beliefs are the beliefs of three major Sabbatarian Churches
of God, as well as the past beliefs of the Worldwide
Church of God. These beliefs which follow (as well
as all beliefs about hell and the “unsaved dead”)
are totally secondary to the vital gospel of Salvation
that we have in and through Jesus Christ---i.e one is
totally free to believe or disbelieve what is presented
here, without it affecting one’s salvation in the
least. The study is merely being presented to show
another view on the subject of hell and the fate of the “unsaved
dead.” You will find it most interesting. You
don’t have to believe it.]
SECOND RESURRECTION IS FOR ALL WHO ARE NOT CALLED OR HAVE
ANSWERED GOD'S CALL TO SALVATION IN THEIR NORMAL LIFETIMES.
SOME DENOMINATIONS BELIEVE THIS IS THE TIME WHEN ALL THE UNSAVED
DEAD ARE RESURRECTED BACK TO LIFE AND THEN ARE THROWN INTO
THE LAKE OF FIRE, HELL-FIRE. THEN A FEW DENOMINATIONS BELIEVE
THIS IS A TIME REPRESENTED BY "THE LAST GREAT DAY"
AT THE END OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES, A TIME WHERE JESUS
SAID ALL WHO COME WANTING TO DRINK OF THE WATER OF LIFE WILL
BE ABLE TO.
"However, after his brothers had left for the Feast,
he went also, not publicly, but in secret...Not until halfway
through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and
begin to teach..." What was Jesus' message for and on
the Last Great Day? It was that anyone wanting to come to
Christ and salvation could do so. This applies to now as John
indicates, but it also applies to those who will come back
to life in one mighty and massive resurrection of humanity
back to physical life! "...On the last and greatest day
of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, `If anyone
is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes
in me, streams of living water will flow from within him.'
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him
were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not
been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."
Remember, to receive the Holy Spirit is to receive salvation
and the promise of eternal life, and receive the ability to
live the life of a Christian, walking the Christian life into
immortality. Let's learn a little known, little understood
mystery the Bible has kept locked away for thousands of years.
The book of Revelation, as well as the book of Daniel, are
books of prophetic timing. The timing of God's major events
are foretold in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 19 the
2nd coming occurs [Trumpets]. In Revelation 20:1-3 Satan is
locked away [Atonement]. In Revelation 20:4 we find the just
resurrected immortal saints pictured on their thrones just
after the first resurrection to immortality. That is where
we will start.
20:4-5, 7-11, 12-13. "I saw thrones on which were seated
those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the
souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony
for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped
the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their
foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with
Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come
to life until the thousand years were ended.)..."
Did you catch
that? "THE REST OF THE DEAD DID NOT COME TO LIFE UNTIL
THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE ENDED..." Only those with the
Holy Spirit come up at Christ's return and are made immortal,
I Corinthians 15:49-54. This same group is described in Revelation
20:4 and 6. The rest of humanity that has died must be this
same group described in verse five as the rest of the dead.
next few verses explain a short time-gap between "the
thousand years" (the Millennium) and the Great White
Throne Judgment, which is this massive resurrection back to
physical life. Verse five conclusively shows that the rest
of humanity that has lived and died will be resurrected back
to life a short time after the end of the thousand years!
This is the 2nd resurrection! Many if not all of our loved
ones in the world--parents, friends, and yes, even enemies
will be in this resurrection back to physical life!
FINAL FULFILLMENT OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT: SATAN'S ULTIMATE
the final putting away of Satan, the final fulfillment of
the ancient meaning of the Day of Atonement) "When the
thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners
of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In
number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched
across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of
God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven
and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown
into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and false
prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night
for ever and ever..." Satan and his demons are now permanently
removed from influencing earth and it's inhabitants. Understand,
whoever is resurrected back to life now is not under the invisible
influence of Satan. And remember, all those resurrected in
the coming massive resurrection had lived lives in Satan's
world, deceived by Satan-hurt by Satan's evil sinful broadcast
(including even those called Gog and Magog who had just been
deceived by Satan and killed by fire as they surrounded Jerusalem).
GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated
on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was
no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing
before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was
opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according
to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave
up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the
dead that were in them, and each person was judged according
to what he had done." Reading on into verses 14-15 of
Revelation 20, one could assume that these people are goners,
and that is their first conscious thought as Ezekiel 37 reveals,
but what light does Jesus and Paul shed on this subject? Remember,
read this with an open mind, putting aside what you have grown
up believing from childhood, or taught in church or seminary.
"Jesus told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven
is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while
everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among
the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed
heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants
came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your
field? Where then did the weeds come from? 'An enemy did this,'
he replied. The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go
and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are
pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let
both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will
tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them
in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it
into my barn.'" Satan and the demons not only sow weeds
of deception, they are the weeds symbolically! Those that
chose to keep following Satan's way in spite of having God's
Holy Spirit freely offered when Satan's deceptive influence
is removed from them, will be burned up. Most of mankind is
blinded to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and salvation.
God has allowed this blinding, and even written the Bible
in such a way that makes the knowledge of salvation hard to
comprehend. Satan is the one who actually has the world blinded,
but God has gone along with this, and even made it easy for
this blinding to take place. This next group of scriptures
show that. To see Satan's part in this look up and read Revelation
12:9 and II Corinthians 4:3-4 and II Corinthians 11:4,13-15.
There is a great and loving purpose to this blinding which
God has allowed and even made easy. Each "harvest"
of saints into the kingdom of God is larger than the one that
precedes it. The ones in the first harvest at Jesus Christ's
2nd coming will actually live and reign with Jesus Christ,
assisting him in governing all the people living on into the
Millennium. All those that train and are changed into Spirit
Beings and granted entrance into immortality during the Millennium
will assist Jesus and those resurrected at his 2nd coming
in governing and training all those to come up in the 2nd
resurrection. Just as each harvest in the land of Israel,
which God's Old Testament Holy Days occurred on, was larger
than the one that preceded it, so it is with God's spiritual
harvest. The first spring winter wheat harvest is small by
comparison to the great fall harvest in Palestine. So it is
with God's overall Plan of Salvation for mankind. We--believers
from 31 A.D. to the time of Jesus' 2nd coming--are
the "winter wheat harvest" which came in full around
the Day of Pentecost. This winter wheat harvest in the land
of Israel represents Christianity up until Christ's 2nd
coming. The great fall harvest was much larger by comparison
and came just before the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a much
larger harvest. As we shall see, this harvest and Holy Day
season represents God's harvest of the entire world. A harvest
is something where you reap the fruits of your labor. It is
a joyous occasion for the people who participate. Why would
God have a joyous fall harvest Holy Day season and tell the
people to rejoice when it represented the death of 95 percent
of the human race, the second death? It just doesn't make
sense. We are missing something, and Christianity, not wanting
to associate itself with Jewish Holy Days (because
of false amillennialist "replacement theology" teachings),
never became acquainted enough with the Feast of Tabernacles
to learn anything about it or what it represents. Thus mainstream
Christianity has been spiritually blind to this issue, which
yes is secondary to one's personal salvation, but is by no
means unimportant, because knowledge in this area shapes our
attitude toward the unsaved world. If our perception of those
in the world, Satan's world, is wrong, then our evangelistic
approach toward these masses of people is going to be wrong
and warped also. Pardon me for saying so, but this is an issue
that Christianity has ignored for far too long. At least four
fundamentalist Christian Churches observe these Holy Days
commanded for ancient Israel in Leviticus 23. Some believing
they are commanded, some knowing their observance is an optional
matter. Another group of Christians that is growing in leaps
and bounds, the Messianic Jews, also observe the Holy Days
and understand their deep prophetic significance. All of these
groups share some of the true understanding of what they represent-God's
overall plan for the salvation of mankind. Chuck Missler,
although he doesn't observe them, has a tape series titled
"Feasts of Israel" which goes very deeply into the
meaning of God's commanded feasts for Old Testament Israel.
I don't know if he understands about the Last Great Day and
how it ties into the Great White Throne Judgment the way several
of these fundamentalist Churches do, but the tape series is
very informative and well worth the price. [If interested
here is his mailing and email address: Koinonia House, P.O.
Box D, Coeur d' Alene, ID 83816-0347. Or email K-house at:
, Or you can phone: 1-800-KHOUSE-1]
If Jesus and
we do our jobs properly, which I do not doubt we will, the
2nd harvest of souls to immortality will truly be far more
massive than the first. God as Peter pointed out in II Peter
3:9 wants everyone to be saved! Why should we doubt him? This
resurrection of people at the 2nd resurrection could be anywhere
from 50 to 100 billion people! God the Father and Jesus Christ
are our spiritual support structure. God the Father, Jesus
Christ and all resurrected Christianity, made immortal and
spirit, will be the support structure for all those resurrected
at the 2nd resurrection. God is a God of precise order, not
of confusion. He wants to give every human being that has
ever lived the very best chance of making it into his
kingdom. If everyone knew the truth of God on a saving level
right now, at this moment, everyone with that knowledge would
be held responsible for that knowledge, and they would be
judged on how they acted on that knowledge right now in this
present age, or the age in which they lived in. Remember John
6:44,65. Satan has been allowed by God to deceive and fashion
man's societies to his own evil design. Why? As a powerful
educational tool. Yes, God wants everyone to experience the
fruits of Satan's evil way and where it leads to--destruction.
When the great tribulation comes, it will be the culmination
of Satan's way, the end result. And if Jesus didn't return,
mankind, under Satan's evil influence, would totally destroy
itself along with all life on earth! That is exactly what
all the Day of the Lord prophecies predict, both in
the Old and New Testaments! Most of mankind, ignorant of God's
truth, will be resurrected back to life and given their first
real opportunity for salvation. They've already experienced
the fruit of Satan's way, no matter where in history they
came from. Now they are brought back into a world refashioned
by Jesus and the saints during the Millennium into a glorious
garden of Eden paradise. (One very unselfish and very Christian
purpose of the Millennium will be to prepare the earth for
all those to be resurrected back to life in the forthcoming
2nd resurrection.) When compared to their old lives in the
past, choosing God's way will be easy for the majority. Satan
will no longer be around, for you read in Revelation 20:7-10
that he was already removed, this time for ever. The majority
of mankind is now resurrected back to life after Revelation
20:7-10. You see, there is a very loving purpose for allowing
Satan to invisibly create, control and sway man's societies
for all of man's past recorded history. If you read history
at all, judging by Christian standards, you know it is a history
full of evil and pain and premature death. The purpose for
God's allowing Satan to do all this is so mankind as a whole
will never, ever desire to harbor any of Satan's attitudes
which were his undoing. Satan is miserable. He is destined
to be miserable for all eternity. God does not want that to
happen to his children. So God has allowed Satan to spiritually
blind the majority of mankind and they will remain so until
after the 2nd coming of Jesus or for the dead, until they
rise again back to physical life and learn the saving knowledge
of salvation which the Holy Spirit, now given to them, will
lead them into. As the world has been blinded so has God's
people Israel. God is no respecter of persons. What God allows
for Israel God allows for the world. What God will do for
Israel, God will do for the whole world--all the other races
of people. If God didn't he wouldn't be reliable, and then
nobody would have a chance to be saved.
DOES PAUL HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?
"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen
by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works;
if it were, grace would no longer be grace. What then? What
Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect
did. The others were hardened, as it is written: `God gave
them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and
ears so that they could not hear to this very day.' And David
says: `May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling
block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened
so they cannot see, and their back be bent forever.'
Again I ask:
Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!
Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come
to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression
means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for
the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness
I am talking
to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow
arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if
their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will
their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the
part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the
whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
If some of
the branches have been broken off, and you, though wild olive
shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share
in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over
those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support
the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, `Branches
were broken off so that I could be grafted in.' Granted. But
they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by
faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not
spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who
fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his
kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they
do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God
is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut
out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary
to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much
more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted
into their own olive tree!
ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED
I do not want
you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you
may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in
part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And
so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: `The deliverer
will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.'
[This is talking about the 2nd coming of Christ
and time-span thereafter (cf. Zechariah 12-14, Jeremiah 31,
As far as
the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account;
but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on
account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are
irrevocable. [This one verse (along with the whole
chapter of Jeremiah 31) shows the "promise" to Israel
through the patriarchs still apply to Israel and not the
church, according to the apostle Paul! ] Just as you
who were disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result
of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient
in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of
God's mercy to you. FOR GOD HAS BOUND ALL MEN OVER TO DISOBEDIENCE
SO THAT HE MAY HAVE MERCY ON THEM ALL." [cf. Jeremiah
31, whole chapter. These verses show the "promise"
is to "the House of Israel" and "the House
of Judah", and not to the "church" alone --i.e.
the "church" has not supplanted the "promises"
given through the "fathers" to the Israelite people.]
ALL ARE CALLED IN TODAY'S EVIL WORLD OR IN THE PAST
The next scriptures
back up this theme that God has not intended to call everyone
to the knowledge of salvation in their normal lifetimes under
the sway of Satan's world, which obviously is until Jesus
returns and locks that evil being away.
are not written to be clearly understood by all. Even
Jesus' parables were meant to cover up their true meaning!
If this weren't so, then why would Jesus say this??? Matthew
13:8-17. "`...Still other seed fell on good soil, where
it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what
was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.' The disciples came
to him and asked, `Why do you speak to the people in parables?'
