Please turn with me to the first chapter of Ephesians, verse 15; and while you're turning there I just wanted to tell you I have greatly desired to be here this morning, and to present this message to you. Ever since before Brother Jim began the series out of Ephesians,which, as you know, was some time ago, I wanted to share this with you to encourage you.
Ephesians 1:15 "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord
Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making
mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in
the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that
ye may know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory
of His inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of His
power to usward who believe. According to the working of His mighty power
which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at
His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, power
might, dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but
also in that which is to come. And hath put all things under His feet, and
gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him, that filleth all in all."
A very good morning to you, and why is it such a good morning? Because we're living in the last days. We learn that from the book of Acts. Ever since the time of pentecost we've been in the last days. And what does that mean? that means that the next days, after these last days, the very next thing we can expect is God's New World Order; God to return and to restore everything to the way that it should be.
As true believers we've longed for release from the bondage of our life. and, this morning, I'd like to invite you to come along with me and take a little preview from the scriptures, a little bit of a rest, and let us think about what God's new world, God's new creation, may be like. Of coure I urge you to be Bereans and to search the scriptures yourselves to see whether these things are so.
Our contemplation of the new world is neccessarily going to be limited,
because we read that:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into
the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him."
But Paul goes on "God has revealed them to us by His spirit."
1] Why we need hope: What our present problem is;
2] God's final solution to the problem, that is, who gives us hope;
and finally, (which will be the bulk of the time)
3] Our glorious future life; What is our hope for the future?
The problem; the problem, in a word, is sin. We live in a fallen universe. When Adam fell, sin and death and decay entered this world. In response to Adam's fall, God cursed the creation. So, as we look around ourselves, nothing is quite right. We still see some of the beauty, some of the glory of God's creation, but it's been cursed. Now God has redeemed, when Christ came He came and redeemed us, but we're still living in a cursed creation. So, the redemption is not yet fully complete. "All of creation groans and travails in pain" Paul tells us in Romans 8. Let me give you an illustration. We went on a campout, the men did, several weeks ago, and one morning we took a very short hike, just up and over a hill, and we looked around, and I was, I kind of had my eyes open for this, but of all of the plants that I saw out there, there were a fair variety, but there were at least, I counted at least a half a dozen that had thorns or spikes of some kind on them. Now, that's just not the way things ought to be. But that's part of God's curse that we read about in Genesis where He created thorns to make man's life difficult.
Another illustration; A little over a week ago, I went in for a swim on the way to work. I walked out of the water dripping wet, ready to climb back in my van, and looked high and low, it was not there. Someone had stolen it. I still haven't got it back.
Another ilustration; Over our heads this morning there are astronauts that are working diligently, and at great expense, to repair a very large telescope. It had built-in defects, and it's suffered problems since it was launched, so things wear out, they wind down, they have problems. Our own bodies, we grow old and die. We suffer disease, we have pains. All through our life, and the older I get, I long for God's rest. But we only find rest in our life temporarily.
The psalmist said, "If I had the wings of the dove I would fly away and be at rest." We face daily worries, frustrations, enemies, pain, volcanos, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, disease, death, moth, rust, corruption, thieves. Even the most well-to-do and wealthy people are not insulated from these problems. But I have good news for you; the scriptures tell us that "our momentary, light affliction, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So this morning I want us to not look at the things that are seen, but to look at the things that are not seen, and the things that God is planning for us.
Now, part two. God's final solution. What's going to happen? Is the world going to go on like this forever? No. Take heart. Lift up your heads. The King is coming. The King is coming. We read in Hebrews 10:37 "For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." We're "looking for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Just before He comes, we read in Luke, there will be signs in the sun and the moon. The sun will be darkened, the moon wom't give it's light, men around the world will be wondering, "what's coming on the earth? What's about to happen?"
But when that happens, Jesus said to us we should lift up our heads, because we know our redemption is drawing near. So be alert. When that begins to happen, then lift up your heads. That will be the crisis, the last day.
Tony read to us this morning and taught us out of the gospel of John, chapter 6, and Jesus spoke in that chapter, I beleive at least three times, about the last day, that He would raise us up at the last day.
