As the Bible tells us, God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). You and I were made for heaven. Throughout history, God has even allowed some of His followers to see a glimpse of heaven while they were still alive on earth.

In the New Testament, we read the story of Stephen, who was stoned to death as the first Christian martyr. The account tells us that as the enraged mob picked up stones and closed in around him, “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God’” (Acts 7:55-56). As Stephen said this, the people rushed at him and stoned him to death.

Another follower of Christ who was granted a glimpse of heaven before he died was the popular and well-known preacher Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899). After preaching a sermon on November 16, 1899, he collapsed. Though doctors didn’t know what caused the illness, Moody suffered from congestive heart failure. Sensing death approaching, Moody confided to his closest friends, “Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before.”

Three days before Christmas, Moody lay on his deathbed. Though he struggled to breathe, Moody had no fear of death. Those who were with him said that he seemed to see things no one else could see. His last words were, “Earth is receding; Heaven is opening; God is calling; I must go.”

If you’ve placed your trust in Christ, when your earthly life is over, you’ll have the indescribable experience of going home to be with your Father in heaven. There, you will experience life as it was meant to be lived when God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Prayer: Lord, I look forward to the day when I will come home to be with You in heaven. Thank You for making a way for me through the blood of Your Son. Thank You that I don’t have to fear death. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series The City: LISTEN NOW

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About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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