David Reagan - Andy Woods on the Eternal State
Are Christians going to live eternally in Heaven or on a new earth? Will they have bodies, or will they be ethereal spirits? And will they have meaningful things to do? These and other questions will be addressed in our program today. Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Each year our ministry sponsors a Bible conference that is held in the Dallas, Texas area in mid-July. In 2017 our conference theme was “Living with Hope in the End Times.” The conference began with an overview of the Bible’s end time promises to believers, promises that should provide us with hope. That overview was presented by Dr. Ed Hindson of Liberty University. He was followed by Dr. Tommy Ice who spoke about the promise of the Rapture. Next was Pastor Glenn Meredith who presented a fascinating talk about heavenly rewards. He was followed by Evangelist Don Perkins who spoke about the Millennial reign of Jesus. And Dr. Andy Woods wrapped it up by explaining what the Bible says about the promises of the Eternal State. Dr. Woods is a native of California where he attended college and earned a law degree. In 1998 he shifted gears and started making the transition from law to theology when he decided to enter seminary. He ultimately earned a doctorate degree in biblical exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary. He currently serves as pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church in the Houston area while serving as president of Chafer Theological Seminary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here now is part of his presentation.
Dr. Woods: So, when Dr. Reagan gave me my teaching assignment, he goes, “I want you to cover eternity, and you’ve got 45 minutes to do it.” I mean Don had a tough job he had to cover a 1,000 years in 45 minutes. I’ve got to cover eternity in 45 minutes. So, how are we going to do that? Well, we are just going to ask and answer these seven questions. So, here we go. Question #1—and as we ask and answer these questions we’re going to learn a lot about the future of the believer and what God has in store for us. Question #1: Is the Eternal State, Revelation 21 & 22 a real place? I think a lot of times when we think of the Eternal State we think of us kind of sitting on clouds, wearing sheets, strumming harps, singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” a million times, you know? Bored out of our minds really. But when you actually get into the biblical text and you start to see what the Bible says about the Eternal State, it uses terms that you know there is no reason you can’t take them literally anywhere else in the Bible. So, why not take them literally here? Things like verse 2, city, Jerusalem. Verse 12 of chapter 21, gates, tribes. Verse 14, foundations, apostles. Verse 16, square miles, and on and on we could go. What is the Eternal State? It’s a real place. And as I’m going to show you today it’s a real city. It is just as real as the city of Dallas, the city of Houston, the city of Washington D.C., well maybe that last one doesn’t work very well with the analogy. But it’s an actual geo-political place that’s coming to planet earth as we are going to see a new earth.
This takes us to Question #2: What is the, and as I have there on the screen, the theological significance of the Eternal State? A fancy way of saying, “What’s the big deal about the Eternal State?” Why should we as Christians living in our time period care about what the Bible reveals about the Eternal State? I have three quick sub-points to share with you. Number one the Eternal State is a reminder that evil is limited. Did you know God has evil on a leash? And there was a time in history when evil didn’t exist? They’ll be a time in history where evil will be no more. You say, well is this really practical? Let me show you how practical this is. When you evangelize a lost person the first question they’re going to ask is: Well if your God is a God of love, then why have all of these tragedies happened in my life? And most Christians are sort of caught flat footed with that. But the reality of the situation is we have a tremendous answer. The world that we’re living in is not the design of God. It’s a repercussion of the creature’s decision to rebel against God. In other words what is happening today is abnormal. If you want to know what normal is you study Genesis 1 and 2 before evil entered the picture. And you study Revelation 21 and 22 when evil will leave the picture. And this to my understanding is something that’s completely unique to the Christian worldview. Every other false religion out there, every other belief system whether it be evolution, reincarnation, they basically teach this idea that what’s happening now is normal, it’s always been and it will always be. And how different it is when you actually study the Word of God and find that evil is limited, it’s on a leash. A time is coming in history in which evil will be no more.
