“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.” Revelation 21:1
There’s been so much discussion about “the end of the world” and the “second coming” lately. Harold Camping had predicted that May 21, 2011 would be the beginning of the end. Jesus would return, the rapture would take the faithful to heaven and soon the world would be destroyed with earthquakes, horror, etc.
Some believed him. Many scoffed at him. Many shook their heads in embarrassment. Many gave the whole affair little thought.
Here was a very sincere fellow earnestly preaching what he held to be true. It appears he honestly believed his interpretation of the Bible’s prophecies.
I can only wonder about all the other self-appointed prophets today that make claims in the name of God or the Bible. They may believe they are right and convince others, but that is no guarantee.
The Bible does talk about “the end of the world” and the more I have thought about it, the more I believe that this end of the material world is not so much a one time historical event–although material scientists tell us that the sun will expand to consume our planet in a billion years or so–as it is a spiritualization of the way we see the world.
The “end of the world” referred to in the Bible is not a chronological event.
It’s our increasing awareness of the absolute supremacy of God and His already-present spiritual kingdom, glory, and power.
I know, that’s a pretty bold statement. But let’s look at the verse from the book of Revelation quoted above for just a minute.
John was still here on earth, but could see the end of the first heaven and earth and the dawning of a new heaven and earth. The material world had passed away. Which is kind of odd, in one sense, because he was still in it. Or was he?
Was it just a vision he saw of some future event or was it what his advanced abilities of spiritual perception saw as already real and true at that moment? And are real and true right now for us to bear witness to?
God does not finally achieve supremacy at some point in the future. He is supreme now and forever. His kingdom exists now and forever. It is not a place to go in the future. It is the supreme reign of God right now that we must open our hearts and lives to. We cannot see it with material eyeballs or touch it with our fingers. God’s kingdom is here now, but the five material senses cannot perceive it. It is our spiritual senses that must awaken, must be opened, in order to behold this present glory.
But don’t take my word for it. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He said that almost 2,000 years ago and it’s still true. God’s kingdom is here, but we can’s see it unless we are born of the Spirit, born anew, born from above. (See John, Chapter 3)
Paul says to come out from the material world and “be ye separate.” (II Corinthians 6:17) Paul also counsels us to “put off the old man with his deeds” and to “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:9)
Every time we put off the old, material man with his deeds and put on the new, reborn, spiritual man in God’s likeness, we are witnessing the end[ing] of the material world. Every time we are led by the Spirit of God instead of sinful ways and means of living, the material world is coming to an end.
But you will argue that the world is just as material as it ever was and that we still live in it, and that we still live in our flesh–in case you hadn’t noticed.
But do we really?
Where do we actually live?
Paul states flatly “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” (Romans 8:9)
He declares to the Athenians that we live in God, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
Paul does not use the future tense of these verbs. If it was true in the present then, it is true in the present today, right here, right now, for us as well.
When will we quit living in the material world? When will we be more consciously present in the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom here on Earth?
It happens one step of faith at a time.
Every time you turn away from the world’s way of doing things and follow God’s will, the material world is coming to an end. Every time you respond with God’s love instead of greed, hatred or revenge, the material world is coming to an end. Every time you battle with temptation and are victorious, the material world is coming to an end.
When the final trumpet sounds the victory over all evil, the material world will be no more. St. John has already born witness of this. But it not for man to predict when that final moment takes place. It is not an event with a date and time. God does not measure time the way we do.
When Jesus’ disciples asked him about certain future events he said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:7,8)
We don’t need to figure out God’s time table. We need to bear witness to His Son, Jesus Christ.
The end of the material world is today and every day that we obey the First Commandment, that we put God and the things of the Spirit first and foremost in our lives.
The more we do this, the more we will see the end of this material world. And the more we will see of God’s kingdom already come, here and now.
Dear Lord, open our eyes, that we may see.
P.S. As always, please share your thoughts in the comment section.