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    Chapter 8—Face-to-Face at Last

    A New View of Heaven—What a source of joy to the disciples to know that they had such a Friend in heaven to plead in their behalf! Through the visible ascension of Christ all their views and contemplation of heaven are changed. Their minds had formerly dwelt upon it as a region of unlimited space, tenanted by spirits without substance. Now heaven was connected with the thought of Jesus, whom they had loved and reverenced above all others, with whom they had conversed and journeyed, whom they had handled, even in His resurrected body, who had spoken hope and comfort to their hearts, and who, while the words were upon His lips, had been taken up before their eyes, the tones of His voice coming back to them as the cloudy chariot of angels received Him: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”Hvn 67.1

    Heaven could no longer appear to them as an indefinite, incomprehensible space, filled with intangible spirits. They now looked upon it as their future home, where mansions were being prepared for them by their loving Redeemer. Prayer was clothed with a new interest, since it was a communion with their Saviour. With new and thrilling emotions and a firm confidence that their prayer would be answered, they gathered in the upper chamber to offer their petitions and to claim the promise of the Saviour, who had said, “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” They prayed in the name of Jesus.Hvn 68.1

    They had a gospel to preach—Christ in human form, a man of sorrows; Christ in humiliation, taken by wicked hands and crucified; Christ resurrected, and ascended to heaven, into the presence of God, to be man's Advocate; Christ to come again with power and great glory in the clouds of heaven.—The Spirit of Prophecy 3:262, 263 quoted in The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1054.Hvn 68.2

    This Same Jesus—Christ had ascended to heaven in the form of humanity. The disciples had beheld the cloud receive Him. The same Jesus who had walked and talked and prayed with them; who had broken bread with them; who had been with them in their boats on the lake; and who had that very day toiled with them up the ascent of Olivet—the same Jesus had now gone to share His Father's throne. And the angels had assured them that the very One whom they had seen go up into heaven, would come again even as He had ascended. He will come “with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.”Hvn 68.3

    “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise.” “The Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.” Revelation 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Matthew 25:31. Thus will be fulfilled the Lord's own promise to His disciples: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3. Well might the disciples rejoice in the hope of their Lord's return.—The Desire of Ages, 832.Hvn 68.4

    The disciples were still looking earnestly toward heaven when, “behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10, 11.Hvn 69.1

    The promise of Christ's second coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who here below give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end,” would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom.—The Acts of the Apostles, 33.Hvn 69.2

    We Shall See Him As He Is—When the children of God shall have put on immortality, they will “see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. They will stand before the throne, accepted in the Beloved. All their sins have been blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory of the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ in His sufferings, they have been workers together with Him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with Him in the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of God, there to praise God through all eternity.—Testimonies for the Church 9:285.Hvn 69.3

    “If any man's work abide ... he shall receive a reward.” Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers are gathered about the throne of God and the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when mortal shall have put on immortality, the ransomed ones are like Jesus, for they see Him as He is. They stand before the throne, signifying that they are accepted. All their sins are blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory from the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ of His sufferings, they have been workers together with Him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with Him in the joy of beholding souls saved through their instrumentality to praise God through all eternity.—Testimonies for the Church 5:467.Hvn 70.1

    Heaven's King—When Christ came to this earth the first time, He came in lowliness and obscurity, and His life here was one of suffering and poverty.... At His second coming all will be changed. Not as a prisoner surrounded by a rabble will men see Him, but as heaven's King. Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and in the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful, triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. In the place of a crown of thorns, He will wear a crown of glory—a crown within a crown. In the place of that old purple robe, He will be clothed in a garment of whitest white, “so as no fuller on earth can white” (Mark 9:3) it. And on His vesture and on His thigh a name will be written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”—The Review and Herald, November 13, 1913 quoted in God's Amazing Grace, 358.Hvn 70.2

    Received in His Joy—The very One who gave His precious life for them, who by His grace moved their hearts to repentance, who awakened them to their need of repentance, receives them now into His joy. Oh, how they love Him! The realization of their hope is infinitely greater than their expectation. Their joy is complete, and they take their glittering crowns and cast them at their Redeemer's feet.—RH June 18, 1901 quoted in Counsels on Stewardship, 349.Hvn 71.1

