Through the Gates of Heaven

Our recent trip to the U.S. had its share of ceremony. First, the college graduation of a son and a daughter-in-law. Then, that son’s wedding.
Both events were marked with special clothing, music, decoration and the paegentry and ceremony deserving of such important moments in one’s life.
What deep emotions to march across a stage to receive a diploma or down the aisle to give one’s hand to the beloved and word vows of commitment!
These ceremonies remind me of Peter’s words about our march into heaven.
“… there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11 ESV).
People joke about meeting St. Peter at the heavenly gates and having to get by him to get in. From the sounds of it, the full apostleship will be there, not to test or bar, but to welcome and cheer. And probably the entire population of heaven already present.
After being among the righteous who will barely be saved (1 Peter 4:17-18), the faithful will see the doors swing wide open for their entrance.
Michael Green thinks the word “richly” may hint at the victorious Olympic champion returning to receive the honors of a proud hometown. Instead of entering in the usual gates, he walks through a part of the wall torn down to bid him welcome./1 Now, that is special treatment!
It makes the PEB’s “warm welcome” sound bit tepid, don’t you think? Perhaps A.R.C. Learney’s “full and free admission” gets a bit closer./2
The grandeur of this march into the eternal kingdom is highlighted by the full title of the King: “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Only Peter, and only here in 2 Peter (1:11; 2:20; 3:18), does this full phrase appear.
Also, only here, Peter calls heaven the “eternal kingdom.” Eternal not only as the permanent reign of God, but as that place where his nature determines the character of the realm. No more looking for the end of anything, but only eternal beginning, the everlasting Now, the cherished Moment in full and complete fellowship with the Creator.
With such language of splendor, Peter reminds us to keep our goal firmly fixed in mind. With it, we will add those virtures of the divine nature and march confidently and joyfully into the halls of heaven.
With the heavenly gates thrown wide open, with the Lord and Savior in full regalia, with the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” ringing in our ears, with the vast cloud of witnesses almost in sight, doesn’t the thought of this great Entry March stir your soul?
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1/ Michael Green, II Pedro e Judas: introdução e comentário (Vida Nova, 1983): 71.
2/ A.R.C. Learney, Letters of Peter and Jude, Cambridged Bible Commentary (Cambridge, 1967): 106.

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