Last month, I started talking about 'the end'. But what is this end like?
The End Is Physical
When people think of 'the end according to the Bible', they would probably conjure up an image of heaven as that cloudy 'other-place', a different dimension with angels and spirits floating around playing musical instruments.
However, this is far from the truth. Jesus was raised into a physical body. Likewise, Christians will also be resurrected into a physical body. The end is physical. God doesn't rescue us out from the physical and send us into the clouds for all eternity. God redeems the physical. He rescues the physical itself. This can be seen clearly in Jesus' ministry especially when he healed people.
And here's something else that might blow your mind. Yes, healing shows Jesus' power, and his compassion. But. It also shows God rescuing the physical from the effects of sin. The act of healing is a reversal of the Fall. When Jesus healed people, He was reversing the effects of sin which came into the world at the Fall.
The End is Transformational
Although we cannot deduce exactly what the physical resurrected bodies will be like, the Bible gives us a glimpse that in contrast to the earthly body, this resurrected body will be: glorious, powerful, and immortal (see 1 Corinthians 15) – a complete transformation.
Not only has God rescued humanity, but He has also rescued Creation from the effects of sin, and it will be transformed to resemble what it was like right at the beginning when God saw that it was good. There will be a restoration of the physical world, a new heaven and a new earth as it says in Revelation 21.
And in Revelation 21 verse 4 it reads, 'He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' What a difference to the world that we know now – a complete transformation.
But what does this mean for us now? The book of Colossians describes an act of putting to death the old self and putting on the new. It's about preparing for the end, a transformational end which has already begun. Jesus is the one who has been fully transformed already. He's been restored into a physical body. As we transform and become more like Jesus, we are seeing God's plan for the end come to a partial realisation now.
The end is transformational, and if you are a Christian, you are part of that transformation now.
The End is Personal
As Yoda once said "Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force." In contrast, the Bible describes an end which is much more personal than that of Star Wars. Rather than merging back into the an ultimate reality like the Force or nature or the universe, the Bible says that a human will retain their individuality.
This means that you will still be you in the transformed creation. You will still be an individual; you will preserve your individuality. Jesus is still Jesus even after His resurrection. Likewise, you will still be you.
Cast away those childish fantasies of a cloudy, musical end. The reality is so much more marvellous.
Anton Zhang is studying aeronautics and arts at the University of Sydney, he is part of a family of four, his hobbies include music, hiking and fencing. He is an active part of the Christian youth work at the Padstow Chinese Congregational Church.
Anton Zhang's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/anton-zhang.html