THE REAL WORLD
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There are two worlds. There is the physical world with which we are familiar. Then there is the spirit world. We haven’t lived in the spirit world as yet so we do not know much about it. One thing is certain: each one of us will die some day and pass from the physical world into the spirit world. Therefore we are not unwise or impractical when we give some thought to the spirit world; for this is where we all are heading.
THE REAL WORLD
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)
The material world we live in has the appearance of reality. However, in one sense of the word it is an illusion. The components of the nuclei of atoms move about in an unpredictable pattern. The atoms form molecules, which apparently also move about. Molecules have properties, such as mass, volume, and impenetrability.
We do not actually “see” anything. Light reflects from elements and compounds and impacts our optic nerves The signal travels to our brain where it is interpreted in terms of our background.
The elements and compounds we “see” are not solid, being composed of particles that are in motion. Our five senses perceive the various forms of matter we encounter and we derive reality from these perceptions. We can understand readily that the earth has been “founded on the floods,” so to speak.
The spirit world is not like this. It is real and substantial, not composed of moving particles. It is not constrained by time, space, or gravity. The big question is, why has God placed us in an insubstantial physical world in a physical body, when there is a real world?
The Book of Ecclesiastes, perhaps more than any other book in the Bible, correctly portrays life in this present world. It was reading Ecclesiastes that inspired me to see what else the Bible had to say.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
People strut about on the stage of life. The truth is, however, everything is meaningless.
That which always has been, is, and always shall be. One can tell from reading the Book of Job, which predates the life of Abraham, that people certainly were as insightful then, if not more so, than is true today.
Some day people may establish a colony on Mars. But the newness of this is superficial. The same human problems will be in existence that were true in the days of Job.
Actually the physical world is a desirable environment for man, and man was created in the physical world, not in the spirit world. But sin is destroying what God has created, so we begin to think positively of leaving this vale of tears and finding peace in the real, spirit world.
I would suggest three reasons why we are placed in this futile world. The first is to teach us about the Person, way, will, and eternal purpose of God in Christ. The second is that God may be able to anticipate how we will react when we are permitted to enter the real world. The third is to confront us with obstacles so we can develop obedience to God and a militantly righteous character.
We would suppose that entering and living in the spirit world would teach us about God, His Person, way, and eternal purpose in Christ. Perhaps we will gain greatly in the knowledge of God after we die. But I rather suspect that those who live afar off from God in the present world will find themselves afar off from God in the spirit world and will not have an opportunity to learn about Him, except as they are taught by the members of the royal priesthood.
We hope and trust that we will be better off after we die, but I think this depends precisely on how we are living today. For many members of Christian churches, passing into the spirit world may mean chastening, or some kind of confinement, and a long period of instruction.
For those who have served Christ with all their might, diligently using all the resources God has given them in the work of building the Kingdom of God, their entrance into the real world will prove to be very desirable. They shall experience the pleasure of God and Christ, have an opportunity to be refreshed, and then be given delightful responsibilities as they pursue the many roles and tasks of the Kingdom of God.
There is enough said about predestination and election in the Bible for us to be assured that God is in control of all that takes place. Yet I believe there always is that window of opportunity such that we can even surprise Christ with our diligent application to His will, or sorely disappoint Him because of our willingness to be distracted by the temptations of the world.
I feel certain that numerous Christian people of today are going to find when they die that the words of the New Testament are in full force. They were never taught these words, instead the unscriptural traditions of modern Christian theology were presented to them. Perhaps God will take their ignorance into consideration. But they will not be “raptured” from the earth to escape tribulation, and they will not reign with Jesus Christ unless they have lived as victorious, cross-carrying saints.
I note in the New Testament that Jesus Christ learned obedience to the Father while He was on the earth. I never fail to be amazed when I think about this. How could it be possible that the Logos, the Word, the Creator from the beginning of the world, could learn obedience to the Father during His thirty-three years on the earth?
But this is what the inerrant Word states.
This fact tells us that there are some attributes of character that can be learned only on the earth.
It is my point of view that the main purpose of the two thousand years of the Christian Era, and maybe of all the periods of earth history, has been to develop rulers of the new world of righteousness that will appear when the present world dissolves in fire.
