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feast: The Process of Righteous Judgment

The Last Great Day

Given 09-Oct-01; Sermon #FT01-14; 51 minutes

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Martin Collins contrasts the corrupt, perverse judgment meted out in human courts with the equitable, patient, and forbearing judgment of God Almighty. God's judgment on His called out ones has already begun (I Peter 4:17) and comes in incremental stages, somewhat like a divine installment plan. As God's spiritual offspring (or the first fruits), we are, through God's shaping experiences, preparing to share with Christ the prospect of preparing the earth for billions of people awaiting their opportunity for eternal life, assisting in harvesting the wheat from the tares. The prospect of this glorious opportunity (I Corinthians 2:9) is incomprehensible (except as through a glass darkly) in our present state.

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To show the greatness of God's attributes, I would like to contrast them with man's actions. This always seems to help to get such a differentiation of the way that the way that man does things compared to God. It certainly exposes man for the fact that the foolishness of God is wiser than man.

The Scottish Daily Record ran a news blurb reporting an incident of a perverted judgment by a high-level court judge. Let me just give you that at this point

High Court Judge Griffith Williams ruled in July that Christina Coles, 21 of Kent, England, was entitled to compensation (amount to be determined) to help raise her daughter Rebecca, now 3, to be paid by the driver of a car that Coles' car hit.

So what happened is a woman ran into another person, and the judge is saying that the person whom she ran into has to pay damages. Now there is more to it. It is quite interesting the perversion of this judgment.

Coles apparently demonstrated that Rebecca (that is the daughter that was born) would never have been born except that the collision caused Coles a memory loss, which contributed to why Coles forgot to take her birth-control pills.

Furthermore, Judge Williams issued the ruling even though he found that Coles was 75 percent at fault for the original collision.

Is that perverted justice? Is that blindness in judgment?

Against such perverted judgment in this evil world, will stand righteous judgment, pictured in the Last Great Day.

The idea of judgment causes the world to cringe. Not just because of the (often times) poor and corrupt judgments of our judges today. And I could have read thousands of those same types of stories to you of perverted judgments in this world. But, because religious or atheist, the world knows that if it were to be righteously judged for its way of life the judgment would be a harsh one. Whether they believe there is a God or not, deep down they know that their ways are wrong

Psalm 7:11 says,

Psalm 7:11 - "God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day."

Speaking of God, Deuteronomy 32:4 says, "for all His ways are justice."

Now turn with me to II Timothy 4. The Apostle Paul tells us that God is a righteous judge and will only give us what we deserve.

II Timothy 4:7-8 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The firstfruits have their day of judgment, and the world has theirs. During this time that is pictured by the Last Great Day—during the Great White Throne Judgment—free access to God will be open to all mankind for the first time in history.

Revelation 19 and 20 describe the events leading up to and occurring during this period after the Millennium.

Now turn with me to Revelation 20. I want to just take a moment to take a look at the sequence of events leading up this great event of the Last Great Day—that the Last Great Day pictures. Revelation 19 introduces us to the glorious and awesome return of Jesus Christ to a war-torn, shell-shocked world—to save humanity from itself! And Revelation 20 covers not less than five colossal events in God's salvation of most of humanity:

That first event, in Revelation 20: Christ incarcerates Satan and the demons (You find that in verses 1-3.).

The second event: Christ establishes His 1,000-year reign (You see that in verses 4-6 of Revelation 20.).

The third colossal event is that Satan is released after this Millennium and deceives the willing wicked, who are then destroyed (You find that in verses 7-10.).

The fourth colossal event: Christ judges the people, now resurrected, who lived during the first 6,000 years of human history on earth. This is the Great White Throne Judgment (That is spoken of in verses 11-13.).

The fifth colossal event is that the lake of fire, fueled by God, provides a merciful death for those who refuse to live God's way (You find that in verses 14-15.).

That is just a quick summary of that time period in God's plan.

Let's concentrate on the Great White Throne Judgment. This will be a time unprecedented in the chronicles of human salvation. At no time before or after will so many be resurrected and judged in such a short period of time!

