The question, who judges this world should be a hot topic in any religion, Christian and otherwise. It seems every religion has its groups of saved and lost people. Some religions have stages in between. We are not here to discuss that.
In the Christian realm, Jesus is accepted as the judge of this world. Jesus came to this world, lived in this world, experienced this world, was condemned and slain by this world, and rose from a grave in this world. No one has the experience to judge that Jesus has. No other person has earned the right to judge. Only Jesus was given the right to judge, because He is the only one who earned that right. Judging is a right and a responsibility. We will look at one popular story in the Bible about that subject.
John 5:19-30 RSVA Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. (20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. (21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. (22) The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, (23) that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (24) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (25) “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (26) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, (27) and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. (28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice (29) and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. (30) “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
It is rather difficult to break the judgment process into sections so one detail at a time can be covered and explained. The judgment process is better understood as a whole. But some Christians think one part of the judgment process is the whole. This is a good place to begin, by looking at the question, who judges. Once we look at that answer, we can go unto other aspects of the subject.
As we see in John chapter 5, God gave Jesus authority to Judge. Most Christians will agree with that. Then there may be some with another concept. And of course there are other judgment processes at different times. We will cover those in a later chapter.
For now it is important to understand, God gave Jesus the authority to judge. Jesus and God are on the same page. We have to agree, perfection has the same mind, motives, process, and timing. Everything is perfect between God and Jesus. Who can ague with that? On the other hand, we have to admit our short comings. We are not perfect. We have no chance of joining that meeting of the minds shared by God and Jesus. The point being, we have to rely on the Bible and Jesus to understand information about the judgment process that is open to us. Along with that is the fact, certain information will be revealed to this world at the proper time. We looked at how the beginning of the judgment process was neither understood nor revealed until after the process in Heaven began. I would think God will follow the same pattern with other facets of the judgment process.
I have no idea why William Miler was able to find the date when Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary to begin the judgment process, but not understand exactly what that date pointed to. But that should show us, God is in control. God only reveals what is necessary, when it is necessary, and we have to be obedient and wait. That missing detail also shows us, no person has all the answers. It will be much easier to be misled than to find the truth. We should also learn the fact that when God does reveal details, He supplies confirmation. Those are the lessons we have to learn. And like those Bible Study Rules William Miller recorded, we have to look at the set of rules God follows, but may not be included in any list.
Believing and honoring both the Son and the Father is important. Notice how that detail is repeated in this story as well as other stories and books in the Bible. That’s why it makes me wonder why people like the argue about the entity and make up of God and His Son. Some people like to sweat the details and for lack of a better term, miss the forest for the trees. Why is it important to honor and believe in both the Father and the Son? We have to remember, John was writing to a predominantly Jewish community. John and other apostles had the job of convincing Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, God’s Son. Jesus tried to teach about that relationship. When we read those accounts, we seldom look at the details involved. When we take a little time and focus on a particular subject like the judgment, details begin to pop out. That’s what makes Bible Study so interesting. When we focus on a particular subject, we see details we never saw before. Of course God and Jesus know all of those details. They know how some details are mixed together, and how interacting subjects help bring details to the surface.
We only have to look at a few aspects of this story to move on in our study of the judgment process. We need to accept Jesus as our Savior. That is the only way to avoid the judgment process that leads only to condemnation. We also learned, we have to also honor God because the Father and Son are one.
There is another judgment we have to look at. Another judgment process Jesus talked about and taught. That second judgment process may seem a little confusing to some people. Since Jesus introduced the subject, we should look into it.
Matthew 19:28 KJV And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Luke 22:28-34 KJV Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. (29) And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; (30) That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (31) And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (32) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (33) And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. (34) And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Here we have two authors recording Jesus’ words. Jesus told His disciples, they will one day sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes f Israel. Do those 12 tribes represent the world? In all likelihood they do. When will this take place? After Jesus receives His throne. When will that happen? To answer that question we have to get a little ahead in this book and look at a few details on the God’s timeline.
Most Christians know, Jesus will sit on a throne in Heaven. But when? Some may think Jesus occupied a throne long before this world was created. That may be true. But there is a time when God will give a throne to Jesus. That is not so much a symbol as it is a show of love. A lesson for us to learn from.
Christians talk about the love Jesus had for this planet. The vast majority of Christians tell people, “Jesus loves you.” But what does that mean, and what examples can we use to help express that love? Many people only use the example of Jesus dying for us, along with a few choice text. Other examples exist. Some people point out the good Jesus did in a person’s life. How prayers were answered, the unexpected happened, and some of the really good things about this planet. But how many people look at what God did for His Son? God gave Jesus a throne. That was such a selfless act, God had no choice but to follow with whatever act could help draw attention to Jesus’ sacrifice. Not equal the act Jesus did for this planet, but another act to build upon it and help to draw attention to it.
Acts 7:54-56 RSVA Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. (55) But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; (56) and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”
Stephen saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand. Why would Jesus be standing? Maybe certain criteria was not yet fulfilled. Maybe something had to be finished. Jesus already died and was raised from the grave. What else had to be done?
Romans 8:34 RSVA who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?
Paul didn’t place Jesus on a throne next to God, but only pointed out, Jesus was on God’s right side. Jesus was once asked a question. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Matthew 20:21-23 RSVA).
After looking into the subject we can see why Jesus told His disciples that it was up to God to choose who will sit next to Jesus. We can see the disciples had one idea. But we are not totally clear on that idea. Based on the fact James’ and John’s mother asked Jesus to assign the seat to His right and left to her two sons shows us, she had no idea Jesus would be on God’s right side. Would Jesus ever place anyone between Himself and His Father. No! So why would she ask Jesus to place one of her sons in that position. That doesn’t seem to make much sense. So we have to assume she didn’t have much of an idea what role Jesus would play in Heaven. The point being, when we see the mistakes people in the Bible made and how those mistakes were recorded, we have to take another step back and reconsider our view on the Bible.
Colossians 3:1-2 RSVA If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
In Colossions, Paul places Jesus on God’s right side again. But this time Jesus is seated. Does that make a difference? It could to some people.
Some people place Jesus on God’s throne. Some people insist God and Jesus are the same person. So there would only be a single throne. Maybe that was the train of though Jame’s and John’s mother had when she asked Jesus her question. Maybe James and John had the same belief. Some people think God will give His throne to Jesus. More than likely there are dozens of other beliefs. What do we do with all those beliefs? Are they worth considering? Are they worth studying? Those details may seem interesting when we run across them during our personal studies. But are they details worth sharing with other people? I guess that can be a personal choice. It’s not uncommon for people to get stuck on one detail or another and find a way of working it into just about any and every conversation.
When we look at the twelve thrones the disciples will occupy, we are not given the location. Will those throne be in the Heavenly Sanctuary? Where will they be? Does it really matter? If you were promised one of those thrones, would it matter where it was located?
I guess there are more questions than answers. We can look at the Bible all day long and not run out of new questions to ask. When did Jesus take His place on God’s right side? Why is Jesus standing in one story and sitting in another? If nothing else that makes Jesus a bit more human. A bit more approachable. Isn’t that what Jesus wants to achieve? As a matter of fact why not pray about those questions? By pray, I mean ask Jesus those questions. To me it seems like this book and the questions we are looking at will achieve one thing. They will give us more reasons to approach Jesus. No matter where He is, or what He is doing.
We all know the whore sitting on that beast will be judged. We all think we know why and how. But when will that whore be judged. And who or what does that whore include?
Revelation 17:1-6 RSVA Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters, (2) with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” (3) And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. (4) The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; (5) and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations.” (6) And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly.
When we look at the judgment of the whore, or harlot in this translation, we can see that woman was a symbol. Water is a symbol, drunk, blood, and the beast are all symbols. There is a general rule in Bible Study that tells us when our study begins at the beginning of a chapter, we can’t help but admit, we don’t stand a chance of understanding this chapter until we review the end of the previous chapter.
That simple rule takes us back to the end of the last seven plagues. An angel announces the end with the simple words, “it is done.” The world ends with an earthquake and hailstones of fire falling from Heaven. But are those also symbols?
When we look back, we also have to question if those sores on people and water turning to blood are also symbols. They are so easy to accept as physical attributes because they were physical plagues in Egypt. But was the exodus as a whole one giant symbol pointing to something far greater?
When we consider those sores as a symbol, we have to also allow scripture to define the symbol. What clues and definitions does the Bible provide? The sores are only on the people who received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. That gives us only one clue. A clue that will aline itself with the end of the chapter.
And I heard the angel of water say, “Just art thou in these thy judgments, thou who art and wast, O Holy One. For men have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink. It is their due!” And I heard the altar cry, “Yea, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are thy judgments!” (Revelation 16:5-7 RSVA).
Something happened between the first and second plagues that caught the angel’s attention. The people with the mark of the beast showed the angel, God’s judgment was accurate beyond question. When we look at those sores, we look at them as an identifying mark that sort of takes the place of the mark of the beast, or joins it. In a way amplifies the mark of the beast. We know the mark of the beast exists today. And we know it is not a physical, but a spiritual mark. It represents what people actually worship, how they worship, and why they worship what they worship.
As we progress to the plague that turns water into blood, the same must be true. The blood must be a symbol. But representing what? Everything in the water died. In other parts of the Bible, water repents people. And he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the harlot is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. (Revelation 17:15 RSVA). The Bible identified the waters as people later in the story when one of the angels explained the vision to John.
We have to realize one thing. When an angel explains a symbol they typically back up in earth’s history to a point John can relate to. When we go back to John’s time, we can see how not only he, but thousands of other Christians were persecuted. Satan lost his battle with Christ when He rose from the grave. Satan had no other thought than to annihilate every Christian in the world and eliminate every influence Christ left behind. But Satan failed at that. So he altered his plan. If he couldn’t eliminate the Christians, he could at least mislead them. So he introduced every false form of worship from his bag of tricks. Hence the mark of the beast was born. It is a combination of what Christ taught mixed in with a measure of the false gods and forms of worship Satan was able to introduce over the years.
The blood represented all those Christians who Satan killed from Steven up to the Christians who Satan had slaughtered during those last plagues. They killed the Christians, partied in their blood, and now they were given a taste of their own medicine.
Now let’s go back a bit further to the judgment period when Christ will judge the living. Have you given that any thought? What will it be like when your name is called? We can’t write an accurate account of every detail during that trial, but we know enough facts that we can piece together an idea of how that trial will proceed.
A name is called. If the person follows Christ, what will happen? Will Christ offer His blood to cleanse that person, cover the law, and make that person acceptable in God’s eyes? Will that person be found innocent with no evidence presented? Is Jesus’ word all that is required, or does Jesus have to present witnesses and evidence? Will angels come forward to tell stories about how they were able to help that person, and how that person gave all the glory to God? Will angels tell how that person remained humble throughout the entire process? Will angels tell God how that person was thankful and wanted to return the favor in any way they could? Will angels tell God about the messages they gave to that person and how they faithfully delivered those messages without adding to them, or subtracting from them? Will angels tell God about the people that person was able to reach, and how that person was able to turn souls to God?
What about a person who is judged guilty? What would their trial look like? Would angels present evidence of how they tried to reach that person, but all their attempts were rejected? Would angels tell God how they tried to direct their way through scripture, but those people decided to look to human sources for information? Would angels tell God how those people always took the easy way out accepting one or two sentences out of a story in scripture and never reading the entire story? Will angles tell how preachers and teachers were able to substitute old wives tales for the truth, and they accepted those tales without question? Will angels tell God how they tried to give that person simple messages to deliver, but they delivered messages hatched in boardroom meetings? What will God’s decision be when He sees someone who tried a little bit, but never really applied themselves? They never seemed to have the time or will power to take one additional step towards His Son. All that person knew was, Jesus died for their sins. But they never knew what that meant. They never searched out the meaning, or a personal relationship with Jesus. How will Jesus answer when God asks, “did you know this person?” What will be the decision in that trial?
Revelation 17 deals with the judgment of their leader, the devil. To understand chapter 17, we have to see how chapter 16 ended.
The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as had never been since men were on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; and great hailstones, heavy as a hundred-weight, dropped on men from heaven, till men cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague. (Revelation 16:17-21 RSVA).
When we look at the two chapters together, we can’t help but notice the connection between the harlot and Babylon. Most scholars agree the harlot and Babylon represent the same thing. Then the differences arise. Some insist they represent Satan. Others insist Babylon and the harlot represent some earthly entity or great religious power. Either way, that entity is controlled by Satan. Or at least Satan has a great influence over them. The question should be, is it only one entity, a collection of entities, or the total sum of how that one entity was able to spread its influence over the Christian world?
I would vote for the later case. When Rome got involved in the Christian religion, of course the emperor had to merge in his own brand of religion with Christianity. That was not much different that what Paul and Peter recorded when Jews wanted to merge their Jewish beliefs with the Christian faith. Paul said it was wrong. Peter agreed with Paul. Both had messages from God telling us what would happen. A few hundred years later Rome wedges their way on the scene. Rome was a republic that survived by accepting every general religion. So it seemed normal to blend a little from each of those religions into what the emperor wanted to turn into a new, nationalized religion. A fool could have seen what was happening. Satan had his foot in the door and was not going to give up. Once that door was opened, a flood of idols and false ideas came in and set up housekeeping. A new religion was born and in the eyes of the world, it was exactly what they needed.
