Death and the end times – Part IV
11 / 29 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
Please understand that these devotions are simply my thoughts put on a piece of paper as I study during the week. I then share my thoughts with my friends … all of you! There is more to the life of a believer than “seeking and saving the lost”. Although this may be ONE of the missions of a child of God, it most certainly is NOT the only one. Remember, loving our neighbor is the second greatest commandment, but the first and greatest is loving God. Part of loving someone is knowing them.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) In other words, we must know YHVH and His Salvation.
If it is in God’s Word, it is there for us to study. This devotion is the fourth part and the final devotion in the series on death. It is deep, and I (and others) have spent countless hours on it. It is an awesome study and is just that … a study. I was still studying it last week and did not feel it was ready yet, so there was no devotion last week. I believe that I am now ready to at least put some thoughts down in writing. Enjoy!
THERE SEEMS TO BE FOUR GROUPS OF PEOPLE (Maybe only three):
“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called LEAST in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called GREAT in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for NOBLE PURPOSES and some for COMMON USE? (Romans 9:20-21)
The above two passages reveal the first two groups:
1.) The first group is those who hear the message and believe. Out of faith, they turn their ear to the Law and practice it and teach it to others.
- These are the priests, or the elect. They have been set aside as YHVH’s possession. They will be great in the kingdom of heaven and used for noble purposes.
2.) The second group is those who are the least in the kingdom, as well as being called for common use. Unlike the priests, they seem to turn a deaf ear OR do not know the Law fully yet to teach it to others.
The next two passages reveal the third and fourth groups:
“Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24)
“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” (Romans 9:18)
3.) The third group is those who heard the message clearly and refused to believe and “sin no more”. They would not accept the Law out of faith. They clearly have heard the message in this life with unstopped eyes and ears … and refused it.
- “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9) and “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.” (John 9:31)
- Matthew 10:14-15 is also clear about those who hear the message: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
4.) The fourth group is those who maybe heard the message but were blinded by God (not chosen to be priests of to be used for noble purposes). They never heard the message and therefore, could not choose to believe. As you will see, God is merciful and has a plan for those who have not heard or those He has blinded on purpose. Haven’t you ever thought about those born into a family of “Christ haters?” These children and their parents simply hate the God of Israel because of ignorance. Many Jews have been hardened by God in order for US to hear the message (Romans 11:25). So, group # 4 contain all of those and also the “guys on the island” who never heard.
AT THIS TIME, THOUGH, GOD IS SIMPLY GATHERING UP HIS ELECT / PRIESTS
(Those who believe and obey will be the greatest and most noblest in the Kingdom to come. That is all that God is gathering at this time.)
Recall last week’s devotion (part three) about the Priests. We have found that the earthly priests were to have NO earthly inheritance. They, alone, were set aside for God and were told that God was going to be their inheritance. What is greater than that?
“I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28)
“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
LET US LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING POSSIBLE TIME-LINE OF WHAT IS TO COME:
1.) We have the great tribulation (To save space, since many know this part, we can read about it in Revelation 13-18). Here it speaks about the beast and the mark that the un-believers will receive who follow the beast; It speaks about the 144,000 from every tribe of Israel; It speaks about the plagues and the tribulation; It speaks about the distress so great that it had to be shortened for the sake of the elect. This is ALL before the 1,000 year reign.
2.) We find in Revelation 19:7-8 that the bride has made herself ready … “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and 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.)” The bride is described as the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2 and 9-10), yet we know that this stands for its inhabitants as Matthew 23:37 indicates. I believe that the inhabitants have made themselves ready – the priests or the elect – those chosen by God. Righteous acts are based upon following His righteous Laws (“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” … Romans 2:13). Those getting themselves ready are the priests. They follow the High Priest and He is their example. The High Priest loved and obeyed the Law perfectly … that is the goal of the priests. It is a Law for the wife (bride) to submit to her husband in everything (“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:24)).
