This is our final segment in a four part series we have entitled Bible Comprehension. Every student of the Bible wants to be able to comprehend the overall message of the Bible. It is, after all God’s special revelation of himself, his character and his plans to those of us who desire to know him more. In this final segment, we will look at a topic that is fraught with cultural misconceptions, but a topic that should be a great source of hope for every person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior. Welcome to Bible Comprehension 104: Restoration!
Bringing the Bible to Life for Mom
There are quite a few misconceptions as to what heaven will be like. Watch any movie that references heaven and you’ll probably see people dressed with angel wings, floating around clouds and playing harps. None of these characterizations are Biblical of course, but they do permeate our societal thinking about eternity. The truth, as outlined in the Bible itself, is far more exciting and wonderful and its roots are traced all the way back to Genesis, the beginning of God’s created world prior to the Fall. Let’s dive into Bible Comprehension 104: Restoration!
Restoring the World
If you recall, prior to that one terrible choice that Eve made, creation was perfect. Adam and Eve enjoyed the created world in the presence of God. They recognized the sound of his footsteps. They freely moved throughout creation without fear of the animals and without any curse on the ground. And, as you will recall, there was a second tree in the center of the garden, the tree of life. When we read about how God will one day destroy and then re-create the world, we can’t help but see some striking similarities between the old and the new. Read Revelation 22:1-5 and notice some of the similarities, including the tree of life! Of course there are some differences, too. This new world will be a city, not a garden. This new city is described in Revelation 21. There will be no more night, no more sea, and no need of a sun. God’s presence will illuminate everything!
Restoring a Relationship
Read closely Revelation 21:1-8 and you will see that the relationship between God and redeemed people is restored. Here is how that restored relationship is described: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Once again God will be among his people. Do you see what is taken away? Mourning, crying, pain and death will no longer exist. All of the elements that accompanied the Fall will be gone.
Some Additional Thoughts on Restoration
Here are a few more passages you might want to study in order to brush up on this topic of restoration.
The Body and the Spirit
Start by reading 2 Corinthians 5:8. You have likely heard this verse quoted before at funerals, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” Our bodies are dead without our spirit (James 2:26). But when we die, our spirit separates from our body to live on eternally, either with God or separated from God.
Next read 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 51-55. Just like the earth will be new, we will one day be given new bodies. We don’t know exactly how these bodies will be different from the bodies we have now, but they will be different. Our new bodies will last forever, they will be glorious and they will be powerful. When Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared before many people in his new resurrected body (Acts 1:3-5). His friends were able to recognize him and he was able to eat with his friends (Luke 24:28-43).
The Destruction of Satan
Read Revelation 20:10 and 15. These passages deal with the final destruction of Satan and the final judgement of those who do not believe in Jesus the Christ. Remember way back in Genesis 3, God promised a descendant of Eve would one day crush the head of Satan. We see that promise fulfilled in Revelation 20!
A New Heaven and New Earth
Finally, read 2 Peter 3:3-13. Here Peter takes us back to the creation account. He then explains that the earth will one day be destroyed by fire. He then talks about a new heaven and earth, filled with godliness. Peter also tells us that God is patiently waiting before he destroys the earth. He wants all people to turn away from their sins (2 Peter 3:9). But we know that not all people will turn from evil.
Life on earth as we know it has always been influenced by sin. We have never known anything other than a world tainted with evil, so it’s hard to imagine what the New Earth will be like. But it will be new and it awaits all who have put their trust in Jesus.
Bringing the Bible to Life for Kids
Explaining the concept of restoration to your children might seem to be a very daunting task! But I have recently discovered a great little resource that can help you! It’s a children’s book entitled Pooch and the Pearly Gates. Written and illustrated by husband and wife duo J. and D. Camorlinga, you will find this book an extremely helpful in talking to your children about heaven and eternal life. And you just might learn a thing or two yourself!
Pooch and the Pearly Gates
In Pooch and the Pearly Gates, kids James and Ruth explain that children of God will have a Forever Home. They address Pooch’s misconceptions about eternity and describe for Pooch what that Forever Home will be like. Included in the book is a clear presentation of the gospel so your littles can understand what Jesus has done on their behalf to redeem them.
Parents will want to pay particular attention to the section in the back of the book. Without going into end time details, this chart gives a timeline of what happens when people die, when we get our resurrected bodies and what happens at judgement. I can’t think of a better way to explain eternal life to children!
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