Tag Cloud
: Mothers Abandonment Abomination of Desolation Abortion Abraham’s Bosom Abuse Accounting Activism Adoption Adultery Affection Affliction Afterlife Alliances Altar America Angels Anger Anointing Apologetics Apostasy Armor of God Ascension Ashamed Atonement Authority Baal Babylon Bad Baptism Betrayal Bible Bitterness Blasphemy Blessing Blessings Blindness Boasting Body of Christ Bondage Book of Life Borders Born Again Bottomless Pit Bride of Christ Bridegroom Calling Capital Punishment Celebration Character Childbirth Children Children of God Chosen Christ Christian Life Christians Christmas Church Civil Disobedience Clay Cleansing Comfort Commands Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Complaining Conception Condemnation Conduct Confidence Conflict Conformity Confrontation Confusion Connection Conscience Consequences Contentment Conviction Cornerstone Correction Cost Counsel Courage Covenant Coveting Creation Creator Crisis Cross Crowns Crucifixion Culture Curse Darkness David Day of the Lord Death Deceit Deception Decisions Defense Delegation Demon Demons Denial Dependency Design Desolation Destruction Devil Direction Disaster Discernment Disciple Disciples Discipleship Discipline Discontentment Discouragement Disease Disgrace Disputes Distraction Diversity Divine Division Doctrine Double Fulfillment Doubt Drought Drugs Duties Duty Earth Earthly Earthquakes Easter Edom Education Elders Elect Emmaus Emotions Employment Encouragement End Times Endurance Enemies Enemy Environment Environmentalism Equality Equipped Eternal Eternal Life Eternity Evangelism Everlasting Life Evil Evolution Exaltation Exalted Exclusion Excuses Exorcism Expectations Eyes Failure Fairness Faith Faithful Faithful Servant Faithfulness False Christs False Doctrine False Gods False Prophet False Religion False Religions Family Famine Fasting Father Fathers Favoritism Fear Fear of the Lord Feasts Feasts of the Lord Fellowship Fig Tree Finances Fire First Coming First Resurrection Firstborn Flesh Flock Folly Foolishness Foreigner Foreknown Forgiveness Fornication Forsaken Foundation Freedom Friends Friendship Fruit Fruit of the Spirit Fruitfulness Future Gentiles Gentle George Wood Giving Glorified Body Glory God God’s Word Godliness Godly God's Will Good Good Shepherd Good Works Gospel Gospels Government Grace Gratitude Great Commission Greatness Grief Growth Guilt Hades Hardship Harvest Hate Hatred Healing Heart Heaven Heavenly Hedonism Hell Help Herod Hidden Holiness Holy Holy Spirit Home Homosexuality Honor Hope Hopelessness Humility Husband Hypocrisy Ignorance Image Immanuel Immigration Impossibility Incarnation Individuals Indulgences Inheritance Injustice Inner Battle Instructions Insults Integrity Intercession Intermediate State Israel Jerusalem Jesus Jewish Temple John the Baptist Joy Judas Judgment Judgment Day Judgments Justice Justification Justify Key Keys Kids Kindness King Kingdom Kingdom of God Kingdom of Heaven Knowledge Lake of Fire Lamp Law Lawlessness Leader Leaders Leadership Leftism Legalism Leprosy Lies Life Life-Span Light Like-minded Lord Lost Love Loyalty Lust Lusts Luxury