What will that day be like? We read that He will appear like lightning, as the lightning shines from the east to the west. There will be a blast of a great trumpet, the dead in Christ will rise, and we that are alive will be transformed, in a moment, in a twinkling of the eye. This will be the introduction of God's final jubilee.
Back in the Old Testament, they announced the jubilee year with the ram's horn. The ram's horn was blown, everyone went back to their original land holdings, their own inheritance. And everything, the slaves were set free, everything was set right. When Christ comes and blows that trumpet, that will be the announcement of the final jubilee. All that are in the graves will hear His voice, and will come forth. Those that did evil, those that are not God's people will stand for judgement. Those that were rightous, that were saved by Christ's rightousness will be raised to glory. The redemption and restoration of the universe will have begun.
We will experience indescribable joy at seeing Christ's coming. Let me read to you from Isaiah 40: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, sayeth your God, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Malachi says "And unto you that fear my name shall the Son of rightousness arise with healing in His wings, and ye shall go forth and leap like fatted calves. Ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, in the day that I prepare, sayeth Jehovah of hosts." Picture a calf, led out of a stall, just jumping and leaping. That will be the kind of reaction that we have. "thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty, they shall behold the land that is very far off." Isaiah goes on, "It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him. He will save us. This is our Lord. We have waited for Him, and we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. Then thou shalt see, and shall be brightened, and thy heart shall throb, and be enlarged, for the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto thee. The wealth of the nations shall come unto thee." What a glorious moment. If we were just in our natural, normal bodies at that time, we would be completely destroyed by the joy of it. But, thank God He's going to transform us into a new, ressurected body. We will see reconstruction in God's way. God says "Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. He that sat upon the throne said (Revelation 21:5) Behold, I make all things new. He said to me, write, for these words are true and faithful." One of the images in the Old Testament, is a man taking off his coat, and setting it aside. Just as simply as that, that's how God will set aside this old universe, and He will create it, new and fresh.
What an awesome concept! What a great God who can do that, just as a man
takes off his coat! It's nothing more to God to completely replace the
universe. There will be a new creation that will no longer be groaning,
there will be no curse. In Isaiah again,
"For behold I create new heavens and a new earth. And the former shall not
be remembered, nor come into mind."
You don't have to worry about what it will be like. We are loved in fact, as God's son is loved. Jesus, in his prayer, in John 17, said that we are loved in the same way that the Father loves Him.
We've all seen cartoon caricatures of heaven. Children, have you ever seen pictures of heaven in the cartoons where there's puffy clouds, and there may be white robes, and harps and wings, big gates guarded by Saint Peter? Well all of these things have some scriptural basis, but they're kind of like a child's drawing of a person.
You know, you get the circle, and then a couple of eyes, and the ears, and the hands stick out from the middle perhaps, and the legs are like sticks. It is a picture of a person, but it doesn't really show you all of the details or what it's really like. So we need to think about the new heavens and the new earth, in what we read from scripture. I want to say to you that they will not be uncomfortable or strange to us. And my reasoning is as follows;
Paul is an eyewitness. He visited heaven while he was still in this life. We read in II Corinthians 12, that he was caught up to the third heaven, and he saw and heard things that he couldn't even talk about. Now, later on, Paul said, "Well, you know it's better, it's far better for me to depart and be with the Lord. I'm going to stick around for a while, because it's more needful, but it's better to depart." And that wasn't just a theory, that was a man who had been there. He saw it, he knew what it was like, and he knew it was something, a place he wanted to be.
In Revelations 6:9, we see those who were beheaded, sitting around and talking about "How long will it be, Lord, till You come and resolve this sitution?" Paul, I imagine, was one of those beheaded, or was certainly one of the martyrs, he departed. So here's the logic. He visited heaven, he came back, he said it's better to be there, when he was there, it's still not as good as it's going to be, when the Lord recreates the heavens and the earth. So we have something incredibly wonderful to look forward to. We know our Father's intentions are entirely good and loving.
