“ What does it mean to be with God? “
About five and a half thousand years ago, a man named Enoch was known to walk with God. One day when he was older, history says, God took him – meaning, he did not die, but was translated from earth to be with God! (Genesis 5:23, Hebrews 11:5). Much the same happened to Elijah. Moses died as an old man and God buried him. Moses body was dead, but he reappeared again one and a half thousand years later talking to Jesus on one of the mountains in Israel, along with Elijah. (Matthew 17:3). So although his body was dead, he himself was alive with God.
For those who doubt the idea of life after death, just ask the people around you, and you are sure to find someone who has clinically died for a few minutes and come back again. The ones I have talked to have all assured me of an existence after death. There are hundreds of such stories on the internet.
But more important than the testimony of men, is the teaching of the word of God – the Bible.
The Lord Jesus said to the dying thief, “today you will be with Me in paradise” – this indicated not only His own existence after death, but also for the unworthy criminal beside Him. A condition, not of annihilation, but free from pain in a place of pure pleasure. Paul the apostle likewise waited for the day to arrive when he would be “absent from the body and present with the Lord”.
Perhaps the question relates to ‘what it is like to be with God?’ Well, paradise was mentioned by the Lord on the cross as the opposite to pain, pollution, shame and suffering. “With God”, includes nearness to God in His holiness, His love, His brilliant light. With God involves change – to be changed from the offensive , wandering self to become someone who is able to fit into a place where all is perfect.
John the apostle had a vision of those who were beheaded for Christ’s sake – they were in heaven, they could speak, they found acceptance there because of the alter (symbolic of the death of Christ) Revelation 6:9
To be with God after the resurrection is described as being in a divine city where there are no more tears of grief, no pain, no darkness, no shame. A place of real life – eternal life. A place of real light – the knowledge of God in Christ. A place of real love – for God is love.
The person who overcomes the lies of this world, overcomes the unbelief in one’s own heart, to then believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible says - “I will be his God , and he will be my son .” (Revelation 21.7)
It was rather special the last night I was with my conscious father in the hospital before he died. I miss his quiet presence, his words, his smile. What will it be like to be “with my Father (God) who is in Heaven” –to see and feel the brilliance of His presence, to hear His voice and to see His smile! ( and maybe my earthly father will be waiting for me there too).
“With Christ which is far better” ( Philippians 1.23)