“And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”Mark 13:27
Notice the phrase, “the ends of heaven.” Jesus is speaking of the time when He calls His own to Him. Some call this the rapture, but that’s not directly my topic for today. Instead, notice that when Jesus gathers the elect, some seem to already be located throughout heaven. Jesus could easily have said, “from…heaven,” but He didn’t. He said, “from the ends of heaven.” Jesus gives two fascinating insights here. First, the Christians that have died are in heaven. They aren’t set off to the side, wait for the rapture. They are scattered throughout heaven – to the ends of heaven.
My second point is this: By the nature of God and by the implication of these words of Jesus, the dead in Christ are alive and active in heaven. Jesus said, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Mark 12:27) Work is important to God, so those who have finished their race should expect to carry out His assignments in heaven.
By what Jesus says, there’s no such thing as “soul sleep” or a waystation for the dead in Christ. When a Christian dies, they enter heaven. As the apostle Paul wrote:
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”2 Corinthians 5:6–8
And where is Jesus? Here’s what Jesus said, “But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” (Luke 22:69) So, Jesus is at the right hand of the “power of God.” And we know where Jesus was standing Stephen was martyr. Stephen said while being stoned to death:
“Look,“ he said, ”I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”Acts 7:56
So here is the good news: Our deceased family and friends that were followers of Jesus are alive today, with Jesus, and are somewhere in heaven, perhaps scattered to the ends of heaven. When it’s time for you or me to pass, we will immediately be with Jesus. And our saved loved ones will be in heaven too. But for them, we may have to do some searching because they may be at the ends of heaven! Therefore, be of good courage and be ready for a fun adventure!
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