The Wonderful World Beyond Today! Part 7: The Universe and Beyond

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The Wonderful World Beyond Today! Part 7

The Universe and Beyond

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The Bible describes incredible physical blessings to be enjoyed on this earth after Jesus Christ returns to save humanity from itself. Weapons of war will be recycled for productive purposes, and deserts will blossom. Even dangerous predators and poisonous snakes will be tamed (Isaiah 11:6-9 Isaiah 11:6-9 [6] The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them. [7] And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. [8] And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. [9] They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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)! This period of peace and prosperity on earth is prophesied to last 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
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).

But as amazing and utopian as this time will be, God has something even more in store for those He is training and transforming. By choosing to follow God’s ways and learning to think like He does, human beings are preparing for a potential beyond our wildest dreams!

By choosing to follow God’s ways and learning to think like He does, human beings are preparing for a potential beyond our wildest dreams!

However, God has always given humans a choice. It’s the only way to truly develop God’s character—to consciously choose to go God’s way even when the alternative looks appealing. That’s certainly the way it works in this present evil age, and so it is logical to assume that those choices will still exist for humans living under the benevolent rule of the Kingdom of God.

In this beautiful world, why would anyone choose to reject God’s way of give and follow the selfish way of get instead? It seems incomprehensible.

The return of the enemy

An event prophesied to occur at the end of the 1,000-year period (often called the Millennium, from the Latin for thousand years) demonstrates that humans will still have free will. The Bible shows that Satan will be released and will again lead humans to make wrong choices.

Remember that at the beginning of the Millennium, Satan will be locked up “so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:3 Revelation 20:3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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).

So then after the Millennium Satan “will go out to deceive the nations” and apparently will be very successful (Revelation 20:8 Revelation 20:8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
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). This final rebellion will be firmly put down, and Satan will again be put away—this time forever.

Then comes a time of resurrection and judgment that helps fulfill God’s purpose for the masses of humanity who have lived throughout history.

The Great White Throne Judgment: everyone gets a chance

One of the most challenging things many Christians struggle to understand is how the God who loves everyone enough to give His only Son, and who wants all people to be saved (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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; 1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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), could eternally condemn little babies and adults who had never heard His name. Has God lost the majority of human beings who have ever lived?

Consider what Christ said about the day of judgment when everyone from the queen of Sheba to the people of Sodom to the people of His day would be raised together (Matthew 11:21-24 Matthew 11:21-24 [21] Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I say to you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
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; 12:42). He told people of His time that “it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:24 Matthew 11:24But I say to you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
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).

What could this mean? The depraved men of Sodom had never heard of Christ, but He was sure they would be more willing to repent and obey Him in the judgment day than those who had seen His miracles in the first century.

A prophecy of the day of judgment recorded by Ezekiel helps explain. After raising people from their graves to physical life, God tells them, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and…you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it” (Ezekiel 37:14 Ezekiel 37:14And shall put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall you know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, said the LORD.
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).

Man’s highest aspirations are only a shadow compared to God’s great goal for us.

So, God’s Spirit will be offered to those in the judgment day. They won’t be raised just to be condemned and thrown into the lake of fire. It seems evident that our loving God will give, to those who have never had that chance before, an opportunity to repent.

With this in mind, consider John’s description of this time. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it… And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:11-12 Revelation 20:11-12 [11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
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).

Evidently, the books that were opened are the books of the Bible, opened to their full understanding for the first time. The resurrected humans from all periods of history will understand for the first time the standards by which they are being judged, and will have the opportunity for the first time to repent and accept the sacrifice of Christ, the only name “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
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).

As we saw in Ezekiel, God’s Spirit—and thus a chance for salvation—will be offered during this time. So, like the judgment that is now on God’s Church (1 Peter 4:17 1 Peter 4:17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
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), the final judgment must provide a period of time, and a real chance to be saved.

Our just and merciful God would provide no less.

Those who have fully understood the choice, but inexplicably reject God and choose the way of death, will have their lives quickly ended in the lake of fire, which will “burn them up” (Revelation 20:15 Revelation 20:15And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
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; Malachi 4:1 Malachi 4:1For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, said the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
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).

Incredible potential

At this point all humans who have ever lived will have had the chance to accept eternal life and the incredible potential God offers. What is that potential? Beyond the Millennium lies a fantastic future that we can now see only dimly. As Paul explained, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 1 Corinthians 2:9But as it is written, 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.
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).

It seems evident that our loving God will give, to those who have never had that chance before, an opportunity to repent.

Man’s highest aspirations are only a shadow compared to God’s great goal for us. John put it this way: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! …Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does 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.
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).

As incredible as it may seem, we are to be like Him!

The universe and beyond!

King David pondered man’s position in the universe now, and the awesome potential God has in store:

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalms 8:3-4 Psalms 8:3-4 [3] When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; [4] What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him?
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).

The book of Hebrews picks up the quote, and expounds on it. “‘For a little while you made him lower than the angels, and you crowned him with glory and honor. You gave him authority over all things.’ Now when it says ‘all things,’ it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all of this happen” (Hebrews 2:7-8 Hebrews 2:7-8 [7] You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands: [8] You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
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, New Living Translation).

So far we have seen Jesus Christ die to make it possible for all of us to be resurrected as He was to inherit “all things”—not just this physical universe but the spiritual realm as well!

God is expanding His family and wants to welcome us into His realm to share “all things” with us!

Why did God create us, give Jesus Christ for us and work out all the details of His incredible plan for us? Not to transform us into angels, for Paul shows we will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3 1 Corinthians 6:3Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
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). No, God intends to literally bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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)! Christ is not ashamed to call us brothers (verse 11)! We will actually be our Father’s “sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
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)! God is expanding His family and wants to welcome us into His realm to share “all things” with us!

Our minds boggle at concepts like eternity and infinity, much less the limitless power and great glory God wants to share! The biblical descriptions of the spiritual realm are couched in physical language or we could not comprehend it at all. Read for yourself John’s lyrical visions of the New Jerusalem and the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21 and 22. We are meant to sense the immensity of its indescribable beauty and long for its fulfillment.

At the end of the book, Jesus Christ tells us, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work… Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:12 Revelation 22:12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
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, 20).

As we have seen in this series of articles, this world desperately needs Christ’s return to save us from self-destruction. The wonderful promises of 1,000 years of peace and a fantastic eternity on beyond may seem too good to be true. But our Creator says they are real—and coming soon! So, after exploring this incredible vision of the world beyond today, we can reply with John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (verse 20).