The Unbelievably Amazing Destiny Of The Church
By Jack Kelley
But because of his great love for us, God, who is
rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we
were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been
saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us
with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in
order that in the coming ages he might show the
incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his
kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians
Even after years and years of answering questions
about it, I am still amazed at how little most
Christians know about what's ahead for the Church. I
realize that many Church leaders have become earth
centered, focused on meeting growth and financial goals
in the here and now. In fact a recent Barna Group survey
revealed that the top five indicators pastors use to
judge their success are attendance, giving, number of
programs, number of staff, and the square footage of
To me that's a shame because the Church is supposed
to be a heaven centered organization focused on getting
people ready to go there soon. Bringing people into the
kingdom and preparing them for eternity should be the
Church's number one priority (Matt. 28:19-20).
You would think it would at least be in the top 5
indicators of success, but it isn't.
Paul said we should fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen, because what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor.
4:18). To me that means we should pay more
attention to our next life than we do to this one. After
all we're going to spend a whole lot more time there.
The problem is, most Christians know so little about our
next life that even if they wanted to focus on it they
couldn't tell where to begin.
Therefore, I invite you to spend the next few minutes
thinking about something that will have eternal
significance to you; the unbelievably amazing destiny of
Where Do We Go Next?
Let's begin at the beginning. When Jesus died for our
sins and rose again He freed us from the penalty
thereof, giving us the assurance of eternal life with
Him. This is not only true of the Church, but of all
those who believed in a coming redeemer and died before
the Church came to be, and all those who will come to
believe in Jesus after the Church has departed.
Hebrews 10:12 tells us Jesus offered one
sacrifice (Himself) for all time. That covers everyone
from the first man to the last.
Those who either lived in the time before the Church
or will live in the time after it, were (will be)
required to give evidence of their belief that Jesus
died for them by obeying God's laws, and can suffer a
lapse of faith, even to the point of losing their
salvation. I assume you know this to be true about Old
Testament believers. Matt. 25:1-13, Rev. 14:12,
Rev. 16:15 tell us it's also true about post
The only requirement God has imposed on people who
live during the time of the Church is that we believe in
the one He sent (John 6:28-29). What's
more, He has accepted the responsibility for seeing to
it that we don't suffer a lapse of faith and has put His
Spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what is
to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22) so we can't
lose our salvation. This manifestation of His grace is
unique to the Church.
Also unique to us is the authority He gave us to
become members of His own family (John 1:12-13).
He made good on this by legally adopting us as His
children, brothers and sisters of Christ (Romans
8:29) and co-heirs with Him (Romans
8:17, Galatians 4:4-7).
At the same time, He chose to begin seeing us as we
will be after we've been perfected, calling us “a new
creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), “holy and
blameless, without stain or wrinkle or any other
blemish”(Ephes. 5:25-27), and having
the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
He knows we'll be that way in the future, after He
changes us from mortal to immortal, but He began seeing
only the “future us” from the time we believed. He
attributes our post salvation sins to the sin that still
lives within us, and not to the perfect creation He now
considers us to be (Romans 7:18-20).
These are the first indications that God looks upon
the Church differently from any other group of
humankind. If that was all He has done for us, it would
be far more than we deserve. But in truth, it's only the
beginning. The real differences will come into effect
after He takes us to our eternal home.
Unlike Israel, the Church's destiny is not tied to a
specific location on Earth. In fact our destiny is not
on Earth at all. Our citizenship is in heaven, Paul
said, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord
Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20).
While at present the Lord's Kingdom is in this world,
Jesus said it's not of this world (John 18:36).
In other words we don't belong here. The Church has no
homeland on Earth. We are sojourners in a foreign land,
and our heart's desire should be to go home where we
belong. That doesn't mean we can't have a good life
while we're here. It means we should know that, even on
its very best day, life here can't begin to compare with
Home At Last
Our journey home will be a short one, and it will
take many of us by surprise, although we've been warned
that it shouldn't (1 Thes. 5:4). One
minute we'll be here, going about our business, and in
the next we'll be there, having been changed from mortal
to immortal and from flawed to perfect in the twinkling
of an eye (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
Jesus said He will come back to take us to a place in
His Father's house that He's been preparing for us ever
since He left (John 14:2-3). This is
where we'll be safely hidden away while His Father
visits the most extreme series of judgments in the
history of mankind upon the rebellious world (Isaiah
26:20-21). This series of judgments is called
the wrath of God in the Bible (Rev. 6:17).
