THE GLORIOUS HEAVENLY HOPE
Heavenly Contemplations | Unfolding the Universe
This is our third installment of Heavenly Contemplations as part of the series “The Glorious Heavenly Hope.” In this article, we will explore universe possibilities in a way that perhaps our readers and visitors have not considered. As we engage in this endeavor, we hope you approach the subject matter with an open mind, recognizing that the universe may hold mysteries beyond what we now know and accept. We begin this article with an illustration.
Imagine there was a very successful man who was the Chairman of the Board of a large international corporation that sold the world’s finest home security systems. The man was the father of ten children – five boys and five girls. He had a loving wife who supported him in managing the home and raising the children. The children were of different ages and capabilities. And it was the father’s plan that each of his children would grow up to be fine adults and work in the family’s business in some capacity.
When the children were young, the father told them of his plans and explained that each child has the opportunity to go to the top of the organization – even being members of the Board of Directors, if they choose. He explained that it would be a lot of work and they would have to learn a lot, but if they put forth the effort, they could rise to the top.
As each child reached the age of 18, the father would offer to take them to one of his local stores and start them out as store clerk, or maintenance, or some other entry level job. Most of the children were eager to join the family business, but a couple were too preoccupied by sports, entertainment and their friends to want to go into the father’s business. Also, a couple of them thought it would be a cushy job where they would just relax and take advantage of all the company perks. So it was a little shocking to those children when the father explained that they would have to actually work their way to the top. Nevertheless, most of his children accepted the entry level job and agreed to work.
The father introduced each child to the local store manager who taught the child how to do the entry level job. As each child mastered the entry level position, the manager would promote him up the ranks until the child was competent to manage the local store. At that point, the father would take the child to the local division headquarters and introduce him to the manager of the division. Again, the manager would teach the child how to do an entry level job at the divisional level and promote him until he was capable of managing a local division.
The father would then take the child to the national headquarters and introduce him to the manager of that facility. Again, the child would eventually learn how to manage a national headquarters, and finally, the father would take the child to the international headquarters. There, the child would learn how the entire operation worked and when he was thoroughly competent, and completely equipped, the father would appoint him to the Board of Directors to run the company with him.
Now, not every child made it to the Board of Directors – two actually preferred to manage a local store; two preferred to manage a local division; two preferred to manage a national headquarters; and two weren’t interested in the family business at all. Of all ten children, only two became a part of the Board of Directors.
How wise this father was! He wanted his children to be a part of this business, but he did not force them. He let them decide for themselves. He was sad that two elected not to become a part of the business, but he rejoiced that eight did. And he allowed each child to decide how far up in the organization they chose to go, knowing beforehand that not all would go to the very top.
The father also exhibited great wisdom in the way he introduced his children to the family business. Instead of thrusting them to the top, he let them gradually learn the inner workings of the company through personal experience so that they could find where they were best suited to serve, and so that when they arrived at the top, they would understand how the company worked and be in a far better position to institute and enforce company policy.
Does this illustration ring a bell with you? Has your spirit heard the message of the illustration? Yes, this is the story of your Heavenly Father, who is far wiser than any corporate director. He has a massive universal organization in the heavens that provides eternal security; and He wants all of His children to go into the family business! Let’s draw some analogies.
First, we might liken the family home in the illustration to our earthly home where we are raised to adulthood. As part of our upbringing, we use the earthly facilities and the people we meet as opportunities for growth. As we engage in our environment, we learn how to utilize our bodies and stimulate our minds. We learn who we are, and learn how to interact with people and to respect their rights. The lessons are not always easy and we “miss the mark” many times. But intertwined in all of our learning are frequent and continuing joys and pleasures so that we can endure them. We are reminded of a scripture:
“No temptation has taken you except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:13
Then, we might liken the ten siblings to our earthly family. We are of differing ages and abilities – even different races, different religions, different opportunities for financial and social advancement – yet we are all brothers. And like the family in the illustration, some want to go into the family business, but some do not. Some enjoy this life on earth so much that they have no interest in growing up to become spiritual adults. Some want to go into the family business in the heavens, but they labor under the misconception that heavenly life it all ease and pleasure. And, finally, some are excited and doing all they can to prepare for their future heavenly career.
Those of us who accept the Father’s invitation to learn the business are taken into the heavens where we begin our universe career at an entry level job, so to speak. And we advance through the heavens until we reach the presence of the Father where He will appoint us to His “Board of Directors” – as “kings and priests.” (Revelation 5:10) But, of course, not all of us will make it this far. Many of us will be so overwhelmed with the grandeur and beauty of the lower divisions of heaven that we will elect to stay there and work within the universal organization in a lower capacity. This is quite fine with the Father. Not everyone can be kings and priests. There are many other “job opportunities” in the heavens. It is a massive universe with untold numbers and types of intelligent life. No resident will say “I’m bored.”
When we truly grasp that the Father wants all of us to join the “family business,” it opens our minds, our spiritual eyes, and our universe perspective. Understanding that the heavens are organized in a hierarchy answers a lot of questions. Some of these answers we can reach by deduction and reasoning. Other answers will have to be revealed to us. But, either way, in order to understand any of them, we must first grasp the fundamental make up of the universe.
