Justification by Allegiance


Do you Really Want to Go to Heaven?


The modern concept of "heaven" is self-centered. Many people think they know what heaven is: a place of eternal self-indulgence. A place of no work, no responsibilities, no challenges, no growth. These people are convinced that our present life of work, responsibility, challenges and growth will very soon -- "any moment" -- be ended by "the Rapture," in which we are relieved of our duties and ushered into eternal vacation. These people are waiting, not working.

     Chuck Colson: "An Everlasting Playground"
     David Brooks: Hooked on Heaven Lite, New York Times, March 9, 2004
     Adam Kirsch: Paradise Lite, Slate.com, February 5, 2004

The people who spend the most time waiting for heaven and the least time working to create heaven on earth are probably least likely to be comfortable in the heaven of the Bible. People who aren't interested in a systematic, disciplined, hard-working, international effort to create heaven on earth are not mature Christians. They have a childish view of heaven and an adolescent mentality here on earth. If the Pearly Gates are opened for them, they're going to be very surprised.

"And for fear of him the keepers did shake,
and became as dead men
.
"
Matthew 28:4

First, cherubs (cherubim) are not cute and cuddly little baby-faced angels. They are big, fearful and awesome; visible indications of the presence of God. They are heaven's "bouncers," God's thugs, divine henchmen. A 1904 US Supreme Court opinion declared: "The flaming brand which guards the realm where no human government is needed still bars the entrance."[1] We'll talk about the Court's view of human government a few chapters from now, but it's true that man never went back to Eden -- nobody dared to cross the path of the cherubim that blocked the entrance. When human beings see cherubim, they usually fall on their faces in fear. That's usually the first word out of the mouth of a cherub: "Fear not" (Daniel 10:11; Luke 1:13, 30; 2:10; Acts 27:24). And heaven is full of these menacing toughguys. Which is one reason why people who long for escape from earthly dominion -- re-creating heaven on earth -- might not be comfortable in the real heaven.

The descriptions of heaven in the Bible are almost nightmarish in intensity. The King James phrase "heavenly host" really means "heavenly army."

When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army; when they stopped, they let down their wings.
(Ezekiel 1:24, NKJV) 

The visions of heaven given to John (Revelation) and Ezekiel are filled with the noise of innumerable crowds, earth-shaking peals of thunder, and worship -- worship day and night, worship which cannot be described as "warm fuzzies" that come from "feeling good about yourself."

I've been to a few churches in my day. And I've read the Biblical descriptions of heaven. They are poles apart. Preachers won't offend, music ministers won't challenge, knuckle-rapping in Sunday School is long gone. The goal of modern churches is to make the audience feel good. But in heaven the goal of the audience is to make God feel good:

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple
Revelation 7:15

These visions of heaven are designed to spur us on in the work of creating heaven on earth, of seeing that God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

Most Christians can't imagine being in church "day and night,"
but they claim they want to spend eternity serving God.
Millions of Christians are longing for "heaven lite"
and they refuse to serve God day and night by working in this life to create heaven on earth.
I think there's a surprise or two in store for them.