Ask Your Preacher
Hello! I have a question: are heaven and Earth literally going to be destroyed? Or is it the old (current) world system that will be destroyed, but not Earth itself? I'm just curious about this. Also, I'm curious if what Revelation 21:1 says by a "New heaven and a new earth" means that the Earth will be cleansed by fire and regenerated just like in the days of Noah (only the world was destroyed by a flood in Noah's day). I just hope that the end of the world will be like Noah's day; it will be cleansed by fire and regenerated like the world was destroyed by the Flood, but Earth itself wasn't destroyed.
Dear Looking Ahead,
1 Pet 3:10-12 tells us that eventually God will destroy the earth by fire. After that, He will establish a spiritual universe (heaven) where those who love Him will exist forever. Here is a list of verses that teach on that subject:
- 1 Cor. 15:42-50
- vs. 47 says our bodies will not consist of earthly components
- vs 50 says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
- Lk 20:34-38
- vs 36 says we will have bodies like angels
- Jhn 14:2-4
- vs 2 says we will dwell where God dwells (heaven)
- vs 3 says Jesus is preparing a place for us now
- 2 Pet 3:10-13
- vs 10 says that when God uses fire to destroy the earth, He will both destroy the works of the earth and the earth itself.
- Heb 1:10-12
- vs 11 says the earth and heavens will perish like an old garment
- vs 12 says that the earth and heavens will be changed like one would change and put on new clothes
- the new heaven and earth will not be a redo of this earth, but an entirely new garment.
- Matt 24:35
- Heaven and earth are temporary, unlike God’s Word
- Heb 11:13
- faithful people are considered strangers and wanderers on this earth
- Php 3:20
- our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth
- Jhn 18:36
- Jesus refers to His kingdom as not being “of this world”
It seems like the Bible sends mixed messages. In His Word, He will not come back until certain things happen, and then Christ comes to rule the world. But then it says God could come any day now, and no one knows when. But if the Antichrist is not here and if all these events have not happened, then He will not come because He says He will come after tribulations. But we haven't even had the Rapture yet!
Putting Things In Order
Dear Putting Things In Order,
The Bible doesn't send mixed messages, but sadly, many people have confused passages in the Bible, and that confusion has sent mixed messages to people. The entire issue of the "rapture", tribulation events, the Antichrist, etc. stems from a teaching called Premillenialism, and it has really missed the boat. None of those events will actually occur. We have written several articles on those topics. Feel free to read "Caught Up", "Don't Mark Me Off", and "Premillenialism" for specifics about what is wrong with those doctrines.
The one teaching God has really given on the subject of the end of time is 1 Thess 5:2. God says the end will come like a thief in the night. We can't predict when it will happen, and there will be no rapture events to give us a heads up.
Where does Israel currently stand with the Lord? I ask this because many christians support Israel. Some of that support is for political reasons; Israel is an allied nation and a democracy, but most of the support comes from their belief that God still holds Israel as His chosen people. Some of this belief, I know, stems from Premillennialism and the belief that the Lord will raise up Israel in the end times. The popular Left Behind series pushed this concept. I do not subscribe to that view, so you don't need to respond to that belief. I can't help but to believe that God has had a role in the history of Israel. No other culture has withstood the destruction of their cultural center and identity (AD 70 siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple), been scattered, persecuted, almost wiped out, and managed to come back and re-establish their nation and culture.
So my question is: does God still hold Israel in His good graces? Or is He just protecting them out of His obligation to Abraham? Or is He protecting them at all?
Dear History Buff,
The nation of Israel lost God's protection when they rejected God's Son. Jesus says that christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9). Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deut 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). In that parable, Jesus also explained that the Jewish nation would be destroyed and abandoned by God (Lk. 20:15-16). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those who love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they would rather have their traditions than God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
Now, it is true that there is a nation called Israel today, but just because they occupy the same territory doesn’t mean that the Jewish nation that was destroyed in 70 AD has been re-established. The current nation of Israel has none of the things that made it special – it has no high priest, no priesthood, no Levites, no temple, and no record of genealogies to properly rebuild tribal lineages. It would be impossible for Israel to even follow the commands given by God in the Old Testament. Modern Israel is kind of like tearing down Buckingham Palace and then putting a double-wide trailer on the same property – just because you call it ‘Buckingham’, doesn’t mean it is. The name ‘Israel’ doesn’t make it the same nation.
There is a video of a riot in Egypt. It shows what is said to be one of the four horsemen. Do you think this is what it is?
Dear Tally Ho,
No, because the horsemen aren’t literal horses and riders. The horsemen you are referring to can be found in Rev 6:1-8. The book of Revelation is a book that uses symbolic language to describe the persecution that was quickly coming upon the first-century christians (Rev 1:1-3). The apostle John said the events were “at hand” and “shortly to come to pass”. The book of Revelation deals with the Roman persecution of the church – not the end of the world. Many authors, bloggers, writers, etc. have attempted to commandeer the verses in Revelation for their own purposes – mostly because it is sensational to talk about dragons, cherubim, cups of wrath, etc. It may be sensational, but it isn’t biblical to take things out of context. This video you mentioned has nothing to do with the Bible’s real teachings.
Is it wrong for christians to celebrate Christmas even though it was not Christ’s birthday?
Dear Feeling Festive,
Many people believe Christmas to be a spiritual holiday, but the Bible never commands us to celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th (the truth is, no one knows when Jesus was born, but it was most likely in the spring or summer because the shepherds were out – Lk 2:15). Christians are commanded to remember Jesus’ death every first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 11:24-25)… we are never commanded to remember His birth on an annual basis. Christmas is not a biblical holiday. There is nothing wrong with celebrating it as a family holiday, but it is wrong to teach that there is a biblical foundation to it. There are many holidays that people celebrate that have no Bible meaning to them – Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc. It isn’t wrong to celebrate holidays that aren’t found in the Bible. It is just wrong to try and turn them into something they are not.