Forever with the LORD
The risen Lord Who by His death overcame death, and Who by His resurrection restored life and immortality did not leave His disciples comfortless when He returned from whence He had come. In these troubled last days in which the world is spinning out of control, and evil men spout vain and threatening things, let not your heart be troubled. He Who reconciled us unto God promised an eternity of peace for all who believe in Him. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
When will this occur? We know neither the day of our death, nor the day of our Lord’s return that will reunite believers who have gone before with the believers still on the earth. Together they shall see the Lord, face to face. That day will come “as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2), but it will surely come. “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
At the moment of His return all the dead will rise—the ungodly and unbelieving to everlasting condemnation, foreverforsaken of the Lord, and the believers in Christ to eternal life, forever with the Lord. At that moment, the children of God will be unshackled from the evil, the ills, the fear, and the foolishness that characterizes the world in which we now live.
As Christ our Lord has promised,
The day is surely coming
When we shall leave the earth
To live with Him in glory,
And see Him face to face.
The apostle John closed the book of Revelation with a prayer that speaks the hope of every believer, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:16).
How different is the certain hope and desire of the child of God from all who are caught in the devil’s snare, whose god is their own corrupt mind, and whose view of life and the future is focused on this world.
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking had said “We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity. . .I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.” Since that prediction, he has shortened the time to 100 years. In a later BBC documentary, he issues a stern warning to humans to leave earth within 100 years to ensure survival. (*) Hawking claims our time on earth is running out. Humans need to leave the planet to survive climate change, asteroid strikes, overpopulation, and other epidemics.
Though from a different perspective, one of unbelief, he has it right that our time on earth is running out. The Lord God said it before Hawking and his fanciful fearmongering. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). The apostle was not prophesying the end of the world by climate change, global warming, or nuclear war. The end of the world will be the Lord’s doing—it will be judgment day. For those who live without the Lord, judgment day will indeed be a fearful day. Not so for believers in Christ, whether they are lying in the cemetery or living on the earth. For, we according to His promise “look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
Hawking’s alleged new haven in space, a figment of his imagination, would still be populated by corrupt human beings. On the other hand, heaven in which Christ-believers shall live in the presence of the Lord is reserved for all who have been “begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).Of our eternal home, we are told “there shall be no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie. . .” (Revelation 21:27). What a grand and glorious future and home for the people of God. They who will have come out of the great tribulation will be “before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:14-17).
Who is the authority behind Hawking’s theory? He is the authority unto himself. Such as set themselves above God as though they were God shall stand condemned on judgment day before the throne of the living God whom they rejected. And who is the authority behind the believer’s hope and certainty of life? It is the living, eternal Lord God, glorious in might, abundant in mercy, and faithful to every word and promise.
Blessed are those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb and who by promise are assured by the Lord, “Where I am, there you shall be also,” forever with the Lord. Yes, we will leave the earth we know now, and by God’s grace in Christ be ushered into the better country in which the Lord “has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16).
When Jesus ascended, it is understandable that His disciples were gazing up into heaven as He was enveloped by a cloud. But before He returns in the same manner as He had left, they had work to do. They were to carry out the Lord’s commission to preach repentance and remission of sins. They were to teach all that He had committed to them. They were to proclaim the Gospel through which souls would be rescued from the chains of unbelief.
Time is fleeting. It is our responsibility in our age to walk in the steps of the apostles, and teach all that the Lord has commanded us until such time as He comes and we, and all who believe the Gospel, shall forever be with the Lord—not in space, but in heaven.