Most of us know how that went. A new sort of world religious order was created. A religion who claimed they were serving God, but distanced themselves far away from what Christ came here to establish. In fact, most of that was preserved in scripture was lost. The words in scripture didn’t change, but how they were viewed was changed for what seems like forever. Or almost forever.
The new church developed structure, placed people in charge, gave them credentials, developed centers and levels of learning, and of course decided to develop their own methods of Bible Study. One of the first and their favorite is commonly referred to as proof text.
The proof text method of Bible Study took one or two sentences out of scripture and placed in in the hands of one of their appointed Cardinals or Bishops for interpretation. The context didn’t matter. Their leaders were given authority over God’s Word, and their decision was final. A new interpretation was reviewed, voted on, and then made into a law in their established church. This kept common people away from scripture, and voided any claims the Holy Spirit was our appointed Guide and Teacher.
That type of thinking has been around for generations. Some people may think, only a gifted few hear God’s voice or have any connection with the Spirit. Others think God has somehow left this planet. But that was not what Jesus promised. Jesus said, when He went away, He would send the Spirit to take His place. As far as I know that promise is still valid and in force. God does not give into popular belief. Especially when that belief harms His people or stands in the way of His relationship with them.
Many people will read this sequence and disagree based only on the fact they never heard or read about it before. Is that a proper basis to judge the sequence John recorded, in the order he recorded it. After we look at the sequence John wrote, you have the right and responsibility to measure that up against what other people wrote about and preach. But you better ask how they came up with the sequence they preach about. Look at the way they present it and compare it to how information is presented in this chapter, and following chapters in this book.
Revelation 6:7-11 RSVA When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” (8) And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. (9) When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; (10) they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (11) Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
There may be no better Bible Study Rule than to gather all the information on a subject BEFORE you come to a conclusion. That is an interesting rule. One I wish everyone followed. One of the reasons people find the Bible difficult to understand is the fact, they have to forget so much before they are ready to take a look at what the Bible is actually saying. With that said, let’s see what this chapter is telling us, and how the chapter and book of Revelation explains what all those signs, visions, and symbols actual represent.
This chapter of course deals with a series of seven seals. The seals are of course symbolic. The Lamb is symbolic, and of course everything in the vision John saw is symbolic. There is no doubt, John saw those visions in Heaven. There shouldn’t be any doubt, that after each of those visions, someone in Heaven came to John to explain what those symbols represented.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “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. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:13-17 RSVA).
At times an angel in Heaven explained one detail. Other times an angel had to go back in history to explain how certain events unfolded, and why the world is going to find itself in some rather precarious positions. The key to understanding Revelation is to pay attention to each vision, and the beginning of each explanation. The entire book follows a pattern of visions, then an explanation for each vision. Common sense tells us the angels provided John with a detailed explanation of the vision he just saw. Why would an angel in Heaven begin a conversation about some unrelated series of events when John expected to hear an explanation for the question at hand? But that’s what some people believe and teach. Many people believe and teach that John saw a vision, then an angel in Heaven came to John and began a conversation about some unrelated event or started a new conversation on a different subject. On the contrary. John did not record a book with the idea of hiding or withholding any information. John did not record a series of events placed in some random, hidden, or coded order. The book of Revelation was recorded with every detail John saw in the order those events unfolded in Heaven. The conversations John experienced in Heaven illustrate Heaven’s perfect order and ability to answer questions. God’s intention was to tell this world what will happen and the sequence those events will follow. God did not lie, and neither did any of those angels. The only deceivers are those people who claim John’s book is a set of events presented in some unknown, mysterious order, and God left this world on its own to figure out the proper sequence.
In other words, the visions John recorded in Revelation are events that would happen in the future, after John wrote his book. Most visions were followed by an explanation. The angel or being offering the explanation began by going over a series of events John was familiar with. That is to say, events that happened in the past, then led to the time frame of the vision John had seen. In other words the future. Events John was not familiar with. With that in mind, the Book of Revelation begins to clear up. For some reason that seems to confuse people.
The events in Revelation chapters 6 and 7 all pointed to future points in history. An angel asked John what he saw. Of course John didn’t know what any of those symbols represented or the events, people, places, or things those symbols represented. John had no way of knowing because the time frame as well as the events were in the future. It is impossible for anyone to explain a symbol pointing to something they never saw. It is impossible for any human being to describe any event, person, or thing they have never seen. So the angel explained what those people in the white robes represented. In this case both the vision and explanation are based on future events. But they are the same event. This writing style is common throughout the Bible beginning in Genesis where chapter 2 added more details to chapter 1. At the very beginning of the scriptures, God explained how all the scriptures are interpreted. One chapter provided an introduction and the following chapter added details. God used this pattern as a type of signature or fingerprint on His Word. That is one method scholars used to verify authentic inspired books and weed out copies, or commentaries non inspired authors wrote. There are of course other patterns and fingerprints God used to verify the books He inspired.
John was not given a specific time frame in this vision. The events could have taken place any time after John wrote his book. Some people think those events happened in our past. Others prefer to think they are going to happen in our future. And some think those events will repeat themselves over time. When we look at a few facts, we can see how death and pestilence have been repeated since John’s time, and even before Johns time. The fifth seal is a controversial issue.
The fifth seal has some facts to consider. “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”
When we see souls in Heaven, we tend to jump to the world and its views to interpret scripture. But we are not going to do that here. We are going to allow scripture to interpret scripture. Where does the Bible tell us who those souls are, and what they are doing in Heaven? Let’s look at a few details.
No time frame is given. Without facts from the Bible, all we can do is guess. We also have to remember, those souls are symbols. By rule, a symbol always points to something far greater. Some people prefer to think those souls are not symbolic, but are physical. We have to consider all the facts to determine if those souls are physical or spiritual.
The souls are under the altar. What altar? If we began to guess or assume, we may be playing with fire. The Tabernacle had two alters. The sacrificial altar that was outside the tent and the altar of incense inside the first compartment. If we assume the altar of incense, what did that altar represent? We only have to look back one chapter to see that explained.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; (Revelation 5:8 RSVA).
Now we see how the Bible explains the Bible and how symbols are interpreted within the story they are found in. There is never any reason to guess. Now we notice that those souls cried out to God. When we put two and two together, we see how the alter is the altar of incense, and the souls under represent those who pray earnestly to God.
After listening to them, God gives them white robes, and tells them to rest a little longer. We are given the first time frame in this section of Revelation. “Rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete.” From that we know this event takes place before the judgment process is complete.
Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:2-3 RSVA).
After John saw those seals opened, he saw a new vision with four angels holding back the four winds. We know those winds are also symbolic. What about that seal in the saints foreheads? I’ve seen thousands of people studying and telling the world what they think the mark of the beast is. But how many people study God’s seal? Something seems rather strange about that.
Since some people receive a seal, and other people do not, there had to be some sort of decision process before this event. Can we call that a judgment process? It seems as if Revelation is getting ahead of itself. And to a certain degree, it is. But the entire Bible is written with examples showing how God provided a series of warnings. All those warnings pointed to the same event. Each successive warning contained more details. Put them all together and what do you have? A clearer picture of what is about to happen in the future. But there is a catch. No one seems to understand a prophecy until it has been fulfilled. That’s just the way this world is. We have to accept that fact.
So far John was shown a series of visions that eventually led to a brief introduction to the judgment process. Remember, we are going to stick to the judgment process in this series of studies and not get side tracked by guessing at any particular event, or attempt to rely on what the world has been teaching about the symbols John say and wrote about. Instead we are going to allow the Bible to slowly reveal each and every event and symbol concerning the judgment process. I have to warn you. The temptation to interpret symbols based accumulated knowledge is great. And most times nearly impossible to avoid. Let’s be honest about how the the world views the judgment process. For one thing, very little is known about the actual judgment process God inspired authors to write about. On the other hand, man made concepts thrive in this world. Some people are hooked on the concept, their understanding of the judgment process plays a part in their salvation. Look at how human nature exposes its flaws. Some churches claim they are God’s chosen church. Their proof is rather flimsy to say the least. They claim to hold a sort of key by claiming God revealed more to them then to other churches. But what is that truth they cling onto, and exactly how did God reveal that extra bit of truth to them? I’ve heard churches or at least evangelists claim they have all the truth. If they had all the truth, they would have no problem explaining the law of the prophets Jeremiah wrote about, nor would they have any problem explaining exactly what method God used to provide the exclusive information they are privileged to have.
Thus far we have looked at one example showing how the Bible is designed to answer questions. We have also seen how visions John saw in Heaven were explained by angles and other beings living in Heaven. Based on the few facts the Book of Revelation has revealed, we can fasten onto a few basic study concepts. Symbols are explained in the story they are located. Angels and other beings in Heaven understand the visions and symbols John was shown in Heaven. That tells us not only how the Bible is interpreted, but where to go for those interpretations. No where does the Bible tell us to rely on this world, its teachers, evangelists, or preachers. John never told us, one person or institution will understand his letter, and the rest will be lost. That is a man made concept. If you are stuck on that concept, you have to work to get yourself out of that belief. If you prefer to rely on the world to interpret John’s book for you, that is your loss.
I am going to skip over a great deal of Revelation so we can stick to the judgment at hand. The next mention of the judgment is in chapter 11.
Revelation 11:15-19 MKJV (15) And the seventh angel sounded. And there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. And He will reign forever and ever. (16) And the twenty-four elders sitting before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, (17) saying, We thank You, O Lord God Almighty, who are, and who was, and who is coming, because You took Your great power and reigned. (18) And the nations were full of wrath, and Your wrath came, and the time of the judging of the dead, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to the ones fearing Your name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those destroying the earth. (19) And the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His covenant, and there occurred lightnings and voices, and thunders and an earthquake, and a great hail.
Some people may argue the point, how can anyone jump from Revelation chapter 6 all the way to chapter 11 and possibly explain God’s judgment process? This is really following basic Bible Study concepts. Search the Book of Revelation yourself. The judgment is found in chapters 6, 11, 14, 16, and 17-20. I didn’t write the Bible, God did. And that is the way He laid out the judgment process in Revelation. I know we slipped over some of the favorite chapters some people claim to have studied. I hear it all the time from PhD’s as well as common people. There are a number of chapters I skipped over that people talk about all the time. Some churches hold seminars based on some of those chapters. Some churches hang their claim to fame on some of the chapters I skipped over. And yes, some will claim those chapters hold the key to understanding the judgment process. Well they don’t. Go ahead and search the words judge and judgment in Revelation. They jump from chapter 6 to 11. That’s just the way it is and all the arguing isn’t going to change a word in scripture.
After writing a number of chapters on how to get saved, and what Paul, Peter, James, and John wrote about faith, salvation, and the quest to draw closer to God, I have to leave the major part of this study in your hands. I know how people will question this book based on the fact, it covers Revelation, but not the chapters they are familiar with. They will question how anyone can make a comment on God’s judgment process without their coveted chapters.
I’ve attended a lot of seminars, watched a lot of videos, and listened to a lot of sermons on those chapters I decided to omit. I’ve heard so much about those chapters, I could write a dozen books on each of them. But after preparing the material for this book, leaving it sit, praying about it, and waiting for an answer, I decided to go with what was recorded in Revelation and how John recorded it. As I look back at what was covered in those other chapters, I could see how answers the world is familiar with concentrates on the best guesses on what is going to happen in this world. When I follow the sequence John laid out in this book, I can see how we should be concerned with what is happening in Heaven. In my book we will stick with what is happening in Heaven.
The seventh trumpet is the last trumpet in this sequence of events. Like many other books in the Bible, and the collection of books found in the Bible, facts are offered here and there. And it is up to us to gather those facts, verify that they are discussing the same subject, then look at the subject the hand with all the facts we’ve gathered. We aren’t supposed to stop, then look at facts the world has to offer, or tends to offer. Whenever we deal with a future event in prophecy, we are supposed to rely on the Bible and Bible only. I think we can all agree with that fact.
The seventh trumpet obviously points to the closing moments of this world. It is safe to assume, since we are still here, the events symbolized by the seventh trumpet are in the future. When we see something mentioned in the Bible like, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. And He will reign forever and ever.” What are we supposed to do? Number one, admit we don’t know the answer. We can look at different scenarios, but we still have to keep the door open to information we find in scripture at a later date. What could John mean when he makes reference to the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of the Lord and Christ? Obviously the introduction of the seventh trumpet is pointing us to a time when God gives the kingdoms of this world over to Christ. That is a good place to begin a study on that time period and events describing that particular period. That I can leave up to you so you can hone your skills.
Once we identify a particular time frame, do we guess at the actual events? No. We stick to the facts. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:15-16 KJV).
Of course it helps when you know where to look. The Book of Revelation tells us, King of Kings is a title Jesus will wear. The seventh trumpet pointed us to Jesus’ return. And the Book of Revelation chapter 19 explained why the seventh trumpet introduced the concept of God taking possession of the kingdoms of this world. Of course Revelation chapter 19 contains a lot more details you can read on your own.
John mentioned one important event, the judgment of the dead. Why only the dead? This is showing an important part of the judgment sequence. Those people symbolized by death receive judgment. Saints receive a reward. If we gathered all the facts on this subject, we would find a judgment period only the lost will face.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15 KJV).
So far we have seen how the Book of Revelation introduced one judgment period and explained what that judgment period was in a later chapter. This is not unusual for the Bible to explain itself. And for books in the Bible to explain the symbolism they contain. There is another event or symbol we have to look at. “And the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His covenant, and there occurred lightnings and voices, and thunders and an earthquake, and a great hail.”
