Life has been hectic since my return from vacation. As most of you know, I spent one week in Moscow, Russia and one week in Oslo, Norway. I was planning on writing a post about my trip, but as I started writing, I realized it was getting way too long. So please be patient, I will make a special page about my trip, along with pictures.

My trip was amazing from start to finish. I stayed with friends in both countries and met many amazing people. I didn’t buy many souvenirs, but the ones I did get will be well used: a special spice from Russia for my coffee, and a huge Norwegian mug with a moose engraved on it to drink my coffee in! I had the privilege of experiencing two completely different worlds, cultures, and perspectives. I was enthralled by the art, architecture, and nature, and truthfully—I was quite spoiled by my friends.

I could go on and on… but this morning as I thought about it all, my heart was directed towards spiritual matters. Well, duh! After all, this is New Year’s Eve in Israel. Well, to be specific, the New Year for the civil year in Israel. Actually, this is the Eve of the Feast of Trumpets, literally, Yom Teruah—a day of “blasting” or blowing the trumpet loudly with short staccato sounds. A loud call, a call that cannot be missed.

As I’ve shared in other posts (2011 and 2012), this holiday is without explanation in the Bible. Something quite unusual. However, at the sounding of the trumpets, the people are to gather, and it is to be a solemn gathering. I never tire of thinking about this. Why? Because for many of us here in Israel, this holiday is associated the rapture—the taking up of all believers in Jesus before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth.

That should be reason enough for a solemn assembly. This supernatural intervention of God to spare His own means judgment on all those who have rejected Him and His ways.

As I considered this, I realized that my small mind cannot come close to being able to comprehend eternity with God and the goodness that will be there. Absolutely no sin and nothing tainted by sin. Quite beyond my comprehension—truly another world—not just different but new.

Russia is different but I can comprehend much that I saw and learned. Norway is different as well. Both of these nations are different worlds and there was much that I found difficult to understand, but I could see the results and comprehend what I was seeing. But eternity? Heaven? The new heavens and the new earth of revelation?

My imagination falls short. I can meditate upon it, I can think about what will and won’t be there. But if I were to try and draw a picture, no colors could match the brightness and light of heaven. As I try to write, my words fumble for an adequate explanation. Glory, holy, amazing, eternal… all these words fall short of coming close to the reality.

As I thought about this, I realized that my understanding of God’s salvation was the same. I have a little understanding, but I don’t fully comprehend what God has done for me. The life of Jesus, the cross, His shed blood, His resurrection, His ascension, and His soon return.

I spent the morning rereading the book of Ephesians and was reminded, God does not ask me to understand, He asks me to believe and accept. And Paul doesn’t pray for me to comprehend the fine points to understand what God has done. Rather, He prays that I would know Jesus (1:18), that I would be strengthened with power through His spirit (3:16), and have strength to comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge (3:17–18).

That love has and is changing me. That love is my hope and promise, and that love is going to one day bring me to a wonderful new world beyond comprehension. Longing for that day, that world, and that home keeps me waiting to hear the trumpet call.

“Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17 ESV

May this be your hope as well in the coming year—Shana Tova.

The New Heaven and the New Earth

The New Heaven and the New Earth