Heaven is for real – right here

Why is it so important to know that heaven is for real “up there,” when heaven is for real “down here”? I imagine it’s because, for many Christians, the ultimate Christian hope is going to heaven after we die and spending eternity with God where he is, and he’s up in heaven, right? And having that hope makes all our suffering down here worth grinding through, all our good deeds worth doing, all our repentance, belief, obedience and going to church worth the reward we’ll get when we’re whisked off this mess of a planet forever to live in the bliss of heaven instead.

And there may be some sort of “heaven” awaiting us after we die, but the focus of the gospel is not us leaving the earth to go to heaven; it’s Jesus bringing heaven to the earth.

God’s goal in creating earth is to merge heaven and earth right here. He demonstrated that clearly in his instructions to the Israelites to build a tabernacle in the wilderness and later a temple in Jerusalem. It was in that tabernacle and temple that heaven came down to earth. It was the place where heaven and earth met, clearly demonstrating God’s wish to be where we are, not whisk us off to where he is. We may temporarily be where he is after we die, but Jesus returns to this earth bringing us with him, and he sets up his HQ down here, not up there.

What Christians are far more interested in, then, is demonstrating heaven is for real down here, right now, because this is what Jesus came to this earth for. He came from heaven, bringing heaven to earth, taught the ways of heaven to his disciples, and told them to follow him, because in following him earth and heaven would merge in their lives too. They would literally become the temple of God, the place where heaven and earth meet, the evidence of which would be Christians doing very heavenly things “on earth as it is in heaven,” like loving their neighbours and not judging anyone as inferior or unworthy of love and respect.

They would demonstrate a very different way that would often conflict with the typical ways and cultures of this world, causing them considerable and sometimes overwhelming suffering. But turning to their Lord and King they would always bounce back with confidence and trust, proving yet again that heaven is for real right here, right now, because nothing in this world can rip heaven out of Christians. They are proof that heaven is here already – and it’s here to stay.

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