Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can
Create Heaven on Earth
If you're like most people, you have more wonderful things you're looking forward to next year here on earth than you're looking forward to in heaven.
So I ask, "How do you know you're not in heaven already, right now?"
The answers are always the same: "Because I'm lacking something I want."
Of course, the answers usually take a more dramatic, humanitarian form:
"This isn't heaven because there is
death, sickness and war in the world."
I take second place to no one in sensing and deploring the evil in this world. One reason I've written the words you're now reading and taken the steps necessary to put these words in front of you is because I want you to join me in trying to eliminate these evils from the face of the earth. These things are contrary to the will of God, and Jesus teaches me to pray -- and work -- that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
|But that's the great irony:|
|So we're not in the Kingdom because there's evil, and we can't eradicate evil because we're not in the Kingdom.|
I've concluded that in many ways the Bible wants us to believe that we ARE in heaven, or that we are in "The Kingdom of Heaven," so that we can be encouraged to be grateful for all that God has given us, and be strengthened in the task of "exercising dominion" and eradicating evil.
And believe me, I'm aware of evil in the world. All my "spiritual exercises" about imagining that we are already in heaven are not naive pollyanna rose-colored-glasses thinking. In fact, part of the reason I'm writing is to suggest that people who put the most into thinking about "the Rapture" or "heaven" are the most naive about evil in the world, and are the least helpful in doing anything about it.
Suppose for a moment that you're in heaven, and a Nazi walks up to you. Yes, he's wearing jackboots and a brownshirt with a Nazi armband. You're as surprised as I am to see a Nazi in heaven. You assume he's repented and reformed, but his uniform is certainly a perplexing sight here in heaven. All the more surprising since you happen to be walking with someone who died in a German concentration camp. The Nazi pulls a Luger out of his holster, hands it to you grip first, and orders you to shoot your friend. "Bizarre," you think to yourself. "Maybe this is some kind of test, or a heavenly 'Candid Camera.'" You refuse. He says if you do not shoot your friend, you will be shot. One of the things you like best about heaven is immortality, so you don't hesitate to defy his "order." You watch the Nazi grow angry, put his finger on the trigger, and hold it to the head of your friend.
Will you do anything to stop the execution of your friend?
Would you have done anything back on earth in a similar situation, when you lacked immortality?
Looking back on the 20th century, we might be surprised to find out that while the uniforms varied, this scenario was carried out an average of 10,000 times each and every single day during the 20th century. The governments of all the nations of the earth either ordered or permitted the murder of 10,000 people per day. (By comparison, last year in the U.S. around 15,000 people were murdered without the permission of the government during the entire year. Around the world, many times more people were murdered by governments and many, many times more private property was stolen or destroyed by governments than by "private" criminals.)
Millions of people have been rounded up by people wearing uniforms and sent to concentration camps. And millions of other people said or did nothing. Millions of these silent, passive people may have thought they were "born again," "saved by the blood," or looking forward to going to heaven. But their highest allegiance was to the State, not to God or the Kingdom of Heaven.
Would you give up going to heaven to save the lives of hundreds of millions of people?
The Apostle Paul said, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh (Romans 9:3).
Some of these people were murdered because they were Christians. Most were not. And surely those who did the killing were not Christians. The deaths of these people represent horrifying oppression at the hands of beastly empires. Would you give up going to heaven for yourself if by doing so you could create a world in which murderous anti-Christian dictatorships were replaced by Micah's world of Vine & Fig Tree, a world of "Liberty Under God," a world where the Gospel is freely available to the hundreds of millions who were murdered in the 20th century and the millions of people who did the murdering?
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
If you sacrificed your own comfort -- whether in this life or the next -- in order to prevent the murder of millions, and to promote the preaching of the Gospel, would you be obeying this command of Jesus, and storing up treasures in heaven? Are you storing up treasures in heaven if you ignore the murder of millions and do nothing to remove obstacles to the preaching of the Gospel, but spend your life complaining about the evils in the world and longing to be raptured and sent to heaven?
It seems reasonable to conclude that when Jesus tells us to pray that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, we should also be working to this end, not just praying.
|Ways We Fall Short of "Heaven on Earth"||What "Heavenly-Minded" Christians Are Doing About It.|
|When I suggest imagining that we're in heaven now, everyone has reasons why this idea is ridiculous . . .||. . . but nobody does anything about it. That would only delay the Second Coming and our entrance into heaven.|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians ban the public display of God's Commandments?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians take money from you and use it to give nuclear weapons technology to murderous tyrants in China?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians print up fake money and steal from the poor?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would the government make it illegal for Christians to say "so help me God" if they believe in the God of the Bible? Would they make it illegal for Christians to hold public office?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians oversee a system of homosexual rape?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would the government take your money and give it to Islamic terrorists?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians be working to unite all nations in a defiant attempt to avoid Christianization?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians take money from you and give it to dictators like Saddam Hussein, and then kill tens of thousands of people who were victims of his tyranical government?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would the BATF burn down a house full of fundamentalists in Waco, Texas?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would the government threaten employers with jail terms if they hire people who produce less than $5.00 worth of goods every hour?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians confiscate money from you and give it to homosexuals who are suffering under God's judgment?|
|If God's will were done on earth as it is in heaven, would politicians take your money and give it to the owners of a bankrupt train company?|
The sad fact is, most Christians who spend most of their time longing for heaven are creating hell on earth. Some examples are found in the next chapter.
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