Heaven on Earth

While the children of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai, Moses was called up to the mount. God said to him, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). A sanctuary is God’s house, a place where He longs to be. He desires that each home be a sanctuary, for He longs to be part of each one’s life and be present in every house.

In the book, Education, 258, we read this inspired comment: “It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building which was to be the abiding place of His glory. It is in the mount with God—in the secret place of communion—that we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity. Thus we shall be enabled so to fashion our character building that to us may be fulfilled His promise, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people’ ” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

We are called up into the mount, as Moses was, to behold the heavenly, because we also have something to build on earth that is like the heavenly pattern – the home, God’s masterpiece as far as an earthly temple is concerned. In the sanctuary of the home God wants to reveal His purpose to dwell with men.

In this mount with God, we are to contemplate His glorious ideal for humanity, but what is humanity made up of? “Society is composed of families.” The Adventist Home, 15. Often we think of the world as a whole, but it is divided up among nations. Most governments have their territory broken down into different divisions. We have the states, the counties, the smaller divisions, but as God looks at society, He thinks of it as grouped in families and those families are what the heads of families make them. “ ‘Out of the heart are the issues of life’  (Proverbs 4:23); and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household.” Ibid. When we are dealing with the family, we are dealing with something very important and very precious to God.

When Moses was called up to the mount, he saw the temple of God and was told to make a copy of it here in this world. He accomplished that task. God recognized it and dwelt with His people during their wilderness wanderings and His presence was made manifest in that earthly copy of the heavenly sanctuary.

“Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth.” Ibid.

Unfortunately that is not always the case and frequently, too many homes are a hell on earth. Then there are multitudes of homes that in a sense are neither heaven nor hell. The parents are ill-equipped and don’t know the best way to raise their children. Many of these homes are far from hell, but they are a long way from heaven.

We are told it is possible to experience a little heaven on earth; so why not take hold of it. After all, it has been bought and paid for by the death of Jesus. He rose and went back to heaven and is pleading for us in the heavenly sanctuary. Someday those who are faithful are going to heaven, but it will be enjoyed only by those who have already enjoyed heavenly principles on this earth. God offers us a little sample of it here if we would just taste and see whether we like it or not. If we do like it, He lets us have some more. His grace can provide an endless supply of heavenly principles. No fictitious manifestation from Hollywood or anything that money can buy can help us get there, for no eye has seen what the Lord has prepared for His people.

Though Moses spent many years in Egypt being educated the world’s way, it took another 40 years for God to prepare him to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. Pray that God will make us capable of and willing to cast much of what we have learned into the garbage can where it belongs and have that mountain top experience with Jesus and listen while He speaks and points out the right way. Our pattern is in heaven; that is the pattern of the Christian home. “Home should be made all that the word implies.”

“Every family in the home life should be a church, a beautiful symbol of the church of God in heaven.” Child Guidance, 480.

Fathers and mothers and children alike are to experience in each home a church life like the church of God in heaven. “All His [God’s] biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 333. This experience doesn’t come naturally. It takes effort. To make our home like the pattern, we must behold it and then build just as Moses did. First he beheld and then went to work and built.

God said, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). Since “God is love” (1 John 4:8), if God dwells in the sanctuary, love abides there.

“Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide.” The Adventist Home, 18.

On the veil at the entrance of the sanctuary that Moses built, as well as on the veil between the holy and the most holy, were embroidered angels. Angels were represented throughout the sanctuary. Your home also is to be a place where the angels of God abide. The more you sense the presence of the angel watchers, the more you will love what they love and hate what they hate.

God’s great purpose in our reproducing the heavenly plan here on earth is to enable us to know Him better. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). To know God is to have life eternal. We get to know Him through His word, the Bible; we know Him through the life of Jesus, and we know Him through His creation.

