Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Holy City is Measured


   The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
   And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 
   The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
   The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
   the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
   The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
21:16-21

Four Very Large Walls


 twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.  Mr. Smith** offers this view concerning the size of the city.  In ancient times, when the size of the city was given, the number referred to the circumference of the city and not to the length of one side.  If that is the way this is to be interpreted, the New Jerusalem will be only three hundred and seventy five miles on any one side. 

   The reference to the word equal concerning the height would not be the actual height but rather it would mean that the height was proportionate to the size of the wall.  This way of reckoning would, of course, make the Holy City much smaller.

He measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, that is, about 216 feet (65 meters).  This, obviously, does not refer to the length of the wall if the length of the city is 1500 miles each way.  So, was he measuring the thickness or the height of the wall? 

 Here are two answers:  

  1. Then he measured the thickness of the walls and found them to be two hundred and sixteen feet across. Living Bible.  
  2. He measured its wall, two hundred and sixteen feet (in height). Wuest#  

According to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.  Wuest# clarifies this by writing, using the measuring system of mankind, which is that used by the angel.  The Living Bible is even more up to date in its translation; the angel called out the measurements to me, using standard units.  

We must notice that the writer very carefully says the wall was of jasper not that it was “like jasper”.  The city was of gold and not like gold, but then he continues to say that the gold was like clear glass.

   The foundations of the wall of the city, not the foundations of the city, were garnished with all manner of precious stones.  There are twelve foundations,
21:14, each foundation had its own gem.  Foster*** points out that these twelve gems very closely compare to the twelve gems worn by the high priest on his breastplate.

   In the statement, the street of the city was pure gold, we see that the word, street, is singular.
 The broad avenue of the city was pure gold. Wuest#    The main street of the city was pure gold. Berean Study Bible.  Is it possible that only one and not all the streets of heaven are paved with gold (as we so glibly say)?

   Even though it is impossible for us to imagine a city this large with only one street, is it possible that heaven has only one street, as the Bible says?  Dr. McGee* suggests that it is one continuous street weaving throughout the city to provide access to any part of the city; from the bottom tier of the city to the very top level.
_________________
__________________
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
**Daniel and The Revelation, Uriah Smith
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Holy City Comes Down


Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
   And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
   “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
   Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
   And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
21:2-6 


The Holy City Comes Down


   Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. It is unfortunate that throughout the New Testament only one word is used for the word heaven.  The word in Greek is Ouranos and it means any of the following:
  • the air, 
  • the home of the heavenly orbs, 
  • the sky, 
  • the sphere in which the evil powers do their work 
  • the eternal dwelling place of God. Vine+++
   Naturally, our upbringing and our education flavor our understanding of the word heaven, and we subconsciously hold on to our idea, whether or not that is what the Scriptures means to portray.

   It seems logical to believe that this city of God did not proceed out of the place that Vine+++ calls the eternal dwelling place of God, The Akashic Field, but perhaps, rather was fashioned (built) among the home of the heavenly orbs, that is, among the stars.  In fact, The Living Bible in 21:10 says, Descending out of the skies.  

  As we saw in the last post, its dimensions are very limited, not at all comparing in size to the earth and sky that we just read of as having been changed.  Regardless of its origin, it is a spectacular sight to behold.  The Living Bible describes it this way; It was a glorious sight, beautiful as a bride at her wedding. 20:2

   We cannot believe that our eternal home has always been the same as it will be when we get there, because Christ said, In My Father’s house are many mansions; ... I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2.  Whatever it is that Christ is doing to our future home, we can only believe that they are improvements, fit for His bride.

   Dr. McGee* writes, Is anything incongruous about a civilization out yonder in space on a new planet?  The New Jerusalem will either become another satellite to the earth or, what is more probable and what I think is true, the earth will become a satellite to the New Jerusalem as well as the rest of the new creation. This chapter indicates that the city will be the center of all things. 

   It seems unlikely that the earth will become a satellite of the New Jerusalem, because of the limited size of the New City.  Isn't a satellite always smaller than its home planet?


Our New Home


   The Living Bible and American Standard have changed, I heard a loud voice from heaven, to, I heard a loud shout from the throne.  The voice said, The tabernacle of God is with man.  The word tabernacle means a temporary dwelling place.  The LB has put it this way, the home of God is now among men, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. Whereas Wuest# has confused the issue by inserting, the glorified body of the Lord Jesus in which he lives in place of tabernacle. 

