articles of chapter 4

Man, the image of God and God’s co-worker

 

 

  • What does it mean that God made man in his image?
  • God’s predestination
  • Does God want everyone to be saved?
  • Calling and drawing
  • The last times
  • The great delusion of the last days
  • Why is the word of God so ambiguous?
  • God is love and justice
  • Eternal and eternity in the Bible
  • The last judgment
  • Eternal punishment
  • Death dies
  • Man, God’s co-worker in the New World

 

 

What does it mean that God made man in his image?

Gen 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.”

Psalm 8:5 tells of what man was like when God created him: “For you have made him a little lower than God, [Hebrew: Elohim] And crowned him with glory and honor. – From these passages we can conclude that man will regain in the kingdom of God the glory he had when God created him.

God created man, the man, and the woman, after his likeness or “after our likeness”. To whom did God say this? In after whose likeness was man created? In the beginning, there was nothing in the world but God and the angels he had created.

Does the likeness of God and angels mean appearance or spiritual qualities, or perhaps both? Mankind has degenerated since the Fall and does not have much of God-given attributes. While living on earth, Jesus said he was one with God. So he was already in his life the image of God. He had great powers at his disposal, e.g., heal the sick and even raise the dead. However, Jesus testified that he did not do these things himself, but God, who lived in him. Joh 14:10 “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works.”

When Jesus rose from the dead, the Bible tells us that he was in the spirit body; Jesus was able to walk through the walls and then appear to his disciples in the physical body. The unbelieving Thomas could try with his own hands the traces of the crucifixion in the hands and feet of Jesus. Jesus could appear to the disciples in different characters and any place.

Jesus also told the disciples what great powers they could have at their disposal if they only believed “even as much as a mustard seed.”

Revelation describes the external nature of Christ when he comes to earth the second time: 1:14 “His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. 2:18  “To the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write: “The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things.” In Daniel 10, Daniel meets in a vision a heavenly angelic prince , described as follows: 10: 6 “his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as flaming torches, and his arms and his feet like burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”

Mat 13:43 “Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Daniel 12:2 tells of the resurrection: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”

God created animals and humans in the world. Of these, man is the only one who can know God and strive for his connection. What animals understand is much more limited than that of humans. I have often wondered how animals, such as my little dog Donna,  felt affection and even love and other emotions – even more than people. Yet the dog, and other animals, have no chance of eternal life.

Eccl 3:21 “Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, whether it goes downward to the earth?” The Bible answers the question, where does a person’s spirit go after he or she dies? It is evident from the last words of Stephen: Act 7:59 “They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit!”

However, man is not the supreme creation of God. Before man, God created countless angels whose mission is to carry out God’s will. At least according to the Bible, God has not created angels in his image, unlike humans.

What will be the relationship between humans and angels in the coming new world? When God created people as He is, it means that God has tasks in mind for people. Functions in the world to come when man is freed from the constraints of sin and has acquired all the capacity for action that Christ spoke of.

Man has a unique position in God’s plans. We already know that in heaven, the Son of God, a man, exercises all the power of God. Heb 1:13 “But of which of the angels has he [God] said at any time, “Sit at my right hand, Until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet? 2:7 You made him [Christ] a little less than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor; and You set him over the works of Your hands;”

Heb 2:16 “For indeed he [Christ] does not take hold of angels, “but he takes hold of “the seed of Abraham.”

The Bible calls angels sons of God: Job 38:7 “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” A few verses earlier God asks Job about the creation of the world: 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.”

Gen 5:1 In the day that God created man, he made him in God’s likeness. 1:27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. Col 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” However, Colossians specify the matter the way it requires further clarification: “1:16 For by [or in] him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether they are kings, lords, rulers, or powers. All things have been created through him and for him, 17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together.”

The Bible uses phrases ‘in him’ or ‘through him’; e.g., Eph 1:4 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love.” –  In him, the Son of God, the whole world was to come in communion with God. Jesus Christ was to be the creator of the entire new world age, and it is correct to say that “all things were created through him and for him.”