    Destiny Fixed at Second Coming—No literal devil, and probation after the coming of Christ, are fast becoming popular fables. The Scriptures plainly declare that every person's destiny is forever fixed at the coming of the Lord. Revelation 22:11, 12: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”—Testimonies for the Church 1:342, 343.Hvn 71.2

    A Tie Never to Be Broken—By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.”Hvn 72.1

    God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11.Hvn 72.2

    In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.—The Desire of Ages, 25, 26.Hvn 72.3

    One With the Race He Has Redeemed.—“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is “not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11); He is our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father's throne, and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed—the Son of man. And all this that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.—Steps to Christ, 14.Hvn 73.1

    Ransomed Host Christ's Chief Glory—In the intercessory prayer of Jesus with His Father, He claimed that He had fulfilled the conditions which made it obligatory upon the Father to fulfill His part of the contract made in heaven, with regard to fallen man.... He declares Himself glorified in those who believe on Him. The church, in His name, is to carry to glorious perfection the work which He has commenced; and when that church shall be finally ransomed in the Paradise of God, He will look upon the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Through all eternity the ransomed host will be His chief glory.—The Spirit of Prophecy 3:260, 261 quoted in Sons and Daughters of God, 296.Hvn 73.2

    Will Bear Humanity Throughout Eternity—Christ ascended to heaven, bearing a sanctified, holy humanity. He took this humanity with Him into the heavenly courts, and through the eternal ages He will bear it, as the One who has redeemed every human being in the city of God, the One who has pleaded before the Father, “I have graven them upon the palms of my hands.” The palms of His hands bear the marks of the wounds that He received. If we are wounded and bruised, if we meet with difficulties that are hard to manage, let us remember how much Christ suffered for us. Let us sit together with our brethren in heavenly places in Christ. Let us bring heaven's blessing into our hearts.Hvn 74.1

    Jesus took the nature of humanity, in order to reveal to man a pure, unselfish love, to teach us how to love one another.Hvn 74.2

    As a man Christ ascended to heaven. As a man He is the substitute and surety for humanity. As a man He liveth to make intercession for us. He is preparing a place for all who love Him. As a man He will come again with power and glory, to receive His children. And that which should cause us joy and thanksgiving is, that God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” Then we may have the assurance forever that the whole unfallen universe is interested in the grand work Jesus came to our world to accomplish, even the salvation of man.—Ms 16, 1890 quoted in The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1125, 1126.Hvn 74.3

    Christ has carried His humanity into eternity. He stands before God as the representative of our race. When we are clothed with the wedding garment of His righteousness, we become one with Him, and He says of us, “They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” His saints will behold Him in His glory, with no dimming veil between.—The Youth's Instructor, October 28, 1897 quoted in The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:925.Hvn 74.4

    Christ ascended to heaven, bearing a sanctified, holy humanity. He took this humanity with Him into the heavenly courts, and through the eternal ages He will bear it, as the One who has redeemed every human being in the city of God.—The Review and Herald, March 9, 1905 quoted in The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1054.Hvn 75.1

    Christ's Humanity Pledges God's Faithfulness—We have everything we could ask to inspire us with faith and trust in God. In earthly courts, when a king would make his greatest pledge to assure men of his truth, he gives his child as a hostage, to be redeemed on the fulfillment of his promise; and behold what a pledge of the Father's faithfulness; for when He would assure men of the immutability of His council, He gave His only-begotten Son to come to earth, to take the nature of man, not only for the brief years of life, but to retain his nature in the heavenly courts, an everlasting pledge of the faithfulness of God. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and love of God! “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1).—RH December 22, 1891 quoted in Selected Messages 1:258.Hvn 75.2

    A Marvel to the Universe—This is the mystery of godliness. That Christ should take human nature, and by a life of humiliation elevate man in the scale of moral worth with God: that He should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God, and there present His children to the Father, to have conferred upon them an honor exceeding that conferred upon the angels—this is the marvel of the heavenly universe, the mystery into which angels desire to look. This is love that melts the sinner's heart.—Ms 21, 1900 quoted in Sons and Daughters of God, 22.Hvn 75.3

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