Meanderings of a Minister

On Earth As It Is In Heaven or In Heaven As It Is On Earth?

I know that I have written on this topic before, but recently, I was reading the description of the throne room of heaven in Revelation 4 and 5.  Here is what I noticed about heaven.

First, John is shown heaven, but the first thing that catches his eye is the throne and God seated on that throne.  John is nearly overcome with the scene.  He noticed the colors, sounds, and focus of heaven as being totally about God on the throne.  From rainbows, to thunder and lightning, to creatures and lamps of fire, John gives the picture that all of heaven is focused on the worship of God Almighty.

Next, John mentioned the cries of the living creatures as they proclaim the holiness of God when they say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come.”  They all give God glory and recognize the focus of heaven is God.

Additionally, John mentioned the twenty-four elders joining in on the worship.  They cast their crowns before the throne as they confess, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Lastly, even when it came time to begin to open the scroll, all of heaven was focused on God the Father and God the Son as Jesus was the only One worthy to open the scroll that would mark the end of times and the judgments and deliverances that were to come.

As one looks at this version of heaven, one is left with a sick feeling that much else we have heard of heaven may or may not be accurate.  For many people, the idea of heaven is them finally getting everything they want.  They will be comforted, pampered, served, catered to, and never expected to do anything.  God will exist to serve their needs.  This is not heaven as God has described it to us.

It seems that in heaven, we will realize what it was we wanted all along.  We will finally get to see God on the throne of heaven!  We will no longer worship an invisible God, but will see Him as He is.  We will get to join in the activity of heaven and worship God for eternity.  We will know that we are in heaven because of God’s will and we will be challenged as we see Him high and lifted up.

Now, you might be thinking that this version of heaven does not sound appealing because it is not focused on you.  Perhaps the problem with much of our lives now is that we think too much should be focused on us.  As it is, we think we are owed respect.  We think we have a right to be honored.  We think others should serve us.  That is what causes a lot of the heartache we experience.  People disrespect us and we get mad.  They devalue us and we feel hurt.  They demand that we serve them and we feel cheated.

If heaven teaches us anything, it teaches us of the holiness of God and His rightful, ruling place over all creation and beyond.  We are not the focus.  He is.  For many, this is hard to take.

So, what do we do with this knowledge?  Perhaps, it is as simple as putting others first and serving them.  Perhaps it is as simple as honoring those who faithfully serve us.  There may be many other applications, but they would all seem to indicate we need to be changed so that our focus on earth is as it will be in heaven, if we know Jesus as Lord and Savior.


Shaking Your Fist in the Face of God
April 18, 2013, 8:27 pm
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Ever Been This Angry?

This last week, Stephen Hawking, renowned theoretical physicist and cosmogonist (studier of the origin of the universe) gave a talk at the California Institute of Technology in which he declared that his version of the Big Bang did not require God.  In that same speech, he quipped, “What was God doing before the Divine Creation?  Was he preparing Hell for people who ask such questions?”  He made some other remarks about being glad that he was not being called before an inquisition for his study of the moment of creation as Pope John Paul II had told him not to dare to study such a holy moment.

While the crowd to which Hawking communicated cheered and laughed at his comments, how should the rest of us respond?  How do you respond to someone that wants to denigrate or ridicule God?  Our first reaction might be to get angry.  It might be to want to wish that Hawking would meet God soon and find out how wrong he has been.  I might want to suggest another reaction.

First, we need to recognize what is going on.  An unsaved person, who is observing his world, is behaving in an unsaved way.  This means that he is doing what his nature dictates, which is rebel against the God Who made him. This is no different than any other believer, before they became a believer, or non-believer.  How are we to treat people who don’t know Jesus?  With anger?  With animosity?  With a smug reaction of, “I hope they get what is coming to them?”  Hardly!  Luke 19:10 says Jesus came to seek and to save what which was lost.  We ought to love him and pray that he will come to knowledge of God before he meets Him.

Second, we need to understand what Hawking is doing.  He has looked at his world.  He has attempted to understand his world without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.  Beginning with the assumption that there is no God (which seems to go against the idea of a scientist allowing the results to determine the theories), he has attempted to explain things as best he can.  Since creation of the universe is not reproducible in a laboratory, he is left with forensic science, logic, and theoretical mathematics.  He is making his best guess.

Third, not only do we realize that he is acting according to his nature, with the technology available to him, in accord with the methods afforded his situation, based upon the premise with which he started, we must also realize who Hawking is.  He is a brilliant man, by the standards of his fellow man.  He has a lot of education and a quick mind.  He has a lot of time to contemplate and theorize because of his position, but he also has some limitations.  His limitations include the environment in which he works.  If he came to some other conclusion, like there is a God, then he could not be published and would not have a job.  His limitations also include his natural mind.  He cannot understand Spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).  He is also fighting a debilitating illness, which would tend to make one question the goodness of God, even if they knew Him.

When you put all of this together, how should we react to his outburst and attack upon the Church, God and Creation?  With sympathy, knowing we were once there as enemies of God (Romans 5:8).  With sadness, knowing that, if God does not intervene, his intellectual prowess will not prove enough to keep him from the place where all will go whose names are not written in the Book of Life.  With prayer, asking God to save him.  With understanding, knowing he is simply hoping to find a loophole that will allow him to escape the death and judgment he is sure to face.

When you go to prayer today, pray for Stephen Hawking.