Our Universal Companions
Many people, after hearing about the dreams and visits we’ve had, ask, “How close are the saints? Is there an ongoing relationship?” In our quest to better understand Heaven, we turned to Hebrews 12:1, 22, 23:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is before
us . . . . But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in Heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews went to great lengths to describe how close our loved ones are: we are surrounded by a great cloud of heavenly inhabitants! Hebrews 12:1 follows right after chapter 11, the hall of faith chapter, which describes many heroes of the faith. Here’s a paraphrase of 12:1: “Therefore—because of what I just got done telling you, because of all these great people who are in Heaven now—therefore, understand this: we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” We’re surrounded. It literally means the saints are lying down all around us. There are so many it’s innumerable. They are spectators, and they are all around us.
Hebrews 12:22 says we have come to an innumerable company of angels, departed saints, and God, which means this: our loved ones in Heaven are our universal companions. This general assembly of the saints is the great cloud of witnesses. They are the onlookers. This fact should bring tremendous comfort and hope. It’s something we need to know and cling to when the Enemy tries to convince us of other things.
Our Christian loved ones in Heaven are not “dead” or “lost”; they are surrounding us and serving God. If one of the reasons the saints in Heaven are surrounding us on earth is to encourage us to lay aside the weight of sin and run our race with endurance, consider which one motivates you more: the thought of an Old Testament prophet in your corner or the thought of your precious loved one who knows you intimately and loves you completely. That’s a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned! We mean no disrespect to the prophets, but the idea of Siah being able to observe the choices we make here on earth is way more motivating as we seek to live for God moment-by-moment. The cloud of witnesses is personal, and we believe it is part of their work in the spiritual realm to cheer on their loved ones still on earth and encourage them to throw off the weight of sin and run the race of life as unto Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (v. 2).
Be encouraged today—your loved ones in Heaven are cheering you on right now from the grandstands of Heaven!