Visions of Heaven
The Bible tells us that the future home of the people of God is the third heaven´.1 It is an actual place, and in this place there is a city, the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is not a figure of speech, a concept expressed in a way people can understand: the Bible tells us it is a real city with a real foundation which God Himself laid.
The book of Revelation describes the New Jerusalem in this way:
And he [one of the seven angels] carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its walls and it was 144 cubits thick, by man´s measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the firth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold like transparent glass.´ (Revelation 21:10-12, 15-21)
Those who have been saved live in this great city, which is the home of the angels. It is the location of Paradise, and of the throne of the living God.
Why shouldn´t the New Jerusalem be a real city with streets of real gold, with jasper walls and with foundations of precious jewels? Did God so exhaust His resources when He made the universe that by the time He came to heaven He had no gold left? No, here on earth we find a streak of gold or a precious jewel hidden in the rock or in the earth. They are a shadow of true reality. True reality is to be found in the city whose builder and maker is God. The Bible tells us: the creation was subjected to frustration ´ (Romans 8:20). The gold we cherish, the jewels we love, the cities and great houses we build are only copies of the city which will one day come down from heaven.
In some of the visions they experienced the Adullam children were caught up into the city of God. How they could see the city I do not know. How Paul could be caught up to Paradise, either in the body or out of the body, I do not know. It is outside the natural order of things. At present we do not need to know how. We just need to know the facts. John was shown the city and he was told by the Lord to write down what he had seen and to send it to the churches.
In the Spirit, time after time, the Adullam children were caught up into this city it was not a dream, but a reality. Their visits were so real to them, in fact, that they supposed their souls had actually left their bodies to go to heaven, or that in some unaccountable way they had gone there, body and soul, just as in daily life they might visit a distant place. Frequently when they were in Paradise and were enjoying some of the heavenly fruit that grew there, they picked some extra to tuck in their clothes to bring back to earth for Muh Si and Si Mu´ (Pastor and Mrs Baker).
They knew they were only on a visit to heaven and would soon return. Upon returning, when the Spirit lifted from them, they proceeded at once to search their clothes for the delicious fruit they had brought back for us. When they could not find it, a look of great surprise, confusion and disappointment would come over their faces. They could not believe they had not bodily gone to heaven and come back with the fruit in their clothes.
Walking on the streets of the New Jerusalem was just as real to them as walking on the streets of a Chinese city. One day, when walking down the street in bright sunshine, I asked the boys if the visions were as real and as clear as what we saw then. Just as real,´ they said, but much clearer due to the light in heaven, and the white clothes and the fact that it was so clean everywhere, which made it all so much brighter.´
When they were in the Spirit, the children were usually lost to their natural surroundings. In many cases, although they thought they were in heaven, they talked out loud, describing what they could see, and carrying on a conversation that we could all hear. Often they acted out before our eyes what they were doing there.
The Adullam children said they went to the third heaven. As they passed through the first heaven they felt air on their faces. Having passed the second heaven, they looked back on the wonderful beauty of the stars, in much the same way as a person standing on a mountain might gaze down on a the beautiful lights of a city far away in the distance. From this starry heaven they passed on into the third heaven until they came to the heavenly Jerusalem.
As they approached the heavenly city they saw its light in the distance. Coming nearer, they saw the beautiful city wall glowing with its wonderful jasper-coloured light. The foundations were too beautiful to describe, sparkling with red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, violet, and all the other colours of the twelve most stunning jewels.
The children described the city in the sky as three cities in one: one suspended above another, with the largest at the bottom and the smallest at the top, forming a pyramid. Since the city John saw is surrounded by a wall and 1500 miles high, Bible scholars have supposed that it is not a cube but a pyramid. Of course, our children knew nothing of this, nor had I ever thought of the New Jerusalem as three cities, one suspended above another. God who suspends the worlds in space is well able to suspend these cities in space. The Bible does not give us any details about the internal order of the city.2
On one occasion one of our small boys gave a prophecy which I will describe in more detail in chapter 9. In his vision he was at the feet of the Lord. The Lord told him in this prophecy that He had made heaven big enough for everybody, that there were three cities one above another, and that at present His throne is in the upper city.
