The Big Picture - Part 4

On Earth as it is in Heaven

God's will is perfectly done in heaven: his Kingdom rule is perfectly manifest. In the heavens too, we can look up and see a lasting testimony to the rule and authority of God, amongst the Sun moon and stars; which whilst tainted with Adam's sin as much as the rest of creation, nevertheless, faithfully and without faltering, continue to mark our days, months, seasons and years, millennium after millennium.

If he so desired, God could have so established his order on the Earth with a single word. It is not through lack of power or ability, that God's Kingdom tarries. It is certainly not due to some cosmic dualistic struggle between good and evil! Satan is just one fallen (and defeated!) created being. Rather it is by choice. God has chosen to manifest his Kingdom on earth, not through heavenly bodies, but earthly ones: the man and woman he made in his image.

Heaven is thus the template for the earth. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is how his kingdom comes. God's big picture for the earth, is not to destroy it with an asteroid, a super-volcano, or the Ebola virus, but to redeem it and transform it to be like heaven. God's plan through man is to bring heaven on earth.

This is why Moses was commanded to be very careful that he built the tabernacle according to the pattern — because it already existed in heaven. What he was building on earth was to be a reflection of a heavenly reality.

In Daniel chapter 2, we see the vision of the rock, representing Christ and the Kingdom that he would bring, that smashes the idolatrous statue of the nations, and grows to fill the whole earth. We are told, not only that it grew into a mighty mountain, but that it came as a rock "cut from the mountain". The mountain already exists in heaven, now through the expansion of the Kingdom of Christ, that mountain is now coming on earth as it is in heaven.

This is why, we too must be careful, like Moses, that we build according to the heavenly pattern. The Kingdom of God is not a democracy, nor a free-for-all. God has already established his Kingdom order in heaven; if what we are building does not reflect that order, then it is not the Kingdom. It is only what belongs to God's unshakable Kingdom that will endure.

Psalm 19:4 says:

Their [the heavens] voice goes out into all the earth. (NIV)

I like the different emphasis that the ESV brings:

Their [the heavens] measuring line goes out through all the earth

God sets his heavenly measuring line against all we build on the earth, to see that we are building according to his pattern.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

I like that Chris.

The ESV's rendering of that Psalm I presume is a product of its policy of translating consistently word for word using the same English word to translate a Hebrew word wherever possible.

This, I think, is one of the great strengths of the ESV, as you can see the "thoughts" of God more clearly and associate things that in his mind are related.