He replied, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom
of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever
has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever
does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This
is why I speak to them in parables: `Though seeing, they do
not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In
them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: `You will be ever
hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but
never perceiving. For this people's heart has become callused;
they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their
eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with
their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would
heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and
your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many
prophets and righteous men [who did possess the Holy Spirit
and will be in the resurrection to glory] longed to see what
you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but
did not hear it." i.e. Jesus is saying to those called
to understand him and his gospel of salvation in their lifetimes,
"count your blessings, you understand even more than
the prophets were allowed to understand!" Jesus' parables
weren't spoken for everyone to understand by Jesus Christ's
own mouth! What about the written word of God. Let's see what
God said through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 28:9-13. "Whom
shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand
doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from
the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon
precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and
there a little: for with stammering lips and another tongue
will I speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the
rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is
the refreshing: yet they would not hear." [This next
verse explains some of God's motive for this "precept
upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little"
code that the Bible is written in.] "But the word
of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon
precept; line upon line, line upon line, here a little, and
there a little; that they might go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken." Who is it
that snares people? Isn't it Satan? Yes, of course it is!
Satan and his evil world full of his evil societies all under
his evil sway. There is good and evil in mixture in Satan's
world, just like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The world has not been offered the tree of life yet, but we
who have answered God's call have that tree freely available
to us. Acts 7:42-43. "But God turned away and gave them
over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with
what is written in the book of the prophets: `Did you bring
me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house
of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the
star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore
I will send you into exile beyond Babylon." Basically
this scripture indicates that most don't want or seek God's
calling anyway. It is apparent that God's calling is open
to those who sincerely desire it. If anyone truly seeks Jesus
Christ and salvation through him, God's call, apparently,
is open to that person. The plain truth of the matter is that
most don't desire God's call to salvation at this time.
IS NOW OFFERED TO ALL THE "UNSAVED DEAD"
will all that have lived and died in ignorance to the knowledge
of salvation have their chance to receive and respond to the
knowledge of salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ?
we saw, Revelation 20:5 said it would be a thousand years
after the 1st resurrection. How do we know that these people
will be given a chance to be Christians, living a Christian
life until God chooses to resurrect or change them to immortality?
Acts 2:1-4 shows us that the receiving of the Holy Spirit
gave birth to the Christian Church and Christianity. Romans
8:9-17 shows us that those who have the Holy Spirit residing
in them, Christ in them, have immortality residing in them.
The end result of that is the resurrection to immortality
(I Corinthians 15:49-54). So if we can see that anywhere in
the Bible this group of people--"the rest of the dead"--receive
the Holy Spirit, then we can be pretty sure they too will
have the same chance to live and grow in the grace and knowledge
of Jesus Christ just as we have had. And then they too will
be granted eternal life afterwards. ("Jesus Christ, the
same yesterday, today and always.") Let's cross reference
Romans 11 where Paul explains how Israel will be re-grafted
into God's cultivated olive tree [remember, realize, all Israel
Paul was referring to here is now dead and buried!] with a
prophecy for Israel given to Ezekiel by God. Since the Israel
Paul was referring to didn't have the Holy Spirit in them,
they come under the same category as "the rest of the
dead" in Revelation 20:5.
"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me
out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of
a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among
them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley,
bones that were very dry. He asked me, `Son of man, can these
bones live?' I said, 'O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.' Then
he said to me, `Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry
bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign
Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and
you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make
flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath
in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that
I am the Lord.'
So I prophesied
as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a
noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone
to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them
and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said
to me, 'Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and
say to it, `This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from
the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that
they may live.' So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath
entered them, they came to life and stood up on their feet--a
Then he said
to me: 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we
are cut off.' Therefore prophesy and say to them: `This is
what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to
open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring
you back to the land of Israel. [Why would they need land
if they are going into a short judgment and then condemnation
to hellfire?] Then you, my people, will know that I am
the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will
settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the
Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord."
[If these people are being given "their own land"
to live on, they must, by extension, be given enough time
to live on that land, all the while growing in the grace and
knowledge of the Lord--correct?]
"I will put my
Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in
your own land." This very large group of "unsaved
dead" are resurrected in a very massive physical resurrection
back to physical life and given the Holy Spirit! Revelation
20:5, 11-13 is the only other place in the Bible that mentions
the timing of a massive resurrection of people back to physical
life. Ezekiel 37:1-14, taken in context with Jesus Christ's
revelation in Revelation 20 pinpoints this resurrection as
occurring at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ and
We see that
Ezekiel 37:1-14 applies to Israel specifically. What about
the rest of the world that has lived and died before the Millennium?
Ezekiel 16:55. "When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters,
shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters
shall return to their former estate, then thou [Judah] and
thy daughters shall return to your former estate."
and Gomorrah were Gentile peoples. This scripture is saying
that when the nation of Israel talked of in Ezekiel 37:1-14
is resurrected back to life, so will the Gentiles, i.e. the
rest of the world. Also when Ezekiel 37:1-14 is added
to Revelation 20:5, it become obvious that this massive
resurrection includes "all the unsaved dead" of
not just Israel, but everyone who has ever died unsaved. The
number of people that could participate in this resurrection
could reach as high as 50 to 100 billion people! With
the world's ecosystems cleaned up and running the way God
designed them to, and with the world's agricultural systems
running in perfect harmony with nature, mankind will graphically
learn that doing things God's way really makes it possible
for the planet to support what mankind never dreamed possible!
This is only a tiny part of what these people will learn.
Having received the Holy Spirit in them (Ezekiel 37:13) they
will be learning the way of salvation. Jesus makes reference
to those in his day who did not heed him then coming up in
the judgment, back to life. Read Matthew 11:20-24 and 12:39-42.
We have 6+ billion people on earth right now. Each year 139,000,000
people are born. Every two seconds 9 people are born. God
loves everyone born into this world, past, present and future!
He loves the billions who lived before and he gave his only
Son for them also (John 3:16). Don't forget, two thirds of
man's written history is before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Think on that one for a minute. Other than a few Holy Prophets
and kings of Israel, none of these people had God's Holy Spirit
Over the entire
history of mankind billions of babies and young children have
never even lived a normal lifetime, but have had their precious
little lives prematurely snuffed out one way or another. Will
an all-merciful God give them any less than a normal lifetime
opportunity to live as Christians? We can't be really sure.
There is only one scripture that says anything that might
give us a clue as to how long a period of time the judgment
in Revelation 20:11-13 will last. But Peter makes reference
to the fact that we in the household of God are in judgment
now. How long does our "judgment" last? It lasts
for our normal physical lifetimes (Matthew 24:13 and I Peter
4:17). Remember, when we view prophecy we are looking through
the darkened glass, as Paul put it. God knows for sure. We'll
know when we can sit with Jesus at the wedding feast and ask
him. That one scripture that may or may not apply to this
question is Isaiah 65:20-24 which states, "There shall
be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath
not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years
old: but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall
plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not
build and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another
eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people,
and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They
shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for
they are the seed of the blessed Lord, and their offspring
with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call,
I will answer."
The Jews believe
that the prophecy of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14
takes place at the coming of the Messiah. This prophecy predicts
a massive resurrection back to physical life for all of Israel
that ever lived. They believe this resurrection occurs at
the Messiah's coming in glory (for Christians, the 2nd coming
of Jesus Christ), because they take these verses in context
with verses 15-28 of Ezekiel 37 (which comes under heading
of a "Day of Lord" prophecy). Verses 1-14 and 15-28
are totally different in context in what they address and
depict. But for the Jews who only believe in the veracity
of the Old Testament, their conclusions are logical, taking
one half the chapter in context with the other.
But for Christians,
we're supposed to add the Old Testament to what
Jesus said in the New Testament. The book of Revelation, called
"the Revelation of Jesus Christ" in Revelation 1:1,
is a book of prophetic timing. All the major Old Testament
prophecies--prophesied major future events--are put into their
proper time context by the book of Revelation. (Daniel is
also a book of prophetic timing that amazingly agrees with
the timing sequence of events in Revelation.)
to see WHEN the events of Ezekiel 37:1-14 occur
we have to look in the book of Revelation for a major resurrection
back to physical life. We find such a resurrection mentioned
in the 20th chapter of Revelation, verses 5, and 11-13. Revelation
20:5 says clearly, "but the rest of the dead did not
live again until the thousand years were finished..."
Revelation 20:11-13 names this resurrection as the resurrection
of the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Old Testament
prophecies of the Bible often go into greater detail of the
prophesied events while the book of Revelation goes into more
detail about the timing of these same events. To learn what's
really going to happen and when, the Old Testament prophecy
needs to be cross referenced with it's counterpart in Revelation.
So to see WHAT'S going to happen we look to
the Old Testament, and to see WHEN it's going
to occur, we look to the Book of Revelation. So, logically,
to see what occurs during the Great White Throne Judgment
we have to look to Ezekiel 37:1-14 and 16:54-55. We see that
all Israel (unconverted, of course) is resurrected back to
physical life (only physical beings need bones, sinew, tissue,
muscle and breath!). This same large group of people also
receive the Holy Spirit upon coming out of their graves (Ezekiel
37:13-14)! And thus this large group of resurrected humans
receive their first real opportunity for salvation. The rest
of mankind, as we saw earlier, also come up in this resurrection
at the same time, Ezekiel 16:54-55 and Revelation 20:5,11-13.
This is the way Jesus intended Christians to use the Book
of Revelation, to help unlock the timing of various important
Old Testament prophecies. Those who don't accept Jesus right
now don't have this vital key. Judaism falls into that category
right now, but Christians and Messianic Jewish Christians
shouldn't. So why do so few Christians understand this vital
truth about the Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Revelation 20:5,11-13?
They fail to use the key that lies in their hands properly,
under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit who
resides in them. We
Christians should be asking God to guide us in our understanding
of this matter before we do ANY more preaching to the world
in general about the subjects of "heaven, hell, and the
fate of the unsaved dead." (You preachers and pastors,
read that again. Let it sink in.)
as it appears, this is not a resurrection to damnation, but
is a resurrection of opportunity--where most of mankind receives
his first real opportunity for salvation.
influence over the entire world now is totally removed. Why?
Because Satan and his demons were permanently banished in
Revelation 20:7-10, and the timing for this massive resurrection
is after that event in Revelation 20:11-13! How wonderful
it will be for these humans who are brought back to life on
a gloriously beautiful planet in perfect harmony with nature
again. God wants all to be saved! In II Peter 3:9 it says,
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some
count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing
that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
I'm afraid we as Christians haven't yet begun to understand
the length God will go to accomplish this desire of his. The
earth will become a virtual "Garden of Eden" and
God will place all these future children of his in it. Mankind
at last will become reconciled to God. The breach that occurred
in the Garden of Eden will be totally healed for anyone who
truly desires it.
Why has God
let mankind in general be so completely deceived and ruled
over by Satan and his demons? God wants mankind to experience
the wrong way first, so that when they're resurrected back
to life, making the right choice will be real easy for them.
Comparing and choosing the right way will be real easy for
most of mankind, I'm sure. If you're not so sure, study history
for awhile and see how evil and painful man's recorded history
really is. Another reason which isn't talked about much in
the Christian church is that God does not want anyone in his
kingdom who does not thoroughly understand what kind of fruit
Satan's way of life, along with Satan's attitudes, bring in
the end, when all is said and done. That is why God's overall
plan of salvation includes man getting a huge dose of Satan
and his evil wavelength of attitudes, and his way of life.
Some people don't like history, but history is a huge lesson
in Satan's way of life, along with his evil attitudes and
what the end result is. Or else, why in the world did God,
Elohim, leave Satan and his evil demons on the earth, with
Satan himself roaming the Garden of Eden when God created
the first humans, Adam and Eve? Tell me the answer to that
one if you can. Life is one big history lesson, and in the
end, Satan and his demons are put away, and all of "unsaved
mankind" is resurrected back to life and given a chance
to really learn the gospel, all the while reflecting back
on their previous lifetime and how evil and painful it was.
Because for most, it was just that--evil and painful. By the
end of their new lives, very few won't be joyous, enthusiastic
Christians, awaiting their change to immortality. Very few
will reject Jesus. What happens to those few who do? Read
on, for hell may not even be what you've been taught.
A THIRD RESURRECTION?
THE FEW DENOMINATIONS WHICH BELIEVE MOST OF WHAT HAS BEEN
WRITTEN HERE BELIEVE SO, THINKING THIS IS THE RESURRECTION
WHERE THE INCORRIGIBLY WICKED ARE THROWN INTO HELL-FIRE, THE
LAKE OF FIRE, AND THEN SUFFER THE 2ND DEATH--A
MERCIFULLY QUICK END TO THEIR EXISTENCE. ARE THEY CORRECT?
THE ONE PLACE IN THE BIBLE WHERE THE MAJOR RESURRECTIONS ARE
MENTIONED, AND IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, IS THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER
OF REVELATION. IN REVELATION 20:14-15 WE SEE THAT EVERYONE
WHO WOULD NOT CHOOSE GOD'S WAY OVER SATAN'S WAY ARE BURNED
UP IN THE LAKE OF FIRE. THESE PEOPLE DIE, THEY DON'T REMAIN
ALIVE FOREVER BURNING IN THIS "HELL-FIRE." THIS
IS CALLED THE SECOND DEATH IN THE BIBLE. IT IS ETERNAL DEATH,
NOT ETERNAL LIFE SPENT BURNING IN HELL FIRE, JUST MERCIFUL
DEATH. Death means death. I cannot understand how some theologians
can say death really means eternal life spent in horrible
torment. But when reading Revelation 20:14-15, we have to
conclude, when added to Jesus Christ's clear statement in
John 5:28-29 and in it's cross-reference passage in Daniel
12:1-5, this is not a third resurrection at all--for there
are only two major resurrections mentioned in all the Bible.