- Just like any hardship, the great tribulation made the bride even more ready: “I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14) Being white means to be clean and without sin. It is through the blood of the Lamb that the Spirit of the Lamb comes and teaches the bride (thus taking away her sins … making her white). The priests are saved by faith, but by practicing the Laws, their sins are being removed.
- “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.” (Joel 2:15-16) Did you notice the three Fall Feasts were alluded to twice … in order? Trumpets (blowing the trumpets which gathers the people), Day of Atonement (a fast day to consecrate the assembly), Tabernacles (assembling and bringing together the people) … WOW! The happy couple is preparing for the wedding!
3.) Recall that all the dead are still in the grave waiting to be called out (Some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt). We find in Revelation 19:20-21 the final destruction of the beast and the false prophet, as well as those who worshipped the beast and received the mark (vs 21) “The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse,”.
4.) Who is left? Why, the greatest deceiver of all … Satan. He is immediately taken and put into the Abyss for a 1,000 years (“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” … Revelation 20:1-2). The 1,000 years that Satan is bound is the seventh “day” of history since “a day is like a thousand years,” (2 Peter 3:8). To God, this is the Sabbath! The Law states that when someone gets married, the groom is not to be enlisted to go to war for one year. Plus, with Satan bound, there is no more work for the Son of God and His Bride for this “day” (1,000 years).
5.) NOTE: We are told that Satan will be released for a short time after the 1,000 years. If you have been following God’s appointments, the 1,000 year reign is the Feast of Tabernacles. After that Feast, we have the Eighth Day Assembly (The LAST appointment). And it is here that Satan is loosened to deceive once more. THIS time, just like the earthly example, God’s priests will be ready to rule (teaching in love). These who rise after the 1,000 years will hear both the messages (from Satan and the priests) “He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.” (Revelation 20:3)
6.) While Satan is out of the picture, the priests / elect are left. Those who were beheaded for Yeshua (Jesus) and His Word, those who were alive (the 144,000) and did not receive the mark, and finally those who obeyed the Laws of God out of faith, – all the above are the priests / elect. These (group # 1) take part in the FIRST resurrection (Note that they “came to life” from their sleep / death. They were not already with Him.): “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 worshiped 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.” (Revelation 20:4) Those who rose in the FIRST resurrection will have no part in the second death. “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
7.) Okay … now what about the rest of the dead (groups # 2, 3, and 4)? “(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)” (Revelation 20:5)
Let us stop here for a moment to meditate. The Son of God (High Priest) is with His priests. He is teaching them unhindered in a world much like that of the Garden of Eden. This is a blessed time for the priests who have been hand-picked, or chosen by God to be used for noble purposes and are great in the kingdom: “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’” (Revelation 20:9) (Give the happy couple some time together, will ya?) … ahhhh. This 1,000 year reign is God’s literal rest. It now gives more meaning to the words for those who disobey. They are told that they will NEVER enter His rest: “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?” (Hebrews 3:18) It is this 1,000 year rest that is being spoken of.
8.) Okay … the honeymoon is over. Time to start working together as a team (The Husband and His wife are now one). Time to loosen Satan “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison” (Revelation 20:7) and put the final chapter to rest. Satan is loosened to deceive the nations. “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.” (Revelation 20:8) Who are the nations being spoken of since there is no-one left but Yeshua (Jesus) and His priests? The rest of the dead have now come to life after the 1,000 year reign when Satan was loosened again. I believe that this is speaking of only those who did not hear clearly before they died or were intentionally blinded by God for not being made to be a priest.
9.) We find Satan (who is a spirit) and possibly his fallen angels (who are spirits) being defeated.
- Satan and his angels are NOT flesh and blood, and therefore will be the only ones spoken of as being eternally in torment. “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They (the beast, false prophet and Satan) will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10). This is based upon Revelation 19:20 … “But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
10.) Okay, Satan and his army are eternally out of the way. It is time for judgment for groups # 2,3, and 4!