   He that sat on the throne is God, the Father. 4:3.  The one sitting there, in this scene, is not an angel, for he calls himself, the Beginning and the End. 21:6.

   Then the temple of God was opened in heaven. 11:19  That is exactly the place in The Apocalypse where the Rapture of the Church is recorded.  That thought is repeated in 21:2 with these words, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 

I make all things new. So far, in chapter 21, there is
  • a new sky, a new earth, v.1
  • a New Jerusalem, v.2
  • a new tabernacle (as far as man is concerned), v.3 
  • a new manner of life. v.4

   It has also been suggested that the New Heaven refers to the atmosphere around the new earth.  I also read that the old heaven needed cleansing because that is where Satan used to be, for more on this see Eph. 6.  All traces of Satan's influence needed to be eradicated from it before it was fit to contain the Holy City!


   In 16:17 we also had the words, It is done!  In that post I wrote, The words, it is done, certainly include the completion of The Church of Christ, and her rapture.  That same thought is repeated here.  If modern day Bible prophets are right, The Church took about 2000 years to "construct" and it is not at all surprising that it would be mentioned several times that it is finished.  

   It is an important feat, afterall, she is the Bride of Christ!  In place of the words, Write, for these words are true and faithful...It is done!  Wuest# has These words are trustworthy and dependable ... they have come to pass and stand accomplished.

   According to Wuest, included in the word, write, is the meaning of, Do not be hesitant to write what you have seen and heard, because my words are trustworthy.  What I have said will happen, must happen, because I started this program and I know how it ends.

________________________________
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Holy City

He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 
having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.    
Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 
three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 
And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 
The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth.    And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 21:10-16 

The Glorious City


   In 16:20 we learned that when the seventh angel poured out his bowl of wrath the mountains of earth were not found.  Here in v. 10 the writer was "beamed up" to a great and high mountain; I suppose we must assume that this mountain is on the new earth, it was from that mountain that he saw heaven, the holy Jerusalem, our eternal abode.

  In its meaning 21:10 is a repeat of verse 21:2; 21:3-8 are simply an interruption in the major thought.  In 21:2 the city was noted as being as beautiful as a bride; starting in 21:10 it is described in the same way again. This fact indicates that the two verses are in the same time frame.

   This holy city is bathed in the glory of God. It's splendour and radiance as a luminary, a light giving body, was like a stone which is most precious, like a stone of crystal clear jasper. Wuest#.  The basic color of jasper is that of fire. Vine+++.  In fact, it is so bright that the people, living on the new earth, live in the light of this holy city. 21:24

   On each of the twelve gates is the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and each gate has a guardian angel attending it.  The city wall has twelve foundations and on each one of them is the name of one of the twelve apostles of Christ.  You…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Eph.2:20

  This phrase about the names of the twelve apostles, being on the twelve foundations, has caused some to suggest that, it was not John, the Apostle, who wrote The Apocalypse.  For, they say, it would be an unprecedented display of egotism for the writer, an apostle, to claim that his name is on one of the gates of the holy city.

   On each side of the city are three gates, and we imagine them all on the same level, but a city that is as high as it is long may well have the gates staggered at different levels.  This would be very practical, if those who came to visit the new city came in spaceships.  For anyone who has watched Si Fi movies of this type, this is easy to imagine and certainly easy to believe. 


The Size of the City


   He who talked with me, is the angel, which we met in 20:9.  He has a measuring reed made of gold.  The length of a reed is given in Eze. 40:5, as being six times a cubit plus six handbreadths or almost eleven feet long. Unger++

   The city is square; in fact, it is a cube. In each direction, it is 12,000 furlongs or 1500 miles.  Measuring in a straight line, West to East, that is the distance from Victoria, Canada to the western tip of Lake Superior, Canada and North to South from Tuktayaktuk straight south to the Canada-US border.

   A rather large city when one considers that it stands as high as it is wide.  Yet we cannot think of it as a small planet because planets, by their very nature are round, but this city is laid out as a square.  


Dr. McGee* explains how this could be possible.  He admits that the city is a cube but that a translucent sphere surrounds the cube.  He says that the people living in heaven would live inside the sphere, not on the surface of the sphere, as dwellers on earth do.

