Have you ever thought about the end of your life? What will your last words be? Where will you go when you die? I don’t like to think of dying (who does?), but truly it is something inevitable! With the death of Steve Jobs recently, as well as dealing with death on a near daily basis in my day job, death is something I nearly have come to accept. What we believe about Heaven and Hell I believe makes all the difference where our life’s path takes us!
A great friend of mine and one of my mentors, pastor Jim Morgan, described Heaven less like a fancy neighborhood with mc-mansions as many believe, and more like a giant convent where we share in God’s eternal bliss. At the time when I heard my pastor’s vision of what Heaven was to be like, I was a little disappointed! However, I have to confess it is much more intriguing than the departed saints turning into small baby angels playing micro-harps and wearing diapers while seated on small cumulus clouds. There are about as many variations of what Heaven is to be like as there are people hoping to end up there. Although I did not quite understand Pastor Morgan’s interpretation of Heaven as a youth, I have since come to understand that in Jim’s mind it was less about the treasures and splendor of the physical place and more about being with his Redeemer.
Rob Bell Velvet Elvis:
“”When people use the word hell, what do they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter–they are all hell on earth. Jesus’ desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth. What’s disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth.”
Can we resist Hell coming to Earth? Can we invoke Heaven on Earth? I don’t believe so. We are responsible for a small sphere of people in our lives and even if these people become Christians, and everyone that is a Christian, wins others until this whole world is won to Christ will this bring Heaven? No. The Bible tells us that the Devil is the Prince and Power of the Earth.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The Devil is ruler of this earth, God has given each person a chance to accept or reject Him, those that reject the Lord serve the Devil with their lives whether willing or not. To think that one’s good deeds will bring Heaven here is to think that men are inherently good!
I believe that in each man, woman, and child is a longing for something more something better; that something is Heaven! This world is full of suffering and pain, God longs to restore us; not by our own good, but by His redeeming power. I believe that Heaven is about Jesus, not shiny golden gates and giant pearls, yet I believe that Heaven is going to be somewhere far from this place. Since the fall of man in Genesis, our world has been in a constant downward free fall! Sickness and dying is all around us. Nature as well as man are a rotting bunch, even the Earth herself seems to be groaning under the weight of the curse! To think that Christians can redeem the Earth by our own efforts is naive to say the least!
We will talk more about Heaven in my next post.