In the days of the prophet Elisha, the King of Syria was at war with the northern tribes of Israel. But Elisha frequently knew ahead of time the movements of the armies of Syria, and he would warn the king of Israel. This happened a number of times before the king of Syria became convinced that there was a traitor among his cabinet of advisors or generals. But even they knew what was going on, and they told their master that Elisha was a prophet who might even know what you said in the privacy of your own bedroom. So the king found out where Elisha was staying and sent a great army of horses and chariots and surrounded the city where Elisha and his servant were. When Elisha’s servant woke up in the morning, he saw the great army surrounding the city, and he said, ‘Alas, my master – what shall we do?’ But Elisha answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And he prayed and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kgs. 6:8-17).
Where is heaven? Where is heaven? We often ask what heaven is like. What is it like in heaven? What will it be like when we die? But perhaps an equally or more important question is: Where is heaven? And actually, I think answer the question where, goes a good ways toward answering the what.
The answer of the Bible, as illustrated in stories like this one with Elisha and his servant and the armies of Syria, is that heaven is here. Heaven is not far away, on the other side of the galaxies. Heaven is close by, nearby, all around us. But we can’t normally see it. The problem isn’t that heaven is far away. The problem is that we are like the servant of Elisha, and we can’t see it though the heavenly presence of God is all around us.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, fire didn’t shoot out of the soles of his feet. He didn’t blast off like a human rocket into outer space (as cool as that might sound). Luke says He was taken up, but He also says that a cloud received Him and He was taken from their sight. Remember other events like this: Enoch walked with God, and then he was not for God took him. Or God’s heavenly presence in the burning bush and the cloud and fire leading Israel out of Egypt, coming to rest on Mt. Sinai, and then later the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle and temple. Or Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind. Or Stephen who gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. We gesture upwards, we look up, we lift up our hands and hearts, but the heavenly presence of God seems to break out in various places at various times all around us. Heaven is above us and all around us. Heaven seems to overlap with earth in some sense. Continue Reading…