11.) Those who have risen after the 1,000 year reign have now heard both sides (the truth by the priests and the deception by Satan). (NOTE: death and Hades simply mean: grave or resting place. Sea could actually mean those who died in the sea and were never buried in the ground … OR … there are other places in God’s Word that use “sea” to mean the entire body of soil). The second resurrection was for group # 4 and now it is time to see who gets to experience the second death or receive eternal life. Recall that group # 4 is those who never heard the message and have now have heard it. They have a chance to accept or deny … such as the thief on the cross. It was simply faith at the last moment: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened (Note: The first set of books are the Torah, or Laws as given to Moses. The next book is the book of life.). 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. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire (Since we just had a group being judged for the first time, it mentions another group, “Then,” as if the rest of those in the graves were simply thrown into the lake of fire. Those are the ones who heard clearly and refused in the life they had) . 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.” (Revelation 20:12-15) This day of judgment for groups # 2,3, and 4 is also spoken of in:
- Daniel 12:2 … “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”
- John 5:28-29. … “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
This, of course, is simply an outline, but it does reveal a couple things:
- Who will be with the Yeshua (Jesus) for a 1,000 years.
- There are at least TWO resurrections. The first is pretty clear that it is the priests (those who taught and practiced the Law out of faith). What is confusing is the order of the second resurrection.
• It seems to be clear that group # 3 do not get a “second” chance.
• It is clear that group # 4, who never had a chance in life to accept the truth or deny it, have their FIRST opportunity to hear clearly. They are given that chance by God “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4).
• It is NOT clear about group # 2. It depends totally on their hearts when they heard the message of faith and repentance. Did they really understand that the Law determines what sin is, and that it is this Law (That Yeshua (Jesus) gave to Moses and the Prophets) that is to be obeyed out of faith? Did they hear clearly? If they did and they rejected, then the lake of fire is their destination. If they were blinded by God, then they will hear for the first time at the second resurrection.
This was simply a study to know my Father and His plan. I pray that you enjoyed it.
There are just so many other passages that speak of these times; it is amazing!
- Zechariah 14:16-17 is speaking about the time AFTER the 1,000 years. We see that there are people still refusing to obey God, so this is before all wickedness is totally eliminated, yet after the attack on Jerusalem. Therefore, it is before the final judgment. “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, YHVH Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH Almighty, they will have no rain.” By sending no rain to those who do not obey, God is still trying to reach out and let them know who is King.
- Isaiah 30:18-21 is also speaking about AFTER the 1,000 years (and maybe after evil is eliminated). The priests, like they were commanded, teach all righteousness: “Yet YHVH longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For YHVH is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
- We know (but do not understand fully) that the 144,000 come to accept the truth since they are sealed (Revelation 6:12). This is after the seven seals were broken, but notice that the 6th seal (Revelation 7:2-3) is speaking of the same events of Matthew 24:29-30 … “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”). So, the 144,000 are part of the first resurrection. Are these 144,000 to ensure that there is always a remnant of the natural children? Just a thought, since we know that the priests are taken from ALL nations (Revelation 5:9-10) in the end.
- Revelation 21:8 … “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.” We have come to know that such people are NOT children of God. In other words, we know that “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
- Let us not forget the role of priests. They administer the Law / truth. Therefore, “To him who 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. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:26-29) I believe that this is after the 1,000 year reign and when Satan is released for a short time.
- The sad note: There will be many who heard the message to repent of their sins, yet continued in their sins. They do not practice obedience to the Laws of God out of faith in this life. Many do not realize that 99% of the time (if not all) when “wicked” or “evildoer” is mentioned in His Word, it is speaking about “transgressors of the Law”. Read Malachi 4:1-4. It is speaking about the day all evildoers are thrown into the lake of fire (Note what YHVH actually tells us to remember! This is a time yet to come!): “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says YHVH Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says YHVH Almighty. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.” The evildoer becoming stubble from the flames is in line with Matthew 7:23 … “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Those who perish will become totally consumed! Ashes is what they are called under the soles of the feet of those who love God.
• The word for evildoers is anomía; gen. anomías, from ánomos, lawless. Lawlessness. In most cases in the NT it means not the absence of the Law, but the violation of Law, i.e., transgression or lawlessness. In the NT, it places stress, not in a subjective law that we ourselves create for our convenience, but chiefly in a divinely instituted Law.
