who sat upon the throne said, Behold, I
make all things new."
In these days, which are undoubtedly part of the last era of Gods plan with the human race The Holy Spirit opens with symbolic language and pictures the eyes of those, who can see with spiritual insight. Both historical, present and future developments of Gods dealings and plans for humanity and the spiritual powers in his creation are visionary seen by the apocalyptic writer, the apostle John. I will point to it - and this is very obvious in the whole book of Revelation - that Jesus Christ is the central figure, both in heaven and for the earth.
In this sermon I will first survey very briefly the present catastrophic developments on this planet as humanity progresses to explore and exploit the resources of this planet. Then I will make clear that according to the Holy Scriptures as found in the Bible the only solution for the catastrophic course of humanity is the return and reign of Jesus Christ. He is not only the only one worthy but also able to renew everything.
Heading for global disaster
Environmental experts are sure that the human race is causing an enormous environmental global pollution with great speed. And ethical and religious leaders warn for a global moral pollution; they are right too, for immorality, violence, crime and injustice ruin increasingly the lives of millions.
In spite of international conferences little is being accomplished to change this course for disaster for the human race. The harmful developments are not stopped and new problems emerge continuously, such as the fatal pollution through nuclear energy and even the growing possibility of the use of nuclear weapons.
Will the human race of its own, be able to change decisively this disaster course? I very much doubt it - and many with me. We know that the fallen human nature is basically egoistic, rebellious and bent to do evil. Knowing this, the promise of universal and total renewal as given in the Bible by prophets and hole writers - read for instance 2 Peter 3:13 - is very interesting and worth to explore. It gives hope in this problematic day and age. The Holy Scriptures are certain: God has a plan; let me briefly lay this before you in this article.
God has a plan....
In 2 Peter 3:10 we find an interesting and important statement: "And the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up - or found." Everybody understands that with 'works' the inventions, achievements and installations of the human race are meant. God wants us to know that there will come a day when He will reveal the true nature and the destructive powers of the works of humanity and that He shall destroy them.
But before that day arrives, He permits things to develop according to the will, intelligence and ambitions of the human race. In His eternal and wise counsel He has permitted the godless, autonomous and foolish will to show what it can or cannot do. This is difficult to understand, but we must realize that God is not shown to be passive or weak in permitting evil to exist and come to fullness. No, it is His sovereign will that this will be so - for a limited time. After all He gave the greatest gift to human beings to have a free will. "If this is what they want, go ahead with it," He says, "but there will come a day when I will make an end to it."
As said above, slowly it becomes clear to those who have eyes to see, what man is doing to himself and his environment - he is making a mess of it - and a big one too. In view of the coming environmental disasters as forecasted by scientists it is important to look at our interpretation of some Holy Scriptures, especially the apocalyptic, like the book of Revelation. For the last book of the Bible gives us an insight with highly symbolic pictures and scenes in what we can expect in days ahead of us, the last phase of the present worldorder.
In Revelation 15:5-16:21 we read of great disasters coming upon the earth and his inhabitants. It could well be that these disasters are caused by man himself as the result of his works of pollution and evil violence. Of course, he is inspired by evil powers in higher, invisible spheres to his godless and stupid works. However, God knew from eternity about these developments and permitting them - in fact they could not even happen without His will - He keeps the ultimate control. The natural laws and processes, when disobeyed and abused by man, release dreadful forces and pour out the wrath of God. The ultimate control over everything is given to the Lamb on the throne, Jesus Christ as Revelation so clearly shows. He opens the seven seals, that make it possible for these events to happen; read Revelation chapters 6,7 and 8. The eternal truth stands - even in dark days: God is on the throne!
Now, when the day comes that God will say: "Enough is enough," Jesus Christ, destined to be King of kings and Lord of lords will come, judge and bind the evil in the spiritual world and on this planet. Then He will launch an enormous program of total renewal of humanity, the surface of and the atmosphere around this planet. Then will the promise be fulfilled we find in Revelation 21:5, "And He who sat upon the throne said, Behold, I will make all things new."
Jesus Christ will secure a threefold program of renewal
First: A renewal of power
When God makes an end to the godless developments, Jesus Christ will become King of all the earth and set His throne in Jerusalem; Isaiah 60:3; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15,17. Can you think of somebody else, who would be more suitable and worthy than Jesus Christ, the Lover of all men, who gave His life as a sacrifice to reconcile them with the eternal, Most High God?
Second: A renewal of morality
When Jesus reigns righteousness will prevail on the whole earth. Godly, morally pure values and standards will be taught and be kept. The righteousness of God will bring global peace, order and safety - things we so much desire now; Isaiah 11:5-9; Isaiah 32:1; 2 Peter 3:13.
Third: An environmental renewal
There will be clean, pure water. We know - scientists are sure about it - that it is becoming a big future problem to secure clean water for all. But when the Great King will reign on earth, the earth will be restored in a state of paradise with beauty, cleanness and fertility; Isaiah 11:6-10; 41: 18-20; 2 Peter 3:10, 13; Revelation 22:1-5.
What a beautiful future God has planned! But, alas, we are still living in the time, that human knowledge and ability are allowed to show what they can achieve. And, slowly though, the intelligent consciousness of many foresee great disasters coming, if political preferences, technological developments and lifestyle do not change soon.
I ask the question: What should be the attitude of the Christian in this pitiful world, that is heading for global disaster?
First, he cannot escape his responsibility in and for this present situation. His first responsibility is to fulfil the mission, Christ gave. But he should realize that this mission contains also the task to be a good steward of the environment, in which we live. After all, God created it for us and gave the earth in our care.
Second, he will look forward to the day when the Lord will come and renew everything. This is the ultimate hope for the human race. As a preparation for this new era he should adapt his lifestyle as much as possible to the values of the Kingdom of God.
In the light of the present global political, religious and social developments and Gods future, I call on every Christian not only to think about his responsibility in this day and age, but also to fulfil his obligation to act accordingly in his daily living. And let us continuously pray: "Lord Jesus, come quickly." Amen
Let us sing as an expression of our hope and faith in God's future with Jesus Christ as the Great King that will return, reign and renew that great, inspired hymn of Isaac Watts, written in 1719:
Jesus shall reign where'er the sun,
does his successive journeys run.
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moon shall wax and wane no more.
People and realms of every tongue,
Dwell on His love with sweatest song.
And infant voices shall proclaim,
their early blessings in His name.
Let every creature rise and bring,
peculiar honours to our king.
Angels descent with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud. Amen!
22 January 2003, T. J. de Ruiter, Pentecostal Pastor and Bibleteacher in The Netherlands
Questions? E-mail.... Pastor T. J. de Ruiter