Malachi Manipulation Marriage Martyrdom Martyrs Mary Master Materialism Maturity Meditation Men Mentoring Mercy Messiah Metaphor Millennium Mind Mind of Christ Minister Ministry Miracle Miracles Mission Mocking Money Mothers Mystery Nations Natural Gifts Naturalism Nature Near-Far Fulfillment Necessities New Covenant New Earth New Jerusalem New Man New Testament Obedience Obstacles Obstructions Offense Old Man Old Nature Old Testament Omnipresence Omniscience One Mind Outcast Pagan Pain Palm Sunday Parable Parables Paradise Paranormal Parenting Passion Passover Patience Patriotism Peace Peer Pressure Pentecost People of God Perception Perfect Persecution Perseverance Persistence Personal Testimonies Perspective Perversion Pestilence Peter Pharisees Philosophy Piety Pilate Politics Poor Position Possession Possessions Posture Power Praise Prayer Preaching Preparation Pride Priority Privilege Prodigal Promise Proof Prophecy Prophet Prophets Protection Protestant Reformation Proverbs Providence Provision Punishment Purgatory Purpose Questions Racism Rapture Reason Rebellion Rebuke Reconciliation Redeemer Redemption Refuge Regeneration Rejection Rejoicing Relationship Relationships Reliability Religion Remember Remnant Renewal Repentance Reputation Resolve Rest Restoration Resurrection Revelation Revenge Revival Reward Rich Riches Righteous Righteousness Rights Riot Risk Rivalry Robbery Roman Catholic Church Rule Sabbath Sacred Sacrifice Saint Salvation Sanctification Sarcasm Satan Savior Schemes Science Scripture Seasons Second Coming Secret Seed Seek Self Self Control Self-centered Self-Control Selfish Ambition Self-Righteous Servant Servant-Leadership Serve Service Serving Sexual Immorality Sexual Sin Sexuality Shame Share Sharing She’ol Shepherd Sickness Signs Signs and Wonders Simplicity Sin Sincerity Singing Singleness Sinners Slavery Sober Society Sojourner Sojourners Son Son of God Son of Man Sons of God Sorrow Soul Source Sovereignty Speech Spirit Spirit Realm Spirits Spiritual Spiritual Battle Spiritual Birth Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Growth Spiritual Rulers Spiritual Warfare Stewardship Strength Stress Strife Stumbling Block Submission Suffering Supernatural Supper Surrender Syncretism Tags: Patience Taxes Teacher Teaching Tears Technology Temple Temptation Temptations Terminal Illness Test Testimony Testing Tests Thankfulness Thanksgiving The Curse The Day of The Lord The End The Fall The Grave The Holy Spirit The Law The Way The Word The World Theology Throne Time of Visitation Times of the Gentiles Tithing Tongues Tradition Tragedy Transfiguration Transformation Traps Treachery Treasure Tree Tree of Life Trial Trials Tribulation Trifles Trinity Triumphal Triumphal Entry Trouble Trust Truth Unbelievers Uncertainty Unity Unpardonable Sin Utopia Value Victory Vigilance Vindication Virtue Virtues Voice of God Volunteer War Warning Warnings Wars Watching Water Baptism Water of Life Weary Wicked Wickedness Widows Wife Wineskins Wisdom Witness Witnesses Women Word of God Word of the Lord Works World World View Worry Worship Worth Wrath Yahweh Yeast YHWH Yoke Zion

