The New Testament tells us that in the last days scoffers are going to appear. Jesus says these mockers will ridicule all doctrine that says Christ is returning to establish a new kingdom. If you try to explain this doctrine – that when Jesus comes again he’ll set up a kingdom of eternal righteousness – you’ll be called insane.
These same scoffers claim a “new world order” is indeed coming. In their thinking, a new society is just on the horizon, about to usher in an entirely new reality. There have been many New Age claims throughout history, and the latest has been quietly gaining momentum over the past three decades. Why is the world clamoring now for a new world order to be ushered in? It is because Satan knows his time is short. He knows Christ is soon to return, and he wants to keep multitudes deceived by tantalizing them with a fantasy world. The doctrine of a coming New Age is filled with every false hope including global peace and the end of diseases. It is meant to bring doubt to God’s people about the reality of Christ’s coming.
A new world is indeed coming and it is dawning even now – yet it is not a New Age of any kind. It is a world in which Christ is returning to establish his holy kingdom. Every nation will come under the Lord’s righteous rule, and every opposing force will become his footstool.
Scoffers will have no part in this new kingdom: “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13, my italics). None of the following will be allowed to enter this glorious new world: “The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars” (Revelation 21:8).
Think of the beauty and wonder of a life under Jesus’ holy and righteous rule. Now compare such a vision to the tragic New Age deception. Millions are convinced that in the New Age they’ll find peace and fulfillment. They believe all guilt and condemnation will vanish, that their sinful deeds will no longer haunt them, that they’ll be able to freely indulge the flesh.
But the apostle Peter gives us a clear picture about the reality of the coming new world. He says this present world is headed for a fiery meltdown that God himself will bring about: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10, my italics).
Peter says he wrote this description for one reason: to “stir up the pure minds” of all believers. Everything we are attached to — all material things that we hold precious, laboring a lifetime to keep — will dissolve. Simply put, the earth we live on is ultimately transient.
Many Christians have missed this biblical truth. Their whole focus has been to build a world of comfort in this present life. Their hearts have been captured by notions of prosperity, acceptance and recognition. It is all contrary to God’s plan and purpose for his people.
If you’re devoted to Jesus, you may wonder why you’ve never felt fully accepted at your secular workplace. Maybe you’ve never been truly secure among your coworkers. Have you received little credit for what you do? Have you been misunderstood, ridiculed, gossiped about? If so, do not fret. It may all be the Lord’s merciful doing.
God knows our hearts, whether we are susceptible to being seduced by worldly things, including ambition and success. In his mercy, he may be saying through your trial, “I don’t want you too preoccupied with ‘success’ here because it’s all going to fail. Set your affections on things above, on the new world to come.”
I want you to know two things. First, God does not want our talents buried. Yet he is ultimately the orchestrator of our lives. And he is in charge of our “position” at all times. Second, compared to the new world that’s coming, this life is but a passing shadow. Our eternal home is a place of great action, full of new horizons and incredible works. God is not going to waste a single talent he has given you, whether in this life or the next. In the new world, your gifts will be magnified many times over. He is going to use you for his glory in eternity.
Jesus gives us several hints about what life in the coming world will be like.
Consider Christ’s descriptions in these passages: “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods” (Matthew 24:46-47). The Greek word for “ruler” here suggests “an eternal appointment.” God is going to appoint us as keepers over his goods throughout all eternity. Think of it: eternal appointments, reigning over his household, ruling over cities as his kings and priests!
I sometimes imagine that when we get to heaven, we’ll discover whole new planets — new worlds created for his glory, deep in outer space, far beyond anything our finite minds can comprehend. Even now, new technologies are helping scientists to discover entire universes we didn’t know existed. Our Lord’s creation extends so far beyond what we could ever imagine, it boggles the mind.
In addition, there will be countless multitudes of saints with Jesus in eternity. I think of the millions of children throughout the ages who died before their time. So many were abandoned, starved or aborted. They were carried in the arms of Jesus into paradise. I tell you, it would not be heaven without these children. And it’s going to be wonderful for them there. I remember being told of a fatherless little boy who dreamed he went to heaven and Jesus played ball with him. I believe a vision like that will be more real than we can imagine.
Who else will be there to play with these children and bless them, you ask? We will. We’re going to be eternally appointed to love them. God is going to use us to the fullest in his new world.
Here is the very heart of my message: Through the very life God has given you now, he is training you to rule and reign with him when the new world comes. This means every trial you face now — every slight by coworkers, every disappointment, every anguished cry to God over your lack of use – is all godly training. He has purposed it all as your preparation. The Lord is forever getting you ready for a greater role appointed to you in his eternal kingdom.
Astounding as it may sound, Peter says we are to earnestly desire the end of the present world.
To many readers this may sound morbid. But Peter writes of it as “the day of God,” when all present evil will be wiped away: “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:12).
This verse doesn’t mean we are to rejoice over destruction. Peter’s words here are meant simply to sustain us. Whenever we become discouraged in this life we are to rejoice, knowing we’re going to inhabit a new world! Peter then shares another truth meant to stir us up: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what matter of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (3:11, my italics).
As you read these words – about a great fire to come and a bright, new world where righteousness reigns – do you rejoice? Perhaps instead you worry, “Lord, I believe your Word that a new, holy world is coming. But I fear I don’t measure up to the godly standard Peter describes here. I’m afraid I might fail and miss out on it all.”
I have great, glorious news for you: I can show you beyond any shadow of a doubt that God himself desires to preserve you for his coming world. He has pledged: “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore” (Psalm 121:7-8). “The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy” (145:20). “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever” (2 Timothy 4:18).
Note how many times God says he will preserve his people. He is saying, “I’m going to keep you safe through all things. It doesn’t matter what kind of trial comes at you. I myself am going to deliver you into my heavenly kingdom.”
Do you see what a liar the devil is? He threatens to devour you, but all the while God has promised to keep you. Will you rest in this promise? Listen again to his word to you: “He preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10).
Get this in your mind and heart today: The Lord is going to keep and protect you until the day Jesus takes you home.
Dear reader, God has broken Satan’s trap for good. You have been set free. You may fear you’ll fail in the future, but God wants to remove that fear from you. He has promised to take you home himself. And nothing can stop him from doing that for you. Therefore you are truly free. You can look forward to a new heaven and a new earth where his righteousness reigns.
It is time for you to set your gaze on that world and not on this one. Take to heart your Lord’s precious Word about his power to preserve you. He’s not going to let the devil overtake you as an easy prey. Instead, he’s going to empower you to put your foot on the enemy’s neck; God himself will deliver you fully. That is his Word. Amen!