H O M E
B A C K
THE LAKE OF FIRE PART .3
THE CALMING OF THE WATERS
God's sovereignty over the "sea"
THE LAKE OF FIRE XVI PART E: HELL - "HADES AND THE SECOND DEATH"
THE LAKE OF FIRE  PART 12:  "GOD JUDGES THE WORLD IN A POND"
THE LAKE OF FIRE  PART 4:  "UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL THINGS"
TWELVE GOD GIVEN TRUTHS TO UNDERSTAND HIS WORD
JUST WHAT DO YOU MEAN..."THE LAKE OF FIRE"
THE "SEA" SEARCH RESULTS
L. Ray Smith (Bible Truths)
J. Preston Eby (Kingdom Bible Studies)
Is Was and Will be
Lake of fire Pt3 thumb stormy sea

Introduction

It is a strange and seemingly paradoxical journey, this whole “Lake of fire” business. Firstly we tell you there is NO “Lake of fire” anywhere in the Old Testament. Then we tell you there IS a “Lake of fire” (albeit a well hidden one....found in the...errr...Old Testament!) Confused? Well, there is a reason to why this symbol has been obscured from the sight of so many for so long and a purpose to why so few know about its existence! It may seem like skullduggery on our part – the way we have presented this series of studies, it all seems so contradictory. But know this. It is necessary! In order to learn spiritual truths, we have to unlearn some religious falsehoods.  A big part of that, is realizing that the whole detached “futurist, dispensationalist” view of the “Lake of fire,” is a fallacy.

 

Our own study has proven that throughout the New Testament, no-one other than the Apostle John employed the use of this particular symbol of judgement – and well after the church had been established! It is profound indeed, that the early church sprang forth into existence without the acknowledgement of such powerful imagery. Why didn’t Paul or Peter or any of the Apostles make mention of it in their correspondence to the early Christian congregations? Well, as we shall shortly discover, Jesus didn’t want this symbol to be revealed....yet!

 

Remember. The fact that the symbol of “the Lake of fire” has its origins in the Old Testament scriptures is almost universally unknown in today’s Christian culture. That it is so dramatically etched into the Biblical landscape is simply not taught, let alone understood. So it simply has to be asked - How is it that modern Christian theologians, lecturers, pastors and evangelists - with all the access to endless torrents of information, continue to promulgate with unequalled fervency, their own random, futurist symbol of eternal torture? Could it be that such things are being kept hidden from them?

 

The inconceivable differences between varying schools of modern Biblical interpretation regarding this symbol of Gods judgement’s, prove outright that the “one faith” the Apostle Paul so tenaciously defended in his life time, is all but a distant memory. That such a profound diversity of theological approaches exists within Christendom today, should set alarm bells ringing in the minds of all serious students of the Word, yet most are all too eager to ignore even the most basic tenets of interpretation. There are some concepts that we simply MUST adhere to, if we are to successfully discern the deeper things of God, especially so potent a symbol as this one! It is safe to say, that few ministries existing today, operate anywhere near within the bounds of sound Biblical instruction.

 

Beyond the ancient historical background of Jewish apocalyptic symbolism, how indeed does anyone make sense of such a strange array of images, as those found in the Book of Revelation?  What sayeth most Christian teachers today?

“You will never understand the Bible until you come to see that everything in the Bible must be taken literally.”

Really? Yes indeed, many still cling to that old chestnut! We have got to understand, that it is hard to read more than a few verses in most parts of the Bible without coming across some figurative, symbolic, idiomatic, or metaphorical language, none of which is literal!

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the SON OF DAVID, the son of Abraham.” (Matt. 1:1)

Here’s an obvious one. Was Jesus literally the “son of David?” No, (literally) He was more like the twenty-sixth great-grandson of David. So even in the very first verse of the New Testament we are met with language that is not completely literal. And in the last book of the New Testament; Revelation, we have a whole book of symbols, figures, and metaphors! And the material between Matthew and Revelation is a mountain of spiritual instruction and teaching. So before we delve further into the other SYMBOLIC characteristics of God’s judgements via “the lake of fire,” we should align ourselves with some foundational truths. Why do so few understand the spiritual lessons of “the lake of fire?” We are about to find out.

 

 

Parables, parables, parables

Now. How many understand the fact that during his earthly ministry, Christ spoke ONLY in parables when talking with the masses?

 “ALL these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; and without a parable spake He NOT unto them” (Matt. 13:34).

 But without a PARABLE spoke He not unto them…” (Mark 4:34).

This PARABLE spoke Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spoke unto them” (John 10:6).

We need to pay strict attention to the Words of God. They are precise and pure (in the original manuscripts), but so many just refuse to believe what they read. Jesus only taught to the multitudes IN PARABLES! Nothing else, just PARABLES! How many believe that? Of course, any who would contend that much of what is written in the Scriptures is figurative rather than literal language will be accused of “spiritualizing away” the Scriptures. In reality, by not understanding spiritual things, it is they, the accusers, who are guilty of MATERIALIZING AWAY the Scriptures!

It is the physical that passes away. Only the Spiritual is “eternal.” And so it is impossible to spiritualize “away” anything, because once something is spiritual it is eternal and never goes away.

And so the grand teaching and spiritual understanding of such things as the “lake of fire” are literalized and materialized down to something ghastly and horrible rather than something marvellous and glorious. How can any human being with even an ounce of human compassion believe that our Heavenly God and Father, is going to operate some hellish version of Hitler’s torture camps for all eternity? Do any who delight in such horrific doctrines ever really meditate on these demonic teachings? No, of course they don’t.

 

PARABLES ARE SPIRITUAL

So what exactly were those parables that Jesus taught? A parable is a story that contains in figurative or symbolic language, a higher moral or spiritual truth.

In the King James translation, it is said that Jesus taught “parables” to the masses and the “proverbs” to the Apostles - yet they are in fact translated from the very same Greek word:

Both “parable” and “proverb” are translated from the Greek—

 G3850 parabole” par-ab-ol-ay' From G3846; a similitude ("parable"), that is, (symbolically) fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral), apoth gm or adage: - comparison, figure, parable, proverb.

It is astounding that it needs to be explained to most Christians that a "parabolay" really IS a "FICTITIOUS narrative” and therefore is not a literal story at all. Oh what religion has done to otherwise perfectly sane minds.

And just for the record, here are just a few of the definitions of "fictitious" from a dictionary:

"fictitious, adj, artificial, feigned, fiction, imaginary, syn, false, fabrication, deception, incredible [unbelievable], impossibility, nonexistent, invented, distortion of historical facts" etc., etc., etc. From: Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, page 465.

So, even though these parables are not literally real, they contain HIGHER, SPIRITUAL, GLORIOUS teachings of ETERNAL things that are most definitely real! Literally they are of little consequence; spiritually they are of enormous consequence. But without knowing what the symbols represent in a parable, no one could ever understand the higher meaning. Therefore the multitudes of people did not understand the teaching of Jesus Christ, because He did not explain the meaning of the symbols to the masses, only to His disciples in private.

The church has a nasty habit of teaching “literal” spiritual truths. Such nonsense is akin to trying to rationally explain – “square circles!” The very reason a parable is called a parable is so that we will know for sure that whatever is contained in the parable IS NOT LITERAL!

Parables require spiritual understanding. Some require little (albeit some) spiritual understanding. Example: The Parable of a Beam in One’s Eye. There are few believers who would not understand the meaning of this parable, although they might not practice its teaching. Others such as The Parable of the Prodigal Son requires much more spiritual understanding, as there are many more spiritual truths contained in this story. And probably the most complex of all parables is the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. Unfortunately all too many Christians can only view parables on the level of very little children viewing Charlie Brown cartoons. The higher meaning is totally missed, and/or not believed. A simple example:

 “Another parable spoke He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

Now Jesus didn’t even explain this parable, so what does it mean? Most understand that leaven (like yeast) put into dough will cause the dough to rise through fermentation. But what is the spiritual application of this parable? Paul tells us that, “Know ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (I Cor. 5:6).

But who believes this parable? According to Jesus, the kingdom of God is like this parable of the leaven and the lump. The kingdom of God moves and works throughout the entirety of the universe until the WHOLE of God’s creation is brought under its influence. But how many orthodox Christians believe that?

The time comes when Jesus Christ will turn over the kingdom of God to His Father:

“Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power … that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL” (I Cor. 15:24 & 28b).

Then the whole lump will be leavened with God! Everyone - ALL. This parable is not literal. The kingdom of God is not literally “leaven” in a lump of dough! These teachings are SPIRITUAL! They teach GREAT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS! Every parable teaches a spiritual truth. Unless you understand the parable of the leaven and the dough, you don’t understand the gospel. Because the leaven in the dough is like the kingdom of God and Jesus came preaching the "GOSPEL" OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

You see, if the leaven does NOT leaven the WHOLE lump, then it is NOT “like the kingdom of God.” Anything that does not involve the whole (everyone) cannot be “like” the kingdom of God. For anything to be “like” the kingdom of God it must involve the whole, the all, everyone, all mankind! Therefore Jesus said that the kingdom of God is “like” leaven that leavens the WHOLE LUMP! Aren’t these little parables just MARVELOUS? What a glorious image! What amazing grace! Such a pity the church understands nothing of such a wonderful message of hope.

 

ISAIAH WAS NOT A FALSE PROPHET

And so how and why do we know that Jesus’ words were only for the “discerning?” Well, what was prophesied about Jesus’ ministry? Did he fulfil the words that were spoken? Look at the Old Testament prophesies. It is paramount that whatever Isaiah prophesied, that it be true and be fulfilled. Jesus did not contradict the prophecies of Isaiah by coming up with a game plan to thwart the original purpose for God giving Isaiah the prophecy in the first place. Yet there are those who would suggest just such a thing.

Remember, Christ spoke in parables only so that the multitudes would not and could not understand his words. Yet most preachers state that Christ taught in parables so that the people could and would understand and perceive, and therefore could repent and be healed! Well, who’s right? It would mean that Christ came to contradict and nullify Isaiah’s prophecy! But no, Christ came to “fulfil” the prophecies, not MAKE VOID and NULLIFY the prophecies. Listen to His own words:

“Because it is given unto YOU to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to THEM it is NOT GIVEN” (Matt. 13:11).

Now then was it “given” or “NOT given” to the multitudes to “know the mysteries of the kingdom?” That’s right, it was NOT given. Continuing:

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing SEE NOT; and hearing they HEAR NOT, neither do they UNDERSTAND. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye [’ye’ means everyone—all of you, not just the singular ‘you’] shall hear, and shall NOT understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall NOT perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be CONVERTED AND I SHOULD HEAL THEM. But blessed are your eyes [the disciples’ only] for THEY SEE: and your ears, for THEY HEAR” (Matt. 13:13-16).

Jesus then explains the parable to His disciples only, “Hear ye [all of the disciples only] therefore the parable of the sower” (Ver. 18).

Jesus had just told the multitude this parable of the sower and his disciples heard it also, but neither group understood the parable, so He turned to His disciples in PRIVATE and instructed them in the meaning of this parable.

“ANOTHER parable put He [Jesus] forth unto them...” (Matt. 13:24)

“ANOTHER parable put He forth unto them...” (Ver. 31).

 

“ANOTHER parable spake He unto them...” (Ver. 33).

“ALL these things spake Jesus unto the MULTITUDES IN PARABLES; and without a parable spake He NOT unto them: That it might be fulfilled [FULFILLED, not NULLIFIED, as  most teachers contend] which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in PARABLES; I will utter these things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Then Jesus sent the multitude AWAY, and went into the house: and His disciples came unto Him, saying, DECLARE UNTO US the parable of the tares of the field. He said and answered unto them [the disciples only] ...” (Matt. 13:34-37).

Not only the multitudes, but the Apostles and disciples also did not understand Christ’s teachings. They had to be instructed in private. And just how did Jesus “declare” these parables to His Own disciples? Here’s how Jesus explained His parable. He explained His parable to His disciples by telling them ANOTHER PARABLE! Oh dear.

So we are told continually like a broken record that the whole Bible must be taken LITERALLY. What is NOT literal cannot be taken LITERALLY. How hard can this be? A parable is still a parable (that is, figurative and/or symbolic words and language which point to a higher spiritual truth than the words themselves portray) even if the words themselves sound like they could be taken literally. The Scriptures say that Christ spoke to the multitudes in parables ONLY. We should stop fighting the Scriptures and believe Him.

“To him that has an ear to hear, let him hear” is the declaration throughout the Scriptures, but only those whom God has granted hearing and understanding will ever grasp the meaning. People don’t understand the spiritual, they are afraid of the spiritual, and therefore, they want everything to be literal so that their carnal mind can be satisfied.

 

DISCIPLES DID NOT UNDERSTAND CHRIST’S PARABLES

Notice this: “And He [Jesus] called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Even though Jesus said, “hear and understand” neither the multitude NOR the disciples understood! Once again:

“Then answered Peter and said unto Him; Declare [Greek: decipher, explain] UNTO US THIS PARABLE” (Ver. 15).

Peter didn’t understand this parable, the Apostles didn’t understand, the disciples didn’t understand, the Pharisees didn’t understand, the whole multitude DID NOT UNDERSTAND! Now not all parables are explained in the Scriptures as this one is. Did Jesus ever explain a parable by stating that it is to be taken literally just as His words are stated? No, NEVER! Parables are not literal stories of historical events or literal stories of prophetic events. Again - Parables ALWAYS have a higher meaning than the literal words themselves.

In those few parables that our Lord explained and preserved for us in the Scriptures, He always assigned another and different meaning to each word or part of the parables. Every word or part of each parable stood for something other than the meaning of the literal words. Why then does the church today (ignorantly or intentionally) teach that those parables for which we were not given an explanation, are to be taken LITERALLY? The parable of Lazarus and the Rich man in Luke 16 is only one of the parables for which Jesus gave us no explanation at the time He taught it.

These hypocritical Pharisees were spiritually BLIND and the multitudes that followed them were also spiritually BLIND! Jesus said they were “BLIND leaders of the BLIND.” Should we expect that things would be any different in our day and time? Are not many of the religious leaders in the world today blind? And are not the followers of these blind leaders also blind? Shall they not “both” therefore “fall into the ditch?”

Jesus Christ did not go around the countryside teaching huge crowds of people spiritual truths by the use and means of simple little farming analogies. He taught, they listened, they understood NOT, they went back to their homes, and their lives were affected very little. Although Jesus did not heal most of them of their spiritual sicknesses, he did heal them of their physical diseases, and for this, many were most thankful and thought of Him as a great and godly man. The Pharisees and other such ilk, of course, only despised our Lord’s every word and deed.

Now then, why would Jesus Christ spend years travelling the countryside teaching in parables so that the multitudes of people He reached would not understand a word He was saying? Consider if Jesus had either (1) Explained His parables and teachings so that they could and would understand, or (2) Just simply taught them in plain language what He wanted them to hear and know without all the parables and symbolic figurative language, then they would have heard and understood and perceived and repented and been converted, and Jesus would have healed them and saved them. 

But Jesus didn’t want them to repent and be converted and healed and saved (at that time)! Why? Doesn’t Christ realize that according to Christian teaching, no person can be saved after he dies without being saved before death. Has no one ever told our Lord about this adamant, unmovable, unrelenting dogmatic divine doctrine of Christendom? Apparently not, seeing that our Lord is going to save many times more sinners after death than before death!

The large crowds of people who listened to Jesus speak have long since died, and they died in their sins never having understood what it is to be converted, healed, and saved. They never have eaten of Christ’s spiritual body. One of the main reasons why, “...for WIDE is the gate, and BROAD is the way, that leads to destruction [not eternal torture], and MANY there be which go in thereat” is because Christ did NOT open up to the multitudes the “narrow way” to understanding, repentance, and salvation.

“and when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spoke of them” (Matt. 21:45).

In fact, even the Chief Priests and Pharisees (who were generally highly educated people) didn’t even know what Jesus’ parables really meant, but they on one occasion at least, “perceived” that Jesus was speaking about them. If a priest couldn’t understand the deep things of God, then a farmer was in serious trouble!

So the bottom line is this. Jesus taught in a way that He knew no one would understand His message. This truth of Scripture is so revolutionary to the minds of most Christians that many will think it blasphemy, and yet the Scriptures abound with statements that fully support it! This is one of those marvellous spiritual truths of Scripture, which you will never hear explained in the Church. Just what do they teach all these future clergymen in seminary? The fact is, Jesus did not want the people to understand Him and Jesus did not want them to repent and Jesus did not want to spiritually heal or save them. He clearly said so. But why? Because God has a plan that involves calling MANY, but choosing out only a FEW.

“For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has” (Matt. 13:12).

Does anyone understand what Jesus just said here? Probably not too many, for this too, is a parable explaining a parable - and no one understood either. Again. Jesus didn’t want them to understand and He didn’t want to convert them and He didn’t want to save them. How could Isaiah’s prophecy be true if Jesus were to contradict it by teaching them plainly so that they could understand and repent? Now, that’s what Jesus said, and that’s what Isaiah said, but there’s a problem:

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, Lord, who has believed our report?” (Rom. 10:16).

It is almost frightening how few truly believe God’s Scriptural reports. Hence, precious few believe and understand the Scriptures, and fewer yet, obey them. There is good news, however, concerning the Parables, which virtually no one understands, and it is this:

“And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable. And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” (Mark 4:10-11).

Most Christians swear black and blue that Jesus - most of the time, spoke in plain language to the multitudes and the people, and not in parables only.