What event was this describing? We know the Tabernacle was designed to explain events in Heaven. Many of those events were to be fulfilled long after the Tabernacle disappeared. One service in the Tabernacle describes how the high priest is to enter the Most Holy place once a year.
And he shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times. “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood within the veil, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat; thus he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which abides with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. (Leviticus 16:14-16 RSVA).
Once again, it is up to you to read the entire chapter. If you do you will see numerous parallels to the few chapters in Revelation mentioned in chapter 12 of this book you re reading. An atonement is a covering. Plain and simple. Strange as it may seem, the same Hebrew word for atonement was also used to describe the covering of tar Noah used to cover his ark. If you think of that and give it some time, you will see a host of underlying spiritual parallels between the flood and Jesus’ return. Also the cleansing of the sanctuary, the once a year ceremony inside the Tabernacle represented.
As we move forward in our study on God’s judgment, we have to realize one simple fact. The Bible can and will point us in the right direction to answer questions, identify symbols, and events. That is just what the Bible was designed to do.
James 2:10-18 NLTse For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. (11) For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. (12) So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. (13) There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (14) What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? (15) Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, (16) and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”–but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? (17) So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (18) Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
It is pretty common knowledge throughout the Christian community that everyone has broken the law in one way or another. Most of Christianity agrees that, everyone is guilty under the law, and we need Jesus’ sacrifice to set us free from the law. In some cases that means, we need Jesus to avoid that judgment process. Other Christians believe we all face some type of judgment and we need Jesus to stand in our place. That is pretty much splitting hairs. We may be spending too much time nit picking a process we really don’t understand. A process many people are afraid to investigate. The judgment process we would just as soon place on the back burner, or put in a closet and forget about it. But here, we will look at a few key statements to see what scripture reveals. Then one day we may know enough about that judgment process to tell the world about how and why God needs that judgment process in His plan of salvation.
It seems every Christian religion, and many other religions in the world agree, there is a judgment process. The problem is, when it comes to describing that process step by step, every religion and denomination branches out in different directions. Why? Maybe because God didn’t include a step by step explanation in any of the books in the Bible. Or did He? If we look back in history, we can see how many beliefs we take for granted today have been missed, or hidden for generations. If nothing else, change is slow in the Christian world. If we look back in the Old Testament at stories about Israel, no one can deny the fact, they forgot details faster than Moses or God could explain them. It is like watching the news with someone. Then making a comment about a news story and the other person has no idea what you are talking about. You just watched the same story together, but the other person has no recollection of that story. Why? Maybe that story didn’t interest them. Maybe they had something else on their mind. Maybe their mind is never in tune to what is in front of them.
In the Christian world, people seem to tune out the second they hear anything new. They seem to come across someone, or some book, video, or set of doctrines they agree with and follow that train of thought like a run away freight train. No one is going to stop them. They take that mentality with them everywhere. Even to the grave. Whenever a word is spoken that doesn’t fit the groove they live in, they shut down, reject it, and their mind refocuses on what they agree with. How are we ever going to unravel the mysteries surrounding the judgment process if we are stuck in a rut we made by going over the same two or three details we heard years ago? We have to make use of the judgment process Paul told us to use. We have to investigate the matter. We have to dig deep. We have to be ready for the Holy Spirit to reveal the unknown. We have to be ready for any new information the world is ready for in this generation. Which just may be the last generation on this planet. If we’ve not open to new information God is willing to share, how are we supposed to help get this world ready for the judgment process that is about to come?
James brings out the fact, we should have a lot of questions whenever we approach the subject of God’s judgment. Look at one sentence James was inspired to record. “ So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.” Looking at this one sentence should invoke a question or two. For one, how can a law that judges you set you free? I know there must be 1000 explanations out there in the world. But like that judgment process, which one is right? How do we begin to investigate it? This is my book, so I am going to follow a process I’m familiar with, and I’ve seen work. The first thing I do is go back to the original language. I prefer to get as close to the original sentence the author recorded. I know a lot of people like to open up a number of Bible translations until they find one they agree with. Then they run with that. The only reason I never use that method is because, I know all I will get is a bunch of opinions on the subject. One translator thinks it says this. Another translator thinks it says that. After opening up a number of translations, all you get is a collection of opinions. No one offers any explanations explaining how and why they came up with their particular translation. On the other hand, when we look at the KJV+, we get something close to the original sentence structure. And few changes to the original words. Of course the English sentence structure is far different than original Greek sentence structure. But we have to remember, God inspired the Bible and knows how to construct a sentence that can and will be understood by every language in the generation He chooses to reveal its spiritual meaning. Now let’s look at the KJV+ version.
Jas 2:12 SoG3779 speakG2980 ye, andG2532 soG3779 do,G4160 asG5613 they that shall beG3195 judgedG2919 byG1223 the lawG3551 of liberty.G1657
When we look at what James was inspired to record, we see the simple message that happens to be much like the old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” It may also be explained by another old saying, “do what you say and say what you do.” In other words, James is telling Christians not only to talk the talk, but walk the walk. We see the same message in other stories throughout the Bible, as well as a lot of common cliches used in this world.
This world would be a far better place if people were honest. How to we obtain that honesty? We basically follow the laws and threat people like we want to be treated. We don’t steal, lie, or scam. In other words, we live a life outside the commonly traveled highway of this world.
What about going back to the basics in the area of law? Why don’t we follow God’s simple Ten Commandments? Why does this world have Christian leaders and followers who oppose God’s Ten Commandments by telling people, “the law was made only for the Jews. The law was nailed to the cross, “ and other such terms? Why do people insist we have been delivered from the Ten Commandments and all of God’s laws and ordinances without any type of judgment process whatsoever? If James, John, Paul, and other Bible authors discussed God’s law and the part it plays in God’s pan of salvation, why do some people insist all of God’s laws have been swept under the rug and have nothing to do with any judgment process? That doesn’t make any sense. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
I believe God gives us explanations to some of these difficult questions by putting us through certain experiences in life. I wish I could come up with a list of examples showing how people walk the walk and talk the talk. There are some good people out there who are good Christians, would never hurt a fly, would give you the shirt off their back, and would stop at nothing to help a stranger. They live life without fear, and don’t seem to have a care in the world. Those type of people are few and far between. Then there is the dark world we call reality. The cold, cruel world we call home. We see examples of people living without God’s law because someone told them that law is old fashion. We don’t need it anymore. God just doesn’t understand how this world works anymore. So we have to fashion our own laws, republic, democracy, way of living, and refine this world based on experience. In other words, try to exist without God. The world doesn’t hear God anymore because in their minds, God and His laws are past history. Or something like that. So let’s take a look at how this world has done on their own.
At this particular time the federal government in the US is shut down. Most of us can’t tell the difference. No one knows for sure exactly how many people are out of work, or how much money the government is saving. All we know is what the news media chooses to tell us. We are like sheep led to slaughter. But let’s take a look at what is on the news and dig a little deeper with some good old fashion common sense.
Federal employees have been without a pay check for one month. Many can’t pay their bills, and have no idea where their next meal is coming from. Some are afraid of loosing their homes. That’s the facts we hear on the news. But what is happening behind the scenes? Congress is going over a number of Bills to chose one to sign into law that would pay those federal employees, even though they didn’t work. I wish we all had those kinds of benefits. Those federal employees have access to the same unemployment benefits the rest of us have. But the federal employees interviewed by the news media call unemployment benefits, “peanuts.” They are unable to live on funds Congress and other agencies claim is more than enough for the common person to live on. Millions of tax dollars have been spent to set up food pantries for federal employees. Another special benefit the rest of us don’t enjoy. As far as having their homes foreclosed. Check the laws. Most state have laws that requires the lender to wait a number of months before they can file the first set of papers in court. Then there is another waiting period. Followed by another waiting period. During that time that could take more than a year, people can make up the payments. The rest of us have to figure that situation out on our own. But Congress feels a need to step in and lend a helping hand the rest of us will never see.
Now consider the fact, most of those federal employees make more money than the rest of us could ever dream about. With all that money, why don’t they have any savings? This is not the first time the federal government has shut down. Nor will it be the last. We are supposed to believe the federal government hired the top people to do a job the rest of us are unqualified to do. They are supposed to be the cream of the crop. The best of the best. The best in the world. People who are impossible to replace. People who keep this country running in tip top shape with the highest degree of efficiency. And those people have no savings. They make far more money than the rest of us, and they can’t plan for an event that happens every few years. That is sad. If they were as good as they claim they are, why don’t they have companies climbing over one another to hire them? At least for a little while. Why can’t they get a job in the private sector to hold them over during the shut down?
We see one set of laws for federal employees, and another set of laws for the rest of us. In short, this is one example showing what happens when God and His laws are rejected, and humans think they can write a better set of laws.
Other, more personal events also showed how man made laws, and a lack of better judgment can and will effect people. I just started a new business in Wisconsin. The state elected a new governor. The governor ran on the platform, he needed to raise taxes to fix the state school system. A brief look at his history shows, he was in charge of that school system for more than 16 years. The thing that gets me is, why would anyone elect a governor to fix a system he says does not work? A system he designed, installed, and spent more money on than other branch of government or government project. Over the past 16 years Tony Evers has caused the greatest increases in property taxes than anyone else in government. Check out your property tax bill. The school system is a separate line item and has the greatest increases during those 16 years when Evers ran the school system.
If you took your car to a mechanic and he broke more things on the car, and never fixed the original problem, would you give that mechanic more time and money to fix your car? Or would you take that car to another mechanic? It seems voters either have no common sense, or are easily fooled. We have to admit, there wasn’t much of a choice in the final election, but why don’t tax payers do something about it?
On one level of government we have changes to make it easier for people to start new businesses. Another branch of government sees how businesses are due to save money and devise ways or draining those savings and more. On the business level, the start up cost, fees I had to pay to the state just about doubled. That cut into my budget. Those fees will cut into every company budget. In the long run, common sense will tell us, good businesses will have a training plan in place. Why not consider the fact, on the job training is the best education system this world has to offer. But when government cuts into any business budget, what is bound to suffer? In many cases, training programs suffer. That’s the type of mind set we have to deal with in the real world when the average voter is duped into electing carrier politicians. It happens every time.
Would you take your car to a mechanic with no experience, no training, and no idea where to begin? People do that in voting booths. Running government, especially a government the size we have to contend with is a lot like running a business. People have to be hired, supervised, trained, and plans have to be made, scrutinized, and finally initiated. All those steps require skills carrier politicians don’t have. But people keep putting all that power in their hands. The mistakes they make cost billions of dollars. Just raise taxes to make up for those mistakes. People accept that type of behavior as status quo. Electing unqualified politicians is normal operating procedure and nothing is going to change. Just blame all the mistakes on the other party.
So far this new plan for Wisconsin has cost me a boat load of money. And will cost me more. In the long run, who suffers? Plans to hire people are on hold. Other entities I have to deal with jumped on the band wagon of grabbing the golden ring – the federal tax deduction offered to small businesses. Every entity involved in my line of work has raised their fees and added new fees. So much for a bright and strong beginning. Every business is in the same boat. The common mentality is, if government can do it and get away with it, why can’t we grad a piece of the pie?
That mentality is a far cry from what James wrote about, treat others like you would like to be treated. Our government sets a rather poor example. People in high places don’t argue the point. They take the cue government gives them, jump on the bandwagon and ride it all the way to the bank. Always taking more and more. Is that all that makes America strong is a good bottom line at the end of the year measured in dollars? Whatever happened to good old fashion integrity, honor, valor, and common sense? We live under the mentality of, “everyone does it.” Getting back to God’s law. We may have the freedom to elect the worst people and put them in higher positions. But all the votes in the world are not going to change one letter of God’s law. Not one of them. Politicians may be able to hide their mistakes from the average voter. But they will never be able to hide one backroom deal or sin from God. Eventually they will have to answer for the errors of their ways. What about the responsibility of the average voter? Aren’t they somehow responsible for the mess we are in? Do they share responsibility for those sins carrier politicians make? Didn’t Paul or Peter write something about that subject? I’m not sure at this point.
There are other lessons I had to learn in life. Why it took me over six years is beyond me. There were reasons why I was trapped in certain situations, but the lessons didn’t go unnoticed. It doesn’t matter what line of business I was in. The fact of the matter is, there is no reason to point fingers. Except at myself for being so foolish. The number one lesson is, no one is going to help you. You have to learn to help yourself. Isn’t that the lesson Jesus taught when He healed the paralyzed man at the pool? Jesus asked the man what he was doing there. The man answered with a list of excuses. “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” (John 5:7 NLTse). Why didn’t the man have the faith to ask God for healing, or ask Jesus to heal him? It seems the man was stuck on the idea, everyone else believes that pool can heal me.
We all use excuses to hold us back. But one day, the Holy Spirit tells us to get up and walk out of that dismal situation. The thing is, if we don’t learn from those less than fortunate situations, we are doomed to repeat them. And those are mistakes I don’t want to repeat.
I worked for an employer who stole all my leads. At least those he knew about and was able to act upon. I was paid strictly commission. On top of that, I had to pay some rather steep company fees. Some of those fees offset operating expenses. Some of those fees went into profit for the company. The fact of the matter was, part of the commission went to the company and I received a share. All the leads went through the office. In six years, I didn’t receive a single lead from that office. I had my own website, but a few choice rules funneled all those leads through the office. I spent time and money on my personal website only to find out, the vast majority of leads went strait to the office, and I was cut out of the loop. That is only one of the dirty little secrets some companies have.
