October 11 – Where? It’s Up!

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven..” – 2 Corinthians 12:2 (NASB)

Paul was so overwhelmed by a heavenly vision that he did not know the precise details. However, whether he was caught up bodily into heaven, or his spirit was temporarily separated from his body, was not important. This may be a passage that is rather different than most we select. But it gives us a clue about heaven and help answer the question “Where is heaven?”  It is up. Heaven is up. Paul says he was caught up into the third heaven. Jesus reminded us that when He came to earth, He descended, and when He left to go back to heaven, He ascended, (Ephesians 4:10). It’s up. He came down and went back up. The angels told the disciples that this same Jesus who is taken up from you shall so come in like manner as you’ve seen Him go (Acts 1:11). When the Lord returns He will come down from heaven and we will be caught up into heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). John was called to “Come up here and I’ll show you heaven.” (Revelation 4:1) When two witnesses during the Tribulation are killed they are resurrected and called to “Come up here” (Revelation 11:12). Heaven is up!

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 January 30 – A Done Deal 

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20:17 (ESV)

When Jesus, the morning of his resurrection surprised heartbroken Mary she did not recognize Him because she was not expecting in any way to encounter Him alive. She’s desperate to find Jesus’ dead body. Then he opens her understanding by calling her name. Probably in the way only he had ever called Mary’s name. Her reaction is to grab ahold of Jesus. Mary was expressing a desire to hold on to His physical presence likely for fear that she would once again lose Him. Jesus mentions His ascension which suggested that He would only be temporarily with them. Mary intensely wanted Him to stay, but He could not. We notice Jesus told Mary to go “to my brothers” with the news of his soon ascension. Jesus remained with them for only 40 days making appearances before his ascension. But this is the first time Jesus called them “brothers.” The Disciples had been called “slaves” or “friends”, but not “brothers,” until here. Because Jesus’ work on the cross in place of the sinner, was completed, this new family relationship to Christ was possible. Now all that had be promised to those chosen by the Father was a done deal.

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