Weekly Word

Tuesday
Nov132018

My Personal End Times: The New Heavens & the New Earth II

Revelation 22.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on November 11, 2018.

Today we will finish our series, particularly the New Creation that God will create.  Last week we looked at chapter 21 of The Revelation where it describes the New Jerusalem, that great city of Christ and the Righteous.  Chapter 22 continues that description, but moves to the center of the city where the Throne of God sits.

The whole point of Scripture is to persuade men to avoid a bad experience of judgment and to embrace a good experience of God’s love.  It is those who stop trusting themselves and the world around them, and start trusting Christ and the truth of God, who will experience the good that God has intended for us all.  These visions of what will be are intended to spark the hope of God in our heart, a strong faith in Him within our mind, and a powerful love for Christ throughout our whole life.

The throne of God is described

Though it is not specifically stated, this throne would be at the center of the New Jerusalem.  In Rev. 21:3 we see the city described as the tabernacle of God, which means that it is His dwelling place.  It emphasizes His presence with His people.  Also verse 22 states that Christ is the light of the city, again emphasizing presence and source.

We see that the river of the Water of Life flows from the throne.  In that creation the Waters of Life will have a physical existence, but throughout the Scripture this phrase was symbolically describing the Word of God.  To receive the Word of God and obey it was to drink from the Waters of Life.  Like the blessings of water flowing down to us from the mountains is the Truth of God coming down out of heaven.  This river is described as pure because it is not polluted with the ideas and thoughts of fallen angels or fallen humans.  Its source is God’s throne.  The phrase “clear as crystal” emphasizes the purity with imagery.

This image of a river from God has an Old Testament backdrop.  Psalm 65:9 states, “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.” (NKJV).  This is notable because Jerusalem had no river.  The river the Psalmist sees is spiritual.  Ezekiel 47 gives a vision of a restored Temple with a river that comes out from the south side of the Temple and flows from Jerusalem.  Also, Zechariah 14 speaks of living waters that flow from Jerusalem to the East and to the West.  It would seem that there are several layers to this concept.  Today, we spiritually drink from the Waters of Life that flow from the events 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, people all over the world drink from this never ceasing river from God.  In the Millennium water will literally flow from Jerusalem and bring healing to the Dead Sea.  Ultimately, in the New Creation, The New Jerusalem will have the Waters of Life flowing from the throne of God.  Thus there is no longer any separation between men and God (this is the imagery employed by the temple).  Just because we experience these things spiritually today does not imply that none of this has a literal meaning as well.  In that day the spiritual and the physical will be united in harmony, just as God intended it.

Verse 2 describes the presence of the Tree of life.  The description is quite interesting.  It speaks of the tree being on both sides of the river.  Thus many see this as describing at least two Trees of Life.  Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden lest they eat from the Tree of Life and become stuck eternally in a sinful condition.  Here we see that God has fully restored our access to the Tree of Life.  Now this tree is no tree of this earth.  It has twelve different kinds of fruit that fruit each month, twelve times a year.  We are also told that the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  This does not mean that people can get sick and need healing in the New Creation.  Rather, the word that can be translated as healing can also be translated as health-giving, as in a preventative sense.  Thus the fruit is food and the leaves fortify the health of the body.  Obviously the mechanics and needs of that age are not described to our satisfaction and are left to the imagination and to our ability to trust God.  And so, that is where we will leave it. 

Verse 3 tells us that there will be no more curse.  For anyone who has ever cried out, “Why is the world this way,” God promises an end to that which makes life hard and difficult.  There will come a day when the curse will be completely lifted.  Of course, many reject God and follow the plan of Satan to overthrow the curse by overthrowing God Himself, but that plan is doomed to fail.  Trusting God is the only plan that is blessed with success.  The presence of God Himself and His throne is presented as the reason why the curse can no longer exist.  God does not dwell in a cursed place, though Christ did so for a season for our salvation.  Where God dwells there will always be life.

The experience of the servants of God is described

Though the scene is still centered upon the throne of God, it expands to include the saints of God.  Verse 3 states that they serve Him.  The picture seems to be one of direct service to God as opposed to the current state where our service is by faith and without being in His direct presence.  On one hand serving God involves our worship and honor of Him.  However, it will no doubt also involve any directives that He gives.  In fact the word used for “serve” is a word that speaks of service of one who is hired or paid for their services.  There will no longer be toil and suffering in the work that God gives us to do, but rather joyful and rewarding discovery.  Thus the “service” of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden should be the backdrop to this concept of our service to God in the New Creation.

We are told that the saints see His face.  Adam and Eve also began in the Garden of Eden and walked with God and talked with Him in the cool of the day.  This is the same kind of setting.  There is no more disapproval of God.  We have complete fellowship with Him and complete acceptance from Him.  It is interesting that the Old Testament underlines the point that sinful man cannot survive seeing the face of God.  However, God is able to purify us and make us into His Sons, who can look into His face and not die.

We are told that His name will be upon our forehead.  Of course that might seem strange to us and predispose us to reject this as literal.  However, customs always seem strange to those who are not from that culture.  When we stand in that place, we will be a new people with new customs entering into a new world for all eternity.  What strange things will we encounter and participate in then?  There is little detail given about it.  The emphasis is that we are marked by God as a sign that we belong to Him and no other.  On one hand it gives outward assurance to something that we must take by faith in the present world.  Our position in Christ will not be a matter of faith then.  It will be an objective reality.  On the other hand, Satan and his angels have lost their bid to steal the bride of Christ, and thus it represents an eternal declaration of our inseparability.  We are identified with Him forever!

