Sometimes, life can just seem somewhat meaningless. You create things, only for them to fall apart again. You buy something, and it goes bad. Even your very life is temporary and comes to an end.
We have the hope that comes with the knowledge that it will not always be that way. However, doesn’t that sort of beg the question?
Why is it that way now?
I cannot claim to know the answer, but I’ve had the opportunity to give it a little thought. I’d like to share some of those thoughts with you.
First of all, it is evident from Scripture that the spiritual existed before the physical. The first hint is that “God created the heavens and the earth” (NIV). The heavens, including what is sometimes called “the Third Heaven”, precede the earth. However, it is the Book of Job that really points out that the angels already existed when the physical earth was created (Job 38:7).
The spiritual is a different nature. It is permanent. The physical, however, is by nature temporary. The spiritual existed before the physical. The angels existed when the physical earth was created, and they needed to live somewhere. We also see a strong hint that the heavens were created first. Therefore, I strongly believe that Heaven, as in God’s throne, existed first. It only makes sense. The angels at one time all lived there (until the rebellion, S. Rev 12:4).
Hopefully, we are in agreement thus far, as this is pretty standard COG theology.
So, for some forms of life, the permanent came first.
At one time, Lucifer lived in Heaven. However, we know he was later given a throne to rule the earth (2Co 4:4; Jn 16:8-11, 33; Lk 4:5-8). HWA used to say that Lucifer was given power and authority over the earth to prepare it for human beings. Lucifer was the “anointed cherub that covereth” (Eze 28:14; Cf. Ex 25:20; 1Ki 8:7).
Notice what this means! Lucifer lived in a perfect setting. It was permanent. It was without decay. He was then given the job of overseeing the physical, the temporary. Did he in his pride feel he was being “demoted”?
Notice something else, if you will. He was first. He was in charge. For what? To be replaced! Again, did he feel he was being “demoted”?
To me, this gives new meaning to the phrase:
30And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (Luke 13:30, King James Version)
Those who exalt themselves today, as their spiritual father does now, will be abased, just as their spiritual father will be.
We, however, are supposed to have the opposite point of view. We are temporary, and we should not take for granted our great calling. We will be exalted in the end, but it is because of the work of Our Savior and not because we are anything great in and of ourselves. We are learning the temporary now so we don’t take this great gift for granted.