Thursday, January 14, 2010

# 294: Who Needs Heaven?

Who really needs heaven? I was surprised and you may be also. Many Christians don’t think very often of heaven as their potentially new home. They most likely have their minds and attention on their earthly homes.

Most Christians who have their minds on heaven are the ones who are going through some sort of hard times. They probably can’t wait to get there. There are dozens of verses in the New Testament where the Bible writers speak kindly of the poor. They are the ones, if they are Christians, who are truly looking forward to being in heaven and thus leave their poverty to this earth.

In America and throughout the world, the poor are looked down on as being the scum of the earth. These are the ones that God blesses and loves dearly, and He commands us (Christians) to care for them. They have a better chance, and more reason than all other classes of people, to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 5:3-5. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Luke 6:20-21. “Looking at his disciples, he said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.’”

The point I am making is that Scripture ALWAYS speaks kindly toward all who are at a disadvantage in life. In fact, there is never a harsh word spoken in any of the 27 books of the NT toward those in some sort of need. These are the people who need heaven more than all other people, and may have it constantly on their mind. The tougher their situation, the more wonderful heaven looks.

These next few paragraphs are going into groundbreaking territory. There is a class of people in America that was never mentioned in the entire NT; that is the middle class. They are neither poor nor wealthy. This large group of people started to increase in size after 1913; that was when the Federal Reserve was established. At that time, money became available to most who had dependable employment and needed a loan to buy a home, etc. Before that time, only the rich could live wealthy lives. Once more money became available from lenders, even the middle class could now live like the rich, even though they were still no richer than before. In reality, because of the interest they will owe monthly on their new homes, without their thinking about it, they are poorer financially because of their new debt and interest (which is like betting one’s money on a dead horse).

Because of the available money from many lenders, they can now buy just about anything their hearts desire: new motor vehicles, fancy furniture, yearly vacations, credit cards in order to buy without money, and many more things that make them feel rich, and all this without a cent in a savings account. In another words, they are the poor who can now live like the rich.

Many of the middle class with large mortgages on their homes, etc., claim to be church-going Christians. How does God look at these poor who live like the rich? Do you think they have their minds and hope on eternal things? I don’t think so. They have just made up their own heaven on earth. They have no need for God’s heaven at this time, although they may deny it.

The main reason Scripture never speaks kindly about the rich, or in this case the poor that live like the rich, is because the majority very seldom have their minds on spiritual matters, and with all their debts, they could/would never consider helping those in need. Their desire to live in luxury tells God and me that they are lacking wonderful spiritual possessions; they especially lack the desire of going to heaven. Again, like the real rich, they have made their cozy little heaven right here on earth.

What are the reasons the NT always speaks harshly toward those who are wealthy? Why is that? I am certain there are many reasons. I believe the money is not the issue, but the attitudes wealth gives to these privileged people. For instance: Their wealth makes them feel better than others who don’t have as much as they do. They have or can have every available comfort. Some may claim to be Christians because they go to church, but their minds are on earthly pleasures. Although they may acknowledge heaven, it is not real to them since they have made their own heaven right here on earth. Many who are rich got that way by being greedy; they don’t call it greed but use a favorite euphemism (prosperity).

The most descriptive negative parable the NT gives concerning the attitudes of the wealthy is in Luke 16:19-25. “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment . . .” 16:25. “But Abraham replied, ‘Son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.’”

What was implied buy the Word (“rich” and “dressed in purple and fine linen”) is that this rich man was respected in his community, and most certainly went to the local synagogue to worship every Sabbath and gave his 10% tithe.

Isn’t that indicative of today’s church services? The wealthy are respected and always greeted kindly as they attend their church services. They also never forget to give their 10%. This above parable clearly displays that church worship and giving money to one’s church are no guarantee of heaven. In fact, those who attend a church and give generously think they are buying/paying their way into heaven.

Let me tell you a shocking NT truth: Nowhere in the NT, not even one verse, does it speak kindly about or approve of the wealthy. Again, the main reason is because they don’t really need heaven; they are enjoying their heaven on earth with their wealth.

Two verses do mention that the rich must be generous and willing to share. They are 2nd Corinthians 9:11 and 1st Timothy 6:18. That generosity does not include tithe. “Generous” means to give all that one is able to give without being left in a destitute condition. That type of generosity is not seen in today’s greedy Christian world. What it is also implying is that the rich must not be excluded from becoming Christians. But they must be ready and able to continually help those without, in a generous way. My dictionary gives this meaning for generous: “Giving or sharing liberally and willingly.”

There are many sections in the NT where it teaches that the wealthy are in no position to enter into God’s heaven unless they comply with NT commands. There are many NT verses that teach that principle. I have quoted those verses in this blog so many times that I just about wore them out. There are at least 20 verses—as if that is not enough—in Post # 116 (“What Money Can and Cannot Buy/Do”). There are many more in other posts but I don’t want to wear you out.

In summation, the NT teaches without a doubt that the rich are at a disadvantage when it comes to needing heaven. And the poor are the class of people who have, in a realistic way, the best chance for the desire/need of going to heaven. I ask this question: How did what the NT adamantly teaches become turned completely around? The only thing we can surmise—and I truly believe and dogmatically say—is that something is dramatically wrong with much of the Christian religion, per se, in these days when wealth is king.

Anyone can understand why the Jewish community worldwide will never accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah; they love money and what it can buy, and to my recollection they never mention of going to heaven. In the Old Testament, The Lord promised them the land.