“That seeing they may see, and not perceive: and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven them. And He said unto them. Know ye not this parable? And how then will you know all parables?” (Verse 12-13).

Here’s another almost unknown gem!  Did you know that if you understand but one parable, you would know all parables? What? Yes. And how so? Well, this is because all parables are speaking of the same subject, just presented from different perspectives. Wouldn’t you just love to know just one parable so that you could know all parables? What is so utterly amazing is that not only does the Church not understand all of the parables of Jesus, but they do not even understand the parables which Jesus explained.  

Actually, to the discerning reader, it’s safe to say that the Bible as a whole is one giant parable!  We pray that God will grant you spiritual understanding of His parables, or you too, will “…understand not.”

 

THE PRIVILEGE OF UNDERSTANDING

So what on earth does all this stuff have to do with “the lake of fire” and God’s judgements? Believe it or not, it has a GREAT deal to do with these subjects. As we shall discover, understanding the deep things of God, is not a gift bestowed upon just anyone and everyone. The meaning of the vast array of symbols strewn throughout Revelation is revealed only to a select and privileged few. Yet ask any Christian and he will tell you: “Jesus taught His disciples in plain, literal, simple language.” Here’s how Jesus even taught His own disciples, in private:

“These things have I spoken unto you in PROVERBS: but the time comes [not yet, but in the future] when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you PLAINLY of the Father” (John 16:25).

By Jesus’ own admission, He didn’t teach or speak to even His Own Apostles “plainly.” After Jesus spoke these words to His apostles He explains how He came out from the Father into the world and that He would again leave this world and that He would then plainly make known to them - the Father. Not wanting to admit to their total ignorance of what Jesus was saying:

“His disciples said unto Him, Lo NOW SPEAK YOU PLAINLY, AND SPEAK NO PROVERB. Now ARE WE SURE THAT You know all things, and need not that any man should ask You: by this we believe that You came forth from God” (John 16:29-30).

Jesus responded: “Oh really?” Well, those are not His exact words - Jesus responded: “DO you NOW believe?” (Verse 31). Of course they didn’t. They had not a clue as to what Jesus was spiritually saying.

The word for “plainly” is taken from the Greek—G3954 a parrhesia par-rhay-see'-ah From G3956 and a derivative of G4483; all out spokenness, that is, frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication assurance: - bold (X -ly, -ness, -ness of speech), confidence, X freely, X openly, X plainly (-ness).

So Jesus promised that at some time in the future He would speak to them no longer in proverbs, but “plainly”—frankness, bluntness, assurance, confidently, feely, openly. Hence His “proverbs” were NOT, frank, blunt, assured, confident, free, open, and plain! No wonder the disciples and even the Apostles “understood not” the teachings of Jesus Christ. Do we have any “witnesses” or “spiritual matches” to that effect? Many:

“And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him [and why did they ‘ask Him?’ because they did not know or understand His parables] the parable… And he said unto them, Know you NOT this parable? [Why of course they did not know this parable] and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:10 & 13).

So again, the Apostles of Jesus Christ followed Jesus for three and one half years, and never understood the parables, even though they understood certain principles contained in a few parables. The multitudes did not understand Jesus’ parables; the Scribes and Pharisees did not understand Jesus’ parables and the hundreds of disciples did not understand Jesus’ parables.

In Matt. 13:10, we read, “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speak you unto them in parables?” In verse 11 Jesus said it is given to His disciples to understand (but He didn’t say WHEN it was given for them to understand), and then in verse 12 Jesus says:

“For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has.”

In other words – understand one parable and you’ll understand another parable. Jesus explained the first parable that they didn’t understand with another parable, which they did not understand!

A little later:

“Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house, and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that sows the good seed is the Son of man: the field is the world…”

Etc., etc., which is nothing more than yet another parable to explain a previous parable. Yes this is repetitive. But are we starting to see the process? Understand a little – understand much! Understand nothing....well, just look at the state of church today. Can we say; “blind leading the blind?”Let’s just elaborate a little further on this subject before we draw to a conclusion about understanding the “deep things of God.”

“Who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Who in Jesus’ audience ever had “ears to ear?”

After several more parables:

“Jesus said unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, YEA, Lord” (Matt. 13:51).

Of course they understood nothing.

In chapter 15 we read:

“And He called the multitude, and said unto them, hear, and understand (Matt. 15:10).

And He gives them another parable. Then Peter questions this parable,

“Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Declare unto US this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye ALSO yet without understanding? Do NOT ye yet understand…?” (Verses 15, 16, 17a).

Yes, the multitudes and the disciples “also” were without understanding.

In the next chapter we read this:

“Then Jesus said unto them [His disciples], Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, Saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves because he have brought no bread? Do ye NOT YET UNDERSTAND; How is it that you DO NOT UNDERSTAND?” (Matt. 16:6-9a & 11).

Then in verse 11 it says they understood that Jesus meant the “doctrines” of the Pharisees, but they still didn’t know what the doctrines of the Pharisees were.

“And He [Jesus] said unto them [His disciples], How is it that YE DO NOT UNDERSTAND?” (Mark 8:21).

“But THEY UNDERSTOOD NOT that saying, and were afraid to ask Him” (Mark 9:32).

Going on further - Jesus said unto His disciples:

“Let these sayings sink down into your ears… But THEY UNDERSTOOD NOT this saying, and it was HID from them, that they perceived it NOT; and they feared to ask Him of that saying” (Luke 9:44-45).

“These things UNDERSTOOD NOT His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified [after His resurrection] then remembered they that these things were written of Him…” (John 12:16).

Remember. Three and one half years Jesus taught His disciples. Three and one half years they heard Him teach in the synagogues hundreds of times. Yet, how much did they truly understand?

“Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them. Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and ALL THINGS that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished… and THEY UNDERSTOOD NONE of these things: and this saying was HID from them, NEITHER KNEW they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:31-34).

How many things written in the prophets concerning the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus did the disciples understand? “NONE.”

At Jesus’ last meeting after His resurrection with His Apostles we read:

“And He said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you [words which they never understood] that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me [in other words, the entire Hebrew Scriptures]. Then [When? ‘THEN.’ Not during their three and one half years of learning at His feet? NO, ‘then’]opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures [ALL of the Scriptures] (Luke 24:44-45).

Why did Jesus reveal His message, His gospel, His kingdom, His word to so very few people? Christ’s answer is much harder for most to believe than the parables themselves:

“And the disciples came, and said unto Him, WHY speak You unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven [not at that precise time, but eventually, after His resurrection] but to them it is not given [not then OR later]. For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has [another parable answers the reason for parables]. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand [here Jesus gives us a parable within a riddle].”

“And in them [and in all future generations down through the centuries, save a very small elect few] is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart [the people’s heart in Isaiah’s day, Christ’s day, through the generations, and in our day] is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should HEAL them [SAVE them].”

“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men [all the patriarchs of the Old Testament] have desired to see those things which you see, and have NOT seen them, and to hear those things which you hear, and have NOT heard them” (Matt. 13:10-17).

So few comprehend the marvellous truths contained in the above passages. The prophets THEMSELVES (even Isaiah himself), desired to see these things, but did NOT see them. All of the Apostles and New Testament writers understood that the patriarchs of old including the prophets themselves, did not understand their own prophesies, therefore they were not converted, and they are not saved. These things are for those who come after Christ, not before:

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto YOU [not unto them!]: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow [not come BEFORE, in their day and time].”

“Unto whom it was revealed, that NOT unto themselves, but unto US they did minister [‘for OUR admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come, I Cor. 10:11] the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto YOU at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:10-13).

Therefore, once more:

“And these all [all the saints and all the prophets, Ver. 32], having obtained a good report through faith, received NOT the promise: God having provided some better thing FOR US, that they without US should NOT be made perfect [be saved] (Heb. 11:39-40).

Is this not astounding? The consequences of these facts are beyond profound! These and many more Scriptures prove the Churches “understanding” that people who die unsaved will never be saved and many other familiar doctrines that so many take for granted, are grossly in error. Until you can concede in your heart that neither the parables nor the interpretation of the parables are literal, you will know no more of the plan of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ than the Apostles did before they were converted and had God’s Holy Spirit.

Not only that, but we can see now that it is always only the “few” that are privy to the mysteries - that even the great Old Testament Patriarchs, Prophets and Kings, could only hope to understand!  Meditate upon these facts for a moment. What we are witnessing here is conclusive proof that there is always only a few (within each generation after Christ’s coming) who understand the scriptures “plainly.” That’s why we ploughed through the above scriptures! To prove a point - Because in a church era where the hearts of most believers have “waxed gross” and who’s ears have truly grown “dull,” it is paramount that we understand that when it comes to a book as rich and elaborate in parabolic symbolism as Revelation, you need the calling and anointing of the Holy Spirit to truly comprehend its mysteries! Perhaps God has called and chosen YOU to understand the mysteries of His Word? We hope so!

 

 

Division and dissension

It’s no wonder then that Revelation has been the cause of such great contentiousness throughout the history of the church. We should consider the historical ructions caused by the divisive nature of Revelation, as proof that it is not a book to be understood by many, but rather by those few who have been given the “eyes to see.” After all, there’s a good reason why Revelation was the last of the traditional books to be accepted as part of the Christian canon - up to 100 years later than the other books according to the German theologian Heinrich  Denzinger.

Revelation was accepted at the Council of Carthage (397 AD) and it was added at the later 419 council - and even then Revelation's place in the canon was not guaranteed! It raised doubts and suspicion as far back as the 2nd century - regarding its character, symbolism, and apostolic authorship. Not only that, but these doubts have been regularly expressed through Church history and even within some theological circles today!

For example, many Christian Gnostics place very little importance on Revelation and some ignore it all together. Second century Syrian Christians rejected it and in the 4th century, Gregory of Nazianzus and other bishops argued against including Revelation because of the difficulties of interpretation and the risk of abuse. And here’s a piece of history that is rarely taught - Believe it or not - In the 16th century, Martin Luther initially considered it to be “neither apostolic nor prophetic” and stated that “Christ is neither taught nor known in it,” before finally consenting. Interestingly, John Calvin believed the book to be canonical, yet it was the only New Testament book on which he did not write a commentary! Hmmm “eyes to see” huh?

 

And consider this. Revelation remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Imagine it – millions of Christians living their lives without any consideration for the imagery that we put so much emphasis on today! No “mark of the beast” no “dragon,” No “false prophet” or “the four horsemen of the apocalypse” and no “lake of fire!”

 

And yet, (as we have mentioned before) despite the strange and mysterious nature of Revelation, it is full of Old Testament symbolism. Using the Greek Septuagint, John makes 348 allusions, or indirect quotes, from 24 of the canonized books of the Hebrew Bible, predominantly from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Psalms. There can be little doubt then about the “prophetic” nature of His writing – ALL of which point to something far greater than mere historical prediction – that being the unveiling of JESUS CHRIST! What could be more important than that! And remember, ALL the symbols in Revelation likewise point to the unveiling of CHRIST! This is certainly not obvious at first glance, as it reads more like something from a fantasy novel. After all, we are presented with a bizarre narrative of a terrifying and boastful beast that rises out of the ocean. And yet, it’s straight out of the Old Testament! It has many horns which represent kings, and which is thrown into the fire, symbols that derive from the book of Daniel.

 

“And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” (Dan 7:3)

 

The beast from the Book of Revelation combines body traits from all four beasts mentioned in Daniel 7. The description of the angel who gives the revelation derives from the following;

“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” (Dan 10:5-6)

The four horsemen derive from Zechariah;

 

“And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.” (Zechariah 6:1-8)

 

Likewise, the lampstands and the two olive trees that represent two men derive from Zechariah 4:1-14;

 

“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” (Zech 4:1-3)

 

Even the four living beings derive from Ezekiel 1 

 

“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.” (Ezekiel 1:5)

 

The edible scroll that “tastes as sweet as honey” derives from Ezekiel 2:8-3:2;

 

“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to

eat that roll.” (Ezekiel 3:1-2)

 

And get this! Even the marking of people on the forehead to determine who will be harmed and who will be spared derives from Ezekiel 9:3-6;

 

“And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Ezekiel 9:4)

 

And look!  The army of locusts that look like horses and have teeth like those of lions derive from the book of Joel.2:1-11

 

“They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle.” (Joel 2:4-5)

 

Wow! Did you know that stuff was in there? We could go on....but for the sake of time. What just happened to all the “futurist” interpretation of these potent Bible symbols that the church so readily employs today? It is astounding how far removed from the spiritual truths of Revelation, the churches understanding has become. Once again, we need “ears to hear” what the Holy Spirit is expressing through these symbols.

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Poetry

 

And yet it’s not just the symbols themselves that speak of deeper “spiritual” truths. The style of writing itself proves that Revelation is a book that attempts to emphasise parabolic themes in order to get important ideas across to the reader – Just as Jesus explained one parable with another (albeit from a different perspective.)

 

The symbols and phrases of Revelation are organized as a classic chiastic structure.

Chiastic structure (also called chiastic pattern or ring structure) is a literary device for chiasmus applied to narrative motifs, turns of phrase, or whole passages. Various structures of chiasmus are commonly seen in ancient literature to emphasize, parallel, or contrast concepts or ideas.

 

Examples of chiastic structures are the A,B,C...C,B,A pattern and the ABBAABB…ABBA pattern. Chiastic structures are sometimes called palistrophes - chiasms, symmetric structures, ring structures, or concentric structures. These often symmetrical patterns are commonly found in ancient literature such as the epic poetry of Odyssey and Iliad. Various chiastic structures are also seen in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, where biblical writers used chiasmus to give meaning to their writings or to highlight details of particular importance.

 

In terms of literary structure, Revelation consists of four visions, each involving John “seeing” the plan of God unveiled (1:9, 4:1, 17:1, 21:9) with an epilogue that concludes the book (22:6-21) 

 

In terms of content, the structure of Revelation is built around four successive groups of seven: the messages to the seven churches; the seven seals; the seven trumpets; and the seven bowl judgments. The repeated occurrence of the number seven contributes to the overall unity of Revelation. While several numbers stand out - 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 24, 144, 1000 - the number seven appears to have a special significance.

In fact, there are twenty-four distinct occurrences of the use of “seven.” Of course, most know that “seven” is considered to be the number of “perfection.”

 

Now, one half of seven, , is also a conspicuous number in Revelation: two witnesses are given power to prophesy 1,260 days, or exactly 3½ years, according to the Hebrew year of 360 days;(11:3) the witnesses are then killed, and their dead bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3½ days;(11:9) the “woman clothed with the sun” is protected in the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3½ years;(12:6) Gentiles tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months, or 3½ years; (11:2) and the beast is given authority to continue for 42 months, or 3½ years.(13:5) Yes, it all symbolizes something spiritual! We don’t need to be esoteric Gnostic’s or mystic Kabbalists in

order to understand these things – just the Spirit of God.

 

 

 

 

Whence the word “lake”

 

So what a profound revelation! Even though the Old Testament prophets through the inspiration of Gods Spirit, wrote eloquently and dramatically about “the lake of fire” (though not in the concise term) including other such mysteries, it was not necessarily given for them to UNDERSTAND or comprehend it! There is something much deeper going on in the Book of Revelation than a straight narrative of unfolding world events, as almost universally believed today.  There are in fact dozens and dozens of symbolic words connected to virtually every aspect of the Old Testament and though it is not possible to delve into all of them, we can easily show how many seemingly unrelated phrases and Scriptures, can be brought together to build a unified order and oneness to our understanding. So a good place to start as far as symbols go is probably with the term “lake” itself.

It is an interesting word, this word “lake.” The word lake in Rev. 19, 20, & 21 is “limen,” which comes from Strong’s "[#3040--limen] (through the idea of nearness of shore); a POND (large or small) -- lake.”

And the word limen means “a harbour—haven, the fair havens” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary, p. 151).

It seems such a contradiction – the wrath of Gods fiery judgments upon mankind in a pond? God judges the world in a pond? Yes, God judges every unrepentant, unbelieving, wicked person that has ever lived (billions and billions and billions of people) -- The WHOLE WORLD OF HUMANITY (who are not in the first resurrection)… in a pond - A pond of divine, purifying SPIRIT.

This word limen has the word “fair” before it in Acts 27:8, in the King James Version—the “fair havens.” Other translations render this verse as “safe harbour.” Is not even the definition of this word and its root, comforting? And so even in this most solemn setting of God’s judgment there is a hint of safety and security.

Perhaps one reason that God describes this place of judgment as a “pond” or “lake” rather than a “harbour” is because a lake is landlocked, thus preventing a return to the perilous winds and waves of the deep sea from which these occupants have figuratively come:

“And the SEA gave up the dead [spiritually dead people] which were in it…”

And so it begins. This is where we need discernment as far as interpreting the symbolism. Remember – the sea in Revelation is “signified,”- it is a symbol. This sea is not a physical sea where ship wrecked seamen met an early grave. It is not speaking of the physical waters of the world’s oceans. Remember that just as the “lake of fire” is symbolic in Revelation, “the sea” is likewise symbolic – and once you start matching the scriptures, it is amazing how quickly they all harmonize as one cohesive analogy or parable. Remember how the “Sea of Galilee” so fittingly represented the life and livelihood of mankind before it slipped away and descended to the “Dead Sea?” This is speaking of the SPIRITUALLY DEAD from the great sea of humanity.

So we are presented with an image of humanity ending up in a land locked “lake.” Just as a note, the very reason that the “fair haven” of Acts 27:12

“…was not commodious [suitable] to winter in…” [is because of its position to the sea] “…the more [majority] part advised to depart thence also if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven [harbor] of Crete, and lies [opens] toward the south west and north west.”