Second point I want to bring to your attention is the Eternal State is not a, can I used the “D” word? A dispensation. You say what is he talking about? What is a dispensation? A dispensation is basically a test. There are basically seven times in the Bible where God puts humanity through a test. And sadly many people look at the Eternal State as a dispensation. Many people when they draw their prophecy charts make it look like the Eternal State is just another test that God is putting man through. But the reality of the situation is by the time we get to the Eternal State man has already been tested.
And that’s why the Eternal State looks so similar but different than the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden there is a division of light and darkness; but in the Eternal State there is no night. In the Garden of Eden there is a division of land and sea; but in the eternal sea there is no sea. In the Garden of Eden there is a sun and moon; but in the Eternal State there is no sun and moon. In the Garden of Eden we have a garden, but the Eternal State is a city. And we can go on, and on with this chart, and the next chart looking at the basic differences between the Garden of Eden and the Eternal State. Why doesn’t God just put us back into a garden again? The answer to that is man has already been tested by the time we get to the Eternal State. There is no more test for humanity. So God does not put us back in a garden, but in a city. So, what then is the storyline of the Bible? It can be summed up this way from a garden to a city with a cross in between, and that nicely summarizes the biblical message.
One other sub point I’ll bring to your attention is what when we talk about the importance of the Eternal State I want to get this across, the Eternal State is going to be greater, and better than the Millennial Kingdom. Can you believe that? Didn’t Don Perkins do a great job explaining to us the Millennial Kingdom? And when I think about the Millennial Kingdom I can see why the Lord told us to pray, “Thy kingdom,” what? “come.” So we can’t wait for the Millennial Kingdom to come. But beloved the reality of the situation is you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Eternal State is even greater than the Millennial Kingdom. Here’s some of the things Brother Perkins brought to our attention concerning the Millennial Kingdom: Israel’s land promises being fulfilled, Christ direct rule, prosperity, topographical changes. But that as wonderful as it’s going to be is small potatoes compared to the Eternal State. You see in the Millennial Kingdom sin is restrained, as Don taught us in the last session. In the Eternal State sin is removed. In the Millennial Kingdom the curses is restrained, but in the Eternal State the curse is removed. In the Millennium as Brother Don explained based on Isaiah 65 the reality of death is still there, but not so in the Eternal State. In the Millennium you’re going to have mortals and resurrected people dwelling together, but in the Eternal State only resurrected people. In the Millennial Kingdom you’re going to have to evangelize the descendants of those who survive the Tribulation period and enter the kingdom in their mortal bodies, who have children, their children will have to be evangelized. Their grandchildren will have to be evangelized and so forth. But in the Eternal State there is no need for evangelism. The Millennial Kingdom is the renovation of this earth, as I’m going to try to show you in a minute, I think the Eternal State is a brand new creation. The Millennium only last a 1,000 years, the Eternal State lasts forever. The Millennial Kingdom is a transitional time period, the Eternal State is non-transitional. Other differences we could explain one of them is the influence of Satan. Satan as we learned in the last session has one final hurrah at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, that’s not going to be the reality in the Eternal State. In the Millennial Kingdom there is even a form of rebellion, although its suppressed based on the passage we saw in the last session Zechariah 14:16-18, but there is no rebellion in the Eternal State. So, I say this of the Eternal State, bring it on. It’s something that is even greater than the Millennial Kingdom itself.
Dr. Reagan: You are watching a presentation about the nature of the Eternal State. It is being presented by Dr. Andy Woods who is the pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church in the Houston, Texas area. He is also the president of Chafer Theological Seminary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And now let’s return to his presentation about the Eternal State.