Children, I have another question for you. Your parents feed you don't they, most of the time? Have you ever asked your Mom or Dad to fix you something to eat? Okay, now tell me, when your Mom or Dad fixed you that something to eat, did you ever go and sit down at the table, and pull up to the table, and there on the dish is a big stone? Any children out there, was there ever a stone there when you asked for something to eat? I don't think so.
If you ever asked for a pet, did they ever give you something that you didn't want? If you asked for a fish, did you get a snake? Jesus raised these questions to emphasize to us, he said, "If you then, being evil, and you know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven, give good things to those that ask Him?" God told the children of Israel that His plan was to do good to them at their latter end. The psalmist spoke about God's countless thoughts towards us, and he said, "Oh how great is Thy goodness which Thou has laid up for them that fear Thee? Which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men?" He also said, "Who is satisfying with good Thy desire?" In Isaiah we have the famous lines that Handel made so famous in his "Messiah", "He shall feed His flock like a shepherd. He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." So, we can be assured that whatever is ahead for us, it is great good, and it's from the love of our Father's heart being prepared for us. In fact, one of the principal words God uses to describe what is coming is rest.
Now, when we think of rest, we think about lying down and going to sleep, perhaps, or just sitting back and doing nothing. The scripture says "He that is entered into his rest, he has also ceased from his own works as God did from His. And to you who are troubled, rest with us," [2 Thessalonians 1:7] "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven." In Revelation 14:13 we read "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, says the Spirit, they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." Now, does rest mean inactivity, sitting back doing nothing? No, the kind of rest spoken of here is the kind in Roman's 12:1. "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds."
In this life, we're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. We're always waiting for the next crisis, the next problem. You know, what's going to go wrong next? Will my van be there when I get out of the water? Am I going to remain healthy? What's going to happen in the government? You know, problem, problem, problem.
The rest will be complete rest from all of that. We'll have rest from our indecision. We'll have rest from agonizing and second-guessing. Did I do that right? Did I say that right? It's going to be a complete rest from the labors and troubles of this world.
But now, will the new heavens and the new earth be that puffy cloud experience, just sort of insubstantial, with nothing there? I believe the scripture teaches us that there will be a material universe. And, the foundation of that belief is in the resurrection. We will have new resurrection bodies.
What will we be like? What will they be like? Well, we know that we will be like Him. "Beloved, now we are the sons of God" says John in 1John 3:2, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him, as He is." In Phillipians 3:20, Paul said, "The Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is even able to subdue all things unto Himself." So, the question is, if we're going to be like Him, What is He like? Well, the scripture tells us that too. In Luke 24, "Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, peace be unto you, but they were terrified and afrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit." This was after He was crucified. "And He said to them, why are you troubled? Why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet. That it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy and wondered, He said to them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and of a honeycomb, and He took it and did eat before them." So, I want you to see there that He was not some insubstantial spirit. He was a person with a body that they recognized as a person with a body. They could touch and handle. He ate food. The basis of that resurrection was material. I also want you to see this principle of continuity. He wasn't a different Jesus, He wasn't someone else. He was the same Lord Jesus that they knew and loved. He said, "see, it's I myself" He reassured them that He was not some substitution.
So, on the basis of that, I want to tell you that we will know our friends and our loved ones, even as the disciples and apostles knew the Lord. We will be ourselves, not someone else, not somebody different. Job said, long ago, "Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reigns be consumed within me."
Another example we have is the transfiguration, when Jesus stood and showed the disciples the power and glory of His coming kingdom. Moses and Elijah, two men that they had never met before, stood there, and they knew who they were. Moses and Elijah talked with the Lord Jesus, so they carried on a conversation. They traveled, they departed.
So, we have this encouragement by example, that we're going to be the same people, that we will be recognizable, that we're not going to be changed into something completely different. Our bodies will not be subject to aches and pains. The Lord, having died, He will die no more. He was raised, and will never again be subjected to death. Isaiah speaks these wonderful words, "And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all the nations. He will swallow up death and victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces. And the rebuke of His people, shall He take away from off all the earth."
