Matney: A new heaven and a new Earth
There’s a new world coming, and I’m setting my sights on a new heaven and a new Earth. Please let me explain, and let me encourage you to set your sights on the better things to come.
I’m not suggesting that we should abandon our efforts to create a more just society or stop protecting our beautiful planet now. I don’t want to be so heavenly-minded that I am of no earthly good. But I am suggesting we can lift our eyes above depression and division and rise above the disappointments of this life. We can live in hope of the new heaven and Earth in which love, peace, and justice reigns in perfect balance.
Jesus is coming back to Earth to set up his eternal kingdom and we can have a part. This hope gives me “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,” as an old hymn says.
I truly do enjoy so many things in life. I have seen God answer prayers over and over, and so, I’m optimistic, not pessimistic. But I do know there is a limit to the joy, peace, and security we can expect here on Earth as it exists now. I enjoy and am engaged in life, but as another gospel song says, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue, the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
It truly hurts me to see our world embroiled in political strife, racism, prejudice, slavery, sex-trafficking, etc., and religious groups around the world oppressing and being oppressed. Man’s cruelty to man never ceases to amaze, disgust and anger me. Mankind was created for better things by far. The new heaven and Earth will provide the base camp for the greatest advancements of mankind the world has ever known. I want to be a part of that and I want my family, friends and fellow man to be a part of that also. It will be worth it all.
It truly hurts me when I see the destruction of our beautiful planet through deforestation, irresponsible mining practices, air pollution, and plastics in the ocean, etc., but I don’t believe this is the final chapter for our magnificent home. I have a hope beyond this present time and condition. As the prophets and apostles wrote, we will have a new heaven and a new Earth. The curse of sin and death will be removed and all things will be restored to their original, pristine conditions.
Violence and destruction will cease. The prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when mankind will beat their weapons of war into agricultural tools and study war no more. The knowledge of the one true God will cover the Earth and people from every nation and ethnicity will say, “Come and let us go together up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of our God. He will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths.”
The violence and death in the animal kingdom will cease. Scripture says the lion will lay down with the lamb. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat grass like the ox. “The beast of the wild will be led by a child.” It will truly be wonderful. Why not allow yourself to hope? Why not allow yourself to believe? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
As I see the complexity of nature around me, the many systems dependent on each other, like a fine-tuned Swiss watch or a complex piece of machinery or the most sophisticated of computers, I cannot doubt the existence of God. I am compelled to believe. Just as surely as I believe in gravity, I believe in God and his son, Jesus.
But faith is also a choice. I could choose to doubt and question and reject God, but I want to believe. I want to have hope beyond this short lifetime and beyond the grave. For those who have put their trust in Christ, this is not the end of the story, this is only the beginning of eternal, amazing, magnificent life. It starts by simply uttering a sincere prayer of repentance and an invitation for Jesus to come into your life.
Oh, friend, be reconciled to God. Escape the wrath to come when unrepentant, defiant men and women will reap what they sow. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He says, why will you perish? Turn to me and live. Live with abundant life now and eternal life hereafter, in the new heaven and the new Earth. If I can help you pray, or help answer your questions, please get in touch with me. God bless you.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at email@example.com.