FOR WHAT ARE YOU PREPARING YOURSELF?
Copyright © 1999 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Two different lands of promise are being presented today. The first is Heaven. The second is the earth. One is not the scriptural land of promise; the other is. We must prepare ourselves to enter and possess the scriptural land of promise.
Table of Contents
FOR WHAT ARE YOU PREPARING YOURSELF?
Heaven as the Land of Promise
The traditional land of promise is Heaven. Even secular society views the Christian religion as the attempt of people to avoid Hell and enter Heaven. Jewish people talk about going to Heaven even though their Bible does not present Heaven as the goal of the righteous, as far as I know. They have joined us Gentiles. I think the Muslims also believe Heaven to be the goal of salvation, the land of promise.
Our idea of Heaven follows pretty well what was true of the Garden of Eden. The setting will be one of great natural beauty. There will be flowers, grass, trees. Children will be playing. Perhaps there will be animals; some think so. One preacher stated that when we are caught up to Heaven, our pets will be caught up along with us. Our dog will appreciate this because she had been taught that dogs would not be permitted to enter the city. She is a kelpie and wants to be close to us at all times.
One of the main blessings of Heaven will be peace, rest, joy, and an abundance of love. We certainly look forward to freedom from dread. Many of us hope to be rejoined with deceased loved ones.
It is our belief there will be no pain in Heaven. Even though we might have suffered much in this life, might have died in the midst of suffering, there will be no suffering once we get to Heaven. C.S. Lewis raised a question about this in his book, A Grief Observed. Lewis said there is no Bible proof we will not continue to suffer in Heaven. He knows for sure now.
Some believe we will be playing harps in the Presence of God. How are you on the harp? I am a pianist myself. Maybe the angels will teach us how to play the harp. I never found the time to learn Chopin’s Nocturne, No. 2 in E flat Major, a piece I enjoy. I love to hear it performed. Maybe you can play it. I am not certain where Chopin went after he died, but I am pretty sure Bach and other great musicians are there, and one of them can teach me.
Mansions are an important part of our belief. We look for a splendid home, perhaps several stories high and free from dust. (Let all the sisters say “Hallelujah!”) It has been mentioned that we may have diamonds in our backyard, though I don’t think most Christians are excited about the prospect of having diamonds on their properties. Diamonds are hard on your feet. What people want is love, joy, peace, contentment, freedom from pain, worry, a deep sense of security.
Speaking of feet, I think the idea of golden slippers is probably folklore. It seems to me that wearing golden slippers and walking on a street of gold could make one wish for sandals and grass. Perhaps it was poor folk that made up the part about golden slippers. Sholem Aleichem tells of a beggar whose wanted a hot roll and butter when he got to Heaven. Life does beat the starry wonder of the universe out of us, doesn’t it?
Of course, we hope to have no contact with Hell.
We look forward to seeing God and Jesus. No doubt there will be any number of angels walking or flying around. It will be very interesting to see and perhaps visit with intelligent beings who are not human.
We think there will be music there and many places of interest to visit. Perhaps we will see famous Christians of history, such as John Wesley or even the Apostle Paul. Maybe Adam and Eve, our great grandparents, will be there. They have a lot of explaining to do, but I will forgive them. How about you?
We hope we will be rejoined with our family, but since Jesus said there is no marriage in the world to come, we are not sure how this will work out.
One fairly common belief is that even though we have not served Jesus fervently, there is no problem. After we die, or at the latest when the Lord comes, our personality will be changed, becoming a giant of faith, a ruler over the nations. What a stretching that will be for some of us!
We are not sure how governing the nations fits in with resting in peace in our mansion. Maybe we will stay in our mansion in Heaven while the Jews govern the Kingdom on the earth.
It is generally believed that the Lord will come soon to bring us to Heaven. Numerous Christians are looking for an any-moment “rapture” in which they will be carried up to Heaven before the rise of the Antichrist and the period of trouble known as the Great Tribulation.
We are not sure where the resurrection fits into this picture, but its purpose appears to be to bring us to our mansion in Heaven. We don’t know why we will need a resurrected body in Heaven. Anyway, we go to Heaven when we die, so who needs a resurrection!
