Friday, January 8, 2016

More Thinking About Heaven

I rarely thought about heaven. I've read the Bible, maybe four times all the way through, and way more for certain sections. Pathetic, yes, but I think of it as an area for growth. I've read the obvious heaven parts, in Revelation, mostly, about New Jerusalem: big cube founded on twelve precious stones, gates of giant pearl, streets of gold, river in the middle, yada, yada.

I believe John is being literal. I don't read this as poetry. I expect New Jerusalem at first glance will match his description.

I'll be honest. Never cared for the idea. I don't like cities, or crowds of people. Don't care about golden streets or jeweled foundations. The Tree of Life has possibilities, and I always figured the sea creatures would live in the big river, since there's no more sea. On the whole, I accept that God made this city I'm supposed to be happy about, and it's probably more interesting than it sounds, but I figured He'd let me visit, and I could make my home somewhere else on the New Earth that New Jerusalem comes out of heaven to land on.

I'm not alone in this attitude. Most people have an idea of heaven that is either based on that brief description by John, or by completely ridiculous church traditions that have more to do with Renaissance paintings than Biblical accuracy.

No wonder it's easier to focus on day-to-day life. Who wants to live forever walking around a golden city in between church services?

Enter Heaven by Randy Alcorn. He scoured the entire Bible looking for glimpses of Heaven, and he found them. In the law, the psalms, major and minor prophets (so nicknamed for the size of their books, not their relevance), the gospels, and the epistles*. Almost every book in the Bible has something to say about heaven and what it will be like. We've just failed to look for it.

And those glimpses... well, it's got the Turtle thinking about heaven. Happy thoughts.

Push button. Receive bacon.

*If you're not familiar with the jargon, flip open a Bible or google "Bible table of contents." "The law" refers to the first 5 books of the Old Testament, "the major and minor prophets" start with Isaiah and end with Malachi, "the gospels" are Matthew through Luke, and the "epistles" (or "letters" start with Romans all the way to Revelation, which is prophecy.

2 comments:

  1. Heaven is one of my favorite books. I think I have always thought about Heaven, but churches in the U.S. don't talk about it (I guess we're satisfied with life here).

    The only thing about his book that annoys me is that he illustrates the points he makes by quoting long (very long) excerpts from his fiction. Some of the points don't really need to be illustrated (imo). I think it's a bit heavy-handed and overall tacky. But aside from that, I love the book.

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  2. He does seem to belabor certain points.

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