   Foster
*** has given the calculation for the capacity of the Holy City.  It is 3,375,000,000 cubic miles.  Then he continues by saying, multiply that figure by 64 and you have the number of allotments equaling one quarter of a cubic mile the city would provide.  That gives a total of 216,000,000,000...segments.

One gets the idea that he is implying that each "block" in heaven will have a cubic area of one-quarter mile and that there will be room for 216,000,000,000 "blocks" in heaven.  Christ said, There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together. John 14:2-3 CEV 

The present population of the earth is less than 7,000,000,000.  It has been estimated that the total number of people that have ever lived in the word is 107,602,707,791.  Playing around with all this wild speculation would allow for a population of about 15 people per one quarter cubic mile.  If, by some weird coincidence, these numbers happened to be true, and if all the people that have ever lived on our world, would be in heaven, heaven would still not be crowded.

   More about the physical structure of heaven in the next post.

________________________________

# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine
++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Great Multitude


All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
   saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
   Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
   
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb7:11-14 


The Wedding Day Has Arrived



   This is all just too wonderful for words; the bride and the bridegroom are finally together.  After all these years of separation and longing for closer fellowship, it has happened.  Now The Church is there where Jehovah Himself will be with them.  


   It is so fitting that All the angels stood around the throne ... saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”  Would we expect less than that the elders and the four living creatures, would fall on their faces before the throne and say: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

   The writer is asked by one of the twenty-four elders, who are these that are dressed in white robes, and where do they come from.  The answer given is; I do not know, but you do.  The elder answered, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

  These are the saints, which throughout the ages have overcome torture in a time of great tribulation and are now worshipping at the throne of God.   But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 20:5

   Why do modern Christians think that Christians of other ages should undergo torture and persecution, but, we, the modern generation will bypass the tribulation at the end of time?  The Bible distinctly says that we will not.

    These are the ones who...washed their robes implies a certain element of responsibility for each individual to have his robes washed.   Even though Christ does the cleansing, the onus lies with each person individually to ask for it.  It sounds like a good argument against the teaching of absolute predestination. Jehovah will not force people to repent, neither did He decide beforehand who would and who would not believe.  This is always the choice of the human.



The Blessings of Heaven

   Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
   “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 
   “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." 7:15-17

  There, those who are dressed in white with the Lamb as the Shepherd (AS) will have ultimate comfort.  No more hunger, no more thirst, no more tears and no more working in the burning sun. 


   All those whose names are in the Book of Life, on the day of judgment, will be before the throne of God.  Christians will serve Him 24/7; I wonder, though, if we will have eight hours shifts.   In any case, temple service to Jehovah will be continuous.  The benefits are out of this world:

  • Those who serve shall never hunger anymore. This promise is the antitheses of the great famine that will be coming at the end of time. See 6:6, http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-black-horse-pale-horse.html 
  • They shall never thirst anymore. This promise obliterates the curse of the third bowl of wrath. see:16:4-7. http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-third-trumpet-and-third-bowl.html 
  • the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat. This promise cancels the curse of the fourth bowl of wrath. See 16:8-9. Extreme heat and worse sunburns will become more prevalent in the last days due to the thinning of the ozone layer.         http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-fourth-trumpet-and-fourth-bowl.html

   for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  This is when the first part of the 23rd Psalm really takes on meaning. 

   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Babylon, that great city which we studied about, has killed so many saints throughout history, and the ones left behind have shed oceans of tears.  Terminal illness has torn families apart and what can the ones who are left behind do, but weep?  Praise Jehovah, there is a promise, given by One who cannot lie, and that promise is, God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Lamb's wife - The Church


    Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 21:9

   Here the writer again meets an angel he had already seen in action.  This angel was one of those who had one of the seven bowls of wrath.  The angel said to him, Come, I will show you the (video of the) bride, the Lamb's wife.  One wonders, though, if the writer of The Apocalypse was not a member of that group, or could it be that he saw himself among that throng. 

The Wedding Feast

   After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 
   “For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” 
    Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 
  And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” 
   Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” 
   And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 
   “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 
   And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 
   Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 
19:1-9 

  1. In 19:1-3 it is a great multitude that speaks the praise of Jehovah.
  2. In 19:4 it is the 24 elders and the four living creatures (see chapter 4) which say, Amen, Alleluia.
  3. In 19:5 it is the voice from the throne that says, Praise our God.
  4. In 19:6 the voice of the great multitude said, Alleluia! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns!
   And such a reason to praise Jehovah!  It is time for the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Jehovah already had this plan in mind long before Christ was born.  Ever since Adam was ousted from Eden Jehovah's spirit has been calling sinners to repentance and encouraging and guiding His followers.  

