Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Heaven 7

A few more texts from Luke on heaven:
Luke 10:21 At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ?I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.?
11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
11:16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven.
12:32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father?s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
First, God is the Lord of heaven and earth — here heaven is in contrast to and in comparison with earth. Two different places. Here heaven is the place where God has his secrets and mysteries, which the Father has made known to his Son. There’s something significant here: heaven is the place of God’s mysteries.
Second, God — 11:13 — again is in the heavens. The same seems to be the point of 11:16.
Third, 12:32-33 teaches that heaven is a place that is safe and a safety into which the “little flock” of Jesus will enter. It is brought into near synonymity with “kingdom” because how 12:32 and 12:33 are near parallels.

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Dana Ames

posted July 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

Lord of heaven and earth- can’t that mean “Lord of everything that is”, rather than necessarily being a contrast? I agree that heaven is a place of God’s mysteries, but I don’t think that’s necessarily apparent in 10.21.
I’m with T. Your take on “Divine Conspiracy” would be very valuable. Even if Willard ends up saying what you already think, he comes at it from a different angle, and his “angle” is what made me finally believe that God is *good*. I’ve lately realized that my “big theological re-think” of the last ten years has been about my search for a truly good God.

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B. Stanley

posted July 9, 2008 at 11:22 am

I don’t agree with your third observation. I don’t see it necessarily saying the “little flock” will enter heaven, only that our treasure and our hearts (metaphorical) are there, not that we will enter there. Couldn’t it just mean they are just “stored” there until the “new creation”?
I also wonder about what our treasure is. If our treasure is in heaven, which is where God is, then could Jesus be implying that our true treasure is God himself or our relationship to God?
Another thought. Could “heart” here be metaphor for “true selves”? If so, does it mean that we are (in a sence) already with God in heaven even while we are still physicaly here on earth, kept there until the “new creation”? Can anyone help me with this?

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Scot McKnight

posted July 9, 2008 at 11:43 am

B Stanley,
Fair enough. I begin with this:
Jesus says that God will give them the kingdom in v. 32. If 32 is connected to 33, then we have to see how. Jesus says sell your mammon and you will then have something that is eternal instead of something that is simply temporal, but he does not devalue earthly living by this statement. A similar image comes next: make purses that do not wear out. Now he mentions heaven as connected to purse: an unwearing-out purse is the same as unfailing treasure. But heaven here is a place into which thieves cannot enter because it is a place protected.
It is a place; it is a safe place; the kingdom will be given to them.
Those are the two points I am trying to connect.

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