What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). God saw at all he had made and it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Everything was perfect without a blemish anywhere! Think of a park with beautiful trees, manicured lawns and amazing flowers in full bloom with not a single weed to be found. It was truly a Paradise. Then unfortunately sin came into the world through Adam’s disobedience and God’s perfect creation became corrupted, so much so that God destroyed the earth with the flood, and only Noah, his family and the animals were saved to make a fresh start.

But, sin was still in the world. God gave his people laws and commandments but no one could, or was willing to, keep all the commandments or be obedient to all laws. People continued to sin and disobey God. But God had a plan. He sent his only son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice for all the sins of the world; a Savior to fulfill God’s promise of salvation and eternal life for all who would trust in him. In the final book of the Bible, the apostle John describes a vision in which he hears Jesus say, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)

In a letter written by one of Jesus’ closest disciples we read: “but in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and the new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) Six hundred years earlier, the prophet, Isaiah recorded these words that God had spoken to him: “for behold, I create a new heaven and new earth and the former shall not be remembered, or come to mind.”

A new heaven and a new earth are more than just a promise. The Apostle John actually saw what God has prepared for all those who love him and have placed their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God gave John a glimpse into the future as recorded in Revelation 21:1 “ then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away.” The new earth will be a Paradise beyond human comprehension. In 1Corinthians 2:9 we read, “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no mind has conceived are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

So, have you trusted your life to Jesus so that you can experience this promised eternal new earth paradise? If not, why not? Remember, this new creation is only the eternal dwelling place for those who are God’s children in Christ.

What are the glorious riches in Christ that Paul writes about?

What are the glorious riches in Christ that Paul writes about?

In writing to the church in the Greek city of Philippi, Paul commends the saints and thanks them for their support of his ministry. In closing, he assures them “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) That’s a pretty bold statement and yet many Christians never think about the blessings that Paul is referring to. If they did, they would be full of joy every moment of every day even in the trials that come their way. Here is a partial list of those riches:

• Redemption from sin–the separation from God
• Salvation from eternal damnation and a promise of an eternity in the presence of God where there is no sorrow, pain or death
• Wisdom and understanding to make right choices
• Objective moral standards that bring about right relationships with one another and a fair and just society
• Peace, love, joy, kindness, patience and hope
• Self-restraint and guidance for life decisions
• Endurance, loyalty, perseverance
• Grace, healing, mercy and forgiveness
• Meaning and purpose for life…and much more

 When one considers the riches of being a child of God, the fleeting worldly pleasures pale in comparison. Paul knew what he was writing about. While he experienced all manner of pain, suffering, rejection, and imprisonment, he found that God continually met all his needs. He embraced the abundant riches provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus the messiah and kept his eye on the prize of eternal life with his heavenly father.

Would you like to know more about how you can inherit God’s riches by becoming his child and hence his heir? Click now to read about how you can become a Christian.

 

 

 

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity. So what transformed 11 scared and dejected disciples into fearless ambassadors? It was Jesus’ return from the dead and subsequent ascension into heaven. There were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried.

Was he really dead? The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were experts at the art of death. So when a soldier wanted to hasten the death of a man who had already endured a terrible whipping and was bleeding from wounds in his hands and feet, an upward thrusting spear through a lung and into the heart would do the trick. So certain of his death were the soldiers that they didn’t break the legs of Jesus. That was the usual way Roman soldiers finished a crucifixion. They knew that once a man could no longer support himself with his legs, he would suffocate since he could no longer breathe. The soldiers also knew that Jesus wasn’t coming back to claim his robe, so they gambled to determine who would get it.

To ensure that Jesus would stay dead and that his disciples would not try to steal his body and claim he came back from the dead, the tomb was sealed and soldiers were tasked with guarding it. To fail in the task of guarding the tomb, the guards risked execution.

Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected.

His disciples witnessed his ascension into heaven. So yes, Jesus is definitely alive. It is his power and authority that holds every atom in the universe together. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Given the events of these times, it could be soon. Are you ready? (see Matthew 25: 30-35)

What’s good about Good Friday?

What’s good about Good Friday?

There is nothing good about Good Friday until you see it from God’s perspective. Jesus didn’t have to give himself up to be crucified on a Roman cross. He didn’t have to die. However, he loved you and me so much that he chose to die in our place so that we would not have to suffer the punishment for our sins.

Throughout history, God sought to bring sinful mankind back into relationship with himself. That relationship had been broken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1-24). So God established a plan for restoration, a restoration that began with the setting apart of Abraham’s family and concluded with the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

To understand the restoration process, we need to understand the concept of a blood sacrifice as atonement for sin. That goes back to the time when man rebelled against God and the perfect creation he made for human beings. This sacrifice was codified by God when he set apart the Israelites and provided them with guidelines for living. That law included a system of sacrifices to atone for different sins. Among the sacrifices were those of animals without blemish, signifying perfection. (Leviticus 22:20) These sacrifices had to be repeated over and over since people kept sinning against God.

Through the death of Jesus, God provided a once-for-all way, for the sins of men and women to be atoned. In the New Testament, we read that John the Baptist recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) This is a reference to the perfect, sacrificial lamb that was called for in the Old Testament law.

Another John, the disciple of Jesus, who wrote an eyewitness account of the three years he spent with Jesus, explained the ultimate sacrifice that was made by Jesus, the Messiah. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) This made Jesus the ultimate sacrifice —satisfying for all time the requirements of God’s justice.

The apostle Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins, according to Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3) because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This simple statement of fact reminds us that our personal sin, our rebellion from God, has us heading to judgment and eternal separation from God.

However, we do not have to suffer throughout all eternity.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross shows the depths of God’s love for us. (Romans 5:6-8) But it is through his resurrection that we can see God’s triumph over death. When we acknowledge that we are sinners deserving of death and accept the gift of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, we can be set free of the condemnation of sin and begin a journey that will culminate in everlasting life in the presence of God. Read more in the answer to the question: How does one become a Christian?

Why was Jesus riding a donkey called a “Triumphful Entry”?

Why was Jesus riding a donkey called a “Triumphful Entry”?

Triumphal Entry is the name given to the entry by Jesus into Jerusalem a week before he was put to death and resurrected from the dead. He entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered, waved palm branches and shouted “hallelujah.” They were excited about the possibility that the eagerly anticipated Messiah was coming to save the people.

For many, this surely was the fulfillment of a 500-year old prophecy:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Zechariah 9:9

Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.

As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Matthew 21:10

The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.

Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of that Triumphal Entry of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal life to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.