It seems to be a common practice now to prepare for the “rapture” by jumping up and down. We sent some of our young girls to a youth camp recently, and they were encouraged to jump up and down to get ready for the “rapture.” Personally I think a better preparation for the “rapture” would be to forgive our enemies. But aerobic exercises are usually helpful, especially for those of us who are older. Perhaps jumping up and down next to the pews would be more necessary for the older believers and those who are overweight since the boys and girls jump around too much already. Perhaps some of the aftershocks we are experiencing now in California are actually believers preparing for the “rapture.”
The big question is: What will we do in Heaven for eternity?
We can’t talk about the weather since the weather is always perfect. There are no responsibilities, except perhaps for governing the nations of the earth, no trouble, no pain, no suffering of any kind, no death, just endless joy and peace. Do we just rest forever? Is there anything to do? Can we do whatever we want? Will our personality be changed to where we are content to do nothing of significance? Maybe there are computers or other items of interest.
Will it be possible to sin? If two people want the same thing, how will this conflict be resolved? It seems when Satan and God were in Heaven together, they both wanted the same thing.
Adam and Eve possessed many of the blessings we have mentioned. Yet they brought ruin into Paradise. Will we be able to sin and bring ruin into Heaven? What will change us so we no longer can sin?
Some have said we will be praising God for ten thousand years. I have noticed that fifteen minutes is a long time for people to praise God unless there is a special Presence of God in the meeting. Perhaps there will be such a Presence of God that we will be able to praise God for ten thousand years. Are you really looking forward to this, or are you tired and want to rest for awhile?
Are you deeply interested in a mansion, or do you care more for who will be in the mansion? Would you rather be in a mansion with people you don’t care about, or in a tarpaper shack with people you love? What does your answer tell us about your deepest desires?
How would you feel if Jesus asked you to do something you really did not want to do? Maybe no such thing takes place in Heaven.
But what do we do?
What does Heaven mean to you? Would you change anything I have suggested?
I asked one person what he wanted to do in Heaven. His answer was, “Play golf.” I found this interesting because there are beautiful golf courses in our area. Yet he wants to go to Heaven to play golf. What do you want to do in Heaven?
I hope I have included many of our thoughts and hopes concerning Heaven. If such be the case, how do we prepare ourselves for going to Heaven? Or is any preparation necessary?
We have already mentioned preparing for the “rapture” by jumping up and down. If this preparation is necessary, the pastors may wish to pay special attention to preparing the elderly or those with arthritis. A physician’s advice may be indicated. We certainly do not want the infirm to be left behind. In fact, if the State of California gets wind of our preparations for the “rapture”, the officials may insist that provision be made for the handicapped.
When we built the baptistry in our church, we had to make provision for those who might be strapped to a gurney and still desire to be baptized. Rather than secure a block and tackle to the ceiling and lower them into the water while on the gurney, we stated our intention to sprinkle these candidates with water. How much more important would it be to ensure that all members of the congregation are able to participate in an “any-moment rapture”!
Certainly we must have our sins forgiven if we hope to go to Heaven and escape Hell. The traditional preparation includes taking the “four steps of salvation.” The four steps of salvation consist of a doctrinal statement pieced together by taking fragments of verses from several books of the Bible. Of course we have been taught not to derive doctrine by cutting and pasting verses in this manner. But who cares? Everyone is doing it!
The four steps of salvation then become our ticket. The important thing is not to lose the ticket, although many believers contend it is impossible to lose one’s ticket. Once we profess faith in Christ, we are assured that no matter what we do, we will escape Hell and go to Heaven when we die.
Other than this, no preparation appears to be necessary. The belief is that we do not really need to gain victory over worldliness, bodily passions, or self-will because we will be made holy and righteous by dying or by the coming of the Lord.
As far as the rewards to the overcomer are concerned, it is claimed that we are an overcomer automatically by taking the four steps of salvation. Thus we are assured of our place on the throne of Christ, although how this is related to our time spent in our mansion is not certain. Maybe we go back and forth between the throne of Christ and our mansion.
The Bible says we have died with Christ and have risen with Him to the right hand of God. Again, it is difficult to see how this fits into having a moment’s rest in our mansion. Perhaps once we die, we come down from the right hand of God so we can enjoy our mansion.