2 Cor 4:4 “in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.” The letter to Hebrews describes Jesus: 1:3 “His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” – It appears from these verses that God created man in his image. Second, Christ is also the image of the invisible God. How could it not be so; Christ is human. God and Christ, and other humans bear the same resemblance. Does this mean that they all look the same, or is it a figurative expression? After all, the Bible says that no one has seen God, who is a spirit. At least as far as God is concerned, it is not a question of the physical similarity between God and man; it is God who created man after his nature. When I read the Bible, I have found descriptions of God, where God shows many human-like behaviors. God gets angry, reconciles, repents, etc.

When Christ was on earth, he was just like an ordinary person. Isaiah describes the Son of God in 53:2 “For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor magnificence; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” When Jesus comes a second time, the description of the glorified Son of God is the most glorious: Rev 1:14 “His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters.”

In the new world since the last judgment, people are not in a discount state like the current one. They have been restored to the state in which God created man. The more important question, however, is for what tasks God will use people. It is clear from the Bible that God is continuously working, sometimes resting, of course. Men will become God’s co-workers.

 

God’s predestination

“even as he chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;  having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,” (Eph 1:4-5)

At the beginning of Ephesians, Paul, the author, testifies that God had chosen ‘us’ i.e., believers in Ephesus, to whom Paul addresses his letter: “To the saints and to the believers in Christ Jesus, who are at Ephesus.” It is a chain beginning with God’s foreknowledge, described in Romans: Romans 8:29-30 tells us, “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified.” – Even before eternal times, God made a plan for the future. God created the physical world, and God created angels as his helpers. God also designed the creation of humankind and his Son to be the redeemer from the burden of sin and the leader of the new world to come in connection with God.

God predestined what Jesus should do and also predestined a certain number of believers that he foreknew to be in Christ to become like his Son. Eph 1:5 and 11 proclaim; predestinating us to adoption through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” –  In Christ also we did obtain an inheritance, being foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will. God had foreknowledge and plan of everything. To accomplish that, God worked hard. For six days, he worked, and on the seventh, God rested. We do not know how long these days of God were. Probably very long, millions of years, maybe as many as billions. Heb 1:5 “For to which of the angels did he say at any time, “You are my Son, Today have I become your father?” and again, I will be to him a Father, And he will be to me a Son?” – Do you notice that here God speaks in the future; I will be to him a Father.  Why did not God say, I am his father? After all, God is the father of Jesus according to the Bible, and God made Mary pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had not yet received eternal life from God at this point, and God had not exalted Jesus as Christ and Lord. It was not until his death that Jesus was worthy of his place on the throne of God.

Predetermination comes from the Greek word on the NT side G4309 προορίζω proorizō, meaning “predetermination,” “predestination”.

  1. to predetermine, decide beforehand
  2. in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
  3. to foreordain, appoint beforehand

Predestination, then, means that God predetermines in advance what He wants. What did God predestine? According to Romans 8: 29-30, God predestined certain persons to become like His Son, become called, justified, and glorified.

 

Does God want everyone to be saved?

God predestines who will at least be saved. It does not mean that others are destined to perish and be destroyed in the eternal flames of the lake of fire. Many Bible verses tell us that believers in Christ are chosen:

Mat 24:22 “Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened.

24:31 He will send out his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

Rom 8:33 Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies.

11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.                                                                                                                                                                                                             7 What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he didn’t obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened.

11:28 Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.

Eph 1:11 In Christ  we were also chosen when we were predestined according to the purpose of the one who does everything according to the intention of his will,

Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance,

1 Tim 5:21 I charge you in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels, that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality.

2 Tim 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,

1 Pet 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen ones who are living as strangers in the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled in his blood: Grace to you and peace be multiplied..

2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

2 Piet 1:10 So then, brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election certain, for if you keep on doing this you will never fail;”

People oppose the doctrine of predestination because they find it unfair. Why has God already chosen some in advance, and others not? Who can say that he has earned salvation? Romans says 3:12, “All turned away, they became worthless together, not one is doing good, not so much as one!” We all have deserved God’s punishment. No one earns anything from God by his actions; no one could object if God did not choose him.

However, God wants everyone to be saved. Joh 3:17 “For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.” 1 The 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

God wants to save all people. 1 Tim 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth.”

