Key Precept: Nothing in this life ends well when we strike out blindly into an unknown situation.
Stepping Stone on the past to eternal life: Investigate the options for after life as thoroughly as you do your options in this life.
Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe you don’t investigate and make wise choices in this life either. Perhaps you are an independent person who won’t take advice from other people because you think it somehow diminishes you. It does take humility to admit you don’t know everything about everything. Or maybe just common sense?
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it.
People who are too proud to admit they are lacking knowledge, or good sense, or fairness in their life choices experience constant disruption in their circumstances. They spread their chaos, frustration, anger – and blame – to the people around them who are helplessly caught up in their circumstances – family members, work colleagues, and other social relationships. Unless these controlling individuals start to listen to people who care enough about them to brave their rebuffs and hostility, rethink and accept responsibility and change their ways, their relationships with the people around them will remain conflicted, fractured, and temporary.
Most of all, that includes God the Creator and Sustainer of life.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent…” (Revelation 3:19)
The God of the Bible doesn’t condemn us on the basis of how well we keep the law. King David committed murder, but God commuted the sentence of death for that act in his life, and in the hereafter. Why? Because David repented when he was rebuked by the prophet and accepted the LORD’s chastening at its worst – the deaths of four of his sons.
There is only one unforgivable sin.
“Jesus…healed many…And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God…And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him…Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men…But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3)
When the Beast from the sea of outer space / second heaven proclaims himself as the long-awaited savior of the world, of course he has to condemn YHVH’s Savior as the false one. It’s Opposite Day.
So anyone who identifies with the Beast through taking his mark of an evil spirit is automatically blaspheming against Yeshua’s Holy Spirit.
And anyone who refuses to identify with the Beast, but hasn’t yet identified with Yeshua, is in a strait betwixt the two. And it is because God loves his people that he gives the Enemy the opportunity to drive them over to his side. As always, the nation attacking Israel thinks they are in charge, but God’s agenda is being played out.
“O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” (Hosea 13:14)
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book…We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace…wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble
but he shall be saved out of it…For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee…
- I will correct thee in measure,
- and will not leave thee altogether unpunished…
because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee…
And the results of chastisement are worth it.
- their congregation shall be established before me…
- And their nobles shall be of themselves,
- and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them;
The process of restoration? Re-penting, re-thinking, re-turning, re-lating, re-storing, re-freshing.
- and I will cause him to draw near, [by allowing the Adversary to leave him no choice]
- and he shall approach unto me…
- this that engaged his heart [control center] to approach unto me…
- And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.
At the same time…will I be the God of all the families of Israel [including the Gentiles], and they shall be my people…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Lovingkindness in the worst tribulation ever, worse than what the Nazis did? Yes. Suffering is limited by mortality. Hellfire is not.
there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus;
- Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke:
- turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.
- after that I was turned, I repented;
- and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 30-31)
Who, exactly, is Ephraim?
The Gentile Church. Follow the trail.
“The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived,
- and bare him a son. And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
- and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
- But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
- and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” (Hosea 1)
“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people...they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria…though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me. And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me…They return, but not to the most High.” (Hosea 7)
“Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward [bribe, avoiding taxes, financial injustice and hardship on the rest of the people] on every cornflour… They shall not dwell in the LORDS‘s land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria…My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.” (Hosea 9)
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD‘s house, and proclaim…Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
- Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these [church buildings].
- go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
- Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name…as I have done to Shiloh.
And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.” (Jeremiah 7)
As detailed in the post War Is Declared, there were individuals from the northern ten tribes federation called Israel who identified themselves with the YHVH and worshipped him in Jerusalem when invited to do so by Hezekiah, as well as individuals who joined with few people of Judah in the return to the land – of Judah – after Judah’s Babylonian captivity. Those few were absorbed by marriage, ergo genetics, into the the people of Judah / Judea, AKA the Jews. In 1947 the Jews called themselves the entirety of the descendants of Jacob / “Israel” but biblically this doesn’t count. God is well aware of the descendants of Joseph and the rest of the ten tribes who lost all identification with YHVH as they were absorbed into the nations of world, and has a plan for them.
