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 Works versus Faith (Part 13) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 2)

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PostSubject: Works versus Faith (Part 13) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 2)   Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:59 pm

Works versus Faith (Part 13) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 2)

Let’s take a closer look at the future Kingdom of Heaven.  By “Kingdom” of Heaven, we are referring to the capital city of God, “the New Jerusalem,” the Holy City, located on the New Earth.  To understand its location, we need to go back to Revelation 20 and take a look at “Hell.”  Technically “Hell” does not exist yet.  If it does exist today, it is currently empty.  Hades is where the unsaved go who dies today.  Hell is the Lake of Fire.  Death and Hades will be thrown into “Hell,” which is the Lake of Fire.  Also, just an aside, recall that there are compartments in Hades.  Jesus told the dying criminal on his right side, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”  Jesus didn’t go to Heaven immediately following the Crucifixion, rather He went to Paradise.  The word “paradise” here, means “garden” in the Greek.  The word is used only a handful of times in the Bible.  The Jews used the word to refer to either the Garden of Eden or to Abraham’s Bosom.  In Luke chapter 16, the rich man in Hades has a conversation with father Abraham who is also in Hades, but separated by a “great chasm” (verse 26).   Abraham was in the Paradise section of Hades, which was “far away (vs. 23)” from where the rich man was located.  When the Old Testament saved Jewish people died during that dispensation, they went to Paradise, which was located in Hades, separated by a chasm from the unsaved that went there.  Jesus met with the crucified criminal on His right side when Jesus went to Paradise in Hades to set the captives free and ushered them into Heaven, the New Paradise, where God has always resided on His throne.  Today, all who die in Christ go to Heaven, not to the now empty and defunct portion in Hades that was once Paradise.

Let’s start at Revelation 20:11.  It reads, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it.”  We call this the Great White Throne judgment because that’s what it says (big surprise).  Jesus is the one seated on the throne.  There are other verses that show that Jesus will one day judge the world.  Here, in Revelation 20:11, the time for that has come.  No saved person is at this judgment.  Everyone here will be cast into the Lake of Fire.  This is the judgment of the dead.  The Church was raptured already and all saved people had their judgment / rewards handed out in Heaven during the 7 year Tribulation on Earth.  Now all of that is over and God is finishing the transition into eternity by finally judging all sinners who have not responded to His salvation of grace.  The rest of verse 11 reads, “Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.”  Please note that all are on this (current) Earth.  Jesus is on this Earth and calls for all of the dead to come gather before Him.  But the current Earth and sky flee His presence.  The word “Earth” here, in the Greek, means “land.”  Just as the land and sky flee here, in Revelation 21:1, there will be a new “land” and a new “sky” that comes down out of Heaven to replace the one that fled.  Those are the exact same Greek words: “land” and “sky” in both verses: Revelation 20:11 and 21:1.  In both instances they are referring to the land and sky fleeing where they are now, which we call planet Earth, and then a new land and a new sky coming down from wherever to replace the land and sky that fled.  My point being that the location of the New Earth is the same spot as this present Earth.  Today’s Earth will simply get a drastic makeover.  

Since the Greek word means land, let’s make some extrapolations.  The land here flees.  If all land on this planet flees, what is left?  Some might answer, “Oceans and seas.”  No, there is actually land underneath the oceans and seas.  All of that land fled as well.  We need to keep going further, deeper down.  If we strip all of the land away, we are left with the molten core of the Earth, which, as much as we can tell, is a lake of fire.  This is a quite fitting observation to this passage.  God strips the Earth to its core, then judges all of mankind outside of Christ and then throws them into the lake of fire.  So I’m strongly suggesting that this lake of fire is simply the lake of fire that is at the core of our Earth today.  And when the new land (and new sky) come down to replace this one, it will simply cover the current scene, which is the lake of fire, and that will serve as the core of the New Earth.  Therefore, the Earth will be made completely new, but maintain its core from the previous one (and God could of course, add to its substance, increasing its size, if He so chooses, just as He is going to do with the New Earth, which is going to be much more massive than this one, as we will soon see.)

That’s the scene for the New Earth.  It is located “here.”  It is this same Earth made new.  We could now jump to Revelation 21 to look at the Kingdom, but while we are here, we might as well finish off these verses regarding “Hell.”  Zephaniah 1:2-3 reads, “’I will sweep away everything from the face of the Earth,’ declares the LORD.  I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea.  The wicked will [be only] heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the Earth,” declares the LORD.”  The part in brackets is a possible translation.  The NIV reads, “The wicked will have only heaps of rubble,” and then they tagged it and say in the footer section, “The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.”  But that’s a small point.  Verse 18 reads, “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath.  In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the Earth.”  The only time that this passage in Zephaniah is fully fulfilled in the Bible is here in Revelation 20:11-15. Micah 7:13 says, “The Earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds.”

