We assume that everyone wants to go to heaven.
Abraham and the “heroes of faith” were seeking a city “with foundations whose builder and maker is God.”
Some think that city is Old Jerusalem and are willing to start World War III in order to get it.
It might be worth asking: “What is heaven and why would I want to go there?”
…before you actually tried to get there.
In Revelation 21 John sees it and describes it and very few believe it.
They say it’s a metaphor.
John didn’t think it was a metaphor, but that everything in this world was a metaphor referring to it.
Its inside is bigger than all the outside.
The reason we love things in this world is that they remind us a little of things in that world. In that world we are at home with God, and He with us, in every moment of space and time.
The city is made of people with names like Judah, Peter, John, and even Judas—people with stories to tell of how they were saved by Grace through Faith and this not of themselves. Each testimony is a wound covered in treasure that forms an open gate and looks like a pearl.
John even saw “John.” “God wants us to understand and believe that we are more truly in Heaven than on earth,” wrote Julian of Norwich.
For four thousand years we’ve gone to war over the Old Jerusalem and slaughtered the New Jerusalem, and yet even then, especially then, God is building His city. Jesus rode into Jerusalem and said, “destroy this temple and I’ll rebuild it in three days,” as if Jerusalem were His Body. The New Jerusalem is God’s Temple and He is ours.
The kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
In the middle of the city is the Tree of Life and from it flows the River of Life.
The Leaves of the tree are for the healing of “the nations”—not “some nations,” just the nations…the same nations that went to war with the Lamb and nailed Him to a tree in order to steal His Glory.
Inside the city is an entire, eternally new creation, and outside the city is this world of space and time, outer darkness where men weep and gnash their teeth, death and Hades.
Outside the city are beasts and whores, those who seek to justify themselves—that is, the false.
The gates of the city are always open…but they don’t go in.
They don’t want to go in; they don’t want to go to Heaven.
You can’t go to Heaven unless you want to go to Heaven.
The problem is not how to get to heaven, but how to want to go to Heaven.
The doors are always open! People don’t want to go in because: #1 The doors are always open. #2 You cannot pay. #3 You have to rest. #4 You can no longer be a “winner.” #5 You can no longer be a “loser.” #6 You can no longer justify yourself; you’ve already been justified. #7 You can no longer hide (Your fig leaves won’t work). #8 You can no longer be alone (“It’s not good for the Adam to be alone,” said God). #9 You will die; You will lose your life and find it. #10 You must surrender to Love.
If you asked a four-year-old girl: “Would you like to be a princess and live in a castle?” She’d say, “OH YES!” But if you explained what it is that a Prince wants from a Princess, she’d be traumatized and hide in fear. So, what does the Good Prince do? He waits and romances her until He has created within her a new desire.
We don’t want to surrender to Love; but Love, in flesh, is creating within us a new want, a new desire, a new heart. Lift your head and look at Him.
He is the Life, and the Good in flesh, enthroned on the tree in the middle of the Garden, flowing His river of Life into the empty places of your soul.
“This is my body given for you.” That’s the door…and it’s open.
“This cup is the covenant…” It’s a marriage covenant.
You are His Heaven and He is yours.
You are the Bride of Christ; that’s not just a metaphor.