Incidentally, some have said if you eat fruit in Heaven, the juice evaporates so it will not soil your robe. Also there apparently is no dust to disturb the cleanliness of every room of your mansion. Which reminds me, someone informed us that although the army of saints follow Christ in the attack of Armageddon, they do not actually fight because they would get their robes dirty if they did. Only Christ does the fighting. (Doesn’t anyone care if Christ’s robe gets dirty?) It might be possible to eat whatever you want and never get fat or worry about a heart attack. Think of it! This appeals to me.
One part I especially like is the thought of going to the beach and not having to be concerned about the little children drowning. I have not really enjoyed the beach since our two boys came along, although as a youngster I spent the summer on the beach, which was only a couple of hundred yards from our house in Connecticut. I am a great worrier. Hopefully there will be nothing to worry about in Heaven. Do you suppose there will be beaches in Heaven?
The evangelists have informed us there is absolutely nothing we have to do to prepare ourselves to go to Heaven, to enter our land of promise. Jesus did it all for us. All we have to do is accept the gift of salvation. How wonderful! It’s like someone giving you a grand piano and also the ability to play Beethoven sonatas. What could be more exciting than that for a musically inclined individual who has only mastered Chopsticks? And our hands may be large enough to stretch three octaves and never get tired. Now we can play the Appassionata as Beethoven meant it to sound.
There you have it — glory upon glory facing you, an any-moment “rapture” to look forward to, and no painful preparation needed. This thought is especially pleasing to Americans who desire to be totally healthy with excellent muscle tone, and yet eat all they please and never exercise.
As for going through a tribulation, forget it! It is claimed that God loves us too much to permit us to suffer; that we are going to go to Heaven on flowery beds of ease in spite of the old hymn. Some saints of old had to sail through bloody seas, but it’s taught that ours is a new day; we can have our cake and eat it too.
Take the four steps of salvation, jump up and down next to your pew so you will have a head start and get there before the other believers. This way you can pick out a better mansion. I heard a preacher explain that since the Lord made heaven and earth in six days we can only imagine the kind of mansion we will have now that God has been building them for six thousand years! Just think of it! Aren’t you just dying to see what your new house will look like?
The Earth as the Land of Promise
Now we will consider an almost totally different viewpoint concerning the land of promise of the Christian — that our inheritance is the earth, with Heaven being thrown in for good measure.
Whenever we teach that the earth is our land of promise, people think we are members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We certainly have no bad feelings toward Jehovah’s Witnesses, but we do not happen to belong to this group.
In my opinion, there are at least two significant problems with the first viewpoint.
- The first is, since I am an anxious, goal-driven, time-urgent, type-A, busy individual, I would find it difficult to do nothing but rest for eternity. If I ended up in the place described above, I would wonder if I had missed God or got off on the wrong exit.
In fact, our family doctor said it was useless to talk to me about going on a vacation because it would present just another problem to me, something to worry about until it was concluded. We have had this particular doctor for many years and he is extremely insightful. He said I would have to learn how to rest while I am working. I am now trying desperately to rest while I am working.
- The second significant problem is that the concept of Heaven being our land of promise is almost totally unscriptural. If you give this some thought, you can see it is an important issue.
What I wrote above about Heaven is not what I believe, but what other Christians believe. You may respond, “What do you mean Heaven is not our land of promise? Didn’t I get saved so I can go to Heaven and escape the fire? What do I get out of this anyway?” It is not my intention to rob any believer of his or her main hope. Please keep on with what you always have believed, and do not read further in this article.
I will take it for granted that from now on, in this article, I am dealing with those who believe the Bible. The others have left to go about their daily tasks, pausing occasionally to take little jumps so as not to be caught unprepared.
The Bible teaches clearly, and has always taught clearly, that the earth is our land of promise, our inheritance. Of course we will inherit the best of Heaven too because, as we read in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation, the throne of God and of the Lamb is coming down through the new sky to rest forever on the new earth.
No true Christian wants to remain in the spirit realm with four-faced creatures full of eyes when God and Jesus are on the new earth. Am I right about this? How do you feel about this?
“But doesn’t the Bible teach we will go to Heaven and live there forever?” No, and you should go and get your money back for any book that tells you that.
“But doesn’t the Bible tell us Jesus is coming to catch His waiting bride away.” No!
“Doesn’t the Bible tell us we will be raised from the dead so we can go to live in Heaven?” No!
“But doesn’t the Bible promise me a mansion in Heaven?” No!
“Didn’t Jesus say His Father’s house is Heaven”? No!