The American Bible Union Version translates this verse:

“was not well situated for wintering in…”

The Living Bible translates this verse:

“And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor…”

 

 

Only God has sovereignty of the “sea”

You may well be aware that various nations in the past were called “the sovereignty of the sea” because of their great naval domination. But as far as the spiritual analogy goes, there is only ONE which is truly the Sovereignty of the sea, and that is God. Remember the old poem “O God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small?”

This is really a parable type, of the salvation of the world. The “sea” in Scripture is a symbol for mankind, humanity - the sinning human race. Scripture often speaks of (1) the sea, (2) the earth, and (3) the heaven - the sea being the lowest, and the heaven being the highest. These symbols represent not only the varying states of salvation, but also mankind’s conversion, the level of spiritual enlightenment - from the downright carnal to the heavenly minded. Remember the Scriptural principle; that first comes the physical and then the spiritual. There are many physical types in the Bible that represent spiritual realities.

A perfect example of course is how God saved Noah and his family from the raging waves of the sea in an ark. When we come to understanding spiritual things, we will clearly see that the ark represents Christ. We also have examples of Jesus saving His disciples from the raging waves of the Sea [lake] of Galilee.

“And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was COVERED WITH THE WAVES [‘and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was already filling, Mk 4:37]: but He was asleep. And His disciple came to Him, and awoke Him, saying Lord, save us: WE PERISH. And He said unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matt. 8:23-27).

Does anyone have the slightest doubt that Jesus possesses the power to calm the sea? Is any man or group of men more powerful than the sea? Then why, oh why, do we allow theologians, clergymen, pastors, preachers, teachers and authors to tell us that Jesus Christ is POWERLESS TO CALM THE SEA OF HUMANITY? That man possesses a raging power of “free will” that even God Himself cannot and will not penetrate or calm? No! “…the winds and the sea OBEY HIM!”

On another occasion we read this:

“And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away… But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, TOSSED WITH WAVES” (Matt. 14:22-24).

In both cases Jesus SAVED His disciples from the raging waves of the sea.

We just read where the Apostles were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee and were, “…COVERED with waves…” There is another type here. What do the “raging waves of the sea” symbolize?

Jude tells us that, “filthy dreamers,” who “defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities,” “brute beasts,” those who have “gone the way of Can,” and are after “the error of Balaam,” and those who “perished in the gainsaying of core,” these are “spots in your feasts of charity … RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA…” (Jude 8-13).

Say, did you notice where these “filthy dreamers, brute beasts, raging waves of the sea” are located. That’s right - IN THE CHURCH. These evil people are eating right along with the rest in the Church’s “feasts of charity.” These are those who, “say they are apostles [of Christ], and are not,” and those who, “say they are Jews [spiritual Jews -- converted Christians], and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Powerful stuff!

The disciples were literally “covered with waves” of the sea, but they were also covered with the “raging waves of the sea” spoken of in Jude, because they were, as yet, unconverted.

Actually, the Sea of Galilee is really a lake - also called, The Lake of Gennesar [et] and Lake Tiberius. Jesus Himself called Galilee a “lake” (Luke 8:22). Notice that the carnality of man symbolized in “covered with waves” (raging waves of the sea) needed salvation Lord save us, WE PERISH.” What did Jesus become to His disciples at that very instant? Answer: “a covering shelter.” Whereas they were covered by the raging waves of the sea, Jesus now became their “covering.”

Jesus SAVED His disciples from the “raging waves of the sea that covered them,” in the middle of the Sea [lake] of Galilee. But this was a literal physical event. They were not spiritually converted as yet - this event pointed to just such a conversion of the spirit. Will not Jesus also become a “covering shelter” for others? If so, for whom, and for how many?

 

 

Jesus Christ - The “covering shelter” for the whole world!

“And He [Jesus] is the propitiation [Greek: hilasmos, signifies “an expiation, a means whereby sin is COVERED and remitted” Strong’, p. 121] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD” (1 John 2:2).

It may come as a surprise to realize that Jesus started His work of propitiation in a “lake” - the Lake of Galilee, and He will finish His work of propitiation in another lake, the Lake of Fire.”

In Romans 3:25 we read:

“Whom God has set forth to be a PROPITIATION through faith in His blood to declare His righteousness for the remission [passing over of] sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

In Heb. 9:5 this same word hilcsterion (propitiatory) is used for the COVERING LID OF THE ARK. Jesus Christ IS the ark. When the disciples were “covered by the raging waves of the sea” Jesus Christ became their “covering,” and (physically) SAVED THEM!

In Hebrew, “haven” comes from cowph, and it means to COVER; a cove (as a sheltered bay, Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary p. 32).

Jesus not only “propitiates—COVERS,” He IS the Covering, “…IS the Propitiation…” (I John 2:2). Likewise, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” does not just “cover” IN the lake of fire: HE IS THE LAKE OF FIRE! Jesus Christ IS the Judge of the world, and the world is judged not only BY Jesus Christ, but IN Jesus Christ. Isn’t that amazing!

From the geographical places, physical objects – to the words and their meanings that God chooses for our understanding are not accidental coincidences. Every word of God is purified to perfectly fit its application:

“The WORDS of the Lord are PURE WORDS: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6).

There’s that “seven” again. I wonder (considering Revelation is full of the numerical value) if Gods dispensing of judgement upon the sinners (raging seas) of humanity, will also end in their “perfection?” Do any really believe that God wants to play just one more insane cruel joke on the majority of humanity which are supposedly destined to an eternity of torture in fire, by telling us that this insane pit of torture is going to take place in a SHELTERED PLACE OF SAFETY? Is God Almighty going to torture the majority of humanity in a place He jeeringly calls: a pond, a lake, a “SHELTERED PLACE OF SAFETY?”

It is true that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Heb. 10:31), but that does not negate the fact that there is also “safety, shelter, and covering” in God’s Divine Pond of Spiritual purifying FIRE.

 

 

“Fire” in the Lake

In our last study, we looked at how fittingly the landscape of the Dead Sea region serves as the basis of the analogies and the symbols of Revelation - From the pure waters in the north, to life in the Sea of Galilee, to man’s final descent unto death in the Dead Sea. We can see the spiritual similarities with the symbols of “the sea,” “earth” and “heaven.” – We learned that the Divine purifying presence of God is in this lake in the form of spiritual brimstone. If it were water in the lake, we might conclude that those thrown into this lake are to be washed. The Bible does use water as a symbol of washing away our dirty sins. However, giant spiritual character flaws need more than washing, they need to be obliterated if they are “wood, straw, and stubble.” And even the “gold, silver, and precious stones” need to be purged and purified if they are to be perfected.

One cannot wash away the impurities of the carnal mind any more than one can wash away the impurities in gold ore by water. It takes power, and heat, and the molecular separating qualities of fire to purify gold ore. And likewise, water has little effect on eliminating wood, straw, and stubble. But put fire to this same wood, straw, and stubble, and it will be obliterated, annihilated, eradicated, and exterminated.

This is the lesson we are to learn from God’s spiritual fire. Spiritual fire will purify good qualities to total perfection but will obliterate character flaws to total extinction. And so it is that God uses spiritual fire to produce the greatest possible good, not to cause the severest possible pain and torture. It’s all part of Gods plan to shape and mould us into His perfect image. And here is God’s plan:

“And God said, Let us make man in OUR IMAGE…” (Gen. 1:26).

“Ye [‘ye’ means ‘all of you’] therefore shall BECOME [it’s a process] perfect even has your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to BECOME [it’s a process] the SONS OF GOD…” (John 1:12).

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the SONS OF GOD” (Rom. s8:14).

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the CHILDREN OF GOD: And if children, then heirs, HEIRS OF GOD and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also GLORIFIED TOGETHER. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature [and the whole creation] waits for the manifestation of THE SONS OF GOD” (Rom. 8:1618).

“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For ye ARE the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell IN them, and walk IN them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them [‘my people’ Rev. 18:4] and be ye separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, says the Lord Almighty” (II Cor. 6:16-18).

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the ADOPTION OF SONS. And because ye ARE SONS, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying Abba, Father. Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a SON; and if a SON, then an HEIR OF GOD through Christ” (Gal. 4:5-7).

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, THE SONS OF GOD, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

“For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing MANY SONS UNTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10).

“According as He has chosen us in Him before the disruption of the world, we to be holy and flawless in His sight, in love designating us beforehand for the place of A SON…” (Eph. 1:4, Concordant Literal New Testament).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called THE SONS OF GOD: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not” (I John 3:1).

Now then, did God plan to call these sons? Did He have it all worked out in advance? Is there any chance of failure in bringing these Sons to glory? Let’s read it:

“For whom He [GOD] did FOREKNOW, He also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to THE IMAGE [Remember Gen. 1:26—"Let us make man in OUR IMAGE…"] of HIS SON, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did PREDESTINATE, them He also CALLED; and whom He called, them He also JUSTIFIED: and whom He justified, them He also GLORIFIED” (Rom. 8:29-30).

It should be noted that the verbs in this verse are in the Greek aorist tense and should more properly be translated, PREDESTINATES, CALLS, JUSTIFIES, AND GLORIFIES. This is not a past and completed act only, but a continuous process into the future.

God is calling Sons and Daughters into Glory! All that He “foreknew,” He will bring to fruition. But for what purpose? To roll round heaven all day? To play harps and sing gospel music for all eternity? To glut ourselves on dainty foods like some fat monarch? What is God’s first order of the day when all these SONS of God are manifested? Just what will they do? Or will they do nothing? We read part of the answer in one of the Scriptures quoted above. Let’s read a little more. There is a GRAND CHALLENGE AND MARVELOUS WORK waiting to be accomplished by the manifested SONS OF GOD.

 

 

The World is groaning for it knows not what!

“For the earnest expectation of the creation waits FOR THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD” (Rom. 8:19).

Notice this verse in a few other translations:

“For the EAGER outlook of creation ARDENTLY awaits the revealing of the Sons of God” (The Emphasized New Testament).

“For the LONGING of the creation LOOKS EAGERLY for the time when [the glory of] the sons of God shall be revealed”(The Epistles of Paul by Conybeare).

“All creation is YEARNING, LONGING to see the manifestation of the sons of God” (The New Testament in Modern Speech).

“Or the creation waits with EAGER LONGING for the revealing of the sons of God” (The Revised Standard Version).

“THE WHOLE WORLD IS ON TIPTOE to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own” (Phillips’ Translation).

To be sure, it is GOD Who is telling us that the whole creation is groaning in earnest expectation. It is groaning for it knows not what, but GOD KNOWS! In other words, God is telling US, who are growing in spiritual truths, what it is that the whole world and indeed the whole creation is in desperate need of - the saving power of the Sons of God. We ARE the BODY OF CHRIST! What Christ does, he DOES THROUGH US!

WHY? Why are they waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God? Of what value will these Sons be to them? We can see why the Sons themselves would want to be manifested as such with God their Father and Elder Brother Jesus Christ, but why would all the wicked humanity of the entire “CREATION” be “waiting in EARNEST expectation?” What in the world is taking place here?

The church teaches that after all the Sons and Daughters of God are in their glory, the rest of the world will be tortured eternally by real fire in a terrorist hellhole of hopeless doom (never mind the fact that God says “there will be NO MORE DOOM”) (Rev. 22:3, Concordant Literal New Testament).

Seriously, when all the Sons and Daughters of God are manifested IN THEIR GLORY, why would the ENTIRE CREATION be awaiting this event with almost uncontrollable bated breath, excitement, and anticipation? WHY? What is it that the churches have never told you? What is God going to do with all these glorified Sons and Daughters?

Let’s read God’s Truth on the matter. Here is one of the most profound and all-encompassing Scriptures in the entirety of the Bible:

“For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waits for THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD. For the creature [creation] was MADE subject to VANITY [‘…surely, EVERY MAN IS VANITY’-- Psalm 39:11], NOT WILLINGLY, but by reason of Him [GOD] Who has subjected the same in HOPE. Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be DELIVERED from the bondage of corruption [corruption includes DEATH] into THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. For we know that THE WHOLE CREATION GROANS AND TRAVAILS IN PAIN together until now” (Rom. 8:19-22).

There are marvellous things in this verse. Notice the chronological order of things in this Scripture and see how it contradicts the terrible teaching of orthodox doctrine:

First the Sons of God are manifested or shown to be what they really are—SPIRITUAL SONS OF GOD (and DAUGHTERS—II Cor. 6:18)! No longer flesh and blood. No longer subject to the pulls of a carnal mind, but True Sons in the very IMAGE OF GOD and His Son, Jesus Christ.

But what happens next? What happens to all the rest of humanity who are not sons and daughters and are not saved? What will happen to them? Just why, pray tell, are they eagerly awaiting the manifestation of these Sons and Daughters? Of what value is the salvation and manifestation of the few chosen saints to those left behind who are not saved?

The Church teaches the world that the rest of humanity will be tortured for all eternity in the lake of fire. Is that true? Is that the purpose of the lake of fire is?

Next we read what the condition of the rest of humanity is, how they got that way, and what the solution is to the problem.

“For the creature [creation] was made subject to VANITY, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope (Rom. 8:20).

Remember. God MADE man subject to vanity! God did not ask man’s permission to do this. God did it for His own wise purpose. But God is not a fiend that takes pleasure in the failures of weak humanity. God did not make man in a condition of vanity so that most of humanity would fail of the ideal, and God would then torture most of his creation eternally, when it was He Who created them weak and subjected them to every form of vanity in the first place. God created the whole creation subject to vanity. It is, therefore, God’s responsibility to get man out of this mess.

God supernaturally made a way for the “manifested Sons of God” to conquer the flesh and the carnal mind and be formed into the very image of God with the very mind of Christ! They will be no longer subject to vanity when they are manifested. They will be no longer subject to “the BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION.” They will be FREE!

And it is they who will then FREE the rest of humanity from their bondage! What was the purpose for this subjection to vanity? So that they will eternally fail and God would eternally torture them for their failure? No! Let’s read it:

God has, “subjected the same IN HOPE” (Verse 20). Wait a minute, is that saying that all of humanity, who fail to be in the first resurrection and become the manifest Sons and Daughters of God, will nonetheless still have “hope?” Is there really hope for all the lost and unsaved? How can this be? Aren’t they going to be subjected to the “lake of fire?” Yes, but there is “hope” in the lake of fire. In fact, the lake of fire is their ONLY HOPE! They will not be eternally tortured just because they did not attain to the first resurrection, but will rather be “DELIVERED!” Let’s read it:

 

HOPE AND BLESSED ASSURANCE IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

“And as it is appointed unto men ONCE TO DIE, but after this THE JUDGMENT” (Heb. 9:27).

So all creation spoken of in Rom. 8 will ultimately die. And “after” death comes “judgment.” Who is in charge of this judgment and when will it take place?

“Because He [God] has appointed A DAY, in which He will judge the world [how?] IN RIGHTEOUSNESS [eternal torture is NOT righteousness] by THAT MAN Whom He has ordained [‘For the Father judges no man, but has committed ALL judgment unto the Son,’ John 5:22]; whereof He has given ASSURANCE unto ALL MEN [Gee, could this ‘assurance to ALL men … in the WORLD" be the same as the ‘hope for all creatures in ALL CREATION’ that we just read about in Rom. 8:20? And just how can there be hope and assurance for all these lost, unrepentant, unbelievers of the world? Read on…], in that He has raised Him [Jesus] from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

Notice the reason given that THE WHOLE WORLD, or the WHOLE INHABITED EARTH as some translations have it, is given “assurance.” It is because Jesus Christ ROSE FROM THE DEAD! Paul plainly tells us that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then even WE are still in our sins:

“And if Christ be NOT raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep [died] in Christ ARE PERISHED” (I Cor. 15:17-18).

And so it is because of Christ’s resurrection that we have HOPE and ASSURANCE for a future life with GOD! And now you also have Scriptural proof that the ENTIRE CREATION which was SUBJECTED TO VANITY and CORRUPTION, NOT WILLINGLY, has “HOPE” in the same risen Christ. And the whole inhabited earth, in that day of judgment, ALSO has full ASSURANCE because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! Do you even begin to comprehend what you are now reading in God’s Word? God’s day of judgment is a time of hope” and assurance.”

We read that all judgment has been given unto the Son, Jesus Christ. But Jesus is not the only Judge in that day. Here is where the manifested Sons and Daughters of God come into their most important role in the salvation of all mankind, all creation, and the entirety of the creation in both the heavens and the earth. It is around these verses that orthodox theology gets very, very hazy indeed. How anyone can explain away all these scriptures in favour of the orthodox teaching of “eternal damnation,” is anyone’s guess. Perhaps things are falling into place a little easier now? So let’s look at this further.

 

THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD

Here’s a concept that you cannot be taught in church regarding those that are saved and those that aren’t. The called and chosen were born to be Judges!

“Or are you not aware that the saints [the manifested Sons and Daughters of God] shall JUDGE THE WORLD? And if the world shall be judged by YOU, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (I Cor. 6:2).

“And I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and JUDGMENT was given unto them [the saints, the manifested Sons of God]…” (Rev. 20:4).

Every man will be judged and the Saints will do the judging:

“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” (Rev. 20:13).

 

JUDGES, LORDS, PRIESTS AND KINGS

Yes the called and chosen were born to be Judges, Lords, Priests and Kings:

“If we suffer, we shall also REIGN with Him…” (II Tim. 2:12).

