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Heaven Series--Surprise #10: The Perfect Ending!

Heaven Series Millennial Kingdom Sin Nature

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: Genesis 1:31 ; Revelation 20:9

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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ILLUSTRATION


One of my favorite family traditions was reading time at the dinner table. While the kids were eating, I would read a chapter from one of the classics. These readings provided plenty of fodder for the conversations that followed.

On one particular night, after I read the conclusion to The Time Machine, I looked up to see three very dissatisfied faces. Clearly, no one approved of how the story had ended. Each thought they had a better idea of how it should have concluded. Seizing on an opportunity to extend a learning experience, they were each assigned the task of writing their own ending and presenting it the next night.

Try to imagine God giving us that same assignment. What if He said, “Write your own conclusion to the story of man,” what conclusion would we write? What would the perfect ending look like?

No doubt, we would want to see all of the evils that plague the world dealt with once and for all; things like war and bigotry and sexism, etc. And we’d wish for a better world, one without hunger or crime or disease. And on the positive side, we’d ask for endless opportunities to be prosperous and to find meaning and fulfillment. Then, finally, man would enjoy the utopia for which he has long yearned. Right? Not so fast!

It may surprise you to discover that God has actually given mankind several opportunities to write his own ending, but sadly, every one of them has ended in disappointment. The period of innocence ended with willful disobedience by Adam and Eve and all of Creation being cursed with futility and death (Genesis 3). The period of conscience ended with universal corruption and the Flood (Genesis 6). The period of human government ended with the Tower of Babel and man’s dispersion (Genesis 11). The period of promise ended with God’s people displaced from the Promised Land and under bondage in Egypt (Exodus 1). And the period of law, beginning with Moses, ended with God’s chosen people rejecting the very Messiah sent to them (Matthew 27). And from the Scriptures, we learn that the current period, the Church age, will end with apostasy (1 Timothy 4).

Nevertheless, despite these disappointing outcomes, God will provide yet one more opportunity for man to prove himself. This final period is called the Millennial Kingdom. It’s the Kingdom promised to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; it’s the Kingdom the disciples of Jesus were waiting for and fully expected Him to establish; it’s the Kingdom over which the promised Messiah, a descendant of David, Jesus, will reign; it’s the Kingdom whose capital city will be Jerusalem; it’s the Kingdom that will provide humanity with its last opportunity to get it right; only this time, the conditions will be perfect. At the return of Christ to the earth, God will usher in a thousand years of unprecedented peace and prosperity, fulfilling all of mankind’s wildest hopes for a utopian age.


APPLICATION

The prophet Isaiah, who had more to say about the coming Millennial Kingdom than any other author in the Bible, wrote, “The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He (Messiah) will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

There will be peace among the nations, as well as peace among God’s creatures. Isaiah also wrote, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them … The infant will play near the cobra's den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6, 8-9).

But despite being granted a kingdom of unparalleled peace and prosperity, we are told in Scripture that the thousand years will end with the vast majority of the world’s population chomping at the bit to rebel. Although living in external compliance with the authority and reign of Christ, the vast majority of the descendants of those who first entered the Kingdom will yearn for someone to lead them in revolt.

That’s when we read the shocking conclusion of man’s utopian age. The Apostle John wrote, “When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations … in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle--a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God's people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them” (Revelation 20:7-9, NLT).

So much for man’s perfect ending! Despite Jesus reigning from Jerusalem, despite the reversal of the curse on the earth, despite the presence of angels and the testimonies of resurrected, glorified men and women walking the earth, despite 1000 years of absolute peace and prosperity, most will withhold their hearts from God.

Like mildew inside the walls that has only been treated on the surface, so the sin nature of man will once again come roaring back when given the first opportunity. What this shows us is that there is one very important thing missing in man’s idea of the perfect ending; the necessity of eradicating the sin nature of man. When God gives the world everything we want, the vast majority of those who are born during the Millennial Kingdom age will still resist the new birth. Like men of this present age, they will believe that the only fix they need is a better set of circumstances. They will foolishly believe that if they were given the perfect conditions, utopia would follow. What the Millennial Kingdom will prove, conclusively, is that man’s real problem isn’t a fallen and flawed world, but his own fallen and flawed heart. Having everything we want doesn’t mean we will want God.

After God gives man one last chance to build the perfect world, He will step in and do what we could not—He will write the perfect ending. And when He does, we will discover that the perfect ending to man’s story has been there, hiding in plain sight, from the very beginning. It was first put on display when God gave us the perfect beginning. As Genesis tells us, “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (1:31, NLT). In other words, it was exactly how He wanted it to be! That is our perfect ending! God’s intentions are perfect, so we shouldn’t be surprised that the Bible ends by coming full circle, back to God’s original plan.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, intending that it should be our eternal abode, our Heaven. In the end, God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth and it will become our eternal abode, our Heaven! In the beginning, human beings were given bodies that were intended to live forever. In the end, we will be given our bodies back, and we will live a physical life in a physical world forever! In the beginning, God created a world filled with animals and placed man as head over His Creation. In the end, God will fill the New Earth with animals and place the man who is God, Jesus, over it all.

But here's the big difference between God's perfect ending and all of man's attempts. In the beginning, there was no sin in the world. In the end, the New Heavens and the New Earth will be the “home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). That’s because God will populate the New Earth exclusively with those who have experienced both spiritual as well as physical renewal.  For while Jesus said everyone who enters the Millennial Kingdom “must be born again,” it was left to their descendants to make their own personal decision to accept Him as Savior.  In God’s perfect conclusion, only those who have made that decision will enter.  

