Ask any real estate agent what is one of the most important considerations for the sale of a piece of real estate and they will say: Location! Location! Location! You might have a beautiful home, with just the right number of bedrooms: including a spacious master bedroom, a kitchen that makes your mouth water just to enter, and large bathrooms with beautiful showers and tubs. But if it is located near an airport or close to some other undesirable location you will have a hard time trying to sell your property. There was a time when being located two hours drive from your place of business didn’t matter if the sale price justified the purchase. That is less of a consideration today because of the high cost of gasoline. Location is a very important consideration.
This brings me to ask what I feel is a pertinent question. Is going to heaven to live for eternity, in God’s plan for me and you? Is this the location for the saints for eternity? Did Jesus, Moses and the prophets, or the Apostles of our Lord present the hope of going to heaven as our hope beyond the grace? From a child we have been told, “Be a good little girl or boy and you can go to heaven when you die.”Is that the hope presented in the Bible? Does it really matter? As Paul persuaded the brethren in Thessalonica, don’t be uninformed about present realities or your future hope, I Thess. 4:13, even so we would do well to be well informed about our hope for the future.
THINKING LIKE GOD?
To be godly is to be like God. I submit to you that a failure to grasp the truth about this issue might keep us from thinking like God. God warned Israel about this problem in Isaiah:
May I suggest that at least one of the purposes of the Bible is to help us to think as God thinks. God revealed his Word to us so we might know what he is thinking. What we need to accept is that the way he thinks is the way it is and always will be. Does the LORD think in terms of bringing us to heaven? Or does he have another plan? If so what is that plan and where is it be realized?
- "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:8-11 (NASB)
God actually has a plan and it is revealed to us in his word the Bible. The question is, are we on the same page as God. My word which goes forth from My mouth… will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. What God has thought; what God has said; is the way it is and the way it is going to be. That is where we need to be. Let’s get on that page. Let’s agree with God’s plan. The Bible says that Enoch walked with God. Genesis 5:22. If we are going to walk with God we must agree with his thinking and concur with his plan.
- The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: Isaiah 14:24 (KJV)
We must after all agree with God even if it goes against everything we have heretofore believed, thought, or been taught. Repeat this prayer:
- Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3 (KJV)
- “Dear Father, I yield to you. I yield to your way of thinking. Your way will become my way. Let your thoughts become my thoughts. I want to think like you.”
But of course it will all be revealed in the end, won’t it? It will be made plain in the end and then we will know. However, can we afford to wait for that day to attempt to make the changes in our thinking which need to be made today? Why not get in step with God now? Why not get on the same page with him? That’s a novel idea isn’t it? Jeremiah found himself at odds with his prophet friends. But really, that was not the problem. The problem was that his friends were at odds with God’s way of thinking. Jeremiah said simply: Let’s see how it turns out.
- May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS , AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED. "Romans 3:4 (NASB)
- But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true. Jeremiah 28:9 (NIV)
FIRST MAN EARTHY
Since here on earth is where we are living and inasmuch as it is from the ground that we are taken, “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return”
, Gen 3:19, it very well could be that many have overlooked the obvious. What plan does God have for this planet on which we live; from whence we were all taken; unto which we shall return and is that significant to our future? That might have a bearing on the outcome of our hope, don’t you think?
Because of sin the whole of creation was thrown into a tizzy: man returning to dust, thorns and thistles, the labor and sweat involved in producing bread, the pain involved in childbirth. That failure of our first parents did not deter God’s overall determination for his creation. We must remember that God cursed the ground for man’s sake or because of man:
- For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. Romans 8:20-22 (NASB)
- Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return." Gen 3:17-19 (NASB)
WRAPPED IN HOPE
We need to note this: God has every intention of removing the curse placed on the ground because of man. “Creation was subjected to futility, because of Him who subjected it in hope.”
The picture presented in the following passage is a beautiful mural of a time and place in the future here on the earth. Open your mind and visualize the NEW EARTH.
This is not giving a picture of heaven. It is a picture of the New Earth: a place where night will be no more. Isaiah provides us information about God’s intention for the earth from which we were created. He helps us to be informed (as opposed to being uninformed) about our hope for the future and our questions about heaven:
- Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. 6 And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; Rev 22:1-6 (NASB)
Remember this! My word which goes forth from My mouth… will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. When there is a “Thus saith the Lord” our ears should perk right up. God offers us insight into his purpose, what he is thinking, for his creation, the earth. He formed it to be inhabited. Do you suppose that the idea of God taking his saints to heaven to live in eternity might not accomplish what he desires? That just might not be what God is thinking.
- For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18 (KJV)
When God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts”; could he be saying, “Come on now, think like me.” God blessed the man and woman he created: from the earth, from the ground, from the dust of the ground: and the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Gen 2:15 (NASB) As we look around it is apparent we have not done such a good job as stewards of the earth which God has given to us. Not to worry however. God has a plan.
- May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. Psalms 115:15-16 (KJV)
GLORY OF THE LORD
- They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9 (KJV)
The whole of creation awaits being set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. How can that be? The creation itself will undergo a dramatic change. In a time when the blind will see, the deaf hear, and the lame jump about like young deer; the dramatic changes will occur. God will make all things new; a new heavens and a new earth where Peter said, “righteousness would dwell”. 2 Peter 3:13. Are you beginning to get the picture? God’s snapshot of his plan for the future of the planet: a time when the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, and the mute will sing; a day when streams will break out in the desert and springs of water will fill the land where once there was only thirsty land; a time when the righteous will inherit the land and dwell therein forever. Psalms 37:29.
- For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14 (KJV)
- Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13 (KJV)
Do you remember the prophetic day which Malachi the prophet said would burn like an oven; a day that would burn up the proud and all that do wickedly? Malachi 4:1. May I suggest to you a great day of cleansing? Peter spoke about it as well:
- Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35:5-7 (KJV)
Did Peter want us to believe that the earth, the planet will be burned up? Remember; the earth abideth forever. Eccl. 1:4. God purposes to prepare this earth for the saints to live in forever: a place where the throne of God and of the lamb can be: God purposes a cleansing, restoration. Acts 3:21
- But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10 (NASB) (my note: not the annihilation of the planet but a cleansing of the heavens and the earth as they exist today)
Having said all that let me conclude with Jesus’ words which should help us to be informed about our hope for the future. Matthew 5, verse five:
- Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: Psalms 102:25-26 (KJV)
- “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
Did you know that Jesus was quoting from Psalms 37:11? David made that point a total of five times in that same chapter. (Verses 9, 11, 22, 29, 34) We would do well to examine that idea.
Do you get the picture! Agree with God! Can we walk with him if we don’t? Think as he thinks! Can we be godly if we’re not like God or at the very least are seeking to be like him? If we are not attempting to be like God how can we be godly? If we don’t think like he does; since he has given us his word to know what he is thinking; why aren’t we attempting to do so?
- But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalms 37:11 (KJV)
God is thinking about renewing this earth for the inheritance of the saints. (Rev. 21:5) God has promised as much to us; shouldn’t we be thinking like him? It caught Jesus’ attention. That is why he said the “meek will inherit the earth.”
John saw the holy city New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. (Rev. 21:2) Someone said, “Well, you call it the new earth and I will call it heaven”. What did God call it through his son and his prophets? Wouldn’t that be better? Is this important? What do you think?