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Heaven is not your home

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 1, 2009


Quick quiz – What are the streets of heaven paved with? If you said gold, you’d be incorrect.

I have a lot of favorite scriptures, but in the category of changing my understanding of what I thought I knew, today’s Biblegateway scripture is the ultimate shakeup.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 22:2-4

First off – I know the title of this rubs you wrong.  Because of traditions, we want to believe that heaven is our home. I still cringe when I say it is not our eternal home, but the truth is, you will not find anywhere in the Bible where Heaven is a believer’s eternal home.

In fact, heaven was never designed for you. I would go so far as to say that it’s not even perfect… I’ll get to that one in a minute.

God is your destination, Jesus your hope and by the power of the Holy Spirit, if you believe in the gospel which is Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection for your sin so that you might not perish, but have eternal life, then your home will be where God is. So the question is, “Where will God be”?

I know all those great songs we have sung over the years about “heaven being our home” have a great feeling of hope, but though their intention is good, their accuracy is a bit off.

To quickly put any doubts you may have to rest, there is a passage in the Bible that is very descriptive about where your eternal home is – Revelation 21.  The whole chapter is spent talking about where your are going to spend eternity. You are going to spend it in the New Jerusalem which will be located right back on a rebuilt earth.

God’s Favorite Word

I think God has a favorite word, and it’s found in this passage.  It’s a word that represents the realization of a dream.  It is a word that sums up His goal for man and His satisfaction when we actually understand something He’s been trying to tell us for years.  The word is “Now”.

“Now” is the word God spoke to Abraham after he offered his son as a sacrifice and God stopped him.  It became a turning point for Abraham’s walk with God – “Now, I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12).

You can almost hear the relief in God’s voice when he says it.  “Abraham, I’ve been trying to get you to this point for years, and NOW you get it.”

The word “Now” is also the key word in the passage in Revelation 21:2.  This is the moment God has been looking forward to since Adam sinned.

You see; God walked with Adam in the garden of Eden; He spoke to him face to face.  Something He has not been able to do since that day Adam ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, and thus, he severed the accessibility of his relation ship with God. From now one, man would need a mediator.

Jesus provided a path back to God, but like Paul says, it is like looking through dark glass.  Much better than the darkness we had before; but still, it’s not very clear.  But when the perfect comes, we will see clearly (1 Corinthians 13:12).  The relationship with God will be completely unhindered, pure and totally accessible.

God is saying in Revelation 2, “Now, finally, after all these years I get to live with the people I love.” Today, a believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit, but it is not enough for God.  He doesn’t just want to live in you; He wants to live with you.

Here is the little secret that changed my thinking about God.  The whole thing is not about me.  The Bible is not about me.  Nothing is about me.  It is only about God.

God wasn’t doing all of this to bring you to Him.  He was doing it to bring Himself to you.  It’s about where God wants to be, not where you want to be.  Your home is here, your citizenship is in heaven (at least for now), but you are not destined for heaven.

To clarify, if you die today, you go to heaven.  But it is only a rental, not your permanent home. It was made for the angels, and you are just visiting.

Adam was created and placed on a perfect earth – not in a perfect heaven.  Both heaven and earth experienced sin.  Earth experienced it when Adam fell.  Heaven experienced it when Satan fell. Both worlds changed, and both now have an expiration date where all things will be made new.

Look at Revelation 21:1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

God is going to destroy both heaven and earth and even rewrite the laws of nature (See Revelation 21:4, 5, 23 and 25).  Nothing but his angels and his believers will be around once it is all rebuilt.  God will then resume his original plan – to dwell with man.

Yep, you heard correctly, God’s place is with man, not the angels.  Pretty interesting isn’t it.  You thought you were going to heaven to be with Him and His angels, float on clouds, play harps and wear wings and halos.

Look at the points God makes in Revelation 21:

  • City coming down from heaven –  remember that Jesus went to heaven to build a mansion for you (John 14:2), well… it’s moving day.
  • The tabernacle of God is with men – similar to the tabernacle in the desert,  but this isn’t just a noun (a tabernacle building) but a verb (he is living with man)
  • He shall dwell with them – Second time it’s said (God living with, not just in you)
  • God himself with be with them – Third time.  God is really seriously making a point here. God is going to be with us, we aren’t going to be with God.

I know this flies in the face of years of traditions.  As good as some traditions may be, any that pull you from the truth of the existing Word of God really need to be reconsidered or even better, discontinued.

Many of the traditions we have come from art – e.g.  cherub babies, angels with two wings (when the bible describes them with 4 or 6 or none), the last supper with the disciples on one side of the table in chairs (they didn’t use chairs). Even believing that heaven has streets of gold and pearly gates with Peter next to it.  That’s all tradition, not Bible.  Heaven only has a few descriptions, and only contains the original Temple (the earthly one is a copy), a throne and a few odds and ends.

Other traditions come from songs and hymns, e.g. angels singing on high (actually, they never sing anywhere in the Bible).

So why does this matter.  It’s because truth matters; no matter how small. If we want to believe something just because it sounds good, but it’s wrong, how are people going to believe us when we try to speak the truth that really matters.

The point is, if it comes to what you think you know versus what the Bible reveals, I would err on the side of the Bible.  When you stand before God and He asks you why you did what you did, you will have a better defense if you use your Bible and not your hymn book.

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4 Responses to “Heaven is not your home”

  1. Tim Farley said

    Nice post. I agree with you and I think the church needs to begin clarifying what the Bible teaches in this regard. It tells us much about how God feels about his creation. He cares about ALL of it so much that in the end he is re-creating it all. The story of the Bible is not just about God and people, but God restoring and removing the curse of Genesis 3 from all of his good creation. I have a post on this topic here: http://timothyfarley.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/the-gospel-its-bigger-than-us/

    Also, there are a few good books on this topic. “Heaven Is Not My Home” by Paul Marshall, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” by Michael Wittmer, and “Creation Regained” by Albert Wolters. All of them are excellent. I particularly like Wittmer’s and Wolter’s works.

    • undergroundchurch said

      Thanks for the comments and the list of books. I actually have never found a book, so thank you for the names. I have listened to thousands of messages over the years and have never once heard this subject taught.
      I was actually reading Revelation one day a few years ago when I first made this discovery. I began researching it and wrote a book which I never published. (I just like to write I guess)

      I plan to post the book pretty soon. I titled it “The Emmanuel Project”.

  2. bobagans said

    Greetings Jeff Lee,
    Found your article “Heaven is not your home” interesting and well done. While there is going to be a new heaven and earth, it apparently will not be completely new but rejuvenated and there will still be some residue, but nothing unclean will be allowed into the New Jerusalem – suggesting that there may still be some undesirables around somewhere (Rev. 19:3; 20:10; 21:27), and there is still going to be a lake of fire where the wicked will spend eternity (Rev. 21:8).

    God has only given us a brief sketch, and even that we cannot see clearly yet, but thank God we shall. I’ve only looked at your one page, after I send this comment I’ll take a look at the others.

    In His name and service,
    Robert Agans

    • undergroundchurch said

      Thanks for your comments. I absolutely love opening the Bible and finding something I have never seen before. The fear we usually have is that our “doctrine” is going to change.

      I look at the what we believe in two categories – convictions and preferences. Covictions are doctrines and beliefs that I would die for. Surprisingly enough, there aren’t a great number of these. These potentially have eternal consequences if you get them wrong.

      Preferences are those beliefs that are good, but if I can be convinced otherwise through study of the Word or the power of the Spirit, I can be persuaded to change it. That is the category of this article. I know my destination is with God; I was just surprised to find out that I was wrong about the location.

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