The End Of All Things
In The Lord of the Rings, after Gollum has fallen into Mt. Doom with the ring, the kingdom of the Dark Lord begins to crumble and fall apart. Standing on the quaking mountain, Frodo speaks these words,
“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things,
Sam”. . . And Sam still holding his master’s hand caressed it.
He sighed, “What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven’t
we?” he said. “I wish I could hear it told! . . . And I wonder how
it will go on after our part.”
Have you ever wondered the same thing? What will happen when your part in the tale of life is finished? What will the end of all things be like? God pulls back the curtain and reveals the true end of all things in Revelation 21:1-22:5. He doesn’t give us all the details, but he gives us enough information to keep us going in the fight of faith.
The history of redemption reaches its climax with the reign of God and Lamb in the new heaven and the new earth. God himself summarizes the matter in Revelation 21:5, “I am making everything new!” What is the nature of the newness? How will the new order of things be different from the old or present order?
We must begin by making sure we understand the significance of the new creation. John’s phrase refers to the restoration of all things spoken about in Acts 3:21 where Peter makes the following point about Jesus, “He must remain in heaven until the time comes to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” Notice in particular three words: to restore everything.
Paul spoke of the same thing in Romans 8:19-21, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage of decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” The revealing Paul speaks of in Romans 8:19 is identified in Romans 8:23 as “the redemption of our bodies” at the second coming of Christ (See 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Anthony Hoekema stated the importance of these truths in his book The Bible and the Future, “The doctrine of the new earth is important for a proper grasp of the full dimensions of God’s redemptive program. The work of Christ . . . is not just to save certain individuals, not even to save an innumerable throng of blood-bought people. The total work of Christ is nothing less than to redeem this entire creation from the effects of sin. That purpose will not be accomplished until God has ushered in the new earth, until Paradise Lost has become Paradise Regained. We need a clear understanding of the doctrine of the new earth, therefore, in order to see God’s redemptive program in its cosmic dimensions. We need to realize that God will not be satisfied until the entire universe has been purged of all the results of man’s fall.”
The Old Testament roots of the doctrine of the new earth appear in Isaiah 65 and 66. Here it forms the climax of Isaiah’s message. Allusions to this doctrine appear in the following chapters in Isaiah: 11, 41-43, and 55.
In the New Testament, outside of the passages mentioned above, Peter uses the destruction of the present creation to motivate believers to holy living in 2 Peter 3. Read carefully 2 Peter 2:10-11, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” The writer of Hebrews puts it like this in 12:25-27, “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain.”
God is at work redeeming the entire creation from the results of the fall. Nothing will hinder him or keep him from accomplishing his purpose. As the great multitude of Revelation 7 declares in verse 10, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.” Salvation belongs to them because it has already been accomplished by the Lamb. The song to the Lamb in Revelation 5:9 speaks of this truth, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” The Lamb will consummate God’s plan as the song of Revelation 7:17 reminds us, “The Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
These truths bring to my mind the lines from an old gospel hymn. They express the desire of my heart and I pray they do the same for you, “I want to be there when the ransomed army sings. I want to be there when they crown Him King of Kings.”
Waiting in eager expectation with the entire creation,
Elder Jim Gordon