WHICH ART IN HEAVEN
Before we delve into this topic, first let's look at the New Testament Christian Bible Book of Luke 11, and Book of Matthew 6; for the offering of the Lords Prayer:
The Lord's Prayer (King James Version)
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father WHICH is in secret; and thy Father WHICH seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
After this manner therefore pray ye:
'Our Father WHICH art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.'"
Now, the King James Version of the Bible uses the word "which," rather than the many other translations that have chosen to use the word "who," or in some cases omit it all together. For example, in the Matthew 6:9 text, we have the following examples from various translations:
Our Father in heaven ...
Our Father in the heavens ...
Our Father, who is in heaven ...
Our Father who art in heaven ...
Our Father who are in heaven ...
Our Father who is in the heavens ...
If you've made it this far, you're probably wondering "so what?" Is this just semantics or what? Grammar is an important element of translation, particularly from one language to another. In this particular case, we should look hard at the usage of "which" when referencing the "Our Father WHICH art in heaven."
Proper grammar usage dictates: "which" is for things, and "who" is for people. We don't use 'which' for people. We use 'who' or 'that' for people. Further, we use 'which' or 'that' for things. We use relative clauses to make clear which person or thing we are talking about.
Knowing this, the reference to "our Father," is a reference to a thing. Hence, the use of which. Thing you say? Yes. This "thing" is the indwelling Spirit within ALL of Life. The animating Source of all that is. The Life-force that IS God within. The Spirit of animation. This is the thing WHICH art in heaven. The Hebrew word for heaven is "shamayim" and can be translated as lofty, above, beyond. The Greek word is "ouranos" and can be translated as universe, world, sky, upper regions, encompass, high place, seat of order of things eternal.
The Bible states: "And then Jesus said when they asked him, ‘Where is the kingdom of heaven and when is it going to come?’ he said, ‘The kingdom of heaven does not come with signs to be perceived. You cannot say, ah, it’s over here or look, it’s over there, for I tell you the kingdom of heaven is within you.’” When Jesus says “it is within you,” he is also quoting Moses from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy:
"‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart (within you) so you may obey it.”
You may ask "is there a difference between Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven?" The Kingdom of God, also called Kingdom Of Heaven, in Christianity, is the spiritual realm over which God reigns, or the fulfillment on Earth of God’s will. This phrase occurs frequently in the New Testament, primarily used by Jesus in the first three Gospels. He clearly points to within mankind as the dwelling place of the Spirit of God/Heaven.
Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is, here) and “at hand” (that is, now). It’s not later, but lighter ... a more subtle quality or dimension of experience accessible to you right in the moment. You don’t die into it; you awaken into it.
The Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place. The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation between God and humans, between humans and other humans. And these are indeed Jesus’s two core teachings, underlying everything he says and does.
When Jesus talks about this oneness, what he had in Mind is a complete, mutual indwelling: "I am in God, God is in you, you are in God, we are in each other." His most greatest symbol for this is in the teaching from John 15 where he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Abide in me as I in you." A few verses later he says, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love." Again, there is no separation between humans and God because of this mutual interabiding which expresses the indivisible reality of Divine Love.
Also in Jesus’s teachings he says: “Love your neighbor as yourself” in Matthew 22:39 ... as a continuation of your very own being. It’s a complete seeing/showing that your neighbor is YOU. There are not TWO individuals out there. It is a community of ONE ... a common-unity of the one great Life. We are as individual rays of the sun, each containing the entirety of the whole, and yet not being the whole. The whole (holy) is a collective emanation, not a separate and individual consciousness.
So as we return to the original message of God WHICH art in heaven, we now have a much better understanding that this "God" is not some bearded king enthroned in the clouds, but a Spirit that indwells all of Life. This Source of all that is, is experiencing Life through us, with us, and AS US. The sooner we come to the understanding that all are one, and that I am you and you are me, we will complete the creation and manifestation of "Heaven on Earth." The completed intersection of Spirit and matter (the cross).
Just a thought ...
Justin Taylor, ORDM.