All those not changed to immortal spirit composition at this
point enter into the period of time known as the lake of fire.
Are these the ones who were resurrected back to life in the
Great White Throne Judgment, the valley of dry bones prophecy
of Ezekiel 37:1-14??? Why would God resurrect billions of
people back to physical life and give them the Holy Spirit,
and then throw them into the lake of fire some years down
the road? Can we resolve this dilemma?
20:14-15. "Then death and Hades were thrown into the
lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's
name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown
into the lake of fire." By what we have seen, everyone
resurrected in this second resurrection is given an allotted
period of time to "grow in the grace and knowledge of
Jesus Christ" and be saved. Those who haven't accepted
Jesus Christ and met this criteria obviously don't have their
names written in the book of life or have them erased, whatever
the case may be.
gives a pretty good description of the type of people that
will go into the lake of fire. It is found in II Peter 2:1-22
and 3:1-13. Of course, there are people in this world right
now who have this attitude and who have had this attitude
in past history by nature, people who are not presently or
who weren't presently called to a knowledge of salvation.
They all will be coming up in the 2nd resurrection and will
have their chance to repent. But people who have had God's
Holy Spirit offered to them and then rejected that call and
Spirit, if they don't repent of that, will end up in this
lake of fire. Those who fit this category at the end of the
period of the 2nd resurrection will live on into this period
of time and suffer the same fate, going into the lake of fire.
That is what the prophecies clearly seem to indicate when
all is taken into account.
II Peter 2:1-22.
"But there were also false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you. They will
secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the
sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction
on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will
bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these
teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.
Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their
destruction has not been sleeping. For God did not spare angels
when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into
gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; [this word "hell"
in the Greek "Tartaru" is not the Gehenna fire of
Revelation 20 nor is it Hades, but a place of restraint] if
he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood
on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness,
and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example
of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued
Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives
of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them
day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the
lawless deeds he saw and heard)--if this is so, then the Lord
knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the
unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their
punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the
corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant,
these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet
even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful,
do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in
the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters
they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures
of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like
beasts they too will perish.
be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their
idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are
blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they
feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop
sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed--an
accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered
off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the
wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing
by a donkey--who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the
are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest
darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful
words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human
nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those
who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves
are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever
has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the
world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are
again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at
the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been
better for them not to have known the way of righteousness,
than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the
sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs
are true: `A dog returns to its vomit,' and `A sow that is
washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.'" This
group will be resurrected in the 2nd resurrection
also, where the Lord will continue to work with them, since
we have proven this resurrection is one of opportunity and
decision. They will find it harder to turn around and grow
in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, just as Jesus
said it would be for the Pharisees of his day.
I think you
can see why God in his mercy has not called the majority of
mankind to a saving knowledge of him, and won't do so until
Satan is locked away and removed permanently from influencing
them. God wants the majority to have the best opportunity
to achieve salvation and eternal life!
II Peter 3:3-13.
"First of all, you must understand that in the last days
scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil
desires. They will say, `Where is this `coming' he promised?
Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has
since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget
that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth
was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also
the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same
word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire,
being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly
men. [Peter is projecting way forward beyond the 2nd coming
to the lake of fire of Revelation 20:14-15 and the remaking
of heaven and earth of Revelation 21:1.]
But do not
forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is
like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand
slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day
of the Lord will come like a thief. [There are two fulfillment's
of the "day of the Lord," one at his 2nd coming,
and the final fulfillment at the 2nd death, when as Peter
now describes, the heavens and the earth are melted down.]
The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will
be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will
be laid bare." [The King James states, "and the
elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and
the works that are therein shall be burned up."] "Since
everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people
ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as
you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That
day will bring about destruction of the heavens by fire, and
the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his
promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,
the home of righteousness." This directly cross references
to Revelation 21:1. PLANET EARTH IS OBVIOUSLY MELTED DOWN
TO BE RECREATED AT THE SAME TIME THE UNIVERSE IS MELTED DOWN
AND RECREATED. WHAT'S NEXT?
will go to hell? Who
is in hell--some of our loved ones, our enemies? It may
indicate that hell is not what most people and Christian
religious organizations have imagined. This may be what the Bible reveals is true about
the subject of Hell [as taught by some Sabbatarian Christian
churches]. The subject of hell has been a most misunderstood
subject, for every Christian group seems to have a different
interpretation of what Hell is (as we just read in the previous
Over Hell"--written by Keith Stump!).
I brought out, almost all the various Christian Churches
and fellowships have differing interpretations of what they
think Hell is and who really goes there--and why.
Is hell a literal place, a geographical place or
location? Is it somewhere in the interior of the earth,
as many believe? Or
is it in remote space, say in a black hole?
Or does the word "hell" refer
to a troubled mental state found here on this earth. Or does "hell" refer to the troubled
spirits of deceased people who did not go to heaven upon
death? Some Christian denominations and fellowships
take the parables of Lazarus literally, and believe just
that. Others look to other scriptures which paint
a somewhat different picture.
What follows is one of those different pictures.
It is well worth looking at because differing and
wrong beliefs in this area have caused Christianity's collective
preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to the world to be
seriously hindered. Unconverted
mankind may be ignorant of the things of God as Paul says in I Corinthians 2. But unconverted mankind isn't stupid. They know disunity when they see it. Every child ever born knows when his or her
parents are in disagreement about something.
People learn early-on how to spot disunity because
they learn to spot it in the home!
So every single area where the differing Christian
fellowships can agree on a doctrine but don't' agree, is
an area where mankind can point at us and with laughter
and scorn. It doesn't hurt us as individuals as much as
it hurts and cripples our efforts to preach the gospel to
the world! So don't be selfish and put this aside, thinking
"I know what I believe"--this isn't important to my salvation. And yes, compared to the saving knowledge of
the gospel of Christ, this is secondary knowledge. But achieving unity in some of these secondary
areas may affect the future salvation of others.
A survey once showed that 78 percent of
Americans believed in heaven, but only 60 percent believed
in the reality of a hell.
Why all this difference in percentages?
Probably because many of those who believe in a heaven
cannot bring themselves to think that an all-merciful and
loving God would condemn anyone to a place of ETERNAL TORMENT--No
matter how evil that person was.
DO CLERGYMEN THINK?
theologians today do not believe in a literal hell, but
believe that "hell is a separation from God--not really
torture, but mental torment." Some believe that when the unsaved die, their
spirit wanders in this state of mental torment until the
Great White Throne Judgment, when they are then resurrected
back to physical life in physical bodies and then thrown
into Gehenna Fire, where their torment ends. As we saw in Ezekiel 37:1-14, the Bible seems
to indicate that this is not an accurate picture of what
takes place after this massive resurrection back to physical
life occurs. Ezekiel 37:1-14 indicates that a massive group
of people, all of unsaved
Israel that ever lived are resurrected back to physical
life, where they are then given My Spirit [a direct reference
by God to His Holy Spirit], and then given lands to live
in. The only massive
resurrection back to physical life that the Bible mentions
anywhere else (Revelation 20:5, 11-13) is the Great White
Throne Judgment. So why in the world would a loving God allow
the disembodied spirits to wander around the world in mental
torment and then be resurrected back into a world that God
has turned into a paradise during the Millenium?
This is a very good question, plain statements of
the Bible tend to shoot the disembodied spirits scenario
in the foot, so to speak.
These are all secondary issues, when compared to
the gospel of Christ which is the specific knowledge of
salvation. But this
secondary knowledge is
mighty important in shaping our approach toward what and
how we preach "this gospel of the kingdom" to
the world, which Jesus said we Christians would do just
before his glorious return (Matthew 24:14).
One theologian, Clark H. Pinnock, theology professor
at McMaster Divinity College
Ontario, asked "How can Christians possibly
project a deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness"
as to inflict "everlasting torture upon his creatures,
however sinful they may have been?"
He said that a God who would do such a thing is "more
nearly like Satan than like God." Is this theologian correct in his judgment of
what many Christians take
on what "hell" is, and how God will administer
it to the unsaved dead?
Then there are those theologians who view
hell as "the loss of communication, insensitivity to
spiritual values, the realization of how far short of our
capabilities we have fallen, the memory of some of the things
we have done." They don't say as to whether they think those
suffering with these thoughts are wandering spirits of individuals
who never accepted Jesus Christ.
VI stated that "those who refuse the love of God are
going to the fire that is not extinguished ("Credo
of the People of God", issued June 30, 1968).
So that spells out the basic belief of the Catholic
Church, a major Christian denomination.
Americana states: "As generally understood, hell
is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions...whither
lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable
torments and eternal punishments." Some have thought of it as a place created by
God, where He punishes, with inconceivable severity, and
throughout all eternity, the souls of those who through
unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered
Him, a place of Divine revenge, untempered and never-ending.
This has been the idea most generally held by Evangelical
Christians, Catholics, and Protestants alike.
It is also the idea embodied in the Mohammedans'
conception.The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu,
Persian, Egyptian, Grecian, and Christian theologians are
essentially the same. (from the article on "Hell").
But the big question is "Why do people believe
what they believe?" Where does this concept really come from?
Does is come from the Bible, as most Christians assume?
Assuming can be dangerous.
FROM THE PHILOSOPHERS
few influential men since the time of Christ left writings
and teachings that became so universally believed that they
became accepted doctrine of the Christian world. One of
the most important of these influential writers was Augustine
who (even though he was a Christian) reasoned that there
should be a temporary cleansing of imperfect souls in purgatorial
fire. He, like many other early Christian theologians,
was influenced by "pre-Christian doctrine" [doesn't
Revelation 2 and 3 preach against this "pre-Christian"
doctrine?]--the doctrine of the ancient pagan philosophers--and
other early church fathers (see Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition,
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) wrote a tremendously
popular poem, La Divina
Commedia, in three parts--Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. "Of all poets of modern times," says
a modern author, "Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the
greatest educator. He
possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization
than any other man since his day.[He] wrote.an imaginative
and lurid account of a dismal journey through a lurid hell--a
long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the
attention of the world, such as 'All hope abandon here,
Ye, who enter here'" (Thomas N. Page, Dante
and His Influence, pp. 3,7).
This Dante is reported to have been so
fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies
of the philosophers Plato and Virgil that he believed they
were divinely inspired. But who were Plato and Virgil?
Says the Encyclopedia Americana:
"Virgil, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. belonged
to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced
by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante,
believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration."
Plato, a Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., was a
student of the renowned Socrates.
Plato's famous literary work Phaedo
taught the immortality of the soul--the foundation for
other writings on the doctrine of an eternal hell where
wicked souls are supposedly punished forever.
Apparently if this is the main source of Christianity's
concept of eternal punishment in hell, Christianity had
better take a long hard look at every scrap of Biblical
teaching it can find on eternal rewards and punishments,
and then re-orient it's beliefs according to God's Word
completely, no matter what the consequences. But these concepts, even if totally wrong in
the minds of believing Christians, will in no way stop God
from bestowing Eternal life on the believer.
But these wrong concepts must be corrected before
we can have an affective work of preaching the gospel Jesus
wants us to preach to the unconverted world (over 6+ billion
strong at this point in time!).
This takes us into the next area.
WHAT ABOUT THE BILLIONS OF MANKIND?
we examine the Bible to see whether the common ideas about
hell could possibly be true, let us carry this concept of
hell to its logical conclusion.
On this earth there are more than over
six billion people. The
most populous lands are China,
India and other parts of Asia. But in spite of the efforts of Western missionaries
(who are very sincere and zealous in their efforts to fulfill
Matthew 28:18-20), more than half of all the people on the
earth have never so much as heard the name of Jesus Christ--the
only name by which men may be saved (Acts 4:12).
In the past, literally billions of people
on this earth have lived and died without having known anything
about salvation--without ever so much as having seen a Bible. As a matter of fact the full Bible wasn't complete
until some years after 90 A.D., and wasn't printed for general
distribution until Gutenberg invented the printing press
in the 1400's! The Bible never saw widespread printing in the
language of the common people until the 1600's, although
Peter de Waldo did produce hand-written copies of it in
the vernacular French and Spanish during the 1100's.
Much of mankind, historically, has remained ignorant
of God's Word, and thus of the true path to salvation through
Jesus Christ. Much
of this is through no fault of mankind.
Much fewer people have had adequate exposure to God's
Word for a decent chance to obtain a saving knowledge of
the way of salvation than one would expect. The number of people who reach this knowledge
and properly apply it has always been relatively small by
comparison to the world population of any period one may
be looking at. If you don't believe, me, then study history--both
Christian and secular.
Now think what all this means. If all unbelievers go immediately to a fiery
hell at death--or into some limbo of a spirit world where
mental torment reigns--the two concepts of hell commonly
believed in--then more than half of the people who have
ever lived on this earth [and my estimate, being an avid
student of history, is more along the lines of 85 percent!]
have been consigned to this terrible punishment--and they
are there, now, without ever having had a chance to escape
Can you really believe that is the product
of the mind of an all-wise, all-merciful loving God???
We face these alternatives: Either the
Creator reveals the truth on this subject in his inspired
Word, or else we must confess we just don't know.
Either we believe what the Bible says, or we must--if
we are rational and honest--admit ignorance.
What does God say about hell in the Bible?
You may surprised.
SPOKE OF "HELL FIRE"
punishment did Christ warn would ultimately befall those
who refuse to quit sinning?
