Heaven on Earth, But How?
When someone says “heaven on earth,” we think of our favorite food that makes our tastebuds explode. Or maybe going to Disney World. Dr. Scott Hahn has a totally different way of describing this phrase. We have heaven on earth when we go to mass every week, which he describes in The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth.
If you’re not Catholic, this book review may seem a little odd to you. While Protestant denominations and Catholicism have countless similarities, there are a few major differences. But that’s not to say that I’m more holy than you or your church is better than mine. We are still both Christians and looking to go to our eternal home with all the angels and God. That’s the most important part of all this.
Dr. Hahn was an ordained preacher in the Presbyterian Church before he made the jump to Catholicism. In the first chapter, he talked about his experience going to daily mass at a parish to see what’s so great about the Catholic Church. As a biblical scholar, he saw words like “liturgy” and “Eucharist” that weren’t always used within his current church at the time. He knew Catholics used it and wanted to learn more.
While he didn’t participate in the mass, he sat quietly in the back and observed what was going on. As the priest spoke, Dr. Hahn could point out where exactly each sentence came from in the Bible. He noticed that the priest went through numerous chapters in both the Old and New Testaments, ending in Revelation.
Dr. Hahn kept going back to find more answers to his questions, but the part of the mass that comes from Revelation stumped him. When we think of the last book in the Bible, we think doom and gloom, misery and agony, beasts and plagues. While that is part of the story written arguably by Saint John, there is so much more to the book that we don’t even realize.
Thousands of people have tried to break down the book of Revelation, so much as to try and put a date on when the New Jerusalem would be established and Christ would return. There are four common ways people do this: futurist, preterist, idealist, and historicist. Futurist looks for specific people, like Hitler or Napoleon. Preterist looks at big picture items like Rome or Jerusalem. Idealist focuses on the spiritual war we all have to fight. Historicist believers that the book lays out a timeline of what will happen in God’s plan for the world. Instead of choosing one theory and talking about it, Dr. Hahn incorporates all of them.
Think about when we go to mass. We say and hear things like, “Lamb of God,” “This is my body,” “sacrifice,” etc. Do we know what those phrases really mean? Is the Eucharistic portion of the mass a replication of the Last Supper? Or is it the feast we will have in heaven? Could it be both? Dr. Hahn answers all of these questions. He also gives you insight as to why we say and hear those phrases every week and where in the Bible they come from.
I’m a convert like Dr. Hahn. I wrote a whole post at Easter about my experience becoming Catholic. There are just some things that can’t be answered unless you go back to the original letters and translations of the Bible. Not to mention we need to have an understanding about how our ancestors lived their lives and what their customs were.
Asking a question doesn’t promise you’re going to get a quick answer. Sometimes it leads you down a rabbit hole of endless doors to open so you can learn more. Dr. Hahn finds a way in The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth to wrangle all the information you truly need to know to answer the question of how Revelation isn’t just a book of sorrows. It’s also a book of happiness and what we have to look forward to.
I encourage all Christians to read this because it’s not extremely heavy on Catholic doctrine. You won’t feel like information is being forced down your throat. You’re going to see a whole new side to the final book in the Bible while learning a little bit about why Catholics do things the way they do. Maybe your own church does a version of what you’ll read within the pages. More information on the faith is never a bad thing and this book will help you grow stronger in your beliefs.
Happy reading! God Bless ♡