First sentence: Traveling is fun, but after a while we long for home.
Is heaven our home? For the believer should heaven be considered our home? Are we currently "not home yet"?
In Not Home Yet, Ian K. Smith argues that heaven is NOT our home. His point is technically a valid one. Heaven is not our final, ultimate HOME. After Jesus' return and the resurrection of our bodies, our final, ultimate home will be the NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH. Smith is correct in his conclusion that the Bible speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, restored and recreated. The book celebrates the fact that the physical earth will not be destroyed or obliterated, that our final-and-forever home will be this earth. The book celebrates our future resurrection bodies.
A few weeks ago I saw a meme on Facebook. KNOWLEDGE is knowing that tomatoes are a fruit. WISDOM is knowing that tomatoes do not belong in fruit salad. I was reminded of this as I read this one. Smith seems so pleased with himself that he's discovered that heaven is NOT OUR HOME and that our eternal rest is not to be found in heaven that he just has to talk about it to anyone and everyone he meets. I think he definitely loves the shock value. I WILL RATTLE EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. DID YOU KNOW THAT HEAVEN IS NOT YOUR HOME?!?! EVERYTHING YOU EVER LEARNED ABOUT HEAVEN FROM YOUR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA IS WRONG.
Smith's argument is that Christians should spend less time thinking about "heaven" and "things above" and the "great glory" beyond and start focusing on the earth--for it is our present home and future home. Christians priorities can be unbalanced because they don't grasp the obvious truth that heaven is not our home.
He also wants to make sure that your hope is not in dying "and going to heaven to be with the Lord" but your hope is in the future resurrection after Christ's return. HEY, YOU, YOU SHOULDN'T LOOK FORWARD TO HEAVEN. That's just silly. The only thing worth looking forward to is OUR FUTURE RESURRECTION WHERE WE'LL LIVE ON THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH.
Here's the thing--if you read the Bible, if you read the Bible widely--Genesis to Revelation, if you read the Bible often, you already know that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. You may not have "chewed the cud" (aka meditated enough) to ponder if what we call heaven is actually heaven. But if you slow down, go step by step, stop and consider, you'll say YES, there will be a day; there will be a great day; a glorious day; I'll have a new body and a new home. I will live with the LORD and all my brothers and sisters ON THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. You can reach a biblical conclusion without all the shock and awe, without turning your "foundations" topsy, turvy.
Would his other points have come across better--a bit smoother--if he hadn't been so busy trying to shock and awe us out of ignorance?
Smith' book is about God's downward movement. (The Bible is not about us going heavenward; but God coming earthward). Smith examines Eden, the tabernacle, the temple, the incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the second coming. He also looks at the first cataclysmic destruction of the earth--the flood--in both the Old and New Testaments. He says that believers could learn a great deal about the future "destruction" of the earth by studying the first.
Sin does not ultimately change earth's beauty or the fact that God will renew, recreate, restored. We should not let sin stop us from appreciating the fact that earth is and will be our home.
John 14 is not about "heaven" (as we know it, as opposed to HEAVEN aka new earth) but about Christ's second coming and our future resurrection.
After reading most of the book, Smith finally "grants permission" to believers to think of "heaven" as a type of home. "After Christians have died, they are away from the body, which perishes in the grave, but at home with the Lord in some sort of bodiless existence. So in the light of this, it is appropriate to refer to heaven as "home" as long as we understand that it will not be our permanent home. We still await the new heavens and new earth."
- The resurrection is not a denial of the power of death but an affirmation of its defeat.
- The Christian hope is firmly grounded in the resurrection of Jesus that assures us of the renewal of all creation at the return of Christ.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible