When Heaven and Earth meet
David Taylor, Kirknewton
IN REVELATION 15.2, we have a scene in heaven, but this celestial scene may have been suggested by a scene on earth. John saw a sea of glass mingled with fire. Was he looking away to the west from his island prison as the sun was setting and casting its gold and purple rays upon the sea, making it look as if it were on fire? It must have been a strange and beautiful sight. Strange, because water and fire are opposites and cannot unite, and beautiful beyond doubt as the sun neared the horizon and its fiery rays blended perfectly with the unruffled sea. It is good to see how the earthly scene gives place to the heavenly. There is no interruption, only a smooth gliding of the one into the other. The earthly scene seems to melt away and we are left with a scene in heaven. We are not thinking at the moment about the meaning of Revelation I5, but simply looking at a picture, and we want, from this picture to suggest other pictures where heaven and earth may be said to meet.
When an earnest Christian kneels in prayer, he often starts by thanking God for a throne of grace, but soon he feels he is speaking to God face to face as Moses did long ago. He unburdens his heart in the conscious audience of the divine presence, and his humble circumstances, his room, his chair or his bed become the antechamber of heaven. Then with groanings that often cannot be uttered he makes his wants and wishes known, and for the moment heaven and earth have become united, and the restless world that wars below is shut out.
This may be also true with the breaking of bread when we gather on a Lord's Day morning to remember our Lord in His own appointed way. We hear Him say 'Take, eat; this is my body', 1 Cor. 11. 24, He does not say, this bread is the symbol of My body, but just as a man showing a picture of his father to a friend would say, 'This is my father', so our Lord say's 'This is my body'. We lose sight of the bread, and in our minds we go back to Calvary. When faith is active and appreciation keen, we lose sight of the bread and cup and see instead, the body of the crucified. The believing soul bows in humble adoration and seems for the moment to be part of that countless multitude on high who tune their songs to Jesus' name. Earth again has melted into heaven in the praise and worship of the One who is the glory of Immanuel's land.
Again in the inspiration of Scripture we find that the human writer seems to have lost his identity in the things he writes. 2 Peter 1. 21 tells us that holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit. Moved, or carried along in thought, and expression, beyond their full control. In this way the human and the divine were knit together, and we recognize that the writings of these men were the writings of the Holy Spirit. In Psalm 45. 1 the psalmist said that his tongue was the pen of a ready writer. The ready writer was the Holy Spirit, and the psalmist's tongue His pen, which he used to write the oracles of God, and divine truths for the salvation and blessing of the sons of men. The divine and the human, the heavenly and the earthly were lmited in one.
At the end of a Christian life something like this may happen again,for the days will come when pleasure has lost its charm, the keepers of the house tremble, the doors are shut in the street and the head is bending low. The eye grows dim, and only the eye of faith is keen. Words of prayer and praise are ever present in the godly mind. Earthly scenes recede and heaven becomes nearer than before, till the sun sets for its last time, and its golden rays become like the dawn of everlasting day, and gild the bed of death with light.