Verse 5 says that there will be no more night.  This is explained as a result of the presence of Christ.  His glory is a source of light that never wanes or is blocked by the rotation of the earth.  In fact, we are not told how far His glory shines.  Perhaps, just as this universe is marked by a great and black darkness with only small points of light here and there, we will find that the new universe will be marked by a great and white light that fills the whole of the cosmos.  Keep in mind that even the present universe is filled with the whole spectrum of electromagnetic radiation.  The darkness we see is actually the limitation of our eyes to see the whole spectrum.  It is possible then that nothing changes but our ability to perceive all the light of God in every spectrum.  Symbolically this means that we will never be separated from God or return to a state of ignorance and deception again.  We will forever bask in the truth and knowledge of God. 

It also says that we will reign with Christ forever.  Literally it says, “into the ages of the ages.”  Like a book left unfinished, so eternity opens up new chapters for humanity to write with God.  God will have kept His promise to the many generations of believers that have put their faith in Him throughout all the ages of this earth.  Every time a dictator rises up and crushes the people beneath them, we grow fearful that it will never come to an end.  However, God promises us that He will bring the reign of evil everywhere in the universe to an end.  We will then reign with Him.

The promises made to Christ’s followers

Before we close, I want to point out some important promises that are stated in the last part of this chapter.   In verse 7 it says, “Behold, I am coming quickly!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”  The word translated “keep” has the idea of paying careful attention to something.  It was used of a shepherd keeping his sheep.  It involved careful observation and wise response to what we see, including protection.  We will be blessed if we take the time to carefully observe what God’s Word says, and respond wisely in our lives to what it says.  We also need to protect God’s Word from being twisted in our minds and changed by those who speak like Satan did in the garden.  “Did God really say …”  There is a blessing and a happiness that can only come from taking God’s Word seriously and recognizing that the enemy of God has a vested interest in getting us to fail in our duty to “keep” God’s Word.

Verses 12 and 14 state, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work…  Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”  Here we see the emphasis that what has been described is a reward for those who work for Christ.  Yes, we have a foretaste of our reward in this life.  We have the fellowship of other believers and the Holy Spirit within our heart encouraging us.  We also have the good life-experience that often comes with living righteously, although not always (persecution is always not far away and yet, even then, God shows His goodness to us still).  Yet, at His Second Coming, Christ is coming to give us our reward.  Of course there is a flip side to this.  He also comes to give the wicked their “reward,” which in reality is a punishment.  Do not lose heart in following Christ.  You will be rewarded.  I would point out that the emphasis on His coming quickly means that we won’t have time to be lazy and get ready when we see Him coming.  You will either be ready or not.  Thus believers are called to be ready always, always prepared for His coming.

Lastly, verse 17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’  And let him who thirsts come.  Whoever desires, let him take the waters of life freely.”  What a beautiful promise.  God has not created obstacles to having the living waters.  It is our rebellion and sin that has created barriers.  However, through Jesus, God has removed the barriers and these things are now freely available to those who will come to Christ and simply drink.  It does not cost so much that only the rich man can have it.  Rather, any who will can come and drink the waters of life.  Of course that does not mean it is completely without cost.  It will cost us our pride and identification with this world.  It will cost us the desires and lusts of our flesh.  When we believe God’s Word and live it out in this world, we are spiritually drinking from the Waters of Life.  In the New Creation we shall both spiritually and physically drink the life giving waters of God.  Why would you hesitate or pull back?  Let today be the day that you say, “Yes, Lord, I want to drink life!  I want to hear your word, do it, and live!”

The New Heavens part 2 audio

Tuesday
Nov062018

My Personal End Times: The New Heavens & the New Earth

Revelation 21.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on November 4, 2018.

