Will Heaven’s Joy Be Diminished By What Happens On Earth And In Hell?
He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.
–2 Thessalonians 1:10
How could you ever enjoy Heaven if you knew your loved one was in Hell and being tormented forever? How could that be Heaven for anyone?
Some people have answered that question by saying, “God will purge our memories in Heaven.” People who believe that point to Isaiah 65:17, which says, “I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.” Yet in the context of that passage, God was talking about His mind, and the former things He was referring to are the former sins of Israel. In other words, in the New Heaven and Earth, God will not remember the sins of His people. We find that throughout Scripture: whenever God forgives, He remembers our sins no more. That does not mean He develops a case of divine amnesia. It means He will not hold us accountable for our sins. When you forgive somebody, you make a choice not to hold their sin against them any longer. That is what God means when He says He will remember the former things no more. God does not do a memory wipe when we get to Heaven. In fact, Scripture argues to the contrary. Our life is a continuum. We will remember the things on Earth, and our relationships will continue in Heaven.
Some people say, “We will be so caught up with the joys in Heaven that we will not be aware of what is happening in Hell.” We see that phenomenon in our life every day. For example, there are millions of starving children in the world right now. But I bet that does not keep you from enjoying a meal today. Is it possible that when we get to Heaven we will be so preoccupied with the joys of Heaven we will not be aware of what is happening in Hell?
Some people say, “When we become like Jesus, we will weep over those in Hell like Jesus wept over the unsaved in Jerusalem.” That was when Jesus was on earth, but all Scripture indicates Jesus is not weeping in Heaven right now. He is not experiencing anything except unending joy in Heaven. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus suffered on earth so that He could experience joy in Heaven, and the same thing is true of us.
In Heaven, we will fully understand the plan and the justice of God. That is how we will handle the suffering in Hell. When we see Jesus dealing out retribution to those who have not accepted the gospel, Christ the judge will “be marveled at among all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10). When we see Jesus in all of His glory, we will understand His holiness and His retribution against those who refuse to accept the gospel. Nothing that happens on earth or in Hell will diminish in the slightest degree the unending joy God has planned for us in Heaven.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Do People In Heaven Know What Is Happening On Earth?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)