Matthew and I are blessed to stay in all kinds of places…single-family suburban homes, high rise lofts, trailers, hotel suites, retreat centers, vacation homes, etc. The range is as diverse as a swirl of snowflakes.
As we are currently residing in a beautiful, South Carolina abode belonging to a couple who is very special to us, the question came to mind…how does heaven see the model home?
I began to consider how heaven is portrayed in scripture and where that imagery may, or may not line up with man’s quest to procure a home. In this, my mind was flooded with questions and curiosities, all trying to work out how to think about homes.
In an instant I thought about how a spirit of poverty can be employed to keep Kingdom residents from believing for, pursuing, and receiving the glory of their promised land. I thought about what makes a home feel comfortable for those who own it and those who visit it. I thought about the maintenance and investment it takes to keep a home up. I thought about Jesus and the fact that he did not own a home in the way others did.
Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Matthew 8:20
What is obvious is that homes are important to us. Not only do they provide physical shelter, they stand for family, socioeconomic status, and many people’s very purpose in life. I considered how fascinated we are with all things pertaining to homes. HGTV and many other networks feature season after season of shows produced around finding homes, exploring homes, restoring homes, and experimenting with new kinds of homes. I was just reading the WSJ yesterday which featured “The Ski Homes” edition. We spend endless money and hours pursuing games where we build virtual homes. You know what I mean…
In short, we all need shelter. But do we need homes? And, if we do, what makes a Kingdom home? To help answer these questions I asked the Lord to help me understand what is is about homes that draws and propels us to them. He then pointed out one aspect of homes that may seem obvious, one that was largely less obvious, and one from His point of view.
∞ Perhaps obviously, the home is a resting place. It is the place we take care of ourselves, cook meals, read, bathe and groom, conceive children, train pets, sleep, etc. For one who lives on their own, home is a place where they are in charge. There is no one to answer to, keep up appearances for, or earn the approval of. For one who lives with others (family member/s, friend/s, roommate/s…) different rooms become a resting place within the home. For those sharing space between four walls, a chair, bed, or even corner can become their place of rest.
A place of rest is necessary for everyone without exception. Our bodies must sleep to survive just as our souls and spirits must rest to survive. In that, the saying “home is where the heart is” comes to mind. If a home = a resting place and home = where the heart is…then shouldn’t it follow…a resting place = where the heart is? In essence, the first indicator of what makes a Kingdom home is a place where the heart rests. In that rest it is cleansed, nourished, and cared for.
∞ Perhaps less obviously is that the home is a reflection of God’s divine nature instilled in man. This occurs in two primary ways. One, the innate reflection of identity in one’s surroundings. In other words, the physical or spatial home is outfitted, designed, and made up of the style of the individual/s occupants. It is a physical reflection of an individual’s or family’s identity including preferences, past, and profits. When this happens, a space taking on aspects of whoever indwells it, we deem a house a home.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, Romans 1:20
Two, the home is a place of meeting, a place to gather and exchange. The home can be an expression of the one who is open to receive others. When visitors enter a home, those who regularly occupy the home are largely extending acceptance. As visitors visit, the reflections of the individual/family are plainly seen. The saying, “When a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?” comes to mind. In part, this is why we rush around to clean before company arrives. We prepare to be seen. But simply, when we meet together to gather and exchange, not only is God with us in Immanuel, we reflect His very triune nature. We become witnesses to one another, seeing and hearing each other and the space that expresses us.
For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. Matthew 18:20
∞ Finally, home from God’s perspective is in the heart of one who loves Jesus and keeps His Word. In Genesis we see that in the beginning God desired to dwell with man in Eden. Is Eden the Kingdom’s model home? A home wherein man lives with all animals and eats of all good plants in perfect harmony? A home where the only rule is to refrain from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? A home where the serpent resides?
I propose that Eden is the Kingdom’s model home, a heavenly prototype, if you will. In the garden of relational representation of Immanuel, God brings man to life and makes a good home for him. Yet, like some model homes which can be eerily sterile (full of beautiful furnishings with no one indwelling the space), there was something off in the garden.
In the garden man met God, perfection, and the liar. And…as we all know…the perfection of our first model home was not enough for us and we believed a lie. When man fell, what was a good God to do? The Scriptures tell us that he closed the garden, sent man and the liar into a cursed world, and withdrew perfection back into Himself.
Over time God revealed perfection to His people in the ways of the law and the prophets. To be near His beloved creation His Spirit rested in The Ark. Yet, this powerful perfection was still not enough for us. We relentlessly sought a King. Did we want to remember the closeness of God in Eden in the present world that was now our home? Did we want someone greater than ourselves to be reflected around us? Did we want an anointed one to see, know, and exchange with us?
Once the royal anointing began, God spoke to His chosen about the place He desired for His Spirit to rest: The Temple. This home was the deep focus of God’s people as well as all other nations who sought to conquer them. Eventually, The Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. When it was rebuilt The Temple and the home of the God it stood for was challenged by pagan leaders and priests, plundered multiple times (to the point of complete desecration on occasion), and eventually fell exclusively under Roman rule.
It was time for God to intervene. This time He sent perfection to His people in a man born of Spirit, Jesus of Nazareth. The Spirit of God rests and lives in Him permanently. When Jesus, the eternal home of God came to The Temple His authority was challenged. In John 2:19 Jesus prophesies about God’s home for His people and reveals Himself as The Temple which will be raised up in three days.
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14:23
In the fullness of time, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God instated His Kingdom home in crowning, earth-shattering glory. Jesus, the only heavenly home, beckons us to seek Him first as the Kingdom and the Righteousness of God (Matthew 6:33). Whether this is your pursuit or not, I will leave you with two considerations…
First, there are no lies in the home of Jesus that God invites us into (Numbers 23:19). Last, the Kingdom is being established on this very earth, in this very time, and at this very moment for God’s eternal purpose…to be with you and me, the ones He loves.
For encouragement LISTEN to Home – Hunter Thompson
All photos from the home of D. & P. Balderidge.