The Bible As Story (#21) Act 6: The Kingdom Consummated

What will be the end of this cosmic drama – this story that is the Bible? Where is it all leading? What is the point of it all? And what does it all mean to us? Is it only for this life – the present – the here and now – that we live moral lives and lives of service. Is it only to make this world a better place in which to live?

Make no mistake about it, there is a glorious future for the Lord’s redeemed ones. Sometimes in this world we tend to lose sight of that future because of all the evil that is present and because of the seeming futility of our best efforts in the service of the King. But take into consideration passages such as these…

Peter had just urged the Christians to whom he was writing that they needed to add to their faith such qualities of character as virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, with godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). Then in 2 Peter 1:10-11 he tells them the reason for them to faithfully add these spiritual qualities…

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

After Paul had preached in regions of Asia Minor, he returned through the cities he had visited… “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22).

These passages point toward something in the future. Although the kingdom of God has already come, there is a sense in which it is yet to come. It is yet to come in its full manifestation and with all its glory.

Paul says that when the resurrection takes place…

1 Corinthians 15:24-26Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

At the time of the resurrection of the dead, the kingdom in its present form will be returned to the Father. At this point God’s people will be received into a perfect, eternal relationship with the Creator – the kind of relationship God has always sought to have with us.

Peter tells of a day when the present order, “heavens and earth,” will be destroyed and be replaced with a “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

Paul also sees this as a day when the children of God receive their inheritance and the “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21).

This promised future will also have the “New Jerusalem” in which there will be the throne of God.

Revelation 21:2. “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

In this city that comes down out of heaven, God will dwell with His people forever.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3).

I will repeat here something I said in an article back on May 16th.

“Both the Old Testament and the New speak of “new heavens and a new earth” in which people will live with God and with one another in an ideal relationship. (Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:18-23; 2 Peter 3:13). In Revelation 21:1-4 it is said that in the new heaven and new earth into which the New Jerusalem will come down, the “dwelling place of God is with man.” Here is the ideal relationship between man and God restored as it was originally intended to be. Of greatest importance is not where we will be, but with whom we shall be eternally.”

It is striking that man in the beginning was in a beautiful place where every need was met as a result of the loving care of their Creator. Adam and Eve had an ideal relationship with God in which they walked together in peace and tranquility on the earth. When man sinned a curse was placed on the earth and man was driven from his ideal home.

When we come to the end scenes of the Bible, man is back in a garden which now has been developed into a city – an ideal environment in which people live together in a mutually beneficial community and in which they once again walk peacefully and lovingly with their God. There is the “river of the water of life” and the “tree of life.”

The curse will have been lifted…

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” (Revelation 22:3).

And man will be returned to his rightful place of rule over God’s creation…

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light,

“…and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:4-5).

So the story comes full circle. From creation to consummation, it is the story of God and His creation. Of what He has done to redeem that creation and how He has done it. It is a grand saga, but one that is still being played out as you and I enter upon the stage of divine history and make our contribution to the Story. Where do you fit in this story? Are you presently a child of God? Are you receiving the benefits of citizenship in His kingdom? Are you in line to inherit as a child of God?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” why don’t you “step into the story” so you won’t miss any of the good things God has promised. It will come to pass because He always keeps His promises. Put your wholehearted trust in Him and obey Him in all He has commanded. Live the story out on a daily basis. Living this story is the greatest adventure you can imagine. And it provides unimaginable rewards!

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