I encourage you to read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, and read about what our resurrection body will be like. "This corruptible must put on incorruption, this mortal must put on immortality." There's all these contrasts, yet it's still the same body. The key feature is that death will be swallowed up in victory.
In the future life, in the new heavens and the new earth, there will be things. There will be an inheritance. We read in Romans 8:32, "He who spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things." We see that "All things shall be brought together in Christ", in Ephesians 1. We have an inheritance, "The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Jesus and the psalmists said that the meek will inherit the earth. Peter said we're called to "an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you."
Now, does this sound like materialism, which we got a dose of preaching against a couple of weeks ago? It does, doesn't it? But, this is what the scripture teaches! Isaiah 65:18, "God says, be glad and rejoice forever in what I create." This will be a materialism of the real material, not the temporary material that we have around us now that can be stolen, that rots and rusts and corrupts, but the true riches that God is preparing for us. And, ultimately, our inheritance is God himself. The psalmist said, "God is my portion, forever." Along with that, we are God's inheritance. It's sort of a mutual inheritance, we all inherit each other. God inherits us as His people, we inherit Him as our God, and each other as our family.
What about animals? Well, I won't say too much about that, other to encourage you that the scripture has alot to say about animals. For the moment I'll leave it there. I will say this one more thing, and that is that God is a great creator, we sang about His glorious creation. We look around us and we see His creation. And, it seems to me, that the new creation can't be any less wonderful, or any less varied, or any less attention to detail. Or any less amazing than what we see around us now. We'll just be purified and cleaned and transformed.
What about geography and surroundings? If we're living in a material universe, you have to have space to put things in. Well, let me mention one stereotype now, and that is, that this concept that has somehow gotten into the church, that there's a dichotomy, that heaven is for the church, and the earth is for Israel. Now, I'm not quite sure where that came from, but I'd like to put that to rest. The first three chapters of Ephesians do that quite nicely. Ephesians 1:9 "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He has purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth." God ia going to bring heaven and earth together into one big, complete, happy family. Epesians 2 has words like: "He's broken down the wall of partition... He's abolished the emnity... He's made one new man... He's made us fellow citizens with the saints of Israel... He's built us on the same foundation... we're fitly framed together..." On and on. Chapter 3 in Ephesians, Paul says the core of His teaching and the revelation of the mystery is that "the gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ". So, we will live in what was typified in the Old Testament as the land of Israel. We have the promises of God to Abraham that we will inherit. Moving on....
Think for a moment about treasures. We see in Revelation that "the kings of the earth will be bringing the treasures of the nations" into the new heavens and the new earth. This is kind of a Babel in reverse. Instead of being scattered out into the world. (God confused the languages and so forth.) Now all of the tribes and nations and kindred from all of the world will be brought together. People from every tribe and nation and tongue and kindred. We see, in our own congregation, a little bit of that. We have the opportunity to fellowship with people from different backgrounds, different cultures. Last night, we enjoyed wonderful cooking, in different places, and at different people's houses, and I believe that the good things that God has developed in the different nations of the world will be brought into His kingdom. The good things will be there.
I'd like to mention now the principle of types. And that is, that God teaches us with types. We learned about that this morning in sunday school, in John 6, that we have food, we're made so that we eat and enjoy food, so that we would know and understand about the bread from heaven. The true food. The scripture speaks about types, it says that "these things happened to them, the children of Israel, as types, and have been written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come".
We read about shadows of things to come, the shadow of heavenly things. "The law having a shadow of good things to come." Think for a moment about the nation of Israel. They were in slavery in Egypt, God saved them, and delivered them from that slavery, they were in the wilderness, and then finally they got to the land of Canaan. Now, that was a type. And we're, we as God's people, are going through a similar progression. We began in slavery to our sin, and then in God's salvation, we're freed from that slavery. We're presently fighting our way through the wilderness of this world, where things are not right, things are not quite the way they should be. But God is training us, He's teaching us, He's testing us, and preparing us for the real thing, which like the nation of Israel, was the land of Canaan, for us it's the new heavens and the new earth.