Dr. Woods: Well, this takes us to question number three: How is our world—How will our world be prepared for the coming of the Eternal State, the last two chapters in the Bible? You might want to jump over to 2 Peter chapter 3, and verse 10, notice what it says there, “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.” Why is God taking this world after the Millennial Kingdom and burning it up? The answer is in verse 13 of 2 Peter 3 which says, “But according to His promise we are looking for a new heavens, and a new earth,” that’s the Eternal State, “in which dwells righteousness.” The Eternal State is so awesome that God has to take this world as it currently exists and get rid of it. He’s got to melt it down by fire. He’s got to dissolve it. Why is that? Because sin, and Adam’s sin in the Garden in Eden has cursed the whole world. In fact Romans 8:20-22 talks about how the current creation is in a state of travail and groaning. So therefore this earth as it exists, this planet as it exists is really not fit for the Eternal State, therefore God must dissolve this world by fire to prepare the universe for what’s coming, the Eternal State of God, and the New Heavens and the New Earth. You say, “Well, Andy do you believe in global warming?” Well, in the biblical sense I sure do believe in global warming, described right there in 2 Peter chapter 3 in verse 10, global warming is coming to planet earth. Well you say, “Well, Andy what do you think about the Big Bang Theory? Do you believe in the Big Bang Theory?” Absolutely I believe in the Big Bang Theory, we just read about it in 2 Peter 3:10. I just think that the big bang is at the end, and not the beginning. And the poor evolutionists has got the whole thing backwards, they got they’re big bang at the beginning, and the Bible puts it at the end. It is amazing how smart people can get if they consult the Word of God.
So, the Eternal State is a very real place, it has great, great significance. This world has to be dissolved to be prepared for its arrival. And this is going to take us to a fourth question. And by the way even before I get to that fourth question since this world is going to be destroyed by fire, this is why we’re told in 1 John 2 verse 15, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.” Verse 17, “The world is passing away.” To fall in love with this world is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s a foolish investment, and a waste of time. In fact if I’m understanding my Bible correctly there’s only two things that is going to make it through the burning. Number one: The Word of God. “Because the grass withers, and the flower fades, and the Word of our Lord abides forever.” And number two the souls of people, because God has set eternity into the hearts of man. So, if you invest your life into the Word of God, and people you’re making an eternal investment. Everybody today is looking for safe investments. Can I give you two? The Word of God, and people. So understanding it this way revolutionizes our proprieties in the present. It’s almost like when you go to the store and you buy some milk and its stamped on there, not good after such, and such a date. God has taken this world and placed a stamp of expiration on it, and we ought to live according to divine priorities.
Well, this takes us to a fourth question: What is going to be absent from the Eternal State? You learn an awful lot about something by noting what is not there. The Bible is very clear about many, many things that will not be in the Eternal State. Number one: No Satan. Number two: no sea. I was teaching this in Southern California and a surfer came to my class, and he was really disappointed by number 2. I said, “Don’t worry, whatever God takes away will be replaced many times over.” No death, mourning, crying or pain. No sun. That’s S-U-N, the luminaries. No moon. I have all the scripture verses there where you can look these up on your own. No temple. No night. No evil. No curse. Look if you will at Revelation 21:4, one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. It says, “He will wipe away some of the tears from their eyes.” Oh, I’m sorry I doesn’t say that. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will no longer be any death, no longer be any mourning, no longer being any crying, or pain, for the first order of things has passed away.” Look at all the things that will not be in the Eternal State. Number one: tears. Number two: death, which still exists as we learned in the last session in some form even in the Millennial Kingdom. No mourning, no crying, no pain, for the first order of things has passed. Notice if you will Revelation 21 in verse 8, continues, it says, “But for the cowardly, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars their part will be in the lake that burns with fire, and brimstone which is the second death.” What’s not in the Eternal State? 1. Cowardly, 2. Unbelieving, 3. Abominable, 4. Murderers, 5. Immoral persons, 6. The psychic hotline, I’m sorry sorcerers, 7. Idolaters, 8. Liars. Steven Lawson in a book called, “Heaven Help Us” talks about all of the things that will not be in the Eternal State. He says, “Imagine a world without hospitals, without funeral homes, without grief counselors, without abortion clinics, without divorce courts, without bankruptcy court, without teen suicide, without sexually transmitted diseases, without missing children, without drug-addiction, without drive by shootings, without rapes, without cancer treatment facilities, without misunderstandings, without financial shortfalls, without apologies, without racism, without hurt feelings, without crime, without malnourishment, without depression, without emptiness, without sadness, without bad habits, without Democrats. I’m sorry I added that one. Sorry about that I let my own bias, he didn’t put that, that was me. But if there’s no Democrats you know who else won’t be there? No Green Party. Anyway. This is my attempt to keep everybody awake. So, when you start to look at all the things that are not going to be in this Eternal State you start to get a great picture, do we not of what its’ going to be like for the believer.