In hindsight it seems rather foolish to pay someone to take away your means of income. Praise the LORD I had just enough funds to pay the never ending list of fees to get out of that mess and start a business of my own. Before that happened, I switched offices and worked for another company. It was rather short lived. I thought I endured an isolated incident. Quite the contrary was true. Using a different motive and process, the new company began stealing leads, and clients. Leaving me with fewer and fewer chances of making a sale and earning a living.
I’m sure that happens in a number of businesses. I’m sure other people have experienced similar situations. The point is. Companies and certain business fields make laws and regulations the rest of us have to try to live with. In the long run, they are laws and rules that create different classes. The haves, and have nots. People who can and will take advantage of those laws, and those who suffer at their hands. Nothing at all like God’s law was designed to protect. Maybe that is what James had in mind when he called God’s law, “the law of liberty.” Maybe if we gave that law a chance, we would see a far friendlier world.
1 Corinthians 1:4-10 RSVA (4) I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, (5) that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge– (6) even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you– (7) so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; (8) who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (10) I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
It seems like the majority of Christians prefer to ignore or avoid the subject of God as our supreme judge. Why avoid the obvious? There are a number of reasons people tend to avoid the subject of God as our judge. How does a view of God as judge fit into the image of the all loving God people like to mold and present? In other words, if you bring up the views of God as all loving and a judge, you open the door to a paradox that is difficult to explain. In today’s world, God as judge may be offensive. Let’s face it, modern media has done everything in its power to make harsh subjects, for lack of a better term, illegal. They tend to call that, being politically incorrect. But God is above and beyond politics. God would not dirty His feet in this world wind of political correctness. To a large degree, God stands on the side and allows people to form their own paths to happiness and security. God allows people to go so far to build their image of the perfect utopia, before He steps in and introduces His plan. In the hope people can and will learn from their mistakes, God allows people, institutions, governments, and countries to pursue their own course before He gets involved. But do we really learn from mistakes made in the past?
The Bible contains a collection of stories designed to shape and guide our course in life. To a certain degree, those stories are read, discussed, and sometimes people will preach on those stories. Not often enough though. More often than not, preachers take a sentence or two from one story, then a few sentences from another story, then go way off track by telling their own story, a personal view based on a few sentences taken from the Bible. People listening to those stories somehow are convinced, the story is Biblical. The preacher started his story in the Bible. So why wouldn’t it be Biblical? The sad fact is, the Jews who killed Jesus formed the same sermons, concepts, and ideals from a few sentences in scripture. Then of course blended them with a host of man made concepts they agreed with. Those concepts led to the arrest, trial, conviction, and execution of God’s Son. In other words, the worldly views held by the Jews were 100% wrong. Of course we have the New Testament to help us clear up a few of the mistakes the Jews made. But why do people keep using the same failed system the Jews used to interpret and understand scripture?
No one can argue the fact, God is in charge. God is the judge. God has passed that role unto His Son. But to what degree? We’ll never find the answer to that question when we prefer to ignore the subject in scripture. We’ll never find the answer if we use worldly views and rely on personal experiences. We won’t find the answer in a pew, on TV, we certainly will not find the answer on social media, or in a book. Not even this book. Common sense will tell us, God decided to omit specific details on His role as judge for a reason. God wants each of us to approach His throne as individuals so He can personally explain His role as judge, and how that effects our lives. All the sermons, books, and videos in the world can never amount to a single second in God’s presence.
When we think about God’s judgment, we can’t help but remember views of some guy in his painted station wagon with loud speakers mounted on top. A few select scripture are brush painted along the side of the flat black station wagon. Speakers are blaring the same message over and over again about how God is going to judge this world, and we are all going to burn in hell. It seems some people are obsessed by the judgment period, and feel it is their duty to tell the world their view of the judgment process. It’s not difficult to look at that approach as offensive. Maybe that is why so many people decide to ignore the subject. We could go on forever about the worldly view on God’s judgment. But what good would that do? We would never reach an understanding more than one step above that of the Jews, priests, and Pharisees. We could look at the New Testament and see what that adds. But for the most part, we are not going to find the details we need to paint a complete picture. But Paul and other writers did give us a wealth of information. We just have to learn to follow their train of thought. After all, their words were inspired, and that is all we have to go on.
Paul made it clear, we need Jesus to teach people about Jesus. It really doesn’t matter what subject we are going to cover. There are many sides to every subject. We have radical views, peaceful views, and all kinds of views in between. For the most part, they are views from the world, formed and tainted by this world of sin. Some subjects require a total escape from this world before we are able to find accurate and reliable facts. Paul told us, we are supposed to be, “united in the same mind and the same judgment.” How can we be united without talking about the subject, opening up the Bible, and finding a few bits and pieces of scripture to define our stand on the judgment? Let’s take a step back for a second. How do you think you are going to be judged? Maybe you should think about when you are going to be judged. We’ll cover that subject in a later chapter. In the mean time, will you be judged on an individual or corporate level? That establishes one view of God in your mind. Your view may be quite different than mine.
Once a view of God is established, that is a starting point to draw closer to God. How is that done? Paul hit on a few details for us to consider. First, as Christians we are prepared or trained on the subject, life, and ministry of Jesus. Paul placed that training where it belongs, in a personal meeting with Jesus. After Jesus rose from the grave, He returned to this world to retrain His disciples. Those disciples had to experience a number of growing pains before they were ready to drop everything they were taught, and open their eyes to what Jesus was saying. Before Jesus was arrested, He explained everything about the Holy Spirit, and how the Holy Spirit was going to take His place in this world. When we are communicating with the Spirit, we are communicating with Jesus. The two are one mind, thought, and action.
Paul added a brief comment about spiritual gifts. Those gifts are from the Spirit, and the Spirit provides training for those those gifts. The church can’t train you. The online video can’t train you. You have to be in personal contact with the Holy Spirit to receive the proper on the job training. Somehow that training leads to a total understanding and unified view of the judgment. We are not going to find all the answers in one chapter. So we will take a look at other popular text on the subject.
1 Corinthians 4:1-10 RSVA (1) This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. (3) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. (4) I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. (5) Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God. (6) I have applied all this to myself and Apol’los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. (7) For who sees anything different in you? What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? (8) Already you are filled! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! (9) For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. (10) We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
Up to this point we have not learned a great deal of actual, definitive points describing God’s actual role as judge. We could pour over scripture, search the Bible, and pray about those details. But what would we find? How can we find the unified view Paul wrote about?
Of course Paul covered a great deal of details between chapters 1 and 4. In 1 Corinthians 4 Paul enters into an interesting discussion. Christ’s servants should have insight into the mysteries concerning God. Paul mentions trust, which has a direct link to a relationship. How can Christ trust you if He doesn’t know you? Of course if God sees everything, He knows all about you. So Jesus definitely knows if He is able to trust you. There is nothing to hide. On the other side of the relationship, what do you know about Jesus, God, and those mysteries?
It seems some people question Paul on his knowledge and motives. That was nothing new. Paul knew it was going to happen, and it was something he had to deal with. Paul introduced another type of judgment. The one people practice between one another, anyone who is different, and in what we all should expect, a judgment process where we weight the facts being presented. It will clear up matters when we take a look at the actual Greek word Paul used to explain this judgment process.
G350 ἀνακρίνω anakrinō an-ak-ree’-no
From G303 and G2919; properly to scrutinize, that is, (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine: – ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.
We should know, there are different types of judgment, as well as different judgment processes. We have judgment related to court systems. We have God’s judgment process. And of course we have a type of judgment that occurs between Christians. To say, “we should never judge,” is an understatement. Most likely coming from people who never looked up the definition of the different judgments found in the New Testament.
When we use the right judgment process the proper way, we are not judging people in a condemning manner. We are simply weighing the evidence they submit. That is a skill all Christians should have. But what criteria do we have to judge, scrutinize, and investigate what other people are teaching? We have the Bible. But what good is the Bible without the Holy Spirit? It is no good at all. That brings up another good point. Does the teacher or preacher exhibit and display any connection with God’s Spirit. If they did, they should be ready, willing, and able to prove it. We also run the risk of weight evidence based on what we’ve been taught. We have to be honest and examine those sources. Paul identified Christ as the only reliable source of information. Paul presented his relationship with Christ as his most important credential. Paul had no problems describing the direct view and meeting he had with Christ. What about those preachers you learned from? Are they as reliable as Paul?
Paul made it clear, we have one type of judgment to perform, and God’s judgment process is far different than ours.
1Co 4:3 ButG1161 with meG1698 it isG2076 a(G1519) very small thingG1646 thatG2443 I should be judgedG350
1Co 4:5 ThereforeG5620 judgeG2919
When we look at the KJV+, we see it pointing us to two different Greek words. One is a type of judgment process. The other points to the results only God is allowed to determine. So we do have a role in one type of judgment, but the definition of other types of judgment tell us to keep our noses out of it. We should have a minimal knowledge of those different types of judgment. The thing we have to remember is, where we got that knowledge. God chose Paul as a voice and pen. When we learn something from Paul, it is more than learning something from words in a book. We are learning from a direct revelation Jesus gave to Paul. So we can’t take any credit for ourselves. We have to send all that credit back to Jesus. We are not in the business of unlocking mysteries in the Bible to bring fame and fortune to ourselves. We are in the business of bringing people to Jesus. Not to a church or preacher claiming to know the truth, or possess some secret power to interpret inspired scripture. Scripture was written for all of us to read, study, pray on, and receive personal revelations on. Some for our personal benefit. Others to share.
Paul made a point by placing himself at a lower level than the people he was writing to. That was designed to accomplished 2 things. To prove his personal relationship with Christ is worth more than anything in this world. Even more than the words of one of the most reliable teachers this world has known. It also reminded people how that increased knowledge will be shunned by this world. As you learn more and more about Christ, and as you share that knowledge, be prepared to be questioned, scrutinized, and condemned. People will cross that line on judgment without batting and eye. They may do it out of ignorance. But that is the way of the world.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-11 RSVA (4) Therefore we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring. (5) This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering– (6) since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, (8) inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, (10) when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (11) To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power,
In this letter, Paul makes it more than clear that we need to place revenge in God’s hands. If we know God, we know He sees everything that goes on around us. Especially the plots, slandering, and when it happens, the persecution. Why sweat it when we can leave all that work to God?
Hebrews 6:1-8 NLTse So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (2) You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (3) And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (4) For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened–those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– (6) and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (7) When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (8) But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.
This seems to be one of the strangest chapters related to God’s judgment. Its relationship with God’s judgment may be missed by most people. If you read the entire chapter, you will see how the author wrote about God’s promises and rewards. Although God’s judgment carries the death penalty, the other outcome is of course, eternal life. Another subject we have to investigate to understand the entire story. How much do we know about God’s promises, why He gave those promises, how and why those promises have a progression, and how God intends to fulfill those promises. We also have to look into who is going to see those promises fulfilled. Actually live that fulfillment.
Here the author wrote about subjects the average Christian should know. Based on the author’s comments, some people get stuck on those subjects. If you are out in the Christian world, you’ve seen how some people get stuck on one subject, look at themselves as a leading authority on that subject, and feel it is their duty to get the world to think like them. Is that what a Christian is? Is that all it takes?
Hebrews talks about an advancement. A constant growth. The question is, how do we grow. Hebrews seems to be written to people who were are not your basic Christians, but to Christians on a definite path or course. And dedicated to keep moving along that path. The Book of Hebrews is like no other book in the Bible. It doesn’t tell us anything new. But that book does explain details other books linger upon but for lack of a better term, lack the depth many of us search for. The Book of Hebrews ties together a number of stories, places events in the proper order, explains symbols, and the reasoning behind them.
The Book of Hebrews may be a little different that other books in the Bible, but follows a familiar pattern found in other inspired books. It contains promises and curses. Why did God use that pattern in so many books in the Bible? There must be a reason. My engineering experience tells me to get as close to the original design to understand the concept behind it.
We could do a study and look at how God’s promises progressed over the years. Every few generations received a new detail on that promise. But we only want to look at the first promise God gave to this world. That promise followed the first sin in this world. Adam the man was to work and sweat for his food. Eve was to suffer during child birth. What about the promises. One of Eve’s sons, after quite a few generations was going to crush that snake’s head. What about Adam? He would receive food to survive, but at a cost. Hence, this world reached a new age with a whole new set of rules brought on by sin.
No mention of working our way back into God’s grace was ever given. God never outlines a method or series of steps to work our way out of sin. In other words, sin had to run its course. Not only was the Book of Hebrews telling us, we had to spend time and put in effort to find out about God, we also had to beware of sin’s progression. Over the generations, we have grown rather far away from God. Some people may think books and technology have brought us closer to God. But let’s get real. Jesus waited a number of generations before coming here to save this world. Part of saving this world was retraining this world. Getting at least some people to give up the grasp this world had on them. To break away into a far better world. The one God promised. That promise has always been there. And those curses are still holding us down. Keeping us from getting as close to God as we’d like to be.
That’s why the Book of Hebrews told us, some people are stuck. They know a little about God, but are afraid to take that next step. They use the world as an excuse. They think they have to get the world up to their speed before taking the next step. That is not reality. That is nothing more than an excuse. That is giving into the fears this world creates.