So, the principle of types shows us that the real thing, the true thing, is always better than the type. The type helps us learn, but the true thing that is to come, is always superior and better than the type. Okay, so I'm going to read to you a little bit about the land of Canaan. As I do that, I want you to think and realize that the real new heavens and new earth will like this, only better. "For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land." [Deuteronomy 8] "A land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills. A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates. A land of olive oil and honey. A land wherein thou shall eat bread without scarceness. Thou shalt not lack anything in it. A land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten, and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee." Someday we will be sitting around in our new heavens and new earth, and we will be satisfied with what the Lord has given us, and we'll bless Him, and perhaps we may even remember today, being reminded, or looking forward to that. God speaks of His people, those with faith, looking for "a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God. A better country, a heavenly one."
So, we've talked about the material things, now what about, kind of,
the internal things? Our emotions? Well, the prospect we have is
everlasting joy. Isaiah says,
"Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return,
and come with singing unto Zion. And everlasting joy shall be upon their
head. They shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and mourning shall
The psalmist says
"Thou hast put joy in my heart, more than in
the time that their corn and their new wine abound".
One of the principal features of the new heaven and the new earth, is that there will be no sin there. That's why we will have this freedom of emotion and joy. Sin will be impossible. As Brother Rudy read this morning from Peter, that the new heavens and the new earth will be the home of righteousness. The whole place will be filled with God's righteousness. I listed a few things that you won't find there, consequently. There won't be any terror, there won't be any tears, there won't be any misery. No loneliness, no unfulfilled longings, no mourning. No worry, no regrets, no disappointments. No frustration, no pain or crying.
Do you remember, when you were a kid perhaps, Saturday mornings? I remember I'd kind of drift to consciousness after sleeping, and I'd realize it was Saturday, and I had the whole day spread out ahead of me. With nothing but wonderful things to do. School was out, and it was just a wonderful prospect. Perhaps you might think about going on vacation. What a relief it is to leave the work world behind, and to know that you've got this big block of time ahead of you, with just wonderful, pleasant things ahead! That's what heaven will be like!
Memories, good and bad. Well, we need some trace of bad memories. I know we're told that these things won't come to mind anymore. But, what that really means is they won't settle on our heart, and weigh us down anymore.
But we have to remember what we were saved from. Isaiah says, "Look to the pit from whence you were digged". When we look back at this life, we will have all the more to praise and thank God for throughout eternity. For His great salvations, for His escape from death, for everything that He's done for us to bring us through this terrible wilderness. And, we will remember it in that sense.
But I'd like to give you an illustration. We'll remember it, kind of in the same way... imagine, picture yourself sitting in front of a warm fire, it's a cold day outside, you know, maybe it's raining, and you're sitting in front of a warm fire, just all snug and comfortable. And you're looking at a picture of yourself, when you were out on a backpacking trip, and there had been a cloudburst and a downpour, and you were freezing, and you were starving, and you were hungry. And you look at that picture, and you think to yourself, boy, I was sure cold and miserable back then, wasn't I? But you're sitting there in front of the fire, and you're just all toasty warm, and comfortable, and that picture is just a reminder of what it was like, but you're not faced with the pain of the experience right at the moment. So I think that's what our memories in heaven will be like. You know, we'll look back at them, they'll be an occasion to praise God for His great deliverance to us.
In Acts, we read about Him filling our hearts with food and gladness. There's another stereotype that says heaven and eternity must get to be very dull and boring. I mean, you know, what are you going to do forever?
I want to set that to rest. It will not ever be boring. Those of us in the know realize that. The psalmist said, "A day in thy courts is better than a thousand". So what are a thousand days going to be like? You know, what are an endless series of days, they will be exhiliarating and joyous.
I believe that there will be surprises for us. There's a principle of gradual revelation. God doesn't tell us everything at once. He kind of gives us what we need to know as we go along. In 1 Corinthians we read about receiving milk, not being able to bear certain things. So He gives us a little bit at a time, and as creatures, we will never be able to know everything that God knows, so do you realize what that means? That means we'll be able to learn and progress forever, learning more, finding out new things, and still never reach to the level that God is at. So that says to me that we have an eternity of wonderful surprises coming up.
