The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

The Dreaded Day of Judgment: Is God going to humiliate us in Heaven?

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Humans are spiritual beings who are temporarily cruising around in physical bodies which we call earthsuits.  When humans die, their souls will leave their earthsuits like an astronaut stepping out of his spacesuit, and only their souls will go on to eternity.

Now when we talk about things like gender and ethnicity, we’re talking about earthsuit qualities.  Human souls do not have gender, a sex drive, or DNA.  Once you understand the difference between souls and earthsuits, you can hear how utterly absurd it is for anyone to suggest that God loves certain people more than others based on qualities about their earthsuits. 

Suppose you have a good friend.  When you call him up and arrange to have lunch, are you looking forward to spending an hour talking to the man’s car?  Are you planning to sit down on the curb and chat with a set of tires or with a metal bumper? Of course not.  It’s your friend you want to see.  Your friend will use his car to transport himself to the restaurant where the two of you have agreed to meet, but the car is just a vehicle.  The car is not your friend, and the car is not who you have a relationship with.

This is how it works with God and you.  When God says He loves you, He’s not talking about your earthsuit.  When He says He wants you to grow closer to Him, He’s extending that invitation only to your soul, not to your body.  When it comes to God’s interest in you, your earthsuit is simply not a factor.  God doesn’t look at you and say, “Oh.  I see your soul is driving around in a female earthsuit.  Well, I don’t like women. I only like men, so go away.”  This would be as stupid as you saying to some friend of yours, “Oh.  I see you have a blue car.  I don’t talk to people with blue cars, so go away.”

Now because the Church has less wisdom than a bowl of oatmeal, you will find her often suggesting that God’s love for certain souls fluctuates greatly depending on what kinds of earthsuits those souls are driving around in.  It is this idiotic logic which is being used to support ridiculous statements like, “God hates women,” “God hates gays,” and “The Jews are God’s favorite people.”  Well, no, God’s value of you has nothing to do with the gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation of your earthsuit.  Skin color, waist size, anatomical configuration—none of these things matter.  When you say things like, “I’m fat” or “I’m ugly” or “I’m a woman” or “I’m not Jewish” or “I’m a pedophile” and you act like those facts have some bearing on how much God cares about you, you’re just recycling the idiocy of the Church.  Do you count how many dents are in someone’s car before you decide whether or not you want to talk to them?  Do you start your conversations by saying, “Hold on, before we get started, what kind of vehicle do you drive?”  Of course you don’t, because this is ridiculous.  And if you as a human aren’t this ridiculous, then what are you doing projecting such foolishness onto the Beings who made you?  If you’re currently holding back in your relationship with God because you’ve decided that He must have a problem with your earthsuit, then you need to take a hard look at what you’re doing and realize that you’re selling God far too short.  No one impresses or repulses God simply by the kind of earthsuit they have.  When God reaches out to you, it’s strictly a soul thing.

So why did we just say all of that?  Well, when you don’t have a correct understanding of how irrelevant your earthsuit is to your relationship with God, then you don’t know better than to take the book of Revelation at face value.  Revelation is full of specific imagery about Heaven, and that imagery has gone a long way towards shaping our expectations of eternity.  The problem with expecting to end up in a Heaven that is like the Heaven you read about in Revelation is that you’re putting your hopes in a deception.  Heaven isn’t going to be at all like the place we read about in Revelation. How do you know? Because God doesn’t rank humans based on their earthsuit qualities, and the Revelation Heaven is clearly designed to promote the concept that your earthsuit is what counts with God.

Did it ever strike you as strange that Heaven is called “the New Jerusalem” in Revelation?  Did you ever find it odd that it is only the Jewish ethnicity which is specifically guaranteed to have at least 144,000 make it through those pearly gates?  Did it ever seem bizarre to you that the fortress walls of “the New Jerusalem” are inscribed with the names of the twelve sons of Israel?  Didn’t it bother you to read that the names of twelve Jewish apostles were also chiseled into Heaven’s walls?  It should have bothered you.  If you understand how God views our earthsuits, then it should immediately strike you as wrong whenever someone tries to suggest that God is exalting and shunning people based on their earthsuit qualities.

