Featured Articles
« Back
PURE IN HEART
by Dr. Andrea MacVicar
An email question from Kathy: "I wondered if someone who is not pure in heart as it says in Matt. and they die will they suddenly become pure in heart when they reach heaven or if they are not pure in heart when they die will they be in a place in heaven where they won't be able to ever see God but be happy to be in heaven [?]."

Oh, Kathy! When I first read your email I had many thoughts coming to me from different directions. I thought about forgiveness through Christ-the-God-man, Emanuel, with us by faith. First, there were those who saw him when he walked the earth, although at that time most did not recognize him as God. Second, there were over five hundred witnesses who saw him after his resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:6. They touched him, ate with him, conversed with him, and he taught them. Then we have Saint John on the Isle of Patmos as a scribe writing the book of Revelation which gives us a glimpse of what heaven is like: the throne of God, the light, the city that is a cube 1500 miles wide, deep, broad, and high (think about halfway the width of the US from one coast to another as only one dimension of the cube), Revelation 21:15-17. I thought about the Bema Seat (the place of mercy), the White Throne Judgment (for those who reject God), and the contrast between the results of one appearing in front of either: eternally being in heaven with God versus being eternally separated from God. I thought about the Sermon on the Mount (the Beatitudes) which Jesus preached to the Jews before his crucifixion and what he preached/taught/revealed by the Holy Spirit from Pentecost to the world through his body even today—the living church.

And now, I'll try to narrow my answer down a bit by looking at the specific scripture I think you are asking about. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God," Matthew 5:8. (NAS)

I believe there is a difference between heart-pure and heart-perfect. Heart-pure comes out of desire. According to my understanding, the scriptures emphasize that it is our motives or our intentions as being the most important, since we are seen as perfect through redemption. Out of our hearts our actions speak, and "the greatest of these is love,"1 Corinthians 13:13. Purity is about intention. The "pure in heart" desires to please God by responding to the Holy Spirit to make him/her "ready" to follow (do) the Lord's will out of love, because his love in salvation came to us (me) first. It is not by a works' thing (religious rituals or by trying to be a good person), but a desire (intention) to be like Christ in every way, Luke 6:45; Matthew 12:34. The only perfect heart is Tri-une God's. However, we being, both singular and multiple, fitted together into the body (living church) and operating as his ambassadors on earth, are demonstrating our intimate relationship with him (or lack thereof). I accomplish this by manifesting his inner glory through me to the outside-others; therefore, I obey out of love to become more and more heart-pure which results in my being fruitful, Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:1-3. There are many metaphors, pictures, and stories in scripture about intention, i.e. David's being "a man after God's own heart," Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 13:14.

After death, I will have to stand before the Lord and give an account of what I have done for him. Of course, he already knows what every moment, thought, action, etcetera, I have lived. (He is an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God.) This future accounting is for me to think about before my death. In considering this, I know that my name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life in accepting all that Jesus Christ did for me and is still doing (interceding).

And now, to your implied question about heaven: After "they" die, if their heart is not pure, do "they" go to live eternally in a special section (neighborhood) of mansions where God does not go to visit, interact with them, or where "they" can't visit, interact, or "see" him?

I don't believe heaven is a place divided into parts like nations, cities, towns—like our world. Because, if I'm not heart-pure enough when I die, and I'm segregated to a neighborhood where my "dwelling place" is in a part of heaven without being able to see God, which to "see" means his presence, could I really be "happy?" (I don't think so.) If heaven is a place of sections, segregation or separation, then the thief next to Jesus on the cross isn't living in God's presence (seeing him), since the thief did nothing to purify his heart by living a fruitful life. (Think about aborted babies.) The reward in heaven is to be with God and never separated from him. Additional rewards for fruitfulness (obedience even unto death) grown from the roots of love isn't about living in one part of heaven being greater by seeing God, or lesser by not seeing God, but about garments, crowns, and stars. Ruling and reigning with him is about having authority, very much like the chevrons and patches in the military that designate levels of responsibility—one living-whole, holy unit of his children interacting with angels—eternally accomplishing the perfect will of God, 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 5:10.

