Unusual Assurances, Pt. 4
Study Guide, September 9, 2018
Pastor Clay Olsen
Recently Sharon was asked a couple really good questions by kids. One was: “Does God take naps?” Good question, right? Now, to kids, young kids, naps are more of a nuisance thing than an enjoyable thing. Even if they are fussy, grouchy, sleepy, and really in need of a nap, usually naps get a bunch of push back from young kids – right Parents? But it is interesting that at some point the whole ‘nap’ thing transitions from being viewed as a ‘curse’ to being sought out as a ‘blessing’. Naps morph from ‘Do I have to take a nap’ to ‘All right! I get to take a nap!’ Why do you think so many people like to retire in Spain? Cost of living? Nope…Siestas…Naps!
But outside of the nap itself, part of the question is a wonder over if God ever needs to rest…or sleep. Well, we do know that after creating light and separating out a period of light from a period of day that God decided to ‘call it a day’…No, that’s not what it meant. No, even though God rested after He created all the days that doesn’t imply that God was tired. God has no needs, remember? God Himself is the source of all life and energy in the first place. Even the Psalmist reminds us – Ps 121:4- “Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.” Holman Bible Now that was an assurance that God was always attentive to His people, but it also does confirm that ‘sleep’ is not a need that God has. Actually, the sleep and awake cycle of human beings is like the darkness and light cycle in nature. Sleep is a physical based need, not a spirit based need.
However, that does bring up a fascinating consideration, because even though God does not need sleep, before the Fall, did Adam and Eve ever need sleep? Here are some very interesting thoughts from those wise folks at Answers in Genesis. “The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the world before the Fall. But we can make a few inferences based on what God has given us. “So the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.” Gen. 2:21 The word used here means specifically a ‘deep sleep’. This implies that normal sleep probably did exist, and this deep sleep is much more than normal sleep. So, I suspect Adam and Eve did have some sort of regular sleep cycle, though, Adam and Eve could have been created merely with the capability to sleep initially. They may not have needed it. Perhaps sleep, after the Fall, helps recoup a little of what was lost, since man no longer had access to the Tree of Life after sin. I suspect sleep was a part of the original creation as a reminder of what God did during Creation Week. God, too, at the end of His work of creation, rested.1
And so that brings up another question: Will we sleep in Heaven? And this now gets us into the features of our new immortal resurrected bodies, in which we will enjoy the wonders and pleasures of the New Earth and the New Heaven forever. And when it comes to the resurrected body, nearly all we know about it is what we learn about it from what’s revealed to us about Jesus’ resurrected body, along with some other Scriptures that inform us about our existence in the eternal state. But perhaps what Adam and Eve experienced before the Fall on the original Earth gives us some indication about what sleep may be like for us in the New Earth.
Some people I’ve talked to about what it’s going to be like for us in Heaven have actually brought up the hope that we will get to sleep some in Heaven. I think they were the same ones that really liked ‘naps’. But that’s okay. Even the whole concept of ‘rest’ is used throughout the Bible as a good and desirable experience. Jesus even told His disciples to ‘Come apart and rest a while.’ (Mk 6:31) Actually, there’s a principle that says: ‘Either come apart and rest a while or you will just come apart!’ You know what we mean? So ‘rest’ is a need of ours; and sleep is a need of ours. However, when we cross over into the abilities and the capabilities of the immortal resurrected body, we move out of the realm of ‘needs’ and into the realm of ‘capacities’. So this implies that just like Adam and Eve may not have needed to sleep before the Fall, but they were able to enjoy ‘resting’, it’s very likely that our resurrected bodies will not be in need of sleep in order to function, but we may very well have the capacity to enjoy sleep as a part of this gift of ‘rest’ in the New Earth and New Heavens.
Again, we don’t have definitive revelation on matters such as these, but we do have some Scriptural examples of such things that are consistent with it all. For another example: And this is the other question that Sharon was asked about Heaven: “Will we get hungry in Heaven?” Now, I found this really interesting because when most people ask the question about food in connection with Heaven they ask it in terms of ‘if people will eat’ in Heaven. And they have pretty high hopes about it. But this little person even wanted to know if we will get hungry? And knowing what some kids think about having to stop what they are doing just in order to then sit down to eat, I kind of wonder if that’s somehow connected to the ‘nap’ thing. You know, kids don’t want to stop playing just to take a nap, and they often don’t want to stop playing to take time out to eat either….unless they are really hungry? And then, they’d rather just eat on the run. Isn’t it something how kids like to eat side-saddle at the table…like they’re in ready position to take off as soon as the last bite is down? So, in some kids minds this question is more like: “So will I have to stop playing in Heaven and sit down and eat? Cause the only time I want to stop playing is if I’m really hungry, and then for just a minute or so!” Kids want to know these things…
Again, when we come to the features of the resurrected body, we move from the realm of ‘the have to’s’ and into the realm of ‘get to’s’. We even see that now in the very definition of the word ‘hunger’. The word itself means; ‘a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with a desire to eat.’ So we know that the immortal body will no longer be subject to the weaknesses and needs of the mortal body, like needing food to live, but that doesn’t preclude having a desire for food, a desire to eat. So in the first part of that definition, no, we won’t have any discomforts or weaknesses associated with hunger, but in the second part of the definition, yes, it’s apparent that we will get hungry in the sense of desiring food.
