In Psalm 139:7-8, we read: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths of hell you are there.” And in Matthew (5:3-4, 8) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Don’t be downcast. Look up. Can you imagine that the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31)?
This is something that no one could imagine (from scratch), just as no one could imagine that the Son of Man-Son of God would come to shed his blood for those the Father had given Him before the creation of the world, namely, his ”elect.”
Now imagine yourself looking up into the heavens again. You see scrolling clearly across the sky the words: Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see…the words are going fuzzy….they will see….they will see what…I can’t make it out…ah, now I see….what is that! Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see the…… bottomless pit. The bottomless pit!
Can that be right? Can it be true that when I look up to God in the heavens I see hell staring back at me? Another strange thing: why should such a thing happen to someone who is pure in heart? Haven’t we just read that the meek, the contrite, the broken-hearted the pure in heart will see God? Doesn’t the psalmist say The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18) , and “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17)?
Is God telling me, as He told Satan, ”How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn”(Isaiah 14:12)? Is God telling me that because I am not pure in heart, I am only able to see Satan? Is God angry with me because I said in my heart as Lucifer had said before the creation of the worlds: “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High?” (Isaiah 14:13-14)
No, this can’t be so, because would Satan say: “Be pure in heart and see Satan’s throne on high?” Would he say, “’blessed are those that mourn, are meek and broken-hearted, for they will see Satan’?” Does Satan love the poor in spirit, the pure in heart? Not at all. So, what is going on? Let me repeat what I saw scrolling through the heavens: “The pure in heart will see the bottomless pit.”Is not that a lie from the abyss? Doesn’t Jesus tell us in His beatitudes that the pure in heart will see God. Yes, the beatitudes do say that the pure in heart will see God; however – and this is the point I want to make – just because the pure in heart will see God, this doesn’t mean that all they will see will be God.
Let me explain. The Word of God contains many kinds of promises. In one place, Jesus says that those who are pure in heart will see God; as in the beatitudes. But in other places He says that those who love Him with all their hearts will suffer persecutions, tribulations and sorrow; they will be tempted by Satan. Satan and his devils will never leave them alone. Satan will lash them constantly with feelings of condemnation.
Satan will say that you are unworthy of God’s mercy. He will use the world to get at you. You will look at the prosperity of the wicked and wonder why they have it so good. You’ll be hated, mocked and people will snigger when you enter their ambit. Welcome, Christian to a taste of the pit, if not bottomless. The crucial thing we need to understand is that the closer you come to Christ, the more the abyss will try to drag you down. “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming (John 14: 30). But, Jesus adds, “the prince of this world “has no hold on me”.So, fellow Christian, be of good cheer, he has no hold over you either. Jesus has overcome Satan and the world.
A few years ago, two evenings before Pentecost, I was reading the verse “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” I fell asleep and dreamed that I was in a vast empty hangar. Like the ones that house supersonic jet airliners. I looked up and saw giant pages of the bible scrolling across the roof. The scrolling stopped. One verse lit up in a bright orange glow. The verse read: “Be contrite and you will view the bottomless pit. “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit (Abyss) and holding in his hand a great chain (Revelation 20:1).”
My dream was a poor man’s adumbration of the Apostle John’s vision. So, will old men, if not see visions, indeed dream dreams? Let’s leave that question and get to the more important questions. Does the Bible teach that it is possible to look up to heaven and see the bottomless pit? Yes it does. Heaven and hell are two sides of the same salvation coin. Does the Bible teax
Second, that only the pure in heart – like John the Apostle – could have a Revelation 20:1 experience? The concept (or experience of hell) is certainly not confined to biblical Christianity (I say “biblical” Christianity, because vast swathes of modern Christians don’t believe in hell, that is, everlasting punishment). To answer the question, it seems to me that Christians (those who are truly born again/regenerated and thus pure in heart) can. to a certain extent, experience Revelation 20:1.
Third, does the Bible say that such an experience can be uplifting? It does:
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these thaings begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28).tFinally, would this piece make for a useful sermon? I ask this question because I believe that not all sermons need to be “purely” uplifting; indeed, it ain’t a bad thing – is it?, – if now and then a sermon lifts you out of your rut and throws you down. I can’t stand it; let me come clean. I gave this sermon to a class as part of a diploma I was studying for. The lecturer said is was not biblical and not uplifting. Daring uncaring Jew!