YET! the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” (Hosea 1)
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites…Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto THEM, YE are not my people; there shall THEY be called the children of the living God.” (Romans 9)
When does this happen?
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid…at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace…unto this day…through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for...he will finish the work, and cut it short…
Now if the… diminishing of them [be] the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life resurrection from the dead?” (Romans 11)
Paul packs multiple topics into his paragraphs, so I’ve pulled just one thread to unravel what appears to be an overlooked truth.
As long as the theocratic nation of Israel rejects YHVH’s Savior, the Gentiles of the world have the opportunity to join the true Israel of God. Once the remnant – a critical mass number of individuals led by leadership – accept him as their king, the window of opportunity for salvation of the whole world is cut off as God brings this present world system to an end.
I think Paul’s statement of that is straightforward and clear, but let’s see if we can find other scripture confirming this position.
In describing how God assesses our righteousness, the Bible uses basic concepts of measurement like plumb line for accuracy on the straight and narrow path to heaven, or a yardstick for the extent to which one has expanded dominion over his/her territory.
“I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof…Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.” (Zechariah 2:1-7)
“This is the interpretation of the thing:
- Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
- Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
- Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:26-28)
We get a better grip on the message when we apply the same abstraction about the “tools” used to “measure” the degree of function vs dysfunction of individuals used by clinicians to assess for psychological problems or qualifications for certain jobs.
Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
Patient name: __________________________________ Date: ___________________
Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?
Not at all (0) Several days (1). More than half the days (2). Nearly every day (3)
a. Little interest or pleasure in doing things. ___
b. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. ___
c. Trouble falling/staying asleep, sleeping too much.d. Feeling tired or having little energy. ___
e. Poor appetite or overeating. ___
f. Feeling bad about yourself, or that you are a failure, or have let yourself or your family down. ___
g. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching TV. ___
i. Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way. ___
h. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed.i. Or the opposite; being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around more than usual. ___
If you checked off any problem on this questionnaire so far, how difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people?
Not difficult at all 0 Somewhat difficult 1 Very difficult 2 Extremely difficult 3
TOTAL SCORE _________________
Guide for Interpreting PHQ-9 Scores and Recommended Actions
Score 0-4 Normal range or full remission. The score suggests the patient may not need depression treatment.
Score 5-9 Minimal depressive symptoms. Support, educate, call if worse, return in 1 month.
Score 10-14 Major depression, mild severity. Use clinical judgment about treatment, based on patient’s duration of symptoms and functional impairment. Treat with antidepressant or psychotherapy.
Score 15-19 Major depression, moderate severity. Warrants treatment for depression, using antidepressant, psychotherapy or a combination of treatment.
Score 20 or higher Major depression, severe severity. Warrants treatment with antidepressant and psychotherapy, especially if not improved on monotherapy; follow frequently.
The people in the first century AD who read John’s account would have filtered them through the Old Testament prophecies and analogies, and so should we as we read the following.
- “There was given me [John] a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
- To measure to what extent either functional spirituality or dysfunctional apostasy exists, not in the building, but in the people in the building.
- But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months…
- The assessment is already known – the Gentiles rulers allied with the Aliens are the abomination that causes desolation.
- And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” (Revelation 11:1-4)
- The lack of adequate, or any, godly leadership at the house that belongs to God, as with an abysmal psychological rating score, requires a response of treating the disorder among the people of Israel.
Naturally we’re obtaining the necessary information on these newly introduced key players from their records. It’s always helpful to start with the background history on people being investigated. Patterns, remember. We can expect the false christ to play this card to win over Israel.
That’s what King Herod, not a descendant of David, did in alliance with Rome. We should expect to see a partnership between 1) the Jewish High Priest who ecstatically resumes ancient rites in the most symbolic restorations of Jewish identity and 2) the Fourth Kingdom’s magnanimous ruler who graciously secured everything necessary to rebuild the Jewish temple – elimination of opposition from Israel’s enemies, security around the perimeter, and financing. You can best believe this is no house of prayer, but a den of thieves making money off the tourists.