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.” IF you want to be a priest and be part of the first resurrection … start studying!
This is part of a series titled, Death and the End Times:
Death and the end times – Part III
11 / 15 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
I am pondering how to continue this series on death and the end times. Should I just jump into what “seems” to be truth and who rises when (the first resurrection, the second resurrection, etc…)? Or is there another study which should be done that will lead up to the conclusion for better understanding? I have decided that I am going to “add” a study because the more proof from God’s Word that we have, the easier it is to challenge long-held beliefs. God’s Word will continue to “rock our world” until our flesh submits to truth.
GOD CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS … WHEN HE WANTS … TO WHOM HE WANTS.
The end times and WHO will rise up for the 1,000 year reign, I believe, have everything to do with the kingdom of priests. It appears that God is has been building up the kingdom of priests all this time. The rest? They will rise up AFTER the 1,000 year reign. Two key passages that I have often grappled with before this study, are:
- Matthew 5:19 … “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” After studying about the job of the priests, I know that the latter group mentioned in this verse is speaking about them. The priests were ALWAYS the greatest in the earthly example of God’s kingdom. We will find out that some are rising up for the 1,000 year reign and some “believers” are rising up after the 1,000 year reign. It seems as though God is looking for “a few good men” for this 1,000 year reign.
- John 12:40 … “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.” I always thought: That’s not fair! Who can blame them for not understanding the truth since they were intentionally blinded by God? In “death part 4” we will see that God IS fair and just … not wanting anyone to perish!!
“Death part 3” is on just this topic: God is calling His priests first (those who practice and teach His Law out of faith) and God can choose whomever He wants to be a priest. As far as “not being fair” to those blinded or those never able to hear the truth unhindered? They DO get a chance to hear and decide whether to accept or not … during the “Eighth Day Assembly” (After the 1,000 year reign). But this is for “death part 4”!
THE EXAMPLES GIVEN FOR PRIESTS ARE THOSE WHO SERVE GOD AND TEACH HIS PEOPLE.
God’s example on earth: “‘Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’”(Exodus 19:5-6) A priest cannot teach what he, himself, does not do.
The complete fulfillment in the kingdom to come: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6). We are ONLY freed from bondage to a sin when we no longer desire to transgress that Law. Therefore, when we are freed from our bondage to a sin, we are able to obey the law that called what we were doing a sin. Being a priest in the kingdom to come is NOT a “for Jews only” position. I am not spiritualizing or minimizing our Jewish brothers. We know that Aaron (the high priest) was a typology of the Son of God. It was only Aaron’s offspring who could follow in his footsteps as a priest. The same is true with Yeshua (Jesus) being the high priests and HIS offspring! The priests are those who practice and teach obedience out of faith. They are the “kingdom of Priests” that God is gathering at this time. “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
The above passages in Revelation were speaking about those who will serve with Yeshua (Jesus). Think about it. The Priests were NEVER given any inheritance. Instead, God said, “I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28) and “Know that YHVH has set apart the godly for himself; YHVH will hear when I call to him.” (Psalm 4:3). Why? The priests are the greatest and were set apart to serve God. The priests are the elect and who better to be the bride of the Son of God than His priests? For it was and is the priest’s job to deliver the truth about the Law and how to live it out … that is righteousness! His bride will be those who made themselves ready (shed their sins … this was NOT done in her own strength, but she allowed the Spirit to dress her. Therefore, “fine linen” was given to her! But she had to accept the fine linen, or righteous living.). “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and 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.)” (Revelation 19:7)
It seems, again, that many who think that “faith without obeying the Law” is salvation … have missed the mark. It is clear that God is preparing His bride, the priests, to be part of the first resurrection (the 1,000 year reign, or Sabbath): “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be PRIESTS of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
Here is a thought: The Law of God commands that when a couple gets married, the Husband is to be given the year off from the military service to spend with His bride. Can you see the same situation here between the marriage of the Lamb and His bride? The groom has been in battle for all this time and now, at the marriage of the Lamb to His bride, it is the Sabbath (With the Lord a day is like a thousand years … and it is the seventh day … a Sabbath). He no longer has to fight against Satan, for he is bound up at this time and it is pure rest with the one the Groom loves, his bride. Ahhhh.