Mark 9:43 (He obviously did not mean we should literally
cut off parts of our bodies, but rather stop using them
to commit sin.) "And if your hand makes you sin, cut
it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed,
than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that
shall never be quenched--where 'their worm does not die
and the fire is not quenched." and so on and so on,
goes the thought through verse 48. The word "Hell" is an English word.
When Mark recorded Christ's words, he wrote them
in the Greek language. The
Greek word translated "hell" which Mark was inspired
to write down, is gehenna. Since in this verse Christ says the sinner is
"to go into the fire," it follows that those who
go to gehenna will receive punishment by fire.
Keep in mind, then, that Christ associated the Greek
word gehenna with
The English Word "Hell" Has
A Dictionary of the
Bible, edited by James Hastings, it has this to say
about "hell" in the Old and New Testaments.
Keep in mind as you read this that the Old Testament
was originally written in the Hebrew language, and that
the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language.
says: "In our Authorized Version the word "hell"
is unfortunately used as the rendering of three distinct
words with different ideas [or meanings].
It represents (1) the 'sheol'
of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the 'hades'
of.the New Testament..It is now an entirely misleading rendering,
especially in the New Testament passages.
The English revisers, therefore, have substituted
'Hades' [going back to the original Greek word] for "hell"
in the New Testament..In the American Revision the word
"hell" is entirely discarded in this connection..
"The word "hell" is used
(2) as equivalent to [the Greek word] 'tartaros'.in
II Peter 2:4.[and] (3).as the equivalent of [the Greek word]
So we see that the real meanings of three
different Greek words--hades
(equivalent to the Hebrew sheol
of the Old Testament, tartaros
and gehenna--have been confused with each other
because translators have attempted to make the one English
word "hell" cover the definitions of all three
words. No wonder millions have been confused about
What do these three words really mean?
The Old Testament word sheol and the New Testament Greek word
hades mean the same thing--simply the grave.
These words have been correctly translated as "grave"
in many places in the Bible. However, these words have also been translated
"Hell" is an old English word.
More than 350 years ago, when the Authorized Version
was translated, the people of England commonly talked of "putting
their potatoes in hell for the winter"--a good way
of preserving potatoes--for the word meant merely a hole
in the ground that was covered up--a dark and silent place--a
grave. But misconceptions
caused people to misapply the old English word "hell"
to the lurid imaginations of Dante.
The second Greek word, tartaros, occurs as a verb form in the
New Testament. It
is found only in II Peter 2:4, where it has been translated
into the English expression "cast.down to hell."
Tartaros does not refer to humans, but
to the restrained condition of fallen angels (or demons). Its meaning, translated into English, is "darkness
of the material universe," "dark abyss" or
But what about gehenna? This Greek word is
derived from the name of the narrow, rocky Valley
of Hinnom, which
lies just outside of Jerusalem. It was the place where refuse was burned up.
Trash, filth, and the dead bodies of animals and
despised criminals were thrown into the fires of gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnom. Ordinarily, everything thrown into this valley
was destroyed by fire--completely burned up. Therefore, Christ used gehenna to picture the fate of unrepentant sinners.
Two Different "Hells"
many of the passages of the New Testament where we see the
word "hell," the Greek word is not gehenna. Often it is hades--which does not refer to fire at all, but to a grave--a hole
in the ground. Yet
the translators have confused and obscured the two entirely
different meanings of these words by indiscriminately rendering
them both by the same English word "hell."
Let's study the proof.
What did Jesus say
about "hell" in Luke 12:5?
""But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power
to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" If you were to look up the Greek word that is
here translated into the English word "hell,"
you would find it is gehenna.
remember, is the place where dead bodies were thrown and
destroyed by fire.
2. How is the same English word "hell"
used in Acts 2:31? "he
foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the
Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His
flesh see corruption."
[New King James Version has properly switched the
translation back from Hell, which was a proper 1611 rendering
of Hades, to Hades."] Hades means the grave, as its usage in this
verse clearly shows. WE
can plainly see that the English word "hell" can
have different meanings. So when we come to the word "hell"
in the New Testament (except in II Peter 2:4), we must keep
in mind these two vastly different meanings and carefully
determine by the context whether it refers to destruction
by fire, or the grave where the dead lie buried.
you're in doubt about the intended meaning of the word "hell"
in the New Testament, look it up in an exhaustive concordance,
such as Strong's or
Young's, to see which Greek word it was
translated from, and hence its true meaning.
Where to After
According to this verse found in the Bible, when
a person dies and is buried in his grave, he knows absolutely
nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
He merely lies quietly and silently there as in a
"sleep," totally oblivious to everything.
briefly examine several scriptures that illustrate this
one things befalls both men and beasts?
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6. "For the living know that
they will die; but the dead know nothing.
And they have no more reward.
For the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have
now perished." This
indicates that even conscious thought ceases when one dies. This scripture would indicate that the spirits
of the dead are not conscious.
The spirit in man gives man his intelligence and
mind-power to comprehend the things of a man [i.e. Algebra,
history, languages, things a cow or turkey or dog have no comprehension
of.] This verse indicates
all conscious thought ceases when life ceases--no wandering
spirits of the deceased in mental anguish for all eternity,
as some interpret, or until they're resurrected in the Great
White Throne Judgment, as others interpret.
Now let's turn to Ecclesiastes 3:19-20. "For
what happens to the sons of men also happens to beasts;
one thing befalls them; as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no
advantage over beasts, for all is vanity.
All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all
return to dust." Now
verse 21 gets interesting.
The spirit of man, and the spirit of or in beasts
is mentioned. "Who knows the spirit of the sons of
men, which goes upward [upon the death of the person], and
the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth?"
[And this Scripture indicates the spirit of "all"
dead people goes "upward" (obviously to God for
safe keeping).] I Corinthians 2:11 sheds a little more light
on this "spirit in or of man."
"For what man knows the things of a man except
the spirit of the man which is in him?."
The Bible, if you honestly research the subject of
the spirit of man or spirit in man, indicates that this
spirit in man,
this human spirit, is what grants mankind human intelligence,
as opposed to animal intelligence, which is much lower.
In modern terms, this spirit component is like the
software that gives your computer it's intelligence,
it's computing power. Computer's
analyze data, which can come in from various sources, the
keyboard, the phone modem, etc.
Our data comes in through our five senses, touch,
smell, sight, hearing and taste.
Obviously, the power or mental software which gives
us the ability to process data comes from this spirit
in man which God puts there.
The book of Ecclesiastes, part of the Word of God,
says this spirit in man, ceases to function upon the death
of an individual, and that it goes back to God. It does not say only the spirit of good
people goes back to God.
It says this spirit in man for every human being, goes
back to God upon death, and that all conscious thought ceases. That is what the Bible appears to teach on this
subject. Some fellowships
believe differently based upon their interpretation of the
parable of Lazarus and the rich man.
We'll get to that one a little later.
Genesis 3:19. "By the sweat of your brow you
will eat your food until you return to the ground, since
from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you
there any remembrance of God in death?
Psalm 6:5. "For in death there is no remembrance
of You; In the grave who will give you thanks?"
Now there are certain fellowships which say that
Solomon spiritually lost it before he died and so what he
wrote is subject to question. For one thing, God is the One who decides what
writings are inspired and belong in His Word. But if you insist on following your own reasoning
and think Solomon was a disqualified writer, then David
cannot be put in that category.
He died a righteous man in God's eyes on all counts.
He basically re-iterates what Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes
about the dead knowing nothing after death.
place does God say man goes to when he dies?
Ecclesiastes 9:10. "Whatever your hand finds
to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device
or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going."
Word (Logos) became
Jesus by the act of incarnation.
Jesus was God incarnate--God made of flesh (John
1:14). Did he share
the same mortal flesh of which we are composed? Hebrews 2:14. "Since the children have
flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that
by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of
death--that is the devil."
And did he also go to the grave as other mortal
men do? Acts 2:31.
"For he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection
of Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did
His flesh see corruption."
The Greek word in Acts 2:31 is hades which, as you now know, means the
did not see corruption (did not decompose in the grave)
because he was resurrected after three days and three nights.
While in this section of Acts, let's look a couple of verses.
Let's combine them, and see what they appear to tell
us. Concerning what
we learned about the righteous dead being resurrected to
glory in the first resurrection which Paul
described in I Corinthians 15, they make sense.
Acts 2:29,34. "'Men and brethren, let me speak
freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead
and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.For David
did not ascend into
what these scriptures indicate is true, the
spirit in man, or the spirit of man is not a conscious
entity, but just the spirit software that God places in
every person, probably at conception. Yes, as Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes, it goes
back to God, in the third heaven, but no it is not conscious. It merely holds all the memories and the exact
image of what that person was.
Then in one of the two major resurrections, God will
use that spirit software that was in the person
to reconstruct that person physically, as in the description
found in Ezekiel 37:1-14 or into a Spirit body, as described
in I Corinthians 15:49-54. This is what we've just seen in scripture. Now let us cut to the quick, so to speak, and
turn to the area in scripture most frequently used by those
who hold to the spirits of those who die either wander
in mental torment, or if righteous, go to be with the Lord
God in the third heaven.
As we saw in Ecclesiastes, the spirit in every person
'rises to God in heaven.' So the wandering spirit theory seems to get
blasted right there. Other
groups also use the Lazarus parable of Jesus to prove there
is an eternal hell fire of the Dante's Inferno type.
The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
What lesson did Jesus intend to illustrate
by this oft-misunderstood parable (found in Luke 16:19-31)? Let us carefully study this entire parable,
comparing it with other crystal-clear scriptures.
Did Lazarus--a poor but righteous man--die?
Was he later carried by angels to "Abraham's
16:22. "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried
by the angels to Abraham's bosom.
The rich man also died and was buried."
there are two ways we can look at this parable--literally
or figuratively. The scriptures of the Old Testament, when added
to I Corinthians 15:49-54 and Revelation 20:5,11-13, and
Revelation 20:14-15 indicate 1) the dead know nothing until
they are resurrected back to life.
The righteous dead will be in the first resurrection
to immortality. The
unrighteous dead or unsaved dead will all come up in the
general resurrection at the period of time spoken of in
Revelation 20:11-13 as the Great White Throne Judgment.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 fleshes out the skimpy details of
this resurrection and shows us two things: 1. They will
all be given God's Holy Spirit.
2. The will be given lands, beautiful farmlands,
to live out their lives on. 2) Then all who remain unrepentant go into the
"Lake of Fire", as indicated by Revelation 20:14-15. No third resurrection is spoken of anywhere
in the Bible, so obviously all who don't repent remain on
earth as physical humans.
God then proceeds to make the new heavens and new
earth by setting them all on fire and melting them down,
referred to in II Peter 3:10-11 and Revelation 20:14-15
and 21:1. All those whom God has not changed and given
new Spirit bodies will perish in the fire God is using to
make the new heavens and new earth, obviously.
all related Scriptures in both Old and New Testaments together
indicates the Lazarus parable of Jesus was meant to be taken
figuratively. The parable itself fits right into Greek mythological
thought about their own beliefs about Hades, a place of
torment for the dead. If
we are to take the parable in a figurative sense, then we
must realize that Jesus was being a bit tongue-in-cheek
about the Greek interpretation of Hades to make a point. But also knowing that everyone reads and sees
the various scriptures in slightly different ways, he obviously
knew he would be allowing for division in his body of believers
who would make up his Church.
But this division isn't over the primary knowledge
of salvation for those that are saved, but a secondary area,
the area of the unsaved dead.
Remember, a good 85 percent of all who have ever
lived have never known God or his Word and Jesus Christ,
nor have they had an adequate opportunity to know God. Jesus is the door to Eternal Salvation! He didn't arrive on the world scene until four
thousand years had elapsed after the creation of man. The Church was founded two thousand years ago.
At least 85 percent of the known world from then
to now never responded to the message, which really hasn't
been all that available until modern printing arrived, and
even then the availability wasn't like it is today through
the modern media tools and information transfer systems!
This is also Satan's world right now.
He is the unseen ruler of the world, and in Matthew
4 he offered the nations of the world to Jesus Christ if
He would only bow down to him and serve him. Jesus didn't correct Satan in his statement
of ownership of the nations of the world.
God's redemptive plan for all of mankind doesn't
really kick into passing gear until after Jesus arrives
back on earth and locks up Satan and his demons in the bottomless
pit, the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3).
why would Jesus want the various members or fellowships
that compose his body of believers to remain divided over
the two thousand year period from his first arrival to his
second arrival? Satan
knows that when Matthew 24:14 is accomplished the gig is
up for him and his demon empire!
But as long as all the various Holy Spirit led Christian
fellowships that make up the collective body of Christ are
in disunity over such issues as Eternal rewards, heaven
and hell, and what the gospel message Matthew 24:14 is supposed
to be composed of, then that Matthew 24:14 gospel has no
way of being powerfully and collectively preached by the
body of Christ! It's
like a massive chess game between Satan and God. Satan knows the Word of God as well if not better
than we do. He knows
what he must do to prevent Matthew 24:14 from ever happening. Disunity of beliefs destroys effectiveness of
collective preaching, and the effectiveness of the message
being given to non-believers.
Satan isn't stupid, be we Christians have been, in
not understanding Satan's devises.
Jesus has allowed for this division within his
body, until He wants to end it.
Most of Christianity takes the Lazarus parable totally
literally, with all of its Greek mythological overtones
included. If taken
literally, all other related scriptures which may modify
this parable, giving it a different meaning, have to be
ignored, which isn't a sound method of Biblical interpretation.