We are now at the last point of our series.  For the sake of time, I have broken this up into two sermons.  It begins with God’s promise to recreate the universe.  Throughout the Bible God reveals to us that He truly is the master of creation, and can even melt it down and recreate it when He wants.  So here we get a brief glimpse of what that new creation will look like, and the wisdom of God who is bringing us to it.

All things are made new

I will use the phrase from vs. 5 for our point because it describes what verses 1-4 are showing us.  The things of this world have grown old through use and abuse, but God has a day in which He will renew and refashion it to where it is both fresh and greater. 

Verse 1 makes it clear that in the last chapter the old heavens and earth were melted down and then sometime after the judgment recreated.  The new “heaven” here means the cosmos or universe and not the spirit realm where the throne of God is.  As for the new earth it is not just renewed, as in being brought back to a fresh state of the same thing.  It is also, refashioned into a different form.  We see this because it shares the detail that this new earth has no sea.  This does not mean that there is no water, but that large bodies of water like the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, or the oceans, for that matter, will be no more.  Throughout the Bible the waters were a great separating instrument to mankind.  It was also used as a symbolic representation of the turbulence of the nations.  Thus God will remove the physical barriers to mankind’s unity and the spiritual problems that drive its constant dissensions.

Verse 2 introduces the New Jerusalem, which comes down from God (i.e. it comes down from the third heaven).  This does not seem to be connected to the old Jerusalem on earth, which would have clearly been destroyed.  This is typically referred to as the Final State (condition), or the Eternal State.  This new creation is what we will inhabit into eternity.  Of course it would be folly to try and comprehend what plans God has for us in the Eternal State, other than to recognize that the emphasis is that now we can do it in perfect fellowship with God.

The New Jerusalem descends from Heaven

The New Jerusalem is compared to a bride adorned for her husband in verse 2.  However, in verses 9-10 it is called the bride of the Lamb (i.e. Christ).  Is the city just a symbol and not an actual city?  The descriptions to follow are far too detailed to treat the whole thing as simply a symbol of the Church.  Just as God’s people have been prepared to live with Jesus in eternity, so the city has been prepared to be the place of our dwelling, which leads us to the next point.

We are told in verse 4 that God wipes each tear from their eyes.  It is not saying that He will do that from then on because all the sources of pain will be no more: death, sorrow, crying, and pain.  Here we see the cathartic or healing experience of God removing any remnants of the old earth and its imprint upon our minds.  This is the ultimate renewing of our minds.  In verse 5 we are told that this plan and purpose of God is “true and faithful.”  It truly is His plan, and He will surely accomplish it.  God will bring it to pass for all who trust Him in this life.

In verses 6-8 we are given several promises from God and a warning.  First we hear the phrase “it is done” connected to that point in time.  This is in contrast to the words of Jesus on the cross, “It is finished.”  They are two different Greek words.  At the cross Jesus used a word that was used to state that a debt had been paid in full.  Thus at the cross it was finished in the sense that Christ had paid the price for salvation.  However, at the New Heavens and the New Earth “it is done” means that salvation/healing has been fully accomplished.  God has completed the task of overcoming the rebellion and corruption of the old universe.

Next the fountains of the Water of Life are promised to those who are thirsty.  There is a beer commercial that loves to use the slogan, “Stay thirsty, mis amigos!”  However, this begs the question.  What are you thirsty for?  You can drink all the beer you want, but it will not satisfy the empty aching in your soul.  If you are thirsty for the Waters of Life that are given to those who put their faith in Christ then you will know satiation that this world cannot give.  We drink from this water by faith.

Then inheriting all things is promised to those who overcome.  This world is our testing ground and the thing we must overcome.  It seeks to destroy your faith in God, but you must overcome it.  Jesus told his disciples that they would have persecution in this life, but then he said, “Fear not!  I have overcome the world.”  Thus we know that He will enable us to overcome the world as long as we lean upon Him.