Why don’t you stop reading this article for an hour, and find clear passages of Scripture, kept in context, that teach our traditional beliefs, as listed above. We have just stated they are not found in the Bible. If you cannot find any, then we can proceed with our discussion. After you pick yourself up off the floor, would you like to think about what the Bible does teach?
The Bible teaches that six thousand years ago, man already had most of what we think of as Heaven, and he had it on the earth. Heaven was on the earth somewhere near where Iraq is now. God was here. Everything was here that anyone would want.
Well, we lost it. We invited Satan and his angels to live among us. This was not a good idea as we have seen.
Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. A redeemer is someone who restores what was lost. Jesus came to restore what we lost because of our inexperience in the things of the spirit realm. Since we were not created in Heaven but on the earth, and therefore did not lose Heaven, Jesus came to restore us to Paradise on the earth. How about that!
The first job to be done was to take care of the guilt that man brought on himself. God the Father will not accept people who are guilty of sin. Therefore Jesus Christ had to come to earth to make an atonement for the sin of the world. This He did, and now God will receive us when we come to Him. So the guilt has been taken care of. But Satan is still here in our inheritance. Of this we are certain.
If we are to establish the identity of our land of promise, we must pay careful attention to the following passage:
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (Psalms 2:8,9)
God the Father invited Jesus to pray and ask for the nations and the ends of the earth as His possession. The nations and the ends of the earth are the inheritance of Jesus Christ. Psalms states that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalms 24:1).
Because the nations and the ends of the earth are the inheritance of Jesus Christ, they also are our inheritance, for we are coheirs with Him.
So consider: the guilt of mankind has been forgiven. Jesus paid the price but He still does not possess His inheritance, nor do we. Did Jesus come only to forgive our sins? No, He came to destroy the works of the devil, especially the works of the devil in the earth. At the present time Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, waiting until God makes Jesus’ enemies His footstool.
Why is God waiting? Jesus could have taken control of the earth two thousand years ago, just after His resurrection from the dead. He had the power. He could have saved us two thousand years of human agony. But it is God’s intention that Jesus have a company of brothers, or a bride if you prefer, with whom to share the inheritance. Therefore, the purpose of the Church Age has been to call forth the brothers of Jesus Christ, and conform them to His image that He might be the Firstborn among many who will share the spoils with Him.
This is where you and I come in. The next great move will be for the Lord Jesus to return with His brothers, and receive His and their inheritance, namely the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. Of course, Satan and everything to do with Satan must be destroyed from the earth if Paradise is to be restored.
Are you seeing the picture?
Can you see now why Satan has instructed the churches that they must fly out of here, that the Lord is coming to take us to Heaven? Wouldn’t you teach the same thing if you were Satan? Do you think he wants Jesus and His brothers to come and ruin everything he has built? This is why we are practicing for the rapture, with Satan’s encouragement. He wants us out of here so he can continue to “eat the dust” of human flesh, just as God has forced him to do. I think Satan would like to give us all a swift kick to help us up to the great retirement home in the sky.
For myself, I don’t intend to leave my inheritance. How about you? Let Satan leave. This is our place.
The Bible tells us that when the Lord appears to take over His (and our) inheritance, we are going to appear with Him. In several instances in the Old Testament and the New, the coming of Christ and His saints is pictured as the attack by an invincible army.
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand — A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. (Joel 2:1,2)
I know some claim the second chapter of Joel is talking about grasshoppers. Don’t you just know the Day of the Lord is the coming of grasshoppers. Well, if some hold fast to grasshoppers, let’s go to another place.
Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 4:3)
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
No grasshoppers here! It looks like we are going to be busy when the Lord returns.
Some are teaching that we are going to be caught up to Heaven, go through a judgment in which every person who has taken the four steps of salvation hears “Well done, good and faithful servant” (even though he or she has been neither good nor faithful), and then return seven years later as fierce as Genghis Khan, ready to rip up the earth. Can’t you picture it? After we have spent seven years sitting around talking small talk with the neighbors, eating ice cream by the gallon and never getting fat, barbecuing steak night after night without having a heart attack, suddenly we are going to mount our white war-stallion and come thundering down through the clouds to confront an amazed Antichrist, the kings of the earth, Satan, the fallen angels (some of whom are as large as a continent), and self-willed religious people. Can’t you just picture your Christian friends returning with Christ to crush the wicked under their feet after having lived the good life for seven years! The stuff that is preached today is enough to make a horse laugh and grow feathers.
