Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm slowly becoming a Fisk-aholic!

I just can't seem to get enough of the excellent, entertaining, thought-provoking, and thoroughly Lutheran videos being made and shared by Pr. Jonathan Fisk.  You can visit his youtube page here and watch all his videos.  A couple of Pr. Fisk's latest offerings have been especially enjoyable to me, since he is addressing a topic I have spent a lot of time studying and am currently writing a book about (release date:  June of some future year:).  That topic is the End Times, which is a topic that has always fascinated me, and, as I said, one in which I have devoted a lot of time studying.

Anyway, in the first video below, titled, "Heaven Ain't *My* Home," Pr. Fisk deals with the misconception that so many Christians have that the heaven our spirits go to when we die will be our eternal residence.  I have taught about this very thing many times in the parish I serve, and I know that many of the faithful members I serve had that same misconception before being taught differently, just as I had myself many moons ago before learning differently.

Heaven is not where we will spend eternity.  It's where our spirits go when our bodies die to rest in the Lord until the Last Day.  Our eternal residence will be in the "new heavens and earth," that is, the eternal kingdom our Lord will usher in on the Last Day when He returns in great glory.  We will dwell in that eternal kingdom in body and spirit, as our earthly bodies will be resurrected and reunited with our spirits.  And, we will LIVE in that eternal kingdom - we will live life in that eternal kingdom the way life was meant to be lived.  This will not be the boring, eternal existence of sitting on a cloud and playing a harp forever, as is so often wrongly portrayed.  No, this will be LIFE, and life to the full.  It will be much like the lives we live now, only without the devastating effects of sin to deal with.  There will be plenty to DO in the eternal kingdom to come.

And so, as Pr. Fisk rightly exhorts, stop thinking of heaven when you contemplate eternity.  Instead, start thinking of the resurrection and the "new heavens and new earth" - the eternal kingdom in which you and all the faithful will dwell in the very same bodies you have now, only resurrected and glorified (or, if you happen to be alive when our Lord returns, "changed and glorified").  Perfect bodies living in the Perfect Paradise of our Perfect Lord's Eternal Kingdom to come, finally freed from sin, death, and the devil, where there is no more pain or tears, suffering or mourning, but only peace, comfort, glory, and joy - that's what eternity will be.

The problem for us is that we still live in this sinful world in these sinful bodies and simply lack the ability to imagine what living without sin will truly be like.  And so, our ability to talk about, or adequately describe, life in the eternal kingdom to come is greatly limited.  Not to mention that our Triune God, in His eternal wisdom, has not revealed all that much to us about life in the eternal kingdom, so much remains a mystery to us, and many of the questions we have and want answered will simply have to go unanswered until we find out for ourselves on that great and glorious day.  But, we can be sure that life in the eternal kingdom will be more awesome than our feeble minds can imagine, which is why we continue to pray, "Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.  Amen." 

Anyway, here are the videos of Pr. Fisk to which I'm referring (the second one includes answers to questions Pr. Fisk received in response to the first video, including an excellent little overview on "millennialism" and "dispensationalism").  Enjoy:

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