Lastly, the warning is given.  We are given a list of the kinds of people who will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (i.e. The Second Death).  Most of the list makes sense.  However, many balk at the very first word, the cowardly.  Really?  People who are cowardly will be thrown into the Lake of Fire?  That seems way to harsh.  The point is not that those who are afraid receive the Second Death.  Rather, it is those who let fear cause them not to believe in Christ and instead embrace any of the other things in the list and more (there is no reason to believe the list is exhaustive).  When we let fear cause us to turn back and not overcome the world, then we fall short of the salvation and healing that God has for us.

The New Jerusalem described

For the sake of time I will list the descriptions briefly.  But it is worth spending some time thinking about the things described.  Verse 10 states that John is taken up to a great and high mountain.  This seems to be an allusion to Daniel’s kingdom “not made by human hands.”  That kingdom became a mountain that filled the whole earth.  As John stands on the great high mountain he sees the city coming down like a great mountain itself.  The Bible is replete with the mountain analogy.  The mountain of the Lord that was established in the earthly Jerusalem, pointed to a heavenly mountain of the Lord that existed in the heavenlies.  This New Jerusalem seems to be the ultimate mountain of the Lord coming down out of heaven and having the presence of God (as we see later).

We are told that the whole city is made of precious stones and shines with the glory of God.  In fact everything seems to be made of translucent material that will enable the glory of God to shine through it.  This is similar to the description Daniel gives of the righteous.  He says that they will shine like the stars.  Definitely there is a reference to taking on divinity (an immortal body that is from God).  However, if God has a glory that actually shines, it would stand to reason that we too will have some kind of shining glory, although lesser than that of God.

There are 12 gates around the city named after the 12 tribes of Israel and guarded by an angel.  We are also told that each gate is made out of a single pearl.  This is significant because as we go to the next point we will see that the walls are 216 feet tall.

The wall, that the gates are in, have 12 foundations named after the apostles of Christ and made of precious stones.  We are told that the city is the same length, width, and height and that each side is 1,400 miles.  It would be amazing enough to conceive of a city that was 1,400 miles square, but for it to also be 1,400 miles tall is flabbergasting.  We are not told if it is shaped like a cube or like a pyramid.  If it is like a cube, then it would be more reminiscent of the temple and the Holies of holies, whereas a pyramid shape would be more in keeping with the “mountain of the Lord” motif throughout Scripture and mentioned in verse 10.  Of course we have to point out that the streets are made of pure gold and thus in heaven gold is asphalt. 

Verse 22 tells us that there is no temple in the New Jerusalem because God and the Lamb dwell in it and they are the temple.  There is no separation from God and His people any more.  That, which was important to understand in the past, has now been overcome.  Not only is there no temple, but the city does not need the light from the sun or moon.  This doesn’t mean there isn’t a sun or moon, but that their light is not needed because of the light from the glory of God.

We are also told that the nations who are saved will walk in its light.  I should point out that it is not stated that the city will “land” upon the earth, only that John saw it descend out of heaven.  In light (pun intended) of this description, it would seem more likely that the New Jerusalem would orbit the New Earth as an artificial satellite giving light to the earth below.  However, it is quite possible that it lands upon the earth.  Of course life in the New Jerusalem and on the New earth is left to our imagination.  Do some people live in the New Jerusalem all the time?  Do some only live on the earth, and if so who?  Though many are quick to be dogmatic in answers to these questions, it seems a fool’s errand.  We simply have not been told and thus should wait until the time in which it will be revealed.

One thing is clear, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life may enter the New Jerusalem.  Which brings up the question, is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?  You can make sure that it is today, but repenting of your sins, believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and following His commands.  Will you do this now?  If you do you will have the joy of experiencing the greatest city that the world has ever know because it will have been built by God Himself.

The New Heavens & the New Earth Audio

Tuesday
Oct302018

Your Personal End Times: The Great White Throne

Revelation 20:11-15.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on October 28, 2018.

