From Gary North’s Millennialism and Social Theory
There is a coming discontinuity called the final judgment, but compared to the discontinuity in history from God’s wrath to God’s grace (Christ’s atonement and His saints’ personal regeneration), it will be a comparatively minor affair. Lots of trumpets and noise, plus a few million (or a few billion) people flying upward all at once, but hardly anything on the order of magnitude of the judicial discontinuity of personal regeneration in history: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).
Let me briefly mention the main point here, before going off on a tangent.
The main point of the passage — that it is the Crucifixion, with it’s transition from wrath to grace, that is the focus of history, and not the Second Coming, the Final Judgement, and the end of history — is something that is worth carefully chewing over.
As North emphasizes earlier:
The order of magnitude separating the death of Christ from the final judgment is much greater than the order of magnitude between this world and the post-resurrection world. How can I be so sure? Because I recognize that the order of magnitude separating (1) Adam’s legal status before God immediately prior to his fall from (2) his legal status immediately after was far greater than the order of magnitude separating (a) the pre-fall physical world from (b) the post-fall physical world. Transgressing God’s one law in Eden was a monumental discontinuity. God’s curse on the world was merely God’s negative physical sanction. God’s common grace to Adam and the creation, made possible because of Christ’s payment to God on the cross, allowed God to reduce His negative physical sanctions on both Adam and the environment. God’s negative physical sanctions were minimal compared to Adam’s transgression. Therefore, compared with the death of Christ, the future positive physical sanctions of final judgment and the post-judgment world will also be minimal.
Let me put this a different way. The order of magnitude of the separation of Jesus Christ from God the Father at the cross was analogous to the separation of heaven from hell or the post-judgment perfection of the New Heaven and New Earth from the perfection of the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). This is the judicial difference between “saved” and “lost.” Compared to this, the physical circumstances of Christ’s bodily return to earth are minimal. Therefore, the magnitude of the judicial transition from wrath to grace in history far overshadows the physical transition from this world to the next.
The salvation of our souls — and naturally, the redemption of all Creation — is the great break in history, and this is only possible by the atoning death of Christ.
THIS is the great break – and NOT the Second Coming.
Now, with the most important, world-changing truth spelled out, I can finally focus on one of the minor points, starting with I Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
As Christ rose into the clouds, to ascend to His exalted place by the right hand of God, so we will rise to meet the Lord in the air as He descends to rule the world in person.
So we will be like Christ, able to fly into the air.
Is this a one-time only affair, or a permanent power? I don’t know: but it opens the possibility to travel where we wish, without cars or spaceships or horses. Christ was able to simply appear where He wished: again, I don’t know if we will have this power (teleportation?), but perhaps we will.
As we draw closer to the Second Coming, century after century, the world is slowly shaped into its permanent state. After all, we can fly, we can visit the Moon, we can drive (and soon, be driven without work, via robots), we have full bellies in the West (and soon, in all places).
My mind has been shaped by science fiction imagery and ideas: but the coming Kingdom of God will be far greater than my imagination. But, I have the privilege to see the world draw closer to the Kingdom state, even though sin still mars this world.