I want to follow up on the post about God’s vision for the earth, in which I asserted that, while God has a full and vital vision for the future of the earth, most Christians’ vision of the future is focused almost solely on heaven, and as a result we have missed much of what Jesus and Scripture are really talking about.
This has been part of the discussion that I have been having with my Wednesday night Bible study crew (an open study in which there is always room for more participants). So I decided to do a little research. The question I was seeking an answer for was this: how much did Jesus and the New Testament writers talk about heaven, specifically our concept of heaven as the place of eternal reward after a person dies. Using my Bible software I did a search on the word “heaven” to see how often it occurs in the New Testament, and looked up each occurrence to see to what it referred. Here’s what I found:
The word “heaven” occurs 248 times in the New Testament. 32 of those instances, however, are Matthew’s substitution of “
In contrast, there are 99 instances of the phrase “
What’s up? Why have we missed this? Well, I think part of it is that we are so obsessed with heaven that every time we read “
It seems to me that we need to get this straight, and that if we are going to call ourselves followers of Jesus that we ought to talk about things in the same proportion that Jesus talked about them. Which means that we need to talk about the
Maybe we need a couple of angels to ask us the same thing.