Today we view “getting people saved” as the primary work of the Gospel. While getting people saved certainly is important and foundational, I believe the central purpose is the calling out and training of the members of the governing priesthood. The new world of righteousness will last no longer than did the Garden of Eden unless there is a strong governing body that will rule in righteousness.
In the military, those selected for membership in one of the special forces are brought through painful, dangerous exercises that the other soldiers and sailors could not survive. So it is when God selects a person for a high rank in the kingdom He is creating, he brings that individual through pressures and sufferings that the other believers could not survive. They would turn away from God in despair.
So I see these three reasons for our being called upon to spend a season of our existence in this valley of the shadow of death we refer to as the world. First, to learn about God in a manner that may not be true of our coming life in the spirit world. Second, to determine what we will do when we are brought into the real world. Third, to give us a chance to develop in our personality the rod of iron that will be required if we are to be able to enforce righteousness in the new world that will appear when the present world is burned up.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (II Peter 3:10—NASB)
With the preceding facts in mind, we can understand readily the folly of becoming so involved in the present world that we do not learn about God; that we do not demonstrate we can be trusted to resist temptation; that we do not use the pressures and problems that come against us to develop the overcoming strength required of those who will return with Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Years ago there was a television program titled “Mission Impossible.” In each episode a person would be brought unknowingly into a contrived environment. He would become so confused with this environment that he would reveal secrets that otherwise he would never divulge.
He supposed he was at a certain place under certain conditions, and he reacted accordingly. Once the desired response had been gained from him, his captors released him into his actual environment and situation. He had been duped into believing he was somewhere else and in a different situation.
This scenario is surprisingly true of each of us. We suppose we are in a certain place and under certain circumstances. We either stay true to God and do what we know to be righteous, or else we surrender to the temptations, pressures, or dangers of the moment.
When we die and our eyes are open in the real world we will discover that we have been tricked. The circumstances of our life had been arranged to teach us about God; to see what we would do in success or failure; to give us a chance to run the obstacle course and develop strength and stamina.
None of what we experienced was what it seemed to be. We were being watched carefully by those spiritual beings in charge of us so God’s purpose in submitting us to this present dunghill would be accomplished.
Right now is our opportunity to prove ourselves. Right now is our opportunity to win the friendship of God. Right now is our opportunity to lay up treasures in Heaven. Right now is our opportunity to gain the fullness of the inheritance to which we have been called.
The greatest mistake any of us can make is to become so involved in the present world we forget we soon will be in the real world and held to account for how we used our time and resources in the present hour.
Being an older person I have become more aware of the spirit world than has been true previously. I am not walking under an open heaven, as did Elisha (I wish I were!), but I am making some progress in that direction, I believe.
Brother Fullerton said God would have showed him the whole new Jerusalem if he had not become so excited and started yelling in tongues. We need to become friends of God and not become rattled when He draws near to us. Just accept Him as our best friend.
I have been thinking a lot about the spirit world lately. If I am not mistaken, it is infinitely large. It has no boundaries. We can see this kind of glory in the present limited world when we contemplate the heavens. One of the newest stars to be discovered is so much larger than any other known star that scientists are having to revise their opinion of how stars are formed. The more astronomers can see in outer space the more heavenly bodies they detect. Space seems to go on forever. How much more, then, is the real spirit world unlimited, from which the physical world was created.
It seems there are enough galaxies of stars for each person born on the earth to own one for himself or herself.
What I have been picturing in my mind’s eye over the last month or so is a broad plain. I guess this is where I am going one of these days. There is no one there. Going to such a plain pleases me because I love meadows. I love to lay back under a tree in a meadow and listen to the small sounds that one hears on a clear summer day.
After a while I will be with other people, and at some point go visit the new Jerusalem and see all the activities in that city. But for the time being I would like to rest in a meadow. How does that sound to you?
I have written this briefest of essays so that you and I will keep firmly in mind that the present world is destined to be thrown away as a dirty garment is discarded in a hamper. Let us fix our mind on the real, spirit world that we will be entering soon enough.
He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (Hebrews 1:10-12)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1,2)
(“The Real World”, 3956-1)