How do we know this? What is one of the first things that Jesus did after His resurrection? Luke 24:40-43- “And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.” NASU
So for one thing, we see that the resurrected body is capable of eating real food. In fact, many of the previews that God gives us of the Kingdom of Heaven involves feasting together. Rev 19:9- “Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” NASU And even the prophets wrote about the feasts to look forward to in the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah: Isa 25:6- “In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.” NLT
So eating delicious foods in the Kingdom Age and the Eternal Age is a central feature of the joys of Heaven of which we are to look forward to experiencing. Our church fellowship dinners are kind of like ‘previews’ of the many gatherings for feasting and fellowship times ahead in the Kingdom of Heaven. Wonderful to think about! By the way, have you been putting in your requests to the Lord of certain foods for Him to consider to be on the menu in Heaven? Remember, the Lord told us we can ask Him anything. Also remember, God answers prayer three ways: Yes, No, and ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ But I think coffee and chocolate are a given…those blessings will almost certainly be part of Heaven’s joys, right? I think that coffee trees and cacao trees were part of the reason the third day of Creation was pronounced ‘very good’. I may be reading into that a bit more than is there…
Another question kids ask about Heaven…kids of all ages really, is: “Will we know each other in Heaven? Or older kids ask it in terms of: “Will we recognize each other in Heaven?” This is another great question that does come with some great revelation about it. Recall the instance when Jesus took three of His disciples to what we call the Mount of Transfiguration. Luke 9:28-34- “About eight days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Then two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem. Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” NLT
Peter had a bit of a ‘blurting things out habit’, didn’t he? But the point here is, how did Peter know that he was looking at Moses and Elijah? There were no portraits of Israel’s prophets in the Temple. And Jesus had not introduced them when the disciples woke up. Peter simply had the knowledge that these men were Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. And if Peter, in his limited mortal human understanding, was given this knowledge of recognizing the identities of people whom he had never seen before, then when we are given far greater understanding in our immortal state, yes, we will know and recognize one another in Heaven. Others will still resemble themselves, and you will still resemble yourself.
Also, remember that when Jesus appeared to His disciples when they had gathered together in a closed room they immediately recognized Him. Even in His glorified and resurrected body He was still Jesus. Which implies that when we do go Home one day to Heaven, others who knew you will immediately know you…because you will still be you…except for the part of now being new and really improved. Thank you Lord. And you will recognize and know who you knew, loved ones and friends and such. And I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we will no longer have that problem so many of us have of forgetting people’s names. Like, “And who did you say you were again? Ezekiel, right!” I don’t think that’s going to ever happen. Even if we do have to learn new names, again, I think the whole ‘forgetting’ thing is a thing of the past. And still, as we saw with the account with Peter, we may be given understanding of who others are that we have not yet met. Like, we may be talking with our loved ones and then look around to see two fellows talking with Jesus, and we will also realize that they are Moses and Elijah!
Have you thought much about just that aspect of Heaven, of meeting all of the amazing people of the Bible, the Prophets and Apostles, and Mary and Joseph, as well as the great servants of God throughout history? Just the meeting and greeting and fellowshipping aspects of Heaven are beyond amazing.
And then how about what age are we going to be in Heaven? Let’s ask another question: What age do you want to be in Heaven? Just thought I’d ask…But again, some commentators have proposed that since Jesus was resurrected at the age of what is often thought of as being around the prime of life, that this is an indication of what our resurrected bodies will also be like. The Apostle John also said: 1 John 3:1-2- “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” NASU So what we do know is that we will be like Jesus in holy moral character and also in perfect physical health and physical condition, whatever appearance of age it might be. And just knowing this is so encouraging, so inspiring, so overwhelming that it’s just another reason to join in the doxology with the Apostle Paul: Rom 11:33-36- “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” NASU