God’s intentions are as perfect as He is, and so the perfect ending naturally takes us back to God’s original intentions. After God has allowed us one last time to try it our way, He will be there to write the perfect ending.

When The Lord Reigns In Zion

Hope Millennial Kingdom End Times

Source: A Sermon entitled "The Great Rescue"

Contributed By: Will Beauchamp | Date Posted: 2010-10-07

Scripture: Revelation 21:22

Author: Jerry Vines
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ILLUSTRATION

Jerry Vines gives this description of those days when Jesus rules and reigns on the earth.

"I will wake up one fair morning, stroll down the streets, and come up to a wagon full of roses. After reaching in to get a few, I will notice that there are no thorns on these roses.  I will ask that attendant, 'Where did you get these roses?'  She will answer, 'I grew them in the desert'  I will ask, 'In the desert?'  She will answer, 'Yes, haven't you heard? The Lord reigns in Zion and the desert shall blossom like a rose.

I will walk into a pet shop and see a man buying a cobra for his young boy.  After asking why he is buying a poisonous snake for his son, he will answer, 'Haven't you heard? The Lord reigns in Zion and the Lion shall eat straw like the lamb and the little child shall play upon the hole of the cobra.'

I will go a little further and ask where are the policemen. Someone will answer, 'there is no need for them. The Lord reigns in Zion and they shall have beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nations shall learn war no more.'

I will ask to visit the hospitals to encourage the sick. Someone will say, 'But we don't need hospitals, for the Lord reigns in Zion.  The inhabitants of this land will never say I am sick.'

What about your home for the crippled?  Someone will say, 'We don't have any of those either for the Lord reigns in Zion.'

What about your deaf and mute?  'We don't have any of those either, for the Lord reigns in Zion.'

What about your cemeteries?  'We don't have any of those either for the Lord reigns in Zion.'

Where do you go to church?  'WE all go up to Jerusalem to worship the great King.' 

And I will go up to the Temple and see the Lord high and lifted up.  And I will hear the great choir sing, "All hail the Power of Jesus Name!"  And I will know that I have made it to this place where the Lord reigns in Zion.

APPLICATION

The Apostle John wrote, "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21:22-27).

You'll Know It When You See It

Second Coming Tribulation Period Watching for Jesus

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-04-02

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ; Romans 3:25

Author: Jeff Scanga
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ILLUSTRATION

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, I can remember when my dad took the family to New York City for the first time. He told us that we would pass through a huge tunnel under the Hudson River called “The Lincoln Tunnel”. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see this great tunnel. I imagined going deep underground with the river above our heads. Would it be dark? How long is it? How will I know when we get there?

As we approached the helix on route 3, there was a series of large overpasses we passed under. I asked, “Dad, was THAT the Lincoln Tunnel?” His reply, of course, was no. Then another overpass came and I asked, “Is THAT it?!”. He replied, “Jeffrey, you will know it when you see it.” In other words, if I had to ask, then that couldn’t possibly be it.

Naturally, as we spiraled down the helix into the toll booths I marveled at those 3 great looming archways leading into darkness. It was very clear to me then: THIS was the Lincoln Tunnel!

 

APPLICATION

I am relating this story to those who think (or fear) that we have entered into the Tribulation, which is described in the Bible (namely Matthew chapter 24, and the books of Daniel and Revelation). My answer is the same as my Dad’s was regarding the Lincoln Tunnel: “No. You will know it when you see it.”

This coronavirus pandemic is merely an overpass. It is NOTHING compared to what is to come. But I believe it is a sign that we are nearly there. We are approaching the Helix. And the blessed hope we are expecting from 1Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 is close at hand.

I believe God is using this pandemic to get the world’s attention. I also believe that all believers in Christ will escape the Tribulation to come - in the same way that Noah and his family escaped the Flood, by their faith. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. Accept HIS plan for your salvation, not your own good works, and you will be delivered from the coming judgment. 

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever" (1Thessalonians 4:16–17, NLT).

"For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood" (Romans 3:25, NLT).

The Lifetime Pass That Was Never Used

God's Promises Faith Blessings/Blessedness

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2019-10-11

Scripture: Proverbs 16:20 ; Matthew 7:24

Author: Howard Harden
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The Generous Thief

God's Promises Death Resurrection

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2019-05-01

Scripture: John 11:25 ; Job 1:21

Author: Stephen Kingsley
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The Doomsday Clock

Watching for Jesus End Times Prophecy

Contributed By: Matthew Kruse | Date Posted: 2019-02-01

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:11

Author: Matthew Kruse
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The Delphic Oracle

Word of God Warnings Prophecy

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2018-09-17

Scripture: Psalms 18:30 ; 2 Corinthians 4:2

Author: Charles Krieg
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The Shadow Of Things To Come

Prophecy Feasts of Israel God's Promises

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-08-23

Scripture: Colossians 2:17

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Are You Ready For Company?

Procrastination Second Coming Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Bren Glass | Date Posted: 2018-07-13

Scripture: Matthew 24:44 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:4

Author: Bren Glass
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Life Can Change In a Feline Flash

God's Promises Eternal Security Circumstances

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-01-30

Scripture: Matthew 6:20 ; 2 Timothy 1:12

Author: Illustration Exchange
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