Have you ever wondered where or what heaven is? Do you envision angels with harps or streets of gold? Yesterday, we learned that the Kingdom of God (also, Kingdom of Heaven) was the present and continuing rule and reign of King Jesus here on earth and in heaven. Today, we’ll look at heaven, what it is and what it means.
“Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.” (Numbers 7:89 NASB)
Where is Heaven? What is Heaven?
The Bible uses the term ‘heaven’ in various ways. When we read about the birds of the air (Matthew 13:32), the redness of the sky (Matthew 16:2), our Lord’s call to repent at the present reality of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 4:17), and even Paul’s fantastical statement about being taken up into the ‘third heaven’ (2 Corinthians 12:2), we are reading alternate renderings of the same Greek term; οὐρανός or heaven.
But how do we distinguish what we mean when we say heaven from air or sky or mystical place? The answer, albeit oversimplified, is the presence of God. This is the ‘heaven’ Jesus instructs us to pray onto the earth (Matthew 6:10). This is the heaven we speak of ‘going to’ when we die. But this is also the very heaven God has always intended to join together with His created earth.
Heaven: The Place we meet with God
Genesis implies that God brought heaven down when He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:8). Heaven met earth when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-17). And as we read at the outset, heaven regularly came to earth through God’s designed meeting place, the tabernacle’s Mercy Seat.
However, in light of sin, this covenant meeting place was something that required more than just praying heaven down. It required God’s mercy, it required a mediator, and it required cleansing. Mercy, of course, is the nature of God. The mediator (in the Old Testament) was a mere man. And the cleansing came through the blood of sacrifices made by human hands.
Heaven on Earth
When God met with His people, He brought heaven to earth. God brought heaven to earth because that was His intent in creation. Tomorrow, we will look at how Easter was always intended to reset this meeting—this communion—to God’s original design.
What factors have influenced your idea of Heaven? How has this idea changed as you’ve matured and learned more? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.