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Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492

One of the most significant events in history happened in 1492.  It’s why our country celebrates that event with a federal holiday the second Monday of October.

For centuries the men and women in Europe looked out on the “Ocean of Darkness” and wondered if there was anything beyond the western ocean. Scholars believed that you would sail off the edge of the world.  There was nothing out there at all.  Inscribed on the shields of Spain’s coat of arms was its national motto, Ne Plus Ultra, meaning, “There is nothing beyond.”

On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail on the Santa Maria (a ship reportedly about the size of five canoes) along with two other ships – the Nina and Pinta – and 100 men.  Their first glimpse of the new world occurred on October 12.  They spotted an island they named San Salvador – which means Holy Savior.  Two weeks later, the Santa Maria arrived on the island of Cuba.

Columbus’ return trip began in January 1493 and arrived in Portugal March 4, 1493.  He announced that there was a land beyond the sea, a glorious paradise rich beyond their imaginations.  The king of Spain changed the motto of the land, and it is still the same today, Plus Ultra, meaning, “There is more beyond.”

For many centuries people have stood beside the dark hole of a grave, watching their loved ones lowered into the earth, and wondering if there is anything beyond death.

One day, over two thousand years ago, the most significant event in the history of the world happened when another Explorer made a far more important journey, descending into the darkness of death and hell.   

On Resurrection morning, the Son of God arose from the grave as if to say, “There is more beyond.  There is a paradise beyond your greatest expectations.”  The Bible tells us in heaven, “God shall wipe away all tears….and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).

Jesus promises, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Jesus came from heaven to the earth, so He can describe what awaits us.  And, if God created the heavens and the earth in six days; we can only imagine what He’s been preparing for us during the 2000+ years since Jesus returned to heaven.

   Anne Graham Lotz writes, “The Bible assures us that our Father’s House in heaven does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light…The Father has left the light on to welcome you Home!” (Revelation 22:4)  She describes heaven as a “prepared place for a prepared people.”

Jesus promised He’s preparing a place for those who confess their sins and accept His love and forgiveness.  Are you prepared to go to heaven?