The Kingdom of God and 2 Trillion Galaxies

Several weeks ago a team of astronomers announced the results of a new mapping of the universe.  The estimate of the number of galaxies has been increased from 100 billion to 2 trillion.  These are my "end times" speculations....

A team of astronomers led by Dutch astronomer Christopher Conselice, using the latest full spectrum images of both visible light and non-visible radiation have completed a new mapping of the observable universe and concluded there are about 2 trillion galaxies out there.  Let me just try to give you some perspective of this in four images:

The first is a picture of our local Milky Way galaxy that contains about 200 billion stars. The second is a pointer as to where our sun is located in the outer rim of our galaxy. The third our local cluster of galaxies, about 10,000 galaxies that we are part of and the fourth picture is a 3d modelling of the universe structure with each point of light a galaxy cluster.  The immensity of it all is beyond comprehension....

However we are asked by the Lord to contemplate it all and draw meaning from it..

I want to draw some conclusions from this to hopefully give you new perspective of the immense task and challenges ahead for us as the Church of Jesus Christ and the nature of the Kingdom of God.

We are all people of the Word. We study the Word of God. We believe the Word of God.  But consider this....the magnificent chapter 1 of John's gospel tells us that all things were made by the Word of God.  That means that we need to "read" and study God's creation because there is truth and revelation out there.  Let me tell you what I read in my study of the new revelations coming out of astronomy...

Psalm 8 says....

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained; What is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels and you have crowned him with glory and honour. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands, you have put all things under his feet..."

The Bible asks you to consider the heavens, the moon and the stars. Now look at those images again. Now consider Psalm 147:4 "The Lord counts the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names."  God names every star and galaxy because they are His property and His real estate.

Now consider this....God has given all that property, all that real estate to mankind to have dominion over it all! 

And it raises the question that David asks and you should ask....but why?  Who are we that the great God of creation should be mindful of us, that He should so honour us and crown us with glory and honour?  I want to answer that question in a moment because it has great bearing on this whole debate of what is the nature of the Kingdom of God, what lies ahead, are these the end times, what is the new heavens and the new earth.

I have asked numerous theologians, preachers for their idea of the future. Not necessarily about the Millennium or the rapture....but the very long term future! Where are we in a million years time? Where is history and mankind heading?  Is there still an earth. Are there a moon and stars?  Does life go on?

Every answer that I have gotten up to now is this:
No God wipes out the earth and the heavens and creates a new heaven and earth. And then we all in resurrection glorified bodies live in this new heaven and earth.  And in fact all this is going to happen shortly. For the Dispensationalist it happens in a 1000 years time. For the post-millennialists the coming of Jesus and the end of all history can happen at any time.

And what about the 2 trillion galaxies out there? Nothing, it has no meaning to us except to show how great God is and how powerful but it will all be just wiped out and the Lord will start over again with a different earth and a different heavens.

But that is not what I read in either the written Word of God or the heavenly Word of creation.  This is what I read....

Psalm 148:3-6 "Praise ye him sun and moon; praise him all you stars of light....Let them praise the name of the Lord for he commanded and they were created he also established them for ever and ever; he made a decree and which shall not pass."

This Word of God is emphatic....the trillions of galaxies are created by the Lord and are established for ever and this decree will not be changed!

The earth also will not be destroyed or changed and it will remain forever....

Psalm 104:5 "The Lord laid the foundations of the earth that it should not be removed for ever."
Ecc. 1:3 "One generation passes away and another generation comes but the earth abides forever."
Gen 1:31 " And God saw everything that he made and behold it was very good"
Eph. 3:21 "To him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages world without end."

 So understand this....there is no end to the earth or the trillions of galaxies. When God made them He declared His work not just good but very good!  The latest findings from satellite imaging to the shock of physicists is that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down but is increasing!

Why is this important?

Because Isaiah 9:6 says that "of the increase of his kingdom there shall be no end".

This is an incredible, mind-boggling statement.  But think deeply about this.  How can the kingdom of God increase endlessly?  I know God can create galaxies endlessly and there is no end to space or time.  But what about people?  God's Kingdom is about people, His family.  Are there going to be an endless increase in population?

Let me say this.  Our entire strategy in the church about the end times is very short sighted. We see it as the primary role of the church is to save the lost by preaching the gospel in all the world and then comes the end. It is over. Jesus comes. The earth is destroyed. God is finished with this earthly creation. All His children are in heaven, the Bride company has been gathered, the foolish virgins dispatched to outer darkness. The Great White Throne judgment. The sheep nations and goat nations separated. Finished. we are all now in paradise.

But I ask you this:  How do you get endless growth with all of us in heaven.  Jesus made it plain in heaven there is no marrying we are like the angels and live forever. So where do babies come from? Is there sex in heaven? Do we make new children in heaven? 

The answer is an emphatic no!  If God wanted babies made in heaven He would have made us all to be created in heaven and never created this physical universe.

So I maintain this from what I read in both scripture and in the starry heavens.

This physical universe God created to be forever in utter incomprehensible beauty, magnitude and glory.  He made this universe for mankind, not the angels. He made it for a purpose that can only be done by mankind in this environment. Isaiah 45: 18 tells what this purpose is.  Isaiah 45:18 tells us to contemplate the earth and the heavens, that God did not make them void (meaning empty without purpose) He made them to be inhabited!

Did you get that.  The 2 trillion galaxies each with 100 billion stars, each with planets were made to be filled with people, with families who have children, who from generation to generation supply the heavens which contain the family of God with an endless supply of more children for our heavenly Father. 

Its for this that the physical universe was created...a place where children can be born into families. A place where children learn their identity, where children learn to behave and develop the character of Christ through work and play and sorrow and achievement and most importantly learn to love.

It is why God told Abraham that his descendants will number like the stars.  It is why God told Israel that His blessings are upon them for thousands of generations. That's right...there are thousands of generations still ahead of us!

What does this mean to me....

It is time for the Church to recognize the long term plans of and purposes of God and act and plan accordingly.  That means acting and planning like this universe belongs to us and we have thousands of generations ahead of us to plan for.

That means a new sustainable system of economics that allows for family growth and not just corporate growth. It means caring for the earth as our heritage that needs to be passed on to the next generation. It means developing the technologies we need for endless renewable energy. It means space colonization is part of the Kingdom agenda!

 It means concentrating on and placing the family at the centre of church growth.  Yes evangelism is important to reach the lost, but God's plan is to fill the universe and heaven with the endless growth of families that raise children and disciple them into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.  A thousand years of just 2% growth through the magic of compound interest means trillions of new souls into the Kingdom of God.

When I contemplate the heavens as the Lord told us to....I see the reality and possibility for the endless growth of God's Kingdom. Yes we have problems ahead of us. This present evil age is drawing to a violent conclusion. The tares and the evil of the earth will be harvested out....leaving the righteous to inherit the earth and the glory of the Lord to fill the earth.

These are but the birth pangs of a new Kingdom Age that is come....and grow forever!

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