life as it was meant to be lived when God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Prayer: Lord, I look forward to the day when I will come home to be with You in heaven. Thank You for making a way for me through the blood of Your Son. Thank You that I don't have to fear death. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series The City: LISTEN NOW