As this series develops, we hope to present some of the reasoning and even some of the revelations about the Father’s business and our role in it. In this article, we will take on just one or two. In an earlier article, What the Hebrews Knew about Heaven, we cited three scriptures that refer to the heavenly hierarchy:
“But will God truly dwell upon the earth? Look! The heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens, themselves cannot contain you; how much less, then, this house that I have built!”
– 1 Kings 8:27
“And who could retain power to build him a house? For the heavens and the heaven of the heavens cannot contain him, and who am I that I should build him a house except for making sacrificial smoke before him?”
– 2 Chronicles 2:6
“But will God truly dwell with mankind upon the earth? Look! Heaven, yes, the heaven of the heavens themselves, cannot contain you; how much less, then, this house that I have built?”
– 2 Chronicles 6:18
These scriptures indicates that the heavens are arranged in a hierarchy such that there are a series of heavens, and then a master heaven over them. This is like the various corporate levels in the illustration. And like the father in the illustration, our Father unfolds to us one level of His organization at a time. Once we grasp that level, we can move on to the next. We can envision three divisional sections of the heavens – the heavens, the heaven of heavens, and the vault of heaven where the Father Himself resides. (Job 22:12-14)
We might refer to the “heavens” as the Local Universe, the “heaven of heavens” as the Superuniverse, and the “vault of heaven” as the Central Universe. When we consider what our cosmologist and physicists tell us, we can imagine there is one Central universe, a few Superuniverses that revolve around the Central Universe, potentially millions of Local Universes that make up a Superuniverse, and possibly millions of inhabitable planets in a Local Universe. Our planet, therefore, would be only one of many planets that make up our Local Universe. And yet as far away as we are from the presence of the Father, who resides in the Central Universe (Job 22:14), He knows the number of the hairs on our head! (Luke 12:7)
In the illustration, we mentioned that each divisional level had a manager that the children answered to and who helped them learn all they could about that level of the organization. If we were to speculate about our own heavenly career, who might we say is one of the Father’s “managers” appointed with our care and education?
We know that Jesus is referred to as “the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) Since very few, if any, of us die perfect in our faith, there is likely more perfecting to do in heaven. And we are told that Jesus would “guide them to fountains of waters of life.” (Revelation 7:16-17) So it sounds to us like Jesus will be educating, instructing, guiding and training us in the introductory levels of our heavenly careers. Both the apostles John and Paul tells us that Jesus is a creator god. So we might say that Jesus Christ is the creator god of our Local Universe:
“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”
– John 1:1-2
“He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things; because [God] saw good for all fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile again to himself all [other] things by making peace through the blood [he shed] on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.”
– Colossians 1:13-20
This is the sacred secret Paul spoke of when he wrote to the Ephesian congregation – the administration to gather all things together in Christ.
“This he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and good sense, in that he made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. [Yes,] in him.”
– Ephesians 1:8-10
As we are gathered to Christ and he perfects our faith, we are handed over and the subject only to the Father. And notice that once Christ has perfected all of us, he will subject himself to the Father along with us:
“For he must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing. For [God] ‘subjected all things under his feet.’ But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:25-28
Therefore, we speculate that Christ Jesus is likely the god of our Local Universe and all things in the local heavens are gathered to him. Wow! That’s quite an eye opener! But it leads to another startling possibility. Does that mean that there are other “Christs” who are gods of the other Local Universes? Is that perhaps the meaning of something an angel revealed to Daniel:
“And he went on to say to me: ‘Do not be afraid, O Daniel, for from the first day that you gave your heart to understanding and humbling yourself before your God your words have been heard, and I myself have come because of your words. But the prince of the royal realm of Persia was standing in opposition to me for twenty-one days, and, look! Michael, one of the foremost princes, came to help me; and I, for my part, remained there beside the kings of Persia.”
– Daniel 10:12-13
Are the “foremost princes” like our Christ Michael who manifested as Jesus of Nazareth? Are these other “foremost princes” creators of their Local Universes? It certainly appears so. And that is not unreasonable. Given the vastness of the universe, it is not an impossible idea that the Father has other Creator Sons managing other sectors of the universe.
By way of our illustration, we explained that the Father unfolds his universe to his children as they advance in their understanding of the “family business.” When Jesus was on earth, he lamented:
“I have many things yet to say to you, but you are not able to bear them at present.”
– John 16:12
So we know there are truths that Jesus did not reveal to mankind. As such, when we consider the vastness of the grand universe, surely we can accept that there are many things we do not know and probably cannot know. And we cannot say that because the human mind cannot process a certain divine idea that the idea is not a reality. We must leave open every door that the Father does not close.
When we look at the universe from this perspective, it should open our minds to the immeasurable potential for growth, for learning, for life and for unspeakable joy. As Paul told the Corinthians:
“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
Who would not want to share in the heavenly career and have all of our questions answered? Who would not trade an eternity on our tiny planet (assuming it was even possible) for the unfathomable riches of eternity in the kingdom of the heavens? There is no comparison!
Our life on earth is one of learning how to use our minds, how to appropriately interact with other personalities, how to respect authority, and how to love our God and serve our fellowman. It is our training ground for heavenly life. Earth is where we “caterpillar.” Heaven is where we “butterfly.”
Therefore, let us always keep our minds fixed on the things above (Colossians 3:1-2) as we safely navigate the things below. And let us ever open our minds to, and contemplate, the great possibilities of the heavenly kingdom as we prepare ourselves for being a part of the “family business.”