End-Focus for The Story of Hope
Evangelistic chronological Bible teaching resources all begin with the creation account in Genesis. They continue through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the gospels, but many of them stop there.
Our Good Soil E&D resources (The Story of Hope and The Roots of Faith, for example) cover key events in the Bible’s redemptive story from the creation account in Genesis 1 & 2 through the establishment of the eternal state in Revelation 21 & 22. Why did we choose to include key events that go beyond the resurrection of Christ?
As everyone who has attended a Good Soil E&D seminar knows, we have great appreciation for other evangelical chronoBible resources. We recommend them highly, promote them in our seminars, and sell them on our website, book tables, and book store. So the explanation of why we have chosen a Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 approach is not intended to be a criticism of other resources or ministries. Let’s look at our rationale for including the last five events in The Story of Hope, events that are all future to our time (prophetic events).
Event 40—Blissful Destiny for Believers (New Heavens, New Earth & New Jerusalem)
The ultimate hope in God’s redemptive story is just not the redemption of individuals (as important as that is)—it’s the restoration of God’s creation to its original perfect state. This will be the ultimate trophy of God’s grace! Grace is not just about what God has saved us from (eternally), but what God has saved us to (eternally). How could we tell the Bible’s story of hope without explaining the believer’s ultimate hope—we will live eternally in a state of sinless, painless, fearless, perfect bliss with our God!
Event 39—Dreadful Destiny for Unbelievers (sinners stand before God the Judge)
The Revelation 20:11-15 event is certainly an important one for unbelievers to know about. They need to pre-envision the scene where they, if they die without trusting Jesus for salvation, will stand before God and hear the verdict on their life from God, the holy and righteous Judge of all the earth. This is probably the most important scene (event) in the Bible that clearly establishes God to be the Judge of mankind and to establish our accountability to Him.
Event 38—Satan’s Final Doom (Satan cast into the lake of fire)
If we introduce Satan as the archenemy of God into our presentation of the Bible’s big story, it is certainly important to explain how God deals with him, once and for all eternity. Otherwise we convey the idea that God never is able to subdue him. Satan’s final demise is a key component to the story of hope; it’s the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.
Event 37—Jesus’ Return as King (return to establish an earthly kingdom)
All of the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 49:10 (“scepter will not depart from Judah”), point to Jesus and His reign over Israel. Unless we allegorize those prophecies to mean some kind of a spiritual reign only, their fulfillment has not yet occurred. In His “first century” life on earth, Jesus never ruled as King. So, in order for us to tie those messianic prophecies to Jesus Christ we must explain when and how they will be fulfilled. We try to do that with this event without going into too much detail.
Event 36—Jesus’ Return for Believers (the “rapture”)
We commonly think of this event as “the blessed hope” (to quote Paul). It’s the fulfillment of what Jesus promised in John 14. It is certainly one of the major “hope points” in the Bible’s overall story of hope. It also gives us an opportunity to explain that we will exist forever in bodies (resurrected, celestial bodies), not just as ghost-like, bodiless spirits.
The liability associated with including these final events is that they expose our eschatological perspective (as pretribulational and premillennial). Consequently, the use of these events will alienate certain groups of Christians who do not agree with that view and this will significantly limit the market potential for Good Soil E&D products. From an economic and potential user base perspective, it would make better sense to only cover Bible events that all evangelicals agree on. But, market potential was never the major driving factor in the development of Good Soil resources.