However, if God saves all people? Either with the help of God’s purifying fire or God will release the condemned from the torment in the Lake of Fire when the punishment is fulfilled. Does God have mercy on all people, Adolf Hitler too? Christ himself, after his resurrection, chose Paul as his apostle. Paul had an important message regarding death: 1 Cor 15:21 “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ [all] will all be made alive.

Question: “Could God or Christ save all people, even by force?” Christ converted Paul, who was the greatest persecutor of Christians. The Acts of the Apostles tells how Saul, later known as Paul, “still breathing threats and Slaughter against the Disciples of the Lord,” (9:1) until Christ appeared on the road to Damascus.  Saul went blind for a few days and experienced a complete conversion from the persecutor of Christians to an advocate of the faith of Christ and the kingdom of God. If God can forcibly convert one man, who doubts that he will not forcibly convert even all humanity? And God wants everyone to be saved! Paul, who experienced such a conversion, testifies that God does not lie: Tit 1:2 “which is based on the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before the world [Or the ages] began.”

Even if God has predestined some to be elected, everyone has the freedom to chooseall who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved: Rom 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 For a person believes with his heart and is justified, and a person declares with his mouth and is saved. Joh 6:40 “This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

Calling and drawing

Salvation also involves calling and drawing of God. Jesus himself said: Joh 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.” Romans 8: 28-29 speaks of calling; “for the good of those who love God, who are calledand is followed by justification and glorification. – Where is the drawing? God has predetermined the people he calls. Not everyone either hears the call or doesn’t follow it. If they follow the call, God will draw them to him. Many follow, and these elect God teaches, sometimes even with a firm hand. Heb 12:6 “For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.”

  • Has God already predetermined the fate of all men?
  • Why does God predestine the future of humans?
  • Why has God chosen certain people to be saved?
  •  Has God already predetermined the destinies of all men?
  • Why does God predestine human destiny?
  • Why has God chosen certain people to be saved?
  • Why has God given people a different measure of faith? If someone has received little or no faith, he doesn’t come to think that he could ask for more. Is it fair that some will be saved because of this, and the rest will not? Would it not be more appropriate to give everyone the same starting point?
  • God disciplines and even scourges his elect.

Many are called, but few are [pre]selected (Mat 22:14)

 

All have sinned:
Rom 2:12 “For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

3:23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;
5:12 Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.”

Rom 3:10 As it is written, “There is no one righteous. No, not one,
11 here is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God;                                         
12 There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God.”

Is it so that the wages of sin is death (the first death), and it is the destiny of every human being.  Shouldn’t the second death belong to everyone because everyone has sinned? 1 Tim 4:10 “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

What does ‘especially of those who believe’ mean? It means that at least the believers are saved. That is what God has promised. What about those people whose faith is feeble and shaky if not non-existent? How could they be saved?

In Romans 12: 3, Paul makes an essential point: ”For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.” – It is logical to think that a person who has received an enormous amount of faith from God will live his life according to God’s will and thus will be saved. Conversely, a person with little or no faith lives his life according to the course of this world and does not even want to hear talk of salvation.

How will God, or indeed Christ, to whom God has given judgment, take into account, such little believers? God creates people for different purposes. The Bible describes God as a potter who makes clay vessels, some to honor, and some to dishonor. Rom 9:20 “On the contrary, who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this? 9:21 “Or hasn’t the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?” – “Vessels made for noble use” is a metaphor describing the chosen, and there are far more people for “cheap use” – those who have not been pre-chosen.

If God wants everyone to be saved, then why doesn’t God give everyone the same measure? But will God have mercy on everyone, after all?

God wants everyone to be saved. He is ready to pardon everyone. God reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 5:18). In verse 20 Paul appeals: “We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” And yet: 6:1 “But working together, we also call on you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” – God is ready to forgive, even all humanity. What happens if and when the vast majority of humanity does not want a pardon? You don’t need to know the right words, no need to choose the right church. No church, no congregation can say: we have the true faith. Only according to our faith, you can be sure of salvation. When God offers a hand of reconciliation and forgiveness, the only requirement is that man ask for it; Jesus Christ have mercy on us! Or: God have mercy! Otherwise, the grace offered by God will be in vain.

