We speak of the realms of the Blest


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By  Mrs. Elizabeth Mills 1805 – 1829

We speak of the realms of the Blest,
Of that country so bright and so fair,
And oft are its glories confessed;
But what must it be to be there?

We speak of its pathways of gold,
Of its walls decked with jewels most rare,
Its wonders and pleasures untold;
But what must it be to be there?

We speak of its freedom from sin,
From sorrow, temptation, and care,
From trials without and within;
But what must it be to be there?

We speak of its anthems of praise,
With which we can compare
The sweetest on earth we can raise;
But what must it be to be there?

We speak of its service of love,
Of the robes which the glorified wear,
The church of the First-born above;
But what must it be to be there?

Do Thou, Lord, ‘midst pleasure of woe,
Still for Heaven our spirits prepare;
And shortly we also shall know
And feel what it is to be there.

As I reflect on this great song, my mind goes back to my youthful days in the 1980s. There used to be a song that we really enjoyed singing. Unfortunately I can only sing it in its original language called Bemba although it also has some elements of another language called Lamba.  Both languages are Zambian languages from Southern Africa in the land of the Victoria Falls one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This is how the song goes:-

Twende muparadise (Lets go to paradise), Mumusumba wawama (In that beautiful city). Golide tukendamo (On gold we will walk), Nengala tukafwala (Even crowns we will wear) Bayesu tukamona (The Lord Jesus we will see), Washala webo nebo ndikufwaya ukwenda nayesu (You are left my friend, as for me I want to walk with Jesus).

Many of us have different thoughts about heaven and how it will be. The hymn that we are looking at today asks the same questions most of us today ask.

Before we look at heaven and try to answer how it will be to be there, let me share briefly about the author of this great hymn. Many of us are familiar with this hymn, “We sing of the realms of the blest… But what must it be to be there?”. It was written by Mrs. Elizabeth Mills a short while before she went “there” in 1829 at the age of 24. Mrs. Elizabeth Mills was the wife of the Hon. Thomas Mills, M.P. She was born at Stoke Newington, England in 1805. Elizabeth Mills was one of the brief voices that sing one song and die. This hymn was the only note of her minstrelsy, and it has outlived her by more than three-quarters of a century. She wrote it about three weeks before her decease in Finsbury Place, London, April 21, 1839, at the age of twenty-four.

We are much indebted to John Remington Mills, Esq. M.P. for information about this hymn, written by his accomplished relative. The original song has six stanzas, and was composed after reading “Bridges on the 119th. Psalm” (on verse 44 page 116) …  I am aware that this song is already a favourite of many, but the hymn gets even sweeter when we get to know the story behind this song. The authoress of this hymn was  called early to the “realms of the blest” of which she sang so sweetly, and that she wrote this hymn a few weeks before her death. The text of this hymn is usually given in an imperfect form. Few children’s hymns have been received with more favour. It is found in almost every hymn book published for children in Great Britain and America during the last fifty years (1865-1915). In some collections it begins “We sing of the land of the blest” and in others, “We talk of the land of the blest”.

Throughout this hymn, the hymn writer keeps asking how it will be to be there in heaven. What are your thoughts of heaven? Do you have an idea of how it will be in heaven?

Now About Heaven- What will it be like?

A Sunday School teacher was teaching his class about heaven one day and asked the children saying:,

“If I sold my house and my car, had a huge home sale, and gave all the money to the church, would that get me into heaven?” All the children answered, “NO!” “If every day I vacuumed the church carpets, cleaned the washrooms, and mowed the grass, would that get me into heaven?”
-Again, all the children answered, “NO!” “If I was kind to the poor, gave sweets to children, and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?” Once more, the children answered, “NO!” “Then how can I get into heaven?” the teacher asked. A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!”

A crash course on heaven is first of all, to go there, you got to die. I think most of us would like to skip that whole process, but the chances of us avoiding that are very slim. So I think a big question a lot of us have is “What’s heaven going to be like?”

Just like me when as a child I thought heaven was going to be a place where I will walk on gold, and we will wear a crown, a white robe and sort of floated along in the clouds. Many of us still think of heaven as sitting on a cloud and playing a harp or one of those old instruments David used to praise God. Generally, our thoughts of heaven come from movies, stories and other human sources that are not true.

But instead of going  by what we have heard from movies and other sources about heaven, I think it’ll be a good idea for us to take a look at what the Bible says about heaven.

The Bible gives us a more complete picture of heaven than we might guess. First, we can take a little look at what heaven won’t be.

In heaven, there will be: No power shortages, for God is all powerful; no bumping into things in the dark; no sleepless nights (there is no night there, Revelation 21:25). Nor will there be: Bills; hospitals; bank accounts. In fact, heaven will have: No complaints; no back-talk; no hate; no fear; no crime.

Are you really ready to live in heaven? Now, let’s take a close look at what heaven will be like:

Heaven will be a place of fellowship. “I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you unto myself” (John 14:3). The children of God shall “meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:17). “He who overcomes, I will give him the Morning Star.” “I am Jesus. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and Morning Star.” (Revelation 2:26-28; 22:16). “And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

Heaven will be a place to worship God. When Isaiah speaks for the Lord of the new heavens and earth, he prophesies that “all flesh shall come to worship before me” (Isaiah 66:22,23). The Apostle, John, also predicts the same thing saying: “For Thou only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee” (Revelation 15:4; 21:24).

Surely heaven will be a place of joy and productive work. We can be sure that in heaven we will be like God and Jesus, and they have always worked. Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). We find this same description of the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21:1 and Isaiah 65:17. Isaiah describes it as a place of joy where there will be no tears nor the sound of crying. This is in Isaiah 65:19, and also in Revelation 21:4; 7:17. Isaiah continues to show us it will be a place where one can labour and see his labour bear fruit. This is in Isaiah 65:21-23.

Heaven will have a beauty beyond our imagination. The best John could do to describe heaven was to say it was like an entire city of transparent gold. He says: The walls of the new city are precious jewels. The gates are twelve single pearls. The city itself and its streets are pure gold, yet like transparent glass. This is found in Revelation 21:18, 19, 21.

And the whole city is lighted by the glory of God. Heaven is a place of matchless blessings. Jesus has prepared a mansion for us there. Great treasure is stored up for us; in fact, the saints “will inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7). The leaves of the tree of life will guarantee our health. and the crystal pure water of the river of life will flow from the throne of God to the tree of eternal life. For the first time since the Garden of Eden, God’s children may eat out of this tree in His paradise (Genesis 3:22 and Revelation 2:7).

In heaven we will be given new names, new imperishable bodies. and we will be clothed in the white robes of righteousness. We will be glorious living stones; pillars in the eternal temple of God (I Corinthians 15:52; 1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 3:12).

Best of all, heaven with God and Jesus will be a place of love. God in tender love will wipe away all our tears (Revelation 21:4). The angels will rejoice as heaven fills with righteous Christians (II Peter 3:13). Those spirits who have hungered and have thirsted to humbly live with God; those with pure hearts; those who have willingly endured persecution; and those who have lived for God’s peace, will live together in life and love forever and ever.

This place is heaven. Will you be there? We can all sing and say with Mrs. Elizabeth Mills And shortly we also shall know; And feel what it is to be there.

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