BUT IS THIS FAIR?
At first glance, it appears NOT to be fair to those who were never given the message or who were blinded simply by God’s choice. In “death part 4” we will see that God IS just and fair and that they will be given a chance to hear the truth and either deny it or accept it … in the end.
I will tell you who I am afraid for, though. It is those who clearly have understood the truth about salvation and the life of obedience to God’s Laws out of faith in His Son. They have denied the power of the Spirit of God. They heard the truth. Yeshua (Jesus) speaks of such people: “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24) Did you notice that Yeshua (Jesus) is telling those who actually heard the message and rejected the truth that there were cities destroyed for their wickedness who had never heard what THEY heard and saw. Repent and turn from your sins and believe in God. Woe to those who have heard the message and rejected obedience to God through faith. It will be better for the Muslim in the end who had never heard the truth than for those who have heard and denied the sanctifying power of the Spirit.
Who are we to question the Creator as to who will be who in His Kingdom? HE decides who will be priests, as well as who will be blinded to the truth, as well as who will be made for common use:
- “One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’ But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:18-24)
- “Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:10) IF these people’s heart were not made calloused and their ears dull and their eyes closed … they would have turned and been healed.
In conclusion, it appears that God is building up His house of priests for eternity. Who are we to question who will be a priest or who will be used for common purposes? For it is only God who calls and it is only the priest who will answer this call at this time: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44). Once called and proven, you will be chosen. It is all about overcoming this world and its lies (from its father of liars … the devil). “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings–and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)
“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.” (Romans 11:25) This does not seem to be fair to those who have been hardened! But don’t worry, out of ALL the tribes, languages, peoples, and nations … not one of His priests were forgotten or lost! Even out of those who were blinded … God received unto Himself those who were priests. “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. “ (John 6:39)
At this time: it is just something to think about (I, too, am still searching)
This is part of a series titled, Death and the End Times:
Death and the end times – Part I
11 / 01 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
I cannot explain the depth of this study. I have been doing these studies and learning new and exciting truths of our Master for many years, and I have to tell you, this study on death and end times is one of the most exciting thus far.
Recall the study on the Breath of God giving life … to both the wicked and righteous. This study picks up where that one left off. It is ONLY when God removes His Breath (which is the same word used when speaking about His Spirit), that we die … but what happens when we die?
QUESTION: WHAT HAPPENS ONCE THE BREATH IS REMOVED? (In other words … the rest of the story)
I have heard different thoughts concerning death:
- The moment we die, we are either in hell or heaven (or some place in between).
- The moment we die, our flesh remains in the grave, but our soul is with Jesus.
- I have never heard, though, anyone at a funeral speaking of the deceased as “today, he is in hell”. (Seems like everyone will be in heaven, eh? Just a thought. Don’t ever ask me to do a eulogy … I might be too honest. )
Allow me to give you some passages that give us a clue about once we die:
- “And YHVH said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your fathers,” (Deuteronomy 31:16)
- “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers,” (2 Samuel 7:12)
- “Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David.” (1 Kings 2:10)
- “Look on me and answer, YHVH my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;” (Psalms 13:3)
I could fill up pages with passages like the above. The fact is, I could not find any passages in the Old Testament that spoke of anyone who had died being anyplace BUT the grave … resting … waiting … simply sleeping until awoken. It seems as though it is God’s Breath, or Spirit, that is within a person (both the wicked and righteous) that keeps him or her alive. It seems that when a “spirit” is spoken about as leaving a body, it is God’s Spirit being taken back or removed. Could it be that man and his soul remain in the grave until judgment day OR until God calls Him out by giving the man Breath again (such as Lazarus or those rising from the grave when Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified, etc…)? Allow me to give you some passages that seem to speak about this. They seem to say that man does NOT rise when he dies, but waits in the grave until “spoken to” (Remember: we want truth and His word IS that truth):
- “… so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep.” (Job 14:12) (Till the heavens are no more man does NOT rise. That is judgment day.)
