When I was a senior in high school applying to colleges, I wanted to pursue computer science and work for Google and make a boatload of cash. I was planning my life as if it ended when I died. I was charting my course to make life as comfortable as possible. A mentor pointed me to the scriptures and opened my eyes to the fact that the 70 to 90 years we might get on this earth are just the beginning of an eternal existence, whether with God or without Him. It changed the way I think about everything.
In Luke 21, we see Jesus teaching in the temple not long before He will be betrayed by one of His closest followers, and then delivered up to be killed. As He is teaching and preparing His followers for the roller coaster ride He knew was approaching, He took time to give them the same eternal perspective my mentor gave me when I was preparing for college. Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (v. 33).
The Bible doesn’t tell us how His listeners reacted to this statement, but I would understand if they were a bit confused. Just before He says this, He tells them to be watchful for signs that the kingdom of God is near (vv. 5-32). But hearing Jesus say that “heaven and earth will pass away” would lead me to think, Well, if heaven and earth are passing away, what’s going to happen to the kingdom of God you’re so adamant about?
The kingdom of God will inhabit a new earth, one that comes when the present earth passes away. The teachings of Jesus will outlast this cosmic stage on which we are acting out our lives. When all passes away and the kingdom of God is fully realized in the new heavens and the new earth, the teachings of Jesus will still be standing.
When Christ lived His perfect life, died the death we should have died, and rose from the dead, showing He has power over death, He wasn’t finished with His work. He wasn’t just starting getting started either. Jesus is eternal. He has always existed, though not always as a human. Today, with His work on earth finished, He sits at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the time when heaven and earth will pass away. He knows that His Word, His teaching, and His perfect, all-sufficient work on the cross will stand, even when the cosmos passes away, because He is Lord of all.
Written by Chris Martin