NEW YORK, April 21, 2014 — Michael Bloomberg, ex-mayor of New York City, put his work on funding national gun-control efforts and environmental issues in humble perspective:
“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
This statement seems arrogant and delusional, but it is pure Michael Bloomberg. Politicians are inclined not only to seek opportunity in tragedy, but also to see themselves as light bringers and messiahs.
Rarely do you find one who possesses in high degree the instincts of a leader or a problem-solver. They are more likely to come with such an inflated sense of self-importance, virtue and righteousness of cause that they claim celestial wisdom far beyond that of ordinary men and women. They are long on pontification and short on practical understanding, truth or perspective.
Bloomberg is the very embodiment of the gaseous crusader, possessing the conceit of an Übermensch coupled with the conviction that the rest of us are supplicants who desire only his illumination and approval. If you think you have arrived at a solid appraisal of the facts, but have not yet heard Mike’s authoritative ruling on it, you are sadly mistaken.
Bloomberg was cheated by destiny not to have lived in the age of emperors; if ever a man thought he deserved the title “Augustus,” it’s Michael Bloomberg.
When Bloomberg says he deserves celestial accommodations, he is not being facetious or droll; he means it. As he sees it, he has actually earned his harp and cloud the old fashioned way: He paid for it.
Bloomberg’s assertion about his fitness for admission to kingdom come is full of holes from a theological standpoint. He identifies with Reform Judaism in the most nominal sense, in the same way that Reform Judaism identifies with the Almighty in the most nominal sense. His handle on the Jewish and Christian conceptions of heaven is weak. The Bible nowhere suggests that you can buy a pass to heaven as if buying a ticket to an amusement park.
In John 3:3, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” At first, Nicodemus is confused, imagining the birth process being re-enacted, but Jesus explains it as a spiritual event. In the same chapter, Christ also says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Bloomberg has no faith perspective as a foundation for his claim. He says “if there is a God.” While no one can credibly claim to know for certain that there is a God, Christ specifies belief in Him as a requirement. “And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Bloomberg trusts in works — token expenditures from his enormous wealth — to grease the doorman, but Romans 4:3-5 finds Paul explaining:
“For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Spending money on philanthropy or political objectives is not sufficient. Trusting in money and deeds is actually a disqualification, because it discards the role of the Atonement in supplying the only payment of debt that God accepts. Believing on Jesus Christ is the card that you don’t want to leave this world without.
As to Bloomberg’s notion about his public demonstrations of largesse in assisting what he considers worthy causes, Jesus teaches his disciples using the religious and social leaders of His day as examples:
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:2)
“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.” (Matthew 6:5)
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” (Luke 6:24)
And then Jesus provides an illustration contrasting an arrogant posture towards the Almighty with a humble and repentant attitude:
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'” (Luke 18:11-13)
In the next verse Jesus tells His disciples which of the two was favored in the eyes of God. “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
So, think again Mr. Bloomberg about the value of your political spending in God’s eyes. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
As the old saying goes, you can’t take it with you – but equally true, is that you can’t buy or work your way into Heaven. Come down off your personal throne, Mike and have a little talk with Jesus, because you haven’t “earned (your) place in heaven.” It’s not even close.