The King James Version of the Bible has 776 occurrences of the word “heaven.”
None of those 776 verses that include the word “heaven” indicate that we fly away beyond the clouds to a “spirity” disembodied, or angel-bodied eternity. Nor do they mention a city beyond the sky with golden streets, and mansions, and guarded by Peter at the pearly gates.
IF the biblical meta-narrative is fundamentally about THAT particular future – references to that concept are largely hidden, or absent from scripture. Again, if THAT future is what Jesus came to secure one would think that the scripture would be more explicit. IF THAT is what its all about why doesn’t the bible just come right out and say it – clearly, no questions?
Could it be that the bible doesn’t explicitly portray the commonly held understanding of heaven because the common understanding is misunderstanding?
Rather than being the place to go when I die, I now understand the biblical meta-narrative to portray heaven as the seat of the government of the Kingdom of God…
– that God’s will is to annex the earth for His government.
– that He made man in His own image, and gave him dominion over the earth (first Adam) (Genesis 1)
– that the government will be on his shoulder (last Adam) (Isaiah 9:6)
– that when Jesus said “take my yoke upon you” He was inviting us to “shoulder” the heavenly form of government in the earth. (Matthew 11:29)
– that its why Jesus taught us to pray that the Kingdom would come on earth, as it is in heaven – and then He modeled the heavenly form of government ON EARTH as an example to us.
– that its why Jesus told us to “seek first the Kingdom of God.”
– that the sovereignty, power, and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His Kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him. (Daniel 7:27)
– that there is real work to do as we govern our domains in alignment with the government, culture, and economy of heaven – until we fall asleep.
(While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed…(then) he fell asleep.) (Acts 7:59-60)
We work as ambassadors of Christ until we fall asleep – not “completely” dead – asleep.
– He is not the God of the dead, but the living. (Mark 12:27)
– But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corithinians 15:20)
– This is why it is said:”Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)
– Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – (1 Corinthians 15:51)
We are raised from death – in coherence with the cultural norm established by Jesus – to complete the work of annexing the earth for the Kingdom of God.
– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)
– For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
– The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:”The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
– And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:1-7)
– if we endure we will also reign with him. (2 Timothy 2:12)
– that we have been made a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and we will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
Will you reign on the earth?
What if God invited you to participate in His plans to annex the earth for His government?
What if God asked you stop focusing on “getting” to heaven, and instead asked you to focus on “bringing” (the government of) heaven – to earth?
What if part of His strategy was to annex your business for His Kingdom?
What if God asked you to govern your business according to the heavenly form of government?
What if God asked you to be an ambassador for His government, and asked you to make your business the embassy?
How would the culture of your business need to change to align with the culture of heaven?