If taken literally, not allowing for any modification
of meaning by the rest of the Bible scriptures relating
to this subject the parable has this meaning:
The spirit in man remains
conscious after death. The
good ones go to heaven to be with the Lord, and the unrepentant
ones wander the earth in mental torment until the 2nd
resurrection. [But why would God then resurrect them all (Revelation
20:5,11-13), give them beautiful farmland, and give them
all His Holy Spirit?] Then
sometime after the Great White Throne Judgment God will
then proceed to burn up all the unrepentant.
(There is possibly one other reason Jesus has allowed
Christians to believe that all the "unsaved dead"
go into eternal torment--that this belief is a motivator
to preaching the gospel around the world.
The central question now is--should we allow a flawed
teaching to be our primary motivation for wanting to see
humanity saved now before a horrible World War III?)
Hades is a place where
the unrepentant spirits of man wander in torment and anguish,
even flame (Luke 16:23). [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-14.]
The dead go there upon
their death, immediately (Luke 16:27-29.)
Notice Jesus never said this was a place of eternal
torment, but just a place of torment (vs. 28).
parable: Luke 16:19-31
(New King James Version). "There was a certain rich
man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously
every day.  But
there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores,
who was laid at his gate, [21`] desiring to be fed with
the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table.
Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried
by the angels to Abraham's bosom [this would have to be
the spirit of Lazarus, as he does not receive his new Spirit
body until the time of Jesus' return (I Corinthians 15:49-54).]
 And then being in torments in Hades, [this is definitely
a Greek mythological view of Hades.
Were the Greeks right? Or was Jesus just making a figurative point?]
he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus
in his bosom.  Then he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham,
have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip
of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented
in this flame.'  But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that
in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise
Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are
tormented.'  'And besides all this, between us and you
there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass
from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to
us.'  Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that
you would send him to my father's house,  for I have
five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also
come to this place of torment.'  Abraham said to him,
'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'
[Now almost all the children of Israel directly under Moses
in the Sinai did not possess the Holy Spirit, the Spirit
of God. Go and look up the incident where Moses cried
to God about being all alone and needing some assistance. God granted that seventy elders would receive
His Spirit. Two of
these seventy couldn't be present.
But God nonetheless granted them his Spirit.
They went about the camp prophesying.
Joshua then asked Moses, "Should I go out and
stop them?" Moses reply was telling. "God forbid! I wish that all of Israel had the Spirit of
God in them!" So
apparently 'the time Moses and the prophets' was not a door
to salvation for most of Israel, only for a select few whom
God chose to call.]  And he said, 'No, father Abraham;
but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'
 But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and
the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one
rise from the dead.'"
this parable is to be taken figuratively, as it is indicated
when all the other related scriptures pertaining to eternal
reward and punishments are put together, then this is how
the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man should be interpreted:
"If we are Christ's, we become heirs with Abraham to
receive the promises God made to him (Galatians 3:29).
Through faith we
all become the spiritual "children of Abraham"
(verse 7). This is an intimate relationship--a close or
bosom relationship, spiritually speaking--with Abraham. We are to be in close contact with him in sharing
eternal life. This
is the sense in which righteous Lazarus was taken to "Abraham's
bosom" if we are taking this parable figuratively and
When, then, will Abraham and the Lazarus
of Jesus' parable actually receive the promises? The answer given in the Bible is that Abraham
and the saints--his spiritual "seed"--will inherit
the promises at the resurrection of the just, when Jesus
returns to earth (cf. I Corinthians 15:49-54; Revelation
19, 20:4; 11:15-18).
The word "hell" [in the King
James Bible] used here is translated from the Greek word
hades, which we know means the "grave." It is not from the Greek word gehenna, which represents the future lake
of fire that will destroy the wicked forever. The rich man is pictured after he has come out
of his grave through a resurrection and some time afterward
(if he remains unrepentant) enters into the lake of fire.
This phrase depicts Abraham and Lazarus
having already inherited eternal life in God's kingdom (Matthew
25:34). They are pictured as having been immortal for
more than 1,000 years before the wicked rich man is resurrected. Then if he remains unrepentant, then at the
time God makes the new heavens and new earth, he will be
burned up in the lake of fire which the earth will become--i.e.
the whole earth will be engulfed in fire, the very rocks
will become molten, like in a volcano. At this time the rich man will see the flames
of the lake of fire beginning to surround him.
If Revelation 20:14-15 is a reality, he will then
die in this lake. No more eternal torment. No eternal torment at all, just merciful death.
The great "gulf" between the two represents
the difference between mortality and immortality.
Those who will have been made immortal shall never
die because they will have inherited eternal life.
Abraham and Lazarus are pictured on the immortal
side of this gulf--the rich man on the mortal side, facing
imminent eternal death by fire.
The parable graphically illustrates the
rich man wanting to have his relatives warned (verses 27-28),
not realizing how much time has already elapsed since he
died. They in all
probability will have arisen at the same time as him, thinking
all their hope is lost (Ezekiel 37:11), which is the first
conscious thought-reaction we see in the people rising up
in the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy of Ezekiel 37:1-14.
Proper discernment of God's Holy Scripture must include
all scriptures relating
to a subject, as God pointed out through the prophet Isaiah
in Isaiah 28:9-10,11-13.
God put the Bible in a form of code, so the unbelieving
masses would go on their merry way, never comprehending
until they had a chance to learn just how awful Satan's
way really is. You
learn by eating the fruit in this world.
The true lessons of man's horrible history will not
be comprehended by all until God brings all the unsaved
up in this massive general resurrection of the dead, where
all can compare notes and realize just how bad it truly
was. Jesus Christ and we will then instruct them
and help them learn by eating the fruit of God's way of
life (Ezekiel 37:13-14).
But when we as Christians don't fully follow the
code-breaking formula outlined in Isaiah 28:9-10, then our
proper understanding of God's Word stumbles also, as verses
11-13 so graphically predict will happen to anyone not following
it. Like scripture must be added to like scripture,
here a "little and there a little" to gain the
proper Bible definition on any one doctrine in the Bible.
When we fail to do this our understanding in that
particular area or doctrine "stumbles and falls backward"
just as it does for those unbelievers in Satan's world.
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man does
not prove eternal punishing by God in hell fire if all the
other related scriptures on eternal rewards and punishments
are included in the mix. If the parable is left by itself, with no other
related scriptures added to it to properly modify it's intended
meaning, then yes, it would tend to lend support to an eternal
torment of lost souls (spirit component of the deceased),
until the Great White Throne Judgment. And then these lost souls would be resurrected
and burned into nothingness, by an apparently cruel and
vindictive God. Many
people can't bring themselves to believe in such a God,
but most Christians today don't know what else to believe
simply because they have not done an exhaustive study on
the whole subject, including all the related scriptures
on the subject. Adding all the related scriptures on the subject
indicates that Jesus used this short illustration to picture
to his listeners the reality of the resurrection from the
dead of both the righteous and the wicked.
He was picturing the resurrection to eternal life
as contrasted with the ultimate fate of the wicked--death
for all eternity for those who will live on into the period
when this planet will be set afire and melted down along
with the whole vast universe (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:1).
do so many people have a false concept of hell?
I believe I have pretty well explained that. When you add like scripture to like scripture
for all the scriptures dealing with eternal rewards and
punishments you come up with a thorough understanding of
God's master plan of salvation. When you don't follow this process of Isaiah
28:9-10, verses 11-13 you get a faulty picture--an inaccurate
God has no desire to torment or to torture
anyone. God is love
if we are to believe what the apostle John said in 1 John
4:8. He created us mortal. He will condemn no one because of ignorance,
and will see to it that every person ultimately learns the
truth and has a real opportunity for salvation upon sincere
repentance, no matter how terrible his or her sins have
been. To say any
less is a denial of the Grace of God given through the sacrifice
of Jesus Christ.
God is "longsuffering to us-ward,
not willing that any should perish, but that all should
come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).
The ones who accept Jesus and live a life
walking in the Spirit will be given the free gift of eternal
life. But the unbelieving disobedient must pay the
"wages" they have earned, since they have not
desired the precious Blood of the Lamb to cover them and
their sins. It is
the final or second death--death in the lake of fire. These are the two alternatives God places before
each of us and that is just what he is trying to illustrate
to us in the parable.
a Christian is free to believe either way on this issue
about "hell," realize these differing views color
our gospel witness to the yet unconverted world being held
captive by Satan. This
interferes with the effectiveness of that gospel message. Believing in a literal or figurative interpretation
of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man and all the accompanying
different views on eternal rewards and punishments will
not hinder ones receiving eternal life in the resurrection
to immortality! This is what makes it a secondary issue for
the saved. If you
wish to keep believing the parable is to be taken literally,
that won't effect your salvation is Christ.
Individuals and even whole Christian fellowships
and denominations may continue to take the parable literally. Jesus just won't be able to use any of us as
effectively in accomplishing Matthew 24:14, for our differing
interpretations on "hell" will be hindering our
efforts. Therefore it's time for the body of Christ to
hammer this one out and come to some Jesus Christ inspired
conclusion under the direct influence and guidance of the
Holy Spirit, following the sound guidelines God gave us
for scriptural discernment in Isaiah 28:9-13.
RESURRECTED TO JUDGMENT
may have heard that some ministers preach that unbelievers
go directly to hell fire when they die.
If there is a place of eternal torment, this teaching
would mean they are condemned to a fiery inferno formally judged and sentenced.
That would be worse than our own imperfect criminal
justice systems we have on earth today!
Let's notice when and how the dead will be judged.
Is there to be a future
resurrection to judgment of the unsaved dead? John 5:28-29. (The word "damnation"
in the Authorized Version--verse 29--is correctly rendered
as "judgment" in most modern translations, and
is literally interpreted from the Greek word meaning "discernment."
This accurate rendering is further proof that the
unsaved dead are not being tormented in a fiery hell.
They are now dead.
But there is coming a time ("the hour is coming,"
said Jesus) when they will be resurrected for judgment.
"Do not marvel at this: for the hour is coming
in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and
come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection
of life [cf. I Corinthians 15:49-54), and those who have
done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [Strongs
#2920: krisis: decision (for or against).]
2)Do the first
sentence of Revelation 20:5 and verses 11-12 also prove
there is to be a future resurrection to judgment?
(Note that the first sentence in verse 5 is a parenthetical
statement inserted within verses 4-6, which describe the
"But the rest of the dead did not live again
until the thousand years were finished.[11-13]Then I saw
a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face
the earth and heaven fled away.
And there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before
God, and books were opened. And another book was opened which is the Book
of Life. [In ancient
Greece, every city had a Book of Life, which had recorded
every living person in it. When a person died, his name was removed from
the Book of Life.] And
the dead were judged according to their works, by the things
which were written in the books.
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death
and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one of them according
to their works."
Some of the dead--the "dead in Christ"--will
be resurrected to eternal life in the first resurrection at Christ's second coming (I Corinthians 15:49-54;
I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
But the "rest of the dead" will not live
again for a thousand years. They will then be resurrected to mortal life.
These are the unsaved dead who will rise in the second
resurrection to be "judged."
White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-13 is
the period when the vast majority of mankind (the dead,
and most who are now alive) will be resurrected and given
their first real opportunity to learn about God's redemptive
Plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ. They will come to know Jesus and learn of his
ways in a graphic personal way as they never had the opportunity
to do so before, being held captive under Satan's deceptive
sway and deception. These billions--some estimate as many as 50
to 100 billion strong--are those who never heard or understood
God's way of life due to Satan's deception.
What does Revelation 12:9 say about Satan?
"So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent
of old, called the Devil and Satan, who
deceived the whole world; he was cast to the earth,
and his angels were cast out with him."
Think about this. All Israel with the exception of a few righteous
people, were unsaved. They
died in their sins. The
apostle Paul addressed this matter in Romans 11 where he said,
"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery,
brothers, so that you may not be conceited [the other time
Paul uses this
phrase is to describe a major resurrection from the dead]:
Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full
number of the Gentiles has come in.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godliness
away from Jacob. And
this is my covenant when I take away their sins [Isa. 59:20-21;
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies
on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they
are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts
and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient
to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,
so they too have now become disobedient in order that they
too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to
you. For God has
bound ALL MEN over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on THEM
last sentence is very interesting.
Let us see what it might mean.
We're not taking Paul and God literally enough in this statement.
The way we Christians have interpreted this scripture
(Romans 11:32) is "God has bound all men over to disobedience
so that he may have mercy on 20 percent or less of them
all!" For when
we take a good honest look at world history, we cannot
possibly say that any more than 20 percent, and perhaps
far less, fit the description of being "called, chosen and faithful."
Let us remember right here, for those of us who
are saved and in the Lord and fit the description of "called,
chosen and faithful", this information is not primary knowledge about salvation,
and belief one way or the other will not affect a saved
individual's salvation one single bit.
So how will all Israel be re-grafted into
God's Olive Tree, according to how some Christian fellowships
view this issue? Ezekiel
37:1-14. "The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought
me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the
midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then he caused me to pass by them all around,
and behold there were very many in the open valley; and
indeed they were very dry.
And he said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?'
So I answered, 'O Lord God, you know.'
Again he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones, and
say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
'Thus says the Lord God to these bones; 'Surely I
will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.
I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you,
cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall
live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.'
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and
as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling;
and the bones came together, bone to bone.
Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came
upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was
no breath in them.
Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath,
prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says
the Lord God: 'Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe
on these slain, that they may live.'
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath came
into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an
exceeding great army.
Then he said to me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope
is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the
Lord God: 'Behold, O my people, I will open your graves,
O my people, and cause you to come up from your graves and
BRING YOU INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL. [WHY GIVE THEM LAND IF THEY ARE ABOUT TO GET
BURNED UP IN THE LAKE OF FIRE?]
Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have
opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up from
your graves. [Does
it say these dead were wandering spirits from the time they
died to the time of this massive resurrection back to physical
life?] I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT IN YOU, AND YOU SHALL LIVE,
AND I SHALL PLACE YOU IN YOUR OWN LAND:
[NOTE THIS: THESE PEOPLE ARE GIVEN GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT. THUS THEY ENTER THEIR TIME FOR SALVATION RIGHT
HERE AND NOW, WHENEVER THIS MASSIVE RESURRECTIOJN OF THE
DEAD TAKES PLACE.], THEN YOU SHALL KNOW THAT I THE LORD
HAVE SPOKEN IT, AND PERRFORMED IT, SAITH THE LORD.'"
Now when Jews read this passage, they put
these verses in context with verses 15-28 of the same chapter
37 of Ezekiel, which is a "Day of the Lord/2nd
Coming of Jesus Christ prophecy.
So the Jews and some Christians believe that all
dead Israel will be resurrected back to physical life at
the glorious coming of the Messiah to rule the world.
But we Christians are supposed to put all
the related scriptures on a subject together, letting them
modify the whole picture as Isaiah 28:9-10 states--showing
us the timing of various Old Testament
prophecies that deal with The Day of the Lord, or what we
call 2nd Coming of Christ prophecies.
Ezekiel 37:1-14, as we read, is about a massive resurrection
of ALL Israel back to physical life.
Ezekiel 16:55 indicates that the rest of humanity
will come back to physical life at the same time all Israel
does. Ezekiel 16:55.
"When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters [Gentiles],
return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters
return to their former state, then you and your daughters
will return to your former state."
This is only one verse, but when we combine it with
a New Testament verse, we see that it is talking about these
people, Gentiles, rising up at the same time as all Israel. Now we see that a massive resurrection of physical
human beings takes place some time in the future (Rev. 20:5,
11-13; Ezekiel 37:1-14).
The Jews, taking Ezekiel 37:1-14 in context with
verses 15-28 of the same chapter, say this resurrection
of all Israel takes place at the glorious coming of the
Messiah to rule over the whole world.
Christians should be letting Jesus' Word found in
the New Testament, given to John in Revelation modify the
Old Testament prophecy that describes a massive resurrection
of physical human beings back to life.
And look as hard as you want to, you will only find
two major resurrections mentioned or prophesied in the whole
Bible (John 5:28-28; Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6, 5,11-13;
I Corinthians 15:49-54; I Thess. 4:16-17). Since one is to immortality at Jesus Christ's
2nd Coming, the other massive resurrection is
after the 1000 year reign of Jesus over the earth.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 is a massive resurrection to physical
life. 1 + 1 still equals 2 where I come from. If Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Revelation 20:5,11-13
are one and the same resurrection back to physical life,
and Ezekiel 37:14 states that these people are to have God
putting His Holy Spirit in them and then resettling them
in their own land, then these people are receiving their
chance at salvation in Jesus at this point in prophesied
history. The book of Revelation is clearly a book of
prophetic timing of events that occur starting with the
great tribulation, going through the Day of the Lord, on
into the millenium and then to the massive Great White Throne
Judgment, the Lake of Fire, and then ending with the creation
of the new heavens and new earth (regardless of what amillennialists
would have you believe).
Many prophecies are recorded in the Old Testament,
but without the book of Revelation, the proper time context
for many of them is lost, and no idea exists as to where
they fit into the whole picture.
So logically, this would be the book of the Bible
where we would look for a prophecy about a massive resurrection
of humans back to physical life. And we find just such a resurrection mentioned
in Revelation 20:5,11-13, which states, But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were
finished.Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat
on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away.
And there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before
God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book
of Life. And the
dead were judged according to their works, by the things
written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and
Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to
we find Revelation 20:5,11-13 gives the briefest description
of this massive resurrection back to physical life.
But it does give accurate timing of the event in
future historical context. Ezekiel 37:1-14 gives a lot of physical details,
especially the most important one, are
these people lost, or do they get their chance to accept
Jesus Christ and salvation through him and him alone?
Ezekiel 37:13-14. "Then you shall know that
I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves.
I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you
in your own land."
The first reaction to coming up is that they think
their hope is lost, gone--they're on the way to the Lake
of Fire. But the
very next thing to occur is that they receive the Holy Spirit
(verse 14)! Now we know, only those called to a saving knowledge
of salvation through Jesus Christ receive the Holy Spirit,
who then dwells in them (read Acts 2:1-41; Acts 5:32; John
14). This is a clear cut scripture showing "unsaved
dead" rising in a resurrection back to physical life
and receiving God's Holy Spirit!
That ought to give all Christians cause to re-think
this question on the "unsaved dead" now oughtn't
That's a clear example of the New Testament
book of Revelation showing us when
this massive resurrection occurs.
Then the Old Testament prophecy in Ezekiel 37:1-14
fills in the details of this resurrection and what it is
for. The apostle
Peter stated that judgment has now begun in the house of
God. If being called
into a saving knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ
is our judgment, then it would only make sense that the rest of humanity's
judgment at the
Great White Throne Judgment would be similar, for God is
no respecter of persons.
As I brought out before, there are several different
interpretations amongst Christian fellowships on the two
resurrections listed in the Bible in John 5:28-29, Daniel
12:1-5 and Revelation 20:4-5,11-13.
One takes the view that the Great White Throne Judgment
leads right into the Lake of Fire with no chance of redemption
for those who are in this resurrection back to physical
life. You have seen
that there is good reason in scripture to question this
interpretation. But let's go a little further. And don't forget, we are doing this in a spirit
of desiring truth in this matter and not in an effort to
be divisive. The
next question we need to ask is this.
Revelation 20:5,11-13 shows this massive resurrection.
Verse 14-15 of Revelation 20 goes right into the
Lake of Fire scenario. If a redemptive work of Jesus Christ is to occur
for all these billions of people at this time, there must
be an event/time gap between verses 13 and 14 of Revelation
20 which is not mentioned in Revelation 20. (We also saw
in verses 12 and 14 that God said he would "bring them
back to the land of Israel". These two verses strongly indicate these people
enter into a period
of time for life.)
Does the Bible have any previous precedent for
such an event/time gap?
Yes it does. It is found in Genesis 1:1-2, between verses
1 and 2. It is known
that a massive unspecified amount of time and events occurred
between the events mentioned in verses 1 and 2-31, the original
creation of the heavens and the earth, and the re-creation
of life-forms one earth along with the creation of man. Some don't believe in this event/time gap, but
the record in the rocks tends to conclusively prove there
were two distinct creations of life-forms which occurred
on this planet. The Bible backs this up in other places, just
as it does the event/time gap in Revelation 20 between verses
13 and 14. The universe was not created "Tohu"
and "Bohu" as the Hebrew reads in verse 2 of Genesis
1. "Tohu" and "bohu" translate
to "empty" and "void." Genesis 1:1-2. "In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth.
[verse 2] And the earth was
without form [Tohu] and void [Bohu]; and darkness was upon
the face of the deep." The universe was not created originally "tohu
and bohu", but became "tohu and bohu." We can see this by adding together the Scriptures
about this same event that would modify and add meaning
to the word translated "was" which can be translated
"became". Some people, deep into Hebrew grammar are judging
this word entirely on how it is used within this one sentence,
but not including other Scripture passages that would and
do add meaning to the word.
This is being entirely nearsighted in our approach
to Bible interpretation.
Let us look further at some of the Scriptures that
can and do modify this word translated as "was"
which can and should be translated "became".
In Job 38:4-7 it talks of how the angels sang
for joy at the creation of the heavens and the earth. These angels would be just a little bit strange
for singing joyfully at the creation of an earth described
as "tohu and bohu," now wouldn't they?
In Ezekiel 28:13-17 a description of the fall of
Lucifer is given. It is repeated in Isaiah 14:12-17. God repeats in scripture what is important.
He saw fit to record two descriptions of Lucifer's
fall in the Old Testament. In the New Testament Jesus himself remarked
how he saw Lucifer fall like lightning to the earth, and
in Revelation 12:3-4 it describes Satan drawing a third
of the stars of heaven, referring to a third of the angels,
and throwing them to earth.
This same Dragon tried to destroy the Christ child
(Rev. 12:4-5). So between the original creation of the heavens
and the earth and the creation of man and re-creation of
plant and animal life conducive to man, a great gap of time
and events has occurred. [This is called the "gap theory,"
and would account for the dinosaur age in the pre-history
of man. 65 Million years ago a massive cataclysm occurred
which destroyed all life on earth, dinosaurs included. The record in the rocks is undeniable, and this
cataclysmic destruction of all life on earth along with
the sudden creation of fauna and plant life conducive to
man along with man totally baffles evolutionary scientists.
So between the original creation of the heavens and
the earth and the creation of man and re-creation of plant
and animal life (different from the previous plant and animal
life of the dinosaur age), a great gap of time and events
has occurred. Some
Christian groups that like to deny the "gap theory"
also say that Satan created the dinosaur fossils as a hoax
to muddy the waters. This
is not true. God
is a creator--The Creator of heaven and earth--Satan is not, and cannot create
anything. God has
not given him or any of the demons that power.
We don't even know if he's given the angels any of
that power. That is something wholly reserved to God, by
the very essence of what Scripture reveals about God--as
the Creator. Look up all the verses that cover who created.
God created, and he did this through God the Son,
Jesus Christ. That's
it. If fossils of
dinosaurs are out there, they're real.
Satan can't create or manipulate matter at this point. He can destroy, and that's about it. That power hasn't been removed from him, yet. (Log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/dinosaurs.htm
for a more in-depth study on the record of the rocks, and
what it tells us about creation, and that the theory of
evolution is indeed a very false theory.)
When looking at Revelation 20:11-13 and
14-15 some say one event goes right into the other without
a break in time or events, when judging and interpreting
verses 14-15 as they stand alone. Others think there is a break in time and events
between Revelation 20:11-13 and verses 14-15 of Revelation
20. I personally
believe that Christianity as a whole ought to thoroughly
examine its' beliefs about the "unsaved dead"
and those not called in this evil world before they teach
or preach one more word on the subject publicly before the
unsaved world. If
Christianity's take on this subject is wrong then our preaching
of the gospel to this dying world is tragically flawed and
thus hindered by this flaw. If an error in our perception of these verses
is being preached we all share in the responsibility for
is the ultimate penalty--the "wages," or reward--of
sin? Is it eternal life in torment? Or is it eternal oblivion? What is the ultimate fate of incorrigible sinners?
The Bible makes the truth very clear.
What are the "wages of sin"?
Romans 6:23. "For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
is the opposite of life.
The final wages the incorrigible will receive is
the complete cessation of life.
does Paul warn
will be the judgment or sentence of those who, knowing God's
commands and having tasted of his way of life, sin willfully?
Hebrews 10:26-27. "For if we sin willfully after
we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer
remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation
of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the
the wicked, these adversaries as Paul
calls them, live on in torment in fire--or will they be
devoured by it? Verse 27.
Jesus compare false prophets who don't bring forth good
works to trees that don't bring forth good fruit?
What did he indicate would happen to them?
Is combustible material that is put into a fire only
tormented--or is it burned up?
Did Jesus indicate that all who do not bring forth
"good fruit" will likewise be cast into fire? Matthew 7:15-19. "Beware of false prophets,
who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are
ravenous wolves. You
will know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from
thistles? Even so,
every good tree bears good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down
and thrown into the fire."
did Christ say to the unrepentant scribes and Pharisees
of his day? Matthew 23:33. "Serpents, brood of vipers!
How can you escape the condemnation of hell?"
The Greek word translated here as "hell"
the Valley of Hinnom. Christ
used the fire that burned up refuse in the Valley of Hinnom
as a type of the final fate--complete destruction--of the
wicked by fire. Those rebellious and stubborn religious leaders
could well understand Christ's analogy.
They knew they were being threatened with complete
destruction by fire.
did Christ warn would happen to those who will not repent
of their sinful ways? Luke
13:3. "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will
all likewise perish." "Perish" means to cease existing.
It does not mean to continue living.
Life in eternal torment is not what God has decreed
for incorrigible sinners.
The punishment revealed in the Bible is death--cessation
of life forever. Eternal
life is something we were not born with.
It is a gift of God that he will bestow upon those
who have accepted Jesus Christ and are living their lives
in Jesus, living a repentant life, not a lifestyle of constant
sin as the world does now (Romans 6:23).
Eternal life and death are contrasted throughout
Christ show by his parable of the tares that there is to
be a future harvest? Did
he say the evil people--the "tares"--will afterward
be burned? Matthew
13:30. "Let both grow together until the harvest, and
at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First
gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn
them, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
Jesus likened the earth to a "field" (verse
24), the obedient or saved people to "wheat" (verses
25,29), and the disobedient to "tares" (verses
Malachi 4:1 also show that the ultimate fate of the wicked
will be destruction by fire?
Will this fire be so hot that it will burn up--consume--the
wicked? Same verse.
What will be left of the wicked? Verse 3.
Who will burn up the wicked--Satan and his demons,
or the eternal God? Same verse.
Malachi 4:1-3. "'For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do
wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them
up,' says the Lord of hosts, 'That will leave them neither
root nor branch.You shall trample the wicked, for they shall
be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I
do this,' says the Lord of hosts." The "hell fire" that the Bible speaks
of will be thousands of degrees hotter than the imaginary
hell fire that most of you preachers preach about--which
is only hot enough to torment. The Biblical hell fire will totally consume
the disobedient--those not under Grace and the sacrificial
blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb.
