Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Restoring Planet Earth
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:28)
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new.” Then He said, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev. 21:5-6)
The end times judgments will be devastating in the extreme, and the Lord warned that if He didn’t bring them to a close at the appointed time, not a single soul would survive (Matt. 24:22). But for the sake of the elect, He will bring them to a close and when He does the restoration of Earth will begin.
I believe one of the ancillary functions of the end times judgments will be to begin the process of returning Earth to the condition it was in just after the creation. It’s as if the Great Tribulation is the demolition phase of the restoration. This is hinted at by phrases like “every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” (Rev. 16:20) and“there was no longer any sea” (Rev. 21:1). And speaking of the Lord’s current whereabouts, Peter told the people, He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:21)
Comparing verses like these with the return of long life spans indicated in Isaiah 65:20, I think most of the present seas will either return to their underground origins or rise into the upper atmosphere to re-establish the water vapor canopy that once surrounded Earth (Gen. 1:6-7) and helped enable the long pre-flood lives.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.
The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow (Isaiah 35:1-2, 7).
I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.(Isaiah 41:18-20)
The mountains will be lowered, and the sea floor elevated. Streams and rivers will flow through lands that have been parched for thousands of years. The great desserts will become verdant plains again. The current tilt of the Earth’s axis causes extreme differences in the world’s weather and makes large areas uninhabitable. I believe this will be corrected at the time of the 2nd Coming. The axis will become upright again and the year shortened to its original 360 days. Earth will once again enjoy a world wide sub-tropical climate like it did before Adam lost it and the terrible effects of sin were loosed upon it. This is something the creation has been waiting for ever since.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
And this restoration won’t be limited to the Earth alone. A massive spontaneous healing will correct all the imperfections of fallen mankind.
But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall (Malachi 4:2).The eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. The lame will leap like a deer and the mute tongue will shout for joy (Isaiah 35:7)
When the Lord returns in glory the wait will be over, and soon afterward the creation will once again resemble a lush garden. He will make her deserts like Eden, her waste lands like the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51:3).
Some people are troubled by all this because they’re so in love with the creation as it currently appears. I remember reading about a person asking God to leave her behind at the rapture because she can’t imagine anything being more beautiful than this present Earth, not even Heaven. People like this are limited in their thinking. They’re basing the future on the past instead of on the promises of God. They don’t stop to think that if the Earth is this beautiful while under a curse how much more so will it be when the curse is lifted and it’s restored to its original condition?
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:2-3).
Besides, people who think like this don’t realize that the Lord has spent the last 2,000 years “preparing a place for us” in His Father’s house. He’s not coming back to be with us here where we are, He’s coming back to take us there to be with Him where He is. The Church will no longer call Earth home but will dwell with Him in His Father’s house. Do these folks really think that after the rapture, when we see all eternity spread out before us, we’ll be disappointed with our future and long to return to this fallen creation?
But our focus here is the restoration of Planet Earth, where Israel will once again be the most favored nation. One of the clues we get that the Kingdom Age on Earth features Israel and not the Gentile nations, or even the Church, is that almost all of its descriptive passages are in the Old Testament, and for the most part center around Israel.
From them we learn of the desert bursting into bloom (Isaiah 35:1-2), of the land being so fertile that before they can complete the harvest it will be time to begin planting again (Amos 9:13). Peace will flow like a river and the wealth of the nations like a flooding stream (Isaiah 66:12). In Jerusalem men and women of ripe old age will sit in streets filled with playing children (Zechariah 8:4-5). And in the country side, “Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.” (Micah 4:4)
Peace will prevail in the animal kingdom as well. Predators and prey will live side by side, and their young will lie down together, all of them existing in perfect harmony with each other and with mankind again (Isaiah 11:6-8). This will be another reversal of a post-flood condition, when fear and dread of man fell upon all the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air (Gen. 9:2-3).
And so the time of restoration will have come, and in every way Earth will be like it was in the beginning. Where ever one goes there will be peace on Earth and good will toward men, like the angel Gabriel promised to the shepherds so long ago. The Lord Himself will rule, and people will come from all over the world to learn from Him.
The mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law (Torah) will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4)
But like it has always been, the seed of rebellion will still reside in the heart of natural man. He’ll be given every conceivable advantage in this, his last best chance to live in peace with God. But within a generation or two that seed will begin to germinate as the children of Tribulation survivors come of age. Some will choose to follow their parents to the foot of the cross and receive their personal redemption. But with each generation an increasing number won’t. This will happen even though Satan will be bound, the Lord Himself will be their King, and God’s Law will be their law.
You see, there is no condition or circumstance that will allow natural man with his sin nature to live in peace with God. As the end of the Millennial Kingdom Age approaches, unbelievers will vastly out number believers again, especially among the nations. When Satan is released they will rise up as one and march across the breadth of the Earth to surround the camp of God’s people and the city He loves in a final attempt to kick the Lord off the planet. But fire from Heaven will devour them, and Satan will be captured again, this time to be thrown into the lake of fire forever. (Rev. 20:9-10)
After the Millennium, God and man will enjoy a new beginning, called Eternity. We’re not given any information about this because the Bible effectively ends at the end of the Millennium. A careful reading shows that in Rev. 20, John skipped ahead after verse six to describe the final destinies of Satan and all unbelievers while he was on the subject. (Rev. 20:7-15) Then in Rev. 21:1-27 he went back to the beginning of the Millennium to show us the New Jerusalem, and in Rev. 22:1-5 gave us a glimpse of Millennial life on Earth. We know this because Rev. 21:1 is a direct quote from Isaiah 65:17 where the context is the Kingdom age in Israel and Rev. 22:1-2 is a summary ofEzekiel 47:1-12, also a millennial passage.
As part of the Church we’ll effectively have a head start on Eternity, as will resurrected believers from both Old Testament times and Daniel’s 70th Week. But we’ll have to wait at least until the rapture to see what it’s going to be like. All we know for now is that it’ll be the greatest adventure ever designed for mankind, and we’ll be first line when the time comes to begin enjoying it. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.
By Jack Kelley (http://raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack260.html)