The Heaven being described in Revelation is a shrine to the Jewish ethnicity.  Certainly we’re told that people from all different nations get in: but once they’re inside, they’re trapped in a world whose décor clearly promotes the idea that God loves the Jews more than anyone else. Even though Yahweh says in the Torah that all souls who sincerely seek Him should view each other as equal in His sight regardless of their ethnicities, in Revelation we find Yahweh promoting bigotry as a fabulous thing by acting like any soul who happened to be of Jewish ethnicity on earth is automatically better than everyone else.  Well, no, this is not how Yahweh thinks.  And once you realize how abominably the nation of Israel has always treated Yahweh, and how it was ethnic Jews who turned the earthly Jerusalem into a center for idol worship and a slaughterhouse for Yahweh’s prophets, you should find it more than a little nonsensical for Yahweh to be modeling His Heaven after such a place.  Once you take an honest look at how aggravated Jesus is with His twelve disciples for their refusal to grow and their greedy lust for glory and power (see Stubborn Disciples), it should really bother you to think that He would actually chisel their names onto Heaven’s walls as if to say that they are the best twelve humans that He ever made.

Our Gods have always said that They hate arrogance in humans, and no one is more arrogant than the apostle John with his claims to be infallible and sinless.  Job, David, Abraham, and Joshua all demonstrated a far better soul response to Yahweh than John did, yet apparently Yahweh is as obsessed with titles as we are in the Church today, therefore He overlooks guys who treated Him well simply because they weren’t called apostles on earth.  It’s only title bearers who get their names chiseled into Heaven’s walls—are you seeing how ridiculous this logic is?  You have to totally reject what God’s standards and priorities actually are if you’re going to try and say that the Revelation Heaven is an accurate depiction of what Heaven is really like.  The only other option is to realize that Yahweh and Jesus were totally messing with arrogant John when They spun out visions of a Heaven in which all of John’s backwards priorities and carnal agendas were being exalted.  It was John who thought that his own ethnicity was superior to all others.  It was John who said that no true believer could even desire to sin, therefore in the Heaven John sees, only the behaviorally perfect are admitted (see Salvation According to 1 John).  It was John who personally hated the Roman emperor Domitian, thus the man is depicted as a demonic beast in Revelation.  It was John who thought having his head chopped off was the ultimate act of martyrdom, thus it is only beheaded believers who get to reign 1,000 years with Christ (see Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness).  It was because John foolishly associated the ocean with evil that we find demonic beasts slinking out of the sea in Revelation.  It was because John had personal issues with the Israelite tribe of Dan that the Danites get axed from the list of those 144,000 (see Applying Revelation 7: The 144,000).   It was because tunics were the common style of dress in John’s day that everyone is sporting tunics in Heaven.  It was because the rulers in John’s world all sat on thrones that he sees Yahweh sitting on a throne in Heaven.  It was because John grew up going to the Temple in Jerusalem that Temple furnishings show up in his visions of Heaven.  It was because John thought way too much of the power of demons that we find them being depicted as such fearsome foes.  Whenever our Gods give visions to humans, They use language, metaphors, and imagery that work for the individual They are speaking to.  Heaven is a fortress in Revelation because in John’s world, cities that were protected with thick stone walls were symbols of safety and security.

As a Christian who is stressing over what you’re going to experience in eternity, you need to realize that the majority of your stress is coming from taking Revelation far too literally.  Because no one tells you that Yahweh and Jesus were not at all trying to give John an accurate depiction of the next life, you mistakenly think that after you die, you’re going to see what John saw: a glittering, jewel encrusted city in which there’s plenty of food and medicine available. But wait—why do we need medicinal plants in Heaven if it’s supposed to be a perfect Paradise? Are there going to be diseases in Heaven?  Well, something’s obviously less than perfect if we’re still trying to hide our bodies under a layer of clothing—what’s with that shame-driven behavior if Heaven is so blissful?  One minute Jesus says He’s going to wipe every tear away, the next minute we read about a bunch of martyrs in Heaven angrily stewing over how wrongly they were treated on earth. Really? So we’re going to be holding carnal grudge fests in Heaven?  How heavenly can Heaven be if we’re going to sit around feeling haunted by our memories of earth?  When you take a closer look at the text, you’ll discover that the Heaven described in Revelation has some very disturbing features.  But that’s alright, because the whole thing is a fantasy anyway.  Yahweh and Jesus were not trying to give John a true glimpse of what eternity was like when They presented him with this series of visions.  Instead, They were working on a set of very different goals, such as boosting the low morale of persecuted believers in the Roman Empire.  We’ve written an entire series of articles that walk you through the whole book of Revelation in order to help you get a better understanding of what the real purpose of the book is (for the first lesson of that series, see Applying Revelation: Some Background). But for the purposes of putting your fears to rest about how God is going to judge you in eternity, what you need to understand right now is that your entire view of Heaven has been heavily influenced by material that wasn’t being directed at you.

