Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:24-26
It was the largest crowd ever to have ever gathered in Times Square in New York City. A LIFE Magazine photographer captured what would become an iconic photo of a solder kissing a young girl in a white dress. The cheering of the crowds was deafening. And all around the world, similar celebrations unfolded on August 14, 1945, the day the worst war the world had ever experienced was officially over. After six years of blood, 50 million deaths, the destruction of entire cities, World War II was over. The end.
The prophets and the apostles have many descriptions of The End. At The End all authorities and powers that had set themselves against God will be destroyed. There will be only one reigning authority—God. This is the kingdom of God fully and irrevocably in place. And it is not just about power; it is about goodness and love and blessing.
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).
Do you believe this? It does take faith. This is a future that looks very different from the troubled world we see now. Sometimes it is challenging for us to believe there is a day to come with no more tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain. But The End will come. And it is only logical that the God who created the world as such a good place would make it that way again.
But there is another way for us to have faith in God’s final victory. The End described in 1 Corinthians 15, in Revelation, and elsewhere, is like V-Day, Victory Day, at the end of World War II. But there was an earlier victory, D-Day, many months earlier that signaled to everyone that final victory was certain. Ever since Jesus came we’ve been living between D-Day and V-Day.
PONDER: How do you react to the promise of “no more death or mourning or crying or pain”?
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• ABOUT HEAVEN •
Isaac Watts only started writing songs in his middle years after he had to resign as a pastor because of chronic illness. He was five feet tall, skinny, and pale. His head looked overly large, and his eyes were small and piercing. The woman he proposed marriage to rejected him because of his homeliness. Life was difficult for Isaac Watts, yet he committed himself to putting the truth of God into profound songs that people could sing with enthusiasm. By the end of his life, he had written more than 500.
Reflecting on the meaning of heaven, Watts wrote this:
“How divinely full of glory and pleasure shall that hour be when all the millions of mankind that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God shall meet together and stand around Him, with every tongue and every heart full of joy and praise! How astonishing will be the glory and the joy of that day when all the saints shall join together in one common song of gratitude and love, and of everlasting thankfulness to this Redeemer! With that unknown delight, and inexpressible satisfaction, shall all that are saved from the ruins of sin and hell address the Lamb that was slain, and rejoice in His presence!”
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Jesus wins! Did you know that? There will be a day when God makes everything right and everything will be under Christ. There is nothing that can stand in his way as he makes all things new. Christ will also be victorious over death. Mourning and grieving lost loved ones is painful, but God promises us that one day we will never experience death again.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 and Revelation 21:3-4. What do each of these passages show us about death? When have you experienced the death of a friend or family member? How did you grieve that death? God promises that one day there will be no more death!