Planet Earth Will Survive and Flourish!

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Planet Earth Will Survive and Flourish!

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Several months ago, self-styled radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted that the world would face total destruction, starting with a global earthquake, beginning on May 21, 2011. He was so convinced of his predictions that he took out full-page ads in major newspapers proclaiming that the end of the world was imminent.

Showing no embarrassment in television interviews, Camping admitted he got a few things wrong and, allowing himself the luxury of setting another date, will try more predictions again. This is both ludicrous and sad.

Capitalizing on natural and manmade catastrophes that continue to frighten the world and lead people to worry about our future, such self-appointed prophets appear on the scene maintaining that their apocalyptic perspective comes directly from God. But they perpetuate falsehood and confusion.

Some prophets of gloom and doom, not having spiritual vision and scriptural understanding, don't know that our planet will not be utterly destroyed in conjunction with Christ's return, but will be spared from that and will survive and flourish in a way humanity has never seen!

Why does the earth exist?

However, their prophecies do raise an interesting question: Why does our planet even need to exist when most Christians believe that going to heaven is the reward of the saved? If we're going to heaven when we die, then why would this earth need to survive? Does it really even matter? 

Most people realize that the earth is the only habitable planet in our solar system. All other planets are uninhabitable, and if it were possible to put a man on Mars, for example, he could survive only if his life were protected and preserved in some kind of protective environment, living in a bubble. The notion of leaving a man on the moon has never materialized, and Mars is much farther away than the moon.

Most people don't consider why the earth exists. To them it just does. They don't want to be bothered with such trivialities when they're trying to make ends meet buying gas and groceries. They are so wrapped up in themselves and their personal activities that they never consider this concept. Many others are wrapped up in collecting as many toys as possible before they die.

Seriously, why does the earth exist? When you discover the answer to this question, really grasping its implications, your worldview will change!

Here's the answer in a few sentences:

The earth exists because of you, and because of all people who have ever lived and who will live in the future.

The earth exists because God and Jesus Christ will establish Their Kingdom here.

The earth exists because eventually God the Father will bring the heavenly Jerusalem, where He lives, down to the earth when the earth is transformed into a new earth (Revelation 21:2, 10, 24).

You can know, indeed you need to know, why the earth exists. Your future depends on understanding this simple fact of truth.

God tells us that He built the earth for us, a home in which human beings could adopt good values, build good character and honor Him and His laws: "Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'" (Genesis 1:26).

That takes time, education, practice, experience, maturity and looking to God's (not man's) counsel. "O Lord, I know it is not within the power of man [naturally] to map his life and plan his course" (Jeremiah 10:23, Living Bible).

We're alive on God's earth, this special and unique environment that sustains all physical life, to learn to rule over and to take care of all living things. Even greater, we're here to take care of our fellow human beings: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18). This is the reason for our being and our being here (compare 1 John 4:20-21).

Where does this lead us, if we learn to honor the great God who gave us the privilege to take good care of what He's given us, beginning with our own lives? Sadly, secular history and Bible prophecy prove that human beings have been driven to bring misery on and destroy ourselves (Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 24:21-22; Romans 3:10-18; Isaiah 59:1-14).

Human beings can wreck their future

Although God has given people every opportunity to live as if they were in the Garden of Eden, we have diligently persisted in wrecking our futures. God wants to give us the penthouse; we ignore Him and head for the doghouse.

Romans 6:23 tells us that "the wages of sin is death" (emphasis added throughout) The word wages is instructive. Wages are what we earn for what we diligently work to produce! Human beings pay dearly in this life through pain and suffering for disobeying God's holy commandments, in the end earning death—much like a soldier is, at the bottom line, paid to produce pain and suffering and death.

God says that human beings don't know how to properly conduct their own lives (Jeremiah 10:23). We show by our actions that we disagree with God. We're hell-bent on wrecking our lives by drinking up, partying down, getting high on drugs and addicting ourselves to a spate of instant gratifications. We are constantly at war with one another. Humankind knows no true and lasting peace (Isaiah 59:8). We steal, cheat and deceive.

Is this all our fault? Yes, to a great extent, for God gives us freedom to choose between good and evil: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Surely in many respects we know better. But we persist in choosing evil. It's for this reason that God commands everyone everywhere to repent. As Acts 17:30 tells us, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent."

God makes it clear that the common ox or donkey honors its master better than human beings! "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; the ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.'

"Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints'" (Isaiah 1:2-5).

Given the latitude to make personal decisions about our thoughts and actions, we race to wreck our futures.

Earlier I asked whether our human problems were our fault. I answered that yes, to a major extent we do bear responsibility for our choices and actions. However, there's more to the overall picture than our human tendency toward self-destruction.

An unseen interloper wants us dead

Is something or someone else complicit in our tailspin to self-destruction? The truth is there is an invisible interloper who wants to destroy you and me, not only in this life, but forever! That interloper is a great fallen spirit being, who is identified as the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), the arch-destroyer, and Satan the devil (Revelation 20:2), who palms himself off as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Satan wants to destroy us because he knows our ultimate destiny. Satan knows God's purpose for human life—what God will grant us if we continue to accept His gift of grace, which includes unmerited pardon from our sins and spiritual help to continue obeying God's laws.