I am going to stick with the Bible and the rest may do as they like.
The Bible says the Lord is coming with a shout, the voice of Michael, and the trumpet of God, and those who died in Christ are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. It says nothing about going to Heaven. All the saints who return with Christ have already been in Heaven, some of them for thousands of years, and their desire is to return to the earth, not to make a U-turn so those who are alive at the time can get to sit in their mansions for seven years.
Since the Bible teaches we are going to return with Christ and release the creation from the bondages of sin and corruption, what does this tell us about how we should prepare ourselves?
- We must learn to live in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father. First of all, we are going to govern the nations with a rod of iron. The rod of iron is the scepter of iron righteousness held by Christ and every true saint. That iron is being created in us now as through the grace of Christ we overcome every enemy.
- We will need to live with the consuming Fire, our holy God. Everything in us that is flammable must be fireproofed. Each day of our life, we must press further into the holiness of God. Through the Spirit of God, we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
- Every trace of worldliness must be destroyed out of us.
- Every trace of the lusts and appetites of the flesh must be destroyed out of us.
- Every trace of self-will must be destroyed out of us.
- Christ must be brought to maturity in us.
- We must be sternly obedient to the Father. If there were one disobedient person in the army of Christ, the invasion of the earth would be jeopardized. Remember Achan! The original sin was disobedience to God. We cannot possibly return to earth and restore Paradise if we ourselves are disobedient. Many believers are disobedient to Christ. They do not have a prayer of being in the army of the Lord that will return with Christ.
“Ah, but I am saved by grace!”
You mean that even though you are disobedient to God, He sees you through Christ, so in God’s eyes, you are not really disobedient, and will return to rule the nations with a rod of iron? Is this what you believe? Doesn’t your common sense tell you better than this?
I guess common sense is not as common as one could wish, when we see people rushing to buy the latest book that gives the date of the “rapture.” People make a lot money writing and selling these books. If the Christian book-sellers had integrity, they would offer a money-back guarantee in case it didn’t happen! The author should give back every penny of royalties if it doesn’t happen. He should not be getting rich telling people something is going to happen and getting them all excited when he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Don’t you agree? People get sued today when something they sell doesn’t work like it is supposed to.
Maybe we enjoy having our ears tickled and don’t mind wasting a few dollars. Do you suppose this is the case? There is this about it: If you have itching ears, there always is someone at hand to scratch them for you.
There are two visions of the land of promise. One is Heaven. The other is the earth. One of these is not the Bible vision. The only way we are going to find out which is the true vision is to read the Bible.
Does the Bible speak of parks, trees, flowers, children playing, mansions in Heaven where we sit and talk small talk with our friends and relatives? Does the Bible tell us the Lord is coming to catch us up to Heaven where we will spend eternity?
Or does the Bible tell us the Lord is coming to the earth to establish His Kingdom, so justice will prevail among the nations? Will the meek, the teachable of the earth, inherit Heaven or the earth? What does the Bible say? Do both Testaments stress the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth, or our eternal life in Heaven?
We spend our whole life learning to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He changes us into the image of Christ. Are we being changed so we will more effectively live in Heaven, or rule the nations on the earth?
Think about the resurrection from the dead. The resurrection from the dead is a central act of redemption. Today we are stressing the ascension because we want to get out of here as soon as possible. But the ascension is not an act of redemption; it is only one of our first steps in the Kingdom after our resurrection. If we don’t have a decent resurrection, we certainly do not want to be caught up and then have to face the Lord Jesus!
It is the resurrection that is central to the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Christian churches seem to be unaware that our behavior today is having a direct effect on the kind of resurrection we shall experience. We will reap what we sow.
Now, why are we going to be resurrected? Why is our mortal body going to be redeemed, made alive by the Spirit of God? Is our body going to be raised from the dead so we can go to Heaven? This does not make sense. We go to Heaven by dying, by leaving our body, not by gaining it back. The truth is, the resurrection of the mortal body has nothing at all to do with going to Heaven.
We are raised from the dead so we can live on the earth. Once we lose our body to physical death, we are not permitted to live on the earth and bother people from our position of invisibility; at least most people are not allowed to do this. As soon as our body is redeemed (resurrected), we can live once again on the earth.