Revelation 20 verses 11-12 that I mentioned as being the fourth colossal event; we will just read that quickly.

Revelation 20:11-12 - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

Remember that the first resurrection, to occur as the Millennium begins, is to spirit essence mentioned in Revelation 20:4-6. The resurrection at the beginning of the White Throne Judgment, however, is to a physical state. (We are just covering the basics here just to build our case.)

God resurrects the whole house of Israel, which had lived and died during mankind's first six millennia. Remember the resurrection of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. The setting in Ezekiel 37 is postmillennial. Israel may number into the billions themselves alone. But this White Throne Judgment may be for all of those living in the world, gentiles as well.

But what of all the greater numbers of gentiles who also lived and died during that same period of time and who, too, will be awaiting their one and only opportunity to be judged and saved? They will come up in this resurrection. They will also be resurrected at this precise time. The opportunities extended to Israel will also be offered to gentiles. God wants the whole world saved if possible.

An estimate of the number of people to be resurrected might be as many as 50 billion people! This second resurrection is going to be massive. This judgment will require a period of time.

Isaiah 65 mentions a 100-year life span that lends itself to the Great White Throne Judgment period. The context of Isaiah 65 paints a setting identical to that of the 1,000-year period, yet it appears post-millennial, too.

No other scriptural reference to a millennial setting of peace and prosperity hints of a 100-year life span other than here in Isaiah 65:20.

Isaiah 65:20 - "No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed."

Since Christ will be the great Judge then, and since that same Christ will have ruled and judged for 1,000 years previous to this period, it is not surprising that the White Throne setting will be a continuation of the conditions to prevail during the Millennium.

God's Word indicates that this 100-year life span is the time segment for the Great White Throne Judgment, and that this special judgment follows the Millennium, just as the eighth day or Great Day festival follows the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. (I say this primarily for those who are newly baptized and for the children in the audience. Everyone else should already know these things. I want to establish a foundation.) The very existence of this final annual festival indicates a separate and distinct period for judging billions of human beings.

Turn with me to I Peter 4.

The White Throne Judgment is a period of judging, not sentencing. Just as God's Church is being judged now, the rest of mankind will be judged at that time, after a resurrection to physical, temporary life. But one thing will be different. Satan will no longer be around to deceive and mislead them—they, unlike us, will not have Satan to overcome!

So most of humanity will have a 100-year period to be able to live God's way of life without Satan's influence. And at this Feast, we have seen much of Satan's influence in the way of problems with attitudes, sickness, and things like that. Satan has been very active here. The people living during this 100-year period will not have that to deal with. Here in I Peter 4, we will read verses17-18. You are very familiar with it.

I Peter 4:17-18 - For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

We have the incredible blessing as firstfruits to be not only first in the kingdom, but also to receive a greater reward because we do have to resist Satan today and those in the Millennium won't have to. Satan will be released after that as we know.

By the time of the White Throne Judgment, the first-fruits of God's Family will have had 1,000 years of experience using God's power. Miniscule, compared with God's wisdom, but incomprehensible compared with man's understanding—of what we will learn during that 1000-year period and will be able to help with that White Throne Judgment. We will be qualified to help God the Father and Jesus Christ in the momentous decisions concerning the last judgment.

I have spoken a lot about judgment already because this Last Great Day represents that Great White Throne Judgment. But how does righteous judgment work? Let's take a look at that for a little while.

Judgment does not simply imply an impartial and detached weighing up of good and evil but rather the thought of vigorous action against evil. It is on this understanding that the people of God are summoned to exercise judgment in turn. The judgment of God is not impersonal, the operation of some undeviating principle, it is a strongly personal concept, on an individual, case-by-case basis.

It is closely linked to the thought of God's perfect character of mercy, loving-kindness, righteousness, patience, and truth. It is the working out of mercy and wrath of God in history and in human life and experience.

Remember, Isaiah 65:20 says, "the sinner ... one hundred years old shall be accursed."