Never will they exist again.
The Bible plainly shows that those who have been
given "exceeding great and precious promises"
(II Peter 1:4) and willfully disobey and refuse to repent,
will reap the wages of sin--death for all eternity (Romans
6:23). This scripture
means what it says. The
attempt by many of you theologians to explain away death
and to interpret it as mere "separation from God"
cannot be reconciled with Scripture. Death clearly does not mean eternal life in
the horrifying torments of an eternal hell.
The author of this deception is none other than
the father of lies--Satan the devil (John 8:44). It is time now that we weed out of our midst
some of these hurtful lies that the enemy has so cleverly
sown in our midst, right into the doctrines of our Christian
IS THE "LAKE OF FIRE"?
And now comes a most interesting revelation.
Exactly what is gehenna fire that will consume the wicked?
When and where will it occur?
all who stubbornly refuse to repent and accept Jesus Christ
as their personal saviour, and then leading lives that show
forth that fruit, the fruit of the Spirit of God who dwells
in them, to find themselves in a lake of fire and brimstone,
which is the second death?
Revelation 21:8. "But the cowardly, unbelieving,
abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators,
and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns
with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
already seen that the fate of the wicked is gehenna
fire. So gehenna and the lake of fire are the same. A very large fire would have the appearance
of a fiery lake, hence its description.
it cause the death of the wicked?
Notice Revelation 21:8 again.
Also notice which death it will cause.
Mortals naturally die once, because we just wear
out. Some of us die
untimely deaths of disease, or in accidents or wars. But if anyone dies the second death, that individual
will have been judged by God to be guilty of persistent
disobedience and incorrigible rebellion.
The second death will be for all eternity.
After God's plan of salvation for mankind
is complete, will the flames of the "lake of fire"
purify the earth's surface, burning in one vast worldwide
inferno? Will all the things man has created be burned
up, as well as the rest of those people who will not have
received salvation and eternal life because of willful rebellion
against God? II Peter 3:7,10 and Revelation 20:15. II Peter 3:7,10. "But the heavens and the
earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word,
reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition
of ungodly men.But the day of the Lord will come as a thief
in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a
great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat;
both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned
up." Revelation 20:15. "And anyone not found
written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Now in Revelation 21:1 we see this: "And
I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven
and the first earth had passed away.
Also there was no more sea."
Adding like Scripture to like Scripture tells us
how the new heaven and new earth will be created by God.
And unless God replaced the sea, naturally it wouldn't
exist anyone, after a fire like that! So we see Peter gave us some insight into how
God will remove the wicked and give us a new heaven and
new earth. So here is God's description of the final hell
fire. It is yet in
the future. It has not yet occurred. Nothing is said anywhere in the Bible about
souls descending into the earth into hell fire, or torture
for all eternity. Rather,
the Bible shows that all incorrigible human beings and their
works will suffer
destruction once for all eternity.
the wicked to be reduced to ashes by the fire that will
consume the earth's surface?
Turn to Malachi 4:3 once again.
Malachi 4:3. "'You shall trample the wicked,
for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on
the day that I do this,' says the Lord of hosts." Can ashes be tormented forever and ever? Of course not! The death of the incorrigible wicked will have
suffered will be eternal, everlasting punishment, not an
everlasting punishing. There
is a big difference between punishment
and punishing. "The
wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), not eternal life
in hell fire.
HELL FIRE "NEVER QUENCHED"?
Did John the Baptist ever speak of "unquenchable
3:12; Luke 3:17. Matthew
3:12. "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will
thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather His wheat
into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable
Did Jesus say that hell fire will never be "quenched"?
(Recall that the Greek word for "hell" in verses
43, 45 and 47 is gehenna.) Mark 9:43-48. "And if your hand makes you
sin, cut it off. It
is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having
two hands, to go to hell [gehenna], into the fire that shall never
be quenched--where 'their worm does not die and the fire
is not quenched.' And if your foot makes you sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter life lame, than having
two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall
never be quenched--where 'their worm does not die and the
is not quenched.' And
if your eye makes you sin, pluck it out.
It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God
with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell
fire--where 'their worm does not die and the fire is not
People have carelessly assumed the "fire
that shall never be quenched" (verse 43) is a fire
of torture that has been in existence for centuries, and
will continue to exist for eternity. But we have proved that this idea is absolutely
false. Notice the
biblical truth about unquenchable fire.
God (more than 2,500 years ago) warn the inhabitants of
Jerusalem that he would kindle a fire in Jerusalem's gates
that would not be quenched? But what would that fire do to the city's palaces?
Same verse. Jeremiah 17:27. "'But if you will not heed
Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden
when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day,
then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour
the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.'"
This fire occurred a few years later, and it destroyed
all the houses of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 52:13). Since God said this fire "shall not be
quenched" and since it is not burning today, it obviously
went out by itself after devouring all combustible material. This is something simple science/chemistry students
know in High School, but theology students can't seem to
grasp. But God's Word even explains its' own phraseology,
for those willing to look hard enough. Nothing is really left to chance interpretation
if you are willing to look hard enough and be thoroughly
honest with yourself and what you read.
our honesty in proper interpretation must go beyond the
emotional comfort-zone of what we were brought up believing
or taught to believe by others.
punishment befell the notorious cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? Genesis 19:24-25. "Then the Lord rained
brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord
out of the heavens. So
He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants
of the cities, and what grew on the ground."
Was it literal fire that destroyed human beings?
Luke 17:29. "But on the day that Lot went out
of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed
them all." [Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, vs. 20]
What do we read in Jude 7 about this event?
Is there still a fire burning in those cities that
God destroyed long ago?
Jude 7. ".as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities
around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves
over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh [homosexuality],
are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of
eternal fire." Is
there still a fire burning in those cities that God destroyed
long ago? The term
"vengeance of eternal fire" is used here, and
we can plainly see that it does not
refer to an eternally burning fire.
The term "eternal fire" in Jude 7 means
a fire whose results are permanent or everlasting--obviously
not a fire that burns forever. Sodom and Gomorrah were utterly destroyed centuries
ago--they are not burning today.
The fires that burned these wicked cities simply
died out after consuming all combustible material.
These scriptures prove that "fire that never
shall be quenched" will not torment people forever.
The fires were never quenched or put out prematurely
by anyone. The flames
merely died out when they had nothing more to consume.
So it will be with the final gehenna
fire that will consume the wicked.
It will be unquenched--but it will finally burn itself
out. It will be part of the creation process God
will use to create the new heaven and new earth (II Peter
3:10; Rev. 20:15;21:1).
"THE WORM THAT DIETH NOT"
startling statement is found in Mark 9:44, 46 and 48. In these verses, Christ spoke of a worm that
"dieth not" [old King James language]. Are these immortal worms? Some people think Jesus referred to people as
worms, and that he was trying to say that these "people"
never die but live on forever in agonizing torment.
However, those who believe this fail to notice that
what Jesus spoke of was "their worm."
So the wicked themselves are not the "worm."
What is this mysterious "worm"
that does not die? Notice
what Jesus really meant.
Jesus clearly had reference, as the marginal notes
of many Bibles show, to Isaiah 66:24, where a similar statement
is made about "their worm"--the worm of "carcasses."
(Be sure to read this verse in your Bible.)
Now what is the "worm" of a decaying
carcass? If you have
ever seen a putrefying carcass, the answer should be obvious. To put the matter beyond all doubt, we find
that the lexicons define as grub
or maggot both the Greek and the Hebrew words
translated as "worm" in Mark 9:44 and Isaiah 66:24.
When a dead body occasionally lodged on
one of the rocky ledges above the garbage fires of the Valley
of Hinnom, it was soon infested by many worms or maggots,
which hatched out of eggs laid by flies.
It was simply these worms to which Christ referred
when he said, "their worm dieth not."
But Jesus didn't mean that each individual
worm continued to live forever.
Actually, the larvae--maggots--would hatch from eggs,
eat the flesh, continue in the larval form only a few days,
then go through pupation or metamorphosis and finally emerge
as flies. The worms
didn't die--they became flies.
Later, the flies died.
The misunderstanding of Christ's simple
statement by some people should be an object lesson to always
be careful to use wisdom and common sense in studying God's
Word. The Holy Spirit
is the spirit of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). Let's always study these perplexing scriptures
carefully and not jump to hasty, erroneous conclusions.
21:1-25. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for
the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and
there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as
a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a
loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God
is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his
people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no
more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order
of things has passed away.'
He who was
seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then
he said, `Write this down, for these words are trustworthy
He said to
me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning
and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without
cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes
will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be
my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers,
the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters
and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning
sulfur. This is the second death [which this verse looks back
to, its having already occurred].
One of the
seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last
plagues came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the bride,
the wife of the Lamb.' And he carried me away in the Spirit
to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City,
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with
the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very
precious jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great
high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the
gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes
of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the
north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall
of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure
the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like
a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with
the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia [margin: That is
about 1,400 miles] in length, and as wide and high as it is
long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by
man's measurement [that is about 200 feet or 65 meters], which
the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the
city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the
city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.
The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the
third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth, sardonyx,
the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl,
the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth,
and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were of a single
pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like
I did not
see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and
the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or
the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light,
and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light...On
no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night
This new Jerusalem
described in Revelation will be God's headquarters city for
the entire Universe! Apparently it will be in the shape of
a pyramid, standing 1400 miles high and being 1400 miles across
in length and width! [Some believe it will be in the shape
of a square.]
approach the church I belonged to used to take
toward these scriptures, trying to nail down every last little
detail of these coming prophesied events, was very disconcerting
to many other Christians. It wasn't a correct way to present
things. These prophecies paint a beautiful picture of future
coming events. The events depicted are very specific but
our perception of them is not. God did not give us every
last little detail. The farther into the prophetic future
we try to look the darker Paul's "looking glass"
gets, almost like those self-darkening sunglasses. If Ezekiel
37:1-14 and 16:55 are really Old Testament prophetic descriptions
of the same event as Revelation 20:5,11-13, which I personally
believe they are, then truly all of humanity will receive
the opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ for verses
13-14 of Ezekiel 37 state, "...Then you, my people, will
know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring
you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will
live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you
will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it,
declares the Lord.'" And as we saw before, to receive
God's Holy Spirit--Christ in us--is to receive salvation and
eternal life (cf. Acts 2:1-4,38-41; Romans 8:9-16, I Corinthians
15:49-54.) God is no respecter of persons. God is love (I
John 4:8). God loves us all, everyone who has been or ever
will be born (John 3:16). God wants us all--everyone--to be
saved (II Peter 3:9)!
point. Heaven is where God is. As Paul brought out, God dwells
in the 3rd Heaven. In Revelation 21:1-17 it clearly
shows that God the Father brings the New Jerusalem, along
with Himself, down to earth to dwell with what is the resurrected
spirit composed family of man! God has told us in Hebrews
that with Christ we are to inherit all things!!! That includes
the 50 Billion galaxies in the universe! [And that figure
is growing by leaps and bounds as the Hubble telescope probes
deeper and deeper into outer space.] If resurrected mankind
will number 50 to 100 Billion strong, does that mean we each
get a galaxy? Do you have the slightest idea of how large
a galaxy is? We can only dream at this point. And this is
just the physical aspect of what we are to inherit as co-heirs
with Jesus Christ. The spiritual rewards in the Kingdom of
God which will go on into Eternity will far surpass anything
we may inherit in this physical universe. But Jesus hasn't
told us too much about that because we are not yet made of
spirit, so we wouldn't understand even if he did tell us.
We can't even understand the concept of the Triune God at
this point. That concept, which is proper Bible doctrine,
tends to blow the mental fuse if you think on it too long,
and so does the concept of God existing forever.
Unfathomable Grace of God
I used to belong to used to teach that there would be a third
resurrection to the lake of fire. Three other Sabbatarian
denominations still (mistakenly) believe there will be a third
resurrection. But we have come to see that this is not accurate
at all. As a matter of fact, it is totally un-Scriptural.
There are only two major resurrections predicted in the Bible,
as most of Christianity already properly realizes. They just
don't fully comprehend the full meaning of the 2nd Resurrection
or the tremendous mercy of God. What follows explains what
may happen. The following was given as a sermon by a minister,
preaching about the mercy of God's judgment, when we believed
there would be a third resurrection for the unrepentant wicked.
This man's sermon brought us to see that God's mercy is far,
far greater than we ever thought, and that there was indeed
only two prophesied resurrections in the Bible. Our Church
was beginning to cast off doctrinal error when this sermon
ARE YOU READY
FOR THIS? GOD'S ALL-ENCOMPASSING COMPASSION AND MERCY IS FAR
BEYOND OUR HUMAN COMPREHENSION. THERE IS STRONG SCRIPTURAL
EVIDENCE THAT ANYONE WHO WASHES OUT OR FALLS SHORT OF SALVATION,
EVEN IN THIS LIFE, WILL BE COMING BACK UP IN THE 2ND RESURRECTION
SO GOD CAN CONTINUE THE GOOD WORK HE WAS WORKING IN THEM WHEN
THEY WERE OVERCOME BY SATAN.
indication which this sermon points to is that everyone who
doesn't make it into the first resurrection or is not changed
to spirit composition after a normal Christian lifetime during
the Millennium is resurrected back to physical life at the
2nd resurrection. Then, those who don't make it spiritually
after that time live on into the period spoken of as "the
lake of fire" in Revelation 20:14-15. No real 3rd resurrection
is mentioned in Revelation 20:14-15 or anywhere else in the
Bible. If this point is true, then God's mercy is truly beyond
our comprehension. Many of us would fall far short of God's
standard of mercy and condemn those whom God will bring back
in the 2nd resurrection--condemning them to the lake of fire.
