5: A Great Prayer Meeting in Heaven

Bohemond and I now walked a short distance to a most remarkable cluster of buildings which Moses had just pointed out to me. They were massive, stupendous, and grand. They occupied one whole block of the city and seemed to be foursquare. A great inscription was written above the threshold, “Treasures laid Up in Heaven.”

We spent a long time going from place to place looking into these wonderful treasures, which God’s people have secured for themselves, as well as rejected blessings which might have been secured by diligent effort while on earth, for we found that all these multitudes of holy gems, jewels, pearls and lovely garments all had their counterpart in the experience of saints on earth. These heavenly jewels might have been easily secured and would have added much to the riches of the soul in the heavenly kingdom. But I can tell you more of these at another time. Before leaving the Shrine of Holy Symbols we were told that not far away from here was a place where great congregations meet for public worship and praise, many hundreds of which are located in different parts of the holy city. I said to Bohemond, “Let us go there at once for we have enjoyed no congregational worship since leaving the Judean gate.”

As we stepped out at the door of the sacred shrine onto the opened street we found it was literally crowded with thousands of happy souls on their way to the great praise service. “Oh, listen,” I said to Bohemond, “to the strains of music.” It seemed far in the distance and yet we could hear it quite distinctly.

“Oh,” he replied to me, “it must be the orchestra of heaven.”

“Indeed, I think it is, and I am eager to be among them.” I spoke to one of the many who were crowding the streets and who seemed to be perfectly acquainted with the surroundings, asking if he could tell about the order of the service and the chances of a convenient place.

“To be sure,” said he, “every comfort is provided. Have you not attended the service before?”

“This is our first, as we have just recently come into the city,”

“Then you will be welcomed and ushered to a more prominent place, so you will have better opportunities of learning the worship of heaven. All the strangers are brought forward and introduced to the great multitudes and given favored places. So you will be entirely free and easy.”

We thanked him for his kindness and felt a sense of relief.

Just at this point came two chariots sweeping along in which were seated many of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles of Jesus. I noticed that each of them had a harp, and someone with a large stringed instrument stood up prominently among them. I said, “Who is the man with his face shining with such glory, having the stringed instrument?”

Several spoke at once and said, “You have sung his hymns and Psalms a thousand times. Guess who he is.”

I did not need to be told. I knew it was David the King. Anticipating my desires someone motioned to the charioteer. David also called us to come and sit with him. We were soon by his side and the chariot was rolling along with noiseless but reduced speed. I said to David and the rest, as I turned toward my friend, “This is Bohemond from northern Russia whom I met at my first introduction into paradise. I am from the opposite side of the earth, and although our homes were so remote from each other, yet we are brethren in the Lord.”

“We are glad to welcome you, my sons, to the holy city, and also into this chariot,” said David. “Of course, you are going where we all are going, up to join the great congregation in the worship and praise of our Redeemer?”

“Indeed we are and shall be glad to go along with you, for we know but little of the order of worship here.”

“Just that which springs up in your souls is most pleasing to God. I see you have your harps with you. Have you learned to use them?”

“Oh, yes, and I have been practicing some new hymns we sang at our entrance into paradise and at the gate of the city. We used to sing your Psalms of praise on earth, as well as the song of Moses, but when I heard the first strain of music in heaven I concluded we did not know how to sing at all.”

“Oh, well,” said David, “you will have no trouble in joining in with the music here. Do you not hear the orchestra now? We shall all join them soon.”

I had been so entranced at our situation and surroundings and so absorbed in the conversation that I had almost forgotten who or where I was, but turning to Bohemond, I said, “How blessed to be here, and then, just to think, we are with the old prophets of God of whom we have read so much!”

At this Bohemond again fell on his face in adoring praise to God, and poured forth such sweet strains of melodious thanksgiving, that David could not withhold his fingers from the strings of his harp. In a moment more, the whole chariot was sounding with the sweetest music of all the ages, for the sweet singer of Israel had greatly improved himself, he said, since he had been singing the songs of heaven. While we were singing, Bohemond arose and joined, and sang so loud and lovely that all eyes were turned upon him. As I scanned the faces I caught the glimpse of one which I soon recognized as that of Abraham whom I had met back at the crystal river. I stepped toward him. He knew me and called my name, and shook my hand with a joyous fresh welcome and said, “Let me introduce to you my son Isaac, and Jacob as well, of whom you have often read.”

“Oh, is this your son whom you offered on Mount Moriah? And Jacob, you chosen of God, who wrestled with the angel and prevailed. How blessed to meet you all here! How much like a dream, when we used to read the record of your lives! Oh, my soul is full of glory and praises to God. I am so happy in meeting you here, but you have been here for long ages and I have just come. There are many things I would like to ask you, and I trust in no distant day we may have a long talk. But it does seem good to be here. Just now I remember a Scripture passage which I have read so many times over, but it never had a meaning as it does now. Our Lord once said that: ‘Many should come from the East and the West and should sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,’ (Matthew 8:11), and here it is fulfilled to us. Oh, I do bless God for His great salvation!

