When it comes to the topic of eternal life, people have an enormously wide variety of opinions. Perhaps there is no subject that has more speculation and diversity of ideas than this one. Beliefs range all the way from “this life is all there is” to an opposite view that asks “how many other lives do we have after death”? Many are convinced that if they are just good enough or have enough candles lit on their behalf or follow the rules of various religions that their ultimate destiny will be “heaven”. There are some scientists who have studied the life a certain jellyfish and they are hopeful that studying these seemingly immortal species will make it possible to someday apply those principles to mankind. (NY Times – Nov. ’12) No matter what your stance may be, there is little question that the end of life is an emotional and often fearful time for both the individual and those who are closest to him/her.
Christians stand in great contrast, however, to those who live and die without the hope of eternal life, the gift that Jesus came to bring to all those who would repent and put their trust in Him. God sent His one and only Son so that man could be forgiven and reconciled to a loving and holy God. It was a radically new way to look at life and death for the Israelites, but to those whose hearts and minds were open, it was exactly the message that they had been waiting to hear. Everything in the Old Testament, from the sacrificial system to the prophets’ messages, had pointed the way to a Savior who would come and suffer and shed His blood for the remission of sin. He would come and take our punishment so that we could be forgiven and live with Him for all eternity. Oh, the joy of living in the presence of The One whose mercy and love for me is unending.
If we could grasp what the “new heaven and new earth” will really be like, no doubt we would eagerly let go of our earthly joys. In fact, we would join John, the beloved disciple, as he wrote in his Book of Revelation, “Amen! Come Lord Jesus!”