Podcast Transcript. To listen to the audio version click HERE
I don’t know about you, but I love nature.
Whether it is hiking a trail in Great Smokey Mountain National Park, breathing in the crisp Michigan autumn breeze as I admire the changing colors of the leaves, or just enjoying a hot summer day at the beach in Florida – I can’t get enough of being outside.
However as I have gotten older I have come to realize just how fragile it all really is.
Nature is a miracle that only intelligent design can explain, yet all is not well.
Everywhere I go to enjoy nature I am also reminded by those who care about it that our planet is in trouble.
Many scientists, who may not believe in God, believe in our planet, and are concerned for its future.
What about you?
How often do you think about the future of our planet?
What do you think will happen to it if we keep living the way we do now.
No doubt you have been exposed to information regarding Earth’s deterioration.
– Endangered plant and animal species (Poaching, deforestation and climate change)
– Deterioration of of the health of coral reefs and marine life do to pollution in our Oceans
– The melting of our Polar Ice Caps
– The increase in the number of deadly wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes
The list could go on and on .
How do we respond to this information?
I don’t know about you, but to me it is overwhelming to the point that I would rather not think about it. Sure I don’t mind doing my part by recycling and no longer using plastic straws, but I really don’t want to be weighed down with the problems of the planet when I have enough problems in my own life to deal with.
But just because I don’t want to think about environmental problems doesn’t make them go away.
Could it be that nature is trying to tell us something about what’s ahead?
As with most things, it seems Hollywood has a pulse on our collective anxiety regarding the health of our planet.
Probably one of the most prophetically nuanced films produced that addresses this issue from a humanistic perspective is the movie Wall-E.
Produced in 2008, Wall-E tells the story of redemption for a planet that has been decimated by consumerism then left for dead by humanity because it had essentially become waste heap no longer able to sustain life.
After hundreds of years roaming space looking for a new home, it is discovered by a duo of robots that planet earth has repaired herself enough to once again sustain life.
The robots eventually succeed in convincing humanity to return home to repopulate a renewed earth
Of course the underlying message of the film is that we can save our planet before it is too late if we just work together.
But the question I have is, can we really save our planet?
I mean is that something we can actually do?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not questioning the idea of being good stewards of the resources we have been given by God, but there are some very important questions we have to ask ourselves before jumping on the bandwagon of world-wide campaigns such as “Save the Planet” or “World Peace.”
Mainly who is saving the planet? and who is bringing world peace?
These are important questions that we can really only find answers for in the Bible.
Interestingly the Bible tells a story strikingly similar to the one of WALL-E.
However, the object of our rescue is not a space ship. It is Jesus.
Jesus, himself said:
““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1–3 NKJV)
In other words he is coming back to rescue and redeem humanity from this planet and take us to heaven – to the city of God – the New Jerusalem – where he has a place prepared for every person whose name is written in the book of life.
The question though is why?
Why not come back and restore the earth right away?
Why does he have to take us to heaven first?
When you read the book of Revelation it becomes clear that right before Jesus comes again the earth is going through a process of de-creation.
During the time described in Revelation 16 as the seven-last plagues the planet is in upheaval – pestilences have infected mankind, water has been turned to blood, the sun’s power intensifies and scorches the earth, plants, animals and marine life collapse before our very eyes, a great earthquake breaks up the earth flattening the mountains and washing away the islands, and finally great hail falls and destroys whatever is left standing.
And yet in the sight of all this destruction – the wicked do not repent. Instead they determine to blame the judgments squarely on the shoulders of the righteous. Revelation 13 tells us that all those who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast will be condemned to die. And yet before this decree can be carried out we see the dramatic fulfillment of the promise Jesus made to his disciples in Revelation 19.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:11–21 ESV)
Here we have described the great slaughter of the wicked at the coming of Jesus to the earth to rescue the redeemed.
Picture in your mind what is going now.
The nations and rulers of this world who have set themselves against God and his commandments have now been utterly destroyed. Their dead bodies are laying prostrate all over the earth.
