I’m excited about my newest book coming out in May – In Living Color: Heaven. I usually avoid buying books with “Heaven” in the title because they typically deal with afterlife destinations. But I don’t think Jesus was talking about a place where you’ll have an abundant life after you’re dead. He said the kingdom of heaven is “at hand” — now.
Let me tell you a little bit about “Heaven.”
Jesus never referred to “heaven or the kingdom of God/heaven” as an afterlife destination. The only time Jesus spoke of an afterlife was on the cross. He called that “paradise.”
I explain that Jesus describes the kingdom of “the heavens” to be the “progress toward harmony” or the “advancement toward unity” in the created world in the present day. God’s will, design, and plan from the beginning of time has been perfect peace and harmony among all creation.
This book is the third in a series called In Living Color. The focus of the series is how translation of the Bible has been taken wrongly as a black and white, exact conversion of the original languages in which it was spoken. I am trying to show how greater understanding of the language Jesus spoke (Aramaic), and even the Greek, can reveal teachings that are far more beautiful and appropriate to life today. It’s like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz stepping out of her black and white house in Kansas and walking into Munchkin Land, a world of living color and beauty.
In Living Color: Heaven begins with describing what many religions say the kingdom of heaven will be like in the afterlife. Then I explain how the Aramaic language translates the “kingdom of heaven” as the perfect and harmonious working together of all things here on earth. I review Jesus’s parables in light of this kind of kingdom, demonstrating how the growth of peace and harmony and order among people and nations can be compared to mustard seeds, hidden treasure, nets cast into the sea, etc.
I think you’ll get a better idea of why Jesus (and John the Baptist) confronted their tradition with such vigor, proclaiming the “good news (gospel)” of the kingdom of heaven and why this is such good news. Look for more information about the release date for In Living Color: Heaven in the weeks to come.