Is heaven a place we imagine high in the sky and far away from earth? Is it full of angels, harps and puffy clouds or is it more like what we have on this earth?
Well I definitely would say most people don’t find any comparison to heaven and earth. Most people I would say think that heaven is a very peaceful place and earth is a very chaotic and broken place with flames of hell peeking out of every corner. I hope I can change that view for you!
Let me begin with Revelations 21:1-7
1Then 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. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 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. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
This passage is so beautiful to me because it explain that when Jesus comes again the peace and beauty of heaven will reside on earth. It talks about heaven lowering down to meet earth and be as it once was.
You know heaven was once on earth when God created the world in Genesis. He made everything perfect. The waters, the sky, nature, the animals were all perfect and worked together in harmony. God walked on the earth instead of being above the earth. Everything was amazing until Adam and Eve introduced sin. That is when we lost our heaven on earth or did we? Sin was now on earth but was the perfect world forever gone?
Yes our world is broken, corrupt, evil and self centered but God’s perfection still exists. I would like to look at a few things that show we still have some heaven here.
Let’s look at childbirth. What an amazing thing childbirth is from conception when millions of sperm are released forced to travel upward against the stream so to speak, to locate the egg and then break through the egg wall. Doesn’t this seem like an impossible feat? When I put this in human tasks it make me think of swimming upstream for ten miles against the current to locate a treasure chest and then find the right combination to unlock the treasure chest to get inside. Physically this would challenge me yet in God’s perfection and planning that egg is fertilized and conception begins. A perfect example of heaven on earth. Only God could create this process and it remains.
Let’s talk about bamboo and its sustainability and perfection. Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. It can grow up to four feet in one day and absorbs five times more carbon dioxide and produces 35% more oxygen than a similar group of trees. Bamboo requires no pesticides, very little water and when it is harvested, the plant regenerates itself extremely quickly. Definitely an example of a perfect and heavenly plant here on earth. Again, who but God could build this perfect process?
I wonder if people are wasting their time here on earth seeing the bad and the ugly instead of seeing God’s perfection that exists everyday in our lives. As sit and write this blog I am breathing in fresh air, looking at a beautiful sunrise full of immense colors, drinking water to nourish my body after a long night’s rest. Those are just three things out of hundreds that surround me this morning.
As you move through your days when you see something unkind or unpleasant look at the beauty that is near you and thank God for providing it each and every day.
Now let’s talk about eternal heaven returning to earth. I read a very interesting book called Heaven by Randy Alcorn in which he describes heaven as two places, an intermediate place and an eternal place. The basic way he describes understanding the difference is to compare earth, intermediate heaven and eternal heaven to a flight with a layover. Say you board a plane in Miami (this is earth) and you fly to Dallas (this is intermediate heaven where you go immediately after dying) and then fly to San Francisco your final destination (eternal heaven).
We live every day here on earth which compares to your hometown of Miami. When you die you land in intermediate heaven (Dallas). This is just a stopping place where you will not remain but only stay for a period of time. Christians refer to this stopping place as heaven and is not considered the final destination. The final destination is eternal heaven.
Eternal heaven is described in Revelations 21 that I quoted at the beginning of this blog when heaven returns to earth and is new and perfect again. Those on earth will be judged and those accepting Christ as their Savior and have done God’s works will be joined with those in intermediate heaven (all those that have passed before the New Heaven comes and have been accepted into intermediate heaven). Eternal heaven is when God’s dwelling is back on earth and He dwells amongst His children. There will be no pain and beautiful peace for all. There will be no sin, no sorrow and no evil.
As we move through our days on earth (Miami) we need to see God’s beauty and perfection that still remains. As family and friends pass on we need to remember they are in a lovely place waiting (Dallas) to be joined again with us. In faith and hope we know that someday we will all be living in God’s perfection and walking with Him in eternal heaven.
When my grandma died expectantly when I was 28 I was devastated. I couldn’t accept that I saw her one night and she was gone the very next night. When I was at the funeral home before her visitation and viewing I sat alone with her just holding on to the last time I could look at her. I smelled all the flowers in the room that so many people had sent in her honor. I still remember how full of flowers the room was and how it smelled. I said, “Grandma would have loved this. She loved flowers.” quietly to myself. I went home that night and tossed and turned all night. Once I finally fell asleep my grandma came to me in a dream and said, “Don’t be sad. It is so beautiful where I am. There are so many flowers!” I was so comforted and am so confident that she was telling me about intermediate heaven. The mention of the flowers allowed me to know she heard what I said at the funeral home.
Let’s love one another and focus on the surrounding miracles. I live in peace every day now understanding intermediate heaven and eternal heaven. My love-LoLo