   At this point in the book, the angels have called The Church home to heaven.  Surely, we have reason to praise Jehovah!

  In a parable Christ told, He said, The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son. Mat.22:2.  Here we see the full meaning of that parable. 

   A certain king, God, the Father, has prepared a marriage for His Son, Jesus, the Messiah.  His wife has adorned herself; she is arrayed in smooth, clean and pure linen.  This linen is merely symbolic of what she is really wearing.  Her attire is the deeds of righteousness which are the trademark of a true Christian.

   It seems that, looking at the way some "Christians" carry on, they will not be allowed into the wedding feast at all; no acts of mercy, no unexpected traits of honesty, no super abundant caring for one's family; nothing special with which they can adorn themselves for their husband, Jesus.  

   In another parable, Jesus Himself warned people about coming to a wedding feast, but not being allowed to stay in the hall because they were not properly dressed. Mat. 22:7-8.  

   If any of you who are reading my posts have never accepted Christ as your Saviour, please do it before Jehovah's spirit gives up on you.


How do you do that?


1. In all sincerity admit to Jehovah that you are a sinner - you do not measure up to the standard that He demands.

2. Believe that Jesus is Jehovah's Son and that Jesus paid the penalty that justice demands.

3. Ask Jesus to enter your mindset and change your lifestyle; this is called "being born again".

4. Thank Jehovah that this change has happened in your life.

5. Make the New Testament part of your reading habit and constantly seek the help of Jehovah's spirit to help you live your new lifestyle as you should.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Lamb of Calvary


L) Saints Worship God


   Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. 
   And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.
   They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
   These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
   And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. 14:1-5

The worshipping 144,000


   After the depression brought by the False prophet, the Antichrist and the battle of Armageddon, it is so refreshing to again see the Lamb; the wonderful Lamb of Calvary! 5:6  Now He is not on Mount Calvary, now he is standing victorious on Mt. Zion.   Now he is not alone and forsaken as He was at Calvary, now one hundred and forty four thousand (a non-specific number) redeemed saints, who all have His Father’s name written on their foreheads, surround him.

   I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder.  Almost the same words are repeated again in 19:8, I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings.  Maybe it was later that John also heard the music of harps.   Accompanying the soft, subtle sound of the harps, the redeemed sang a song; it was as if it were a new song, which only those 144,000 could learn. 

   These are they which have not defiled themselves with women; for they are virgins.  By using the word defiled he tells us that he is not talking about any moral sexual activity within the marriage bond; those activities do not cause defilement as the Roman Catholic church teaches.  

   Vine+++ suggests that the word, defile, has to do with physical fornication or adultery, whereas the word, virgin, has to do with spiritual uprightness.  According to Vine, even though they were sexually active within the confines of marriage, they are still called virgins because they are not sexually defiled.

   A question concerning gender does arise.  Were the 144,000 all males? Perhaps the whole statement is not gender sensitive at all; maybe it was simply John’s way of writing because of the times in which he lived.   Also, as mentioned earlier, the number given may just represent, a huge crowd; including everyone there. For more on this see: 
http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-opening-of-fifth-and-sixth-seal.html

   they are without fault before the throne of God.  The Bible says that There is none righteous, no, not one; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:10+23.  Who, than, are those who are without fault? As surmised before - these could be the C hristian martyrs of all ages.

The Song of Redemption

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 
   They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 
   Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” 15:2-4 

   I saw something like a sea of glass.  The writer again saw the video screen and it was showing what he thought looked like a Sea, but now he saw a fire burning of the sea of glass (the video screen).   He also saw, standing on the sea of glass, those who were victorious over the beast.  These saints had the harps of God and they sang two songs: the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.  Mr. Smith notes that the song of Moses is the song of redemption which the Israelites sang after they had successfully crossed the Red Sea. Exodus 15.

   At this point in the book, the rapture has happened, all people have been judged, and the earth has undergone cataclysmic changes.   Former Christians are worshipping Jehovah in heaven; people who had lived decent lives in their lifetime are living in peace on the new, refined earth; people who lived wicked lives, those you read about in 20:8, together with the false prophet, the beast and the devil are in the lake of fire. 