What else, but a judgment time period could account for the possibility that a sinner could live for 100 years under Christ's rule?

Now judgment requires seven things. It requires a judge, laws, a group ruled by laws, knowledge of laws, time to be judged, a verdict and execution of the verdict.

Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary says "judgment" is:

"The process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing."

So even the world understands what judgment is in its general sense. This process takes time because it requires observation of people in various circumstances under set standards or laws. A decision must be made as to whether or not the people have conformed to those pre-set standards.

Turn with me to Romans 5.

Once we understand that godly judgment is not a fanciful whim, but a deliberate evaluation based on love for the participant's benefit at appointed times, we can see the profound mercy of God.

Romans 5:6-9 - For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

So Christ died for those who hated Him throughout their lives of sin as a future possibility for them to repent and to be forgiven of those.

Turn with me to Revelation 19.

God is a perfect judge. Even more dominant than human judgment in the Bible is the overriding theme of divine judgment. The biblical testimony is that execution of God's judgment issues forth in praise and adoration by both humankind and the created order.

Revelation 19:1-2 - After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2 "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her."

So devastating are the effects of evil on both the human and natural worlds that in the current era the whole creation groans "as in the pains of childbirth."

Turn over with me to Psalm 96.

Conversely, when God comes to set things right, the heavens, the sea and its inhabitants, the fields and their inhabitants, and the trees of the forest are pictured as rejoicing in celebration of God's judgment: "They will sing before the Lord ... for He comes to judge the earth"

Psalm 96:11-13 - Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and all its fullness; 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. 13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth.

A perfect judge can only judge with righteousness and truth. That is why we see so many poor judgments in this world. There is not a righteous judge on earth. What are we told in Matthew 7... "judge not that you be not judge." For whatever judgment you make you will be judged using that judgment. So we have to be very careful ourselves, at this point, how much we are judging others.

God is also a patient and merciful judge. God's judgments are depicted as springing from His judicial wrath. Some of the vivid images used to describe the intensity of God's wrath have left people in the world with the false impression that the judgment of God is an uncontrolled emotional outburst. And it is one of the reasons they refuse to read the Old Testament, because they see the righteous judgment of God time and time again and they are fearful of it.

Rather than emotion anger, the testimony of Scripture is of God's mercy and grace striving with people until the right time.

John 12:47-48 -"And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him— the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

Now, remember, judgment is a process of evaluation by discerning and comparing against God's standard of righteousness. And that is what God uses on us His church, because now is our judgment day.

When God acts against evil, there is a timeliness and proportionality to His judgment. Turn over with me to Romans 2. I want to stick as closely to the Scriptures as I can because you are always safe when you hide behind the Scriptures and there is also more power coming from the Scriptures than my notes.

Romans 2, Paul depicted God as patiently forbearing with humankind while they continue to degenerate despite his constant pleas and warnings.

Romans 2:5-6 - But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds":

When God made his covenant promise to Abraham regarding Canaan, he forewarned Abraham that the land would not be given to his descendants for four hundred years. So Abraham was required to have patience. This is also an indication of God's patience. He plans way ahead, knowing what His plan is, and He patiently waits for the right time—as He patiently waits for each one of us to come to our time to be called and taken into His kingdom. God stated a reason for this delay: Genesis 15:16 informs us that the reason is that "the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." That was the reason given to Abraham at that time.

God has a plan mapped out for the judgment of man and has the Godly patience to carry it out in His own timeframe, according to His will. Turn with me to Ezekiel 14.

The exile provides another picture of God's forbearance. Israel's expulsion from the land with its attendant horrors was simply the forewarned consequence of covenant disobedience.

Ezekiel 14:21-23 - For thus says the Lord GOD: "How much more it shall be when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem— the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence [This is also a prophecy that tells us what is going to come upon Israel shortly in the future.]— to cut off man and beast from it? 22 "Yet behold, there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out, both sons and daughters; surely they will come out to you, and you will see their ways and their doings. Then you will be comforted concerning the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, indeed all that I have brought upon it. 23 "And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it," says the LORD GOD.

