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Fisher's Catechism

Some Thoughts on Heaven

From the Shorter Catechism as Expounded by Fisher's Catechism.

Shorter Cat. Quest. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?

ANSWER: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

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Q. 33. What benefits shall believers receive after the day of judgment in heaven?
A. They shall be made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity, 1 Thess. 4:17 — “So shall we be ever with the Lord.”

Q. 34. What is it to be perfectly blessed?
A. It is to be entirely free from all misery, and fully possessed of all happiness, Rev. 21:4, 7.

Q. 35. In what does the highest pitch of happiness consist?
A. In the full enjoying of God, the chief good, Psalm 73:25.

Q. 36. In what way and manner will God be fully enjoyed in heaven?
A. By such a perfect knowledge of him as shall have no measure set to it except what arises from the finite capacity of the creature, 1 Cor. 13:12; for otherwise a creature’s comprehensive knowledge of an infinite being is impossible, Job 11:7.

Q. 37. How many ways will God be perfectly and satisfactorily known?
A. Two ways; the one is by sight, which will satisfy the understanding; and the other is by experience, which will satisfy the will.

Q. 38. What is it that will give the greatest satisfaction to the bodily eyes in heaven?
A. A beholding that glorious and blessed body, which is united to the person of the Son of God, Job 19:27.

Q. 39. Will not the glory of the man Christ Jesus be unspeakably superior to the glory of all the saints?
A. Yes, surely; for, though the saints shall shine forth as the sun, yet not they, but the Lamb, shall be the light of the heavenly city, Rev. 21:23.

Q. 40. What is it that will make the glory of the human nature of Christ, shine with a peculiar lustre, in the eyes of the saints?
A. It is the indissoluble subsistence of that nature in the person of the Son, as the everlasting bond of union between God and them, John 17:23 — “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”

Q. 41. Is not the blissful sight of God in heaven, something else than the sight of that glory, which we will see with our bodily eyes, in the man Christ, or in the saints, or any other splendour and refulgence52 from the Godhead whatsoever?
A. Yes; for no created thing can be our chief good and happiness, nor fully satisfy our souls; and as these things are somewhat different from God himself, so the scriptures assure us, that we shall see God, Matt. 5:8, and see him as he is, 1 John 3:2.

Q. 42. How will the saints see God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in heaven?
A. Not with their bodily eyes, in respect of which, God is invisible 1 Tim. 1:17; but with the eye of the understanding, being blessed with the most perfect, full, and clear knowledge of God and divine things, of which the creature is capable, 1 Cor. 13:12.

Q. 43. What is the difference between believers seeing God here, and their seeing him there?
A. Here they have only a sight, as it were, of his back parts: but there they shall see his face, Rev. 22:4; it is but a passing view they can have of him here, but there they shall eternally, without interruption, feed the eyes of their souls upon him, Psalm 17:15 — “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Q. 44. What will the eyes of the saints be eternally fed upon?
A. They will be for ever contemplating his infinite love, his unchangeable truths, and wonderful works, with the utmost complacency and delight, Psalm 16:11 — “In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Q. 45. How will the saints in heaven contemplate the infinite love of God towards them?
A. They shall be admitted to look into his heart, and there have a clear, distinct, and assured view of the love he bore to them from eternity, and will bear to them for evermore; for he has said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” Jer. 31:3. “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” Matt. 25:23.

Q. 46. How will they contemplate God’s unchangeable truths?
A. The light of glory will be a complete commentary on the Bible, and will disclose the whole treasure hid in that field, Psalm 36:9 — “In thy light shall we see light.”

Q. 47. Will there be any occasion for written or printed Bibles in heaven?
A. By no means, for the unchangeable truths of God, recorded in that holy book, will be indelibly stamped upon the minds of the redeemed company, as the subject of their everlasting song, Isaiah 59:21 — “My words — shall not depart — out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” 1 Pet. 1:25 — “The word of the Lord endureth for ever.”

Q. 48. What comprehension will they have of the wonderful works of God, particularly of creation?
A. Their knowledge of all the creatures will then be brought to perfection, and they will see, that in wisdom he has made them all, Psalm 104:24.

Q. 49. What views will they have of adorable providence?
A. They will see the checkered web of providence spread out at its full length, and that there was a necessity for all the trials and troubles they met with in time, 1 Pet. 1:6.

Q. 50. How will the saints in heaven contemplate the glorious work of redemption?
A. It will be the matter of their eternal admiration; they shall for ever and alternately wonder and praise, and praise and wonder, at the mysteries of wisdom and love, goodness and holiness, mercy and justice, that shine through the whole of that glorious device, Rev. 1:5, 6.

Q. 51. What is the experimental knowledge the saints shall enjoy of God in heaven?
A. It is the participation of the divine goodness in full measure, accompanied with a most lively sense of it in the innermost part of their souls, Rev. 7:17 — “The Lamb shall lead them to living fountains of water;” which are no other than God himself, “the fountain of living waters,” Who will fully and freely communicate himself to them.

Q. 52. In what respect will the communication of God, to the experience of the saints in heaven, be full?
A. In as much as they shall not be limited to any measure, but the enjoyment shall go as far as their most enlarged capacities can reach, Psalm 81:10.

Q. 53. Will the capacities of the saints above be of equal size?
A. As there will be different degrees of glory, (the saints in heaven being compared to stars, which are of different magnitudes, Dan. 12:3;) so, some capacities will contain more, and others less, yet all shall be filled, and have what they can hold, Psalm 16:11.

Q. 54. In what will consist the freedom of God’s communicating himself to the experience of the saints in heaven?
A. In the unrestrained familiarity which he will there allow them with himself; he shall walk in them, 2 Cor. 6:16; his fulness shall ever stand open to them, there being no veil between him and them, to be drawn aside, for they shall see him face to face, 1 Cor. 13:12.

Q. 55. What will be the result of the free communication, and full participation of the divine goodness in the upper sanctuary?
A. Perfect likeness to God, and unspeakable joy: hence says the Psalmist, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness: — In thy presence is fulness of joy,” Psalm 17:15, and Psalm 16:11.

Q. 56. Why will perfect likeness to God follow upon the beatific vision of him?
A. Because the seeing of God in all his matchless excellencies, no more “through a glass darkly, but face to face,” cannot but be attended with a swallowing up of all the imperfections of the saints, into a glorious transformation to his blessed image, 1 John 3:2 — “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Q. 57. Why is the communication, and participation of God in heaven, accompanied with unspeakable joy?
A. Because of the undoubted certainty, and full assurance which the saints have of the eternal duration of the same: the enjoyment of God being always fresh and new to them, through the ages of eternity; for they shall drink of living fountains of waters continually springing up in abundance, Rev. 7:17.

Q. 58. Why will the saints in heaven have an undoubted certainty of their full enjoyment of God to all eternity?
A. Because the everlasting GOD himself will be their eternal life and happiness, 1 John 5:20 — “This is the true God and eternal life.” Isaiah 60:19 — “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” Hence it is said of heaven, that “the glory of God doth lighten it;” and that the Lamb is the light thereof, Rev. 21:23.

Q. 59. What improvement ought we to make of these benefits which believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. We should “be diligent, that we may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless,” 2 Pet. 3:14; and occupy the talents he has given us, until he come, Luke 19:13; we should “judge ourselves, that we may not be judged,” 1 Cor. 11:31; and because “the end of all things is at hand,” we should “therefore be sober, and watch unto prayer,” 1 Pet. 4:7; yea, we should “hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Pet. 1:13.

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