How about family, and home? Our life here on earth revolves around family and home, and our relationships. Well, our relationships will be different.
For example, there will no longer be marriage as we know it, however there will never again be any bad relationships. Never a discouraging or unkind word. The reason for this is because the true marriage will have begun. Our marriages are pictures, we're told, a picture of the relationship between God and His church. So, in the new heavens and the new earth, we will finally be married to Christ. And, we will have the final full unity with God and with one another. We will have direct communion and fellowship with Christ, on a continuing basis.
Even conversations (again back to the transfiguration) Jesus stood there, and He spoke with Moses and Elijah, they talked about His upcoming suffering and death in Jerusalem. And I think that's exemplary of the fact that we will talk with God directly, there will no longer be this barrier between us, where we would be limited to reading His word, and limited to praying and not the interaction. The interaction will be there.
Have you ever been homesick? Have you ever been to summer camp, and
wondered if you'd ever see Mom and Dad again, and just had this feeling in
your heart that you weren't quite in the right place? Well, in the new
heavens and the new earth, you will never be away from home. In fact,
you will say, instead of, "there's no place like home", you'll think,
"there's no place but home". The psalmist says that God is a rock of our
habitation, and that his greatest desire was to dwell in the house of the
Lord, and see His beauty. We will enjoy a peaceful and permanent home.
"Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities. Thine eyes
shall see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be
taken down. Not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed".
Will there be languages? Different languages? Well, we know that the word of God abides forever, so that tells me that at least Greek and Hebrew are going to last. I don't know about English, but there are certain concepts or words, at least, that will disappear from our language.
Words like "tired", "sad", "hurt". You know, they might still be there in a dictionary or something, but they won't be real useful anymore. Phrases will disappear. Like, "I don't have time". "I can't afford it". "I'm too tired". Of course there will be words that will take on new and fuller meanings, like "always", "never", "joy".
What about politics? It's been a real sore subject with me. We read that "the government shall be upon His shoulder". We'll finally have a political system that is correct and that's right.
Let me lay another stereotype to rest. That stereotype says that man, by his own effort, will save the world. The new heavens and the new earth are not a human created new age, or new world order, George Bush notwithstanding. It will not either be a church created theocracy. There are those that think that the church must strive and create this new world. But, we read in Isaiah, that when the Redeemer comes, He saw that there was none to help. He says, "mine own arm", that arm being the Lord Jesus Christ, "mine own arm is the one. Behold, the Lord God will come, with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him". Like Adam, our dominion is going to be over nature. We'll have a restoration of that dominion.
We already talked about education, we can learn forever. The Proverbs is filled with praise and wisdom. What about time versus eternity? Paul in Ephesians talked about "the age of the ages". Not just an age, but multiply that and you still haven't got to the end of it.
What about economics? There will be universal prosperity, because the Lord himself will provide all of our needs. Remember the widow's oil? Remember Elijah and the ravens, at the brook? God provides, He has provided before, and He will provide for us forever. What about money? Money is a means of representing a person's deservingness for goods, or "worth". In the new heavens and the new earth, there will be no doubt about the deservingness. It will be an economy based on giving. Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over". Isaiah said, "Ho, everyone that thirsts, come to the waters. He that has no maney, come buy and eat. Yea, come buy wine and milk without money, and without price". And everyone will know where this wealth comes from.
One of the greatest pains in my life is to look around and see men taking for granted everything that God has given them, thinking that they got it themselves. In the new heavens and the new earth, it will be universally recognized that the Lord is our benefactor, and the great giver.
What about work? We're told that His servants will serve Him. There
will be plenty for us to do, and it will be work suited to us. It will
be work that will not ever go to waste. Psalm 90:17
"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish Thou the
work of our hands upon us, yea the work of our hands, establish it."
Every worker shall keep the fruit of their labor. Isaiah said,
"They shall not build and another inhabit, they shall not plant and another
eat. For as the days of the tree are the days of my people, amd mine
elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands".