THE DILEMMA

Now when you sincerely care about pleasing God, the idea of displeasing Him bothers you, and you feel bad when you think about all the rotten ways you’ve treated Him in the past.  Your bratty meltdowns, your rebellious acts, your snarky prayers—we’ve all been there.  The embarrassing reality is that none of us have come close to giving God the respect and devotion He deserves.  So now what?  Is God sitting on that great white throne, clutching His record book of every stupid thing you’ve ever done and just waiting for the day when He can publicly humiliate you?  Today many Christians are being taught to fear the day when God judges them.  They’re taught that one day Yahweh will gather all of humanity together, open up that infamous Book of Life, and call each of us up one by one for a verbal shredding.  And as Yahweh lists off every single rotten thing you’ve ever thought or done, there you’ll be, hanging your head in shame and feeling like pond scum.  Such is the very grim way that Christians view their “loving” Heavenly Father.  Clearly we don’t know the real Yahweh very well at all.

In our material, we frequently say that our Gods are very easy to succeed with.  This isn’t wishful thinking, it’s a fact, and it’s a fact that applies to all three of our Creators, not just to Jesus.  The Church is talking like a fool when she makes Yahweh out to be some brooding Judge while she portrays Jesus as the kind Intercessor who rushes in to save your hide from Hell at the last possible second.  And by the way, what kind of ignoramus would Yahweh have to be to need to look you up in some book before He could remember who you are and what you did with your life on earth?  No, the whole Book of Life routine is more metaphoric imagery that we should not be taking literally.

All three of our Gods are all-knowing, gracious, and compassionate Beings.  Is Their wrath real?  Oh, yes.  And if you think you can spend your life defying Them only to waltz into Heaven and have Them shower you with rewards, then you’re delusional.  Spiritual rebellion is a very serious issue, and there is nothing stupider than humans thinking they can spurn their own Creators without consequences.  But while our Gods aren’t about to excuse us from having to respect Them, when we do respect Them, They are extremely generous with Their commendation.  King David gives us a fine example of this principle.  David did plenty of sinning in his life, and when he got too attitudinal with God, God disciplined him for it.  But after David was dead and gone, how did God refer to him?  Did He say, “That murdering adulterer who wrote a bunch of hateful psalms and didn’t pay Me enough respect?”  Even though we could certainly summarize David this way, this isn’t how Yahweh chose to summarize him because unlike human judges, Yahweh doesn’t always harp on the negative.

David did a ton of sinning, and he modeled some very rotten spiritual attitudes. But he also sincerely cared about pleasing God on a soul level, and that was what Yahweh chose to emphasize, which is why He called David “a man after My own heart who only did what was right in My eyes.”  Wow.  Talk about a totally inaccurate and incredibly generous summary of who David was.  He might have had a good heart, but how does Yahweh justify saying that David only ever did what was right in God’s eyes?  Doesn’t Yahweh remember the whole Bathsheba affair and the census in Israel and the way that David mishandled the Ark of the Covenant?  Of course He does.  Yahweh’s memory didn’t become impaired after David died, but towards souls who sincerely care about pleasing Him, Yahweh chooses to emphasize the positive.

So how should you expect God to communicate His assessment of your earthly life to you when you reach eternity?  Should you be picturing thrones, throngs, and a flood of shameful memories? No, you should be expect something far more intimate and personal.  Just as God can suddenly drop some new understanding into your soul today, He can suddenly make you aware of His assessment of how you responded to Him on earth.  Good or bad, God doesn’t need a bunch of theatrics in order to communicate this information to you, and He’ll probably end up doing it in a very personal way.

