By Don Ruhl
Pleasant Sounds of Earth
The first time your baby said a word brought you more pleasure than you ever imagined. When a boy hears that a girl is interested in him or vice versa, delight fills the heart. When your children greet you with great enthusiasm, you feel like the most special person on Earth.
There are also pleasant sounds of heaven.
Matthew 25 reveals that words of approval will be uttered to Christians. Are there not people whose approval you seek? If they approve of what you have done, then that is reward enough. Jesus uses a parable to explain that He is like a man who travels to a far country. Before He leaves, He gives His servants money with which to trade. Two of the three work to make more for their Lord. The third did nothing with what he was given. This represents Jesus giving things to us, and He expects us to work hard, making something of what He has given to us. These are spiritual things that we do for Him.
Finally, the man (or Jesus) returns and He wants to know what His servants have done. When He learns what the first two did, here is what He said to them in verse 21, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt 25.21). Verse 23 says virtually the same words.
Another way of saying these things is stated in the next thing He says, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25.31–34).
Imagine being at the Judgment and you finally see Him whom you have been serving all these years. That would be excitement enough! Then He turns His attention to you and begins a conversation. The two of you talk about the life that you lived on this earth. When He sees how you lived for Him, He commends you and invites you into heaven! Can you think of a greater sigh of relief?
Second Corinthians 12 is Paul’s account of the time that he was caught up to the third heaven, or Paradise. What happened when he got there? What did he see, or what did he hear? We do not know what happened, and we do not know what he saw. However, we know that he heard something, but we do not know what it was, “…how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2Co 12.4).
Revelation 10 shows that Paul was not the only one who heard things that he was not to pass along. In the first chapter, when John saw the glorified Christ, the apostle was given these instructions by the Lord, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…’” (Rev 1.11). As you read, you discover that this included writing down what he heard. After every scene he is given time to write down what he saw and heard. Then in verses 3 and 4, John tells about a mighty angel, saying that he, “cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them’” (Rev 10.3–4). If John was not to write down their words, then why did this incident even happen? The Book of Revelation is a book of revealing, but it does not reveal all things. God wants us to see that He is working behind the scenes, but it is not necessary for us to know all things.
Hopefully, when we finally reside in heaven, we will learn what Paul and John heard. Did God reveal when the time of the end is? Did God reveal future events of the church? Did God reveal how each man was to die? We can only guess. Knowing that at least two men were allowed to hear these words, gives us hope that we shall hear them someday.
Luke 15.4–10 teaches that when you were converted from your worldliness, either when you became a Christian, or when you were restored, there was a great deal of activity in heaven, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15.4–10). All of heaven noticed when you were converted!
Matthew 10.32 shows that your name is uttered in heaven by Jesus Christ! This may also be the reason the angels are rejoicing, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10.32). Are you not thrilled at the idea that whenever you confess Christ your name is said in heaven? This is the idea of acceptance again.
Sounds In Revelation
Revelation 4.8 combined with Isaiah 6.3–4. There is a sound being made in heaven even as you read this article. This sound of heaven is so significant that heaven shudders when the sound is made. What sound, or what words, could do this to heaven? “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!’” (Rev 4.8). I first became interested in this passage when I preached on Isaiah 6.3–4 many years ago, “And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isa 6.3–4). From what John says in Revelation 4.8, this announcement about the holiness of God never ceases. Which means that it is going on right now, and it will be going on when we get there. I want to hear it, and I want my soul to tremble as the posts of the door did.
Revelation 5.11–12 pictures a crowd so large it is probably impossible for us to see it even in our mind’s eye, “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!’” (Rev 5.11–12). This reading is so impressive because of the number of beings involved. There were four living creatures (according to chapter 4); Twenty-four elders (also found in chapter 4); and at first John says many angels. He specifies the number a little bit more when he says the angels numbered 10,000 x 10,000, and thousands of thousands. How much is 10,000 x 10,000? 100,000,000! Plus John says there were 1,000s of 1,000s. A 1,000 1,000 would be 1,000,000. However, John said there were 1,000s of 1,000s. It is easiest to say there were 100,000,000 plus. The sound increases each time. Now hear in your mind’s ear the great number in verse 11 saying the words of verse 12 with a loud voice, and they are saying it before the throne of God. That is, the motivation and excitement is even greater.
Do you not want to go to heaven just to be able to hear these two sounds of heaven we have seen in The Book of Revelation?
Have you ever read Zephaniah 3.17? Before I read it, I want you to think about some singers you admire. God has created man with the wonderful ability to express himself in song. Singers can say things that really relate to us, and entertain us. They can amaze us with their abilities. Keep in mind though, that any singer you admire is merely a creation. Even as God created us with the ability to love, but His love is greater; and even as God created us with the ability to know things, but His knowledge is greater; so, God created us with the ability to sing, but His singing is greater! “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph 3.17). What does God, as a Singer, sound like? Steve Lloyd answered that question, “Very good,” in a purposely understated tone. I am persuaded that once we hear the singing voice of God, and the words that He utters, and the emotions that are behind them, that we will realize no metaphor exists to picture His singing ability. We often think about ourselves singing in heaven, but now be thrilled at the prospect of hearing God sing!
Hebrews 2.11–12 informs us that there is Someone else whose singing we will hear. I do not know if what we are about to see means that in the spirit Jesus sings with us now, or if when we get to heaven Jesus will sing, but He will be among us when He does so, ”For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You’” (Heb 2.11–12). We have been reading about Him, hearing about Him, singing about Him, praying to the Father in the name of Jesus, and the day is coming when we shall hear Him sing, right in our midst!
Have I Missed Any Sounds of Heaven?
You know that I did not cover everything the Bible says that can be heard in heaven. I would like to know the sounds of heaven that you are eager to hear. Tell me.
Unpleasant Sounds of Earth
In my introduction, we thought about some of the pleasant sounds of earth. There are also some sounds on the earth we do not want to hear. The doctor telling us that we have an incurable disease. A police officer coming to our door and saying that our child has been killed in a car wreck. A spouse who thought that everything was good in the marriage, suddenly being served divorce papers.
Likewise, There Are Some Sounds from Heaven that No One Wants to Hear
Matthew 25.26–30 and 41 Jesus tells us ahead of time what He is going to say to some people. Those described here are Christians who did not exercise their Christianity.
To Christians who did not help their fellow Christians and did not make use of the spiritual talents given to them, the Lord says, “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matt 25.26–30). “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matt 25.41).
Which do you want to hear: The pleasant sounds of heaven or the unpleasant sounds of heaven? Let us end this article with your answer that you want to hear the pleasant sounds of heaven.