For another aside, let’s compare what Peter says of the end time destruction to what we are reading in Revelation.  Revelation 20:11 says, “Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them.”  It is as if the land and sky were moved to a different dimension because they fled, but there wasn’t anywhere for them to go.  This does not appear to be the same scene Peter speaks about when he describes the end destruction of the world.  In fact, Peter doesn’t really say that the he is describing the end destruction of the world; rather, what he does make clear is that he is describing the end of mankind on this Earth.  Peter says in 2 Peter 3:6-7, “By these waters [referring to Noah’s flood] also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”  Oftentimes, the word “fire” in the Bible refers to God’s judgment, rather than literal fire, but in this case, Peter makes it clear that he is referring to literal fire.  He goes on in verse 10 to say, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”  So Peter here says “fire” again, and we see he is referring to literal fire.  And Peter says in verse 12, “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will burn in the heat.”  So my question is: Is Peter describing here the end of the Earth?  My answer is: not exactly.  The end of the Earth itself is described in Revelation 20:11 where the Earth and sky flee the presence of Him on the throne and there was no place for them so they moved to a different dimension.  No fire can do that.  Not even a nuclear bomb can do that.  If all nations set off all their nuclear bombs at the same time, there will still be land here on Earth, which Revelation 20:11 says that even the land has gone away.  Nuclear bombs do not destroy the land; they only destroy what is residing on the land.  (Oddly enough, did you know that roaches survive nuclear bombs?  Sorry, I had to throw that in there.)  If a nation nuclear bombs an island, that island is still there.

So what Peter is describing is certainly a different scene than Revelation 20:11, where literally no animal or insect is here.  We shouldn’t confuse the 2 events as being the same thing.  Peter seems to be describing (and giving an accurate description of) a catastrophic nuclear event that will wipe out mankind from the face of the Earth.  Where Peter says “the heavens will disappear with a roar,” he is describing the atmospheric heavens of the destruction of some type of nuclear warfare.  As we will see, this “nuclear warfare” may not be man-made nuclear bombs, but rather, it may come from God supernaturally.  So for now, remember that by the time we get to Revelation 20:11, all of mankind is already all dead.  Revelation 20:11-15 is the resurrection of the dead and their judgment.  What Peter describes does not match up to this section in Revelation.  If we want to match what Peter is describing to Revelation, we have to go before Revelation 20:11.  

Let’s try Revelation 19, which is before the Millennium 1,000 year period of Jesus’ reign on this Earth.  At this particular time (we’ll start at verse 11), there are no righteous people left on the Earth.  They have all been raptured away.  The Church was Raptured up before the Tribulation started.  The Tribulation’s Christian converts were raptured up at the end of Revelation 14.  From Revelation 14 up to this point, there are only doomed, unsaved people left on the Earth.  Revelation 19:11 says, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider (Jesus) is called Faithful and True.  With justice He judges and makes war.” Verse 14: “The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”  The armies here are not the angels, we know based on the description of their clothes and earlier verses, rather, the armies here are those who died in Christ, and includes those who died during the Tribulation and also those raptured from the Tribulation in Revelation chapter 14.  Verse 15 reads, “Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike the nations.”  It goes on to say that the beast (the Anti-Christ) and the false prophet were captured and thrown into the lake of fire (even before Satan was).  Verse 21 says, “The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the Rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”  Now, no more unrighteous mankind from the Tribulation period exists on Earth.  (Or do they?)  But we have no mention of fire that Peter mentions.  We just have only Jesus opening his mouth and likely speaking the phrase, “Die,” and all the enemies of God simply dropping dead.  The sword from His mouth is simply the words that come from His mouth.  What He says happens.  (No, really, unrighteous mankind won’t exist after Jesus speaks whatever He says at this event, however, a new unrighteous generation will be born during the Millennium.)

We have the 1,000 year period occurring just after this event.  It includes the armies that were with Christ in Chapter 19: The Church, Old Testament Israel, Tribulation Israeli converts and other Christian converts from the Tribulation.  Procreation still occurs from all of the converts that came out of the Tribulation period (for 1,000 years).  Satan is going to be set free and he will deceive a good portion of that group of people to turn them against God.  I am not going to speak more about the Millennium period here.  

Finally, after the Millennium, we come to the scene that seems to be what Peter described.  Starting in Revelation 20:7, which reads, “When the thousand years (the Millennium period) are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle.  In number they are like the sand on the seashore.  They marched across the breadth of the Earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves [i.e., Jerusalem].  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown...”  Note that this fire did not consume God’s people.  It consumed only Satan and the army that he gathered against God’s people.  God protects His people from the fire.  Verse 9 just gave a super quick summary.  It simply says, “Fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”  It seems most fitting and likely that this here is what Peter described.  