Consider how private God has kept your soul’s interactions with Him up until now.  No other human can hear the exchanges that go on between your soul and God.  Even if you wanted to share your feelings about God with others, God has fixed it so that your limited verbal language is incapable of accurately expressing the desires of your soul.  There are many Christians in the world who say, “I love Jesus,” but even though we’re using the same words, we mean vastly different things by them.  At this point, you have personal experience with how God chooses to interact with you, and you can see that He is intentionally keeping other humans out of the loop.  What makes us think He’d suddenly change tactics and decide to share His personal view of you with all of humanity just because you’re standing in Heaven?  We only get this notion from imagery in the Bible, and all of that imagery is being directed at an ancient people who were obsessed with group.

The Jews in the Bible were always broadcasting their personal emotions through rituals like loud wailing, head shaving, dirt throwing, and tunic tearing.  They valued theatrics.  They tended to view their own countrymen as a single group.  In speaking to people with this kind of mindset, it’s only natural that God would depict Heaven as a place where group is emphasized.  And yet for all of their sharing and their obsessing over their welfare as a people, were the Jews treated differently by God on a daily basis?  No.  God dealt with the Jews the same way that He did with everyone else:  He kept His interactions with individual souls hidden from view and made it impossible for humans to fully know each other.

When it comes to our relationships with humans, God has always put limits on how close we can get to each other.  When it comes to our relationships with Him, God has always kept things shrouded in secrecy.  It’s like we’re each communicating with God in private rooms that are totally isolated from one another.  No one else knows what you are saying to God in your room, and you can’t hear what anyone else is saying to Him in their rooms.  This is how God likes it.  He doesn’t offer humans the option of totally knowing each other’s business.  Is there any valid reason to think God will suddenly change all of this the moment you die?  No, there isn’t.  His actual history of behavior with you personally is a far better thing to go by than a collection of metaphorical visions that He gave to other people thousands of years ago.  This is why we say that you should expect God to communicate His assessment of you in a personal, private way. It is quite reasonable to assume that you will be the only human who ever knows what God says to you in that moment.  Is He going to find it necessary to remind you of every single rotten thing you ever did?  No.  By the time God communicates His judgment to you, He’ll make sure you understand why He feels the way He does, and then you will deal with the consequences of His decision.  Other humans will undoubtedly witness some of the consequences that God gives you, and based on what they see, they’ll draw conclusions about how pleased or angry He is with you.  But is God planning to invite all of humanity to step into that private room where you and He have been communing alone all of this time?  No, He’s not.

God designed us all to have our own relationships with Him.  He created us as individuals, He works with us as individuals, and He judges us as individuals.  In this world, we gather into groups based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, and genetics.  But in eternity, the systems that kept us organized down here will fall away.  We won’t have spouses, children, siblings, and parents in eternity.  If anything, eternity will increase our awareness of how individual we are, not decrease it.

In this world, God teaches us not to place importance on what other humans think of us, but rather to view His opinion as the only one that counts.  We should expect any teaching which emphasizes the supremacy of God to become even more emphasized in eternity.  Here we feel like other people’s assessment of us is very important, even though God says it’s not.  In eternity, we’re going to learn on a whole new level just how irrelevant human opinion is.  So, no, you really shouldn’t be fretting about what other humans will think of the assessment God is going to give you about your earthly life.  Instead, you should be focusing on Him, and cherishing His incredibly gracious Nature which makes Him so very easy to succeed with no matter how badly you’ve messed up in the past.  Then you should be holding nothing back in your submission to Him, and you should be asking Him to make you all that He wants you to be.  In eternity, it’s really not going to matter what anyone else thinks.  It will only be God’s assessment of you which defines who you are, and what kind of future you will have.

FURTHER READING:
Courtroom Drama: A Metaphor of Heaven that Insults Yahweh
Understanding Divine Judgment: How God Ranks Sin
The Inner Room: Understanding How God Judges You
Repentant Sinners: Is it wrong to stop feeling bad about the past?

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