The Lord’s Prayer:  On Earth as in Heaven…

The Lord’s Prayer:  On Earth as in Heaven…

Jun 23, 2017

Sixth in a series by Assistant Pastor Phil Lawton at the

Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, NJ.

Check out Phil’s blog at


The last two entries in this series have been about the Kingdom and Will of God. You read about what the Kingdom of God looks like and you read that to truly live in that Kingdom you need to submit to the Will of God. This month’s entry is one that many commentaries lump in with Will. But I think that is a mistake.

There is a problem with the view of many Christians today…you are under the impression that the world we live in will be destroyed. You think that when judgment day happens Jesus is going to come and blow up the earth and some incorporeal part of you is going to live with Him in Heaven with halos and wings and golden gates. I could say that this comes from the writings of Plato, but that would mean little to most of you. I think a more relatable reality is that we have believed all those movies with Kirk Cameron. I hate to tell you, but that’s just not what I see in Scripture.

But what about all those passages about fire and destruction? you ask. What about 2 Peter 3? Or Isaiah 24? Well first, the passage in Isaiah 24 talks about people being left — so it can’t be a complete destruction. As for the passage in 2 Peter…did we forget 1 Peter 1:7 where it tells us that fire refines gold? Or that 2 Peter 3 mentions the flood (in which the righteous were left ON THE EARTH)? Or that Peter talks about being holy so that we can survive?

Klingon Ethics

I love Star Trek. I love everything about it — but what I really love are Klingons. For those that don’t know, Kilingons are a race of warrior aliens. Their whole society is centered around honor. They are to die in glorious battle. To die an old man is to be shamed. When they go into battle they are known for saying, “Today is a good day to die.” This focus on death means that they live a rather debaucherous life. They cavort. They drink. They break furniture. They are kind of like space Vikings. I would not be surprised if they said, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

Western culture is Klingon. We look around at the world today and we see people indulging. We see a society that doesn’t really think there is an afterlife. This means that they put an emphasis on the things in the present. This may lead them to do some things that are in line with Christianity (care for the earth and poor), but for the most part it leads them to reject much of religion. They have earth without heaven.

Redemption is not just for people because God created more than just people.

Many Christians have created a heaven without earth because of this. I get it. People like to make pendulum swings. We take a few verses about fire and combine them with our Platonic interpretation of what Biblical writers meant when they said “soul” and we decide that the earth is not worth saving. The problem, as I said earlier, is this just isn’t in Scripture.

Created Good

Let’s “roll back the rock to the dawn of time.” When God created the earth, how was it created? Did God create the earth and say “You know what, this thing is evil.”? Did God get done, take a rest, and then decide to rebuild? No. God created the earth, surveyed all that was made, and said, “It is good.”

I know that sin has messed things up, but why are some of us so determined to throw out what God created and declared good? Don’t you think that if God was just going to wipe things clean and start from scratch it would have happened already? Do you really think that you are so special that God wants you and not the rest of His creation? What did you do to make you so special? You certainly didn’t earn it. So why would God pick you to save and not the rest of creation?

Ok, I think I am slowly getting into a debate on election and that is not the point. Let me just say that God loves all creation. God wants to save the WHOLE earth. Redemption is not just for people because God created more than just people.

God Dwells with His People

I keep saying that I don’t see Heaven without earth in Scripture. What I do see is Heaven on earth. This is a theme that runs throughout the entirety of Scripture. Before I go further I will say that we don’t see this come to perfection until Revelation.

In the very first book of the Bible we see that God is present with Adam and Even in the garden. So present that it says He walks in the cool of the day. Now those paying attention will note that this happens right after they disobey. Heaven was on earth, but it was not yet perfected.

The birth of Jesus is the tangible manifestation of

God on earth…God dwells with people. Heaven on earth.

From Genesis we move to Exodus. Israel built the Tabernacle so that God could dwell among His people. God was a cloud by day and a fire by night. When God moved they moved. When God stayed they stayed. Heaven was on earth.

In the books of Kings and Chronicles, we see Solomon dedicate the Temple for YHWH. This Temple is dedicated so that all the world can come and worship God. It is the place where God meets people. Heaven was on earth.

The birth of Jesus is the tangible manifestation of God on earth. God comes, eats, breathes, and walks with people. God comes and heals. God comes and dies. God comes and is raised. God dwells with people. Heaven on earth.

When Jesus ascends He tells the disciples about the Holy Spirit. This is the presence of YHWH living in believers. It comes on them like tongues of flames at Pentecost. God now dwells in His followers. Heaven on earth.

In Revelation we read that Jesus will come again. He will bring with Him justice and judgment. All will be put right. We read in Revelation 21 that Heaven will come to earth. Jerusalem will come out of Heaven and meet earth. God will finally be fully among His people. All the earth will be able to worship God. Heaven will truly be on earth.

Will and Kingdom Manifested

What does all this have to do with the Lord’s Prayer? Everything, really! Jesus is showing us that the Church is to make the Will and Kingdom of God manifest on earth. Jesus is the embodiment of this. Jesus came and brought the Kingdom. Jesus came and did the Will of the Father. These were the last two entries in this series. Here Jesus makes it clear. For the Kingdom to truly come, for the Will to truly be done, it must be on earth as it is in Heaven.

If you want to live in the Kingdom then

you have to do the Will of the Father.

And the Father’s Will is that earth look like Heaven.

Now. Here. Today.

Throughout Scripture we see that Heaven is on earth. This is not perfect. That is the reason for the Church. That is the purpose of the Church. The Church is to bring the Kingdom. The Church is to do the Will. Not so Jesus will come back sooner and we are all taken away from the earth…the Church does this because God’s Kingdom — God’s Will —- has always been on earth. God does not want to wipe the slate clean. God is not in the business of destruction and terror. God is in the business of redemption.

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are not hoping to fly away to glory. We are hoping to see the kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The Church brings the light of Heaven to earth. The Church shows people that God dwells among His people. When God came to earth, He got right into the mess of things. He walked in the filth. He didn’t run from it. The Church should do the same.

If you think the purpose of being a Christian is to someday get away from this creation then you really don’t understand God. We aren’t supposed to run from problems. We aren’t supposed to just do what we want because God gave us dominion. We are stewards and good stewards act like the master. If you want to live in the Kingdom then you have to do the Will of the Father. The Father’s Will is that earth look like Heaven. Now. Here. Today.

May you realize the desire of God for the earth.

May you come to see that the Will and Kingdom of God

are not just about Heaven. May you come to do the

Will of the Father for all creation.

And may God continue to dwell among His people.


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