The most interesting part of this portion of Hebrews is the comment of those “who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– and who then turn away from God.” That is the part I had to pray about, and a part I had to give God some time to set a few personal experiences into play.
What chance do people who constantly drift away from God stand in the judgment process? When we look at this in simple terms, how would Jesus answer when the Fathers asks, “Son, do you know this person?” How would Jesus answer? He may say, “I knew them at one time, but they turned their back on Me.” How else is Jesus supposed to answer? Would Jesus take time to go over the hundred or so times He tried to reestablish a relationship with them? Would Jesus mention the countless times He asked them for help, but they chose to ignore the request? These are the type of details the Book of Hebrews is trying to get us to consider.
After a few weeks of living on the edge of a number of Internet scams, I was shown how some people drift away from God. It’s just not me. Internet scams are on the rise and coming from some rather high places. Major companies are involved, and government is making some rather poor decisions by passing new laws that don’t help the average person, but help to hide scammers. All of that amounts to one thing. People moving further away from God.
If you have a Christian based profile or are on a Christian dating site, and run into a scammer, you’ll be up against someone who knows enough about Christianity to lure in the average, unsuspecting victim. Hence, we need to be on guard and up to date in the latest scams. We have to have an idea how they work, and how to identify a scammer taking advantage of recent laws that hides their identity, making it impossible to find out who we are communicating with.
In 2018 it was easy to find the general location an email was sent from. The Header on the email contained an entire map showing us where an email originated and which servers transferred that email. In an effort to protect the identity of people who didn’t want to be traced or identified, Congress and some world organization making new Internet laws changed all of that. Today all we get is one address showing the business location of the last server that delivered the email to your computer. In other words, there is no way to figure out if you are emailing a person down the street, or on the other side of the world.
That is one example of people who are drifting away. Somewhere they learned enough about Christianity to make you think they are loyal, follow God, are caring, read the Bible, and are exactly what you have been searching for. But they just want to set that hook and make some money. What scammers have been doing is influencing people in rather high positions to pass laws that protect their identity. They hide behind a computer or phone. Scammers prefer to use Google Voice that has been designed to hide your identity and location. There are other things Google has been doing to protect scammers and put the rest of us at risk. At this point, I’ve seen some rather unfair business tactics Google has been using in their Internet ad industry that gives them an unfair advantage. Check out the Internet and I am sure you will find a series of complaints, lawsuits, so on, and so forth.
Internet scammers and large Internet corporations pretty much fit the description of people God warned us about throughout the Bible. The only thing is, God used rather basic descriptions. But when we put 2 and 2 together with the growth the Book of Hebrews tells us to pursue, we can easily see how they fit into the scheme of things.
Scammers have grown at a faster rate then the Internet itself. They focus on new ways to part a fool from their money. They have no respect for people, target Christians, and the elderly. Scammers dedicate themselves to perfecting their black art as well as doing what they do best, hide in the shadows. When someone dedicates their life to sin, does a quick prayer asking to be forgiven make everything right with God? Are they saved at that point? Or does our all knowing God see their plans, and make a decision based on the evidence presented?
That is one question we have to consider when we study the subjects of God’s judgment, and the judgment process we as Christians are supposed to conduct. Which is investigating situations. Not condemning people, but learn to tell a real Christian from a pretend Christian. We can and should plant seeds when given the opportunity. But with some people, there is only so much we can do. The author of Hebrews spelled out our limitations. We need to respect our limitations, as well as work to higher levels to be more productive working with the Holy Spirit.
How are we judged? When we look at the many different beliefs in this world today, we are going to get dozens of different explanations. Christian denominations read the same Bible, the same books in the Bible, compare the same proof text, and come up with a wide range of conclusions. The strange thing is, other religions parallel Christian beliefs on how this world will be judged. Or in some cases, has been judged, or is being judged. How do we determine which explanation is true, and which explanations added to, or subtracted to the Bible? The first step is to remove all those explanations and start from scratch with an open mind, and a vision of learning at Jesus’ feet.
This may seem rather strange to you at this time, but look at the John’s Gospel as a whole. John’s Gospel seems to be the easiest story to follow. Jesus taught in a particular sequence. How many times did Jesus quote scripture? How many times did Jesus tell His followers and His enemies, He was doing His Father’s will. That included teaching this world about Heaven, and the judgment process in particular. When you read John’s Gospel with an open mind while focusing on the judgment process, you will see dozens of references Jesus made to the judgment process. Every time Jesus mentions the judgment process, let you mind go over previous stories, parallels, chapters, and explanations Jesus offered. You will find yourself putting the judgment process in the prospective Jesus explained it. All those cloudy areas will disappear.
Jesus emphasized another important subject. Being born again. Hearing the Shepherd’s voice, born of water, living water, and other stories all were focused on that subject. The need to put aside preconceived ideas. That included all the ideas and concepts men taught about the judgment process. When we take one little portion of a story and attempt to explain what it means, we will fail. When we try to explain a story in the Bible based on our limited human knowledge, we will fail. Why is that? Look at how Jesus taught. Jesus did repeat lessons to His followers. That was because they weren’t listening. Jesus explained subjects to His enemies once. Later Jesus built on those lessons. Why? Jesus didn’t feel a need to repeat Himself because His enemies were not listening, and would not listen. Why repeat yourself when the other person or party refuses to listen? The subject matter was important and had to be covered. Jesus had no choice but to offer the information. It was up to the listener to either accept or reject those messages. Chances were, if they missed the first lesson, the second, third, and all future lessons were lost. It was up to the individual to go over the entire process and put all the pieces together. In other words, look back. We have the opportunity to look back when we read John’s Gospel as a whole. We can compare one story with previous stories and see the spiritual meaning unfold. Bits and pieces should be fitting together. We should be able to see how Jesus added to subjects such as the judgment process. The moment we think we have it all figured out, we loose our connection with the Holy Spirit, our guide and teacher. We are left on our own. Whether or not we admit it, subjects become confusing, out of sequence, and difficult to explain. Why? Explanations in the Bible do not agree with what we have been taught. We lost our ability to look back and see how Jesus was given one subject from His Father, and added to that subject at a later date. Why did Jesus teach that way? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worked as a team. God gave the messages to Jesus who of course delivered them. People needed time to digest messages, and time for the Holy Spirit to work with them. Some people took advantage of that simple process while other people rejected the Holy Spirit, and of course they rejected Jesus. They thought they were serving God. They convinced themselves they were following God, but in fact they rejected God.
The same is true with the Holy Spirit. Try arguing or correcting the Holy Spirit during a study and the Spirit will withdraw. That’s it. You can continue to study, but everything will be interpreted by you and what the world has taught you. There is little chance any of your interpretations will be correct. They may sound good. The world may accept them. But that does not make them right.
We will begin our study in John’s Gospel. We could look all the way back to chapter 1 to see where this discussion actually began. But that is a task for you to accomplish. I will take a look back at the previous chapter so I can add a few examples showing how information in the Bible is introduced and build upon.
John 12:37-50 NLTseBut despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. (38) This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “LORD, who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?” (39) But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, (40) “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts— so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” (41) Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. (42) Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. (43) For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. (44) Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. (45) For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. (46) I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. (47) I will notjudge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. (48) But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. (49) I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) And I know his commandslead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
This story makes a distinct reference to previous stories in the Bible. We should know what miracles Jesus performed and why they were rejected. When we look at the beginning of the chapter we see the story about Lazarus. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. Isn’t that a direct reference to the judgment? Of course it is. This is one example showing how Jesus taught in a particular sequence.First Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. That of course was an example showing Jesus had the power and authority to raise the dead. Of course Jesus needed His Father’s cooperation as well as permission. This also showed how they worked together.
Looking back a few more chapters we see Jesus also healed a blind man. That attracted the attention of the religious leaders who questioned and rejected that miracle. In chapter 12, Jesus quoted a few places in Isiah where he predicted that would happen. Now we not only have a prophecy and its fulfillment together, we also have something in Isaiah to consider. But first, let’s look at parallel chapters a moment. Parallel chapters are the prophecy matched to the fulfillment recorded elsewhere in the Bible. They are parallel chapters based on the fact, the
two chapters cover the same subject.
They will have similar introductions and summations.
When you study those chapters together, the Bible will reveal more than ten time the information you ever expected to see. That’s one of the ways the Bible works and confirms itself. Now we can look at a little bit from Isaiah.
Isaiah 53:1-6 NLTse Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? (2) My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (3) He was despised and rejected– a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (4) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (5) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (6) All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
Many Christians are familiar with Isiah chapter 53. This chapter explains how Jesus was executed. What would have happened if His followers and enemies read this chapter? Would they take it to heart? Isiah was telling the future. Jesus was showing people the future. Of course we can look back and see how all of this was planned, and how it turned out. But if we are in fact more advanced than those people who missed the message Jesus gave, why aren’t we using this knowledge? The Bible just showed us a simple way to study the Bible. Why don’t we all take that lesson and put it into action?
In terms of the judgment, Isiah also offered some information.
Isaiah 53:10-12 NLTse But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (11) When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous,for he will bear all their sins. (12) I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
In simple terms, Isiah explained how Jesus died for our sins and how this was part of God’s plan. We are not given a great amount of detail, but when we see additional explanations given in John chapter 12, we should be able to see the pieces of the puzzle come together.
“I will notjudge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. (48) But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. (49) I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
Now we have a few pieces of the puzzle in writing to examine. Jesus died for our sins. That is true, but there is more to it than that. Jesus had to earn the authority to judge. The Father granted Jesus that authority. But with authority comes responsibility. Jesus was also responsible for telling the world about God’s plan of salvation. We can’t be held responsible for a plan we don’t know. On the other hand, ignorance is no excuse.
We are not judged by our knowledge of this plan. But we are judged on our willingness to either listen to that plan, accept, or reject that plan. Why do you think Jesus and the prophets talked about that plan so much? That plan was introduced through baby steps over a great amount of time. People in the Old Testament understood next to nothing about the plan of salvation. They did have the responsibility of knowing God, His laws and commandments, and obeying those laws. Of course everyone failed at that task. That was why Jesus had to come to this planet to die. But what about those people who knew the laws and ignored them? What about those people who never heard about God? What happens to them? I hope you don’t expect me to answer that question. But maybe with a little more studying, we can begin to get a clearer view on that subject.
What about those people who never heard of God or Jesus? Let’s talk another look at that list of religions and their beliefs on the judgment in Wiki. They all seem to be pretty much the same. Christian religions should be the same. They all got their information from the same book. On the other hand, what about those other religions? How did they get a concept on God’s judgment if they never heard about God or Jesus? They must have gotten their information from somewhere. That brings us to the obvious answer.
We can all agree God’s judgment is in the future. Where did all those religions get the ability to see into the future? We have only two choices. Either God or the devil told them about the future. Of course the devil lacks the ability to see into the future. The devil didn’t see how Jesus defeated him in the wilderness. The devil had no idea Jesus was going to raise from that grave. Those simple facts leave us with one conclusion to draw on. Only God could have reached those people with ideas and concepts on the judgment process.
Judgment must be a rather important subject for God to reach the entire world on the idea and concept of judgment. So where does that leave us on our search to find out what happens with those people from other religions? They seem to be in the same boat as all the different Christian religions. All the Christian religions claim to communicate with God in one way or another. So why do they all seem to have different concepts on what God told them? Easy. Some people listen better than others. And of course some people like to add their own ideas to what they heard. Others prefer to eliminate a few details because they don’t entirely agree with God. Where does that leave us?
Look at how much Jesus blended the judgment process with the Holy Spirit, listening to the Spirit, and learning from the Spirit.
If anything, this book has shown how the judgment process is learned step by step. People don’t tear apart a V8 engine without first starting on a small single cylinder engine, learning the concepts, and moving onto bigger and better things.
What makes people think they can master the plan of salvation after a five minute conversation with God?
It may seem rather strange to some people when a modern writer talks about the connection between the Holy Spirit and the judgment process. Can we call it God’s plan of salvation for a moment? I’m not making this stuff up. I’m taking popular proof text major Christian denominations use to explain the judgment process and reading a few extra sentences found in those chapters. In other words, I am simply doing what every good Christian should do. I am testing what is being taught, preached, and spoon fed all around this world. Is it a crime to go a little further in the Bible. Or in most cases, review the introduction to that popular proof text? I don’t think so.
John recorded a lot about what Jesus taught on the judgment process. To me it would be a crime not to look at what John and other inspired authors wrote about the judgment process and study exactly how those inspired authors introduced and explained this subject. You see, I know I have two choices. I can either accept what people are teaching. Since I already know different religions have different concepts on the judgment process, I feel it is my responsibility to look into this subject myself. Not by myself. But as the Bible teaches, and the point Jesus tried to make. I want to study along side the Holy Spirit.
John 16:7-13 KJV Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
I decided to use the KJV for this part of the story because I know there is at least one word we need to look up in the Greek dictionary. If you didn’t see at least one word to look up, you’re not listening to the Spirit. That is one thing the Spirit does during Bible Study. The Spirit will tell you to look up certain words. When you follow instructions, you’ll see how the definition of certain words in the Bible have been twisted around. In this example we will look at the word REPROVE.
G1651 ἐλέγχω elegchōb el-eng’-kho
Of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: – convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.
