Elisha stood, wide-eyed with shock and surprise, watching as his mentor, Elijah, was carried into the atmosphere and beyond, riding on a celestial “chariot of fire,” whisked “into heaven in the whirlwind” (2 Kings 2:11).
The first-century disciples saw a similar display of God’s majesty. The crucified and resurrected Savior “was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
The Apostle Paul was given “extraordinary revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7) when he was “caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a human being is not allowed to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:4).
While exiled on Patmos, the aged Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, was given a glimpse of our eternal destiny. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet… When I turned I saw … one like the Son of Man, dressed in a robe and with a golden sash wrapped around his chest. The hair of his head was white as wool—white as snow—and his eyes like a fiery flame… His face was shining like the sun at full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man” (Revelation 1:10–19).
“Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He said, ‘Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ ” (Acts 7:55-56). Surely, he heard the Master’s voice ringing out, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).
(The New Testament’s first martyr saw Jesus “standing at the right hand of God.” Elsewhere in Scripture, the glorified Jesus is always seated (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). Did Jesus stand respectfully in honor of Stephen’s ultimate sacrifice?)
Like Elijah, Paul, John, Stephen and others, Isaiah was given a glimpse of God’s glorious royal chambers. He saw then what we will see when…
Isaiah’s vision occurred while the nation of Judah was mourning the death of Uzziah, the great, great… great grandson of David, a king who had reigned for fifty-two years (2 Chronicles 26:3). The collective anxiety of the nation was extraordinary. Uzziah had led the nation to prosperity and security. Suddenly, Uzziah was gone.
While Judah groaned and moaned, Heaven was alive with the resounding melody of enumerable worshippers singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies” (Isaiah 6:3). Heaven doesn’t grieve. Heaven doesn’t worry. Heaven is a place of perfect gladness, a place of uninterrupted security, a place where the ever-living King reigns!
The young prophet “saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne” (Isaiah 6:1). Adam and Eve once walked with Him in the splendor of the Garden (Genesis 3:8). Someday soon, we’ll be welcomed into His presence. “Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more” (Revelation 21:4), “and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him” (Revelation 22:3).
Though we’ve not yet been physically escorted into the glorious presence of King Jesus, the truth written in His Living Word should lead us to cry out “Woe is me!” (Isaiah 6:5) and “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Sinful and ashamed, we’ve been rescued, redeemed, and restored to perfect union. That’s grace!