Two weeks ago we were looking at that amazing time called the Millennial Kingdom, which lies in our future.  What a wonderful time that will be as we experience life on this earth without war and unchecked unrighteousness.  For the believer who has been resurrected, it will be even more amazing because we will not have a body that is bent towards its own lusts.  Yet, the Bible tells us that the 1,000 years of peace will come to an end when Satan is released from prison and he is able to deceive a vast number of mortal humans to go to war against Christ and His glorified saints.  This Final rebellion is quickly defeated as Revelation 20:9 says, “fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”  We were then told that the devil would finally be thrown into the Lake of Fire where he will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  Some may wonder why God would put the devil in prison and then release him again.  Though the Bible does not give an explicit reason, it should not escape our insight that the devil and mortal man is given another chance to refrain from rebelling against God.  This seems to be the final argument in the case of God as for why all these are deserving of the Lake of Fire.  Regardless, it is a reality we must all deal with.  Even when given 1,000 years of peace and prosperity, multitudes would choose rebellion and the tyranny of sin over again when given the chance.

Our passage today follows on the heels of the fire falling from the sky and destroying the rebellion.  It focuses on a great day of judgment in which all the wicked dead throughout history will be brought up out of Hades and placed before the Lord.  You will remember that we previous spoke about a person who dies and is not in right relationship with God.  Such a person will find themselves in torments in Hades, the spiritual holding place we call the grave.  Most of what we have talked about has dealt with what the righteous will experience after death, but now we return to the wicked dead.  Though it was clear what their judgment would be when they died, technically they have not been sentenced yet.  One day their experience in Hades will be interrupted by this fire from heaven and they will be resurrected in order to stand before Christ for their sentencing.

The final judgment of creation will occur

Up to this point we have seen that the believers from every generation will have been resurrected and they will have glorified bodies (indestructible, imperishable, etc.).  They have already been judged.  In verses 11-15 we are dealing with the unrighteous dead.

Verse 11 begins with the earth and the heavens flee from the presence of the One who sits on the throne, but no place is found for them.  The idea is that they can’t hide and disappear from the scene as all the unrighteous dead are brought before Christ.  It is very likely that this passage and the fire that falls from heaven in verse 9 are tied to the prophecy that Peter makes in 2 Peter 3:10.  There Peter says, “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.  This doesn’t fit with what we have seen regarding the 2nd Coming of Christ.  Though we typically think of the Day of the Lord as referring to the Second Coming, it actually refers to the whole period from the pouring out of God’s wrath, to Christ’s 2nd Coming, including the Millennial Kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment.  So basically the whole universe melts into plasma before the full glory of Christ.

Thus as this creation is removed, we see the source of its melting.  A Great White Throne towers above all the other thrones that have ever been mentioned in Scripture, even Christ’s millennial throne.  This is the heavenly throne of God.  It is white because of the purity of the One who sits upon it.  Simultaneously the Second Resurrection occurs.  Though the phrase is not explicitly stated here, it is a logical necessity from the details of verse 5.  There we are told that the Resurrections that have occurred before this are a part of a class called the First Resurrection.  It then pronounces a blessing on those who participate in the First Resurrection and a danger upon those who do not.  Elsewhere in the Bible the resurrection is always described in two phases or at least two kinds.  Daniel describes two different resurrections it in chapter 12 of his book when he writes, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  Jesus described two resurrections and in John 5:29 the second one is specifically called “the resurrection of the condemnation.”  Paul describes it in Acts 24:15 as “the resurrection of the unjust.”  Thus the Second Resurrection is a time when all the wicked dead are raised up in order to receive condemnation and shame.

The picture is advanced as we see Hades completely emptied as all in it are brought before Christ.  It also mentions the sea being emptied of any in it and brought before Christ.  This is to emphasize that even those who could not be buried would be brought before Christ.  No one will escape this judgment, but the righteous who have already been judged as worthy of life.

We are also told that both the small and the great are brought before Christ.  No one will be too insignificant to escape this judgment, and no one will be too powerful to resist it.

Next we are told that books are opened and the Book of Life is opened.  The “books” plural are a record of the works and actions of each person.  The Book of Life is a ledger of all the “imagers” of God who have been created.  If they did not put their faith in god and His Christ then their name was blotted out of the book (see Psalm 69:28 and Acts 3:19).  When we put our faith in Christ, our name remains in the Book of Life and the record of our sinful works is blotted out.  Whether these are actual books in the heavens or merely symbols of God’s ability to record everything, it is clear that this is not a trial.  Though evidence is present, there is no rebuttal or counter evidence.  This is a sentencing phase where all will stand silent as the decision of Christ regarding them is made clear and carried out. 

