Yesterday, we talked about Heavenly treasures and learned that they are not meant to benefit us when we die, but that they are designed to help us navigate and thrive in the world today. In seminary, they teach that there’s special grace and common grace. Special grace is the saving grace that only believers receive, but common grace manifests as gifts from the Lord that anybody can receive; the same blessings that I believe can be likened to Heavenly treasures.
It’s important to remember that when the Bible says “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” the word should really be translated heavens. The term heavens represents a first century Jewish cosmology that spanned from what we think of as paradise, or where we go when we die, to the very air around us. When the Apostle Paul talked about being caught up in the third heaven, he was talking about literally being where Jesus is, in contrast to the second heaven, which is the sky and the cosmos, and the first heaven, which is the air and physical space that we live in on the earth. So our concept of Heaven, or where we go when we die, is the third heaven according to traditional Jewish belief.
It’s important to understand the concept of parallel heavens because we live in a coexistent physical and spiritual world that is populated by angels and demons and governed by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s an active world and stuff is coming in and out, which is why Jesus said, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.” Since He was referring to those two parallel worlds, it’s safe to say that treasures in Heaven are not just reserved for the third heaven, they are of use to us here and now, in the first heaven. Things like wisdom, knowledge, peace and courage are virtues that cannot be taken from you and have nothing to do with what your position is in the world or in society. Indeed, they are those riches whose worth transcends the physical limitations of this world, and yet are of value right here, right now. That’s the eternal beauty of Heavenly treasure!