To those who are worried about losing Heaven, don’t be! Heaven is coming to the earth. The Lord Jesus is going to rule from Jerusalem during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and you want to be with Him. I sure do not want to be stuck up in Heaven when Jesus is down here. Do you?
Then after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Godhead will descend to the earth in their Tabernacle, which is the Christian Church. You don’t want to remain asleep in your mansion in Heaven when God and Christ are down here, do you?
I didn’t think so.
The best of Heaven is coming to the earth. It came two thousand years ago in the Lord Jesus Christ. It will come again soon in the Lord Jesus and His brothers, the members of His Body.
After a thousand years of adjustment, the entire group is coming down in the form of the new Jerusalem, the holy city. Then the earth will be Paradise once again. The difference is, the sons of God will be sitting on the thrones of judgment and rulership, making sure there are no more rebellions.
To keep something for eternity, you must be given it, lose it, and then get it back the hard way. The race of Adam received Paradise, lost it, and then will get it back the hard way. The Lord Jesus did not come from Heaven to do the whole job for us, but to help us restore what was lost. If He did the whole work Himself, we would lose it again, because it is in the regaining of it that we learn the value of it and how to keep it.
If your goal is eternal residence, there is little you must do. Hold on to your ticket. Don’t be too bad. Practice jumping up and down in case the “rapture” includes the physical body. Some say it does and some say it doesn’t. Have some warm clothes laid by because it gets cold when you get up in the region of the clouds. Don’t worry about your bills; the wicked can pay them while you are sitting in air-conditioned comfort, eating popcorn and watching the Jews without the Holy Spirit preach the Gospel in the face of Antichrist. Won’t that be fun for us! Not for the Jews, of course.
However, if your goal is to inherit the earth, then the demands on you are total.
- You must lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow the Lord Jesus (Luke 9:23-25). You must turn over your life to Him without reservation.
- Prepare yourself to suffer. No one who has not suffered will govern the nations with Jesus Christ. No cross, no crown! We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation (Acts 14:22).
- You must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He conforms you to the moral image of your older Brother, the Lord Jesus. You must be recognized as a son of the King, just as was true of Gideon’s brothers.
- Every moment of your time, every calorie of your energy, must be devoted to looking to Jesus and serving Him. You have no other calling than that of saint.
- You must labor with Christ until you overcome the sin that presses on you. The winners will return with Jesus and inherit the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. The Bible says little about the Lord’s servants who are losers, except they lose their talents, are cast into outer darkness, have the door shut in their faces, are driven from the Presence of Christ, are beaten with lashes, and are cut in pieces and given a portion with the unbelievers.
If your goal were to inherit Heaven, there would be little you would be required to do in the way of preparation. But if you are to inherit the earth, you must undergo total transformation. God is not saving what you are, but saving you from what you are. He does not want any more snakes in the garden.
So we see that our objective makes a difference in terms of our conduct. We go to Heaven by grace, we remain unchanged, and we praise God for ten thousand years for receiving us into Paradise while we still are morally corrupt.
Or we inherit the earth, are transformed morally, filled with all the fullness of God, and given nations of people to love and to teach the righteous ways of the Lord. Perhaps the kind of land of promise you desire to inherit tells something about the type of person you are. Do you think so? What do you really want?
Do you want to be with the Heaven crowd and sit around all day talking small talk, admiring your mansion and rejoicing over your diamonds? Or do you want to be with those who follow Jesus into the conflict of the ages, tearing down and destroying the works of evil until they are totally driven from the earth? Then will nature break forth into singing and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
While you are sitting in Heaven, you might wish you had prepared yourself to be down here enjoying the action.
You know something? When Christ is formed in us, we are given a supernatural love for His and our inheritance, which is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. Having that love for the nations in us, we are not willing to turn over all the nations and the beauty of our earth to the fallen cherub. Rather, we are ready to fight alongside Jesus to reclaim what is rightfully his and ours.
Think what it will mean to the meek of the earth to be governed by godly, loving people who truly care for them with the love of Christ, rather than by Satan, his angels, and the demons whose tender mercies are cruel beyond our comprehension.
I’ll tell you what: I will trade my mansion and diamonds for your people. Is it a deal?
(“For What Are You Preparing Yourself?”, 3179-1, proofed 20230917)