“The music sounds so clear and distinct we must be near the great gathering place for the mighty assembly.”

“Indeed we are,” said David. “Direct your eyes over there and see.”

I arose and stood upright in the chariot with one hand on David’s shoulder and with the other I held my harp. To my great astonishment, as far as the eye could reach, I saw innumerable crowds gathering and everyone robed in the purest white. The orchestra was still practicing and singing some of the most lovely songs human ears had ever heard. My soul was in a perfect state of rapture and bliss.

The place of the meeting was more like a great amphitheater. The architecture had all been designed by our Lord and is among the things He went to prepare for us. All the seats were beautifully upholstered and the floors carpeted with exquisite taste. Almost without noise or commotion everyone found his place. I said to David, “Will our Lord be here among us?”

“No doubt He is here now,” answered David, “and will be seated in the center, and all the fresh arrivals will be ushered to seats near Him. This is done to give them a fresh welcome and that all may see the vast millions of those who are being redeemed and washed by His precious blood, and yet the strangers and newcomers which will be here are only a small portion of those who have so recently entered the portals of paradise, and many of them have entered through the gates into the city.”

And true enough, for so it was. All the fresh arrivals were gathered from among the mighty crowd toward the center. Our Lord sat on a kind of elevated throne visible to all the great congregation. He arose and with most loving words gave us a very kind greeting. A deep sense of awe filled our minds. We knew we were standing in the presence of the Almighty Creator and Gracious Redeemer, and we felt great joy in the kind welcome He gave us. He held up His hands, and the nail prints were also seen in His feet. He did not need a sermon to arouse our feelings of praise. Before time could be given for any further introduction we had all fallen on our faces in adoring praise, for we felt so deeply that all this glory was the purchase of His precious blood—His sufferings and death on the cross of Calvary.

In a few moments we all stood on our feet again and received another gracious welcome by our Lord. His words were most tender and loving and the welcome so sweet and full that at once we all felt perfectly at ease and at home with all the rest of the great company and we all praised God together.

Many hundreds of angels were among us who had carried us from the scenes of our earthly lives into the heavenly domain. They seemed to rejoice with great joy that we were safely home in the bosom of God.

Just at this time David arose to his feet and with him many prophets, patriarchs, apostles and ancient servants of God. The song of praise was announced and the whole congregation, having harps of God in their hands, arose. They, or rather we, for we all joined, sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, and the chorus was, “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, You King of Saints.” (Revelation 15:3) David’s harp played that day as I think it had never played on earth.

Paul and Silas stood side by side and their voices could be distinctly heard above the voices of many. Oh, if only the church on earth could catch the inspiration and life of this heavenly worship, there would be few lifeless congregations, even where there is no preacher at all!

When at last the great congregation had broken up and we were scattering in all directions, we met several ancient men and women who had lived far back in the past ages of the world, with some of whom we had very precious visits.


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There were many who remained behind long after the great crowd had dispersed. Many of these were so filled with the glory of God that they seemed to be holding a kind of after service, which I found was always in order. Like it often is on earth during great revival seasons, the Spirit of God is so infused into the people that a congregation is often unwilling to leave the scenes of prayer, and while returning to their homes they would be singing the songs of Zion.

I found that the themes of the highest praise in heaven were often those which had been the greatest blessings of earth. The memories of the past and the conscious sense of great deliverances should always bring the soul a deep sense of its indebtedness and gratitude to God. Among those who remained behind were some ancient men joining with the great choir in many hymns of praise, and singing also many solos of ancient date, of which one could judge by their peculiar wording—referring frequently to events, times, and places of far gone ages—so that we could tell at once that they were ancient men and had lived in a far, remote period of time, although they looked as youthful and full of vigor as any of us who had just entered the city.

To some of these I was especially attracted. Their great earnestness and enthusiasm and distinct behavior, coupled with such lovely faces and sweet tempers, invited us to go and sit among them. So I said to Bohemond, “Let us go and talk with them and find out who they are.”

They welcomed us to their company. We soon found ourselves sitting in the presence of Job and Methuselah, Abel and Noah, with many of the earliest ancestors of the race. They all seemed full of vigorous life with no marks of decrepit old age like we knew so much in the world. I then quickly thought of the words of the angel to John: “Behold I make all things new,” (Revelation 21:5) and sure enough, these were among the earliest of the race of man, made in God’s image, on whom this mighty rejuvenating power had come.

We had a long but very pleasant visit with them asking them many questions concerning the early history of man on the earth. Adam and Eve were the first creation of man in the image of God.