I apologize for that long aside.  Let’s finish Revelation 20:11-15.  We left off at verse 12.  It reads, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”  The Church already had their judgment before the throne of Jesus, which began just after the Rapture.  Now it is the time for the “dead” to be judged.  As stated, these are all unsaved people, not only coming out of the Tribulation period, but also resurrected from all of human history since Adam.  Great and small: from the kings and rulers down to the paupers and everywhere in-between.  We all have to stand before God and give an account.  Romans 14:12 says, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself before God.”  Note that there are 2 sets of books here.  There are the books, plural; and there is the book, singular.  The singular book is the Book of Life.  The plural books are God’s ledgers, or books of the deeds of mankind.  The Book of Life is there to show the people’s names have been blotted out, which indicates their sentence into the Lake of Fire.  No one who is there at this judgement has his or her name in the Book of Life.  They might see their name crossed out or whited out in some way.  Or all names might be in alphabetical order, and their names will be missing.  When Jesus died and resurrected, the Bible declares that He took away the sins of the world.  To not have your sins taken away, is to have opted out of salvation by rejecting the free gift.  The other set of books, the plural form, are there to show each person’s deeds and every careless word uttered, every salacious and vile thought, and every sinful deed of both commission and omission.  The Bible also declares that God is the perfect Judge.  He will not skip a deed.  He will not skip an offence to Himself or His people that was committed by these people.  The judges of this Earth (that is mankind), overlook things because we are imperfect.  But God is the perfect Judge and His judgements, the Bible says, are just.  This is when man will find out that the sins they committed behind closed doors, or in darkness were all fully recorded by God.  This is when those who might have escaped a conviction of a crime by fleeing during their lifetime—they will be judged by the Judge now.  This Judge is the One to fear, and no one can escape His wrath.  

Verse 13 states, “The sea gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.”  We know that the “sea” here is figurative for something because in verse 11, the literal Earth and sky (or heaven) fled from His presence.  If there is literally no Earth here, then there is no literal sea here either.  The “sea” here, represents the masses of people who were resurrected from the dead.  I’m not going to go into another long aside here, but just quickly: when a non-Christian dies today, they immediately go to Hades.  There is no purgatory.  Their consciousness never stops.  It is their bodies here that are resurrected and their souls meet their new, unglorified bodies.  The Bible says of this body, that the worm never dies.  This is a rotting flesh, but one that can somehow withstand a lake of fire (without dissolving altogether); although there will still be pain sensors in this new, unglorified body.  This verse describes God gathering all sinners from Hades to come before Him.  Zombies don’t exist, but this is the closest we get to a real zombie.  They won’t have glorified, perfected bodies like Christians will have; they won’t even have bodies that they enjoyed while living on this Earth: they will have worm-never-dying bodies: zombie-like bodies.  

Verse 14 posits, “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  The lake of fire is the second death.”  If the Reader followed the geography, topography and trajectory of where we are, then the Reader realizes that Hades came from, or somewhere within a near proximity of an already existing lake of fire; and here, Hades gets thrown into the Lake of Fire.  I believe that Hades is currently near a lake of fire, but not in it (the Bible says that Hades is at the center of this Earth).  Hades does not get thrown into the Lake of Fire until we get to this verse and time in history.  This implies that Hell will be much hotter than Hades.  The rich man in Luke was extremely hot and begged father Abraham for a drip of water to be placed on his tongue—but he was only in Hades at the time.  This Lake of Fire that Hades will get thrown into will serve as the core of the New Earth when the New Earth and new sky will come down to cover over this Lake of Fire.  There are many passages that show that Hades is at the core of this Earth, but that would be another long aside that I am trying to avoid (I’ll share upon request).  Finally, verse 15 reads, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  Verse 15 is the last act of God’s dealing with sinners (as far as we’re told), which I’m implying that the books (plural) were already addressed just before this.  This Lake of Fire is what I technically call “Hell.”  It should be stated that the degree of punishment (or the thermostat) is different for everyone in Hell and it is based on their deeds/sins on Earth during their lifetime.  The thermostat for Hitler will be adjusted much higher than a nice, good-hearted lady who rejected Christ in her lifetime.  In Luke 10:12, Jesus said that Sodom will have an easier time in Hell than for that town that He just showed miracles to and preached to.  This is repeated in Matthew 11:24.  These verses say that it “will be” more tolerable “for Sodom”...  Wait, it “will be”...“for Sodom”?  I thought Sodom got judged back in the Old Testament!  Jesus is not talking about that judgement.  He is talking about this final judgment here in Revelation 20, which, as of today, is still future for us.  And for my final nonsensical aside: Did you know that both “judgement” and “judgment” (without the “e”) are both legit spellings of ( which one should I use?) “judgement”?

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Works versus Faith (Part 13) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 2)
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