He Can and He Will
How God will make all things new
By Eliezer Gonzalez
Iremember the long summer days when growing up in Australia. These were the days when a day at the beach seemed to stretch out into a blissful eternity of sand and surf. The days never seemed to end. But the reality was that they always did end. I remember feeling disappointed when eventually we had to jump in the car and go home. I learned that as we grow, and see favorite toys break, friendships end, and even loved ones die, we painfully learn the apparent truth that all good things come to an end.
Just Wait a Minute
But it is a lie! Don’t believe it! God assures us that ultimately He will make what is good last forever; and those things that bring harm and sadness will cease to exist. The day will come when His promise will be fulfilled, and God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).1 God’s people will live with “everlasting joy” (Isa. 35:10). This seems so contrary to the natural order of things as we experience them today that the natural question to ask is “How will God bring this about? How will He put an end to sin and ensure that joy reigns throughout the universe forever?”
Here Is How
God tells us that at the Second Coming the faithful saints of God who sleep in death will be resurrected (1 Thess. 4:16). God calls this the “first resurrection” (Rev. 20:6; cf. John 5:29), and He calls those who take part in this resurrection “blessed and holy” (Rev. 20:6). We can all be part of this resurrection by remaining faithful to Jesus and to His Word (verse 4). Also at the second coming of Jesus, sinners and all the works of sin will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 19:20, 21). The resurrected saints will reign with Jesus in heaven for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4, 6). During this time Jesus will allow the saved to review His work of love in the lives of all of humanity, and all their questions will be answered (verse 4).
At the end of the 1,000 years the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth with all of the redeemed (Rev. 21:1, 2). At this time the unrepentant dead are raised. This is the second resurrection, and the number of the sinners raised “is like the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:8). Now Satan, having been “released from his prison” (verse 7), gathers the resurrected wicked for his final attack against God and His people (verse 8). I used to ask myself why Satan would even bother. As I have become older and seen more of evil, I’ve come to realize that it is because when God is not present in the life, evil does what evil has always done, which is to attack what is good.
It is at this time that the final phase of the judgment will take place, before the great throne of God (verses 11, 12). Before the universe the love and sacrifice of Jesus are again displayed, and the lives of all those who have rejected salvation are reviewed. As the entire universe sees the love and righteousness of Jesus, it is then that “at the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10, 11). Jesus already receives the worship of the rest of the universe, but now, one by one, sinners too will bow, until, at last, Satan himself will bend the knee in Jesus’ presence.
After this great universal acknowledgment of the love and justice of Jesus, sin and sinners will be destroyed forever (Rev. 20:9, 10). This is the second death, from which there is no resurrection; it is an eternal death. Sin and sinners will cease to exist.
A New Creation
Now that the “former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4), God declares, “Behold, I am making all things new” (verse 5). God gives us His personal guarantee that He will do it, saying to the apostle John, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (verse 5). It is of this new earth, of this new creation, that the apostle Paul wrote, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
The ways in which the apostle John described the new earth were only his feeble attempts to portray with human words things that are ultimately indescribable in our language. However, we can be confident that the wonderful descriptions of Revelation 21 and 22 will be finally fulfilled. This earth will host the capital city of the universal dominion of Jesus Christ, and it will be the final and true home of the redeemed. Perhaps the most exhilarating promise of all is the simple statement that we “will see his face” (Rev. 22:4). No more images; no more metaphors; no more symbols—only Jesus.
For me, the closing words of The Great Controversy say it best: “The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”2
1 All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 678.
Eliezer Gonzalez lives on the Gold Coast in Australia with his wife, Ana, and their two children. He has an M.A. in theology and an M.A. in early Christian history, and is currently completing a Ph.D. Eliezer has a passion for evangelism and for the growth of the kingdom of Christ.