Some have asked this question.  What about the righteous mortals of the Millennium?  It stands to reason that not everyone will join the Final Rebellion.  The glorified saints, of course, are able to withstand the fire that destroys all things.  Though it is not stated, it would seem very probable that any righteous mortals will be instantly transformed and caught up to the side of Christ along with the other glorified saints.  This will complete the First Resurrection.  The resurrected righteous from every generation will stand as witnesses to this judgment alongside Christ.

Those whose names are not in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire.  This is described in verses 14 and 15.  Up until this point, we have seen that the Beast and the False Prophet are the first to go into the Lake of Fire (at the 2nd Coming) and then the devil is thrown into the Lake of Fire at the end of the Millennium.  It would seem appropriate that, as the devil is thrown into the Lake of Fire, so his angels would be thrown in as well.  Jesus himself said that hell was created for “the devil and his angels.”  (Matthew 25:41).  The wicked humans are now joining the fate of the wicked supernatural beings.  The Lake of Fire is a place of separation from God and all His goodness. 

Thus they will never again be able to interact with God’s creation, specifically the New Heavens and the New Earth that are to be created and appear in Revelation chapter 21.  Nothing that is wicked or potentially could become wicked will be allowed to go into the New Creation.  Adam and eve were in paradise, but they were also ignorant to evil and wickedness.  Thus they could easily be deceived.  The glorified Sons of God who enter into the New Creation will not be ignorant.  We will be completely convinced of the goodness of God.

Let me leave you with the challenge to make sure that you are right with God.  Unless you surrender your life and put your faith in Jesus, you cannot escape the torments of Hades, the Great White Throne Judgment, and the Lake of Fire.  Why choose death?  Choose the life that God puts before you today.  Some reject this offer and present all manner of arguments why God should not be worshipped, but this is folly.  You will not judge God, He will judge you; and you are not truly righteous, but He truly is.

Are you angry at the idea of judgment and resentful towards God and His supposed goodness?  You should read David Guzik’s commentary on Revelation 20:12-13.  Here is part of what he has to say. 

“i. Because this is a sentencing and not a trial, those who stand before the throne have nothing to say. Many think they will “tell God a thing or two” at the final judgment, as reflected in this letter to Dear Abby (a newspaper advice column) written some years ago:

 Dear Abby: I am troubled with something a reader wrote: “What right do we mortals have to demand an explanation from God?” Abby, that writer has never known the gut-wrenching pain of losing a child...

God didn’t answer my prayers, and I resent being told that I have no right to question God. If there is a God, and if I ever get to meet him face to face, you can bet your life I will have plenty of whys for him to answer.

I want to know why my little girl died and why that drunk was allowed to go on living. I love her more than my life, and I miss her so. I am mad that I am having to live in a world where she no longer lives, and I want to know why. Why shouldn’t I have the right to ask God?

Aren’t we supposedly created in his image? If so, surely he has a heart and soul capable of hurting just as I hurt. Why would he not expect to be questioned if he has anything to do with miracles?

I don’t fear the Lord. And I don’t fear hell, either. I know what hell is like. I’ve already been there since the day my precious daughter was killed.

Please sign me... A Bereaved Mother

ii. Of course, there will be no criticism of God on that day. This desperate woman will see not only the righteousness and goodness of God, but she will also see her own sin and rejection of Him more clearly than ever. One could only pray and hope she came to understand how the Father Himself knew the pain she experienced, and sent His Son to give her hope and redemption.”

Great White Throne audio

Tuesday
Oct232018

Evangelist Ernie Salinas Evening Worship

This evening Evangelists Ernie and Karol Salinas were with us to share about their trip to Latvia.  We appologise for the recording starting mid-sentence.

Salinas PM Worship Audio