In contrast, lets go back to YHVH’s alliance with his holy people:
- “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia...he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem…(Ezra 1:1-3)
- “Now these are the children of [Babylon’s] province [of Judah] that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away…and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah…with Zerubbabel [reinstated ruler, legal descendant of the deposed king] : Jeshua [the High Priest], Nehemiah [the governor, keeping accounts for the emperor and for God]…“(Ezra 2:1-2)
- “And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel [heir to the throne of Israel], and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God…for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening..” (Ezra 3:1-3)
- About 25 years later In the second year of Darius the king came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel…governor of Judah, and to Joshua…the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD‘s house should be built. Then [in response] Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
- Therefore…I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
- Then Zerubbabel…and Joshua…the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet…and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,(Haggai 1)
- “And he shewed me Joshua / Yeshua [the human High Priest] standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?…And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts;
- If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house,
- and shalt also keep my courts,[instead of having them given over to the Gentiles to tread down] and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
- Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”(Zechariah 3)
- Here is the Yeshua whose name the human high priest takes to identify himself as one with him. We can expect a repetition in the future, a Messianic Jewish priest / advocate at the once-again rebuilt temple to YHVH in Jerusalem.
- “And the angel that talked with me came again, and…said unto me, What seest thou? And I said…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….What are these…This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain [symbol of insurmountable obstacle]? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone [of the temple] thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it…The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:1-10)
- Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And…What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said…These are the two anointed ones / Messiahs, that stand by the LORD of the whole earth.“
- And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua / Yeshua / Jesus the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying,
- Behold the man whose name / identity is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory,
- and shall sit and rule upon his throne;
- and he shall be a priest upon his throne:
- and the counsel of peace shall be between them both positions of Priest and King in one Vicar of God.
- And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.
- And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.” (Zechariah 6:9-15)
- Behold the man whose name / identity is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory,
- Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
- Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God.
- Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until…the days of Artaxerxes…king of Persia…And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. Taking about 43 years. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.” (Ezra 4:1 – 6:16)
Bringing the narrative back up to future events – there is speculation over who are the two messengers at the temple, with Elijah, Moses and Enoch being top choices due to their actions. However, remember that any individual empowered by the Holy Spirit has the power to do these same wonders.
- “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, [may be short hand for stating that they call down fire] and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” (Revelation 11:5)
- “the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty…And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty…And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty…So he [the king of Samaria] died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken.” (II Kings 1:9-17)
- These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy” (Revelation 11:6)
- And Elijah the Tishbite…said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” (I Kings 17:1)
- and have power over waters to turn them to blood (Revelation 11:6)
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.” (Exodus 7:19-20)
- and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will (Revelation 11:6)
- And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land. And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)
- And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves…”(Revelation 11:7-9)
- “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus…When Jesus heard that…he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples…Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep…Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord…he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:39-40)
- And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and [finally!!!] gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Rev 11:3-13)
- And…he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews…believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation…Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” (John 11:43-53)
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. 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.” (Revelation 14:17-15:1)
And I saw…them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying…all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41)
Notice the categories of beings listed in John’s vision of heaven described in Revelation chapters 4-5,7,20-21.
- Almighty God: a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
- Human elders who rule with The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ: 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; and they had on their heads crowns of gold…And they sung a new song, saying…thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
- Humans from every nation who remain faithful despite persecution: …an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel [this works out to be about 1% of the current world’s population of Jews, or about 50% of the current world’s population of Messianic Jews] and…a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
- Sons of God: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
- Spirits: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
- Holy Beasts, i.e. living beings who don’t fall into a known (by humans) category of creature, identified by features “like” and “as” known beings: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind…And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him…and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
- And the first beast was like a lion,
- and the second beast like a calf,
- and the third beast had a face as a man,
- and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
- Messiah, the sacrifical Lamb, the star of this event: in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain…the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb
- Heavenly angels: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
- Dead individuals from the sea and hell: …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…
- The unholy beast (describing another one of those unknown creatures), always paired with the human false prophet: And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
- The devil: 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 for ever and ever.