Satan knows that human beings who become sons of God, younger brothers of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:11-12), will rule over angels (Hebrews 1:13-14). He knows that ultimately we will take up the responsibilities of judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

Satan was angry long before God created human beings on this earth. He initiated a violent rebellion to overthrow God from His throne (Isaiah 14:12-15). Some have speculated that this was perhaps because he came to learn that human beings would have a higher and greater destiny than angels (Hebrews 1:14).

The apostle Peter warned us about the unseen archenemy of humankind: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

He is a murderer and liar who has "deceived the whole world" (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9). He is the "tempter" who tempts people to sin (Matthew 4:3). Blinded and tempted by him, the vast majority of human beings are ensnared and have been "taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Can humanity do better? Can we escape the snares of the devil, having been taken captive to do his will? God says we can. God will lead all humanity to one day worship Him for their own good as He intended (Malachi 1:11). No more will human beings have their own separate brand of religion and attempt to sell the notion, "Do you know the Lord?" For after Satan and His demons are removed, all humanity will worship God in the way He requires (Hebrews 8:10-11).

God's plan for mankind on planet earth

God has a great plan for human beings on earth, first as physical sons and daughters and finally as spiritual, immortal and divine sons of God (1 Corinthians 15:48-49; 1 John 3:2).

Ironically, people don't know God's plan because they are blinded to the true God by the false god of this world. He deceived our first parents, Adam and Eve, and has been tirelessly continuing his deception for millennia to take human beings captive to do his will and lead them to destroy themselves, as we've seen.

Satan the devil, the god of this age, is a different god with "a different spirit" and "a different gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:4). He has deceived human beings for thousands of years to another form of Christianity that has no inherent power, substituting his counterfeit gospel for God's truth.

This is why Christ said that God's way is difficult to find and that few do: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

God's ultimate plan for humanity is for us to become His children, part of His very family, in His coming Kingdom. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ!

God desires that all human beings change and follow Him (1 Timothy 2:4). We will then be younger siblings of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:10-11), divine as He is divine (1 John 3:1-3), and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:50-53), serving with Christ on earth as kings and priests (Revelation 5:10), reigning over and judging human beings on this earth (Luke 19:17; Revelation 2:26; 1 Corinthians 6:2), while helping them to learn God's way of life. 

True Christianity is not for wimps!

God's way requires personal sacrifice (Romans 12:1), the kind of sacrifice that resists our human desires based on our selfish, greedy and deceitful human nature (Jeremiah 17:9).

True Christianity, based on Scripture, cuts across the grain of human nature and bares a person's being before God: "For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done" (Hebrews 4:12-14, New Living Translation).

The apostle Paul discusses God's requirement of those who profess to be Christians (Romans 6:1-23). Once we've repented of our sins, accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, been buried with Him in the symbolic watery grave of baptism, and had hands laid on us to receive God's Spirit, then we can and must go forward in our lives, following Christ's example and overcoming daily (2 Corinthians 4:16; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39).

Old sinful habits keep us under the control and manipulation of the god of this age (Romans 6:16). In this blinded condition, human beings are unable to enjoy the spiritually refreshing and productive will of God, expressed by His laws, which teach us God's love (1 John 5:3).

True Christianity is not for wimps. Read the book of Acts and you find true Christians speaking the true gospel and suffering persecution and martyrdom. You find religious and political authorities dragging early Church members before judges and throwing them into prison. You find some beaten and stoned to death.

The true Christianity of the early apostolic Church is a difficult path to follow! Jesus said: "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19). You can learn much more about this in our free booklet The Church Jesus Built.

Christ said it was utterly impossible to honor God without putting Him first in your life, ahead of family and your own life (Luke 14:26). Further, He said it was impossible to be His disciple unless we take up His cross—paying whatever price is required of us in living a life of godly service—and follow Him and His ways (Luke 14:27). True Christianity is not for wimps! 

Planet earth will survive and flourish

God says that the earth will not die. On the contrary, Scripture shows that, after Christ returns, our planet earth will be greater than it has ever been. Notice this prophecy of Jesus Christ's reign from Isaiah 11:1-10:

"There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of [King David's father] Jesse, and a Branch [Christ] shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord . . . Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den.

"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. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles [non-Israelites] shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious."

Finally, let's encapsulate the truth from the Bible about the future of mankind and the earth:

God guarantees the earth will survive and flourish, though it will ultimately be transformed (Isaiah 11:1-10; 35:1-2; Amos 9:13-15).

God guarantees that humankind will survive and flourish as never before (Micah 4:1-4).

God guarantees that this earth will become like a literal Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 36:35-36).

God guarantees you can receive His Holy Spirit and have a part in this when you commit yourself to honor Him and obey His will (Acts 2:38; 3:19; Romans 8:12-14).

Planet earth is yet to flourish as never before. It will survive, as will humankind. Will you commit yourself to believing and obeying Christ's true gospel message today?