We arose to bid them good-bye, when they embraced us with an affectionate kiss and said, “We’ll see you again.”

Bohemond and myself now went to a quiet place and sat down to talk over the things we had just heard and witnessed for we were most deeply impressed with the words of these ancient men. “Oh,” I said, “what is the full and utmost meaning of eternal life? If four thousand years have not made their mark of feebleness, nor dimmed the eye, nor cooled the love and zeal of these men, surely eternity never will.”

There were many coming and going, and everyone had such a sweet and holy attitude and disposition with such pleasant smiles of loveliness that revealed eternal satisfaction and contentment. I said to Bohemond, “I have been thinking about a number of my old friends and relatives in the earth who, if they only knew what we know now, they would lead very different lives and seek to be ready for this solid glory.”

Bohemond replied, “I almost wish, myself, I could return for just a few days and tell my own people, to whom religion is but little more than an empty profession, the great realities of this heavenly kingdom. I myself never thought it was half so real or could be so grand.”

“Well, Bohemond, I would be glad to have you tell me something of your earthly life and surroundings.”

“I am descended,” said Bohemond, “from a race of kings of Norman blood who reigned for many years at Antioch in Syria. After the close of the dynasty, which occurred about the close of the thirteenth century, our family scattered to different countries, but principally to Bohemia. Our people soon joined in with the Bohemian brethren, many of them becoming earnest followers of Christ. A great persecution arose and many were compelled to hide themselves in dens and caves of the earth. But with the exodus of about a thousand brethren to Poland in the last of the fifteenth century, the honorable sires of our family came.

“By the principles of our faith we were forbidden all kinds of warfare as not fitting with the teaching of our Lord. Because of this and the denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation, persecution was still heaped upon us. Later on, our particular family moved to northern Russia where we have been ever since. Many of them have grown wealthy and very prosperous, but I am sad to know that many among them have substituted wealth on earth for treasures in heaven. [2] If they only knew what was reserved in store for all the redeemed and blood-washed, which we are now enjoying, and were it real to them as it is to us I feel sure they would mightily bestir themselves. Oh, could I send them one warning message from heaven, they would hear me, would they not?”

[2. This incident obviously had taken place before Communism took over in Russia in 1917. -Engeltal Press (EP)]

“Well,” I replied, “Abraham was of a different opinion. They have Moses and the prophets; if they would not hear them neither would they hear if one should rise from the dead, so why should we want to return?” We sat long, talking these matters over, but when we finally looked around we found that the great congregation had nearly all gone. But David’s chariot still remained standing near the entrance where the crowds had gathered. I said to Bohemond, “Listen a moment. Isn’t that lovely music? And the song, oh, how soul-stirring it is.” We looked through the great archway toward the chariot and saw David motioning us to him. We hurried through the long aisle and when near the chariot, we found it was filled with those holy men of old.

David now said, “We saw you were quite alone and thought you would like to go with us to a great praise service for the children soon to be held near the Judean gate.”

We gladly accepted their offer, saying, “We were on our way to the Throne, but will be glad to go with you for we are not very well acquainted with the city.”

Paul spoke lovingly, and yet laughingly, and said, “Well, dear brethren, I have been here for more than eighteen hundred years and yet I know but little of the city, although I have been to many sections of it again and again. Our inheritance is exceedingly great. Don’t hurry—eternity is before you. The vast plains of paradise,” said Paul, “and all the riches of the eternal city are yours forever.”

“Now,” said David, “step up and take a seat beside Paul and myself. Those brethren in the rear of the chariot would be glad to speak to you.” The four men arose, and we were introduced to Elijah and Daniel, whom everyone knows, and who are famous in heaven on account of their devotion and service to God in the earth, and a man by the name of Artorious, of whom I had never heard before. David said he was from Southern Mesopotamia and a descendant from Shem and one of Abraham’s soldiers in the battle at Hobah in the King’s Dale, and John, the beloved disciple, whose name is a household word in all the world.

“Well, brethren,” I said, “is it true that we are here with those who have lived so long ago? The idea of immortality and a future life, which we cherished so dearly in the world has proven more than a dream. Oh, how good it is to be here! There are so many things I want to ask you concerning a far bygone age, but my soul is too full of glory and praises to God now, I cannot restrain my feelings.”

David said, “You don’t need to try. We will all join you in praises to God.” Silas arose from the front of the chariot and came and stood by David’s side while they sang a most lovely hymn. Bohemond and I fell on our faces in the chariot and worshipped God, blessed Giver of all this good. f


* * * * *


David led in the singing of the hymn. The chariot was moving slowly along. When we finished David said to his charioteer, “You may drive past the children’s Polytechnic, and let our brethren so recently come see what our Lord has prepared for the little ones of His kingdom.” So, turning to the right, he guided the chariot, not too quickly, for we had many things to talk about on the way.