There is yet another way to know Him. One of the sweetest statements in Inspiration is in Steps to Christ, page 10: “Through … the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He [God] has sought to reveal Himself to us.” Think of the different human relationships we have. The relationship between parents and children is one of the best. If you had a wonderful mother and father, you would have many good memories. If somehow that pattern was marred through human frailty, remember God’s ideal still stands and can be revealed to you. The close relationship between parents and children is designed to reveal God.

“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). God is our Father. God gave the relationship between a father and his child for two reasons. The first is so the child growing up could learn to love his father and thus learn to know God. The second reason is so the father, in loving and training the little child, could learn to know how God feels.

Remember there was a man in the Bible who was especially set forth in that connection. The Bible says that Enoch walked with God 300 years after he begat Methuselah. It is not only the children who learn to know God through being in the home; it is also the parents, both the father and the mother, who learn to know God by being parents. All of us, whether we are men or women, as we think back to our childhood, can appreciate this verse in Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” That verse sparks memories of my own mother who so lovingly attended to my hurts with salve and a kiss.

God says, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” He uses that picture to reveal Himself to us, using father love and mother love, not just the receiving of it on the part of the children, but the giving of it on the part of the father and mother. Dear parents, every time your heart goes out to your children, every time you are concerned about their behavior, every time you seek to comfort them in sorrow or to guide them in counsel, remember, you are not only to reveal God to that child; in that experience a revelation of God is to come to you. That is the great purpose of families.

This same purpose is true also with other relationships. Take the relationships between brothers and sisters. There are so many precious things in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy about the relation of brother and brother and sister and sister and brother and sister and sister and brother – precious relationships. “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Jesus is set forth as our elder brother and those who know the joy of sharing in loving fellowship as brothers and sisters have a revelation of the character of God.

However, there is one relationship that is more intimate than any other—the relationship between husband and wife. Basic to the whole pattern of human life, the core and center of every successful family is the relationship between husband and wife. The relationship between parents and children is not the primary relationship. Neither is the sibling relationship. Primary to all other relationships is that between a husband and wife. It was the first relationship that God established on this planet between two individuals, Adam and Eve, who were joined in wedlock by the Creator Himself. The purpose of marriage was, “… to reveal Himself to us through the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know.”

Dear husbands, have you thought it through that the purpose of the marriage relation is to reveal God to you? Do you know that the purpose of the marriage relation is to reveal God to your wife through you? The purpose of marriage is that the husband and the wife shall know God as they could know Him in no other way. There are views of the character of God that you can get as a married man, a married woman, that cannot be understood in any other way. No matter how far up the ladder of achievement in successful married life you are, there is something glorious beyond. I tell you this from experience. I know that this is true.

As I think of my own experience and enter into the experience of any other people in the 40 years I have been in the ministry, this statement sums it up so wonderfully. “To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” The Adventist Home, 105. You can never graduate from this course while you are alive. We are dealing with infinite riches with tremendous possibilities.

This relationship is not mere sentimentalism as is often expressed in many poems and love songs where most are dealing with people who have not made a serious commitment to each other. Today, many people are unable to weather the storms and trials that may arrive and are on their second, third or even fourth marriage. We surely need the guidance of the Lord in choosing our spouse. We need to come up into the mount with God and look at the pattern. After all, how could a carpenter put up a stable building if he never looked at the blueprint?

A healthy marriage takes work and prayer. Both partners must climb the mount and study for themselves what the Lord requires, then go together. Take time down on your knees to behold and then arise and build according to the pattern and you can experience heaven on earth.

Inspiration tells us, “There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bears the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504.

Reading this can be discouraging, especially when the devil then whispers, Well that’s the trouble, you got the wrong mate. But friends, there is good news. There are glorious possibilities with the companion you have. Do not listen to the devil, for he is a liar.

Inspiration writes about a young woman beloved of God who was held in bondage to a godless youth. Her nervous system was shattered. “Her marriage was a deception of the devil. Yet now she should make the best of it.” The Adventist Home, 351. Here was a woman who had the word of the living God that her marriage was a deception of the devil, yet now she is to make the best of it. If she could do this, don’t you think you can make the best of your situation?