Since time and distance are nothing in the heavenly realm, there is nothing impossible in such an arrangement. There are three heavens. There were three storeys in the ark, where God kept a remnant of His creation safe. God is three in one. Why shouldn´t the city of the Great King have three parts?
Into the heavenly city
The children entered through the pearly gates into the city with its golden streets. Angels in white guarded the gates and welcomed those who entered. And what a reception it was! As the Saviour had promised, those who had been rejected and treated as outcasts in the world were welcomed as kings by these angelic beings.
Through the gates into the city! Angels, angels everywhere. Angels talking, singing, rejoicing, playing harps and blowing trumpets, dancing and praising the King. It was an incredible sight, beyond human imagination. The children were filled with joy an indescribable joy they had only ever experienced when filled with the Holy Sprit, the heavenly life of God, the down-payment of heaven´.
The children clapped their hands with delight; they shouted for joy. Sometimes they rolled on the floor in laughter, and jumped and danced in great delight. Their faces were so transformed by this heavenly joy that its glory seemed to shine on us too. There was no sorrow in this city: no mournful, long-faced religion there, no solemn, morbid hymns. This was a city full of joy, joy in the Holy Spirit´.3
Thousands and thousands of angels
Once inside the city the children discovered the meaning of the Scripture:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly ´ (Romans 12:22)
These happy angels were not only at the gates, they were everywhere. They were always ready to escort the children wherever they wanted to go. They walked with them and talked with them, explaining to them the meaning of things they did not understand, just as they had talked with the apostle John and revealed to him the mysteries of God. Often in these experiences with the angels our children were given harps and taught to play them and sing as the angels did. They were also taught how to blow the trumpets, as well as much more about the music and language of heaven.
The music and language of heaven
When we saw the children, with closed eyes, all dancing around the room in rhythm, we discovered that in their vision they were dancing with the angels in heaven and keeping time with the heavenly music. When we saw them apparently blowing a trumpet or going through the motions of playing a harp, we found that in the vision they were joining the heavenly orchestra praising the King. We could not see the heavenly harps or trumpets; we could not see the angels´ joyful dance or hear their song; we could only hear the children singing heavenly songs. It was a daily occurrence to find a child, lying comfortably on some pine needles in a corner on his own, going through the motions of playing a harp. Going up to him, we could hear him singing a new song we had never taught him. As we got nearer still, we would discover that the words were as strange to us as the tune. The singer was singing in the heavenly choir. His song was the song the angels taught him. The words of the song must have been in the language of angels. Seeing the children singing in this heavenly angelic choir was unforgettable. Sometimes several of them in some place in the heavenly city or its wonderful Paradise would decide to play and sing together. With closed eyes, while completely under the power of the Holy Spirit, three or four of them would go off by themselves. If we were nearby we would hear them consult about who would play the trumpet and who would sing. After all was decided and everybody was ready, the heavenly songs began. The trumpeters held their hands up in front of them and blew as if they were blowing trumpets. The harpists both played and sang, while those without instruments joined in the singing. In these cases they always sang in languages we did not understand, unless by mutual agreement they decided to sing one of those hymns they used to sing down on earth´. In that case they sang in Chinese.
Seeing and worshipping Jesus
The climax of all the heavenly joy and wonder was seeing Jesus´ and worshipping the One who had saved them by His blood.
Soon after entering the gates of the city the children were taken by the angels to go and see Jesus´. We could hear them talking about going to see Jesus´ and watched as in the vision they approached the throne of Christ. When they came into His wonderful presence they stood reverently gazing with love and devotion at the Lord of all creation, who was also their Saviour. First of all they thanked Him, and then clasping their hands in front of them they bowed low before Him in respect and loving adoration. Then they knelt and bowed their faces to the floor in true worship in spirit and in truth´, in a way that few on earth know unless they have experienced the baptism of God´s Holy Spirit.4
The throne of God and the throne of Christ
The children, like the apostle John, saw the throne of Christ:
there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. Before the throne seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.´ (Revelation 4:3-4, 5b)
Jesus is pre-eminent
No matter how amazed the children were by all the wonderful things they saw in the golden city, no matter how happy they were in all the fun of Paradise, no matter how full of joy in the presence of the angels, Jesus was never forgotten. His name was mentioned in every conversation; His praise was mingled in with every enjoyment; He was praised everywhere, in everything, and by everybody.
