Do you believe Christ will return? When will He return? What will He do upon His return? What happens after we die? Is there a world to come? If there is a world to come, what is that world like?
These questions are difficult to answer because they concern events that have yet to happen. Because these events are in the future, there are many different viewpoints concerning Christ’s return and the world to come. These questions can be uncomfortable to discuss because they are sensitive topics. But the answers to these questions are crucial to the beliefs of Christianity.
The Certainty and Mystery of Christ’s Return
Currently the world is full of hurt, sadness, sin, injustice, and death. In order to abolish these things, we need Jesus to come back. We need Him to restore all things. We need Him to make all things wrong, right. We need Him to restore the earth. This is our hope!
Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has already defeated Satan, sin, and death; but Jesus has yet to return. Upon His return, Jesus will destroy Satan, sin, and death forevermore. The Scriptures are clear that Jesus will return, but when will He return? Mark 13:32 says, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Only the Father knows when Christ will return. Believing that Christ will return can be difficult because it requires faith in something that has yet to happen. Oh, God help us to believe; Christ is our only hope!
The Life of the World to Come
What do the words “the life of the world to come” mean as they appear in the Nicene Creed? They mean that this world is not our home. Even though death brings an end to our human life on earth, our souls live on in eternity. The life of the world to come consists of heaven and hell: either eternity with God in heaven or eternity with Satan in hell.
If we believe in the salvation Jesus provides, we will be in heaven with God for eternity. Face to face with the God of the universe! Everlasting life. No more pain, tears, or death. Abundant life with Christ forever. Our deepest longing fulfilled . . . to be with God forever. This is His promise!
The Bible is clear. For those who have rejected Christ, they will forever be separated from God in hell (1 Thessalonians 1:8–9). This is a heavy and heartbreaking reality, and one that should move us to share the good news of Christ with all people. God’s desire is for all His creation to be with Him forever (1 Timothy 2:3–4).
The Study of the World to Come
As we head into the last week of our Nicene Creed study, we will learn about the future events of Christ’s return and the world to come. The study of these future events is typically called eschatology, which means the study of the last things. Specifically, we will learn about Christ’s return, the final judgment, and the new heavens and new earth. Since we cannot predict the future, we must look closely at what the Scriptures say about these future events.