The apostle Paul described man’s destiny as a mystery. He said that mortal man was meant to become immortal (that is the plan of his Maker) and then live with His Maker eternally. This is a truly mind-blowing concept, but that is what the Bible says.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15 verses 50-54, Paul wrote:
What I mean, friends, is that what is made of flesh and blood cannot share in God’s Kingdom, and what is mortal cannot possess immortality.
Listen to this secret truth: we shall not all die, but when the last trumpet sounds, we shall all be changed in an instant, as quickly as the blinking of an eye. For when the trumpet sounds, the dead will be raised, never to die again, and we shall all be changed. For what is mortal must be changed into what is immortal; what will die must be changed into what cannot die. So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”
There is a caveat here: this amazing transition to immortality is conditional, as explained below.
Man’s Eternal Home – the New Earth
A popular view is that when we die we go to live in heaven. But the Bible doesn’t say that. It doesn’t say that man’s reward is to go permanently to heaven. Heaven is God’s throne and earth is meant for man. But man will not spend eternity on this earth! The truth is that a New Heaven and a New Earth is prophesied. And it is in the new and perfect earth where God comes and walks with man, as He did in the Garden of Eden. A perfect God-man relationship will be restored. Such prophecies are brief and full of symbolism – little detail is revealed. But the concept and promise is there (and the caveat is there too)! Here’s what the Bible says about this amazing promise:
In Revelation 21: 1-7, we read about John’s vision:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Did you see it? Did you see God’s caveat? God says He will fulfill this amazing promise “to the thirsty”. What about those who do not believe and are not thirsty for a relationship with their Creator? Revelation 21.8 says:
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
The amazing promise of eternal life with our Creator is conditional. We must reach out to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus said this eternal and perfect destiny can be ours by simply believing and trusting in Him. We can of course choose not to believe, and many do. One more thing. Before the passing away of the present earth, prophecy strongly suggests that there will be a glorious time of peace on this earth when Jesus returns. And believers will play a major role as immortal beings!