A house for everyone
On either side of the beautiful golden streets were buildings side by side, with rooms opening onto the street. There was a room for every single person in heaven. Set into the door and the front of the house were precious jewels which shone so brightly that the building radiated with light and glory. The name of each occupant was written above the door. The angels took the children to their room. In all the rooms there were the same kinds of furnishings: a beautiful golden table upon which there was a Bible, a vase, a pen and a book; by the table was a golden chair; there was also a wonderful golden chest and a golden bed. In each room there was a crown with jewels set into it, a golden harp and a trumpet. The walls were gold. From the Bible, which was made of a type of paper they had never seen on earth and bound with gold, such a brilliant light and glory shone out that they did not need any other light. The visitors were told that when they came to stay, after they had died, they could go out into Paradise and pick any flowers of their choice to put into the beautiful vase on the golden table.5
The children could go to their rooms whenever they wanted to, to read their Bibles or to play their harps and trumpets. Sometimes they took their trumpets or harps out into the streets or out into Paradise to play and sing with the angels and with the saints who had been saved by the blood of Jesus.
In these excursions through heaven the children, though lost to their real surroundings on earth, were always conscious that their visit to heaven was temporary. They knew they were there only to see what was prepared for them after death, so that they could go back to earth again and tell others. The angels and the Lord told the heavenly visitors that, if they believed and obeyed, all these things would be theirs. They not only knew they must come back to earth again, but they sometimes knew when they would return.
One boy, after enjoying the glories of heaven, hung his crown and trumpet up in his room so he could have them again after he died and went to heaven to stay there for ever. He then came back to earth and the power of the Holy Spirit left him. When he opened his eyes he was in our room at Adullam telling us about this wonderful trip to heaven.
Are we to imagine that the Lord saved these boys, baptized them in the Holy Spirit, and then fooled them by showing them a figurative and mythical heaven? Impossible! Our heavenly Father shows His children what He has for them (I Corinthians 2:10), promises He will give them these things (Revelation 3:21), and then gives them the very thing He has promised (Luke 11: 9, 13).
When the children saw the heavenly rooms of their Adullam friends they clapped their hands, laughed and shouted with great joy, calling one another by name to come and see the room. In the Spirit one of the children ran along the street of the New Jerusalem, reading out the names above each door.
Old friends in heaven
On the first day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the children, and one of the boys was caught up into heaven in a vision, along with the angels who came to welcome him, were two boys from Adullam who had died the year before and were without a doubt saved. These two, Hsi Dien Fu and Djang Hsing, had with them a little girl who had died in Kotchiu four years previously, whom our children had forgotten. The two boys who had died led the Adullam children around heaven, first of all to see Jesus and worship and thank Him, and then later to their rooms and then around the city and out into Paradise to play.
Everyone who went to heaven was given white garments. The angels, also dressed in seamless garments of spotless white, had wings, but those who had been saved did not. There was a clear distinction between the two.
Later on many more of the children saw these Adullam boys who are in heaven. Heaven did not seem far away as they acted out these heavenly visions before our eyes. With closed eyes and radiant faces, they clapped their hands and shouted for joy to these boys who had died the previous year, calling them to hurry over to see some room or some golden street, some new scene among the angels, some new discovery in the garden of Paradise, or to come and play the harp and sing with them the praises of Jesus. The boys who had died were seen so often in heaven and their names were shouted with such delight and joy that they did not seem far away, just out of sight. Heaven was so real, so near, so wonderful, so certain, that if one of our children had died in those days the others would have envied him the privilege.
The step to heaven after death or at the coming of the Lord seemed so small and the coming of the Lord so near that it removed from our minds all mystery as to why the first disciples could sell their possessions and face persecution and death without wavering.
Our Kingdom does not belong to this world. Our citizenship is in heaven and it is from there that we await our Saviour. Our life, or work, our service, our hardships here are only brief and passing incidents on the way to the true life, the true city, in the true Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
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