Answering your question was an enjoyable and thought provoking experience. Thank you.

Love and blessings,

Andrea

Throne of God

11/3/16

Another question from Kathy: "Could it be that Jesus is everywhere in heaven but the throne of God [is] only for the pure in heart [?]

No, Kathy. I think you are confused about what the throne of God means. "Heaven is God's throne and earth his footstool," Isaiah 66:1. This doesn't mean God sits on a chair and puts his feet on a wooden box-like stool. A throne is a place of government, authority, and power. In the Old Testament it was a chair where a king or queen sat to deliver laws to and pronounce judgments on its nation of citizens, for instance, King David. But the throne was not the chair. For example, an earthly monarch is still a queen even when she sleeps in a bed

Where the scripture reads: "Jesus is seated at the right hand of God," it's presenting Christ as God with the same government, power, and authority—symbols in writing to us through the scriptures of their oneness, Matthew 19:28, 29. When the scriptures present the Holy Spirit, it also reveals him as one united in the God-head-Tri-une oneness—not three separate Gods, but one God, undivided. God's throne is government, authority, power (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent), filled with glory, light, sovereignty, and rulership—where he is all of his names (attributes)—inside and outside of time by his creative power throughout his universe. God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are inseparable as God's throne. Therefore, the throne of God is Jesus everywhere in heaven, because all of heaven is the throne of God.  Isaiah 9:6, 7; Matthew 28:18-20; John 10:30; 14:9-20; Revelation 1:8; 22:12.

11/7/16
Email from Kathy: "Dear Andrea, My picture of God's throne is in Revelation 4 and 5. Thanks for your insite. I will study it out. Love Kathy."

I'm glad you used the word "picture."  Being "in the Spirit," Saint John on the Isle of Patmos describes what he is seeing; he often uses the word "like." He did not live in modern times. Approximately two thousand years ago (give or take within a hundred years), John pens, describing in terms he understands as to what the Holy Spirit dictates through him, what will transpire in the future—both for Israel and also for the world. He did not know about Television, Ipads, Smartphones, Texting, the Helix in one's body with 3 billion genomes, the election of presidents in democratic, capitalistic, nations-societies, seeing germs under microscopes, and on and on. John could not have possibly envisioned Einstein's E=mc squared, time-light-space-continuum. If John had described in technological and scientific nomenclature what we know today, the book of Revelation would have been destroyed as heretical—written by an imposter-stir-crazy-demon-possessed man.

In reading Revelation 4 and 5, I believe the context of what Pneuma (breath of God) presented through John to us is the continuing power, rulership, sovereignty, and culmination of what God intends for his people. Within John's describing what he saw, is the certainty of God's inside and outside of time, perfect determination to have a relationship with those 24 elders in garments of authority and us, bound together with them—then, now, and into future events.

In describing God ("He who sits…"), John uses a lot of vivid words for what he sees: Jasper stone, sardius, rainbow, emerald, creatures with eyes, lion, flying eagle, sea of glass, angelic beings, etcetera—very sci-fi graphics for today's technological-movie-world.  Yet, the essence of what John sees is summed up in verse 4:11 (using NAS here), "Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created." And in 5:12, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And of course, when all is fulfilled, the promises in Revelation will be experienced and understood by us.

It is a historical fact that the decision to include Revelation into Canon, the 66 books we know as the Bible, was hotly debated-contested. And ever since, its contents have been debated and discussed for centuries. As each century and its world' events have passed, these discussions-conjectures on heaven, the end-times-what-is-to-be (eschatology), are reevaluated to fit current circumstances. The wonderful thing about reading Revelation for the believer and non-believer alike, whether or not it's applied to correct interpretation, is the affirmation: God is in control!

Love you, too.

Andrea