The significance of Heaven

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:10-15).

Heaven and earth are the two opposites, just as light and darkness are the two opposites. Scientifically, the extreme conditions of light and darkness cannot be associated with colours. In our communication, we talk about shades of lightness or darkness of perceivable colours. Otherwise, both lightness and darkness cannot be associated with colour.

Attaining absolute rightness or absolute wrongness in this world is impossible. These are unachievable extremes, as opposed to each other. But darkness is a result of succumbing to light’s countenance so that darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Darkness can be defined as the absence of light.

A simple experiment shows impossibility when attempting to bring darkness where there would be light. However, bringing light into a dark room causes darkness to disappear. The power of darkness gets manipulated, depending on the availability of light. Without light, darkness is ineffective.

The same goes for rightness and wrongness. The wrongness is ineffective as long as not tampered with. In electric engineering, these forces are classified as positive and negative currencies. The spark is generated when the two currencies are connected to have contact with each other.

Humanity is caught up in the juncture of mixing rightness and wrongness. The problems of humanity are relevant, only as a result of mixing rightness and wrongness. The degeneration of humanity is experienced where there would be more wrongness than rightness.

Just as more shade of light causes darkness to disappear; more rightness causes the disappearance of wrongness. There are nations said to be more wicked than others, just as other nations are said to be more right than others.

It is a question of how to identify aspects of rightness, as compared to wrongness. Humanity is stuck in failure to distinguish rightness from error. Attempting to pursue rightness can cause one to be overwhelmed by forces of darkness. Hence, tenacity is called for, when pursuing rightness.

This world is more wrong than it ought to be more right. Those doing what is right are not as cheered as those doing what is wrong are cheered. This makes attaining absolute rightness extremely unachievable in this world. Jesus left a trademark of rightness.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:13-15 NIV).

Rightness leads to life, while wrongness leads to death. The more wrong one is, the more accelerated towards death the person would be. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to resuscitate a person in apathy. At that point, the person cannot distinguish between life and death. A dying nation comprises people who cannot distinguish between right and wrong.

In His conversation with a Jewish member of the ruling council, Jesus touched on the aspect of being born again. When aware of the powers of darkness, in an embattled world, it cannot be surprising to see Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night. The more wicked this world is, the more formidable it becomes for one to maintain integrity.

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:1-3 NIV).

The significance of Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus’ question lies in absolute rightness being not achievable in this world. The fluctuations remain in between rightness and wrongness, depending on which environment the person exists. Nicodemus’ environment disallowed Him to go to Jesus by day. He had to go by night, to avoid violating the Jewish standpoint.

In other words, this world invalidates those aiming at absolute rightness. Jesus represented the righteousness of God. Hence, the Jews could not allow Jesus to live longer. But Jesus conquered death so that through Him humanity can now access life. This answers the crux of Nicodemus’ question.

The birth process is through the conception of the father’s sperm, where the fetus grows, leading to the day of the child’s birth. This analogously represents the illustration, answering Nicodemus’ question. We have to understand the aspect of the sperm, as representing life from God. Nicodemus seemed confused, as the heavenly information was hitherto, misunderstood.

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘you must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:4-8 NIV).

The born-again people are not necessarily like the wind, characteristic of this world. Jesus was using the wind, analogously. Otherwise, the born-again people are Spiritual, just as God is Spirit. God’s children would readopt the condition of God’s image, lost at the Garden of Eden.

Heavenly things are not comprehensible to those of this world. It is, therefore, not surprising that a prominent religious leader, could not comprehend what Jesus was saying. The parabolic teachings could not be understood by those of this world. Hence, Nicodemus had been caught up in that enigma.

The new birth is spiritual so that at birth, the person resembles everything Spiritual. Back to our analogous physical birth, the sperm of a father has to be planted in the womb for the conception to take place. Some of the fetuses get aborted along the way, before birth.

Experts suggest that expectant mothers need adequate nutrition during gestation. Such caring is necessary for strong and healthy babies. The only unfortunate thing about human birth is that the born children are subject to death. Yet, the born-again children are subject to eternal life.

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked, (John 3:9). Nicodemus was still gripped in His mystified condition, for which Jesus mocked him, of failure to understand. The Jews had Scriptures, which, if understood, would have made it easier for Nicodemus to understand. Heavenly things are not comprehensible to ordinary humans, except for one condition:

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:15-18 NIV).

Jesus promised a spiritual deposit that would be provided to His disciples, on the condition that they kept His commandments. That Spirit of truth comes directly from God, virtually making His disciples, God’s Children. This is similar to a father depositing sperm into a woman’s womb, leading to a conception.

A woman’s womb carries a baby, expected to be born after nine months. Under normal circumstances, the woman would know the father of the baby. In our modern technology, the DNA results can accurately provide the answer, concerning the true father.

Analogously, the spiritual mother of God’s children is the Church. We have commonly heard of Christian groupings describing themselves as born-again Christians. However, a fetus in the womb is not yet born. That fetus cannot be assumed as having been born.

Those claiming to be born again may be yet to see God’s Kingdom: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3 NIV). A child in the womb cannot claim to have been born, as to be able to see what goes around in the environment.

Understanding the processes helps to remove falsehoods. Heaven, a condition of perfection, is unattainable to those of this world. This is why God’s Kingdom cannot be seen by those of this world. Nothing should be left to chance, for something as important as the Kingdom of Heaven. There is, however, no need to be imaginative about what Heaven looks like.

The Heavenly principle is only attainable to those having successfully gone through the stages of gestation before birth, at the right time. Living in a world that normalizes the abnormal makes it impossible to appreciate Heavenly things without the Holy Spirit.

God’s Spiritual deposit in a person entitles that person to be God’s child. That person cannot be compared to anyone of this world, although without the glamorous adoration from those of this world. Here is another enigma:

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist, yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it” (Matthew 11:11-12 NIV).

John the Baptist was considered the greatest among those who had ever lived. But Jesus is saying the least among those having become God’s children would be greater than him. We leave in a world that considers hierarchical structures, putting some people above others.

However, in God’s Kingdom Godly beings cannot be compared to anything in this world. God’s children cannot be different from their Father. Hence Jesus said, “anyone who has seen me has seen my Father” (John 14:9). There is no dispute that the Father is manifested in the Son. Or else that son would be illegitimate.

When a woman is pregnant she needs caring. She needs to be provided with nutritious food, for adequate gestation of the child in the womb. Similarly, God’s children, in their developmental stages, need spiritual food.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:26-27).

Proper food provides adequate nutrition. Jesus assured His disciples that He was the food that they ought to crave for, rather than physical food. Having been conceived to become God’s child, a believer needs to feed on Jesus more than on anything else, to be assured of avoiding stillbirth.

Most of Jesus’ audience could not comprehend Jesus’ analogous teachings. They were used only to palatable foods that enabled them to go to the toilet. People commonly enjoy eating tasty foods but without checking the nutritional content.

Jesus is the real food, ensuring the attainment of eternal life. The randomness of living in this world does not guarantee eternity. Food provisions, no matter how nutritious, cannot provide eternal life. Let alone foods, eaten in the past, having to be forgotten at the point of death.

Heaven should not be viewed as depicting translocation. It is a condition of perfection that is not limited by anything. Hence God is with us, even though we cannot see Him. He sees us, but we cannot see Him, because of our state of living in sinful conditions.

This is an appetizer for those in search of real food in Jesus. I hope some readers could be encouraged to appreciate the processes by which they get conceived, to become God’s children. They can be fed directly by Jesus, who is the bread of life.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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