For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
You may have seen the classic film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator (Arnold) is sent back in time to protect a young boy who will grow up to lead the resistance and protect the world against Judgment Day – a complete nuclear holocaust.
The Terminator was sent to prevent Judgment Day.
The Bible also speaks about a Judgment Day.
Not a nuclear holocaust, but a day when every single human being that has ever lived will stand before God to give an account of themselves.
However, the real Judgment Day, unlike the movie, is unpreventable.
The doctrine of the judgment of God or the notion of a Judgment Day sounds like complete lunacy to the post-modern, post-Christian world of our day. Our world despises any kind of authority or accountability that might limit my self-expression or self-government.
We can’t even handle someone telling us that we parked badly, let alone the truth of a Judgment Day.
But, just because we don’t like something, doesn’t make it untrue.
We love superheroes. When I was 7 years-old I just about gave my mother a heart-attack by dressing up as Batman and climbing onto a high, narrow wall and casually strolling along it. Thankfully, she managed to cajole me down. We especially like it when superheroes are “normal” first, then something odd happens and they discover that they have superhuman strengths and abilities. I think we like these “superhero” movies and TV series because God has placed in all our hearts a desire for a better body. It seems we all have a built-in dissatisfaction with our present bodies.
For Christians, our faithfulness in this world influences our rewards in the world to come. This is not the final judgement. At the final judgement, if we are Christians we are saved and guaranteed a place in heaven. Our sin have been forgiven in Christ and we are righteous in God’s sight. On the other hand, if we have ignored or rejected Christ, we will be judged by God and spend an eternity apart from God in what Jesus described as the cosmic rubbish dump (“gehenna”).
The Bible teaches that as Christians we face an assessment where our work for the Lord will be tested and we will be rewarded (or not) according to our faithfulness. This is not the final judgment as our entrance into the New Creation is secure, but an accounting to God of what he has entrusted to us.
Yesterday we sadly had to have one of our beloved dogs put down. Charlie had suddenly developed intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) and his hind quarters were rapidly paralysed. I have never thought much about pets and heaven – but am doing so now! Will our pets be in heaven?
Of course this is a matter of speculation as there is no clear biblical statement on the issue. However, I like the thinking of Randy Alcorn on the subject (and I know I’m probably biased). Here is an extensive quote:
‘We know animals will be on the New Earth, which is a redeemed and restored old Earth, in which animals had a prominent role. People will be resurrected to inhabit this world. Romans 8:21-23 assumes animals as part of a suffering creation eagerly awaiting deliverance through humanity’s resurrection. This seems to require that some animals who lived, suffered, and died on the old Earth must be made whole on the New Earth. Wouldn’t some of those likely be our pets?
An eternal Heaven is a reality the Bible often speaks about. In fact, the Bible speaks about a new heavens and a new earth. This is long hand for saying a Renewed Universe. Just as in Genesis 1:1 where “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, Isaiah 65:17 says that God will create a new heavens and a new earth for His glory and the good of his people.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy and her people to be a gladness.