The Apocalypse is a common theme in movies, TV series, etc. The world imagines that the world could easily end because of environmental issues, wars, meteors, zombies, aliens, etc. Human error is a strong feature in the end-of-the-world stories. But what if it is not human hands that bring an end to the world, as we know it? What if the Apocalypse is the act of a Creator tearing down the old to bring about the new?
Every story of survival in popular culture relies on human unity and the will to overcome in its battle against rogue robots, climate change or nuclear holocaust. The present day tale and the post-apocalyptic story both feature mankind as the ultimate saviours. We are our own worst enemy but we will find a reason to live more humanely and survive every worse case scenario. We will not be overtaken—we will join together in our fight against the invasion of power-hungry enemies.
But that is a different storyline than Christ returning to rule. The human-centered stories do not speak of a Holy God that we will bow to. In the Biblical narrative, God acts to right the wrongs that humanity in its defiance has wreaked upon the earth. God judges between good and evil and brings peace on earth. In God’s story, we enter into a state of wholeness or we die.
What is God up to in the plan of the ages?
The themes of resurrection and judgment are found throughout the span of the Scriptures. The Book of Job is regarded as the oldest and earliest written books of the Bible. Long before the prophetic dreams of Daniel, the hopeful and cryptic words of Jesus about His Return or John’s operatic vision of Christ’s Return and judgment-- there was a suffering, God-worshipping man named Job who spoke these words:
Job existed before the promise to Abraham, the Law, the Prophets, the Holy People or the coming of Jesus as Messiah. God has always spoken to people even when there is no knowledge of His Name, His Word or a history to build on.
In these brief words, we see belief that God is personified as a redeemer. God will have physical presence standing on the earth. Even after death, there will be a resurrection in which new flesh experiences a personal encounter with God. The resurrected Job will be the same person and his heart longs for the new life he will experience when God brings him back to life.
You do not have Judaism without resurrection and judgment. You do not have the early church creeds or the Scriptures without resurrection and judgment. You do not have other monotheistic religions or variations without addressing resurrection and judgment.
Even the other religions of the world have these reoccurring themes.
This is a paradigm (a mindset) that does not go away from human experience. The question is not whether there will be resurrection and judgment, but whether there will be hope for any of us. Commonly, people believe in something futuristic or they are scoffers.