What about recreation? Well, there's singing. We sang about singing this morning. We sang about praising God. David was an inventor of musical instruments. We get some glimpses of some of the things that are possible.
What about play and recreation? The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing. Jesus said, "Except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven". I think one of the aspects of a child's nature is to play.
What about exercise? In the Psalms we read about the sun coming
out as a strong man, to run a race. We read that
"they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, and mount up with
wings as eagles, and run and not be weary".
Just a brief word about entertainment. You know, we tend to get tied to the tube, and the movies and so on. Have you heard about virtual reality? That's where you put on a helmet, and it's like you're in another world. Well, this is just a speculation and an example, but, Peter, when he was delivered from prison, in Acts, he didn't realize that it was really happening to him, because he had had visions from God before that were so authentic and realistic, that it seemed that he was actually living them. So I'll let you consider the implications of that.
Food and drink. Christ ate after He was resurrected, He enjoyed fish with His disciples. One of the big things that we're looking forward to is the marriage supper of the lamb. It's hard to imagine a marriage supper without food, and we will become married to Christ.
Health and safety? Well, there will be no risk. When Jesus announced the kingdom, He did that by healing the sick, and raising the dead, and this was to show us about His salvation, and also to point to that time when there would be no sickness and no death, because He will be present with us.
I listed a few things that we won't have to look forward to. Fleas,
mosquitos, potholes,germs, poison oak, poison ivy, hospitals, cemeteries,
shrouds, tombstones, false teeth, dental work, backaches, ingrown toenails,
obesity, tooth decay, enemies, rapists, murderers. Revelation says,
"Outside are dogs, scorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolators...",
and so on, and so on. We will have the ultimate insafety.
says the psalmist,
"I will both lay me down and sleep. For Thou, Jehovah, alone makest
me to dwell in safety."
The closest thing to an accident, I think, will
be what we call "serendipity". That is, we'll be trying to do one thing, and
be surprised and amazed that something else will happen, and we'll have
something else to give thanks to God for. That's as close to an accident
as we could possible get.
"And the inhabitants shall not say I am sick,
the people that dwell therin shall be forgiven their iniquity."
The reason things go rough for us now is because we're in training. We must learn to be content. We're like school children, and we must learn not to see God as the world does. But, instead, I urge you to meditate on God's goodness to you already. The hymn we sang this morning, "Hast thou not seen how thy desires hath ere been granted and what He ordaineth?" He created us the way we are. He created us with certain desires and needs, and those that are good and according to His will, He will fulfill.
I have a whole list of scriptures here. The psalmist said,
"Thou openest Thy hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing."
"He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him."
"The desire of the righteous shall be granted."
"The desire of the righteous is only good."
"Delight in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart."
"He satisfies your desire with good."
"Lord, my portion, the lines have fallen in pleasant places."
The thing that we inherit will be just suited exactly to what we need.
"In Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand are pleasures
And on, and on, and on. Remember, Jesus said,
"Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto you."
"And for us, this is the end of all the stories. And we can most truly say
that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the
beginning of the real story. All their life in this world, and all their
adventures in Narnia, had only been the cover, and the title page. Now, at
last, they were beginning chapter 1 of `The Great Story', which no-one on
earth has read. Which goes on forever. In which every chapter is better
than the one before."
"Though you are hopeless, though you're alone, I will be your home.
Whatever's the matter, whatever's been done, I will be your home. I will be
your home, I will be your home. In this fearful, fallen place, I will be
"When time reaches fullness, when I move my hand, I will bring you home.
Home to your own place, in a beautiful land, I will bring you home. I will
bring you home, I will bring you home, from this fearful, fallen place, I
will bring you home. I will bring you home."
"When time reaches fullness, when I move my hand, I will bring you home. Home to your own place, in a beautiful land, I will bring you home. I will bring you home, I will bring you home, from this fearful, fallen place, I will bring you home. I will bring you home."
Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the Bride say come, and let him that heareth say come, and let him that is of thirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." The Spirit, that's God, and the Bride, that's us, believers in Christ, we invite you to come and join us in this wonderful new heavens and new earth that the Lord has gone to prepare for us.