Thoughts on Destiny
by Bro. K.D. Ward
It has been apparent to me for a long time that many are misrepresenting what the Bible teaches concerning God’s eternal purpose. We need to understand the final state (destiny) of man, and how and where we might end up in the everlasting kingdom. This is important now as we need to grow in our faith-imaging as it relates to thoughts on destiny.
- Only Two Destinies?
Much of the eschatological teaching today follows the Catholic / Protestant concept that there are only two eternal destinies awaiting man after he dies — heaven or hell. In fact, one famous evangelist wrote of the saved “polishing rainbows in eternity!” Sad to say, this is about the extent of the faith-imaging of many saved people today.
True, heaven is a real place, and there is a Paradise in the third heaven as mentioned by the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). However, heaven will be emptied when Jesus returns to the earth with His reward “to give to everyone according to his works” (Matthew 16:27 ; Revelation 22:12).
The Returning…Reigning…Resurrection…and Rewarding all take place at the 7th (last) trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 ; Revelation 11:15-18).
Hell is also a real place also, and is located in the heart (center) of the earth (Matthew 12:40). Both saved and unsaved people are there, and are divided by a gulf between them (Luke 16:22-25). In fact, it was into hell (hades) that Jesus descended into the lower part of the earth” and took out captives “far above all the heavens (Ephesians 4:8-10).
We are not informed in Ephesians chapter 4 whether Jesus took all the saved out of Paradise below (Luke 23:43) to the Paradise “far above all heavens.” We can be sure, however, that the “called, chosen (elect), and faithful” (Revelation 17:14) who qualify to return with Christ from heaven in bridal garments (Revelation 19:7, 8,14) were taken to heaven.
- A Special Destiny
There is a special destiny for the saved “overcomers” who qualify to reign with Christ (Revelation 2:26 ; Revelation 5:10) as servant-kings over saved people who will reside out among the servant-nations (Revelation 21:24).
We are thankful for God’s concern and His wonderful offer of salvation from hell “even when we were dead in trespasses, and made us alive together with Christ; by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:5).
However, in Hebrews 12:23 it is revealed that there will be a gathering of angels and of the ekklesia prototokon (assembly of birthright ones) unto Christ upon His return to the earth. The birthright ones will be the “elect” whom Christ will gather and set over His everlasting kingdom to reign as kings and priest for ever and ever (Revelation 22:5).
Conclusion Brethren, we need to not allow the Catholic / Protestant views of eschatology to conceal what God has so clearly revealed to us. Saved people need to give more earnest thought to their destiny and whether they will, in fact, receive the very best that God has to offer.