22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
— Hebrews 12:22–25 —
Yesterday, I argued in my sermon that the local church is an earthly display of a heavenly reality. From Hebrews 12, we learn that when we gather in the name of Jesus, we are (imperfectly) revealing the glories of heaven—a myriad of saints and angels gathered around the throne of God. Or better, we are foreshadowing the final assembly of the nations who will worship around the throne of God.
In making that argument, I assumed a certain amount of background information about how heaven and earth relate. I want to fill in some of the gaps here. (This brief temple story may help too).
In Scripture, heaven is not the place where we will spend eternity. Rather, heaven is the place where God dwells. And because God has dwelt on earth (think: Eden) and will dwell on earth again (think: the new creation), heaven is not mutually exclusive with earth. In fact, the new heavens and the new earth are the place where God’s people will dwell for all eternity. As Revelation 11:15 says, “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.’”
Still, the concepts of heaven and earth are often muddled, especially because popular discussion about heaven is so misguided. To help us think biblically about heaven and earth, I turn our attention to a video my boys and I watched last night from Tim Mackie and John Collins, the two guys behind The Bible Project.
If you are not familiar with The Bible Project, you should be. They are doing some of the most artistic and accessible Biblical Theology out there today. And this video about heaven and earth does a magnificent job showing and telling what Scripture says about God’s cosmos and the Christian’s hope that Christ is uniting heaven and earth (cf. Eph 1:10).
So check out the video above and then check out the rest of their videos too.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds