When he was eighty-eight years, the late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes once found himself on a train. When the conductor came by, Justice Holmes couldn’t find his ticket, and he seemed terribly upset. He searched all of his pockets and fumbled through his wallet without success. The conductor was sympathetic. He said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Holmes, the Pennsylvania Railroad will be happy to trust you. After you reach your destination you’ll probably find the ticket and you can just mail it to us.” But the conductor’s kindness failed to put Mr. Holmes at ease. Still very much upset, he said, “My dear man, my problem is not ‘Where is my ticket?’ The problem is, ‘Where am I going?'” (1001 Humorous Illustrations)
We could apply the same question in a personal way: “Do you know where you are going?” One’s destiny is important, especially when it comes that final one. For when that moment comes (and it WILL come), will it be at the place where you want to arrive? Hopefully, you won’t be disappointed when you get there.
Speaking of destiny, let’s first talk about what it means. A dictionary definition is, “the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.” Example: “She was unable to control her own destiny.”; “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.” Example: “He believes in destiny.” (Google)
In this definition, destiny is described as something that you cannot control. What you turn out to be or whatever happens to you is beyond your own power. You do not have a choice in the outcome. This concept, however, is in contrast with the Biblical idea of destiny.
One’s final destiny, according to the scriptures, depends on one’s choice. For example, Romans 8:28-29 says, “(28) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB). Some use this passage to say that God has “predestined” persons to be saved—as though he has predetermined some to be saved and others not to be saved. But salvation is not a foregone conclusion. For it says that “God causes all things to work together for good TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD…” God’s foreknowledge is such that, although he wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9) he knows those who will answer his call to follow him and those who will not. Everyone has free will, (Joshua 24:14-15).
Now I ask, Does everyone love God? Does everyone repent? What about those who question or deny God’s existence? What about those who do not accept Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son? What about those who choose a life of evil and not good? What about Christians who forsake Christ and his Word? Even though God forgives us, there is one sin he does not forgive: Mark 3:28-29.
Jesus said something intriguing in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (NASB). This verse is hard to understand unless you know the Biblical meaning of certain words. For example, from the original Greek, “soul” (psuche, pronounced psoo-kay)primarily means, “life” and secondarily means, “creatures who possess that life.” It is not the same meaning as “spirit” which comes from an entirely different Greek word, pneuma (pr. noo mah), defined as “breath, wind, air,” and the like. (Emphatic Diaglott, Benjamin Wilson)
The life Jesus is referring to is not this present life but the future, eternal (aionian) life in the kingdom age to come. This is the life he was also talking about in Luke 18:30, “…who will not receive many times as much at this time and IN THE AGE TO COME, ETERNAL [AIONIAN, or AGE LASTING] LIFE.” (Cp. Matt. 16:25-26.) Even though persons can kill our bodies in this life, no human can kill one’s soul or future life no matter how hard they try. Our future is in God’s hands according to our submission to him through trust and obedience (Psa. 19:8; 31:14, 19, 23, 24; 1 Peter 2:13-3:7).
We know that Jesus is talking about the future life because he says that we should, rather, “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul (future life) and body in hell.” First, this proves that one’s soul (future life) is not naturally immortal for it can be destroyed at judgement time. Second, the Bible word “hell” implies future judgment in the lake of fire, also known as “the second death,” (see Revelation 21:11-15). Please note: This word is not to be confused with “hell” in other places of the Bible which comes from the New Testament Greek, “hades” and from the Old Testament Hebrew, “sheol” which literally mean, “the grave,” (for example, Psa. 49:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:55; Rev. 20:14).
It must also be pointed out that the word “hell” in Matthew 10:28 from the Greek, Gehenna, is not a place of eternal fire where persons (souls) are tormented forever at death according to pagan myth. Rather, it is a word that is translated according to Hebrew derivation as “the valley of Hinnom.” It was the place that acted as the garbage incinerator outside the city of Jerusalem. In Jesus’ day, all kinds of filth was burned up there including animal carcasses, waste and debris. In fact, unburied bodies of criminals who had been executed were cast there, as well. Fires were kept there continually to consume these things. (Ibid.)
Jesus was, therefore, alluding to the fact that a day of judgment was coming in which the wicked will be destroyed just as undesirable things were consumed in Gehenna. This is known as “hell” in conjunction with “fire” which is referred to several times: Matthew (5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33), Mark (9:43, 45, 47), Luke (12:5), and James (3:6).
Just as John recorded in Revelation 21, the Apostle Peter also indicates this time of judgment is not at death as some traditionally believe, but after Jesus has returned and cleansed the earth of those who have turned away God’s offer of salvation (2 Peter 3:3-18). Sadly, this will be the final destiny of many who have opted not to enter the narrow pathway of God’s righteousness or justice through Christ (Matt. 7:13-14; Rev. 21:7-8).
On the other side of the coin, those who do love God and have answered his call to salvation through His Son, their final destiny lies in the hope of receiving eternal life in God’s coming kingdom age (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; 1 John 5:12). Jesus is the Ticket on the Gospel Train of Hope. The time to get on board is now, in this life (2 Cor. 6:2). When it’s all said and done, may this destiny be desired with the same intensity and faith as the Apostle Paul who declared toward the end of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing,” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NASB). Paul knew that his departure from this mortal life would come soon but his eternal destiny was awaiting when Jesus will appear in the clouds with great power and glory (2 Thess. 4:16-18).
What is YOUR final destiny?
Here is Kevin LeVar singing, “Your Destiny”: http://youtu.be/V9zMAWVaW94
Good News to YOU!