Treasures in Heaven: #12
The prophet Daniel was the recipient of this vision about his Lord, his people, and God’s people:
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge over your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase (Daniel 12:1-4).
The mystery of Daniel was unlocked when the Son of God revisited the flesh and when He became a mortal “Man.” The word “Michael” is not a name or an angel, but the Lord Himself. In the Hebrew, the word means “Like the Lord.” Daniel was predicting the coming of “Emmanuel,” or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). “And angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:25-35).
This is the King of a “Kingdom” that is not of this world — and the members of that “Kingdom” are the treasures of heaven (John 18:23; Matthew 6:19-21). It is the King, who laid down the rule for his followers in these words: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33). According to Daniel, those who will shine the brightest in the “Kingdom” will be devoted to God and they will do what is right among men. Jesus, the King, describes it as building up a name in heaven that is based on what one has done in his/her life here on earth (Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:12). The “Kingdom of Heaven” is doing the will of God; and therefore, doing what is right among men. The “Kingdom of Heaven” begins when God’s will takes shape on earth as it exists in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
This “Kingdom of Heaven” is not like Eden was in the beginning, where Adam and Eve were sheltered from the world and from Satan, the devil. And unlike Adam and Eve, the Christian can keep Satan’s demons out and not let these evil spirits pollute their life and their residence. Satan likes nothing better than to see a Christian, who has been bought with the “Life of Christ” and made holy, and who have been turned into a priceless pearl — throw that life to the dogs and to the swines. And therefore let the dogs and the swines chew and trample on their life. Jesus warned, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matthew 7:6). The “Kingdom of Heaven” is not an organization or a system, but the “Kingdom of Heaven” is a brotherhood and a sisterhood in Christ, bound and joined by “Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice” (Luke 17:20-21). To the members, it is the “Kingdom of Heaven” or the field they are buying with everything they have, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up, then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). Jesus, the “Merchant” gave all He had to acquire the pearls, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).
With the above in mind — take to heart what it means to Satan to give up one of those pearls to Christ? Satan will try to recapture those pearls at all costs! In the process to recapture these precious pearls, Satan will try his best to shame the “Body of Christ.” In Revelation, the woman is the Church of Christ and the Child is Christ:
When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Luke 11:24-28)!”
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. ‘The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened it mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea (Revelation 12:13-17).
The first step in avoiding and resisting Satan, the god that runs the world, is not to compete with him in matters that have no value in heaven. The enchantments of flesh and blood, which compose the physical body, are not the bricks for heaven. The maintenance of the body is the “Spirit” in man. A Christian needs a healthy body, clean, and undefiled to house God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). This undefiled body is to be a light in the world, which leads others to glorify God (Matthew 5:14-16). Nevertheless, Satan also uses the human body to promote fame and success. People that drink too much, drug too much, sex too much, kill too much, rob too much, and so on also shame Satan. Satan is behind all the evil, which plagues man. And Satan also robs man of his will to be someone that is being looked upon by his fellow men. However, Satan will not admit it; therefore, Satan blames God for creating a man with genes, which he cannot control. The truth is, God made the world and God made man good (Genesis 1:31). God continues to sustain the world and man with, “Every good endowment and with every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of light with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).
In order to lay up treasures in heaven, man must glorify God here on earth. It is on earth where man earns the rewards for heaven. Satan violently disputes this task as a human possibility. Satan has convinced many of the best and brightest Bible students to believe that God is unapproachable — and that God only can be reached — if God so gifts Himself to man. Just listen in on Jesus’ explanation to his disciples, after the rich man had turned down Jesus’ offer to follow him because he was rich:
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:23-31).
Much has been made of the “camel” and the “eye of the needle.” And interpretations have not been lacking. Misinterpretations have continued to multiply and so have the misunderstandings because human impossibilities do not exist with God. The most troubling misunderstanding is that God operates in the world. God does not operate the world! However, God holds and God does sustains creation in His power! However, the operation on earth, God has charged that responsibility to man (to Adam and his offsprings, Genesis, chapter, one). Just as God’s Son Jesus operated in the world, so do the “agents of God” operate in this world. These “agents of God” are doing the job for God and they will get paid for it, in full when they return to heaven where God lives. These, “agents of God” shall be paid with a heavenly currency and not with an earthly currency. Therefore, the “agents of God” do not need a “camel” or “an eye of a needle” to pass into eternity. Like their Lord, the Christ, the spirits and the souls of the “agents of God” can pass through places without openings.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:19-23).
The Holy Spirit that Jesus gave to the disciples did take them to the places and to people where they did build up treasures in heaven. What you do for others, which glorifies God here on earth, is being recorded in the annals of heaven, and not what you do for yourself. So, you can be an actor, and athlete, a broker, a banker, a preacher, a soldier, a teacher, and many other professions and occupations, provided you do not betray the trust of those whom you serve. If you shame them, you also shame God, whose image you mar in yourself and in others. All people will be held accountable for what they have been entrusted with. Jesus explained it in His “Parable of the Talents.”
For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So too, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent, went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a ling time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But the master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth” (Matthew 25:14-30).
The tragedy of the third man is the tragedy of most of us, who feel we are not good enough, or that we are not able enough to build something for eternity. We are content with worshipping, Bible reading, and prayer meetings, but not comfortable enough to step outside our comfort zones. Yet, this is where the bricks are that we need to help Jesus build our mansions in heaven. The bricks are the lost people that need help. They need to be brought back where they can become part of that “Kingdom of Heaven.” Some, like the lost son, do eventually find their way back. The lost son would have come home sooner had the older brother gone after his wayward sibling (Luke 15:11-31). Regarding the lost sheep and the lost coin, they need to be found. And then, they need to be carried back with some efforts on the part of those who gather bricks for their “Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus said this:
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Even so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.’
Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Even so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:4-10).
Jesus set a heart-warming example how to find a lost woman. He went through Samaria and stopped at Sychar at the well of Jacob. There Jesus waited for a woman who was loaded with guilt and sin. Jesus asked her for a drink. And Jesus offered her a new life, free of the men who had abused her. She accepted Him as the Christ! And then, she went and brought her town’s people to meet Jesus. To satisfy the curiosity of the surprise of his disciples, Jesus gave them this answer (John 4:3-30; 39-42).
Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them,” I have a food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor” (John 4:31-38).
Jesus was very particular about those who do something for Him, or His follower, or His cause. Jesus will remember a cup of water someone gives to His people, or some one to gives less than a penny to keep His place of prayer. For Jesus does not let a hair fall off the heads of his followers without God knowing about it (Mark 9:41; 12:42-42; Luke 21:18). Due to persecutions, God’s pearls will be found hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick and in prisons. Those people who will dare to meet their needs, without even professing to be Christians, the Lord will regard as being righteous in the King’s eyes. They will be rewarded for their deeds and their compassion.
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer the, ‘Truly, I say to you as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:34-40).