Rev 21) A New Heaven And A New Earth

The ending is the most important part of a dramatic narrative:

I am Alpha and Omega [A-Z], the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are…whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” (Revelation 21-22)

I grew up attending a Baptist church for Sunday school and two church services every Sunday, Prayer Meeting every Wednesday night, neighborhood Joy Club on Thursdays after school, Awana on Fridays where I memorized entire chapters at a time, Vacation Bible School every summer, private Bible time in the mornings before school, Bible study led by our preacher Dad every evening.

And none of it made a lot of sense. We were just supposed to believe, like Wendy in Peter Pan.

Worse yet, the longer I was in church the more I experienced the hypocrisy, outright lies and gross exploitation by antisocial leaders of gullible believers. After tossing out the whole package then realizing I really needed a higher power in my own life I started to study just God. Not the religious leaders. Just God.

And I learned that the Bible conveys the most fascinating account of human history, full of the drama of the human condition – meaning and despair, war and peace, agony and ecstasy, life and death.

  • The theme comes to a head and is finally resolved – humanity finally takes dominion over the earth.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image and likeness, and let them have dominion.” (Genesis 1:26)

“And…there were great voices in heaven, saying…his Christ / Chosen One …shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15-18)

  • The plot – which is set-up in the story’s first act and developed in its second – is finally concluded. The Adversary’s attempts to corrupt humanity’s ability to take dominion.

“Now the serpent…said unto the woman…ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods.” (Genesis 3:1-5)

“the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” (Revelation 19:11-19)

game_of_thrones_6-09_battle_of_the_bastards_the_cavalry

  • All the piece’s dramatic questions are answered. The sonic boom that thundered the universe into being – the real Big Bang – is the same power source that renovates and  recreates and resurrects and revitalizes and removes all destructive forces.

And God said…and it was so…” (Genesis 1)

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my [the Savior’s] words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and inrighteousness he doth judge and make war…and his name is called The Word of God…And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword [think sonic weapon], that with it he should smite the nations..(Revelation 19:11-16

  • The dramatic potential of the premise is paid off (this is the point at which a comedy should be at its funniest; a horror film at its scariest; a love story at its most romantic; etc.).

“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 everAnd death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10-15)

Studying the Bible is not just a matter of learning your cultural-religious identity, or living right, or solving problems. It is a matter of life and death for humanity. Whose side will you be on? The word of truth, or the lie of the adversary?

Our placid lives and sanitized Sunday School stories have failed to give us a proper understanding of the Bible. It helps to put biblical words into suitable graphics. It’s rough, it’s tough, it’s dirty and it’s bloody. It’s the true Game of Thrones.

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That’s not to say that God set up this system for his entertainment. Simply that the story of humanity, like every quality epic and romance story is based on the reality of human nature.

God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. He that overcometh / νικάω , nikaó, is victorious, prevails, conquers shall inherit all things; and I will be his God [unending source of power including life], and he shall be my son [a chip off the old block, a hyper dimensional spiritual being like me].(Revelation 21:4-6)

The end of the book explains the whole story. God told us about himself, his creation and his desire to have a family. This can only be loving and productive with those who freely choose to be in relationship with him because they like him, and want to be like him.

My granddaughter is the best example of this that I know.

An only child, when COVID shut down her preschool and required her to be in-home quarantine for six months, she was throwing constant temper tantrums to express her misery. After her parents moved close to me so she could expand her quarantine base to my house, all she wanted to do was “play family!” with me and dolls to relieve her loneliness.

As we bonded, I was no longer assigned various personas, she came to value me for who I am. Most of all, she came to understand and accept me as an authority figure who she could trust to give her the maximum freedom while providing essential safety, and the maximum happiness within essential consideration for others.

My happiness derives from watching her develop responsible, considerate and mutually beneficial relationships within an expanding social circle. My maximum happiness occurred when she began modeling her behavior like mine, from whistling while working to accepting my reprimands gracefully. The best validation of being loved.

Can we possibly understand God as a parent with the same values and goals? Instead of approaching the Bible with a biased preconception of God as a domineering tyrant, try approaching the account of his interactions with a mind open to the possibility of God as Father.  A father who provides the best upbringing for his children, not by giving them everything they ask for, but by teaching right from wrong, allowing suffering the consequences of wrong decisions for character development, and providing coaching with correction for life skills and positions of responsibility.

I think one problem with recognizing God in that light is that there are so few human fathers who model that concept. Or pastors in churches. My son is that kind of father, and it shows. He is raising his child to maintain relationship with him while being functionally independent of him. He protects his child from her own self-destructive tendencies and social predators.

Surely we can relate that to God as Father?

But the fearful, and 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 the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory / renown / victory parade and honour / tribute, valuable trophies from war given to the Most High King to acknowledge that it was his power that created the kingdom.

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh aomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life

I am Alpha and Omega [A-Z], the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are…whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 

After spending years studying the Bible instead of religious teachings, I’m certain of one thing. Anyone who aspires to become a son of God, i.e. qualified by him to have transformed into his likeness per biblical criteria, isn’t going to be found sitting around in church or a mansion either here on earth or in heaven.

What I wonder is if those who have been made priest-kings are given their own earth with a starter population to fill an infinite ever-expanding universe with life?

Are various cultures’ concept of cycles of time reflecting this?

Is every lake of fire a sun for another earth? There is certainly a rebalancing of energy in the universe if

  • those who drew life from humans during their lifetimes
  • now return life to the new generations of humanity.

I don’t have enough data to conclude. However, the clues are tantalizing.

Relatively speaking, there are a lot of stars. Around 100 sextillion—1 followed by 23 zeros—to be precise. But…models of star formation predict that there should actually be two or three times as many…

In a paper published in Nature, researchers write that they have identified an effect that takes place in some “starburst galaxies,” which form stars at a much higher rate than typical galaxies such as our own, the Milky Way.

starburst galaxies…towards the edges of the galaxy…scatter the necessary ingredients for making stars.

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