(Editor’s note: This week and next, Joseph Farah is leading a group of nearly 100 on a WND Alaska cruise while studying the Bible with a specific focus on the Kingdom of God. If you wish you could be there, consider a last-minute decision to join him on a tour of Israel in November during which he’ll be addressing many of the same issues – but in the Holy Land, the center of the Coming Kingdom.)
It seems like a pretty basic question: Where do believers go when they die? Where are they resurrected? What is eternal life like for them, according to the Bible?
Most Christians would answer quickly and emphatically – heaven!
I don’t disagree. But I’m looking for a more specific answer, because the Kingdom of Heaven is a big place. It quite literally encompasses the entire universe and multiple dimensions.
So, the question is: Where will you be resurrected and live with all the saints of the past – from Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David and, of course, Peter, Paul and Mary?
Did you know the answer to this question is part of the gospel believers are supposed to share with non-believers throughout the world?
Before I answer this question, let me give you a little background.
Mankind was created to live on Earth. It was the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden that led to the fallen world in which we live today. And the good news of the Bible has always been the full restoration of the Earth in a Garden of Eden-like shared by new generations and those saved by faith in a world ruled by King Jesus from Jerusalem for a thousand years, followed by the creation of new heavens and a new Earth.
When the Earth is restored, it will once again become part of the Kingdom of Heaven – but, it’s heaven on Earth.
Read the book from the beginning to the end and this restoration of Earth presided over by God is the underlying story, as Peter said in Acts 3:20-21, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (emphasis added).
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In other words, the common denominator in all the prophecies from the Creation of the world onward is this story of the restored Kingdom on Earth.
In fact, the last question the Apostles had for Jesus before He ascended into heaven after 40 days in His resurrected state on Earth was about this Kingdom, Acts 1:6-7: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Notice, Jesus did not tell them: “Forget about the Kingdom on Earth. Change of plan. You guys are all going to be resurrected for life in heaven now.”
No, the plan remains the same. It’s what all the prophets foretold – including Jesus throughout His earthly ministry.
Yet, why is it that we hear so little about our true destination in the future? How is it possible that believers have collectively forgotten their scriptural destiny as part of the plan to redeem the Earth?
I feel called by the Holy Spirit to remind believers about this plan, so they are not deceived about the good news.
Personally, I think it’s really, really good news – a destiny much more appealing to mankind, which, after all, was created for the Earth.
Think about it.
Have you ever thought about heaven and have trouble visualizing anything? Can you imagine heaven? What comes to mind?
We don’t get a clear picture in Scripture of what heaven would be like for mankind, because the heaven we think about is not our destination. A restored earth is – a new Garden of Eden, perfect justice, peace, rest, the way things were meant to be before the fall.
And it occurs to me that we are not telling the world about this good news. We tell them only the bad news: If you sin and don’t repent, you’re going to hell. What about the upside? Do you think most people would choose a “heaven” they can’t visualize or the Garden of Eden, to which we can all universally relate?
By the way, after Jesus ascended, what did the angel tell the Apostles as they looked heavenward?
Acts 1:11: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
So, Jesus is going to come back in the clouds to restore the Kingdom to Israel and the Kingdom of God to the whole earth.
This is so basic to the Christian faith, yet, how many Christians are eagerly awaiting the restoration of the Kingdom like the first-century believers were? Even prophecy speakers and authors and conferences dwell almost entirely on what happens on the Earth before the Messiah’s return.
There’s so little focus on the coming kingdom – which represents a future of 1,000 years of justice, peace, righteousness, rest, unlike anything since the Garden of Eden. And how many sermons have you heard about it? How many Bible studies have you done on it? How many books have you read about it?
This is what the first-century believers were all anticipating, but it was not theirs to see. Yet, if the prophecy watchers are right, it could be right around the corner for us today.
What is our destiny? Our destiny as people saved by faith and grace through Yeshua and earnest repentance of our sins is a glorified Earth in which we are ruled in a perfected world, a restoration of the way things were intended to be – a Garden of Eden-like existence. It’s a world free of injustice, lies, violence, corruption, sin, disease, war, exploitation.
How many believers know this? How many sermons have you heard preached on this? This is the central message of all the prophets, Peter tells us. It’s the common denominator in all their writings. This is what Peter and the disciples were expecting Jesus-Yeshua to usher in as Messiah before His death and after His resurrection.
I remember hearing a phrase as a young believer that went like this: “Christians are so heavenly minded that they do no earthly good.”
I could relate to it on one level then. But today I relate to it on a different level. Christians are too fixated on escape from the Earth. Yet we were made for the Earth. The Earth was made for us. And the Earth will be restored to what it was intended to be, and that’s part of our future experience.