Dr. Reagan: At this point in his presentation, Dr. Woods began to focus in detail about the New Jerusalem that the Bible says believers will live in on the new earth. Following his in-depth description of the new Jerusalem, he proceeded to his sixth question concerning what life will be like inside that New Jerusalem. He then concluded his presentation with his seventh question: “How can one gain admission to the Eternal State?” Here is his answer to that question.
Dr. Woods: If the Eternal State is characterized by complete and total holiness, how can I get into it when I’m a sinner by nature? Well, you can’t get into it by performance I’ll tell you that much. You can’t get into through good works. Romans 3:20 says, “But because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” In fact the book of Isaiah 64:6 of our good works that we do to curry God’s favor, God calls them filthy what? Rags. So how do I as a sinner by nature get into a holy environment, not through my own effort? I get into it through one way; righteousness transferred to me. Not my own righteousness. Righteousness from the outside transferred to me. We call that imputation, or transfer.
You know if I was stuck on a desert island and they only let me have one Bible verse to take with me on the desert island—these are the weird things I think of—what verse would I pick? What I would pick is Philippians 3:9 which explains Christianity I think better than any other verse in the Bible. Paul a man who had all the good works in his unsaved life says this, “And may be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own.” Did you see that? Not having a righteousness of my own, derived from the law, but that which is thru what? Faith in Christ the righteousness, which what? Comes from God. On the basis of what? Faith. That’s how you get into the Eternal State. You cannot get into it through your own self-righteousness, and my own self-righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus Christ has to be transferred to my account positionally, and that happens very clearly according to the scripture on the basis of faith. Which basically means trust, or reliance, or dependence upon. The transferred righteousness of Christ functions like a passport.
You know I’ve traveled a lot lately, twice to Germany this summer, once to Australia. And when you travel internationally you begin to figure out how important your passport is. Your driver’s license is not going to help you. The passport is everything, that gets you in, that gets you out. What is your passport into the Eternal State? The only passport that’s valid is the transferred righteousness of Christ. And it’s our conviction at this conference that if you’re here today and you’ve never placed your personal faith in Jesus Christ, and no doubt there are people in that condition maybe in this room, maybe listening on-line they know a lot of religiosity, but they’ve never really trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. We know from the upper room that the Spirit of God convicts us. Convicts us of our need to do this. The Spirit of God is sent into the world to convict us of our need to place our personal faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone; not my performance, not my denomination, not my good works. And if the Spirit is placing some under conviction, our very strong exhortation, the best you know how in the privacy of your own mind, heart and thoughts is to trust exclusively in Jesus Christ for your eternity and the safe keeping of your soul. As you do that you’ve now gained entrance. You’ve know gained your passport into the Eternal State.
Dr. Reagan: Well folks, that’s our program for this week. I hope it has been a blessing to you. In just a moment our announcer will tell you how you can get a complete copy of Dr. Woods’ presentation, together with the other five presentations that were made at our 2017 Bible conference. And speaking of Bible conferences, our annual conference this year is scheduled for mid-July. The theme will be, “Prophetic Voices to America.” It will begin on a Friday evening with a concert by a wonderful Christian band called “Southern Raised.” They will be followed by the keynote address that will be delivered by Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. The conference will continue all day Saturday with both music and speakers, Including White House Correspondent, Bill Koenig. Messianic Jewish leader, Jan Markell. Internet sensation, Billy Crone. Messianic Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn and myself. The conference is free of charge. For all the details, consult our website or give us a call. Well, that’s it for today. The Lord willing, I hope you will be back with us again next week. Until then, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”