The Embodiment of Heaven
From Eden to eternity, humanity was created by God to dwell secure with Him. We were created to worship Him in His manifest, constant presence with nothing getting in the way of us seeing Him in all His righteous glory.
God is the embodiment of heaven, and we were created to behold.
Throughout history, in His grace God designed a direct pathway to His beloved creation so that we might know Him and worship Him. In the garden, that was easy. God walked and talked with Adam and Eve with no hindrances. They enjoyed an intimacy with Him that tasted better than the forbidden fruit, but how were they to know that unless they tasted the opposite of God’s glorious presence? They ate, and sin was born.
The single greatest factor keeping humanity from knowing God is sin. Humans are fundamentally separated from God because He is holy and we are not. Sin is innate unrighteousness causing a veil over our eyes keeping us from seeing and experiencing God for who He really is. Thus enters the second chapter of history, where God reached passed that veil once a year to one select human in His holy temple. His chosen people were the Israelites, and He revealed Himself to them only as they abided by His terms. He was holy and they were not, but in His temple He still dwelled with them. Still the veil was thick. Sin was rampant.
Then He came. The manifest presence of God took on flesh and dwelt among His beloved, marred creation. He is the embodiment of heaven that literally walked among sinners. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” He proclaimed (Matthew 4:17). Jesus came to usher in a new chapter; a new mercy of God swept throughout history on that fateful day. The punishment was upon Him but it brought us, the sinners, peace. The dividing wall was cracked; the veil was torn. Sin was defeated.
And this is the part of history we find ourselves in. For those who have received the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, we are a new creation secured by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us. The embodiment of heaven comes to dwell within us, securing us for a future that will see God in all His glory. He makes us able to be in His presence again. Do you sense the radical love of God in this? We don’t deserve it, but He wants us. He has secured His church, His people, to be the embodiment of heaven for a hurting, broken world. For those that believe, the veil is torn. The truth in that should cause us to fall face down in worship.
For those that don’t, the veil remains.
In eternity, the veil will be removed completely. For those that believe, heaven will be a glorious reunion with God and His beloved creation. We will get to spend the rest of eternity getting to know God more, and we will never fully get there because He is bigger than eternity!
“Jesus, the King of heaven, is going to come again to this earth. And when he does, this earth will become heaven. It will not merely be a little outpost of heaven surrounded by wilderness like Eden was. It will be far more expansive. “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Imagine it this way — everywhere you look, all you will be able to see will be the goodness and glory of God” (Nancy Guthrie, “The Home Of Everything We’ve Always Longed For”).
Yet today we live in the in-between time, longing for heaven and toiling strong as the church to make His truth known. We don't wait passively longing for heaven. No, we have a job to do and if we are not doing it, then we are missing the whole point. Jesus has entrusted us with His presence and His gospel and has charged us to take it to the whole world, creating a little bit of heaven even now, glimpses through His church.
I long to see the Lord. I long to experience intimacy with Him as I worship at His feet. I pray for revival because I want others to see and love Him too. I get frustrated when His church is blind to the things of God. I feel like both the local and global church has a long way to go to look anything like heaven. But there's a reason why I am in vocational ministry... I love His bride. It draws me to Him in a way nothing else can or ever will. It is a picture of heaven, and it is beautiful.
Let's continue to charge ahead to make the church what Christ has entrusted her to be.
“For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” - 2 Corinthians 3:14-18
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