Many people become infatuated and are thus allured into marriage. Very soon they find out that they are incompatible, not realizing that almost everybody who has ever been married since Adam and Eve came out of Eden has been incompatible. One of the great purposes of marriage is to help people learn how to be compatible.

“Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment.” Ibid., 106.

Martin Luther used to say, “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head but you can prevent them from making nests in your hair.” The devil may say that your problem is that you married the wrong person, but never harbor that thought. Don’t let it in even if it hollers around outside. Don’t open the door and argue with it or pay it any attention. Here is what to do instead.

“Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other.” Ibid. What we learn in marriage is the science of love. Love is not selfishness, but is unselfishness. In marriage we are not to dwell on what I wish my companion would do for me, but how I can be all that is possible to be to my companion. The greater the incompatibility, the more need there is to get down to business and work at this job. This is how to make the best of it.

We are living in an age where it is easy to just throw up things to our partner and complain, but that is from the devil. Make the best of it. This best is not some second-rate thing, but the best. No matter how big a mess you have made of things, or what a miserable failure you or your companion are, the two of you together can have heaven on earth. God guarantees it. “Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. … Study to advance the happiness of each other. … Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.” Ibid.

“Remember, my dear brother and sister, that God is love and that by His grace you can succeed in making each other happy, as in your marriage pledge you promised to do.” Ibid., 112. God guarantees that you can succeed in making each other happy, but it will take the two of you together.

Men and women can reach God’s ideal for them if they will take Christ as their helper. “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children.” Education, 18. “What human wisdom cannot do, His grace will accomplish for those who give themselves to Him in loving trust. His providence can unite hearts in bonds that are of heavenly origin. … Heart will be bound to heart in the golden bonds of a love that is enduring.” The Adventist Home, 112, 113.

Even for those couples who have experienced heaven on earth from the day they were married to the present hour, there is still something more wonderful ahead. Remember, no one graduates from this school of marriage. It is the work of a lifetime.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1, 2). Again this is the language of the sanctuary—the fragrant incense. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (verse 25). When husbands love their wives, the wives will know better how to fit in to the part they are to play in the relationship. Christ’s love to each other is to be manifest in the home.

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is the great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (verses 28–33). These verses are clearly referring to Christ and His church and husbands and wives.

“In early Christian usage, the term ‘mystery’ did not mean something that could not be understood, as it does today, but something that could be understood only by those who were initiated; that is, those who had the right to know.” A Commentary on Daniel and Revelation from The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 740.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery” (Ephesians 5:31, 32, first part).

Only married people can understand this mystery, but just being married does not automatically initiate you and reveal this mystery to you. The successful marriage is one in a hundred, so 99 out of 100 couples that get married still do not know the mystery. Many get caught up with the fluff and bubble of the ceremony and then become disappointed, not realizing that the mystery is only unlocked by having a heart connection.

The challenge is, just as there is something more to the union with Christ than baptism, although it includes baptism, there is something more to the union of marriage than the physical experience of man and woman joined together. Certainly, it includes that, but if all people know is the physical side of marriage then they will miss the greatest blessing.

Jesus said, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). If any two people on earth have the right to claim this wonderful promise, it is the husband and wife.

Alone with God and each other get down on your knees and take this verse. Read it to each other and say, What is it that we want? What is it that we desire? Pick out your hardest problem and your greatest need, pick out your deepest longing and agree together to ask God for a miracle. For it is a miracle when two people can live together in happiness and love and that is what it takes to have heaven on earth. No matter how much you have already been blessed, why not reach up to get the richer gift and the larger blessing that is being offered and know what it means to be fully, completely blended. For each of us there are heights above that we have never yet reached.

Dear Lord, teach us the science of love, teach us the art of love. We need it for we are naturally selfish but teach us this wonderful experience, not just so we can get along together but so that we can know You, so that we can understand God, so that we can reveal God to our children and to others. Amen.

Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.