The Heaven Effect

The Heaven Effect: Book Excerpt

David CerulloBy David Cerullo15 Minutes

Excerpt from The Heaven Effect by David Cerullo

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

Mirroring the Culture of Heaven

Jesus said “on earth as it is in heaven” should be the passion of our prayers and of our entire lives on earth (Matthew 6:10). But instead of just being a nice-sounding phrase or motto, we need to ask ourselves, “What does the culture of Heaven really look like?”

You’ve probably heard the accusation that a person can be “so heavenly minded that they’re of no earthly good.” However, anyone who isn’t making the earth a better place is unlikely to be in touch with Heaven either. Why? Because the more we understand the culture of Heaven, the more we will yearn to bring more of it to the lives of people on earth.

While entire books have been written to describe what the Bible says about Heaven, let’s just review a few highlights…

All Things Made New

In Revelation 21:1-5, John writes about what things will be like in the “new heaven” and “new earth”:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

Note these awesome features of our life in eternity:

We will dwell personally with God, and He will dwell with us.

He will wipe away all tears.

There will be no more pain, sorrow, crying, or death.

The former things will have passed away, and our Lord will “make ALL things new.” To emphasize the certainty of this outcome, God reminds us that He sits on the throne of the universe and His words are always true and faithful.

What does it really mean to “make all things new”? As John describes the scene in the next chapter, the new things look a lot like the old things before sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. It’s as if God presses the RESET or REBOOT button and restores settings to His original intention for humankind:

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 

And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).

In eternity, the curse brought upon humankind by our disobedience (Genesis 3) will be removed. Once again, we will have full access to the water of life and tree of life – and the leaves of that tree will bring us healing.

Instead of just seeing “in a mirror, dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), we will see God face to face and take His name as His bride. No longer will we live in the darkness, for He will be our light. And, once again, we will reign over the earth under the sovereign authority of our Father.

Notice that “on earth as it is in heaven” looks a lot like the beautiful scene in the Garden of Eden before it was corrupted by human disobedience. The CURSE has been REVERSED!

Other Characteristics of Heaven

Gratitude and Worship

The atmosphere of Heaven is an atmosphere of worship, flowing from gratitude by the saints, angels, and all of God’s creation. It’s a fulfillment of the final verse in the book of Psalms, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).

The book of Revelation gives us a number of glimpses into the majestic heavenly scene:

The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:8-11).

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever (Revelation 5:11-14).

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 7:10-12).

They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested” (Revelation 15:3-4).

Jesus in the Center

When John was given a glimpse into Heaven, he saw Jesus, the Lamb of God, in the very middle of everything else:

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders (Revelation 5:6 NIV).

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:17 NIV).

If your life, your family, and your church are truly reflecting the culture of Heaven, Jesus will be in the very center. Anything else that takes center stage is an idol, hindering you from an intimate relationship with your Savior.

You’ve probably met many people who seem to be the center of their own universe. But there won’t be any room for that in Heaven:

There’s a throne in the center of Heaven…but YOU aren’t the one sitting on it!

There’s plenty of worship in Heaven…but YOU aren’t the one being worshiped!

There’s One in Heaven who created all things and is worthy to receive glory and honor and power…but those descriptions aren’t referring to YOU!

Yes, God has called us to be His beloved sons and daughters, but there’s still a major difference between the Creator (God) and the creatures (us). He’s the One in the center of the universe, and we’re not!

Satan Defeated, Christ Reigning

The Bible teaches that although the devil was defeated at the cross, believers must now apply “the blood of the Lamb and…the word of their testimony” in order to overcome him in our daily lives (Revelation 12:11). When Christ returns, Satan will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit, unable to deceive us again (Revelation 20:1-3).

In contrast to the devil, who will suffer eternal defeat and humiliation, Christ will reign in eternal victory and exaltation. This is seen throughout the book of Revelation, and it’s a major theme of what John witnessed:

Revelation 1:4-6: Jesus Christ is described as already being “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.” Not only is He already reigning, but He “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.”

Revelation 11:15: A coming day is described when the angels of Heaven will declare, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Then in verses 16-17, the 24 elders join in this worshipful victory anthem: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.”

Revelation 19:6-7: The “marriage of the Lamb” is described as a great victory celebration: “I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’”

So, what does this heavenly revelation mean for us today? How will it change our lives to know that Satan will ultimately be defeated and our God will have total victory? There are two practical answers:

As we pray the “on earth as it is in heaven” prayer, we need to have a clear picture of our Lord sitting victoriously on Heaven’s throne. Even before Christ’s return, we should be praying for His sovereignty to expand and for His enemies to increasingly be made a footstool for His feet (Hebrews 1:13).

In this life, some tribulation is unavoidable (Acts 14:22), and hope is a necessity. When we go through trials, it’s crucial to know that full victory will one day be ours.

Pause and give thanks to God for His eternal victory! No matter what you may be going through at the moment, fix your eyes on the One who sits on Heaven’s throne.

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