My Husband and son love watching “Storage Wars”. From observing them I can tell that they like all of the different personalities on that show, but Darrell is one of their favorites. His favorite catch phrase is , “This is the WOW factor, baby!”
While we were still laying in bed this morning my husband asked me, “Why do we believe in the sovereignty of God?” and then we went on to have a discussion about God, heaven, and faith. The conversation turned towards the two politicians who’s 51 year old daughters both died yesterday. My husband said that in the one daughter’s obituary it had said that she went to heaven to be with her angel. We started discussing people’s beliefs about heaven and angels, and realized a lot of people in our life believe in the traditions that have been passed down. An example of this is a friend of mine who recently said that when she dies, “she will go to heaven and get her wings.”‘ My husband said, “I can’t think of anything in scripture that supports that, can you?” I said, “No. The only thing that comes to mind is how the angels carried Lazarus to heaven to be with Abraham…”
“There was a rich man who wore expensive clothes. Every day was like a party to him. There was also a beggar named Lazarus who was regularly brought to the gate of the rich man’s house. Lazarus would have eaten any scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Lazarus was covered with sores, and dogs would lick them. “One day the beggar died, and the angels carried him to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. He went to hell, where he was constantly tortured. As he looked up, in the distance he saw Abraham and Lazarus. He yelled, ‘Father Abraham! Have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool off my tongue. I am suffering in this fire.’ “Abraham replied, ‘Remember, my child, that you had a life filled with good times, while Lazarus’ life was filled with misery. Now he has peace here, while you suffer. Besides, a wide area separates us. People couldn’t cross it in either direction even if they wanted to.’ “The rich man responded, ‘Then I ask you, Father, to send Lazarus back to my father’s home. I have five brothers. He can warn them so that they won’t end up in this place of torture.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses’ [Teachings] and the Prophets. Your brothers should listen to them!’ “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! If someone comes back to them from the dead, they will turn to God and change the way they think and act.’ “Abraham answered him, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses’ [Teachings] and the Prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone comes back to life.'”Luke 16:20-31
I then mentioned, “Most people seem to have this mystical hazy infantile view of heaven, and they miss that God’s own word says that we don’t go to heaven and become angels, rather the angels take us to heaven to be with Abraham. Most people miss the WOW factor! God says the angels take us to heaven to be with Abraham!!! Abraham lived thousands of years ago and yet we will be with him in Heaven.
You mean we don’t go to heaven and get our wings? You mean we don’t turn into an angel when we get to heaven. You mean we won’t sit around on clouds all day flapping our wings and playing harps?
Only if you can find it in scripture will I believe it. (“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark 7:8)
Did you catch the hint of the other WOW factor tucked in at the end of Luke Chaper 16? ‘If they won’t listen to Moses’ [Teachings] and the Prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone comes back to life.'” Could that be a hint of Jesus’ own life, death, and resurrection?
How can you believe in one WOW factor if you don’t believe in the other???
Jesus, in Ephesians 4 you inspired the writer to write, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. ” It is my experience that a lot of people are believing cunning and crafty teachings that lead us away from the truth, away from heaven. Turn us and keep us ever on the right path. We can’t do it without you leading the way there. Thank you for the reality of such a place. Amen.