God is not just a person or individual who just looses his cool, his temper. Everything is calculated. He knows exactly what He wants to do when. God is patient in that He does nothing without first having planned it in advance.

Turn with me to II Chronicles 36. Judgment was delayed over and over again until, as the chronicler puts it, "there was no remedy."

II Chronicles 36:15-16 - And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.

Imagine the amount of patience that it would take to continually send prophets and have them constantly mocked and ignored. I think in my impatience as a human being that I would have sent many thunderbolts far before that. It is good that God has not given me the power to do that yet. God's infinite patience is why He is God. He can patiently wait for all of us as we sin, but He won't wait for ever.

Let's take a look at judgment as an incremental process—as a process in general.

Scripture portrays God's judgments throughout history as an anticipation and answering of an argument before one's opponent has a chance to advance it.

Turn with me to Romans 2. God's judgment is depicted as coming in stages on a divine installment plan. In one sense, the unrepentant are judged already, yet God's present partial judgments on societies and individuals are meant to function as a merciful warning to them to renounce evil and submit to God.

Here in Romans 2, we will read verses 1-4. We have read this several times here at the Feast, but it is such an important set of Scriptures I would like to read this again.

Romans 2:1-4 - Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

The number of installments is limited though. The Scriptures speak of the day of final payment as the "coming wrath." For the unrepentant this day of judgment is a day of fear and appalling horror. But for those who do repent it is going to be a wonderful and glorious day, and thankfully most will repent.

Judgment is often depicted as a casting away from God's presence. Let's take a look at that for a moment. God is holy, and as such he cannot tolerate sin in His presence. Because the entire Garden of Eden functioned as God's sanctuary on earth, it was necessary for Adam and Eve to be expelled from it when they sinned.

Later on, when the tabernacle and the temple served as symbols of God's dwelling in the midst of a sinful people, regulations were established to maintain the holiness of God's dwelling place.

Although the priesthood was established to secure an avenue of approach, this was done in the framework of protecting the purity of God's dwelling place. The impure were cast outside the camp in judgment.

Turn with me to Jeremiah 7. When the Israelites refused to heed the repeated prophetic warnings regarding their religious presumption, their punishment was expulsion from the Promised Land where God had covenanted to live with His people.

Jeremiah 7:12-15 - "But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these works," says the LORD, "and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren— the whole posterity of Ephraim.

God cannot tolerate flagrant sin where He places His name, and He will not tolerate any sin where He dwells. Under the new covenant, this judgment is temporarily served by the practice of disfellowshipping from the Church body. The Church is holy and cannot allow flagrant and willful sin to remain in the body. Therefore we have a Scriptural basis for disfellowshipping. In these cases, the expulsion includes an element of grace, meant to bring about repentance in the offending party. This gracious offer of "another chance" should not be presumed upon, for the day is coming when it will be offered no more.

Now let's look at judgment as separation. In each person's final exposure, the shroud of anonymity will be stripped as each individual stands naked before the Judge of the Universe. Turn with me to Matthew 13. The result will be the unveiling of the great divide. Two groups will emerge, testifying to the bipolar character of all of human history. This portrayed in the parable of the wheat and the tares.

Matthew 13:24-30 - Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man [that man is Christ] who sowed good seed [the sons of His kingdom] in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy [that is Satan] came and sowed tares [that is sons of Satan] among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 'Let both grow together until the harvest [that is until the end of the age], and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers [that is angels], "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

Now the explanation of this parable is found in verses 46-53. We won't read that since I just gave you the meanings as we read the others.

The partial separations that intermediate judgment bring about, are meant to serve as a warning to the unrepentant. In the story of the flood God separated the righteous (Noah and family) before executing His judgment. Turn with me to Exodus 8. During the course of the ten plagues in Egypt, this differentiation emerges before God executes the plague of the flies. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh about this difference.

Exodus 8:22-24 - "And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land. 23 I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be."'" 24 And the LORD did so. Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh, into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies.

