I would like to address a hot spiritual topic today. Heaven. More specifically, the Kingdom of Heaven. What is it? Where is it? All of us have asked these questions in childhood, no matter what religion you profess. I don’t know about you, but I was always given the type of illusory answers that always made me wonder what and where heaven was even more! You probably know the type to which I am referring:
“Heaven is where God is, and you go there when you die if you believe in Him.”
Now that type of answer really got me going. “But where is God?” I would then ask. To this I would receive a heavy sigh and frustrated look. The look said it all: “Listen, kid! No one really knows until you die. It just can’t be explained in words! So don’t worry about it so much!”
Well, maybe my Sunday school teachers or my parents weren’t really that harsh, but you get the picture. They really didn’t have anything tangible to offer me. Some might agree that it’s supposed to be that way. But I don’t think so, and I’m going to explore some key Biblical insights and scriptures to show exactly where God and Heaven can be found. Hopefully we can come up with something a little more tangible, although we still won’t be able to see it or touch it.
In the New Testament, Jesus made some profound statements about the Kingdom of God, or heaven. Luke 17:20-21 states:
“…The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you” (KJV).
At first this statement doesn’t seem so tangible either. But let’s investigate. When Jesus states that it isn’t “Here” or “There,” he is explaining in very simple language that heaven isn’t a place! In other words, it’s not somewhere we go. I wish my Sunday school teacher had hit me over the head with that when I was so curious. It might not have immediately cleared things up for me, but it might have saved me from all that time I spent looking upward and imagining angels flying around with wings.
The second part of Jesus’ statement is also profound. He tells us the Kingdom of Heaven is “within.” Within what? Within us! So if heaven isn’t a place we go to, and it’s in us, what, exactly, is heaven? Let me preface by saying that Jesus wants us to understand that Heaven isn’t a place to go to, but it is a place we enter. By this I mean the kingdom is our attitude. Our mental and emotional make up. Our conscious outlook. Our perception. Etc, etc. This is the best way of explaining something that is not a place out there, yet is within. In this respect, our conscious outlook could either be a hellish nightmare or an earthly paradise. I’ll explain more on that in another post. But first, let’s examine some more scripture to drive this point home.
In 1 Kings Elijah is fleeing from Jezebel. On his flight he is told to stand upon the mountain to hear from God. As the Biblical story goes, God passes by him. Starting in chapter 19 verse 11, the writer explains that after God passed a strong wind tears apart the rocks. After the wind there is also a great earthquake and then fire. Surely God was present now with all that power being shown, right? Hmm…not so much. The scripture clearly states that God wasn’t in either of these great displays of power. Instead, he was in the still small voice of Elijah’s heart. The Biblical writer is trying to make the same point Jesus did: God was inside Elijah’s heart, or consciousness. Our inner consciousness is the only place we hear or experience God. And isn’t this where we go when we enter prayer and meditation? Sure it is. That’s also why Jesus said to go to your prayer closet to pray. In the prayer closet, which is any place where we are ALONE, we aren’t distracted by the “out there.” And this prepares us to enter the kingdom, the kingdom of our heart, or our own consciousness. So what happens to consciousness after physical death? That’s another topic for a future post.
In another post I discuss more scripture involving Moses to drive the kingdom within point home, as well as how to enter. You can find that post here.
What do you think? Is the Kingdom of Heaven truly a place, or do you agree that it’s a state of being?