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Revelation 21:1, 4 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (NKJV)
One day it hit me, “the Bible shows a consistent picture of us returning full circle to where we started – restoring all that God had always intended for us to be – and more.”
Does this mean that man, or even Satan, somehow threw a wrench into God’s original plans, to which He is now having to react or recover (there’s those “re” words again)? To believe that for even a moment is to simply misunderstand, or be ignorant of, God’s nature.
Neither man nor Satan caught God off guard
when sin entered Creation.
God is omniscient: ALL knowing. God is omnipresent: present at ALL times, in ALL places. God is omnipotent: ALL powerful. That is hardly the description of a God who was blindsided by an act of one of His creations. Well that just begs a few questions then, doesn’t it?
- Why did God create us, or Satan, if He knew sin would occur?
- Couldn’t God have created everything with no chance of sin, and still give man free will to love Him (an essential ingredient for TRUE relationship)?
- Couldn’t God just choose all men to be saved and cause them all to repent?
- Couldn’t God just snap His fingers, end all the pain and suffering and bring us home now?
- Why doesn’t God just annihilate those condemned to hell rather than having them suffer for ALL eternity?
Yeah, why? Good questions which God does not specifically clarify in the Written Word. I think there are theological concepts that give partial insight to some of the questions, and others we just simply leave as God’s business.
Is that a cop out? Hardly. How powerful is a God that we can know everything about, understand in every way, and be able to comprehend all His decisions? Not a very big God at all.
What kind of parent would you be if your two year old
understood perfectly each and every decision you made?
When compared to God, we are infinitely more “childish” than a two year old compared to a human parent. In the same manner that I occasionally tell my children, “that’s adult business”, there are many things that simply fall into the realm of “God’s business”. As my dear Shepherd, Bruce Hess, reminds me, these are the “inscrutable things of God”. (Bruce is a worldclass Bible teacher and you can find his messages here: http://www.wildwoodchurch.org/messagearchives/wildwoodmessages.htm).
Inscrutable means the “impenetrable”… there are many things about God, and the way He does things that are “impenetrable”. We shouldn’t want it any other way lest we drag God down to our level. I’m not as smart as Bruce, so I just call it “God’s business”.
It is not always our place to figure out “WHY did God do it that way?” but rather to educate ourselves about WHAT God is doing. That leads us back full circle to our “re” study. We cannot fully understand or grasp why God started with Eden and perfection, then allowed sin to enter, sent Himself to die, and is taking us back to where we started… but the fact is, that is exactly what the overall message of Scripture is: a return to Eden, a return to perfection, a return to eternal fellowship. And oh so much more!
These facts are described by a series of “re” words in the Bible. Yesterday we looked at “renew, restore, return”. We saw the master plan of God and how He will renew the heavens, earth and man; how He will restore our fellowship with Him and how we will return to the perfection He originally created.
Let me clarify here that this is not some REVERSAL or rollback. It is all NEW, while maintaining a continuity with the original. You will be NEW, but you will still be YOU. The Earth will be NEW, but the Earth will still be the earth. That’s why I’m puzzled when people are so confused and unsure about what eternity holds for us. This comes from hundreds of years of perpetuation of unBiblical ideas that envision heaven as some mystical, other-worldly, not-physical existence. This is nothing short of a major coup for Satan and he has successfully robbed generation after generation of Christians of the joy of imagining heaven as God has revealed.
Look around you. Imagine the earth with no destruction, violence or wars. Now you can begin to imagine heaven. Look at the people around you and imagine them without sin, perfectly loving and in full fellowship with an ever present God and Savior. That is a real picture of heaven. Imagine the best of beauty, song, art, scenery, love and creation. You now have a very real glimpse at heaven and eternity.
God will renew, and restore, His creation in all it’s perfection… that is heaven. It is the reuniting of the physical Earth and Heavens (the universe) with the spiritual. That is heaven. All through Scripture, He reveals how (and often why) He is doing this. Many of these “re” words clue us in. Let’s look at one today that deserves to be considered alone:
- to buy back:
When we sin, we sell ourselves into slavery (Rom 6:20). Satan has claim to us because we are of the Devil (John 8:44) God sent His only Son to buy us out slavery (Rom 6:22)
- to free from what distresses or harms:
Again, through Jesus sacrifice we are freed from the sin that enslaves us and harms us; we are freed from the distress of eternal condemnation.
- to free from captivity by payment of ransom:
Slaves are captives; when we sin, we become captive to sin and death; God redeemed us from captivity through Jesus death (Isaiah 42:7)
- to release from blame or debt:
Satan the Accuser is ever ready to condemn God’s children, but we have a Savior who paid our debt, and the same Savior is now our Advocate, intervening on our behalf telling God that we are released from the blame of our sin
Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (NKJV)
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (NKJV)
We often cut redemption short thinking that only man is being redeemed. Not so. ALL of God’s creation is being redeemed, bought back from the curse of sin. The heavens and the Earth were created FOR MAN, not Satan… the New Earth and New Heavens are part of the redemption of everything God created originally and said, “it is good”.
Are you beginning to see the BIG PICTURE? Do you see all the questions that are answered when you finally come to understand these things? Everything God is doing, He is doing to restore, return and renew His creation: the heavens (the universe) that were created for the Earth, the Earth that was created for man, and man, who was created to have a perfect and eternal love relationship with God.
Man sinned and God’s perfect creation was tainted. All these “re” words describe how God has bought back and is restoring what He originally created. Again, it’s not a “clean up”, it is a true renewal, a rebirth… but a restoration in the sense that there will be a familiar continuity. I emphasize again: you will be you, I will be me, and the Earth will be the Earth. All new and perfect and eternal, but just like we already know it be. Are you starting to see it? I often draw this as circle on a chalkboard showing that we are headed full circle back to the perfection God has planned for us, that Adam and Eve got a taste of.
Take your understanding of “redeem” and read the book of Ruth. While it is a beautiful story of love, family loyalty and God’s divine intervention, Ruth is MUCH more than that. It very well could be the most pivotal and revealing book in the Bible.
The entire account is a perfect picture of Christ, though His name is never mentioned nor is He prophesied about. Every detail of the book of Ruth is a clue and symbol of God’s plan, and unlocks countless treasures about “the big picture”. An understanding and knowledge of Ruth through the filter of redemption, reveals the entire plan of God from start to finish.
We are redeemed. The earth will be redeemed. The heavens have been redeemed. All of God’s creation has been redeemed. Some of His creatures have, and will, reject this redemption but in the end, everything will be restored, renewed and returned to the perfection God has always planned for us. If you know the Redeemer, you’ll be part of the New Perfection. If you do not, there is still time.
Lord God, Help us to understand the true meaning of redemption. Open our eyes to see Your Master Plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Could you explain redemption to others? Do you see how it fits into the master plan? Are you beginning to see “the big picture”?
Application: Think about these words now, and see if they mean more to you after we study each one. God’s plan is to make all things new, again; to restore all that has been lost or temporarily distorted, and return to a perfect Earth, perfect Heavens and a perfect relationship with sinless humans. God has redeemed all that was lost, and soon, very soon, we will realize the fullness of that redemption. Look up! Your redemption draws near!
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?
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