“And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall REIGN on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).

We are the church of the Living God, and what is the church in relation to Christ?

“And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, Which IS HIS BODY, the fullness of Him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).

“For we are members of HIS BODY, OF his flesh, AND OF his bones… This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and THE CHURCH [the heavenly, not the carnal church] (Eph. 5:30 & 32).

Whatever Christ does, WE DO ALSO, because we ARE HIS BODY! Yes, WE, the manifest Sons and Daughters of God, will JUDGE THE WORLD!

But are the saints ready, equipped, and experienced to actually judge the world by the mere fact that they accept Jesus as the Priest, Lord, King, and Judge of the world? We are part of this world until God takes us out of it. We too have need of a Priest, a Lord, a King, and a Judge.

All too many Christians accept Jesus as their Priest, Lord, King, and Judge in ceremony only. In fact, I doubt that many accept Jesus as their “JUDGE” even in a ceremonial way, let alone by actual experience OF that judgment in their daily lives.

We must first be judged ourselves if we are to became the judges of the great sea of humanity.

 

 

The symbol of the “sea”

This is where we come back to this great Biblical symbol of the “sea.” Again, its meaning becomes clearer still when we let the Scriptures interpret it for us.

“Mystery Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth” sits upon “many waters” we are told in Rev. 17:1. Anciently God also referred to the nation of Babylon as, “O thou that dwells upon MANY WATERS…” (Jer. 51:13). And these many waters are explained in Rev. 17:15 as:

“The WATERS which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

It is fitting that if ancient Babylon dwelled upon “many waters” that the end-time Mystery Babylon would also sit upon “waters” which are clearly defined as “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

And just where are we told that the beast that carries the great whore comes from?

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a [wild] beast rise up OUT OF THE SEA [the vast sea of humanity] (Rev. 13:1).

God uses “waters” and “sea” interchangeably in the Scriptures. Babylon was:

“O thou that dwells upon many WATERS…” (Jer. 51:13).

Notice that Babylon’s “…waves do roar like great waters…” (Ver. 55). But then in verse 36 we read this:

“Therefore thus says the Lord; Behold, I will plead your cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will DRY UP HERSEA…”

Anyone who followed the war in Iraq knows that there is no sea in Iraq. This is not speaking of a large body of water, but of PEOPLE!

Notice further proof in verses 42-43:

“The SEA is come up upon Babylon, she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. Her cities are desolation ADRY land, and a wilderness…”

After the establishment of Babylon as a nation, it was never entirely flooded by a literal sea of water. Besides, if a land were “flooded” it could hardly be called “a DRY land,” could it? Again, notice what the “sea” and the “waters” represent:

“And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of her mouth that which he has swallowed up: and THENATIONS [the waters of ‘peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues’ Rev. 17:15] shall not flow [like waters] together any more unto him, and the wall of Babylon shall fall” (Verse 44).

Take note that it is the wicked that are generally associated with “the sea.” In Jude 4 we read of

“…certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In verse 13 these same ungodly men are called, “RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA…”

“Come hither; I will show you unto you the judgment of the great whore that sits UPON MANY WATERS.”

And the “many waters” are defined as,

“The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

The whore is a great church, and it sits on a wild beast (the world’s great political and social systems), and John, “…saw a wild beast rise up OUT OF THE SEA” (Rev. 13:1). This beast does not rise up out of one particular sea, that is one particular nation or people or multitude or tongue, but out of ALL OF THEM.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives THE WHOLE WORLD…” (Rev. 12:5).

And the waters on which the whore sits are called, “…peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” In other words, the whore sits upon ALL THE SEA; ALL THE PEOPLES AND MULTITUDES AND LANGUAGES AND NATIONS OF THE ENTIRE EARTH! And she RIDES the wild beast that came up out of this same great and vast sea of humanity.

 

THE SEA OF GALILEE VERSUS THE LAKE OF FIRE

Let’s look at Matt. 14 next, and learn a great lesson from this physical type of a spiritual reality.

“And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst…”

Jesus always operates, teaches, and saves, from “the midst.”

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the MIDST of them.” (Matt. 18:20)

…they found Him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the MIDST of the doctors…” (Luke 2:46)

Where they crucified Him, and two other with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the MIDST.” (John 19:18)

And in the MIDST of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man…” Etc. (Rev. 1:13)

Isn’t it amazing? And where do we find Jesus SYMBOLIZED at the beginning of mankind’s long and arduous journey to salvation?

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow EVERY TREE THAT IS PLEASANT to the sight, and good for food; the TREE OF LIFE also in the midst of the garden, and the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE

OF GOOD AND EVIL” (Gen. 2:8-9).

The Bible is an astoundingly rich parabolic tapestry is it not? From Genesis to Revelation, these themes have been preserved and reiterated time and time again for all those who have been given the eyes to see them.

Now then, where do you suppose that it is that WE, the Body of Christ, the Sons of God, receive our trials, training, and experience of overcoming this world? Answer:

“That ye [all of you] may be blameless and harmless [innocent], the SONS OF GOD, without rebuke [fault], in the MIDST of a crooked and perverse nation [generation], among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

So many people when want to become holy, go off somewhere in an isolated monastery to get away from the world. Yet Jesus trains us right in the MIDDLE of this crime-ridden and sin-sick world—in the MIDST.

“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea [or lake] TOSSED with the waves…”

Was this a good thing that the disciples were being “tossed” with the waves? Not according to them. They were frightened! But Jesus wanted them to experience this “tossing” with the waves.

Jesus did not come to them until the “fourth watch” (between 3 and 6 am), when they were now “in the MIDST of the sea.” And the winds and waves were very strong so that they were being “TOSSED.” Not only that, but it was the time of night when fear and superstition weighed heaviest upon the hearts of those upon the waters  - as the common folk lore of the day taught that is was the time of the night when ghosts and apparitions were most likely to materialize.

Notice that it was Jesus Who commanded them to take this ship to the other shore:

“And straightway Jesus constrained [Greek: ‘compelled’] His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away” (Matt. 14:22).

Why did Jesus need to “constrain/compel” them? The word “constrained” in this verse is translated from the Greek word anankazo, and notice its definition:

"Anankazo denotes ‘to put constraint upon, to constrain, to compel, whether by threat, entreaty, force or persuasion." Strong’s Greek Dictionary p. 18.

Wow! “To compel, whether by THREAT, ENTREATY, FORCE or PERSUASION.”

No one with a carnal mind ever desires the judgments of God. We aren’t told exactly how much threat, entreaty, force or persuasion Jesus used on the disciples to get them to take their boat into the sea, but we know for sure from the word itself, that it took more than a casual suggestion that they go. Likewise, we read that those who must go through the lake of fire are; “…CAST into the lake of fire…” (Rev. 20:10, 15).

They will not want to go voluntarily. And so it is true that:

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31)

But it is still far better to be “in the hands of the Living God” than to be anywhere else! Even the of worst of scoundrels who have ever lived will fare far better in the hands of the Living God” than anywhere else.

The Church thinks that this verse says, "It is a fearful thing to fall UNDER THE FEET of the Living God" rather than, "It is a fearful think to fall INTO THE HANDS of the Living God."

His disciples DIDN’T WANT TO GO! Jesus didn’t just say: “You go on, fellows, and I’ll catch up with you later.” No, He COMPELLED them to go! They obviously didn’t want to go. The sea was probably ALREADY turbulent and scary, and surely it weighed upon them that the further they went from shore the worse it would be. They were afraid to go, but Jesus “COMPELLED” them to go; they had to go! And so they went.

Can we not see ourselves in this scene? Do you not picture yourself being compelled” by our Lord to enter the dark and scary trials of this life? Do you not feel TOSSED by the frightening trials and tribulations of this life?

 

 

Trials by fire

We all face these trials in life, some of us sporadically and others daily – some are almost too much for us to bare at times, yet rest assured , NO-ONE gets called and chosen to rule and reign with Christ without going through the “baptism of fire!”

It is a rather infrequent word “tossed,” appearing but four times in the New Testament, and all four times it is translated from a different word. Tossed is translated from the Greek word basanizo. 

Believe it or not, so very much rests upon the correct translation and interpretation of this word and its derivatives. Understanding it within the context of its spiritual witnesses is paramount, if we are to even begin to fathom the scope of God’s heart towards His own creation and its final destiny. Oh how Christians the world over have been blinded by the perpetual deluge of misinformation and untruths regarding the righteous purpose of His judgements by fire! Let’s look at this a little closer.

"#928. basanizo, to torture:--torment. Basanizo, as a verb, properly signifies in Greek

(1) ‘to test by rubbing on the touchstone’ [basanos, ‘a touchstone’], then,

(1a) ‘to question by applying torture’; hence

(1b) ‘to vex, torment’;

(2) in the NT in the passive voice,

(2a) ‘to be harassed, (2b) distressed’;

(2c) it is said of men struggling in a boat against wind and waves: “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed (bazanizo) with waves: for the wind was contrary” (Mat. 14:24; Mark 6:48). (Strong’s Greek Dictionary, p. 51).

The word basanos is actually used in Jesus’ parable of “Lazarus and the Rich man” we see that the Rich man was also, “…intorments (Greek: basanos—a touchstone)…" (Luke 16:23).

 

 

Lazarus and the Rich man

But what are these “torments” that the Rich man is experiencing? Is it physical pain from having his skin burned off of his body by real flames of fire? In verse 23 we have the word “torments” In verses 24 and 25 we have the word “tormented.” These three words are not translated from the same Greek word, however. And there is a great reason why. This one point alone demolishes any such theory that this Rich man is actually and literally having his flesh burned by real fire.

Though the Rich man may, indeed, be suffering discomfort or pain, it is not from fire burning his flesh, but rather from being tested and proved through chastisement. .

It is an interesting fact of Scripture that except for Paul “punishing” the church, there is only ONE SCRIPTURE in the whole New Testament that uses the word “punishment.” All others use the word “chastisement” which always carries the connotation of correction and bringing things back to what is right again. Chastisement by its very definition CANNOT be eternal. There is always a purpose and goal in mind with the use of the word chastise.

In Verses 24 and 25 we likewise see that the word translated “tormented” does by no means carry a meaning of being physical pained or physically tortured.

“...I am tormented [pained] in this flame.”

What kind of “torment” is God talking about in this parable? Is this physical pain from the flames burning his flesh as is taught in Christendom? Not at all! Note that he does not say “flames,” but rather “flame,” singular! The Greek word translated “tormented” (odunaō) in verses 24 and 25 is a totally different Greek word than is used for “torments”(basanos)  in verse 23. The Greek word here is “odunao”

G3600 odunaō ὀδυνάω

od-oo-nah'-o

From G3601; to grieve: - sorrow, torment.

It means to be sorrowful or pained, but not physically, but rather EMOTIONALLY! We can easily see how the Holy Spirit of God used this word in Scripture. “Odunao” is used only two other times in all Scripture and both times it has absolutely nothing to do with physical torture, but rather with emotional sorrow or pain.

“And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing [Greek: adunao, same word translated "tormented" in Luke 16:24 & 25]” (Luke 2:48).

“Sorrowing [Greek: adunao, same word translated "tormented" in Luke 16:24 & 25], most of all for the words which he spoke, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him into the ship” (Acts 20:38).

Now then, does anyone believe that they were physically tortured when Paul departed? Does anyone believe the parents of Jesus were physical tortured in their flesh while they searched for Jesus?

Had the KJV translators been consistent they should have translated Luke 16:24 & 25 the same way. He was emotionally “pained” or “sorrowed” and not physically tormented or tortured! The same word cannot mean both “emotionally sorrowed” and “physically tortured.”

The Rich man was emotionally pained or sorrowed by the flame (the testing and trials), not tortured, and that’s why, he wanted a drop [a symbolic drop of water] for his tongue and not a barrel of water to cool his body. And why such agony and sorrow? For those who understand this parable properly, its historical context is a damning indictment of JUDAH (the rich man) and the loss of their place of honour to the GENTILES (Lazarus.)

Lazarus [Eliezer] was: “...cast at his [Rich man’s] gate [portal]...” It was the “Gentiles” who were not allowed into the Royal and Priestly House of Judah. They could go no further than “The court of the Gentiles.” Any blessings they received had to come to them from inside where they were never allowed to go! Though designated as “proselytes,” they were, nonetheless, like “dogs” who only got the “crumbs” or scraps! Hence we find Lazarus cast “at the gate.”

Little could the Jews hearing this parable realize that in just a few short years all this would change.

“Yet now, in Christ Jesus, you [Gentiles], who once are far off are become near by the blood of Christ. For He is our Peace, Who makes both one, and razes the central wall of the barrier [middle wall of partition] ... He brings the evangel of peace to you [Gentiles] ... for through Him we both [Jews and Gentiles] have had the access, in one spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:13-18).

Of course today, the Gentiles don’t have to stand outside the gate, or be separated by a barrier, or stay in their own court, and wait for handouts. They have direct access to God. And who has been preaching the Evangel for the past two thousand years? The Jews? Hardly. It has been the Gentiles that have translated the Scriptures into nearly every language on earth. It is those called of the Gentiles that are accepting Christ Jesus as their Saviour, not the Jews. It is really a rare thing to find Jews accepting Christ as the Messiah. And that’s why we find Lazarus [Eliezer--the Gentiles] in the bosom of Abraham, and the Rich man [the Jews] engulfed in flames of Anti-Semitism for the past two thousand years.

“...having ulcers [full of sores]...”

Thus, Lazarus is not full of sores in Abraham’s bosom. He has been healed. In fact, that’s what “salvation” meant in New Testament times. “Salvation” is a beautiful sounding Latin word, however, it was never part of the New Testament Greek Vocabulary. Not until six or eight centuries ago did the word “salvation” come into translations. Before that time it was “health” that was one’s salvation. And all of the very oldest Anglo-Saxon Scriptures translate it “health” not “salvation.” So for Lazarus “health” in the bosom of Abraham was salvation!

Lazarus doesn’t represent materialistically poor Jews, but spiritually poor Gentiles. That’s the whole point here in the parable. Judah was rich and knew it! They were like the Laodiceans who said: “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

“...Father Abraham, be merciful to me, and send Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip of his finger in water...”

In figurative and symbolic language the Rich man asks for a drop of water on the tip of Lazarus’ finger. How appropriate! Who was it that refused to help the “poor” with so much as their little finger?

“For they [Judah] bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (Mat. 23:4).

“...and spake unto Rehoboam [King of Judah], saying, ... make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. But he forsook the counsel of the old men ... My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins ... my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” (I Kg. 12:7:11).

Now Judah begs the assistance of a finger from a poor man! And not just a poor man, but a poor Gentile! It was custom for pious Jews to cut a section of their garment off if it were so much as touched by the finger of a Gentile. Now the rich and lofty personification of God’s chosen people begs for the assistance of a Gentile FINGER.

“God is not to be sneered at, for whatsoever a man may be sowing, this shall he be reaping also” (Gal. 6:7).

“...and cooling my tongue...”

Is the fabled “hell fire” preaching of Christian orthodoxy relevant in ANY way in this parable? Clearly not. It isn’t his flesh that the Rich man wants cooled from this flame, but his tongue. This man is frightened. His tongue is swelling. And well it should be. When people are petrified from fear their tongue dries and swells. That’s why some inexperienced speakers often need a whole glass of water just to get through a 10 minute speech.

David said: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion” (Psa. 137:1)

Well, God brought Judah back from Babylon to Jerusalem, but Judah didn’t have the same heart as King David. He failed to remember. David said: “...let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth ... if I forget to remember Jerusalem."

It was because of Judah’s “tongue” that Jerusalem was destroyed in the first place:

“For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their TONGUE and their doings are against the Lord...” (Isa. 3:8).

We must understand that the Rich man was not physically tortured by the flames, anymore than the disciples were physically tortured by the waves! Nor was Mary and Joseph physically tortured when they couldn’t find the young boy Jesus!

“And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto Him, Son, why has thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing (Greek: basanos)” (Luke 2:48).

Joseph and Mary were not physically tortured! Neither were the disciples (basanizo) physically tortured. Nor those who go through the fire of I Cor. 3:15, nor those who go through, “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Furthermore, the Strong’s Dictionary definition that basanizo can mean: “to question by applying torture seems a little absurd in regards to God’s judgements considering He already knows the state of carnal man, so we can discount that right off the bat. But it is absolutely necessary for man to go through this bassnizo, or torment because it is part of his spiritual development and spiritual perfection. Perhaps there is a more rational explanation for the spiritual use of basanos/basanizo regarding the Lake of fire? Well what do the scriptures bare witness to regarding God’s judgements? The truth will amaze you. Let’s continue to look at the definitions.

1. Cognate: 931 básanos – originally, a black, silicon-based stone used as “a touchstone” to test the purity of precious metals (like silver and gold). See 928 (basanízō).

[In the papyri, basanos also means, “touchstone,” “test” (so P Oxy I. 58.25, ad 288).

931 (basanois) was originally (from oriental origin) a touchstone; a “Lydian stone” used for testing gold because pure gold rubbed on it left a peculiar mark. Then it was used for examination by torture. Sickness was often regarded as “torture” (WP, 1, 37).]

And...

2. βάσανος, βασάνου,  (Curtius, p. 439);

a. the touchstone (called also basanite, LatinlapisLydius), by which gold and other metals are tested.

b. the rack or instrument of torture by which one is forced to divulge the truth.

c. torture, torment, acute pains: used of the pains of disease, Matthew 4:24; of the torments of the wicked after death, ἐν βασάνοις ὑπάρχειν, Luke 16:23 (Wis. 3:1; 4 Macc. 13:14); hence,  τόπος τῆς βασάνου is used of Gehenna, Luke 16:28. (In Greek writings from (Theognis), Pindar down.) 

