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The Four “Worlds” In The Bible

He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.
–Hebrews 2:5

In Hebrews 2, the writer says Christ will one day rule over the angels, and those of us who belong to Christ will also rule over the angels and over the entire world. When will that happen? It will happen in the world to come. To understand that phrase “the world to come,” we need to understand that there are four worlds.

First of all, there is the world that was. That was the world as God originally intended it to be. In Genesis 1:26, God said about that world, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God meant for us to rule over the world. But that world is not the world in which we live right now.

Because of sin there is a second world: the world that is. This is the world we wake up in every day. Hebrews 2:8 says it well: “But now we do not yet see all things subjected to [Christ].” Right now, there is a rebellion going on between the world and God, and we feel the effects of it every day in our life. Instead of ruling over the world, we are ruled over by the world.

The third world is the world that will be renovated. One day this present world is going to be renovated, and part of the curse that the world now experiences because of sin will be removed. This is the period of time we call the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth. At the end of the Tribulation when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and we who are in Heaven return with Him, Satan will be bound for a thousand years and the world will have a temporary and partial lifting of the curse. Isaiah says, “The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. . . . They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (11:6, 9). Again, Isaiah talks about that future renovation in 65:19-20: “There will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.” He cannot be talking about Heaven because nobody is going to die in Heaven. He is talking about the Millennium, the time when part of the curse is removed.

Finally, there will be a fourth world–the world that is re-created. In Revelation 21:1, John said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.” This present world, even though it will be renovated, is one day going to be destroyed by fire, and God is going to make something brand new.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Parable Of The Lottery Ticket” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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