WE ARE HERE FOR THERE
We were created for eternity. We are blessed with a spirit from God that is conditionally eternal only in the presence of our eternal God (2 Th 1:6-9). We are the result of an Eternal Love, and thus, we are headed for an eternal presence with this Love. In order that our transition from here to there happen, God had to guard His justice by offering instructions on how to find the Way (At 9:2). This offer was made for those of His creation who would chose to follow His directions into His eternal presence. In order that God’s justice be true and unaccused, an opportunity from the confines of this material world for the eternal presence of God was made possible through the sacrificial offering of God Himself. The totality of His intervention among men, therefore, is based on the promise that God is working to get us from here to there. For this reason, we must view all that transpires in the present world as God’s efforts to get as many people as possible into His eternal presence. We are thus not confused by the chaos that prevails in many places of the world. We are not confused or discouraged because we know that our God is at work to deliver us from this testing environment.
In answer to the question, “Why was the world created?” and “Why Israel?” the answer can be found only in the statement that will be made by Jesus at the end of the world, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation [creation] of the world” (Mt 25:34).
The world was created by a loving Father who seeks to bring His loving children, whom He now claims as His own, into His eternal presence, in which presence, their eternal existence is guaranteed. Now we must consider this for a moment. Since the creation was never meant to be an end within itself, then there must be a reason for its existence, and ours. Its existence was to produce an environment for those who will exist beyond its termination. There is no Bible teaching that says that the world will continue as it is without end. If one were to adhere to the philosophy of evolution, then he might come to the conclusion that matter (the earth) is eternal. But if one believes the Bible, then there is an end to the heavens and earth that we now experience (Compare 2 Pt 3). The world as we know it will come to an end, but not those children of faith whom God has prepared for His presence in a new heavens and earth (See 2 Pt 3:13). They are His children in this present world, but they are not of this world. The fact that this world is temporary, therefore, establishes the conclusion that the world was created for an eternal purpose that will exist beyond the termination of the world itself.
We are here in order to prepare for being somewhere else. Christians are only “sojourners and pilgrims” on their journey through the existence of this world (Hb 11:13). This world is simply not their home. It is a place of transition to the eternal presence of the Father of their spirits (Hb 12:9). Since this world is a place of transitioning sojourners and pilgrims, then when there are few sojourners and pilgrims to transition, then the world will no longer be useful for the purpose for which it was created.
If there is a finality to this world, then this world exists for the purpose of those who will exist beyond this world. Those who will exist beyond this world are those who are of the faith of Abraham. By Jesus “all things were created …. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Cl 1:16). All things were created for Jesus, including all humanity. All was created for a purpose, that purpose being “for Him.” Jesus would have no need of an eternal earth as it now is, since the eternal existence of the faithful who now inhabit the world are not dependent on the existence of the world. But as one with the loving God, the Son of God has an eternal dwelling for us that is not dependent on the world as we know it. He will thus discard the created world in order to preserve that which does not depend on the material for its existence.
So what would be His purpose in creating a temporary environment for us? If this environment is coming to a close, then those who walk by faith will exist beyond the end of this world. As we move closer to the end of all things, we must conclude that His allowance of the continuation of this present world is simply for the purpose of giving birth to more sons of faith who will dwell with Him in eternity. Since this world is coming to an end, then we would conclude that there is some reason why God would bring this world to an end. And since we would conclude that there is no limit to the population of heaven, then we must also conclude that this world will exist until it has fulfilled its purpose.
Now Paul revealed that there would be living Christians around at the time when Jesus would appear for a second time (See 1 Th 4:13-18). We would correctly assume, therefore, that God has planned a specific time for the termination of this present world. We will never know that time until we hear the final trumpet. It will be the remaining faithful “Noahs” who will hear the trumpet. At the sound of that trumpet the resurrected and changed saints, will with the with the living saints, enter into an eternal existence in the presence of God. Whatever God does with the present world is not our concern. We only know that we will be restored to eternality, which thing Adam and Eve gave up in the beginning (See Gn 3:22-24).
If the purpose of this world is to populate that which is to come, then this world is useful for this purpose as long as citizens are produced for eternal dwelling. But when this world is no longer conducive to the population of that which is beyond this world, then this world is no longer useful for the purpose for which it was created. This brings us back to the teleology (the end purpose) that was expressed in Genesis 6:5-7. In the flood, God terminated the population of the world because the world produced no more sons of faith. When this world no longer produces that for which it was created, then it is gone, in a moment, at the voice of an archangel, at the sound of the last trumpet (1 Th 4:15,16).
If the world is here, therefore, for the purpose of populating of heaven, then our business is God’s business to get people into eternal glory with Jesus. Since the Christian is no longer his own, but has been bought with a price (1 Co 6:20), then it is simply senseless for him to consume upon himself that which is temporary. It is his primary mission to bring glory to God by focusing on the mission of God and the purpose for which this world was created. Terms and phrases as “materialistic,” “worldly minded” and “carnal” define those who are caught up and confined to this temporary existence. But terms as “evangelism,” “mission minded” and “hope” define other-world minded people. These terms find the centrality of their biblical definition in the purpose for which God created all things, and then gave a mission to those who are of faith.
The closer one gets to the heart of God, the closer he gets to the mission of God that is inherent in the creation of this world. Evangelistic minded Christians are in touch with God. They are in touch with the mission of God and His purpose for the creation of this world. Their world view is centered around the purpose of taking as many people as possible into eternal glory. It is the love response of their hearts to follow after their loving Creator, whose mission it is to have loving beings in His presence for all eternity.
In order for the loving to be with the eternal Lover, God came in the likeness of the created (Ph 2:5-11). He was incarnate in the flesh of man (Jn 1:14). However, after His resurrection, His body of flesh was changed into that which we will also be changed after our resurrection (See 1 Co 15:35-58). We do not now know the nature of His resurrected and changed body. But we know that when He comes again, we will be changed to be like Him. John wrote, “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we will be. But we know that when He appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is” (1 Jn 3:2).
When we consider this one statement of the Holy Writ, we are held in awe at the sacrifice that the Son of God made for us. The Son will “appear” a second time. In order for Him to appear, there would have to be substance to His presence. We will “see Him.” In order to be seen, there must be a body that would reflect His glory. His will be a bodily appearance. John says that we will be like this body of His. Ours will be a changed body (1 Co 15:50-54). But we will see Him as He is, in His permanently incarnate, but changed body. John is saying that the Son of God permanently incarnated in the flesh of man on our behalf (Jn 1:14). Though He was changed in His resurrected body, there was something permanent about Him giving up the form of God (See Ph 2:5-11). He did this for us. The permanency of His eternal sacrifice wonderfully manifests His abiding love for us throughout eternity. What words are there in any human language that would explain this love, this sacrifice? He did this for us!
If Jesus, the loving Creator of all things, created us for an eternal existence with Himself (Cl 1:16), then this is love beyond what any man can experience on this earth. We are driven to be in the presence of this eternally incarnated loving Creator. We cannot help ourselves. And we cannot but seek to take everyone we know with us into this awesome love and freedom from the sufferings of this present world that has gone wrong in so many ways. We cannot help but cry out as John when he was so emotionally overcome with the awesome visions of Revelation, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rv 22:20). We realize that we were created not for here, but for there with our Lord Jesus.