- Rick LoPresti
Heaven on earth
Although there is not enough talk about hell, there is also not enough talk about heaven. This is because people have become too focused on the here and now which is temporary. People are too concerned about their earthly circumstances and not enough about their eternal well-being. Sometimes when people find particular enjoyment of some earthly activity, they call it heaven on earth. This is not only an insult to the wonders God has promised His faithful, but it exaggerates the fulfillment anything in this life can give in comparison to heaven.
The word shema (also spelled shama) is very important to Jews. It is the Hebrew word often translated "hear" in the Bible. It means more than just letting sound vibrations make contact with your ears. It means to hear intelligently with the intent of acting appropriately upon what is heard. It also means much more to a Jew. It is what they call the most important passages in the Old Testament to them. They are Numbers 15:37-41, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. Deuteronomy 6:4 is the core, essential verse in the Bible to a Jew, and they strive to say it every day, and to make it the last thing they say when dying. The last verse of the third passage, Deuteronomy 11:21 says that when we obey God's commandments, our life will be "as the days of heaven upon the earth."
When the Lord Jesus gave us a model or sample prayer, one of the things He said to pray was, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10)." This seems like an impossible request, but Jesus said to pray this way. How can we expect things on earth to go like they do in heaven? This is not realistic in general in this age. This is not God's fault because He made everything very good originally (Gen 1). It is man who brought evil and suffering into the world. However, "heaven on earth" can happen in specific situations that we pray about. Also, we can get a taste of heaven through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Bible calls it the downpayment (earnest) of what is yet to come for the saved in eternity (2Cor 1:22, Eph 1:14). We can also experience heaven on earth when we keep the commandments of God because that releases the blessings of God to us. Go is only obligated to His own word. When we do what God says, then He will do what He says He would. "If" is the biggest word in the Bible, and it appears over 100 times in relation to us receiving the promises of God when we meet His conditions. We can never fully experience heaven on earth, but we can get tastes of it which far outweigh anything this world has to offer, and they keep us seeking to get to the eternal place they come from. "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Col 3:2)."