The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Kingdom From Heaven, #7

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

The spiritual Heaven, the Paradise above, is not our eternal home. It is a place of waiting until the next great act of redemption takes place—the return of Christ to the earth and the redemption of the bodies of the victorious saints.

The new Jerusalem above, including the spirit Paradise, indeed must be a realm of surpassing beauty and joy. Our spirits long to be released from our physical bodies and go to the Jerusalem above. We yearn for the love, the joy, the peace, the righteousness of Heaven. But the rigors of life on this earth are producing spiritual values that will shine as stars for eternity. In fact, the very beauty of the new Jerusalem is being created, although hidden by a rough exterior, in the hearts of the victorious saints in the earth.

In the finest sense, Heaven, or the Kingdom of Heaven, is not merely a place to which we will go when we die. The Kingdom of Heaven has been planted in us now and the fruit is coming forth in our personalities. It is now that the all-important work is being performed.

If we wait to go to a retirement home in the sky, and meanwhile evade the re-creative work in our lives of the cross of Christ's sufferings and the Spirit of His resurrection, then all we will accomplish by our physical death is the loss of our flesh, whether or not we name the name of Christ. This is the danger of viewing the goal of redemption as our movement from earth to Heaven rather than our exodus from the kingdom of darkness and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There is no emphasis whatever, in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, placed on the desirability of going to Heaven as to a place. The Prophets spoke of the coming glory of Jerusalem. Christ and His Apostles stressed the judgment and wrath that are to come in the Day of Christ, and the resulting need for repentance and godly living on the part of the believers. Virtually nothing is said in the New Testament or the Old Testament about life in Heaven. Much is said, especially in the Gospel accounts, about what will take place when the Lord returns.

Everything in the Gospel accounts is directed toward our status when the Lord returns, not toward what will happen to us after we die.

For example, notice the situation of the incestuous Corinthian:

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5)

Today we would speak of his dying and going to Hell, or else to Heaven if he is saved. But Paul is concerned with the Day of Christ.

"That the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus"!

And so it is throughout the New Testament writings.

The Kingdom of Heaven is the new Jerusalem. The holy city is the end of our quest for love, joy, peace, and righteousness.

To be continued.