 

Also...

3. Basanos.

From Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, we are told that basanois which is a form of the noun basanos, means, “strictly, a touchstone for testing the genuineness of metals by rubbing against it...”

In secular Greek literature this word (basanois) was used figuratively to extract information from a person by torture or punishment.

From the Greek-English Keyword Concordance we read this; torment, literally a touchstone, used to test metals for alloys, [and] then the examination of persons by torture (Page 307).

 

 

Lydian stone

So what a revelation huh! How many “teachers” of the Word know ANY of this stuff? The very words that have been time and time again translated in the scriptures as an act of mindless “torture,” have their roots in something far more meaningful - if not downright practical! Mental anguish definitely, but physical torture? And as we shall discover, the purest meanings harmonise beautifully with the other scriptural references regarding judgement!

So what are the origins of this word? It actually has its origin in the ancient kingdom of Lydia. It may surprise you to learn that a discovery made there, changed the way the world does business. What did the Lydian’s discover? Before answering, it will be interesting to learn something about the life and times of this almost forgotten empire.

The kings of Lydia ruled from their capital, Sardis, in the western part of what was then called Asia Minor but is now called Turkey. Lydia’s last king, Croesus, amassed fabulous wealth, but then about 546 B.C.E., he lost his empire to Cyrus the Great of Persia—the very same Cyrus who conquered the Babylonian Empire a few years later.

Lydia’s innovative businessmen are said to have been the first to use coins. Gold and silver had long been used as money, but because of the irregular size of gold bars and rings, people had to weigh the money each time they made a transaction. In Israel, for example, God’s prophet Jeremiah bought some land and wrote:

“I began to weigh out to him the money, seven shekels and ten silver pieces.”(Jeremiah 32:9.)

In Lydia, contemporaries of Jeremiah discovered something to simplify trade - the use of coins the standard weight of which was guaranteed by an official stamp on each coin. Lydia’s first coins were made of a natural mixture of gold and silver called electrum. When Croesus became king, he replaced them with silver coins and gold coins that were almost pure. Lydians invented a bimetallic coinage system in which 12 coins of a low denomination equalled one of a more valuable metal. But the system was threatened by counterfeit coins of gold mixed with inferior metals. Merchants needed an easy way to test the purity of gold.

Lydian’s discovered that a type of local black stone called Lydian stone would solve their problem. When a coin is rubbed on this smooth, slightly abrasive stone, it makes a mark. When the colour of the mark is compared with the colour of marks made by sample needles of known gold content, the proportion of gold in the coin is revealed. It was this discovery - the touchstone test, that made reliable coinage possible. As the testing of gold with a touchstone became a common practice among traders, the word for “touchstone” came to mean a method of testing. In Greek, the language in which part of the Bible was written, the word was also applied to general “torment” via persecution.

 

 

The testing ground

Now, most of us read our Bibles through thick glasses of church traditions, social conditioning, prejudices, and various other things which cloud our vision. There is more hatred and prejudice in our hearts than we usually care to acknowledge. This was the problem the Pharisees had when confronted with the object of the Scriptures they had been studying all their lives. When Jesus came, they didn't recognize who He was because of their traditions and cold hearts.

Would you like to test what is in your mind and heart today? You know that eventually all that is hidden will come to light? (1 Cor. 4:5) When Jesus told them, “What then is this that is written: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone?' Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

An invitation is given to you today to fall on the Rock. It is seemingly much better to be broken to pieces, than to be crushed to powder. The first choice invites our participation, the second comes unannounced, at a time when we least expect it. Few understand that it is a necessary part of our conversion! We will expand upon this in a future paper, but rest assured – “the rock” is mankind’s testing ground!

1 Peter 4:6:11 speaks of the “trial of your faith being more precious that gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.”

We have got to remember, that the Scriptures often speak of “fire” in a spiritual manner rather than natural. Testing one's faith may produce much more heat than we often care to experience - but if we call on our Father, He will see us through the test. Are we seeing a pattern here?

“The God whom in your prayers you call Father does not arrive at his verdict on any man by favouritism; he judges each man by his actions. You are exiles of eternity, and you must therefore spend your time on this earth in reverent living, for you know well what it cost to liberate you from the slavery of that life of futility which you inherited from your fathers. The price did not consist of things which are doomed to decay, of silver or gold. The price was the precious life-blood of Christ, who was, as it were, the sacrificial lamb with no flaw or blemish. He was destined for this task before the creation of the world, and for your sakes he came for all men to see as time comes to its end. It was for the sake of you he came, for you who through him believe God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. so then, your faith and your hope look to God. (1 Peter 1:17-21, William Barclay translation)

Surely we can see the analogy of the “touch stone” and its pertinence to scriptural association of “testing” ones faith and works to see what it is made of?

It is beyond unfortunate that most translations following the King James tradition have hidden the Biblical references to this stone from us. The King James Bible Concordances have also hidden its meaning. As we have seen with Strong's and Young's Concordances, when looking up the English word “torment,” we discover that the noun for one of these Greeks words is basanoj “basanos,” Strong's number 931. Strong's number 928 “torture,” and 929 “torment” are derivatives of this noun, “basanos,” which Strong's Concordance says is a “touchstone.”

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 5th Edition, tells us that a touchstone is “1. A black siliceous stone allied to flint;-used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal. 2. Any test or criterion by which to try a thing's quality.”

Through “eyes that see,” can we start to understand how profound this “symbol” is in accordance with the purposes of judgement? Do your own sins “torment” you? When your faith is struck upon this Rock and the results are declared to you by your heavenly Father, will you humbly submit for to judge yourself now and “cut off” your offending members as Jesus requested in His sermon on the mount? Will you allow it to reveal to you areas of impurity such as a false image of God, prejudice, hate, unforgiveness, bitterness, following tradition instead of Scripture and the Holy Spirit? The touchstone of judgement must come to all men. All these things and more will be dealt with one way or another, now in His elect – or later with the rest of humanity in the great “lake of fire.”

Yes, our lifelong trials are the “acid tests” that purge us of our carnality. A typical dictionary definition of an acid test is “a decisive or critical test, as of worth or quality (from the testing of gold in nitric acid.” As we begin to add these concepts to our minds, perhaps we can begin to see New Testament images in a purer way than we have been taught in the past. Perhaps we will begin to understand then, why the early teachers of Christianity called the “lake of fire” a place of “purifying fire,” or “divine fire.”

 

 

Gehenna – and the “traditions of men”

In our last study, we learnt that all the fires of judgement and trial are via the same one “consuming fire” of God. We learnt that “Gehenna fire” is a part of this one fire, and also that Gehenna is judgement. Remember that “Gehenna” (the burning rubbish dump outside Jerusalem’s walls) is a metaphor for the purging of vile, evil carnality. “Gehenna fire” embodies perfectly the idea of “purifying” that which needs judging! 

In Matt 5:29, Jesus uses Gehenna and again in verse 30. And remember for what sins this “fire” is used: “...if your right EYE offend you... if your right HAND offend you...” it must be removed, or the penalty is “Gehenna fire.” In Matt. 10:28 Jesus mentions again the judgment of Gehenna. In Matt. 18:9 He again uses “Gehenna fire.”

 

Despite now knowing what “Gehenna” actually means, It is a huge irony that the traditional Christian theological insistence that Jesus’ “Gehenna fire” being nothing more than the “eternal” hell of the damned, stems from other tainted traditions. Jewish perversion of the Scriptures have led to strange and fanciful views of the afterlife also, though even they show more mercy than the Christian version! How many Christian Pastors and teachers realize that even most Jewish Rabbi’s don’t even believe in an “eternal” Gehenna! There is in fact only a minority opinion (in the Talmud) that holds that some people go to “Gehenna” forever. The majority of rabbis in the Talmud, outright reject this view! This is troubling indeed for orthodox Christian views, considering it came out of the Jewish faith! Which “tradition of men” is true?

Through learned tradition, Rabbis began to teach Gehenna as a place of punishment for a person who did not live a righteous life, as definded by God and Torah for Jews, or the seven laws of Noah for non-Jews. The majority view of the Rabbis is that punishment in Gehenna is of limited duratation. The maximum punishment was believed to be 12 months. The Talmud says,in tractate Shabbat" page 33b that “The duration of punishment in Gehenna is twelve months.” This is also stated in both early and late rabbinical literature (ie, texts of the Rabbis of the Talmud). This 12 month limit is true for both Jewish and Gentile sinners ("Rosh HaShanah" 17a). This is true even of the generation of the flood, who were said to be very wicked. (Mishneh, Eduyyot 2:10; Genesis Rabbah 28:8). Though some individual Rabbis (a minority) expressed the view that certain sinners stayed in Gehenna forever, it was not the majority, accepted view.

“During the twelve-month period in Gehenna, the soul goes through a process of purification and atonement, and, as described in Midrash Pesikta Rabbati, 'After going down to Gehenna and receiving the punishment due him, the sinner is forgiven from all his iniquities, like an arrow from the bow he is flung forth from Gehenna” (Pesikta Rabbati 53:2).

After this experience, the soul is sufficiently purified and able to enter thesupernal postmortem realm of Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden (Exodus Rabbah 7:4)”(Raphael,Jewish Views of the Afterlife, p145)

It might surprise most Christians to learn that early Jewish teachers never looked at the Old Testament in the all too literal sense that modern Christians do today. Jewish Rabbis were rightly more interested in the “spiritual” lessons behind the Scriptures than proving “historical authenticity.” They understood the parabolic principles of the Scriptures were far more important than any “literal” interpretation. My how times have changed! This principle can be best summed up by the Hebrew “Midrash.”

The Hebrew term Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש; plural midrashim, “story” from “to investigate” or “study”) also “Interpretation” or “Exposition” is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible. Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond simple distillation of religious, legal, or moral teachings. It fills in many gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at.

Furthermore, Midrash is non-binding and usually is written to teach a lesson, or to encourage certain behavior (such as the desireablity of not committing adultary, purgery, or blaming a neighbor in public). It is not entended to be the literal truth in any way.

Like Christianity, in the medieval period an extensive MYTHICAL tradition was developed on the after-life, including punishment in Gehenna. Masekhet Gihinnom (a Medieval Midrash on Gehenna) says that 3 types of sinners go to Gehenna forever: men who committ adultary, blames his neighbor in public, and one who is guilty of purgery. The same tractate latter says that every 12 months the sinners are burned to ashes and dispersed by the wind, so that the righteous can walk on their ashes, fulfilling Malachi 3:21. Afterwards, their soul is release from Gehenna, they acknowledge the justice of their punishment. There are many other interpretations given to explaining the afterlife of Gehenna but despite variances, even the majority of Medieval Jewish Rabbis did NOT believe that “Hell” was forever.

We have already seen in our previous studies how such “traditions” have filtered their way down through the centuries like Chinese whispers, ever changing due to  constant embellishment by religious teachers, who have ignored the laws and precepts of the great patriarchs in favour of heathen philosophies.

It is no wonder that after the imminent influence of pagan ideas upon the early church congregations, that scriptural translation and interpretation took a nose dive into the realm of the profane.  How many have blatantly ignored the opening verses in the Book of Revelation that states;

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”(Rev 1:1-2) 

Never forget - this book is full of symbols! If one does not understand that the “signs,” that is, symbols need to be interpreted, one will never understand this book. The definition of the symbols (the Lake of Fire included) are contained in the Old Testament. Stars in a hand are not physical stars; frogs out of a prophet's mouth are not physical frogs, candlesticks are not really candlesticks. Do we really think there is a dead lamb laying on a throne in heaven? If one understands these things are “signs,” then understand that the Book of Revelation is full of hundreds of “signs.”

The carnal mind, especially the religious carnal mind will only twist the words in Revelation into a pile of distorted confusion. There will be far more “works” which will be cast into the “lake of fire” coming from orthodox ministers who speak like a dragon while claiming to represent the slain lamb than many care to acknowledge. Clerical collars and ordination papers are no guarantee that one is hearing the “Spirit of God.”

 

 

What needs TORMENTING in the Lake of fire?

And speaking of carnal mindedness, if the “torment” one suffers in the “lake of fire” is not the “physical” torture of human flesh, what on earth does get “tormented?” Answer: Our CHARACTER!  Need proof? Well, here are the character flaws and sins of the gross, apostate, depraved carnal mind that need “tormenting” in the purifying waters of the Lake of fire:

“But the fearful [timid], and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [paramours], andsorcerers [enchanters], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

Were the Apostles of our Lord “idolaters?” No.

Were the Apostles of our Lord “sorcerers?” No.

Were the Apostles of our Lord “whoremongers?” No.

Were the Apostles of our Lord “murderers?” No.

Were the Apostles of our Lord “abominable?” No.

Were the Apostles of our Lord “unbelieving?” YES.

Were the Apostles of our Lord “fearful [timid]?’ YES.

And were the Apostles of our Lord “all liars?” YES they were.

Is it absolutely necessary that even the “fearful and unbelieving” and all tellers of little white lies, must be cast into “TORMENT?” Yes … yes it is. Remember back to the Disciples upon the water;

“And straightway [immediately] Jesus constrained [force, entreaty, threat, persuasion—not too dissimilar from being cast into the lake of fire’] His disciples to get into a ship…” (Matt. 14:23).

At this time in Christ’s ministry, the Apostles were still unconverted. It will shock most people to realize that Jesus went to the cross, never having converted a single disciple! How so? Well they were not truly converted until the Day of Pentecost when they received the Holy Spirit of God WITHIN themselves. They were not, however, all, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, and idolaters. But they ALL possessed two or three of the character flaws mentioned in Rev. 21:8 - they were all “fearful [timid] and unbelieving.”

Jesus specifically points out these character flaws to them all by an ACTUAL EXPERIENCE! In other words, the disciples proved TO THEMSELVES that they were fearful, unbelieving, and liars: “…and they cried out for FEAR” (Matt. 14:26). And they all doubted that it was Jesus walking on the water, so Jesus both reprimanded and encouraged them:

“Be of good cheer; it is I; be NOT afraid… O you of little faith, wherefore did you DOUBT” (Vers. 17 & 31).

“And Jesus said unto them [His apostles], ALL YE shall be offended [turn against me, desert me, fall away, fall from your faith] because of Me this night…” (Mark 14:27).

And so we read that they were “tossed [TORMENTED] by the waves.” They were being TRIED UNDER PRESSURE as when using a touchstone.

We have already proved that “the fire shall try every man’s work” in I Cor. 3:13 is a spiritual match with Rev. 20:13 & 15 where “they were judged every man according to their works … in the lake of fire” And in both cases the “fire” is God’s SPIRIT. God’s spirit burns spiritual character flaws out of the hearts of mankind in a similar way in which literal fire burns up and abolishes wood, straw, and stubble. And since we are the Body of Christ and we too are made “flames of fire,” then we also judge the deeds of men’s hearts.

 

 

Calming the raging waves of the sea

So, if we discern these symbols in accordance with the pattern of scripture, what is the final outcome of a humanity that is likened to, “Raging Waves of the Sea?” Will they spew out their raging foam of hatred and wickedness forever as orthodox teaching would have us believe? No, certainly not. There is a cure for every disease, a solution to every problem, a Saviour for every lost soul. The “raging waves of the sea” are not match for Him Who walks on water!

“And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, PEACE, BE STILL. And the wind ceased, and there was a GREAT CALM. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? [How is it that Christendom has NO FAITH?] And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of Man is this, that even the WIND AND THE SEA OBEY HIM?” (Mark 4:39-41).

Has Jesus lost His touch? Do we think that Jesus no longer can make “the wind and the sea OBEY Him?”

“And the SEA gave up the dead [spiritually dead] which were in it [these spiritually dead are also called, "raging waves of the sea" who are "foaming out their own shame" Jude 13] …and they were judged every man according to their works… And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:13 & 15).

Will these wicked “raging waves of the sea” continue foaming out their shame for ALL ETERNITY, in a place of eternal torture? Or will Jesus once again walk on the waters and cause a “GREAT CALM” to come over all humanity?

Know this. The spiritual fire in the “lake of fire” is a powerful, powerful remedy for the sins of humanity, and this Fire from God will work a great work on the “raging waves of the sea.” There is coming a great calm on all humanity:

“And I saw as it were a SEA OF GLASS mingled with FIRE [yes, the fire of God’s spirit is a necessary part of this ‘sea of glass’]: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass [ah, they too can now walk on water which is now smooth and calm as glass], having the harps of God”

All of the “raging and foaming” has been calmed SMOOTH AS GLASS by the fiery spirit of God. They now sing praises to God, symbolized by their harps! Jesus will yet calm the great sea of humanity. Be not deceived, the sea will yet “OBEY Him!”

And just a note, we will explain the symbols of “the beast,” “his image,” “his mark,” “the number of his name,” “the man of sin,” “the two witnesses,” “the second death,” “the antichrist,” etc., in upcoming instalments.

 

 

God’s ministers are flames of fire

Christ is not only IN the lake of fire, He IS THE LAKE OF FIRE. He is the Divinity in this spiritual fire – the church just can’t get such lofty and profound ideas. There are HUGE misconceptions about the nature of these symbols – the church hasn’t a clue as to what they represent or more importantly WHO they represent! Many of these scriptures are confined to the never ending “grey areas” or “too hard baskets” that to readily haunt Christian congregations and seminaries the world over. In fact, it’s safe to say that the average Christian has NO idea as to how to reconcile God’s judgements in respect to their OWN place within the judgment scenario.

