What did you immediately think about when you read that title? Did you think “this person is crazy?” Or did you agree with it? Let’s pretend I asked you, “Can you wait for the end of the world?” The way you answer this question says a lot about your beliefs. (You’re probably also wondering why I put a picture at the top of this article that shows a beautiful beach. Why did I do that? Continue to read to find out).
Naturally an atheist can wait for the end of their life since they believe that this life is all that you get. But a Christian should think differently. I remember talking with a Christian friend years ago about the end-times. He told me he did not want Christ to return before he got a chance to live a life. By “life” he meant getting married, having children, and living a “normal” life. It was clear that he had an incorrect view of “life.” Let me explain.
Most Christians believe that heaven is some kind of spiritual world where we will float around on the clouds and sing songs for all eternity. Let’s be honest, most (if not all) people do not like the sound of this. Theologian Randy Alcorn, the author of the book Heaven, quotes another author who says:
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service…We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing-along in the sky, one great hymn after another, forever and ever, amen. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Does this describe you? Well I have some good news for you. This common belief about heaven is not what Scripture teaches. Paul tells us that it is better to die and be with Christ than to live in this sin cursed world (Philippians 1:21-23), and he calls the second coming of Christ the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). He even goes as far to say that heaven is the life that is “truly life” (1 Timothy 6:19).
The first of these passages refers to the present heaven. However, Scripture is clear that the eternal heaven is this very earth and universe restored back to an Eden-like paradise. In the beginning, God created the whole world “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Soon afterwards Adam and Eve rebelled against God bringing sin and death into the world (Genesis 3). God’s creation became cursed, but this was not the end of the matter. God became a man and died for our sins. By repenting of your sins and believing that he is Lord and that he resurrected from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
Being saved does not only mean that you avoid hell, but that you will take part in the new heavens and new earth. The New Earth will be a place free from sin and death. We will have real, physical bodies that will be like Christ’s. We will be ourselves complete with memories, emotions, and desires.
The world in which we will live will have time, oceans, weather, seasons, the sun and moon, other galaxies, and even animals. There will be cultures, food, music, sports, and art. Life in heaven will be, as Paul calls it, the life that is “truly life.” It will be the kind of life that we were originally created for. It will be a world where we will live in a relationship with God and every member of his church. Think about that. We will get to live with Christ and we will get to know other believers from other places and time periods.
This is why I cannot wait for the end of the world as we know it. I say “as we know it” because the world will truly never end. Sin and death are what come to an end. Satan’s reign will come to an end. The true life has yet to begin.