The separation reached its climax in the tenth plague, where those who obediently prepare by putting lambs blood on the doorposts, as Moses commanded them, were spared the loss of a son.

Separation between the wicked and the righteous also occurred later within the nation of Israel. When twelve representatives from the various tribes were sent to scout out the Promised Land, only Caleb and Joshua returned confident that the Lord would prove faithful and hand Canaan over to the Israelites.

When the tribes followed the advice of the ten and rebelled against Moses and the Lord, the entire generation was denied entry into the land, except for the righteous Caleb and Joshua. They were separated out for this judgment.

Turn with me to Revelation 14. Judgment as separation also appears in imagery related to the harvest, a context that further enhances the notion of final and complete separation. Here in Revelation 14, I am going to read verses 14-20. Actually, I am going to skim through this and point out some things to you.

Now Revelation 14 verse 14 begins the harvest of the tares.

Revelation 14:14-20 - Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 ...[then He says] "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, ...for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 [and again He says]...thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. 17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." 19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

We see there imagery related to the harvest also shows separation.

In Revelation 14:14-20 two harvests, grain and grapes, are depicted. In both cases God's covenant people are forever separated from their enemies. The two groups are never again to be together, due to an inseparable chasm between them.

Paradoxical as it may seem, each group receives what it wanted. The wicked are shut out of God's presence for good, while the righteous are welcomed into God's presence forever. This is where free will is rewarded for what it wants.

C.S. Lewis had an excellent point regarding this separation. In his fictional (and in accurate I might add) vision of hell entitled The Great Divorce, he believed that the final judgment is the moment at which God says to unrepentant sinners, "Your will be done."

Let's go in a different direction at this point in the sermon—a direction of great encouragement. We have looked at judgment. What happens after judgment for those who are accounted worthy? What will we do for eternity? I hope I don't embarrass him, but Aaron Maas, you asked a good question this year to your mother. I am going to paraphrase this. I don't know the exact words. You said, "What is so great about the kingdom anyway?" Well, let's just get a very small glimpse of that.

Satan and his human agents have made the reward of the saved appear so uninspiring, so unattractive, so absolutely boring, that it's no wonder that even professing Christians would rather remain on earth and look for pleasures than to go into God's kingdom. (That is, unconverted Christians, mainstream Christianity, not true Christians.)

Turn with me to I Corinthians 2. God Almighty has promised an extraordinary future for those who are worthy to inherit His Kingdom. No human has fully conceived of the tremendous reward that awaits true Christians.

I Corinthians 2:7-9 - But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

Aaron, that means that there is no way that we can possibly understand how great it is going to be. Because what God gives us in His word is only a keyhole view of what is to come. Only God's Holy Spirit can open the human mind to the deep spiritual truths of the Bible, and that includes God's spiritual kingdom as well.

All who overcome will inherit the Kingdom of God will constitute the Kingdom. But we will not all occupy the same position. Jesus Christ does not occupy the same position as the Father. Yet both of them have eternally constituted the realm of God. Some members will be qualified through much tribulation to sit with Christ on His throne, assisting Him directly in the personal administration of His office.

In the Kingdom of God there will be individuals of differing degrees of responsibility. Some of those responsibilities will include such duties as judges, kings and priests. For each individual there will be a responsibility, a job to do. Not the same job. We are not all called to the same office. But every office is needed. There are so many that we can fill.

Your job will be what you will find the most pleasure in doing—whatever you find the most happiness in. God is working on us as individuals to develop us in a way that whatever job He gives us will be the most fantastic, enjoyable thing that we have ever done—for eternity, not just for the moment.

What each one does as a part of God's Family will depend on what we are doing now. And each will have a part in making all things new.

Turn with me to Isaiah 65. When all God's children are resurrected or changed, God's new plan begins with awe-inspiring results.

Isaiah 65:17-19 - For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth [That word "create" in the original is "creating," so it is a continual process.]: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

Turn with me now to Revelation 21, as we breeze through some of these things. This same new project is described in Revelation 21:1, 5. This is the time when the New Jerusalem will descend out of heaven to the earth, and become the capital of the universe. I am only going to read verses 1 and 2, but I want you, if you will, to sometime read verses 1-7.