Ponder this:

Like Christ, we too are raised with a “SPIRITUAL body” (I Cor. 15:44).

We are in fact called, “the BODY of Christ” (Eph. 1:23).

We will literally “be LIKE Him [Christ] (I John 3:2).

God will make US into “ministers [of] FLAMING FIRE” (Psalm 104:4).

We too then will be like our God, “a CONSUMING FIRE” (Heb. 12:29).

God promises us that, “…the saints shall JUDGE THE WORLD…” and we shall JUDGE ANGELS” (I Cor. 6:2-3)!

The very concept of the chosen and the elect judging the world doesn’t even compute with the average Christian. Most are reconciled to the fatuous dogma that Christ shall merely judge the sinner at death and toss him/her into a lake of boiling lava, or stick him into a mansion on a street of gold overlooking a heavenly central park where they do and achieve NOTHING! How does one account for the above verses? Another doctrinal “grey area” perhaps?

Not only that, but God tells us WHERE this judgment will take place:

“…they were judged every man according to their works," and "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into THE LAKE OF FIRE” (Rev. 20:13 & 15).

Therefore, we, the Saints, the Body of Christ, the consuming fire ministers of God, the saviours of Mt. Zion, the manifested Sons and Daughters of God, along with our Head, Jesus Christ, also ARE THE LAKE OF FIRE!

THERE IS NO LITERAL LAKE, AND THERE IS NO LITERAL FIRE. Jesus Christ and His Body of Saints ARE THE LAKE OF JUDGING, PURIFYING, CONSUMING SPIRITUAL FIRE!!! Amazing!

The “lake of fire” is a metaphor written in symbols that stand for what is being symbolized, not the symbols themselves. The lake of fire is composed of Jesus Christ the Judge of the world, Christ’s divine spiritual fire and brimstone, and the Sons of God who are the body of Christ who are also FLAMES OF FIRE (Heb. 1:7).

And what do the saints of God achieve when they are resurrected in Glory? Play harps on some floating cloud in the land of candy and jelly bean rain? NO! The whole world will be judged BY US!

Yes, after death, all the dead will be resurrected, they will all be judged, they will have to pass through the purifying lake of fire, they will have to PASS THROUGH US! WE will be their judge along with our Lord.

“Know ye not that the SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD?”

And so, the GREAT SEA OF HUMANITY will be judged in the safety and security of the LAKE OF SAINTS! When  we understand the symbols correctly, isn’t it amazing how other scriptures just seem to fit into place....and ultimately – MAKE SENSE!

 

 

Not yet in the image of God

Most of Christendom has been taught and believe that God created (past tense) man in the very “image of God” with nothing left as far as his advancement goes, spiritually speaking.  Oh really? So if we want to see what the “image of God” really looks like, all we have to do is look at the vast sea of evil, sinning humanity? Hmmm, so much for that Christian fable! Or maybe you believe like many that Adam and Eve WERE (past tense) in the absolute, very IMAGE of God when they were created, but then lost that “image” when they sinned?

Few indeed realize that being made into the image of God is much the same as being saved—IT IS AN ONGOING PROCESS!

Check all the verses in the original: “now saving,” “to save,” “shall save,” “might save,” “are being saved,” etc. “For by grave ARE ye saved through faith…” tells us HOW we are being saved, not WHEN (Eph. 2:8). Verses such as I Cor. 1:18 in the King James, “…but unto us which ARE saved it is the power of God,” is not a faithful rendering of the Greek. Check an interlinear. The words are thus: “…to-THE YET ones-beING-SAVED US…” Yes, often the original manuscripts have only endings and not the complete word, as in “ING.” It clearly shows and uncompleted action!

Creating man in God’s image:

King James Version: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; make and female created He them” (Gen. 1:26a & 27).

Concordant Version: “And saying is the Alueim [Hebrew: elohiym, gods or used of the supreme God--plural of elowahh, a deity or the Deity], Make will We humanity in Our image, and according to Our likeness… And creating is the Alueim humanity in His image. In the Image of the Alueim He creates it. Male and female He creates them” (Gen. 1:26a & 27).

So we see here the same thing with regards to the Greek aorist tense of verbs, as in “For God so lovED the world” versus “For thus God lovES the world.” God’s love for the world CONTINUES! And creating man in God’s image also CONTINUES!

Lustful, carnal-minded, sinning, Adam and Eve were no more in the complete image of God at their physical creation than the Apostles were completely converted during the schooling under Christ’s teaching. It is all an ongoing process. We are even still being converted, and still being perfected, and still becoming more and more like God. How often I have heard preachers remark how Adam and Eve where in the very IMAGE OF GOD. THE TRUE IMAGE OF GOD DOES NOT SIN!

“For whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate TO BE conformed to the image of His Son…” (Rom. 8:29).

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we SHALL also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:49). Presently, only Jesus Christ is the true “Image of God’ (II Cor. 4:4).

 

 

For you see your calling brethren

There are whole categories of people who are not even called in this church age (I Cor. 1:26) And only a very few of those who are called, are finally “chosen.” They are, of course, chosen for a grand and glorious purpose.

If one wants to die in their sleep during a peaceful dream and then float up to a fluffy cloud in heaven over the rainbow where they will then spend eternity plucking a harp, it is evident that that wouldn’t require much prior training (except for possible harp lessons). But if one desires the ‘HIGH CALLING of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14), then brace yourself for a little more vigorous preparatory program.

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that NOT many wise men after the flesh, NOT many mighty, NOT many noble, are called: But God has chosen the FOOLISH things of the world to confound the WISE; and God has chosen the WEAK things of the world to confound the things which are MIGHTY; and the BASE [insignificant] things of the world, and things which are DESPISED, has God chosen, yea, and things which are NOT, to bring to nought [nothing] things that ARE. That no flesh should glory in His presence” (I Cor. 1:26-29).

God is choosing the FOOLISH, WEAK, BASE, DESPISED, NOTHINGS of this world to CONFOUND the WISE and MIGHTY of this world! And you don’t think that will take any particular specialized training? You think that you are already fully equipped and suited for such a task? You feel that with your “acceptance” of Jesus Christ, that you are fully equipped to not only debate and take on the WISE and MIGHTY of this world, but to utterly CONFOUND THEM? Oh really?

Peter thought that he was ready to conquer the world at Jesus’ side, long before he was even converted:

“Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him [JESUS!], saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall NOT be unto thee” Jesus said: “Get thee behind Me, SATAN.” (Matt. 16:22).

“And he [Peter] said unto Him, Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death.” Jesus said: “I tell thee, peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice DENY that you know Me” (Luke 22:33-34).

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear." Jesus said: "Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (John 18:10 and Matt. 26:52).

“And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be You, bid me to come unto You on the water… But when he saw the wind boisterous [violent], he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” Jesus said: “O you of little faith, wherefore did you doubt” (Matt. 14:28-31).

And so it was with Peter (who personifies all of us), that he was not ready to take on the world with his carnal mind. He needed converting, training, experience, testing, and purging, before he (or we) would be ready to “Judge the world.”

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through MUCH TRIBULATION enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

 

 

Counting the cost

All of our struggles, our trials, count for something! They are not mere manifestations of the sins of Adam and Eve, a curse without purpose. Through them, ALL humanity will be made/taught (chastised/judged) to walk in the likeness of Christ. God has already outlined a training course for those who would be Sons and Daughters of God.” 

It involves a whole lot more than just enunciating a phrase of faith in Jesus. Acknowledging Jesus as your Saviour is certainly the starting point, but it is far from the complete requirement for those who would reign with Jesus as Judge, Lord, Priest and King. Here are just a few of the things that God requires of us. There are, of course, dozens, even HUNDREDS more declarations and admonitions to those who would become manifest Sons and Daughters of our God and Father:

“LOVE your enemies, BLESS them that curse you, DO GOOD to them that hate you, and PRAY for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you [Why?]; that ye may be the children [Greek: ‘SONS] of your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44-45)!

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, DO YE EVEN SO TO THEM: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12).

“For I say unto you, That except YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL EXCEED righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in NO CASE enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let Him DENY HIMSELF, and TAKE UP HIS CROSS, and FOLLOW ME” (Matt. 16:24).

“Jesus said unto him, You shall LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40).

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall ENDURE UNTO THE END, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:12-13).

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, IF YE CONTINUE IN MY WORD, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).

“Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

COME OUT OF HER [Mystery Babylon the Great and all of her evil teachings], My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).

My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. IF YOU ENDURE CHASTENING, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Heb. 12:5-8).

Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as YE ARE PARTAKERS OF CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Pet. 4:12-13).

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it BE TRIED WITH [SPIRITUAL] FIRE, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:7).

“LOVE NOT THE WORLD [that is the social system of this world, we are to love the people of the world], neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:15-16).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD: but be ye transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1).

“But Jesus called them unto Him and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But IT SHALL NOT BE SO WITH YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister [servant] (Matt. 20:25-26).

“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each ESTEEM OTHER BETTER THAN THEMSELVES” (Phil. 2:3).

Let this MIND BE IN YOU, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5).

“SUBMIT yourselves therefore to God. RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you. DRAW NIGH to God, and He will draw night to you. CLEANSE your hands, ye sinners; and PURIFY your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7).

REPENT ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE” (Phil. 1:29).

“But I say unto you, That ye RESIST NOT EVIL: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. 5:39).

Then said Jesus unto him, PUT UP AGAIN YOUR SWORD into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt. 26:52).

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do MORTIFY THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, ye shall live”(Rom. 8:13).

“WALK IN THE SPIRIT, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

It all sounds so overwhelming that we should actually live by all of these commandments. High calling indeed! And actually, there are many more like commandments in God’s Word. How are we to perform all these impossible tasks? Well certainly not by our own will and power.

 

 

All these things are possible with God

Thankfully, we don’t have to accomplish all these many commands by our own power. God also gives us many promises to be with us in every way necessary to assure our success:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me [‘I have strength for all things in HIM which GIVES ME POWER’{Henry Alford}, ‘Nothing is beyond my power in the strength of HIM Who MAKES ME STRONG’ {The Twentieth Century New Testament}, ‘I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who LIVES WITHIN ME’ {Phillips Translation}] (Phil. 4:13).

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and HE SHALL LIFT YOU UP” (James 4:10).

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you though the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord… Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [LOVE]. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ… Wherefore the rather, brethren given diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, YE SHALL NEVER FALL” (I Pet. 1:2-10).

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season WE SHALL REAP, if we faint not [Gk: ‘do not lose heart’] (Gal. 6:9).

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto ALL THEM ALSO THAT LOVE HIS APPEARING” (II Tim.4:8).

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment [remember that, ‘judgment is upon the House of God NOW,’ I Pet. 4:17] : because as He is, SO ARE IN THIS WORLD” (I John 4:17).

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP [Gk: ACHIEVEMENT], CREATED IN Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-9).

“If God be for us, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?” (Rom. 8:31).

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from THE LOVE OF GOD, WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD” (Rom. 8:38-39).

And likewise, there are many more such Scriptures of comfort and assurance that God is able and willing to see us succeed once He has begun a work in us.

 

 

 

 

Glass mingled with fire

 

My, my, how beautifully the scriptures harmonize when we put two and two together to paint the FULL picture of the marvellous plans of Gods judgements. Maybe now, we can rejoice more easily in our suffering s knowing that they are attaining for us something far more glorious than what we are going thorough in this life! Yes, we are being called to the great honour of the judgement seat of Christ! Let’s look at the meaning of the symbols of judgement in more detail.

 

“The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.” (Rev 20:13)

Now we have discussed what the image of the “sea” (the raging sea of unrepentant humanity) symbolizes. As we know, there are two categories of Judgment: The House of God NOW, and the wicked and unbelieving at the Great White Throne. Two categories, two people, two callings, two different judgment periods. But there is another image involving the “sea” that has to be explained.

“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment [a symbolic of righteousness]; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind” (Rev. 4:4-6).

Notice that there are an additional ten symbols in this one single verse. But for now, what does this sea of glass” symbolically represent? Here's another reference:

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Rev. 15:1-3).

What in the world does this strange symbolism signify?

“And he says unto me, The waters ['and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas' Gen. 1:10] which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (Rev. 17:15).

Remember that the “sea” represents people, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And before the Throne of God we now see a beautiful “sea of glass.” And standing on this sea of glass are those who had gotten victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and his name. This sea is now calm and clean and clear and beautiful, like a sea of glass. This represents God's Elect who have overcome the beast within and the beast without, and are now before the throne of God ready to reign with Christ (See Rev. 20:4). But what of the sea” of Rev. 20:13? They are spiritually dead, and represent something quite different.

Contrasted with the sea of glass like unto crystal,” we have the following description of another sea, by the apostle Jude:

Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever [Gk: 'an eon'] (Jude 1:13).

The wicked are like raging waves of the sea.” Isaiah concurs:

“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isa. 57:20).

Mankind at his worst is likened in Scripture to a beast:

“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts (Ecc. 3:18).

And THIRTY-SIX times (6 X 6) God calls Babylon a “WILD BEAST” in the book of Revelation (See Concordant Literal New Testament). Jude puts them both together: “brute beasts and raging waves of the sea.”

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as BRUTE BEASTS, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: cloudsthey are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever [for the eon] (Jude 1:8-13).

Not a pretty picture of humanity. This is not speaking of just a few evil men that crept into the congregation of Christ's Church. This short book of Jude is speaking of two classes, two kinds, of people--believers and non-believers, those saved and those destroyed:

“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not (Jude 5).

Notice it: those saved and those destroyed. These represent the entire race. These represent the entire world of humanity coming up in two resurrections: The resurrection of the JUST and the UNJUST.” Clearly the “raging waves of the sea” represent the “brute beasts” that have “corrupted themselves.” “Foaming out their shame...” Jude tells us. What is this but Daniel's prophecy of all such filthy dreamers coming into eonian shame and judgment:

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting (eonian) life, and some to shame and everlasting (eonian) contempt” (Dan 12;20

These brute beasts, these ranging waves of the sea, MUST BE TAMED, until they become a beautiful, crystal, clear sea of glass.

“And I saw another sign in heaven...And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Rev. 15:1 & 2).

Yes, these are the Elect of God who are now before the Throne of God and are standing on a beautiful crystal clear sea of glass. They have been tamed. They have conquered the beast within and the beast of Babylon without. They are shown victorious over the beast, his image, his mark and his name, but it came at a price. Did you notice the words “sea of glass mingled with FIRE?” Yes, the world must go through the fire, the lake of fire/second death,” and so must God's Elect. But here they are pictured SAFE (saved) not unlike when Jesus calmed the sea and saved His Own disciples from the raging waves of the sea. When there is no faith, the beast appears, and the sea rages.

“And He [Jesus] arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith (Mark 4:39-40).

But how do the Elect die once but after this Judgment?” It rather seems that they would receive Judgment [in this life], and then after this [judgment] they would once die. No, the sequence is the same for the Elect as it is for the wicked: “And it is appointed unto men [including the Elect] once to die, but after this [after this necessary 'once to die' declaration, then follows...], Judgment” (Heb. 9:27). And what did we learn Judgment is? Why, THE SECOND DEATH. There can only be a “second” death if it is first preceded by another death.

Now for the second part of the Heb. 9:27 riddle: When and how do God's Elect die “ONCE” before their SECOND death Judgment?

“Know ye not [no, of course the majority of Christendom 'knows not,' and that is why the physical aspects of baptism is so important to them...] ...know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into DEATH (Rom. 6:3-4).

A-ha! There is the answer to how God's Elect must “once die’ before their ‘Second death Judgment.”

The carnal world dies when they breathe their last and go down into the grave. God's Elect die when they are “baptized into death.” After resurrection from the dead, the world will enter into Judgment. And what about us--God's Elect? When do we enter into Judgment? Same way, when we are resurrected from the dead through baptism.

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Rom. 6:4).

But we are not literally resurrected to immortality as Jesus was, when we are raised from the dead after being baptized into JESUS, are we? No, not literally, that is why Paul says we are to, reckon you also yourselves to be dead.”

“Likewise r-e-c-k-o-n you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).

The Greek word for “reckon” means “to estimate, conclude, impute, reason, reckon, suppose, think.” It is not necessary to “reckon” something that is literally a present reality. In the future we will literally be free from all sin and literally have immortality in resurrection, but for now we can just “reckon” it.

This death is not a literal, physical death, but it is a REAL death, and it is most important:

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Rom. 6:8).

Notice also that in addition to being baptized into Christ's death, we are also “buried.” True, this is figurative language, but it is true language. We truly are not only crucified with Christ, and die with Christ, but we are also buried with Him. THIS IS THE FIRST DEATH OF THE ELECT BEFORE THEIR SECOND DEATH IN JUDGMENT BY FIRE.

How sad it is that billions of people are eager to be baptized in water, but do not know what it means to be “baptized into Jesus Christ.” If people want to be baptized in water, fine, but if they are not at the same time “baptized into Jesus Christ,” which means “baptized into death,” then they only go down dry and come up wet--little else changes in their lives.

Remember that the Lake of fire IS death, but death only to those things which are to be no longer. The church just doesn’t understand that. Are there to be people after the Judgment? Yes, who else will the elect “judge” and then rule over? Well then people will not be literally killed or annihilated in this judgment by fire. How would God ever be “ALL in all” (I Cor. 15:28)? How indeed would “...the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab 2:14) – i.e. God through His elect taming the rest of the sea! Amazing symbol is it not?