   Yet, the Bible says, that at that time all nations shall come and worship before You. The way I see it, this can only mean that the people of all nations on the new earth will worship Jehovah.  To confirm this theory 21:26 says, And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it (the holy city).

   The next post will have more about the Bride of Christ - The Church.

_________________________________
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine,



Sunday, June 9, 2013

The White Throne


The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
   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 which were written in the books. 
20:10+12

   And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints 
11:18 

   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 his works. 
20:13-15 
   

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
20:14-15


 Judgement


   I saw the dead; we recall that those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus…lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.
20:4-5.  We have come to the point in the narrative where the thousand years are finished, 20:7, and the last war is done with.  Satan has been disposed of, 20:10, and now the rest of the dead have come back to life. 20:12.  

Except for those martyred for Christ, very human, stands before the throne for judgement.  According to true and honest accounting practices, the books were opened.  This is not a time for guessing, or for whitewashing.  It is not a time for embellishing good deeds or noble intentions.  The open books will reveal all that really matters.

   It is important to realize that another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  This tells us that it is not until this point, in the affairs of the world, that anyone (except martyrs for Christ) is allowed to enter heaven.


Those who have lived good lives but were not born again are also destined for the same judgement seat.  Those who have lived decidedly wicked lives must also meet the Judge at the same time. 

  Those who have died “in Christ” have been waiting in Paradise for this day.  The Bible does not teach that when we die we immediately go to heaven or to the place of eternal torment.  Saint Paul wrote, since it is a righteous thing with God ... to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. 2 Thes. 1:6-7.   That rest is coming at the return of Christ - not before.

  They were judged according to their works.  This word, works, basically means, to toil, or, an occupation, but it also can mean, an act or a manner of acting as in a lifestyle. 
Strong.  It is good to remember that when we are standing at the Judgement seat the great accuser is no longer in the presence of God; he has been cast into the lake of fire. 20:10.  

Unregenerate people will stand alone, face to face, with the Judge.  There will be no one to witness against them and the only thing pleading their cause will be their works and their lifestyle.  Saint Paul again, since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation ... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. 2 Thes. 1:6-7

   The sea, death and the unseen all delivered up the dead, which were in them. Now they have yielded up their dead for judgement.  Death and the unseen are now empty, with no future purpose, and consequently they are cast into the lake of fire, to join the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.
20:14.

   Being cast into the lake of fire is the second death.   In 20:6 we read that those who were resurrected in the first resurrection (the martyrs) had no need for concern over the second death.   Judgement for all others, Christians and non-Christians, will be at the white throne.  


Christians, who have stood the test and remained true to Christ, that is, all those whose, names have not been blotted out of the book of life, also need not fear the second death.  

Unger++, in his Bible dictionary, states that the names of all people are in the book of life at birth and that the names are only removed from the book of life when a person, at his or her last chance, refuses to accept Christ as Savior (or if a person turns back from following Christ).  

The spirit of God will not plead indefinitely with a sinner to repent.  People who put off "turning to God" until just before they die have no way of knowing whether or not the spirit of Jehovah will call them at that time.  For them any rejection might be the last.

   All non-believers, those who have not actually accepted Christ, so as to have their manner of life changed (Wuest#) will be judged by their lifestyle alone; as is shown by these words, the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

    And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.  Wuest#, whose translation is (supposedly), based on the best manuscripts available, has made an interesting omission in 20:15.  His text does not include the part that says, anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.  

Based on the teachings of Christ it is obvious that many who have done good deeds will rise to the resurrection of life.  The Bible makes it apparent that not all non-Christians will be cast into the lake of fire.  Only those, whose lifestyle was decidedly wicked, and those whose names are no longer in the Book of Life, will experience that fate.  

The Bible does not teach that all non-believers will spend eternity in the lake of fire.  In this connection we recall the words of Christ; 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, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. John 5:28-29.  

Christ is saying that the resurrection that non-Christians are destined for is in accordance with their works; their lifestyle.  Of course, it goes without saying that not only Christians do good deeds.  There are many who do not even profess to be Christians, who, by their good works, put many Christians to shame!

    To strengthen the argument, let us look at another example Christ left Come, you blessed...inherit the kingdom...I was thirsty and you gave me drink...Then He will also say to those on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:...I was thirsty and you gave me no drink...and these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 25:34-46.  