The earth itself is in ruins as a result of the seven last plagues and essentially nothing is left alive?
Well what about the redeemed you may be wondering?
Remember Jesus said, he was coming to take the redeemed back with him to heaven.
Not only the living saints, but also the dead.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 ESV)
What a beautiful picture for those who are saved.
Both the living and dead are caught up together into the clouds to meet Jesus in the clouds and then accompany him back to the city of God to live with him forever throughout eternity!
So now the picture should becoming clear in your mind.
Before Jesus comes there are 4 groups of people:
The wicked who are living and the wicked who are in the grave.
The righteous who are living and the righteous who are in the grave.
After Jesus comes there are now only 2 groups.
The wicked are now all dead on earth and the righteous are now all living in heaven.
The Prophet Jeremiah was given a vision of the planet during this time period. We read:
“I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down At the presence of the LORD, By His fierce anger. For thus says the LORD: “The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black, Because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, Nor will I turn back from it.”(Jeremiah 4:23–28 NKJV)
The earth has in essence returned to its pre-creation status. Without form and void.
It has become what Revelation describes as a bottomless pit.
It can no longer sustain life.
Darkness covers the land.
Every environmentalists worst nightmare has become reality.
But thankfully we are told this is not the end of the story for planet earth.
This condition is in fact a temporary one.
The earth has now become a prison cell – for although no man is left on the earth – the Bible tells us the devil and his angels remain.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,” (Revelation 20:1–2 ESV)
While the wicked sleep and the righteous reign with Christ in heaven. The devil has 1000 years to contemplate the fruit of his rebellion against God and his law.
For 1000 years he has no one to tempt, no one to torment. He now has nothing to look forward to other than his own punishment and death.
That same chapter in Revelation tells us at the end of the 1000 years the devil is joined by the wicked of all ages as God resurrects them to face their ultimate judgment.
As they are raised from the dead the City of God comes floating down to the earth out of heaven.
As I picture this scene, I have tried to imagine it from both perspectives.
From the perspective the redeemed – what mixed emotions must be going through our hearts as we return to our birthplace after 1000 years in heaven? The joy of being home again mixed with the sadness of the destruction that soon awaits all the wicked – many whom with we once shared sweet communion with.
From the perspective of the wicked – what a feeling of utter self-condemnation as we begin to realize what we gave up in order to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season as we remember how many times we refused to yield to the pleadings to our conscience to repent of our sins.
In the end all the wicked will know that they are lost because of their own choosing and the justice of God will be vindicated as scriptures declare:
“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10–11 ESV)
At this point the earth becomes a mass of molten lava described in the Bible as the lake of fire and Satan, the evil angels and all the wicked are consumed by its flames until there is nothing left of them.
The earth has once and for all been purified by fire and now the time has come for its rebirth.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (Revelation 21:1 ESV)
Can you imagine being in the city of God – watching him re-create the earth as it was in the beginning?
Can you imagine restore the land and the sea, the vegetation, the marine life, the birds, and of course the animals that used to roam the earth.
No longer will there be death
Only life every where we look.
A nature lovers paradise that words cannot describe will fill the earth. Mysteries that have confounded us will be made plane, the book of life and the science of salvation will be completely open to our study throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity with never ending wonder.
The meek shall inherit the earth.
The planet will be saved
There will be world peace.
But not through the ingenuity of man and certainly not through a spaceship or any other man-made invention.
Everything you see now will one day soon be burned into nothingness.
If that is the case than the real question we should be asking ourselves is what are we living for?
The Apostle Peter asked the same question:
“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11–13 NKJV)
Is that what you want?
Is that what you are looking forward to?
Then Be Ready for Jesus today
Don’t procrastinate any longer.
Don’t risk being in the group standing on the outside of the city in the last judgment.
Being ready for Jesus today assures you that you will be on the inside no matter what happens to you tomorrow.
Won’t you give your life to him today?