 

 

The three festivals and the salvation of all

Yet are there other scriptures (spiritual witnesses) that prove outright the true nature of Christ’s perfect judgements upon the “waters” of His elect and all humanity? Indeed there are! Remember those PARABLES? Remember how only the elect are given the eyes to understand them? Yes, there are numerous ongoing parabolic references throughout the scriptures that clearly demonstrate when and in what manner all these unsaved masses (the raging sea) will be saved. One particular Old Testament “type” is illustrated all through the New Testament, but the blind and unperceiving eyes of Christendom have for the most part failed to see it, believe it, or teach it.

The American Heritage College Dictionary: “type” n  6. “A figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, such as an event in the Old Testament that foreshadows another in the New Testament,” p. 1485.  There are many such types beginning back in the first chapter of Genesis.

Here are just two examples:  The Passover in ancient Israel was a type of its true fulfilment to come in our Lord's crucifixion, “Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened [but now speaking spiritually]For even Christ our PASSOVER [Lamb] is sacrificed [crucified] for us” (I Cor. 5:7).  And James 1:18 clearly demonstrates the foreshadowing of the firstfruits harvest by saying:  “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a KIND of firstfruits [of the Spring Harvest] of His creatures [not farm products].  It is also important to note that whenever the word “first” is used, it always suggests more to follow  - there is never a Spring harvest without a following Fall harvest. Let us consider three of the Old Testament types that centre on the harvest seasons.

In ancient Israel there were three times in the year when all men were to appear before God:

1.    THE WAVE SHEAF (Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover): “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf OF the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest ... And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the FIRST year for a burnt offering unto the Lord” (Lev. 23:10-12). 
 
This wave sheaf of the very first of the firstfruits is a type of our Lord Who was the perfect Lamb without blemish offered in the Spring on Passover. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the FIRSTFRUIT of them that sleep” (I Cor. 15:20). Jesus is not the entire firstfruits but rather “the firstfruit OF them that sleep.” He is the firstfruit OF the firstfruit or more precisely the “wave sheaf OF the firstfruits.” Firstfruit is a term that pertains to agriculture and harvesting. It was never a theological term until introduced into the New Testament with regards to a small number who would be saved prior to a much larger number to be saved later.

 

2.    THE FIRSTFRUITS (Feast of Weeks): “All the best of the oil , and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the FIRSTFRUITS of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee ... And whatsoever is FIRST RIPE in the land which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine..." (Num. 18:12 & 13). "And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, has given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God” (Deut. 26:10).
 
The type in the New Testament of this Old Testament symbol is the Believer. Notice what James tells us, “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of FIRSTFRUITS of His creatures” (James 1:18). Now a very important point: How far down the road in prophecy can we go until we reach the end of the firstfruits? In Rev. 7:4-8 we read of the sealing of the 144,000. These are a different group from the great innumerable multitude, which no man could number, from every nation and tongue spoken of beginning in verse 9.
 
In Chapter 14:1 & 4 we are told specifically who these 144,000 are: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand [notice that the innumerable multitudes from all nations is not mentioned here] ... These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins [as in the Bride of Christ]. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, BEING THE FIRSTFRUITS unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:1 & 4). So every believer from the Apostles to the 144,000 just prior to the return of Jesus Christ to establish His reign on the earth, is called and likened to FIRSTFRUITS! So what does this have to do with the lake of fire? EVERYTHING! Everyone saved before the Day of Judging is likened to firstfruits, so there will be no more firstfruits after the white throne judgment. 
 
Paul tells us in Rom. 8:23, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the FIRSTFRUITS of the Spirit...” Nowhere do we read of the “LASTFRUITS,” but whenever something is FIRST we also know there is something to follow. Nor are there any references to any “ONLYFRUITS.” The firstfruits are clearly not the ONLY fruits! Follow this very closely now, for you are in for a big shock when you understand the type in the fall festival of Tabernacles - the great fall harvest.

 

3.    THE END-OF-THE-YEAR FEAST OF INGATHERING (Feast of Tabernacles): “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou has sown in the field and the FEAST OF INGATHERING, which is in the END OF THE YEAR, when you have gathered in thy labours out of the field” (Ex. 23:16). 
 
“Thou shall observe the FEAST OF TABERNACLES seven
 
[number of perfection] days, after that you have gathered in your corn and your wine: And you shall REJOICE IN YOUR FEAST, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the widow, that are within your gates [that’s just about EVERYONE, wouldn’t you say?]. Seven days [here’s that perfect number again] shall you keep A SOLEMN FEAST [a very important feast to God] unto the LORD your God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you shalt surely REJOICE” (Deut. 16:13-15). Here truly was a festival in which EVERYONE, every single person in all Israel, and also did you notice, “the STRANGER” who was NOT an Israelite could really REJOICE! THIS FESTIVAL WAS THE HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR! Do we think it will have no fulfilment in God’s grand plan of salvation?
 
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the FEAST OF TABERNACLES for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the EIGHTH DAY shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by FIRE unto the LORD: it is a SOLEMN assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein" (Lev. 23:34-36).

Why is the profound and marvellous truth of this festival not taught in its proper chronological order by the prophets of Christendom? How is it even possible to avoid seeing the powerful and glorious consummation of God’s salvation in this Fall Harvest Festival? Why is the truth of this GREAT FEAST being hidden from the eyes of the world? What is it that they are trying to hide from us? God’s Word will show us.

 

 

Jesus taught the purpose of the fall harvest

The eighth day of this Feast of Tabernacles was called “The Last Great Day of the Feast.” Jesus Christ Himself came to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and spoke on the Last Great Day:

“In the last day, that GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If ANY MAN thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of LIVING WATER” (John 7:37-38).

At what point in future prophecy, will Jesus Christ CUT OFF the invitation to all and any who are athirst to drink of His LIVING WATERS? Our Lord NEVER cuts off the invitation to drink of the living waters. These waters (a symbol for God’s SPIRIT) will be available until every creature in heaven and earth is saved:

“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the FOUNTAIN OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY” (Rev. 21:6).

 

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the WATER OF LIFE FREELY” (Rev. 22:17).

And this declaration is made just five verses before the END OF THE BIBLE!

But don’t be deceived. As we know, Jesus Christ IS the “tree of life” in the Garden, and NO ONE can partake of that tree of life except he first pass the through the “FLAMING SWORD” that points in all directions and guards the tree of life. Remember, “Our God is a CONSUMING FIRE” (Heb. 12:29).

So Tabernacles celebrated the great Fall harvest, the largest harvest of the whole year. It was this great Fall harvest that would sustain Israel through the winter months. There were far more products to be harvested in the END of the year than in the Spring of the year. Therefore this same type must carry over into the New Testament.

So here is where we are. There were THREE great festivals in the yearly calendar of Israel:

“THREE TIMES in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which He shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread [which included Passover], and in the feast of weeks [firstfruits], and in the feast of tabernacles [the time of the great fall harvest]: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty” (Deut. 16:16).

First comes the wave sheaf, the very first of the firstfruits, on Passover, during the feast of unleavened bread. This represents CHRIST, the very first (wave sheaf) OF the firstfruit, our Passover sacrificed for us.

Second was the Feast of Weeks when the firstfruit of the land was harvested. This represents US, the FIRSTFRUIT to enter God’s Kingdom. James says WE are the firstfruit of God (James 1:18).

Third came the great Fall harvest, the Feast of Tabernacles, a much much larger gathering, where ALL THE FALL HARVEST was gathered in! What does this Feast picture? This was the time of true REJOICING FOR EVERYONE. Absolutely EVERYONE. No one was left out of this great and final festival of the year:

“And thou shalt rejoice IN THY FEAST [of Tabernacles, the fall harvest], YOU, and your SON, and your DAUGHTER, and your MANSERVANT, and your MAIDSERVANT, and the LEVITE, the STRANGER [GENTILES], and the FATHERLESS, and the WIDOW, that are within your gates” (Deut. 16:14).

NO ONE was EXCLUDED! EVERYONE was INCLUDED!

And so we see in the New Testament that these three festivals of ancient Israel are really TYPES in God’s master plan of salvation. Christ the FIRST of the firstfruit. Then believers, the FIRSTFRUITS. And then the great FALL HARVEST.

But wait a minute. We know that Christ was the First of the firstfruit to be resurrected to life. We also know that all the believing saints who are to reign with Christ at His coming are the rest of the firstfruits. So where then does the great fall harvest of souls come into God’s family? When have you ever been taught about the great fall harvest, which excludes no- one but includes everyone? There is a reason why you haven’t heard the truth of these Scriptures in Christendom.

According to Christendom THERE IS NO GREAT FALL HARVEST OF SOULS at the end of the ages!

That’s right, they say there will be NO Fall Harvest in God’s Kingdom. Just how do they account for such a thing? Is God such an inept and unskilled Farmer that He has a total crop failure when Fall harvest time comes, or will He just BURN THE ENTIRE HARVEST in the eternal fires of some fabled hell?

 

 

The former and later rain

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” (Joel 2:23)

The above verse has been used time and time again by orthodox teachers to promote their endgame scenario of Gods brutal destruction and torture of the sinning masses of humanity. If ever there was a contender for the most overused and least understood portion of scripture in the Bible, then this is one of them.

A common mainstream teaching of this verse is that in the near future, God will send the former rain and latter rain, all in the FIRST MONTH of the year. Thus, the former rain really represents the former harvest or Pentecost (firstfruits) and the latter rain represent the Fall harvest (Tabernacles), so both the spring harvest of firstfruits AND the fall harvest of ingathering will BOTH TAKE PLACE IN THE FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR! – Meaning therefore there will not be a separate huge fall harvest, just one harvest in the first month only. And both of these harvests combined will NOT include all the produce of the field, ONLY THAT PORTION which is lucky enough to get harvested. This supposed spring and fall harvest combined, in the first month, will be but a small portion of the entire crop! But oh for a decent translation!

If you have a King James Bible you will notice that the word "month" in Joel 2:23 is in italics. This means that in the Hebrew manuscript from which this verse was translated, there is NO WORD “month” in verse 23. The translators inserted the word “month” thinking they would make the meaning of the verse clearer, when in reality, they turned the verse into a contradiction. It should read, “…the former rain, and the latter rain as in the first.” – Period! It is not speaking of “the first month,” but “as in the first or as before or as in the beginning.” Notice a few credible translations of this verse:

“Rejoice in the Eternal One your God, for the early rain He has given you amply, the winter-rain he has poured upon you, and sent the latter rain as of old” (A New Translation By James Moffatt).

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice In the LORD your God; For He giveth you the former rain in just measure, And He causeth to come down for you the rain, The former rain and latter rain, at the first(The Holy Scriptures, The Jewish Publication Society).

“Then, sons of Zion, exult! And rejoice in the LORD, your God! For He will give to you the former rain in just measure, And He will bring down for you the downpour, The former rain and the latter rain as at first (Concordant Version By Concordant Publishing Concern).

“Rejoice, O people of Jerusalem, rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rains He sends are tokens of forgiveness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as those of spring” (The Living Bible, Holman Illustrated Edition).

“And you, O children of Zion, rejoice, and be joyful in the Lord your God: because He hath given you a teacher of justice, and he will make the early and the latter rain to come down to you as in the beginning (The Holy Bible, Douay Confraternity).

“O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, He has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before (The New Revised Standard Version).

Does anyone see the word “month” in any of these translations? That’s because God never inspired the word “month” to be used in this verse. Clearly this verse is not speaking about having a spring and fall harvest all in the same first month of the year! How conveniently Christian teachers simply wipe out God’s whole Fall Harvest of billions of souls by extrapolating a false prophecy and unscriptural doctrine from one non-existent word!

The firstfruits are but the beginning of the harvest, and there is to follow the full fall harvest of all humanity! God said that this end of the year fall harvest was a time of REJOICING. One could hardly rejoice over throwing the entire fall harvest of humanity into some hellhole of eternal fire!

THREE TIMES there was a great festival to God wherein, by the use of types, God showed mankind His plan of salvation. The PASSOVER, the FIRSTFRUITS, and the FALL HARVEST. These three festival types in the Old Testament were to have their fulfilment in future realizations of these types.

 

EVERY MAN SAVED IN HIS OWN ORDER

I Cor. 15:20, 23, 24 presents us with the type and fulfilment of the three harvest festivals:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the FIRSTFRUITS OF [the rest of the firstfruits awaiting resurrection in His presence] them that slept ... But EVERY MAN [all mankind, the WHOLE human race] in his own ORDER: Christ the firstfruits...” (The Wave Sheaf of the very first of the firstfruits).

Afterward they that are Christ’s [those who are now saved] at His coming [the rest of the firstfruits that are sleeping and those alive waiting]. (The Firstfruits, the Spring Harvest).

“Then comes the END [The Fall Harvest, the Feast of Tabernacles].” …and the feast of INGATHERING [of the Fall Harvest], which is in the END...” (Ex. 23:16). What did Jesus say would happen in “the end,” at the “end of the Feast,” “the last day,” “the last great day of the feast?” “In the last day, that GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If ANY MAN thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of LIVING WATER” (John 7:37-38).

 

THEN COMES THE END

I Cor. 15:24 says, “Then comes the END…” “The end” of what? Just what is it that “ends” in “the end?” Does the earth end? Does the universe end? Do we end? What ends in the end? “Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming [Gk: His presence]. Then comes THE END...” (II Cor. 15:24). Let’s look at a few verses before we come to “the end” in verse 24:

Verse 20:

 

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

Contrary to popular teaching, there was no heavenly welcoming committee of men and women who became firstfruits BEFORE Christ became the FIRSTFRUIT. No, there were no saints welcoming Christ back to heaven. Christ taught:

“And NO MAN has ascended into heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).

Jesus Christ was the FIRST. Ask your pastor if this verse really is true, that “NO MAN” has ascended into heaven. This would then mean that Lazarus and Abraham in the Rich man parable also were NOT IN HEAVEN as most teach that they were, wouldn’t it?

Among the very last few words that Christ uttered on this earth were these:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the BEGINNING and the END, the FIRST and the LAST” (Rev. 22:13).

So yes, Christ is the first of the firstfruits. He is the first of EVERYTHING, He is the very Creator; and He is the last, the end, the CONSUMMATION of God’s plan of universal salvation.

Ver. 21-22: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For AS in Adam ALL die, EVEN SO in Christ shall ALL be made alive.”

The word “alive” in this verse is a word that is used with reference to imparting immortality, and not just mortal life. The Greek word is zoopoieo, and it means to give life beyond the grasp of any future death. Notice how it is used in Rom. 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead [Christ was raised to immortality, not back to a mortal life] dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [zoopoieo] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.”

So clearly God does not give “mortal” life to our “mortal” bodies, seeing that we already have mortal life. No, He imparts IMMORTALITY to us. And this is exactly what Paul tells us in I Cor. 15, “For this corruptible [body] must put on incorruption [spiritual], and this mortal [dying or dead body] must put on IMMORTALITY [Gk: DEATH-LESS-NESS]” (Verse 53). And to whom does Christ grant immortal “zoopoieo” life? Answer: “ALL.” The very same “all” who die in Adam are the very same “all” who are given life IN CHRIST.

It is also noteworthy that it is “…IN Christ ALL…” and is not restricted to only, “…ALL IN CHRIST…” as many have tried to twist this verse to mean. They say it is only all those who are “in” Christ. But that is not what this verse says. It says “in Christ ALL.” That is the order of words. This verse is not speaking of those just the “all believers” who are said to be “IN Christ.” No, this verse is speaking about the very same “in Adam ALL” who die become the very same “in Christ ALL” who are made alive. And although this particular verse does not say that “all” are now “IN Christ,” it does most definitely say that “in Christ,” the “ALL” shall be shall be “made alive.” “Made alive” does not prove they are “in” Christ or that they are “saved,” only that they have been given immortal life. Then comes JUDGMENT. But don’t think that therefore there is no Scripture that says they will eventually “ALL” be “IN” Christ, because there is:

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one ALL [‘things’ is not in original] IN Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even IN HIM” (Eph. 1:10).

Christ first raises ALL to mortal life. At a later date He gathers this same ALL into Himself. The “in Christ ALL” (I Cor. 15:22) then becomes the “ALL IN CHRIST” (Eph. 1:10). Every creature in heaven and earth will be ONE IN Christ! Can you can believe that?

Ver. 23-24: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end…”

The King James starts a new sentence and a new verse with the words, “Then cometh the end…” It should, however, be a continuation of the previous sentence. There are three items in view here, not just two. The Concordant Version has a better rendering of this:

“Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence; thereafter the consummation…”

One, two, three. So there are three orders or classes that synchronize with the three festivals of harvest, and not just two classes that synchronize with mainstream teachings first “month” of the year only theory. Notice them:

    1. “The Firstfruit, Christ” (The Passover, The Wave Sheaf).
       
    2. “Thereupon those who are Christ’s” (Pentecost, the Firstfruits)
       
    3. “Thereafter the consummation [the end] (the final Fall Harvest of Ingathering in the end of the year).

These three match perfectly with the three types of harvest in the Old Testament. So yes indeed, there will be a fall harvest at the end, at the CONSUMMATION. Now the rest of verse 24:

“…thereafter the consummation when He [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”

Notice that Christ does not rule “forever and ever” as is popularly taught, but rather delivers up the kingdom to GOD His Father. But He does this after He puts down ALL RULE AND ALL AUTHORITY, AND ALL POWER. Who/Where? EVERYONE/EVERYWHERE! “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together [just like the fall "ingathering of the harvest"] in one ALL [‘things’ is not in the Greek] in Christ, both which are IN HEAVEN, and which are ON EARTH, IN HIM” (Eph. 1:10). And so here is our Scripture which clearly states that “ALL” in both heaven and earth will become “ONE IN Christ.” Now they are no longer just given life in Christ, but now they are SAVED, they are “one in Christ!”

