God didn't take a seat at the front of the bus for Rosa Parks, pray while Bishop Desmond Tutu kept his mouth shut, save Jews while Oscar Schindler hid and counted his money, go to the impoverished for Mother Theresa, or speak audibly for Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela while they remained silent. He didn't nail Luther's 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg, nor does He desire to be "IN TOTAL CONTROL" of mankind...as some erroneously teach.
During Jesus' 3.5 years of ministry as a man on Earth, The Father didn't just "Control Things" while Jesus sat around playing video games or just passively "said His prayers". Note: I understand the importance of prayer and like video games!
God has given mankind DOMINION over the earth...and everything in it, besides each other. He had delegated His Authority in such a way as to do things WITH and THROUGH us...not INSTEAD of us!
While we are not usually responsible for things like sunrises, sunsets, and keeping planets in their proper orbit, we cannot passively and lackadaisically allow our lives or planet Earth to run on autopilot while claiming that "God is in control!".
To view "The Great Commission" and "The Great Commandment" as being separate from the initial, Divine Narrative of the "Eden Mandate" is folly!
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
1 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
While our free will cannot over-ride His ultimate Sovereignty and plan for planet Earth, our character, words, and actions are nevertheless extremely weighty and consequential! Seventh Grade History students know that much!
Part of what was revealed in that manger in Bethlehem was the truth that God never intended to destroy the earth. He, instead, took on the same earthly substance from which He created the First Adam (while remaining fully God)...in order to be the ultimate sign to us that heaven and earth shall remain and be in union forever through Christ! Jesus didn't come to fix God's great big, creation mistake! He came to fix ours! The Gospel is all about Love, Redemption, Reconciliation, and RESTORATION...not the false narrative that Jesus was too weak to finish the job or that God's ultimate intention for earth was ever condemnation and destruction!
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Let that sink in!
In order to destroy the earth, after the Incarnation, He would have to literally destroy Himself...which is IMPOSSIBLE (since He Himself is God embodied in a glorified, EARTHEN vessel)! The Incarnation cannot and never will be undone! His Divinity and Humanity remain forever inseparable! The Resurrection proved that He is the INDESTRUCTIBLE God-Man, the Prototype Son, and the Firstborn among many brethren!
If you are wondering about what Jesus meant when he said, "Heaven and Earth will pass away" and want a proper definition of "A new heaven and a new earth", you need to look no further than what every First Century Jew understood when they heard these phrases in their historical and cultural contexts.
The Temple and Jerusalem were considered to be the place where heaven and earth met...and were referred to as "Heaven and Earth". Noah's Ark, Jacob's Ladder, The Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant, David's Tabernacle, and Israel's Temples all foreshadowed the New Covenant Temple (JESUS- The "Place" and eternal consummation of the whole "Heaven and Earth" reality).
While speaking of His Body, Jesus declared..."Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." He DID just that...along with including ALL of mankind in this New Covenant Temple reality. Belonging is a given. Participation is a choice. "God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD to Himself"!
He also destroyed the Old Covenant Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and abolished its priesthood along with their ceremonial practices (i.e.- The "elements" which Peter prophesied would be destroyed by fire).
"Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God?" The Church in Christ is The New Heaven and New Earth...and The New Jerusalem...which John saw coming DOWN...not going up!
Jesus is the Sure HOPE for all mankind...and planet Earth!
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth (Which Ecclesiastes declares... "Remains forever") as it is in heaven! See Matt. 6:10 and Ecc. 1:4.
Of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end. See Is. 9:6.
The meek shall inherit the earth and unto Him there shall be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen! See Matthew 5:5 and Eph. 3:21.
All creation groans and travails not for its own destruction, but for the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God! See Romans 8.
We were not created for the ultimate purpose of becoming disembodied spirits who live in a far away place in the sky called, "heaven". Our final inheritance and destination is a much better earth and our final, eternal form will be a glorified, immortal body...just like the one Jesus has! The meek shall inherit THE EARTH!
