Archives For new heavens and new earth

A Living Hope

April 28, 2013 — 3 Comments

A Living Hope

new earth Last week, I wrote on the New Heaven and the New Earth. Having a glimpse of the new heaven and the new earth is all about hope.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (the old order of things)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:1-7

Notice the new Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven from God. Heaven comes down and transforms the earth. We will have new bodies. Our bodies will be redeemed, we will not be disembodied spirits floating around in heaven and earth. Jesus ate fish after he was resurrected. He was not a ghost.

A Living Hope vs Mental Assent

The difference in mental assent vs true belief is where the rubber hits the road. You can say you believe something but only when that belief is challenged through suffering do you know if you are giving mental assent or true belief.

In the Bible we see Jesus called the firstfruits. The term firstfruits is an agricultural term that refers to the first fruit coming in from the harvest of the crops. When Jesus was raised from the dead, he was the firstfruit (installment) of things to come. There are many references to firstfruits in the bible.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:20-24

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John was writing to Christians living at the time who were suffering for their faith in a resurrected Jesus. They were suffering more than most of us will ever experience. John gave them HOPE by his words so they could hold hope in the midst of their suffering. When the lions were tearing them apart, when they were beheaded, they accepted their suffering and died with peace. Because of John’s message to them of a future hope, the early Christian’s death sowed the seed of Christianity to spread far and wide.

Hope in the future

heavensThe way we live our lives now is completely controlled by how we view the future. This was true for the early Christians and it is true for us now.

Ever since Jamie’s death, many people have said to my family and I in different ways, “your faith…your example…are amazing, I don’t know how are you doing it?”

Christian friends said our faith in the midst of suffering was encouraging them in their own faith journey.

We got through those days, and continue to get through those days, because we have a living hope. A hope that allows us to look squarely in the face of our loss on earth, knowing that we will see them again, we will spend eternity together on the new earth.

Hope is the future. The future is bright.

As a family we now live, completely controlled by our view of the future.

  • Do you believe in a new heaven and new earth?
  • What is your hope?
  • What are you living for?
  • Is your life counting?

Perhaps you asking, how do I do this?

First you must believe in the crucifixion of Jesus and all that was accomplished on his death on the cross. Then you must believe in the power of the resurrection of Jesus and what that means for your future. He is the firstfruits of many (us) to come. Life on the present earth is just a foretaste of what is to come when you walk in a relationship with God.

Let’s face it some type of suffering comes to everyone on your journey through life.  It could be the loss of your loved one, a divorce, a job failure, alienated from your family…really anything.  Yet, we can live a completely transformed life on earth, a foretaste because we know we are destined to see God and our loved ones face to face again someday.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. I Thessalonians 4:13-14

That is our living hope, and it can be yours today.

New Heaven and New Earth

April 21, 2013 — 8 Comments

New Heaven and New Earth

In Revelation 21:1 John says he saw a new heaven and a new earth. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”

Grand Canyon Tuesday, I am going to a Real Estate conference in Las Vegas and one of the highlights of my trip is going to be a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

I’ve never been to Vegas or the Grand Canyon.

Now truth be told I am “a little” nervous about flying.

I have a good friend in Idaho that insists it will be the “highlight of my trip.” Last week he gave me an opportunity to back out…but I really want to see the Grand Canyon so I did not take him up on that opportunity.

At the last-minute my daughter Christa decided to come and she is also taking the Grand Canyon tour. My son, Matthew who is a Realtor in Nashville is flying in later that day for the conference.

Since knowing I was going to the Grand Canyon, I have been thinking about Scriptures on the New Heavens and the New Earth. Author Randy Alcorn,  book on Heaven has been my life saver since the death’s of Jamie and “Lilly Bear.”

In the book Heaven, Randy says,

Some Bible teachers think that the Earth will be completely destroyed and a different earth will be made from scratch. But the Bible teaches us that while the Earth will be destroyed for a while, it will be restored. God will make the same old earth into the “New Earth,” which will be better than it ever was!

Think about the Flood that happened during the time of Noah. Although the earth seemed “destroyed,” it really wasn’t. It continued to exist.

We know the Bible says our bodies will die, but God will bring the same bodies back to life in a much better condition. In the same way, the Earth will die, but God will bring it back in a much better condition. That will be the New Earth.

You could compare the Earth’s future changes to that of a caterpillar. As you know, major changes happen to a caterpillar after it goes into a chrysalis. It comes out a new creature—a butterfly. It hasn’t stopped existing. It’s the same, yet transformed. And it’s a real, lasting transformation. Though transformer action figures can be changed back and forth, the butterfly can’t be changed back to a caterpillar (nor would it want to be). Likewise, the New Earth will never change back to the old Earth.

Intermediate Heaven

Our loved one’s are waiting for us and enjoying life in heaven, the place they go when they die, before Jesus comes back and establishes His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Theologians called the place we go when we die the “intermediate heaven”. In the intermediate Heaven, we wait for Christ’s return to earth, our bodily resurrection, the final judgment, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth. 

There was a huge gap for me understanding this before I started to really study and pray about what the Bible said about heaven. Regrettably, I had never heard a sermon on heaven, just a few scripture’s on heaven at funerals and grave-sites services.

When Jamie died, and then Lillian I was obsessed about learning more about where they were, what they were doing, and yet I was also confused.

Jamie Caulk & Lillian Caulk benchAbsent from the body, present with the Lord

1Cor. 5:8 

  • Paul tells us that when Christians die, we go immediately to be with God.
  • To be “absent from the body-present with the Lord.” (This is the scripture we had put on the Park Bench at Millpond Park in Saline, Michigan that many of our friends had built-in honor of Jamie and “Lilly Bear.” 
  • Philippians l:23 Paul tells us when we depart from this life, we are with Christ.

Jesus said to the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

How could this be, I wondered.

Jamie and Lillian gravesite Their bodies are lying in Oakwood Cemetery in Saline… yet they are Today with Jesus…yet God is going to come back… and the dead in Christ will rise first…meet the Lord in the air…and we will all live together on a New Resurrected earth.

This earth will not be destroyed the way we think it is, but it will be a “new” earth.

Similar to when God called Noah into the Ark and the earth was destroyed by the flood waters. Yet when the rain stopped the earth was still the same earth yet different.

Someday, all those who love God will live together on the new earth, without the curse, without sin.

There will be no more sickness,sadness, tears or pain.

We will not be jealous of one another or envious, but live with love and kindness with our families and friends forever.

Most importantly we will know God, face to face. Just like those gone before us do now.

Life on earth is short, that’s one reason why I’m going to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday.

Photos of Grand Canyon via Creative Commons

Nankoweap in Grand Canyon