Blue Parakeet: Heaven Came Down …

I don’t know. There’s just something about hearing a Christian family in India singing this Southern Gospel standard, to a polka beat.

The lesson follows the lyrics.

O what a wonderful, wonderful day – day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Saviour I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend – He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s fam’ly divine,
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made when as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer of grace He did proffer – He saved me, O praise His dear name!

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure, there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal from His precious hand I received.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

In Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, N. T. Wright explains Christianity in terms that make so much sense you wonder why you never thought of it yourself. The idea is that the story of the Bible can be stated in terms of the closeness of heaven and earth. It outlines like this.

In the beginning, heaven and earth touched in the Garden of Eden. They were so close that God walked with Adam and Eve.

But when Adam and Eve sinned, heaven and earth were pulled apart. In fact, the Curse is simply the separation that occurred due to sin. There is no death in heaven, but when the separation occurred, death came. Relationships are perfect in heaven, like the Trinity, but when sin brought separation, relationships were perverted.

Later, at times God or his angel would visit with Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, and the distance between heaven and earth was closed just a little. When God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, the gap closed just a little.

When the Law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, God’s glory shown forth so brightly that Moses’ face glowed. You see, God’s presence is known as his “glory” or the Shekinah. And this presence is marked by intensely bright light.

When the tabernacle was built and dedicated, God’s Glory descended into the Holy of Holies so God could dwell among his people. He had a special presence there, and in that spot, heaven and earth were brought closer.

When Solomon’s temple was dedicated, the same thing happened, and heaven and earth were brought closer in Jerusalem.

But Israel sinned with idols and eventually God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the temple and the city and take the Israelites captive. The Glory left Jerusalem. Ezekiel describes its departure as leaving toward the east, by way of the Mt of Olives.

When the exiles returned, Nehemiah rebuilt the temple, but the Glory did not return. And the Spirit of inspiration and prophecy dwelt in the Land only briefly, leaving shortly after the completion of the temple.

When Jesus came, however, heaven and earth were truly brought close.

(Luke 2:9-11)  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

(Luke 9:29-32)  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

At the Transfiguration, the Glory appeared, but this time it was the glory of Jesus — who brought God’s glory to earth.

When Jesus was crucified, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the people was torn, and people were given direct access to God, and God left the temple to live among his people through the Spirit. And heaven so touched earth that many men and women who had been dead were resurrected. There is no death in heaven.

(2 Cor 3:18)  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Of course, Jesus himself was soon resurrected with a spiritual body, appearing as we’ll see him at the End.

When Stephen was martyred, heaven and earth drew closer.

(Acts 7:55-56)  But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

The End, however, will be the complete merger of heaven and earth — and will bring God’s glory here in its fullness.

(1 Pet 4:13-14)  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

(Rev 21:10-11)  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

(Rev 21:23-25)  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

Once again, we’ll walk with God in the Garden, with restored relationships, in a land without death or sorrow.

Therefore, when we were saved — heaven really did come down and glory really did fill our souls. But it was for a purpose. You see, our mission — our Kingdom work — is to be the body of Christ, his hands and feet, to help him pull heaven closer to earth, so close that one day God himself will live here among us.

How do we do that? Well, by bringing more and more of God’s glory here — which happens everytime we save a soul and see an earthly body filled with God’s Spirit. And by working to unravel the Curse — by mending relationships, ending suffering, and helping God defeat death.

(2 Cor 5:17)  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

(1 Cor 15:58)  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

(Gal 6:9)  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

So where is heaven? Wright suggests that heaven is like Narnia — next to us but invisible to our eyes. And I think that makes as much sense as anything. It’s close, but the wall between here and there is sometimes thinner than other times. Sometimes, God’s light literally shines through. Occasionally, God rips a hole in the wall. And at the End, God will remove the wall altogether.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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5 Responses to Blue Parakeet: Heaven Came Down …

  1. ben overby says:

    Unfortunately, it seems the gap has been unnecessarily wide for a long, long time, pushed apart by none other than Christians under the spell of Enlightenment categories and platonic notions which insist that spirit is good and the physical is bad. How close can our imaginations allow God to get if we’re convinced that the creation is bad and destined for eternal destruction? I mean, we live in this created world with physical bodies, but convinced that we have to get rid of them and the earth in order to be in God’s presence. We’ve therefore had to go to him “in spirit,” escaping the created space through the vehicle of other-worldly worship. When our “spiritual” act is complete (prayer, praise, etc.), we are sucked back across the gap and into the world while God is left at a distance; we then flail about like a fish out of water, finding it nearly impossible to pull a bit of heaven into our lives. God’s glory remains(ed) hidden behind the fortress of our church walls. The Celtics talk about thin spaces, places where the veil between heaven and earth are pulled thin. I pray that we’re headed in a direction where every freshly created child of God learns that he or she inhabits thin space as we develop a new worldview out from the long shadow of the Enlightenment and Modernism. Then, and I think only then, we will be flooded by the Spirit of God in such a way as to enjoy the sort of life early Christianity seemed to rejoice in, a way of life that has evaded most western Christians for countless years. Perhaps we can dream that the glory of God will begin to fill the earth as the waters cover the seas—in and through Christ and His body.

    We're not on the great bus ride to the sky; we're involved in a reconstruction project!

    ben overby

  2. Jack Exum Jr says:

    Thank you for expanding on the thoughts of this song. Wonderful thoughts about how our Father has in the past and still reaches out to us. More than that, how He has made every effort to come close to mankind. It's a shame that many do not accept it. But this is our mission. His ultimate gift of His Son and giving us His Spirit is so wonderful, touching our lives intimately. Thanks again for this article.
    Of course your book on "The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace" is helping us here to realise this closeness even more. We have ordered enough to give a copy to each member here. We are using this as well as the lessons on "Amazing Grace"on Sunday M class. This is a must read book. Dad is sending copies out to his friends around the country as well.
    All the best brother.
    Jack Exum Jr.

  3. bee says:

    Jay thanks for sharring the joy the singers seemed to be experiencing. Listening I was stirred spiritually recalling His words; “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me.” His glory shines through and evermore brightly. Thanks…………..bee

  4. Jay Guin says:


    Thanks greatly. I couldn’t ask for a greater compliment than having your dad recommend my book.

  5. Robert says:

    Thanks for the unique video version of “Heaven Came Down.” Enjoyed it. And today is the 89th anniversary of John Peterson’s birth. If you don’t know the story behind the hymn, I invite you to check it out on my blog today. Wordwise Hymns traces events in hymn history for each day of the year.

    And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at my own, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)

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