Our mission, by His Grace, is to unceasingly participate in the coming of His Kingdom while fleshing out His Will on earth (visible realm) as it is in heaven (invisible/spirit realm).
The imminent sign of His ultimate, physical appearing (unlike prophecies concerning 70 AD...i.e.- Mt. 24, Revelation, etc...) will be an Earth that resembles Heaven so strongly (SO MUCH LOVE!)...that the only missing ingredient will be His Physical return. Yes, He will feel "at home"!
The problem with much Western Christian belief is that it has people longing to be disembodied spirits in the sky, when Jesus longs to physically inhabit the earth again...WORLD WITHOUT END. It also leaves the earth with no ever-increasing/coming Kingdom and no meek people to inherit it!
Jesus' resurrection required a glorified, immortal, physical body. So will ours, along with the souls of all who have preceded us in death! Resurrection requires a BODY. Where there is no body, there is no resurrection!
What about the phrase, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away"? Any First Century Jew could tell you that "Heaven and Earth" was an extremely common reference to the temple and physical Jerusalem....which were destroyed in 70 AD.
What New Covenant "Temple" replaced the one that was destroyed? The answer to that question reveals the identity of the "New Heaven", the "New Earth", and the "New Jerusalem"...which John saw coming DOWN to EARTH!
Hint: 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.
The Future: Glorified bodies on a perfect earth! Better than Adam & Eve and better than the original Garden!
"For God so esteemed the earth as a condemned, devil-ruled, temporal hell hole that he kept His only begotten Son from inhabiting an icky, human body." THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL!
Any message that causes you to despise the planet and loathe your own body (with its God-given desires and drives) is NOT the Gospel. Be very careful not to mistake the term "world" (Cosmos: man-made political and religious systems, etc.) for planet Earth or to confuse "the flesh" (A mindset which i...s contrary to the Mind and Nature of Christ) with the human body (Temple of God).
Religion has people hating the planet and despising their own bodies.
So many people loathe the visible while longing for nothing but the invisible. The Incarnation, Jesus' passion for His Kingdom to Come and His Will to be done on EARTH as it is in heaven, the Bible's bold prophetic declaration that the meek shall inherit the EARTH, and the blessed Hope of New Earth's potential and possibilities are most definitely enough evidence to refute such diabolical deceptions. It is also most helpful for us to understand that the "Last Days" (of the Old Covenant Order...with its many types, and shadows) are behind us, while recognizing Dispensationalism's mistake of relegating the Apocalyptic events which occurred in and around 70 AD to the future.
In the Beginning, God said that the Earth and everything on it was "GOOD" and that "MAN" (male & female) was "VERY GOOD". Stop believing that Adam's ability to mess things up was greater than Jesus' ability to RESTORE them!
The more that the BODY of Christ realizes that we are the body of CHRIST, the more we will understand the sanctity of our entire being...and celebrate the Incarnate Christ...in us and as us...Who is the Hope of Glory!
When was the last time you heard a message or song about the New Earth? Yes, it is in your Bible! It is also one of the most eternally blessed, yet theologically ignored topics ever. The idea of "heaven" being good and earth being bad is as preposterous as believing that your spirit is good, but your mind, will, emotions, and body are evil. Dualism curses that which is visible and tangible. God doesn't! He cherishes the terrestrial and uses it to give expression to the celestial! That's exactly why the Word became flesh and "moved into the neighborhood"!
The Incarnation is far more than a "Christmas Story". There is a visible, tangible, flesh and bone, incarnate representative of all mankind seated at the right hand of the Father! In Him, we are wonderfully intertwined with the Trinity and each other! Heaven is the realm of the Spirit...available to earth and presently dwelling within us. We've been taught to believe for better bodies, but not a better planet. That is erroneous.
Rev. 21:1-3 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (See also Is. 65:17, Is. 66:22 & 2 Pet. 3:13)
I believe that the experience of the above verses can be greatly enjoyed today, with greater expressions to come...