Not ‘in heaven.’
In my last post (which didn’t get any attention), I pointed out that in the beginning- before sin – God purposefully placed us on earth, not in heaven.
In this post, I’m going to move right to the end of the story, where we glimpse a picture of our eternal home.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-4
This passage (and others) speak of a new heaven and a new earth. This passage makes it quite clear that the ‘heaven’ that we go to when we die is a temporary location for us.
Our eternal dwelling is…earth. Not the same earth, but a new earth. Earth renewed.
Notice in this passage, the New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven from God.
And the wonderful promise: “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.”
This is a picture of heaven and earth coming together, and it brings so many of the biblical scenes, illusions and teachings together.
Remember what Jesus taught us to pray. Not that we’d go to heaven, but rather “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
Yes – we are given promises that when we die in Christ we will be with the Lord in a comforting and substantial way. “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) Nothing of what we already believe goes away.
But this was not the ultimate hope of Christians in the Bible. It was the temporary comfort until the real hope comes to fruition.
They wanted not to go to heaven, but for heaven to come to them. For the world to be renewed. Not to become disembodied spiritual beings in heaven while our bodies are still in the ground, but rather fully embodied resurrected people – like Jesus was.
And so we come, in a sense full circle, back to the beginning.
In Genesis, God created us to live on the earth as eternal people living in fellowship with him and one another.
God hasn’t given up on that plan!
It’s what he’s bringing back, but now through a hard won fight. Jesus has permanently marked hands and feet to show the extend of God’s love and rugged commitment to bring his purposes about.
Start thinking about this…
It’s so much better than what we’ve often been told. It makes sense of the reality that we don’t really want to ‘go to heaven’ until we’re so old that this body is more painful than enjoyable.
But what if we could enjoy good things in life but with God’s face-to-face presence. Without sin. without sickness and death. Forever.
That’s what I want. I think it’s what you probably want too.
Thankfully for us, it’s what God has promised.
Come Lord Jesus.