- (Regarding the end days) “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) (It sure looks as though the believers and non-believers alike will sleep in the dust of the earth until a certain day in the end. By these passages alone, it seems that no one rises and is “with Jesus” until the end. So where are they? IF believers are immediately with the Lord, then there would be no one rising to “everlasting life” in the end. This is NOT speaking only about the bodies left behind, because it is written: “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, “ (1 Corinthians 15:50). Our bodies are NOT who we are … it is our souls. Our earthly bodies will not be with the Master. Our souls, those who are deemed saved in the end, will be wrapped with a new wrapping. One that is incorruptible.)
- “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) (How can Yeshua (Jesus) be the first fruit IF there were others like King David, Moses and the rest who believed in the Promise of the Messiah and whose spirits were rising before His did? Let me ask you, when does a farmer receive the fruit of his labors? Think of it this way: Although the fields have produce in them, it is not accounted for until the harvest time … in the end.)
- (Speaking of a time to come, before the 1,000 year reign:) “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) (This was written AFTER Jesus went to be with His Father and is speaking of a time that is yet to come. Since the dead in Christ are still in their graves, God is fair … They will be “first in line” to rise!)
- “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28-29) (Remember Yeshua (Jesus) calling Lazarus out from the grave? The same seems to be true here. We are sleeping in the grave until we hear His voice tell us to rise. Even Lazarus is still in his grave waiting. He simply rose in his flesh when he received the Breath of God … again.)
LOOK AT DEATH LIKE THIS:
There are passages that seem to indicate that being apart from the body is being with the Messiah upon death (as if it were the next moment). Let me explain what I believe they are speaking about:
- When you go to sleep soundly and wake up 8 hours later … what is your last memory? It is when you put your head down to sleep, of course, and the things that you were thinking of.
- If you ask anyone who has had a seizure (I have two family members that have had many, so I know), they will tell you that it was as if the time in the seizure never happened. This is why they are so confused when they wake up. They are in a different position or place from when they went into the seizure.
- How about when you are having surgery and they put you under? There was one time when I went in for surgery and when I woke up I asked those who were looking over me, “How much longer until the operation?” (AS far as I was concerned, no time had passed)
So, too, with the following passages. Remember that it was already clear that we sleep in the dust and “rise” when Yeshua (Jesus) comes again. So, when there are passages that “seem” to say differently, we must take the time to find out their thoughts. They do NOT actually say that they would be immediately with Him, but could be saying that to be dead, meant life the next waking moment was their “next stop”. Until then, they would neither think, praise, ponder, nothing … just sleeping in the dust.
- “I would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” (2 Corinthians 5:8-9) (Yes, I can see how that this could be understood as being immediately, but based on the other Scriptures and Paul knowing the Scriptures, that he was speaking about his next waking moment as being with the Lord. Also, Paul knew that until he left his body of flesh, he was not with the Lord. In the grave, he is still with the body!)
- “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:23-24) (Again, we must use Scripture to define scripture. It says that they sleep until awoken … so it could be that Paul knew this.)
- “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60) (Two possibilities: First thought is that Stephen must have known about sleeping until the last day and, like Paul, spoke in this manner regarding his next waking moment. The second possibility is concerning the fact that there is no “my” in the original Greek text. So Stephen could have been simply saying, “Lord Jesus, receive YOUR Spirit”, or “take your Breath back”. For He then fell asleep. He knew that if God took back His breath, the pain would be over that Stephen was experiencing.)
I don’t want to burst any bubbles, but all those funerals that mentioned “Aunt Sue” being with Jesus today and rejoicing, well, it seems that she may actually be resting and still has to stand before God. She is simply farther ahead in the line.
We have read that flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). We know these bodies are only temporary coverings for our souls (who we are). This is only a study and NOT all-conclusive. It is just … “Something to think about!”
This is part of a series titled, Death and the End Times: