Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Great Contrast

j. Harvest Time Has Come

   He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 
  “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. 21:7-8

The Great Contrast

   Interlace 21:7 with 21:8, for one is the antithesis of the other.

He who overcomes is contrasted with the cowardly and unbelieving
Shall inherit is the counter statement of shall have their part
I will be his God is the counterpart of the second death.

   He who overcomes shall inherit all things.  
By the tenure and title by which they enjoy this blessedness—by right of inheritance, as the sons of God, a title of all others the most honourable, as resulting from so near and endeared a relation to God himself, and the most sure and indefeasible, that can no more cease than the relation from which it results." Matthew Henry.  We are adopted by God, and because we are adopted, we are His sons and daughters, and as such we stand to inherit all things that He has promised His children.

   he shall be My son.  Translate this to "The son to Me” as it is in the Greek moi ho huios. This is a very unusual expression. Vincent calls attention to the fact that this is the only place in John’s writings where a believer is said to be a son (huios) in relationship with God. John writes of us as being God's children. ... God is the One who says “my son,” and He says it here. ... They are the sons of God in a unique and glorious fashion. 
Dr. McGee*

Those who teach that The Revelation was written by two (or more) writers use this statement, "The son to Me” as an argument that John did not write all of The Apocalypse because no where else did John use those words. Dr. McGee* 

   The Living Bible clarifies, the fearful and unbelieving, by stating 21:8 like this, But cowards who turn back from following me, and those who are unfaithful to me.

  There are eight sins in this list; four of these are also found among the ten commandments:

  1. Fearful, cowardly - Those who will not follow Christ because they are afraid of the possible consequences.
  2. Unbelieving - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb.11:6.  It is possible for humans to have faith without accepting Christ as their redeemer.  People can have faith in "their God" without believing Christ.  They can have faith in their lifestyle and still reject Christ.  Abraham believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness, but he never even heard of Christ!
  3. Abominable - The Greek word here means foul.  One of the meanings for foul is morally or spiritually odious: detestable. Merriam-Webster
  4. Murderers - People with guns find it so easy to kill another person.  Is it because from a distance the murder seems less real; the murderer feels less involved with the action?
    Commandment #6: You shall not murder.
  5. Sexually immoral - it is absolutely amazing that so many people think that "sleeping around" is acceptable because "everybody is doing it".  The Supreme Judge does not think that it is acceptable and He is the one who will be sitting in the Judges Chair on that future day.
    Commandment #7: You shall not commit adultery.
  6. Sorcerers - For the word, sorcerers, The Living Bible has, those conversing with demons. We noticed earlier that the word sorcery is also associated with mind-altering drugs. Doing drugs is not allowed for Christians. see: 
  7. Idolaters - Some people in some cultures still pray to, and worship idols; we, modern North Americans are much too sophisticated to do that.  We simply put our pleasures and our things first in our lives and Jehovah gets whatever is left over, and usually that is not much.  Saint Paul wrote, covetousness ... is idolatry. Col. 3:5
    Commandment #1: You shall have no other gods before Me.
  8. all liars - Many Christians shun "serious" sins but rather glibly think that lying in business or for convenience sake is all right.  Those Christians ought again to read 21:8; all liars shall have their part.  Christ said, I am the Way, the Truth.  How can Christians claim to be His followers if lying is a non-issue with them? 
    Commandment #9: You shall not bear false witness.

   In linking this phrase, and the phrase all liars, with the rest of the book one can look back at chapters 2+3.   In these chapters, several times Christ said, I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan and I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie. 2:9+3:9  It could be that these are the liars that are being referred to in 21:8.

   It is well worthwhile to notice that this verse does not include all those who have never been born again as having their part in the lake of fire.  Why would a person have to understand the Bible the same way I do to "be born again"?

Just those, whose lifestyle was drastically contrary to that which God intended for people to have, will have their part in the lake of fire.  The list in 21:8 may not be all inclusive but it is clear.

   Whether one believes in a literal lake of fire or in a symbolic one, the Bible makes it clear that the difference between being in a place of punishment or in a place of blessing is gigantic. There are those who insist that God would not punish any human so harshly, and that thought is certainly soothing, but while interpreting the Bible we cannot go by our feelings, but only by the meaning of what is written.

* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.

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