The avenue was broad and lovely. We passed many gushing fountains and groves of the trees of life. These were not for shade as no burning sun strikes either the city or the blessed paradise.

On the way I said to Paul, who sat by my side, “It does seem so good to be here with you; it seems indeed too good to be true. Fancy painted many wonderful pictures while we were in the world which were made to glow on the canvas of our imagination in reference to the future, but none ever equaled the reality.”

“No,” said Paul, “it was impossible for man to conceive of the glory while in the flesh. The Lord once gave me just a glimpse into paradise while yet in the world. The glory was beyond my power to describe.”

I replied to Paul, “I have often wondered how it occurred, for we have a brief account in the divine word on earth which you left concerning it.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)

“Well,” said he, “while at Lystra in Lyconia I was stoned and dragged out of the city for dead, but God raised me up, and I, with the brethren, went back to the city.” (Acts 14:19) “But that night I could not sleep, being restless and burdened with the word of the Lord. I arose and, all alone, went out of the city to pray. I ascended the side of old Karadogh, an extinct volcano. I seemed to be greatly helped, for an angel constantly held my hand. When some little distance up the mountain, one of the chariots of God, with a driver of light, appeared at my side. I was so enraptured by the presence and glory of God and both over-awed and overcome by the royal chariot and driver that I hardly could tell whether I had died or was in a trance, but I soon found myself lying prostrate in the chariot and ascending far above the old mountain. We arose above the pillars of the skies. I soon heard the strains of music from the third heaven in the plains of paradise. They were singing some new songs, which as a mortal man, I had no power to repeat. I opened my eyes just for a moment, glanced at the crystal river and heard a loud voice proclaiming the mystery of the trees upon its banks. It was the closing words of a sermon uttered by Moses to a vast company of Jews, as I was told by the driver afterwards, shining light upon these things that they could not know while under the law and subject to an inferior experience—for you have already found that we have preaching here in heaven as we used to have on earth.

“Only an instant we remained and the chariot darted with the speed of sound toward the earth. In a few moments the old town of Lystra, lying at the foot of the mountain, with its streets and domes, shone out with their best appearance under the light of the full moon beaming upon them, but the people were fast asleep. I stepped from the chariot as the driver, with a pleasant wave of his hand, said, good-bye, and in an instant it was gone. On the top of Karadogh I continued my prayer and praise to God until near the break of day. I never could really tell while in my flesh whether I was loosened for the time being from my body or whether bodily I was taken to glory. Ever after this I had a strong desire to go back and stay forever—to depart and be with Christ. The words of the sermon and the strains of music could never be forgotten, but were an element of strength in my life during the many afflictions God permitted to come upon me.”

“I remember the words in your Epistle,” I replied, “‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. For I am in a strait betwixt two having a desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better.’” (Philippians 1:21)

“Indeed,” said Paul, “and had I known all the bliss and glory of the celestial kingdom, as it is, I could not have been contented. I was greatly favored of God, and through so many revelations of His will and manifestations of His power I was in great danger of being unduly exalted, but God always knows how to deal with us for our greatest good. A man of most bitter wrath was turned against me, indeed he was a thorn in the flesh to me. He was the messenger of Satan, but God’s grace then, as at all times, was entirely sufficient for me, and I always found that all things work together for good to them who love God.”

“Oh, thank you much for your words. It seems as if God directed you to give me this little bit of your experience. I have often wondered what the thorn was to which you alluded in the Epistle.”

“Yes,” said Paul, “but this messenger of Satan, as well as the prisons, scourges, beatings, betrayals by false brethren, and sufferings of earth, only worked for my good. I am so blessedly free from them all now. The contrast is so great it gives me an eternal appreciation of the blessedness of this kingdom.”

“I see,” said David, “we are coming near the children’s spiritual Polytechnic. Can you hear them singing?”

“Oh, most distinctly,” and yet, the place was still out of sight. The streets were crowded with the little ones, usually in company with the angels or faithful mothers or those having care over them. They all seemed so joyous and their laugh of hilarity and joyful conversation revealed their perfect contentment and satisfaction, and yet we knew that most of them had left their parents in the earth, but there is no grief nor sorrow in heaven. If all mothers on earth could only see their children whom they have lost, as they really are, they would weep no more, but make every provision needed to soon follow them to those mansions of light.

Many older people were among them. Some were parents looking after their own children. Some small infants were carried by the angels, or precious women had them pressed close to their bosoms, for their infant feet had never learned to walk.

At last our chariot stopped just near the great entrance, where it seemed countless crowds were pouring in, and of all this great multitude none had been within the reaches of the heavenly domain for very long. Children soon grow to maturity in heaven. Your little babe, dear mother of earth, which left you many years ago, is now with its harp of gold singing and praising God in all the maturity of its manhood or womanhood.

We now stepped out and followed the great crowd wherever they went.

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