- The unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death…
- And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Heavy stuff. This is where most people choose to reject the Bible on the basis of “A good God wouldn’t send anyone to hell.” Admittedly, the idea of burning for eternity is absolutely horrible. That doesn’t mean it’s not true.
The easiest way we can understand God is to put ourselves in his place. Do you have children? We’re not talking about damnation over breaking some arbitrary rules against feeling good. Can you imagine watching your beloved children suffer at the hands of evil people? What punishment is appropriate for someone who deceived most of your children into hating you and running away from you in order to betray and trap them into a lifetime of misery and eternity separated from you, while torturing and murdering as many of your faithful children as he can? The attached clip from Game of Thrones shows scenes of horrific cruelty. I don’t recommend you watch it, but if you do, you can always click off. Unlike the millions of real life victims of persecution.
So who goes to hell? The short list includes the devil, for sure, also the enigmatic “beast”, the false prophet, the abominable, and, to sum it up, “whosoever was not found written in the book of life.” How do we make sure we are written in the book of life? What is this book of life?
According to the following psalm describing the development of a human embryo, God keeps a register, a log book of all human beings ever conceived. An aside note – if we take our convictions from the Bible, then this establishes that life begins at conception.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:14-16)
From Moses we learn that that God will blot out, from this book, the names of people who have sinned grievously against him. This would account for individuals who are “not found written in the book of life.”
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” (Exodus 32:31-33)
Centuries later, in the letters written to the congregations that were under great pressure to forsake Messianic Judaism (or nascent Christianity depending on your viewpoint), we find the same potential to be blotted out of the book of life.
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write…I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead…He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:1,5)
The threat of being blotted out of the book of life gives us to understand that the members of the Sardis congregation were in the same set of circumstances as the members of Moses’ congregation. Both groups had not yet overcome the obstacles to resisting the lures of lies in order to believe the hard truth spoken by Lord Yeshua Messiah. Both groups had yet to decide whether to
- surrender to an easier life in alliance with, i.e. in slavery to, the gods of this world, or
- take up the fight for reclaiming our territory.
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Messiah/Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end…And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19)
The apostle Paul relates his willingness, like Moses, to be accursed – sacrifice his eternal destiny which would involved being blotted out of the book of life – to save his beloved people.
“I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Messiah/Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites…(Ro 9:2-4)
However, neither one of those men, nor any regular human, can trade places with another. There is only one, the man Yahweh’s Chosen Savior/Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus. In the following passage referencing the book of life, notice the lack of boundaries between two authors – David as a sinful human and the sinless Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ, confirmed as such in later references. This is a poetic means of demonstrating David’s merged identity with Messiah, made possible because Messiah took on David’s human identity.
“Save me, O God…I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me…They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children…But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation…And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink…Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents…Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.” (Psalm 69:1-29)
Here we find that there is not only the book of the living in which are written the names of all humans born into this physical dimension and from which the names can be blotted out, there is also a second book in which are written the names of the righteous who are born again into the spiritual dimension. In context, the righteous are those who acknowledge their need for a savior/Yeshua/Jesus and put their trust in The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ’s atoning sacrifice for sin.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)
The general life book lists those individuals who came to life physically, die a physical death, and are resurrected to face an accounting for their actions while alive. Did they acknowledge the obvious existence of a Creator God, and give him the honor due him? If not, why would anyone think they were entitled to be part of his family / nation / kingdom in the hereafter?
Interestingly, the Egyptian Book of the Dead describes this same fate.
But while the Egyptian Book of the Dead has a very limited audience, the teachings of the Bible have been available across cultures and over time as the authoritative source for how to attain eternal life. During that time, the Bible provides an unimpeachable means for trusting its word over other religions, science, and humanistic philosophies