Saturday, September 6, 2008

What will heaven sound like?

In Revelation 14:2 the apostle John tries to describe the sound of heaven, as he heard it in his vision:

"And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps."

Three times John uses a simile ("like") to describe the sound of heaven. It was like, first, the roar of rushing waters. Niagara Falls. Sustained intensity. It was like, secondly, a loud peal of thunder. Kaboom! Dramatic percussion. It was like, thirdly, harpists playing their harps. Tender loveliness. And the sound of heaven was/is all three sounds mingled together as one.

We have never heard such a sound. C. S. Lewis was right. This is "the silent planet." We do know what a waterfall sounds like, what a thunderclap sounds like, even what an orchestra of harpists might sound like. So the similes work. But we have never heard it all mixed together into one coherent whole. Someday we will hear it. Someday we will be a part of it, as we sing a new song before the throne (Revelation 14:3).

I wonder what it will be like to become capable of sustained intensity, dramatic percussion and tender loveliness, all at once, forever, as the celebration of God's glory pours out of us.