And when church is come, the church will rebuke the world of sin
In most cases the definition of the word reprove many people use and teach will omit that part about conviction and telling a fault. When we look at the word sin, we can see how conviction falls into place. But when we get to the word judgment, that conviction part of the definition is often left out, or is changed to something along the lines of, “we can prove we are right and the world is wrong.” But who is right and who is wrong? Why did Jesus tie in judgment with a word that means, “to tell a fault.” Common sense would tell us, judgment has a very close relationship to pointing out faults. But who is supposed to point out those faults? It has become common practice for churches to substitute words and phrases like, “church, God’s chosen people, and the saints,” with what John actually recorded. Take a look at what John recorded. Jesus said, “the Comforter.” Who of course is the Holy Spirit. Go ahead. Check the chapter. Jesus was talking about an increased relationship with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not teaching about some modern church age with some new enlightenment that somehow replaced the Holy Spirit. To a large degree it has become acceptable for the modern church to replace the Holy Spirit with one term or another pointing to their particular term for a church, is that correct? And is that acceptable in Heaven’s court?
When we look at how Jesus presented His defense to the Jewish authorities, we not only see Jesus answering their questions based on their level of knowledge, but we see Jesus going far into the future establishing a new set of warnings for a church that was not even conceived in the mind of a single person back in those days.
Jesus introduced the concept of the Holy Spirit early in His ministry. One night a religious leader by the name of Nicodemus came to see Jesus. Jesus tried to explain the concept of the Holy Spirit to Nicodemus,who seemed rather lost on the subject. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? (John 3:10 NLTse). Was Nicodemus saved at that moment? We have to admit, Jesus did explain the concept of being saved to Nicodemus. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. (John 3:14-18 NLTse).
One of the most famous verses in the Bible is found in John chapter 3. But most modern Christians start and stop at one verse, knowing little to nothing about the rest of the story that spans more that one chapter. Looking at the context, which is the verses around John 3:16, we can’t help but see there is much more to the story that most modern philosophers are able or willing to explain. We see how Jesus pointed Nicodemus back to a rather short story Moses recorded. This brings up a few valid points to consider. Jesus sent an advanced student of the scriptures back to a story he needed to review. Something was in that story Jesus knew Nicodemus didn’t understand. The story is short and blunt. Israel was once again complaining about the long journey and the manna they grew tired of eating. We know manna was a physical bread from Heaven and also contained a spiritual meaning. It wasn’t by chance that Jesus also sent Nicodemus to a story about that spiritual bread and also talked to Nicodemus about spiritual water. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (John 3:3-6 NLTse).
Many people will miss the majority of those points because they don’t understand how Jesus and the scriptures point willing students to the right information at the proper time. As Jesus made clear to Nicodemus, you may think you are an advanced student of the Bible, but you will never stand a chance of understanding the Bible until you make a connection with the Holy Spirit and learn to follow directions given by the Spirit. Jesus followed those instructions and was able to give Nicodemus the instructions he needed to open his mind and heart to the Spirit. Between John chapter 3 and chapter 7 we find evidence showing us how the Nicodemus established a connection with the Spirit and the effects of that connection. Much like Jesus, Nicodemus was able to send the Pharisees back to the right scripture at the proper time. Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” (John 7:50-52 NLTse).
It took more than an understanding of the spiritual water Jesus talked about. Nicodemus also had to read the story about the snake Moses made and see the connection between salvation and the living bread Jesus also talked about. Jesus added more information about the spiritual the second time we see Nicodemus mentioned in John’s Gospel. On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-39 NLTse). That reminded Nicodemus about their first meeting when Jesus introduced the living water. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (John 3:3-6 NLTse). When we put those two stories together we can see how the Holy Spirit had been teaching Nicodemus to see the spiritual meaning behind that living water and how to put real life events together to see the deeper meaning of spiritual symbols.
Jesus used more than water as a spiritual symbol. Jesus mixed the spiritual water with the spiritual bread. When Nicodemus had only one symbol to consider, he was confused. When Nicodemus put the bread and water together, he began to see spiritual lessons his counterparts could not understand. Jesus and the Holy Spirit placed Nicodemus in a unique position. Nicodemus could see and understand spiritual symbols. Nicodemus could also see how his fellow teaches misunderstood and misused those symbols and other information in scripture.
No one can argue the point, it is easy to see how Jesus pointed out the symbol of living water. John recorded that portion of the conversation. It may be a little difficult to see where the bread comes in. That takes a bit of investigation. Which is what faith means, an investigation. We how see Jesus point directly to bread when He told Nicodemus about the bronze snake Moses made.
When we look at how this information was presented, we have to ask why. Jesus of course was trying to teach Nicodemus how to connect with the Holy Spirit. Jesus used some of the best teaching methods known to mankind. Jesus used actually life examples. In this case, a real life experience. The lesson goes much deeper than that. When the Spirit uses life experiences to teach, the student has to learn how to look back at events. Bible study follows the exact same standard. Notice how the story in John chapter 7 references miracles. Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?” (John 7:31 NLTse). To find out what miracles they were referring to, we have no other choice but to look back in John’s Gospel. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. (John 6:11 NLTse). With a free meal comes a free lesson. That is the way Jesus operated. Jesus physically and Spiritually fed people.
After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. (John 6:31-36 NLTse).
Jesus went a step further by tying in spiritual bread with spiritual water. No one made that connection except for Jesus. Now we have a direct connection between spiritual bread, water, and of course the Holy Spirit. We also see how scripture established a connection between spiritual bread, water, the Holy Spirit, salvation, and judgment. According to scripture they are all related, connected, and need to be studied together. Which is what we are doing after we see how those subjects have been linked in scripture.
What does all this teach us on the subject of judgment? There is no doubt, everyone will be judged. It doesn’t matter what denomination you are, or what religion you are. It doesn’t matter no much or little you know about the judgment process. What matters is, the connection you establish with the Holy Spirit and how much you are willing to learn. Is there salvation without a learning process? Based on the evidence we gathered from two short stories about Nicodemus, we see there is a learning curve. We also see two sides of the story. The Pharisees and other religious leaders rejected the Spirit. They wanted to kill Jesus. They questioned everything about Jesus and judged Him based on their personal understanding of the scriptures. When we look deep enough, we can’t help but notice how the groups disagreed and had different views on the Messiah. They went as far a contradicting themselves. We have to read the entire story to see that. Based on what we’ve seen and read, we should begin to see how those stories not only showed the mentality in Jesus’ day, we also see a prophetic warning for our day.
Denominations still can’t agree on who Jesus was, His role in Heaven, nor the judgment process. That is a living fact today. We cannot trust anyone. We owe it to ourselves to investigate the judgment process by teaming up with the Holy Spirit to find out what that process is, what role we play if any, and exactly what we need to do to be saved? Is that so difficult to understand?
As students of the Bible, we also want to exercise our freedom, privilege, and responsibility to check other sources. Up to this point we have been looking at information provided by John, Isaiah, and of course Jesus. What did Paul add to this subject?
1 Corinthians 6:1-6 KJV (1) Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? (2) Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (3) Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (4) If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. (5) I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? (6) But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
Paul pointed out the responsibility we will take on in the judgment process. We will judge the world as well as angels. That explains why we have to develop an understanding of that judgment process. It is not as simple as some people make it sound. Maybe those people do not want to face or take on the responsibilities. That does not add up to a valid excuse for anyone to use.
Paul is not giving the church any authority to judge, but simply pointing out how important it is to study the subject. “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13 NLTse). Paul pointed people back to Deuteronomy chapter 22 which has a collection of laws. Most of which dwelt with adultery. Which has a spiritual meaning all its own. Along side of those laws on adultery are a number of other laws. Some are plain and simple to understand. Others seem to have more of a spiritual meaning than a physical real life application. The lesson is. The Pharisees couldn’t agree on all the laws. The Pharisees often twisted laws to suit their own ideas. In any case, an honest Christian with an open mind should see how confusing those laws can be and the point Paul was making. When it comes to the law, we need help from Heaven. We also need help from Heaven to understand any type of judgment. In short terms, no one with less than a perfect understanding of the law should be judging anyone. If the Pharisees couldn’t understand the law, what chance do we have? Sure you can go with the old excuse, “we have Jesus and the New Testament.” Well ask yourself this question. Do you really have Jesus? Or do you have the word of a modern day teacher of the law? Do they have it right? Are they correctly interpreting the New Testament? In most cases, I could prove them wrong. I’m not bragging. Based on what you learned from this book, take those Bible Study concepts and go over what people teach. Test them yourself. Get into the Bible yourself. Not by yourself, but with Jesus. You see, having Jesus is the main thing. The most important thing. The only thing that will keep you on the right side of the judgment process. The only side you want to be on. We don’t have to understand every detail about the judgment process. But based on what we’ve read and studied in this chapter, there is a lot more to the judgment process that most Christian denominations are wiling to teach. The easy way draws crowds, new members, and money. That’s a sad fact in modern Christianity, but it is true. Christians have been making their own brand of nets for hundreds of years. When Jesus called His first disciples, they dropped their nets, their main source of income, and left them behind. Today the fondness of income has become a necessary evil. Income at all cost has become the driving force for some denominations. You know who they are. At least the worst offenders. But how much of that drive has your church borrowed from the money making prosperity movement? I’ve studied the history of a few major denominations to see how they grew from their original conception when they were called from God to break away. Sad to say, they seemed to loose touch with God after a while. Then began to form their own opinions, write their own rules, doctrines, whatever you want to call them. They broke away from the world, then rejoined the world to a degree they felt was safe. Like Cain, they each compromised on the sacrifice they owed God. How could this be? We call that human nature. We go so far with God then reach a point where we say, “God really doesn’t understand how this world works.” That’s when we join with the world to better reach the world. It seems like a plan that cannot fail. It seems like a good plan. We may be able to collect a hand full of scripture to build a base concept. But when YOU look at what they used for proof text, I can bet that the context will show it was from something similar to Paul’s letters where Paul used a man made concept as an example to show what NOT to do. I see that happen all the time. That is what makes proof text so dangerous. A dusty Bible on a shelf may look harmless and innocent, but the devil has uses dusty Bibles to steal eternal from more people than you can imagine. You’ll never know. You’ll never have an idea how much control the devil has been enjoying in this world until you pick up your Bible and begin reading.
It may seem rather strange to think God’s judgment is mentioned during the last seven plagues. Once we look at the context, we can understand why the world is reminded about God’s judgment at that particular time.
Revelation 16:1-8 RSVA Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (2) So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the earth, and foul and evil sores came upon the men who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. (3) The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead man, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (4) The third angel poured his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of water, and they became blood. (5) And I heard the angel of water say, “Just art thou in these thy judgments, thou who art and wast, O Holy One. (6) For men have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink. It is their due!” (7) And I heard the altar cry, “Yea, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are thy judgments!” (8) The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire;
In both cases the angels are glorifying God by agreeing His judgments are just. Those angels witnessed every step of the judgment process. They spent years watching the dead being judged. They reviewed the lives of the dead. Angels knew the people who were being judged. Angels came to save those people, aided them in times of crisis and were with them every step of their lives. Angels saw those people sin, take advantage of other people, learn evil crafts, and pass those energies off to other people. Angels from Heaven saw the influence Satan’s angels had on them. Heavenly angels tried to break those chains Satan’s team of angels wound around them. Time and time again Angels from Heaven sent them good people to confer with and learn from. The good angels tried to surround their lives with aspects that would lead them to Christ, back to God, and to salvation. Time and time again those angels and the influences they sent were rejected. Time after time the healing, favors, and miracles Heavenly angels brought into their lives was accepted with little or no appreciation. Finally the breath left their bodies and there was nothing anyone could do for them. All they could do is rest in the dust until they were raised to hear the verdict.
Some did listen to those Heavenly angels. Some people became human messengers for the angels in Heaven. Some people constantly prayed to God and listened to the voice of God’s Spirit. Some people understood and appreciated the sacrifice Jesus made for them. They knew they could never pay Jesus back for what He had done for them, but they could dedicate their lives to being His servant. “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12 RSVA).
There will only be two classes in the end. Those who are saved, and those who are lost. Suffice to say, those who are lost have nothing to loose. The enemy denies their loss, defends them, and convinces the lost, they have everything to gain. Hence the battle between good and evil reaches its apex. And the universe will witness the outcome.
God’s followers become an instant target. Satan can and will point out everyone of them. Satan knows he’s been judged. And he knows the outcome. Satan has nothing to loose. One goal is to take as many people down with his as he can. But what about God’s people?
Satan enjoyed nothing more during his exile on this planet than to watch Christ suffer. Christ is in Heaven and untouchable. Christ has the power and authority to destroy Satan and all his follows with a single word. Satan has nothing better to do than take advantage of the time he has left. He’s seen millions die in thousands of ways. The best Satan can hope for is a quick, painless death. In the mean time, he can work his magic and make the last living followers of God pay for the fate Satan is about to face.
Of course there is more to the story. The living will eventually be judged. They have to be judged so the Heavenly angels know who to protect, and who to leave to Satan and his ways. What will life be like when Satan has almost total control over this world? I don’t think anyone can imagine what can happen. How far will he go with wars, persecution, slavery, and seeking revenge on the few remaining people who choose to follow God during those perilous times? No one can imagine that scene. No one will be ready for that scene.
I am not going to try and interpret those plagues. Thousands have tried and failed. Most of them place many of the events in the past. Based on the fact many of today’s modern day prophets have used a dozen or so world events to pin point the day one or more of those plagues were going to be fulfilled, you can easily see why. Satan wants to take the minds of all of his followers off the inevitable. Satan wants them as confused as possible so that when it comes time for him to unleash his plan, no one will have any idea what John recorded 2000 years ago.