Very distinctly, the rewards and punishments are commensurate with the works done by the individual.  I am well aware that this sounds like salvation by works, but we cannot just ignore these, and other Bible portions of this nature, just because they do not agree with what the church has taught us.  

Obviously, though, this is not a teaching of salvation by works, because those who are not saved will not spend eternity in heaven.  It is simply stating, as Christ did, that their eternal destination depends on their lifestyle.  There is a third option; life on the new earth.  There will be much more about this thought later.

_____________________________________________

++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.
   

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Seventh Bowl of Wrath - The third Woe

   Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
   And there were noises and thundering and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
   Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.
   Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
   And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly grea
t. 16:17-21 


The Angel of the Air


   Here we resume the interrupted story from 10:7. Remember, this is the third woe which was heralded by the seventh trumpet!

   When this, the last angel poured the seventh bowl of wrath on the air, a voice said, it is done. 16:17.  The words, it is done, surely must include the completion of the Church of Christ, and her rapture.

   Emptying the seventh bowl happens immediately after the blowing of the seventh trumpet announces its launch;
11:15-19.  Because this bowl is poured out after the last great battle, it is obvious that the Church will still be on earth during the battle at Armageddon, because, after all, this is the trumpet call that calls the Church home.  When the seventh bowl is empty, Jehovah's wrath will be appeased.

   In 11:19, when the seventh trumpet sounds to announce the rapture, we find these words, Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.  Here, in
16:18, we find the almost identical words, there were noises and thundering and lightnings, and there was a great earthquake.  Obviously, the seventh bowl of wrath refers to the same scenario as the seventh trumpet blast does; the rapture of The Church and the last great destruction on earth.

After the removal of The Church from this world, doomsday comes quickly and harshly.  Then happens the greatest earthquake that this world has experienced in the history of humankind. 

Because of this cataclysmic earthquake, the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.  It is easy to see that a Jewish writer, who hated Rome, could have been referring to Rome, without naming it, as the great city. 

   The earthquake also destroyed many other cities.  If the writer was making reference to Rome, maybe it was not to a geographical place but rather to a spiritual Rome; the Church based in Rome; the Roman church which he saw in the future.  If that is true, the statement, the cities of the nations fell, surely must also speak of all the other non-Christian churches who fly the Christian flag. 

   The islands of the world were moved from their places and the mountains were not found.  Is he saying that the mountains were leveled, or is he saying that they were underwater.  Was it the earthquake, or a giant comet that caused this devastation? 


On March 12, 1998, a news report said that an asteroid is hurtling towards the earth and that it would probably plunge into an ocean in Oct. 2028 (30 years from the year of the newscast).  The following day the news report said that it would probably not hit the earth at all but if it did, it would have the impact of 100 atomic bombs such as hit Hiroshima.   One does not want to be a doomsday prophet, but, could we say, the Bible already told us about this meteorite crash 1900 years ago?  If there was any truth to this report would the present day astronomers, almost twenty years later, not be telling us more about this?

   I find it interesting that ever since the last comet exploded over Russia astrologers and reporters are talking much about future comets.  Now they are not saying "if", they have changed that to "when".  They are even wondering what the inhabitants of earth can do to keep the comets from reaching earth. 


Saint Peter, writing about the final distruction on the earth, said, And God has also commanded that the heavens and the earth will be consumed by fire on the day of judgment, when ungodly people will perish. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment. 2 Peter 2:7+10 New Living Translation. According to Peter, our engineers will not save humanity from that ordeal. 

   great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent.  If we accept that the word, talent, refers to the “common talent”, and the word, pound, to refer to a 16 ounce pound, we see that each hailstone weighs about 75 pounds.   That seems impossible, but we must remember that by this time the weather, the sea, and the rivers have changed.  Who knows what these changes might do to affect the hail storms?  


By then it will be too late to ask Jehovah for forgiveness and mercy.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Seventh trumpet - The third woe

K)  The Rapture Takes Place


Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
   And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,
   saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
   The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
   Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. 11:15-19

   The return of Christ is the single greatest expectation of The Christian Church. For the Christian, all of history has led to this point, and this is the climax of all our hopes.

   The mighty angel said, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished.
10:7.  Paul wrote, This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph 5:32.  When the seventh trumpet sounds, the mystery, The Church, will be finished.

