In Which Christ Comes Back to Judge and Remake the Earth, and We Receive Our Reward
The End. Christ’s Return is the completion of our theology. Faith will be made sight, all nations will bow before Him, and we will dwell in the fulness of the Father’s eternal presence as His kingdom comes at last. Our sin will be no more, for the Spirit’s work of salvation and sanctification is finished as His bride is conformed to His character.
Though not everyone will be happy about it…
Revelations is probably the most misinterpreted book of the Bible. Since Christ left, practically every generation of Christians were certain that Christ would return in their lifetimes — a track record which should make us wary of similar claims today! [C-1]
Yet even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and someday history really will come to an end. Christ will return — and not as a humble babe, but as a triumphant king:
Christ’s installation as king truly is the end of the world. The old order or creation will be completely undone — including death itself:
The Bible repeatedly hints at two kinds of judgement, represented here by different books. The Book of Life is a recurring theme in Scripture, and in the New Testament is associated with believers in Christ. The other “books” are often called the “Book of Works”, for:
None of the dead can escape this review:
Intriguingly, Death itself gets judged as well:
Passages like this are sometimes misunderstood to imply that we are graded “on a curve”, and that heaven is for those whose good deeds outweigh their bad.
Yet, while the dead are explicitly judged by the Book of Works, the passage doesn’t even mention the consequences of that judgement. Conversely, the penalty for not being in the Book of Life is extremely severe [C-2]:
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Anyone who fails to submit the name of Christ will miss out on His renewed kingdom:
The sea often symbolizes trouble and danger, neither of which is part of the new creation:
Unlike pagan religions, which see history as cyclical or never-changing, Christianity is inherently progressive: we begin in a garden, but end in a city. [C-3] We start with God as our Father-Creator-King, but find our consummation in Christ as our Savior-Redeemer-Husband.
The curse of Genesis 3 is finally lifted, and we can at last dwell “naked and unashamed” in God’s life-giving presence [C-4]:
What a glorious vision! And it is no mere fantasy, but a divine promise – in writing, no less:
And we can trust in that promise — and that vision — for both are rooted directly in the character of Christ:
Christ is our source and our destination, the cure for our disease and the satisfaction of all our hungers. And everything He has is ours, as His heirs [C-5]:
Though not everyone will enjoy those riches:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Christ is coming. The same God who created the universe, whom we rebelled against, will reestablish a new heaven and a new earth. Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will enjoy eternity in His presence, the way life was originally meant to be lived.
Are you ready for His return?
- When do you think Christ will return? If you turned out to be wrong, what difference would it make?
- How would you respond to someone who says, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you do more good than evil?”
- Does your faith look backward to the Garden of Eden, or forward to the City of God?
- What aspect of heaven do you most often think about and look forward to? How has your understanding of heaven shifted over the years?
- What must we overcome to inherit Christ’s promises?
- Repentance: Which of the sins in Revelation 21:8 are you susceptible to?
- Action: Are you sure your name is in the Book of Life? What can you do to make sure?
- Worship: Praise God in advance for the joy of heaven.
- Bible prophecies involving the end times
- Eschatology of the New Testament – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Bible.org: Revelation – Appendix 6:The Book of Life
- Restoring New Testament Christianity: How Good is “Good Enough?”
- Heaven, what will it be like?
- YouTube – Sandi Patty No Other Name But Jesus
For Next Week
Enjoy your vacation! We’ll see you in January when we begin a new series on Christian Character, and learn what it means to overcome.
Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings
- 31. The Return of Christ: When and How?
- 33. The Final Judgement and Eternal Punishment
- 34. The New Heaven and New Earth
Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (pdf)
- 98. The Return of Christ
- 100. Heaven
- 101. The Beatific Vision
- 102. Hell
Blue Letter Bible. “Revelation 20 – New King James Version.” Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2008. 15 Nov 2008. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Rev&c=20&t=NKJV >