When we take a brief look at those plagues, the first will place an identifying mark on the lost. They will be covered with boils. God’s followers will stick out like a sore thumb. Or in this case, the only good thumb. We can take a fictitious look at the first plague. Keep in mind. This is not a vision or any claim this is the way the first plague will actually happen. It is only an educated guess based on a lot of prayer, and a few details from similar issues.
At first only a few people break out with infectious boils. Not enough to cause any instant alarm, but it was quickly evident these were no ordinary boils. The sores were contagious. Not deadly, but very irritating and noticeable.
Within a few days the same sores began to show up in different parts of the world. But who was interested in a few sick people scattered in different parts of the world? The sores spread quickly. One person could easily effect fifty in a day. One person would show up to work with a small sore and by the end of the week an entire office building would be infected. Then the local markets, apartment buildings, and it seemed like the entire city was infected. Some countries began to quarantine entire cities. That didn’t seem to stop the virus.
By the time the news media noticed the story, millions were infected and the soars were spreading faster than the wind. The media interviewed everyone they could. Scientists with no actual experience in the matter made claims on national and worldwide TV. Some said it was a wind born virus. Other claimed it was carried by birds. People blamed the airlines for the quick spread. Investigations showed airlines had no virus detection system and was ill equipped to deal with the situation. Government officials blamed the airlines for having less than adequate air filtration systems on planes. New laws were passed. Apartment buildings and businesses were the next victims on the wave of new laws designed to impress citizens with the concern and quick response from governments. But all the laws were made void by the fact the virus spread so fast, companies were shutting down.
Police and medical personal were the first to begin using charcoal filtered breathing masks that seemed to help. Sales shot up and in days shelves were cleared. Plants were understaffed at first. At first companies banned infected personal from working. When staffing became so lean, management asked infected worker to report to work. It seemed like the end of the world. Many workers wondered why they would show up and work for the few who remained uninfected. They felt like they were being used. Production of all kinds ground to a halt. First is was only a few offices. Factories quickly followed. Then stores, fuel production and distribution, and then food production as the virus reached the out skirts. Now it was time to panic.
Satan had no idea what to do. He didn’t want to arouse suspicion. Of course he pointed people so far away from the Bible, no one thought of checking scripture when it was being fulfilled. It was best to allow science to introduce guesses from one end of the spectrum to the other. The more he had people guessing the better. That of course was the beginning of some rather deep divisions.
Countries began to blame countries. Scientific communities accused one another of withholding information. Medical professionals introduced cures that caused more harm then good. It seemed like the sores covered the entire world in just a few months and science was no closer to explaining the cause than when it first appeared.
Countries began to launch investigations to locate the original source. Some countries used this as an opportunity to accuse their enemies of planing an attack or experimenting with germ warfare.
When we look at this series of plagues, we can see how one plague can turn the world upside down. But a series of plagues. Plagues no one can explain. Of course there will be hundreds of explanations. People will bow down to their favorite news media gods for answers and solutions. The news media will do their best to tell the world their future. But none of that will help.
If we looked back, we would see how those plagues remind us of the plagues in Egypt. If we want to learn anything about those plagues to come, why don’t we look at the plagues that have past? One detail stands out. Pharaoh was a type of symbol pointing to Satan in a few small ways. We have to give Satan the benefit of the doubt. All symbols point to something greater. And of course Satan is greater than Pharaoh. What parts of Pharaoh help us to understand Satan?
Both started their own religions. Both considered themselves gods. Both had plans to control the masses. Both enslaved people. Both fought against and tried to annihilated God’s people. Pharaoh and Satan did seem to have a lot in common. But its not our role to study the devil and give him credit for the world he messed up. Our job is to keep our eyes on Heaven.
When was the last time you heard about water turning into blood. That would have been Moses and Aaron when they were trying to get their flock out of Egypt. Interesting how many parallels there are to the exodus and the last plagues. Not exactly alike, but enough to send us to a place to study. But who wants to be told where and what to study when they can fabricate their own assumptions? As always, men will be men. Or shall I say boys when it comes to scripture.
I don’t think we should ignore the news. But we have to be careful about how the devil is using news to conform minds and led them in the direction he wants them to go. Then when it is time, he can direct people in the direction he wants them to go. I’ve seen a perfect example of that on the news this week.
You can search that prostitution ring in Florida all you want. The only news you are going to get is page after page of a football team owner and other billionaires having sex with women in a message parlor. Well maybe that is all people are interested in. Or maybe this type of manipulation is part of Satan’s plan.
Sure people are guilty of paying for sex. But that’s not one tenth of the story at hand. What about the girls? What about the people who are running the massage parlors? They are kidnapping young woman, bringing them to the US, and making sex slaves out of them. But how? The police have hundreds to women to question. Can’t they get information from those girls and come up with a plan to warn those in other countries trying to get into the US? I am tired of hearing stories about illegal aliens in the country, and when we hear a story about women being enslaved, no one seems to care. No one seems to have made the connection. Why? Has America been so dumbed down by the media? Their minds are working at 1/100th speed? If we gave the story a moment and a shred of thought, we’d see there are greater victims than the billionaires. Those women were made slaves in the United States. And no one seems to give a hoot.
Satan is having a field day with this. He just proved how he controls the media and how people are controlled by the media. Set up a human sacrifice, and no one seems to know the time of day. All they want to do is see a rich guy hung. That ain’t gonna happen. So don’t hold your breath.
Remember the story about Saul? Satan used Saul. Satan sent demons to control Saul. When Satan was done using Saul, he couldn’t wait to tell Saul he was going to die. That’s what Satan does. He uses people then throws them away.
Satan will make people successful for a reason. Satan uses successful people to restrain, control, and persecute the masses. Satan used Pharaoh and a host of others. The Bible is full of stories where God controlled people. God controlled kings, nations, and armies. God told then to go, and they went. On the same token, the devil uses people, kings, and armies to do his own bidding. This planet is like one big chess board with God and the devil shifting pawns around to different parts of the board. Of course God has a set of rules. And God knows every move the devil is going to make before he makes it.
Then of course Satan has limits, and he knows how to push them. Satan is not as smart as some people make him out to be. Satan knows little about the Bible. He couldn’t know the Bible without the Spirit. When you talk to someone about the scriptures, you can tell if they have the Spirit or not. And it is getting difficult to find people with a connection with the Spirit.
Satan has no choice but to test humans to find out what makes them tick, think, and react. It is not all that difficult to figure out. It is much like training a dog. Once you train a dog, you always know how they will react to a specified command. It is that simple. If you think I am making that up, look up the word worship. Or you can page back to chapter 13 in this book where worship was covered.
The Greek just happened to use the loyalty of a dog to help define worship. That wasn’t my choice. The Greek did it long before I was around. It does seem rather odd. What do we do when we find strange things in the Bible? Of course we put on our thinking caps and blurt out the first thing that pops into our mind. Sorry– that’s social media. Here, our task is to study scripture, we put it aside for a time and pray about it. And I mean listen when we pray.
The Greek inserted that little blurb about a dog for a reason. God isn’t training us like dogs. Otherwise we’d still be in Eden. Satan is the one trying to train us to be like and react like dogs. And this is how.
A news story comes out about a rich guy having sex at a message parlor. People are trained to sniff for blood. They want to see heads roll. Especially the heads of rich people. Satan has one class that has its own rich people, but the majority is poor. They are against everyone – sometimes for no reason at all. A different political party seems to be their favorite motive for the time being.
So a rich guy from the other side of the tracks makes a major mistake. Forget the fact those women were slaves. And many of the people shouting for blood also make a host of comments about slavery. But their minds are so controlled, they can’t see any connection. Both sides of the tracks are looking for blood based on the fact, that guy is filthy rich. People from both sides of the tracks cry out for blood like they are getting that guy’s money when he goes to jail. But that ain’t gonna happen. Satan has a way of introducing subjects that don’t exist, and making it seem like they could exist. It is like offering a dog a treat.
Now Satan knows what type of reaction he will get when he offers a human sacrifice. People will look at the sacrifice in front to them and not notice the army of demons behind them. They have no idea how hard those demons had to work to pull that stunt off. People just call the act, human nature. It is human nature to look at the set of facts the master, or teacher present and pay total attention to that one fact and ignore the rest. Satan is gathering a host of information from this stunt. And he will soon use that knowledge.
If those last plagues are around the corner, Satan has to know how many people he controls and how far he can push them. If someone doesn’t want to cooperate, no problem. Satan has people waiting in line. When the plagues do come. Satan has to push and push hard. He has to put a few key people into action. This time he has to convince the general public into calling for the sacrifice of innocent people – God’s people. That may not be as easy as it sounds. So Satan has to practice his dark art for the time being.
I am really surprised at what the LORD revealed about the condition of this world by using of all things, toilet paper. Has anyone prayed about this situation? Well that is the first thing the LORD revealed about this world, how people have no idea how to pray. In the LORD’s eyes, many self professed Christians decided to use prayer to direct God. They wanted to be the first to tell Jesus and the Holy Spirit how to solve this virus problem. They are as guilty and self centered as those people hoarding toilet paper and other goods. Imagine, people actually believing they have the solution to this epidemic and thinking all they need to do is tell God how to solve the problem and God will follow their directions. Those people don’t know the first thing about being Christian. They are doing more harm than good.
Those who mastered the art of listening to God’s voice see this epidemic for what it is. The saints can see how God just showed us a glimpse of the judgment process. Remember, when we finally reach Heaven, the first thing we are going to do is join Heaven in praising God because His judgment is just, true, and perfect. How are we gong to praise God from the heart if we don’t know that judgment process and we had no idea it was happening in front of our eyes?
I’ve always known God to have a sense of humor. But to sit back, watch Satan manipulate the world through fear, then use of all things, toilet paper to teach what will be the most important lesson in this generation. We truly serve a living and all knowing God who shows us He is in total control.
I’ve been waiting for someone, anyone to use scripture to compare the object lessons in scripture to what we see in this world during the great toilet paper crisis. There are dozens of stories. God opened a window of opportunity to reach out to people. But for the most part, Christians are wrapped up in themselves and the answers they come up with using their own imaginations. I have seen saints opening their doors and hearts to help people. But they are few and far between. Let’s look at a few stories that could help this world.
So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Numbers 21:9 RSVA).
When we look at any story in the Bible we have to ask if the context matches the situation in this world we are comparing it to. We see that parallel when we pray and read the entire story. In the story about the bronze serpent we see parallels. Israel was not happy with what God gave them. That brought out God’s wrath. The only thing to save them was a symbol of Jesus none of them understood at the time.
For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, ‘The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'” (1 Kings 17:14 RSVA).
With a single prayer Elijah stopped the rain. People were starving. You can believe people had been hoarding food and supplies. They had no faith in God. They relied on themselves and their selfishness. Just like today. The point of that story is, the plague will continue until people turned back to God. The God who made sure the oil and flour would not fail.
Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:38-39 RSVA).
Even the people who witnessed this unquestionable sign turned to God for a time, then eventually left Him. We see people praying, demanding God stop this epidemic. People use prayer to direct God like they are in charge and God was created to serve them. They are from the order of Baal. They chant, repeat themselves, but will never direct God to do a thing that would only bring glory to themselves. One man acting alone made the difference. No one offered to help Elijah move those stones to build an alter. No one believed God existed until they saw fire come down from Heaven. Then they only believed for a short time. God will not allow people like that into Heaven.
So he went and did according to the word of the LORD; he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. (1 Kings 17:5-6 RSVA).
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you.” (1 Kings 19:5-7 RSVA).
And he said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12 RSVA).
How many more stories in the Bible were designed to share at times such as these? Plenty. But it seems few people know how to pray and listen to that still small voice. Hardly anyone wants to get out of the spectator stands, put on their pads and get into the game for the LORD.
And they ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. (Mark 8:8-9 RSVA).
Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. (John 6:10-11 RSVA).
There are dozens of stories people could have shared on social media. But no one was listening. How do you know what story to share? How do you know when to share that story? How to you know who to share that story with? God knows everything. God knows what people need and when they need it. Those people praying for an end of that virus never met God. They don’t know God, the Holy Spirit, or the way God operated. Look at all those stories. The people had to wait until they were ready to receive the message. They had to be broken. They had to face a situation where there was no place to turn. They had to see their priests and leaders fail. They had to be prepared to return to God. The main theme from all those stories was to return to God. Telling God to stop His plans is not Christian. It is not even close to Christian. Telling God to fix this world and leave them alone is exactly why one Israelite generation died in the wilderness. Listening to God is what saved Elijah and gave him that power. Are you beginning to see the power of Elijah now?
“Behold, I will send you Eli’jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6 RSVA).
I know most of you will not understand this because you have no idea what prayer is. Prayer is listening to messages from Heaven. I was praying last week about the judgment process asking if there will be a sign showing the world that Jesus has moved from judging the dead to judging the living. I was shown a white light covering the world in a flash. It was like a single flash of lightening around the entire world in a flash. I knew no one could possibly miss that sign. And I knew most people would have no idea they even witnessed a sign showing the beginning of one of the most important events this world will ever see.
Today I continued in prayer and the white flash all over the world was brought to my attention and the LORD explained what that sign meant. The pictures of white toilet paper flashed around the world on the World Wide Web pointed to one thing. God used toilet paper to show the greed of this world and the first sign showing the difference between the lost and saved people living in this world today. Those who decided to live in fear and hoard toilet paper will not change. They choose to be lead by fear and greed. A long time ago they choose to live for themselves and no one else.
And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” (Revelation 14:15 RSVA).
The earth was destroyed by a flood because God saw how people thrived on evil. Their hearts were set on themselves. Greed controlled the world. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5 RSVA). What is the difference today? When God destroyed the world with a flood, the saints perished with the sinners. This time the saints will suffer at the hands of sinners for a short time before Jesus returns to take His people home.
Has the judgment of the living begun? That flash of white toilet paper across this world has shown the saints lessons they will carry with them for eternity. They will live forever remembering how Satan used toilet paper to show how far mankind has drifted from God. There is one thing for certain, after the judgment process ends, everyone on earth will see the difference between those who are saved and those who are lost for eternity. Immediately after the judgment ends, the last seven plagues begin.
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the earth, and foul and evil sores came upon the men who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. (Revelation 16:1-2 RSVA).
Those plagues begin with a sign placed on the outside of those who are lost. The people who chose the devil, his agents, and themselves over God will have physical attributes that will clearly distinguish them from the saints. Everyone in the world will see the difference. When the judgment period is over all the saints will know Jesus has finished the judgment process and left the Heavenly Sanctuary.
And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD, and when he comes out, lest he die. (Exodus 28:35 RSVA).
The saints who will take the last message out to the world during the judgment period will know what is happening in Heaven. They will know what Jesus is doing in Heaven. They will know the urgency of the message. They will know lives and eternity are at stake.
Look at those people hoarding toilet paper and other goods. They are controlled by fear. They are controlled by the devil. Here in America many of those people believe a godless leader can benefit them. They believe a man has all the answers. They don’t believe in God. They never met Jesus. They have no compassion. They are greedy, self centered, bitter, and lost. Nothing anyone says can reach them. They are beyond reach of the Holy Spirit and His convicting powers. They are ripe for the harvest. Bitter grapes will remain bitter and have no place in Heaven. If those people were allowed in Heaven, they would introduce greed far worse then Satan introduced during his time in Heaven. God will never allow a repeat of that in Heaven. God will not allow those people and their twisted minds to infect Heaven with their greed. They have chosen their path and forfeited eternal life. They have made their choice and ignorance is no excuse.
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After looking at the lost, there has to be the lingering question on your mind, how are you saved? Of course that’s the goal. The goal is to make it Heaven, to see God’s throne, to meet Jesus, receive your crown, and a stone with your name on it. At least that is what we learn in nominal Christian circles. Why don’t we talk more about Heaven? Why don’t we study more about Heaven? What is with this world? We explore the oceans, dig in the earth for fossils, and remnants from lost civilizations, we’ve even sent people to the moon. We have telescopes and cameras all over the universe, but few people search out a distinct and clear view of Heaven. Why is that so?
I’ve already written a book based on visions of Heaven found in the Bible. I would consider those visions clear and accurate. It was an interesting book to dwell on and write. But books about Heaven just don’t sell. Not at all.
This chapter may not give a view of Heaven, but we will look at what the Bible says about people who are saved. How are they saved and why are the saved? This of course will not be a complete view, but a look at some of the most popular scripture on the subject. Our journey begins in Romans.
Romans 5:15-21 RSVA But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (16) And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. (17) If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (18) Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (20) Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (21) so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I’m sure most of you have read this chapter, or at least a few sentences from this chapter. There are three main themes many Christians concentrate on in this chapter. The first is, sin entered this world through one man, Adam. Actually sin came into this planet through Eve, then Adam. The point is, this story leads us back to another story in the Bible found in Genesis.
The part about this story that has confused me for some time is the part about sin entering this world through one man, and grace through of course, Jesus, who is mentioned as one man. What is Paul trying to get to? I had to read this many times and pray about the information Paul presented before I could begin to understand it. Paul is using a simple example. An example we should find easy to understand. To get the meaning of the story, we have to go back a review the story Paul pointed to and used as an example.
Eve was the first person to sin. Eve was of course tempted by Satan. Eve gave into a minor suggestion. Satan appeared to offer more than what God had given Adam and Eve. And Eve fell for that deception. That of course was the first sin. As far as we know, the first sin in the Universe. But Satan was busy in Heaven questioning God, looking for more, and for lack of a better term, plotting a rebellion in Heaven. We have no idea how many years of experience Satan accumulated in Heaven. We do know, Satan became an expert in deception in Heaven. Satan was in daily contact with God. Satan knew Jesus. But Satan decided that was not enough for him. He convinced himself, then thousands of angels that there was more than what God had given them. We don’t know what Satan saw, believed, or was after. That information was not recorded in scripture. We do know, Satan was able to deceive angels. Angels who saw and knew God. Angels who once worshiped in front of God’s throne. If Satan could accomplish that, what chance do we have?
There is something in the fact, Satan was able to deceive Eve. Why didn’t Satan go after Adam? When we look at scripture we see, God warned Adam about the fruit on that tree. It was Adam’s job to inform and protect Eve. Did Adam do his job? There is something mysterious about those circumstances.
Eve was the first to eat the forbidden fruit. Somehow Eve was able to convince Adam to eat the fruit. In other words, Eve was able to accomplish what Satan was unable to do, or maybe afraid to try. Adam took the word of his wife over God. In short, Adam sinned on more than one front.
Paul used Adam as an example for a reason. Is it because Adam took the word of the only other human being on this planet over God’s word? That could be one of the reasons. But to get to the facts, we have to follow that story a little further.
Sin of course introduced a set of curses. On the surface those curses may look simple to understand. But do we look at those curses based on the way this world chose to understand them? Or do we look at those curses from a point of view from Heaven? After all, those curses did originate in Heaven.
Genesis 3:14-19 RSVA The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. (15) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (16) To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (17) And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; (18) thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. (19) In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
We all know, that first curse on Satan was a prophecy. It had a spiritual meaning. Why would God move from the prophetic and spiritual state to a physical state of thinking at this point? When we look at the curses as book ends, we find the answer. Adam and all men and women will return to dust. Satan will crawl along his belly and eat the dust of the earth. Put the two together and what do we have? We have Satan eating up people. Is that true? If it is, we can continue along this train of thought.
Satan has one goal in mind. To take as many of us into the pit he is responsible for making. He goal is to eat up people, the dust of this earth. Now let’s go onto the next curse.
There will be a hatred between Eve and Satan. Eve is given the role of a warrior. Her hatred for Satan is the key Eve needs to protect her family. Eve made a mistake she can never make up for and she can never correct on her own. But one of her offspring will crush Satan’s head. Satan heard that. Satan knows that. And of course, Satan did everything in his power to save his own skin. But he failed.
Eve was also cursed with the pain of giving birth. Every woman who has given birth knows about the physical pain. Every good husband has witnessed that suffering and knows how unqualified he is to relieve that pain. There are a host of spiritual lessons attached to those physical attributes. After birth, Eve had to protect her sons and daughters from Satan’s relentless and never ending attacks. Let’s look at the odds. A third of the angles in Heaven were cast down to this planet. They had nothing better to do than to tempt and torture a few human beings. Can you imagine the pressure Adam, Eve, and their family faced? Can you imagine the spiritual pain and suffering Eve had to face everyday of her life knowing she was responsible for the condition of this world. Eve had no choice but to live with it. We can see how that child bearing pain went way beyond the few hours it takes to bring a new life into this world. The curse was no doubt spiritual.
The curse on Adam was of course also spiritual as well as physical. God reminded Adam, he listened to his wife, and took her word over the direct instructions he received from God. In a sense, that hurt God. That struck at God. Adam didn’t fall to the temptation Satan laid on Eve. Adam received his temptation second hand. That made it worse. Sin was rolling downhill and gaining momentum. Now we can begin to see one of the points Paul was making in Romans. People have a choice. They can follow after Adam and take the word of someone who has not received a direct command or message from God, or we can go to Jesus who has chosen to live every minute of His life on this planet being open, willing, and able to receive instructions, knowledge, and wisdom from God. In most cases, which path do people prefer to choose? How can we miss that point in the example Paul laid out for us in Romans?
The curse on Adam gets deeper. The soil Adam, the tree, and that fruit came from was cursed. When God created soil, it was good. Sin changed all of that and more. Thorns and thistles popped up all over the earth. A direct reference to other stories in the Bible and a clear description of the fallen angels who now had a new planet to call their own.
Adam was sentenced to a life of toil. A life of hard word. How else would you describe the relentless attacks those fallen angels launched on the only two people on this planet. Raising a family was not going to be easy. In modern terms, we can never hope to remove all the thrones and thistles in our hearts and lives. That is a never ending battle. Caring for a garden is a prime example. Pull out all the weeds, and you are sure to miss a few. After a few weeks, new weeds pop up all over the place and you find yourself back on your hands and knees sweating just like Adam. At times it all seems hopeless. Paul offered an alternative. The God who created the ground knows how to clean it up once and for all.
Eventually Adam would physically return to the dust God formed him from. The Lord gives and takes away. God knew how to make a man out of dust. And God knew how to make dust out of men. Something we should never forget. God didn’t want Adam to forget about Him. God didn’t want Adam to forget who created him, and who is always in control. That was one of the points Paul was pointing to on his letter.
Paul also mentioned grace in his letter. If we base our salvation on a few choice verses, Romans chapter 5 would contain one of them. Some people look at a verse or two and walk away with the impression, Jesus died for their sins. Jesus fixed what was broken by Adam and there is nothing for anyone to do. That’s not what we learned in previous studies in this book. Finding out about Jesus is only one step in a long journey. Jesus talked about that journey and John recorded key components to that process in his Gospel. But who wants to learn about a process with a number of key steps when the church down the street advertises an easier one step process.
It seems we have a choice. We can follow Adam’s lead, and take the word of another human being, or we can choose to accept what God has told us with His own voice. But this world seems to teach us that, God has left this world on its own. Is that true? Did God leave Adam and Eve on their own? Or did He continue to look over them, and talk to them? If Adam heard God, why don’t we accept that aspect of Adam and make it part of our own lives? God talked with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, a host of prophets, Jesus, the apostles, and more. Why not you and me? Is God selective, or is it one of our problems? We do have a host of religions who insist, God only talks with a few choice people. Or, after the Bible was finished, there was no reason for God to talk to anyone on this planet. There are a million excuses and false conceptions people have about God. Just because they have a license to preach, a wall full of diplomas, and other credentials handed to them from who knows where, does that mean they have an open line to God we can’t have? Come on now. Let’s look at God and accept Him and His written word with an open mind. Does God love any less than He loved Adam, Eve, Samuel, David, Moses, or His own Son? Could God love one person less than He loves another? Does God have a way of measuring His love and rationing it out? If God’s love is limitless, so is His communication.
Paul outlined a choice. We can either choose to face death, or the free gift of righteousness. Do we need to work for that free gift? What happiness do we receive from any gift if we don’t open the package? Is there work involved in the free gift Jesus has prepared for us? We would have to dig into the subject to find out. Now to ask one question. Is studying the subject of grace work? Would studying grace and learning more about God, Jesus, the plan of salvation, and other related subjects disqualify us from receiving the the salvation Paul wrote about?
Romans 11:29-36 RSVA For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. (30) Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, (31) so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. (32) For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all. (33) O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (34) “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (35) “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” (36) For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.
It wasn’t by mistake Paul blended mercy with the unsearchable wisdom, knowledge, and judgments of God. It’s true, God has to make a decision. Not everyone will be saved. Paul tells us, we are not going to find that judgment process easy to find nor understand. God’s judgment is way beyond the understanding of this world. Does that mean we give up? Does that mean we leave the search to qualified and specially trained individuals? Who do you think Paul was wring this letter to? When we look at the last chapter in Romans, we see Paul wasn’t writing to institutions of higher learning or church leaders. Paul was writing to common, everyday people. Paul was writing to people who didn’t have all the answers, but were interested in finding them. As a matter of fact, Paul sent them to a place in scripture so they could find a portion of that answer.
Isaiah 40:10-18 RSVA Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. (11) He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (12) Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? (13) Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as his counselor has instructed him? (14) Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? (15) Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the isles like fine dust. (16) Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. (17) All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. (18) To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?
We can instantly see the connection between Romans chapter 11 and Isaiah chapter 40. We should be able to see how Paul was influenced and inspired by Isaiah. We know God is coming. We know God’s strength. Or at least how God’s strength exceeds anything and everything in this world. We also know how Jesus feeds and cares for His flock. What we have to learn is, how this world fails to know God. We have to face the fact, many people prefer to rely on themselves. We learned this lesson when we looked at Genesis. Adam took Eve’s word over God. After that, God explained that mishap in a number of different ways. It is repeated in the Bible so many times, we know this is an important point. No one can do what God has done, can do for us, or is going to do with this world. All we can do is hope to find God, and gain a little more understanding about God. Is that what being saved is all about? Would you consider that a form of works? Of course – searching for God requires a bit of effort. But when Paul tells people to search out God, and blends it in with grace and salvation, do we start messing with the ingredients, or do we follow the recipe?
Who is saved? Paul and Isaiah agree, that is not for us to decide, and difficult for us to understand. Do we avoid teaching about subjects we don’t understand? It is wrong to present yourself as an authority on a subject you know little about. On the other hand, it is healthy to share. There is so much information on the subject of salvation, none of us could learn all the details in a lifetime. But we can share what we know. And we can learn from other people. Isn’t that what Paul told us to do?