Notice that there is coming a “GATHERING TOGETHER OF ALL IN ONE [Christ].And that this gathering together of all in one consists of ALL IN THE HEAVENS AND ALL IN THE EARTH! Who then is left out? NO-ONE! These ALL in heaven and earth are not gathered “under” Christ, but IN Christ”

Let’s read it again. A verse this important and all encompassing cannot be over emphasized:

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together IN ONE [just as in harvest time] ALL IN Christ, BOTH WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN, AND WHICH ARE ON EARTH; IN HIM.

Now then, when “ALL” in both heaven and earth are gathered into one “IN Christ,” absolutely no-one is left out. This is also in perfect harmony with other Scriptures regarding the salvation of everyone in both the heavens and the earth, and even those dead and six feet UNDER the earth. Next book, Phil. 2:9-11:

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE should bow, of [those] in heaven, and those in earth, and those under [all who have died] the earth: And that EVERY TONGUE should confess that Jesus Christ IS LORD to the glory of God the Father.”

Sometimes when something is important God gives us a SECOND WITNESS:

“I HAVE SWORN BY myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me EVERY KNEE shall bow, EVERY TONGUE shall swear” (Isaiah 45:23).

And when something is really important God even gives us a THIRD WITNESS:

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, EVERY KNEE shall bow to me, and EVERY TONGUE shall confess to God” (Rom. 14:11).

Again, it is futile to say that I Cor. 15: 22 means only the all who are “in” Christ will be saved, even though the order of words is clear in all translations. It is not “all IN Christ” that is spoken of in this verse, but rather “in Christ ALL” that is spoken of. But later, after resurrection, after judgment, “in the dispensation of the fullness of times,” we learn that, indeed, it is “ALL in Christ” and now the “ALL” is EVERYONE IN HEAVENS AND ON THE EARTH—ALL OF GOD’S CREATURES!

By the way, for all those ultra-stubborn teachers that promote that old chestnut  “yes, all will bow their knees, and if they don’t God will break their knees and force them to confess that Jesus is LORD,” Remember this Scripture:

“…no man CAN SAY that Jesus is the Lord BUT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT” (I Cor. 12:3b).

Oh that Christians would learn to stop fighting and contradicting the Scriptures.

So then, “in Christ ALL” shall be made alive with immortal and incorruptible life; ALL both in the heavens and in the earth shall be judged (set right), and then all in the heavens and all in the earth will bow and confess that Christ is LORD of their lives; and ALL in both heaven and earth will be gathered together in ONE “IN Christ.” This is the great fall harvest. This is the meaning of Tabernacles. This is the grand and glorious note on which the ENDS OF EONS climax!

 

TO BE “IN CHRIST” IS SALVATION

Yet what does it mean to be “IN Christ” seeing that ALL IN HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL BE “IN Christ?”

“Therefore if any man be IN Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, ALL things are become new.”

How many will be reconciled “IN Christ?”

“To wit, that God was IN Christ, reconciling THE WORLD unto Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TREPASSES UNTO THEM…” (II Cor. 5:17 & 19).

Of course, how could it be otherwise? Jesus doesn’t make just “some” new creatures from the old, no, He makes “ALL THINGS … NEW.” And we all know this verse:

“There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are IN Christ Jesus…”

How many will be IN Christ? We read it: “ALL.” There is coming the time when there will be no more condemnation IN ANYONE ANYWHERE! Praise God and BELIEVE IT!

 

WHEN IS IT TOO LATE TO BE SAVED?

But are these Scriptures believed? In the “the end,’ in “the last day ,” in that “GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST,” can “ANY” man really and truly drink of Christ if he is thirsty, or will it be TOO LATE?

“If ANY MAN THIRST, let him come unto Me, and DRINK.”

What about the Rich man in the parable who said,

“...be merciful to me [is God a God of mercy?] and send Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip of his finger in water and cooling my tongue...” (Luke 16:24).

Can this Rich man come to Christ and “drink?” Any Pastor or theologian would say “NO - IT IS TOO LATE."

“TOO LATE?” The “END,” the “END of the Feast,” “the LAST day,” “the LAST great day of the Feast,” is, “TOO LATE?” NO! The LAST great day of the feast is NOT too late. The LAST GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST IS WHEN Jesus said let “ANY MAN” freely come and drink of the water of life:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the END ... I will give unto him that

is athirst of the fountain of the WATER OF LIFE FREELY” (Rev. 21:6)

 

“In the LAST DAY, that GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If ANY MAN THIRST [even the Rich man] LET HIM COME UNTO ME, AND DRINK” (Jn. 7:37-38).

Aren’t parables amazing? Isn’t it amazing when we are given to perceive these things? In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man, we find the Rich man being Judged, so he has not as yet partaken of the water of life, but he will. And so the church today has relegated this marvellous type of the fall harvest of rejoicing into an eternity of grieving. They see no need to SAVE the harvest. Their message is to BURN AND DESTROY THE HARVEST! To them the Fall Harvest is not worth saving; to them the Fall Harvest is EVIL, and needs to be burned in fire for all eternity. This is decidedly not the way God views humanity in the end time of harvest. It seems that the greatest minds in theology today cannot understand the simplest analogies, types, and parables in the Scriptures?

 

GOD THE FARMER

Think about these things with a little bit of sensibility and reverence for God’s desires. Oh how we demean the very God we claim to worship. For millennia man has tilled the ground, planted seed, cultivated, sweat and toiled in anticipation of a GOOD CROP. You can’t count the times that Scripture talks of food, produce, oil, olives, figs, corn, wine, cattle, milk, honey, seedtime and harvest. The ideal setting being a land filled with happy children , peace, health, and PLENTY! Our Lord said that God His Father is a “Farmer” (“My Father is the Farmer” John 15:1)

Now it is indeed acknowledged by the church that God will have a small spring harvest of firstfruits, but when it comes to the FALL harvest, the really BIG harvest, The Greatest Farmer in the Universe, will not have a bumper crop but will rather have a TOTAL CROP FAILURE! Or more precisely, He BURNS THE ENTIRE FALL HARVEST. Does this blasphemous teaching sound to you like God is being exalted as the Greatest Farmer in all the earth? An all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Farmer Who can cultivate and produce a perfect and complete Fall Harvest? Why would our Father’s Son, Jesus Christ, liken His Father to a Farmer, knowing in advance that His Farmer Father will produce fall harvest that is worse that the worst of human farmers?

The spring harvest is the harvest of those firstfruits that have entered into the straight and narrow gate. The fall harvest is the harvest of all those who went the wide and broad way into destruction. Destruction is not the final destiny of the nonbeliever. Being DESTROYED, PERISHED, and LOST are all conditions awaiting SALVATION, and are not conditions to be eternally punished! All, absolutely ALL, who are not in the first resurrection are in a condition likened to: “lost,” “perished,” or “destroyed.’ Contrary to orthodoxy these conditions are NOT hopeless:

 

DESTROYED, PERISHED, AND LOST

DESTROYED: Is being destroyed a condition from which there is no salvation? Jesus said,

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell [the Greek is "Gehenna" NOT hell. It is ‘Gehenna fire,’ Mat. 5:22, not ‘hell fire’]” (Matt. 10:28).

Is there no salvation from this “destruction” in gehenna fire? Notice that they are not “eternally lost” in Gehenna fire, but they are “DESTROYED” in Gehenna fire. Their condition is that of being DESTROYED. This is not a hopeless condition or even our own Lord would have been put into a hopeless condition.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, DESTROY this temple, and in three days I will raise it up ... but He spake of the temple of His BODY” (John 2:19 & 21).

Later they did destroy Jesus Christ and sure enough three days later God SAVED Jesus from that destruction.

Notice what Job said with relation to being “destroyed”:

“Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet Thou dost DESTROY me” (Job 10:8).

Yet Job knew that God would yet save him. In Jeremiah 18 God tells Jeremiah to go down to the Potter’s house and observe him at work. Jeremiah sees the potter destroy a marred work in his hand and refashion it into something useful. This we learn is an analogy of how God would “destroy” Judah (Ver. 7), and yet save him in the end. God will refashion all of marred (destroyed) mankind into glorious sons of God! We’ve GOT to UNDERSTAND that these Biblical types and symbols are not coincidence!

 

PERISHED: Can a person perish and still be saved? Of course. Even “righteous” men can perish,

“All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a JUST MAN that PERISHES in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongs his life in his wickedness” (Ecc. 7:15).

One more,

“The RIGHTEOUS PERISHES, and no man lays it to heart...” (Isa. 57:1).

Perishing is not something that can cut off God’s arm of salvation.

 

LOST: Can a person sin, be lost, die, and then be saved? Certainly. Let’s look at one of those parables of Jesus that Christendom thinks of as easy to understand little stories, when in fact they don’t even begin to understand. Most are familiar with the story contained in the parable of the Prodigal son. God is the “Father” in this parable, and the Prodigal is EVERY SON WHO HAS GONE ASTRAY.

“And when he had spent all ... And when he came to himself ... I will arise and go to my father ... I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight ... And am no more worthy to be called thy son ... But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf ... For this my son was DEAD, and is alive again; he was LOST, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:14-23).

This man SINNED, he was LOST, and he SPIRITUALLY DIED! Do we ALL spiritually DIE? “AND AS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE...” But isn’t this speaking of the PHYSICAL death of our bodies? No it is not. The second part of the verse gives us the answer as to which death this is,

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER this the JUDGMENT” (Heb. 9:27).

Notice that “judgment” comes after this death, and not before. JUDGMENT is upon the house of God NOW! Each individual Christian in every generation is judged NOW, in THIS life, BEFORE he physically dies! And so the “death” that all men must partake of before judgment is SPIRITUAL DEATH. Notice:

“And I saw THE DEAD, small and great, STAND before God”(Rev. 20:12).

How pray tell can the physically dead, stand, if they are dead?

So here then is the order of things. The Prodigal Son SINNED, he was LOST, he spiritually DIED, and then? And then he was JUDGED! Where and when was he judged? In the hog pens of a far alien country, that’s where. God had to bring him out of this alien county (Mystery Babylon the Great) with all its “riotous living” (Luke 15:13). And so it was that God JUDGED this Prodigal with the beasts and swine of Babylon until he “came to himself.” (Ver. 17).  God sent King Nebuchadnezzer into the fields with the beasts to live like a beast, so that he too “came to himself.” God has not warned in vain to

“Come out of her [MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH] my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 17:5 & 18:4).

He that has an ear, let him hear.

And so this Prodigal SINNED, was LOST, and spiritually DIED. Surely he is outside of the realm of salvation now. No, he is in the perfect realm FOR SALVATION. How many millions of times this parable of the Prodigal Son has been read, but how many times has its truth ever been understood and perceived? This prodigal was, according to his father, “DEAD.” And it was after his father said that he was “dead” that he welcomed him back, forgave him, exalted him, and rewarded him! Now who says one can’t be saved after death. It is after death that most of humanity will be saved.

Are we now beginning to read these things SPIRITUALLY? Parables are NOT literal, that’s why they are called “parables” instead of “history.” This parable pictures the carnal mind going the way of the flesh. What are the wages of living a riotous life in the alien land of lustful Babylon? Is it “life and joy in the Holy Spirit?”

Here is the wages of riotous and carnal living in the hog pens of Babylon: “For the wages of sin is DEATH...” (Rom. 6:23). SPIRITUAL DEATH! What must happen AFTER we spiritually DIE? “JUDGMENT!” The spiritual DEAD must be JUDGED. Does judging CORRECT the spiritually dead sinners? Yes it does! That is what the parable of the Prodigal Son is all about. God’s “ways and means” ALWAYS WORK!

“...For when Thy [God’s] JUDGMENTS are in the earth, the INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD WILL LEARNRIGHTEOUSNESS” (Isa. 26:9)! 

 

 

Conclusion

Thank God for that! To all humanity God says; “Spread the feast, for this my son was dead; dead to me; dead to purity; dead to truth; dead to love; dead to God; and he is alive again. He was lost and is found.” Whenever judgment has done its work; whenever a man comes to himself and says “I will,”  “I will arise and go to my Father, and I will say to my Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Your sight and am no more worthy to be called your son,” then our Great God and Father will take that man, sin-stained and foul as he is in spirit, and in soul, and in body, and He will make him whiter than snow. Yes ALL creation groans for the FIRSTFRUITS of His redemption to be revealed in all the majesty and power and glory of their regained inheritance!

And yet the language and prose of Revelation still seems so brutal to the carnally minded.

“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be TORMENTED WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY ANGELS (MESSENGERS) AND IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB: and the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever (Greek: unto the ages of the ages) and they have no rest day nor night...” (Rev. 14:10-11).

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever (Greek: unto the ages of the ages)” (Rev. 20:10).

Always remember what have we learnt about the nature of these torments. Notice in both instances, the subjects are tormented with fire and brimstone, and we have previously established what the fire and brimstone are. Yet Rev. 14:10 sheds further light. The tormented are anguished by and through another agency, which in reality sums up and constitutes the fire and brimstone! And that agency is THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB and the holy angels, or messengers!

What an amazing divine paradox! The Lamb - precious embodiment of the very character of innocence, patience, meekness, gentleness, holiness, sacrifice, and redemption - being made TORMENT to men for whom He died! The very thought seems incongruous. IT IS NOT THE NATURE of a lamb to torture anyone. It is simply not in the nature of the lamb to want to hurt in any way. Really! What could a lamb do to torture anyone? It has no capability for such a thing. And so it is with the LAMB OF GOD! The Lamb of God has no desire, no ability to inflict torture in any way - His desire is entirely redemptive - that men might have life and have it more abundantly! Can anyone really imagine One with the nature of a lamb packing poor lost souls like brick into an eternal kiln of torture! Such a grotesque representation charges Jesus Christ with crimes more heartless than those of Adolph Eichmann.

But here is a truth rarely taught about the nature of these torments. We must understand that the “torment” comes not from the Lamb. The torment lies within the bosoms of the tormented! The Scripture does not say that the Lamb torments them!

It states that THEY ARE TORMENTED IN THE PRESENCE of the Lamb. What a thought! TORMENTED IN THE PRESENCE. The Lamb is merely present. He does not torment. The condition is within themselves! Because they are wrong and sinful in nature, wicked in their hearts, selfish in their minds, and impure in their desires, they are CONDEMNED IN THEIR CONSCIENCES by the very PRESENCE of the pure, holy, sinless, selfless, sacrificing Lamb of God.

“Hell” is at its fiercest when it sees heaven, and not till then. When these realize the presence, or the character of the Lamb, they are tortured in their consciences, for in the Light of the Lamb they see themselves for the wretched devils they are. The very PRESENCE of TRUTH torments the deceitful and the liar. The very PRESENCE of HOLINESS torments the immoral and corrupt. The very PRESENCE of LOVE is torment to hateful. The PRESENCE of Him who is the PRINCE OF PEACE is torture to those who live by violence and the sword. The very PRESENCE of the LIFE OF THE LAMB is the most awful torment and torture to all the opposing forces, both deceiver and deceived, until all the deceit and hostility has been taken out of them, and they come to KNOW THE LORD.

When these have been exposed for a sufficient time to the PRESENCE of the Lamb, the Lamb will overcome them; His love and power will conquer their hearts; the rebellion and waywardness will be taken from them and they will at last ENJOY the Presence of the Lamb!

When the maniac of Gadara encountered the Christ the devils cried out, saying, “Have You come here to TORMENT US before the time?” (Mat. 8:29). IT WAS TORMENT FOR A POSSESSED PERSON TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE CHRIST. It is torment for any enemy of God to be ushered into the presence of God.

The Gospel melts some hearts and turns others to stone. People are led either to faith in Jesus Christ or they were stirred to the most violent animosity and enmity. Jesus Christ has always been either a stone of stumbling or the sure foundation stone. We build upon it or we stumble over it and are crushed by it. Riots or regeneration! Joy unspeakable and full of glory or torment!

A person under deep conviction is tormented. Tormented with what? He is tormented with the fire of God's holy presence, the fire of His penetrating, burning Word. He has no peace or rest, day or night. His conscience troubles him continually.

THAT is exactly what the rebellious will do in the ages to come as God deals with “every man in his own order.” There is no short cut to salvation for us, and there will be none for them. Yes, to the unsaved, HIS GLORY is a LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE - divine, cleansing, purging, purifying and consuming! In ages yet unborn God shall expose ALL MEN to the sweet abiding presence of the Lamb. They will come under such severe processing’s, under such profound conviction that they will be tormented and have no rest day or night until they finally yield. And when they do, many fountains of tears will flow with weeping, praying, and calling upon the Lord. Only then will “...the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab 2:14)

Hopefully by now, we are now beginning to make sense of a few of the “symbols” and “types” of Gods judgements over His beloved creation. Yet know this. We are merely scratching the surface as far as deciphering all these things. All this imagery isn’t just confined to explaining the dispensation of Gods justice over the “great sea” of humanity however. No, there is more to be said and there is much to be explained about the nature of God’s judgements that are taking place right NOW upon the “earth”- In HIS own chosen and elect! We shall look further into these mysteries next. We pray that God will grant you the “eyes to see” them also!

 

 

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