In our Christian lives, we have many promises from God. He reminds us via the apostle Paul that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We also know through James that “the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:15). These are promises for us mainly during this life, but what about promises for our future? What should we have faith in regarding our future? What does God want us to be thinking about as we go through our day-to-day life with both its pleasures and difficulties?
We know that God tells us to seek first His “kingdom… and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). And if we do, it is pleasing to God, but we must have the faith to believe His promises. Remember, believing God counts for righteousness as was described about Abram. See Genesis 15:6.
When we want to study faith, the obvious chapter to refer to is Hebrews 11, which is commonly called “the faith chapter.” In it, we can read about many men and women who lived and died in faith. But what did they have faith in? In this chapter, there are examples of the ancients who looked to the promises of the future, rather than just their present lifetime.
Some did receive a reward for their faith during their lifetime. Noah was warned about a flood and by building the ark saved his household. And, in fact, it is because of his faith and action that we are alive today. By faith Sarah was able to conceive a child. Through that child we have received physical and spiritual blessings today. But others did not receive the promises while they lived, but looked to the future fulfilment of them (compare Hebrews 11:13). So, what did these look forward to?
Abraham obeyed God and left his homeland to a place that he was promised he would inherit even though he did not know where he was going. He dwelt there with his son Isaac and grandson Jacob who had the same promise. They and their families dwelt in tents during their lifetime, as we can read that Isaac took Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent as his wife. See Genesis 24:67. They did not have permanent buildings to live in during their lifetime.
So, what did Abraham especially look forward to? Hebrews 11:10 explains that “he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” He was looking forward to a time when He would live in a permanent city that God would provide, not just in tents as he was living in during his life. Moses also, in faith, looked forward to the reward, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt…” (See Hebrews 11:26).
So, all those mentioned who died in faith “…desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). We can see glimpses of this promise, as a physical forerunner, in the Millennium; for example, in Isaiah 33:20-21. There we see Jerusalem, a quiet home, a place of broad rivers and streams. It will be so much better than what it is today. A city of peace—the name Jerusalem traditionally meaning “Possession of Peace.”
It will be where Christ will rule the earth from in stability and peace, for the benefit and blessing of all people. There will be no uncertainty as to who will be elected as the next president and whether he will do a good job or not, as there is today, but Christ will rule perfectly. And thinking about Jerusalem today, it could not be called a quiet home with broad rivers and streams today as it will be in God’s future. It has experienced many wars over the millennia and had very little peace.
But ultimately, after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, God will provide “…the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). And as we read in Hebrews 11:39-40: “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
So, as we go through life with its many difficulties, we can remind ourselves that the men and women of faith mentioned in the Bible have not yet received their ultimate promise. God is waiting to share it with them and with us when we are all made perfect together. It is a promise that we should consider the most important thing in our life to look forward to—one that will be filled with joy and pleasure forevermore. So today, as we live our lives in both good times and in bad times, we should be looking toward that future Kingdom that God has promised to us and all of His people forever.