Shakespeare, JFK, and What Happens When We Get to Heaven

A few weeks ago, my dear wife and I watched a documentary film on William Shakespeare called Last Will and Testament. It is a fascinating documentary that questions whether William Shakespeare actually wrote the plays attributed to him. The film makes a compelling argument that he didn’t and that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford is the more likely candidate.

There are no shortage of conspiracy theories being promoted today. All kinds of websites and books explore some of histories great questions, mysteries, and cover-ups and this phenomena is not likely to fade away. Just to give you one example, next week (November 22nd) marks the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and lots of people are still questioning the official story of what happened on that fateful day in Dallas.

I used think that when we get to heaven, I would be able to ask God about questions like these, knowing that every question would be answered perfectly. In my mind, it would be a conversation that would answer all my burning questions and put them to rest once and for all. I no longer think this way. It’s not that I don’t think we will ask God questions, it’s just that our perspective will be totally different.

Consider what happened when the prophet Isaiah encountered the living God (Isaiah 6:1-7). As Isaiah explains it, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Then he saw angels worshipping and praising God crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” By this point in time, Isaiah was totally ruined. He had encountered God in all His glory and he immediately recognized his own sinfulness. His response says it all: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” What happened here is that the finite had encountered the Infinite. The sinful had encountered the Holy. This can only work to ruin a man because he is exposed for who he truly is. Our only hope is if God Himself provides atonement, which is exactly what happened. “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: Behold this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” For Isaiah, this proved to be a life changing encounter that would shape him for the rest of his life and ministry.

When we get to heaven, asking the burning questions of our heart will not be priority for us. No, when we get to heaven there will be a wondrous sense of awe and rejoicing over the glory of God. There will also be a sense of wonder “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) and provided the way of atonement for a people undeserving of such grace. As Christians, we have that sense of gratitude and thankfulness and awe in the here and now, but in eternity, that will be multiplied many times over.

If you are anything like me, mysteries can be intriguing, fascinating, frustrating, and even consuming. But when we come to the end of time, the value that we attach to these things and many other things will certainly fade away. The consuming passion and desire of our hearts will be God, and God alone. As the Bible tells us, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when it appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” As far as I’m concerned, that day can’t come soon enough!

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