For God that is a punishment of last resort, reserved for
those, apparently, who will not change, no matter what.
is a sermon given on The Last Great Day at the end of the
Feast of Tabernacles in the Worldwide Church of God around
1991 by a minister named Mr. Dennis Johnson. It sort of re-enforces
the concept the rest of Christianity has about "once
you are saved you are saved", but puts a new spin on
it. God apparently isn't going to abandon anyone he starts
working with and puts his Spirit in, even though they may
"wash out" or reject him now, having been overcome
by Satan. But neither are those who fit this category going
to be in the first resurrection to immortality--kind of modifying
the "once saved, always saved" theology of some
UNDERSTANDING ON GOD'S MERCY TOWARDS THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT US
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous
judgment." Acts 17:31-32. "Because he hath appointed
a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness
by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance
[offered faith] unto all men, in that he hath raised him from
the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead,
some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this
matter." i.e. All people who've never had a chance at
salvation, to hear the truth, get that chance. Many in the
Church of God [and I might add, in other Christian denominations
as well] may never have really had a complete chance to make
it spiritually--this includes many of those who attended with
us but left us. Who will be in the 2nd resurrection? What
constitutes 'never having had the chance?' God wants each
and every living person to have a complete chance to make
it. II Peter 3:9. "The Lord is not slack concerning his
promise, as some might count slackness; but is longsuffering
to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance."
31:9-13. "And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it
unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the
covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. And
Moses commanded them, saying, 'At the end of every seven years,
in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God
in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law
before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together,
men, women, and children, and thy stranger that is within
thy gates [resident aliens], that they may hear, and that
they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to
do all the words of this law: and that their children, which
have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the
Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go
over Jordan to possess it." "'...that they may hear
His Law...'" The 'calling' is an opportunity, not a judgment.
Let's read on and see what God said about these Israelites
being addressed by Moses. Deuteronomy 32:20-21. "And
he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their
end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children
in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that
which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their
vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which
are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish
nation." What was God telling Moses? He was telling him
that 'hearing the truth' is not the same as having 'faith.'
It is essential that you have faith to be judged. Very few
[in the Worldwide Church of God or the other Christian denominations]
don't believe that the truth is not the truth, if you get
my drift, just as ancient Israel of Moses time. Romans 10:18-20.
"But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound
went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of
the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith,
I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people,
and by a foolish nation I will anger you."
about those who have heard the truth and yet aren't with us
for various reasons. When they've heard the truth the invitation
is open. Paul goes on talking about this same Israel,
and by extension the Jewish nation of his time and all mankind
in general, and yes, those that were among us. Romans 11:1-8,25-26.
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.
For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the
tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which
he foreknew. Wot [know] ye not what the scripture saith in
Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine
altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what
saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself
seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image
of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is remnant
according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then
is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh
for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were
blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the
spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears
that they should not hear;) unto this day...For I would not,
brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest
ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in
part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles
come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written,
There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn
away ungodliness from Jacob."
they be thinking? Let's go to the Old Testament prophecy which
addresses these same Israelites, and is, in all probability
the most graphic description of the 2nd resurrection written
in the Bible. What will they be thinking when God brings them
up and puts sinews and flesh on them? Ezekiel 37:11. "Then
he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house
of Israel: behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope
is lost: we are cut off for our parts." They will be
thinking that their grounds for hope are perished, that their
hope for salvation is gone--thinking, "I blew it! I blew
it!" God has surprises for people who come up in this
frame of mind. These thoughts are not so relevant to those
who never knew [or understood] the truth of God and salvation.
"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge
him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the
world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath
one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same
shall judge him in the last day." "and believe not,"
i.e. "has no faith." i.e. Jesus Christ chose not
to judge these people. [Apparently, from the direction this
sermon is taking, those who lack faith to obey or follow the
direction of the ministry and leadership of the Church or
Jesus Christ, and leave as a result, from a genuine lack of
faith, are not being judged right now, just as those who never
darkened the door of a true Christian Church.] Jesus is in
essence saying, "I defer my judgment on these people."
When is Our Lord deferring his judgment to, what period of
time? Revelation 20:11-13. "And I saw a great white throne,
and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven
fled away; and there was no place found for them. [this earth
and heaven fleeing away could be referring to it fleeing away
from Jesus Christ at his 2nd coming, identifying him as the
one who sat on the throne in verse 11 of Revelation 20, because
God the Father doesn't come down to earth to dwell with men
until Revelation 21:1-17 in the time-order of prophetic events.]
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and
the books were opened: and another book was opened, which
is the book of life ["the book of life" is an analogy
to a book of records kept in Greek cities which was used to
record the names of all the living citizens of that city.
Whenever a person was born his name was added to the book.
Whenever a person died his name was removed from the book
of life. The beautiful allegory of this phrase should make
this verse perfectly clear.]: and the dead were judged out
of those things which were written in the books, according
to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in
them: and they were judged according to their works."
who "have heard" are called now in this present
age--i.e. our children. But they cannot be judged until they
really understand and have faith. This faith is a faith gained
from and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The lake of fire is
for those who have known and had a relationship with God and
have had faith and then reject God permanently. Ones that
leave the Church through offense demonstrate a lack of faith--they
are not being judged. How will God's fairness in judgment
lead to the conversion of all? God will not judge a matter
until the person has had a chance to see "the real truth."
Those offended by misinterpreted truth taught earlier are
think, 'I know the truth but I can't do it,' are getting warm,
ready for conversion." But some have been in that position
and gone astray. What does the Bible have to say about them?
I Timothy 1:19-20. "Holding faith, and a good conscience;
which some having put away concerning faith have made [themselves]
shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have
delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."
judge until the facts are known. I Corinthians 4:5. "Therefore
judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both
will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will
make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every
man have praise of God." Every one who stands before
God in the judgment will have something good said about him
or her. When do you experience the mercy of God?--When you
realize you've blown it. When you realize you're wrong and
Most of this
material appears to be written about Israel. Is it intended
to be or will God shower the same mercy on everyone? Let's
look at God's answer to this one in the Old Testament. Is
God being racist? When you read the next prophecy you'll know
he isn't. Ezekiel 47:22-23. "And it shall come to pass,
that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you,
and to strangers [resident aliens] that sojourn among you,
which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto
you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they
shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.
And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger
sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance saith
the Lord God." That is quite a prophecy for the Millennial
rule of Jesus Christ! Each person who isn't an Israelite who
wants an inheritance (in Israel) will get one! [General Ariel
Sharon may have trouble swallowing that one! But he'll have
to consider where the authority for that command comes from.]
What this command amounts to is a proclamation of open borders
for the future Millennial nation of Israel. Anyone who wants
to be a citizen of Israel during the reign of Jesus Christ
can be! The intent of this command alone shows us that everyone
will have the some opportunity and chance for salvation and
God will make
his Spirit, his Holy Spirit, available to ALL who are willing
to accept it and repent [in reality, true repentance doesn't
come without God's Holy Spirit dwelling in a person]. Ezekiel
37:13-14. "And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when
I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up
out of your graves. And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye
shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall
ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it,
saith the Lord."
judge your child as an adult when he is a child. You don't
even judge your teenager as an adult when he is a teenager,
do you? You wait and say "wait until you have kids!".
John 15:14-18. "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever
I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the
servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called
you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father
I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have
chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring
forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever
ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the
world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."
Psalm 119:165. "Great peace have they which love thy
law: and nothing shall offend them." Those who
have been offended and have left, they didn't love God's law--they
didn't have an active relationship with God. I John 2:19-20.
"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for
if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued
with us: but they went out, that they might be manifest that
they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy
One, and ye know all things."
is intended to be a comfort, especially for those of us who
have had friends of ours leave the body of Christ, or those
who have been called but are not with it spiritually. The
Jubilee is every 50 years. Liberty is proclaimed. There will
be a Jubilee at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment.
Isaiah 12:1-6. "And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord,
I will praise thee: though thou was angry with me, thine anger
is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my
salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH
is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of
salvation [a direct reference to the Holy Spirit!]. And in
that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people, make mention that his
name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent
things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout,
thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel
in the midst of thee." This cross references to Jesus
Christ's statement at the Feast of Tabernacles on the Last
Great Day which says in John 12:37-39, "On the last and
greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud
voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams
of living water will flow from within him.' By this he meant
the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive."
Those who come up in the 2nd resurrection will certainly come
to believe in Jesus also.
is traditionally sung on the Last Great Day by the Jews. "Judgment,
Mercy and Faith" are the weightier matters of the law.
Psalm 118:22-29. "The stone which the builders refused
is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's
doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which
the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save
now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send
now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the
Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. God
is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice
with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou art my
God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt
thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his
mercy endureth for ever." This is an allusion to the
Jubilee. This is about the 2nd resurrection."
As you have
seen, there is strong indication in the Scriptures that everyone
not resurrected in the 1st resurrection to immortality, will
be resurrected in the 2nd resurrection which is at the time
of the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-13.
Finally, as Revelation 20:14-15 indicates, everyone whose
name was not found in the book of life is thrown into the
lake of fire. i.e. those not resurrected to immortality just
before the earth and heavens are set ablaze live for a very
brief period of time into this span of time when the heavens
and earth are set ablaze and melted with fervent heat as Peter
describes in II Peter. Apparently there is no third resurrection,
as such. Those that are not found written in the book of life,
which in Revelation refers to those who will ultimately be
resurrected to immortality, have their lives mercifully snuffed
out. They don't live on in eternal torment in some ever-burning
hell. It is Satan who lives on in mental torment for ever
and ever, not unsaved people!
21:1. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the
first heaven and the first earth had passed away..."
we are looking through a darkened glass at these events. This
is the way things look like they may happen. We can't be dogmatically
sure for now, but when we sit with Jesus at the wedding feast,
I'm sure he'll make the specifics known to us.
the Bible doctrine of the resurrections. Understand that this
is secondary knowledge about salvation when compared to the
saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, called the gospel of Christ.
If you possess and are led by the Holy Spirit, whether you
come to believe this secondary knowledge or not will not affect
your reward and your entrance into eternal life, for this
is assured by Jesus himself. The knowledge of how we attain
salvation through Jesus far outweighs the method by which
Jesus will bring us to immortality!
It is not
my desire, nor do I believe it is God's desire to see all
the various parts of the body of Christ meld into one massive
denomination of its' own. As Paul explains, each part of the
body of Christ has its' own function and identity, Ephesians
4:16. God does desire unity in "the faith" and "in
the knowledge of the Son of God." He also desires unity
in major doctrinal understanding, Ephesians 4:11-16. I am
sure Jesus will bring about the unity he desires, regardless
of how we feel about it. He is all powerful, and will work
through the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this.
Resurrection Prophecies, Were They Written Intentionally To
Have you ever
wondered why the specifics of the 2nd resurrection and lake
of fire scriptures are somewhat vague? In the Old Testament
things seem to be more specific as to detail and in the new,
in Revelation 20, the timing of the events seems to be more
specific, but the details are more vague. And as a result,
the picture is not all that clear. I have often wondered why
this vagueness. What might the purpose be? God doesn't explain
his reasons for this vagueness, but an indication is given
in the fact that we will be kings and priests ruling with
Jesus Christ. We will be used to help fill in some of the
details in the very manner in which we rule. All the specifics
haven't been filled in yet! It could be that we'll be used
to help fill in some of the planning details for the Millennial
rule of Jesus Christ. Revelation 5:9-10 states, "...for
thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood
out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we
shall reign on the earth." Revelation 2:26 states,
"To him that overcomes and does my will to the end, I
will give authority over the nations--He will rule them with
an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery--just
as I have received authority from my Father." Revelation
3:12 states, "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar
in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will
write on him the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem,
which is coming down out of heaven from my God..." And
Revelation 3:21 states, "To him who overcomes, I will
give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame
and sat down with my Father on his throne." I think it
is plain to see that we will be co-ruling with Jesus Christ.
Don't forget the influence Abraham had on the Lord's decision
to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. If there had been but 10 righteous
people within those two cities (five per city!) their annihilation
would have definitely been suspended or put in hold. We are
to co-rule with Jesus in a husband-wife relationship where
the world will become our spiritual children, born-again in
the Holy Spirit. Revelation 19:7-8. "Let us rejoice and
be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has
come, an his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright
and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the
righteous acts of the saints.)." If you are married,
you know that smart husbands rely heavily on their wives at
times for precious insight in child-rearing and certain decisions
where women have a greater insight. For example, if we feel
that everyone coming up in the 2nd resurrection or Great White
Throne Judgment ought to receive a 100 year chance to live
as Christians and then be changed to Spirit composition so
that the billions of babies and children, or young men and
women who died early on in life could have a full life as
Christians, learning of Jesus and the way of salvation, then
I am positively sure our Husband, Jesus Christ, will give
our suggestion full and total consideration. How many of us
husbands have been swayed by the strong conviction of our
wives, even against our own personal judgment? It is we, the
collective bride of Christ, who will possess that ability
to give precious input to how the details of the future will
be worked out in the Kingdom of God during the Millennial
rule of Jesus Christ. Think about it. It is enough to blow
the mental fuse of our minds--the power and influence we will
possess and exercise over this world of humans. It is we--along
with our Husband Jesus--who will shape and direct the course
of future history!