Ancient theologians often spoke of the “beatific vision.” The term comes from three Latin words that together mean “a happy-making sight.” The sight they spoke of was God. To see God’s face is the loftiest of all aspirations. But sadly, for most of us, it’s not at the top of our list of desires.
Wayne Grudem writes in his Systematic Theology:
When we look into the face of our Lord and he looks back at us with infinite love, we will see in him the fulfillment of everything that we know to be good and right and desirable in the universe. In the face of God we will see the fulfillment of all the longing we have ever had to know perfect love, peace, and joy, and to know truth and justice, holiness and wisdom, goodness and power, and glory and beauty.
The most astonishing sight we can anticipate in Heaven is not streets of gold or pearly gates or loved ones who’ve died before us. It will be coming face-to-face with our Savior. To look into Jesus’ eyes will be to see what we’ve always longed to see: the person who made us and for whom we were made. And we’ll see Him in the place He made for us and for which we were made. Seeing God will be like seeing everything else for the first time.
I sometimes ponder what it’ll be like to see Jesus, to fall on my knees before Him, then talk with Him and eat with Him and walk with Him as a resurrected person living on a resurrected Earth. Like Job I’m struck with the realization that “I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
I try to picture what this will be like in my novel Edge of Eternity, when the main character, Nick Seagrave, at last gazes on Jesus Christ:
The King stepped from the great city, just outside the gate, and put his hand on my shoulder. I was aware of no one and nothing but him. I saw before me an aged, weathered King, thoughtful guardian of an empire. But I also saw a virile Warrior-Prince primed for battle, eager to mount his steed and march in conquest. His eyes were keen as sharpened swords yet deep as wells, full of the memories of the old and the dreams of the young.
Shut your eyes and imagine seeing Jesus for the first time. What a wondrous thought! And what a wondrous promise!
Excerpted from Randy's book Face to Face with Jesus.
Image by Ben White from Christianpics.co