It will take seven years to complete and the Lord
promised to deliver us from all of it (1 Thes.
1:10, Rev. 3:10).
During that time the Church will experience a series
of events that couldn't possibly be more different from
those taking place on earth. For the first time in
our lives we will actually be face to face with the Lord
and receive our welcome into the Kingdom, the voices of
untold numbers of angels singing and shouting for joy
ringing in our ears (Rev. 5:11-14).
We will have a joyful reunion with those whose
spirits preceded us, and who will have received their
resurrection bodies at the same time as ours were being
changed (1 Thes. 4:16-17).
In describing this change John wrote, “Dear
friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be
has not yet been made known. But we know that when
Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see
him as he is” (1 John 3:2) and
Paul said, “He will transform our lowly bodies so
they will be like His glorious body” (Phil.
3:21). Try to imagine a glorious body just like
the Lord's, with abilities comparable to His.
We will attend an awards ceremony called the bema
judgment where the Lord will reward us for the things we
did at His direction and in His strength during our time
on earth (1 Cor. 3:10-15, John 15:5).
Jesus called these rewards “treasure in heaven” and said
we should be more focused on storing them up than we are
on storing up treasure on Earth (Matt. 6:19-21).
That old saying “we can't take it with us” is certainly
true, but the Lord said we can send it up ahead.
Our relationship with the Lord will be formalized.
The Bride of Christ will become the wife of the Lamb (Rev.
19:6-8, Rev. 21:9). We'll be seated at His
right hand, above all the ranks of angels, assuming our
role as co-regents with Him (Ephes. 1:18-21,
So This Is Where We Live
We'll be shown our eternal home, the New Jerusalem.
From the description in Rev. 21 it
appears to be extravagant beyond all known standards,
being made of the purest gold and and precious gems. The
overall dimensions of the New Jerusalem seem extravagant
as well. It will be almost 1400 miles in length and
width and just as tall (Rev. 21:16-17).
If it was located on Earth it would be much bigger than
Israel, as big as western Europe, and nearly half as big
as the USA. At nearly 1400 miles tall, it would extend
into space well beyond the upper atmosphere and be 4,000
times as tall as the world's next tallest building.
Based on these dimensions, I don't believe the New
Jerusalem will be on Earth, but instead will descend out
of Heaven into an orbit in close proximity to Earth.
Some speculate it will be triangular in shape while
others say it will be a cube, but the Bible does not
reveal its shape. (If it was a globe it would be 2/3rds
the size of the moon.)
Our home won't need either the sun or moon to shine
on it because the glory of God will give it light. In
fact the light from our home will be sufficient to
provide light for Earth as well (Rev. 21:23-24).
Remember, in Matt. 24:29 Jesus said the
sun and moon would not give their light after the end of
the Great Tribulation. So we will be the light of
the world after all (Matt. 5:14). There
won't be a temple in the New Jerusalem because the
Father and Son will be our Temple there (Rev.
21:22) just as we have been their temple here (1
The Bible doesn't provide any description of our
individual quarters but from the general description of
the city I think we'll find them to be just as opulent.
Some have asked why we will need such a spectacular
home, and truth be told we probably won't. But remember,
the kings of the Earth live in palaces that provide
luxurious comfort far beyond their needs. Members of
their families live in a way the rest of us can only
dream about. How much more so should it be for the
family of the King of the universe.
But more importantly, giving us only what we need was
not the Lord's objective in building the New Jerusalem.
Right from the beginning, His objective where the Church
is concerned has been to demonstrate to ages yet to come
the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His
kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephes 2:7).
And wouldn't you expect Jesus, one for whom cost is
truly no object, to throw the budget out the window when
it comes to building something that will express His
love for His bride?
Some wonder how we'll occupy ourselves in our new
life. The Bible doesn't offer any detail on this,
probably because there is no way we could compare life
here with life in the hereafter. Paul, who did get a
glimpse of it, said;
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind
has conceived what God has prepared for those who love
him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
What we do know is that no group before or after us
has ever been so blessed while on Earth, and His word
tells us that no group before or after us will ever be
so blessed in eternity. And the best part is we don't
have long to wait to start receiving it all. You can
almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah 08-02-14.