   Paul also wrote, we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound. 1 Cor. 15:51-52.  The last trumpet sound, the one to which Paul refers, is the sound of the seventh trumpet of The Revelation, when the Church is called home.  

It is that last trumpet sound, to which the mighty angel is referring here; the trumpet blast of the seventh angel.  This teaching is greatly disputed.  Those who do not accept this theory say that Paul and John are not referring to the same trumpet blast at all.  That argument raises this redundant question; how many last trumpet calls can there be?

   In chapter 10:7, the sound of the last trumpet was announced and in 11:15 we are told the seventh angel sounded.  In spite of that, Concordia writes, The third woe is not pictured at all.  It is illogical to suppose that the fifth trumpet sound heralded the first woe, the sixth trumpet sound heralded the second woe but that the seventh trumpet sound would not herald the third woe.  This is especially true, since the contents of the seventh trumpet blast, so exactly fit the picture of the most horrible of all woes. 


   In contradiction to the Scriptures, Dr. McGee writes, The third woe is not the blowing of the seventh trumpet.  However, the angel had specifically stated that it was.  I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! 8:13

   In chapter 19, the writer sees another "video", a video in which the rapture of the church and the praise in heaven that accompanies that event, is more fully portrayed.  There is great cause to rejoice: for the struggling church is now “the church triumphant”.  This is the event to which Paul referred, when he said, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
1 Cor. 15:51.  At this point in The Apocalypse, all Christians have been changed, and there is much praise in heaven.  The great multitude in heaven says, Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. 19:7

To John's mind it was as if a great multitude praised God; then he said, no it was louder than that, it was like a giant waterfall. Actually, he says, it was even louder than that, it was as loud as mighty rolls of thunder.

    Of the seven trumpet blasts, only the last three herald a woe.  The reason that the fifth, sixth and seventh trumpet blasts are worse than the first four is because, according to this study, it was immediately before the fifth trumpet blast that Satan was released from his prison.  The last, the seventh trumpet blast and the last bowl of wrath are also the last of the three woes.  

Being that this is the last trumpet blast it is also the call for the rapture of the church when all the redeemed (excluding the martyred saints), will be caught up in the air to meet their Lord and be rewarded according to their deeds. 11:18.  We, who are redeemed, are so enthralled with this prospect that we overlook the fact that this is really a woe; it is a woe for all non-Christians; the last chance for redemption is eternally past.

   
This is the last, and the saddest of all woes.  It is also a woe for Christians who have done nothing for which to be rewarded.  They will be eternally without rewards.  They will have no trophies to present to their Master, the Redeemer who bought them.

   When the seventh angel sounded,…there were loud voices in heaven…and the twenty-four elders…fell on their faces and worshipped God. This seems so fitting and wonderfully glorious. Christ said that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, Luke 15:7, but now, the whole church is in heaven; surely, there would be praise, joy and worship in heaven.


   You have taken Your great power and reigned.  Throughout history, from the Garden of Eden onward, humanity has been rebellious against the Lord. Demanding blessings and refusing praise against His wishes.  The Lord in loving kindness and in great patience has been waiting for man to repent and turn to him in humility.  Now Jehovah will take his rightful place on the throne of judgement.

   Concordia notes, and some Bible translations agree, that in 11:17, the words, and is to come, are not in the best texts.  This seems right, because, at this point in the narrative, Christ has just returned, the rapture has transpired and the temple of God is opened in heaven.  There is no more room for another, is to come, in history.  


Concordia continues, God is no longer hidden from men’s eyes in the Holy of Holies enthroned upon the ark. His covenant promise … is forever fulfilled, and those that love Him see Him face to face.  Concordia also teaches that God is invisible!  Go figure.

   However, not only is the Church, the Bride of Christ, safe with the Bridegroom, but the Lord God has revealed His great power and has taken His rightful place as the King of all nations.

  the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great. The time has come that the dead should be judged. Until now, they were dead and were still in Paradise or in Hades.  At the same time that The Church is being raptured, the non-Christians rise up together with The Church to go to their judgment.  All, except the martyrs will be judged in the same scene. 


That people go to their eternal reward at the time of their death is just another unscriptural doctrine, which the church holds, .  A careful study of the Bible concerning this teaching clearly shows that together with Paul and Daniel we must wait until the rapture of the church.