Revelation 21:1-2 - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

It goes on to say that former things are passed away. And in verse 7, "He who overcomes will inherit all things."

This is the first time in history that God the Father will join Jesus Christ on earth with His spiritual children. Prior to the cleansing of the world in the Lake of Fire, God the Father would not come to the earth because it was polluted by the sins of mankind. When it is purified He will establish His personal headquarters and throne in the Holy City.

Revelation 22:14 says that those who do His commandments are specially blessed in that they have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the Holy City. They will have a part with God and Jesus Christ in refurbishing the entire universe that has no end. Part of that refurbishing will be to design and build whole worlds.

But before that can happen, God's plan for His church to have an intricately involved hand in the Great White Throne Judgment we will have to have a lot of training during the 1,000-year period. Now God intends to share this new spiritual project with His children.

I was going to tell you about what my son and I am doing—having to do with an in-scale train set and how we are laying out a large platform and the details involved. But I am going to skip all of the way through that to one major point. We are laying grass on that now and landscape. I had not realized what was involved in just the grass.

There are at least a half a dozen different colors to be used. And in laying that out, you have to lay out the light dirt color, the dark dirt color and then another dirt color, yellow grass, green grass, and brown grass, and other colors as well. Each one has to be done in a certain pattern in order for it to come to look like what God has designed. Just that little glimpse into detail by trying to do that, humanly, on that platform has really gotten complicated. I cannot imagine what it is going to be like, as spirit beings to actually design earths, flowers, plants, trees and things like that throughout all of the universe. That is beyond my comprehension, and Aaron, that is beyond yours too.

Turn with me to II Peter 3. Let's begin to wrap this up.

Following this White Throne Judgment comes a purging of this earth and an end to human procreation and existence. The good news is our spiritual bodies will be everlasting, while our physical one now is temporary. Most of the people on this earth will receive that spiritual body.

II Peter 3:10-13 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness [Boy, the pressure is on us.], 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

We wouldn't have it any other way. We wouldn't want to live on any new heaven or new earth unless righteousness and truth were THE way of life there.

What a glorious time! We read earlier in Revelation 21:4 that,

Revelation 21:4 - "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, no crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

I have a pointed question for you:

Will you be there as a first-fruit spirit being? Will you have been waiting and anticipating throughout the millennial rule of Christ, while helping refurbish this earth for those billions of people to be resurrected at the beginning of the White Throne Judgment?

Those who will be there at the dawning of that Last Great Day will be waiting as spirit beings—spirit-composed children of almighty God and younger brothers of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

At Christ's Second Coming, humanity will be saved from extinction because of a tiny group of "Elect" people. A similar lopsided share will be apparent at the raising of multiple billions of people at the beginning of the White Throne Judgment.

By comparison, the number of those who will already have been resurrected, though numbering in the hundreds of millions or billions, will be small. But those children of God—you among them (I pray and I hope, and me included with you)—will have the tremendous opportunity to help the rest of humanity fulfill its awesome potential and also be part of God's Family.

In the words of Herbert Armstrong,

"Never will so many owe so much to so few. And they, even now, are waiting for you!"

God has not revealed what His plans are after He begins to make all things new. He only gives us the briefest glimpse, a keyhole view, of what lies ahead. We do know that there will be no end to God's Kingdom. It will continue to grow and grow. Each one who qualifies for a reward in the Kingdom will grow with it—more glorious and greater and greater.

With such a wonderful future ahead, and the knowledge that God will help us achieve it by the power of the Holy Spirit, each one of us can't help but be stirred to greater enthusiasm—greater effort—greater accomplishment! For the Church of God, this is the gun lap. We cannot take it lightly. We have to push.

May we all be in the kingdom of God as spirit beings with God the Father and Jesus Christ as our Savior, because we have no idea how great it is going to be. But no matter how great it is going to be, it is going to be good and wonderful and fantastic for us.

MGC//




 

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Daily Verse and Comment

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