Man has a change during his life; to choose faith and based on God’s grace and grace, salvation. Everyone who calls on the name of God will be saved. Even if he didn’t believe a day in his life, but at the last moment, he cries out, “Jesus help!” so he is saved. Everyone has this opportunity, but the Bible tells of the last days, when many tribulations constantly afflict humanity, that a large part of the world population does not repent or cry out to God for help. On the contrary, they just curse the hardships they face.

Rev 16:11 “and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their deeds.” Should God have mercy on such people as well? Doesn’t God show the greatest mercy when He pardons even the worst unbelievers, who only humble themselves before death and say, “Jesus have mercy”. When God wants everyone to be saved, salvation in a time of need is made really easy.

 

The last times

The last times started from the time of Jesus entering heaven until the present time and in the near future. In Daniel’s vision, 12:6 was asked “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.  9 He said, Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified and made white and tested. But the wicked shall do wickedly. And not one of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.”

Right now, we are at the time told in verse 7, when the dispersal of the holy people, one part of Israel, is over. Already at the time of Moses, was prophesied in Deu 4:30 “in your distress, when all these things have found you, in the latter days, then you shall return to Jehovah your God, and shall listen to his voice.”

Act 2:17 “It will be in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams.
18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the sky above, And signs on the earth beneath; Blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
20  The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How does Christ, in the Last Judgment, deal with those who are resurrected before, that is, before the time of tribulation and the day of the Lord? We know that the fire of God will test them. The situation is, I believe, quite similar; if a person has even a little faith in God and he has at least to some extent built his life (“house”) on God or Christ, God’s purifying fire will burn him clean, and he will be saved, but as through the fire (1 Cor 3:15). Catholics believe and call this fire “purgatory.” The purgatory of the Catholics burns people immediately after death, whereas the fire of God, of which I write, burns people only after the final judgment. Catholics believe they will get to heaven after each has survived their purgatory. And what about the people who have survived God’s purifying fire? Will they then get to heaven?

Then all who have not believed the truth but have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.” (2 The 2:12)

Who is affected by the judgment? According to this verse, those who have heard the gospel of salvation but have not believed. They have clung to their old beliefs, that is, pleased with injustice. Injustice: δικα adikía, from G94; (legal) injustice (properly, the quality, by implication, the act); morally, wrongfulness (of character, life or act):—iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.

 

The great delusion of the last days

For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, (2 The 2:11).  For there will arise false christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. (Mat 24:24)

Why does God do this? Usually, it is Satan who seeks to deceive humanity, but now God is doing it. God, himself, sends a strong delusion. Shouldn’t God strengthen people to endure false deceptions? This powerful delusion is the false Christ, as the end of the verse says. According to the Bible, this false Christ is the Antichrist. There were already false Christs in Paul’s day, but not as mighty as this end-time Antichrist. The Holy Spirit has restrained the appearance of the Antichrist, but when the restrain leaves, the Antichrist will perform great miracles. Even the elect, err in believing in the wonders of the Antichrist and the ‘false prophet.’

Why does God send this great and powerful delusion? I cannot say for any reason other than that God tests His own and separates the grains from the chaff. 2 Thessalonians instructs: 2:3 “Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day cannot come unless the rebellion [or apostasy] takes place first and the man of sin, [man of lawlessness] who is destined for destruction is revealed,
4 he who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself up as God, proclaiming that he himself is God.
5 Don’t you remember that, when I was still with you, I told you these things?
6 You know what it is that is now holding him back, so that he will be revealed when his time comes.
7 For the secret of this lawlessness is already at work, but only until the person now holding it back gets out of the way,
8 Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nothing by the brightness of his,
9 even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they didn’t receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11  For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie,
12  that they all might be judged who didn’t believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

That day will not come until the apostasy takes place. Apostasy of faith or truth? If you give up faith, the truth no longer matters. If you first give up the truth, you are at the same time giving up faith.

The book of Revelation describes end-time churches. In chapter 3, Christ says to the Philadelphia church: 3:11 “I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.” – Whoever wins or keeps the faith of Christ, to him Christ, “writes the name of God and the new Jerusalem.” – Anyone, who is permanent in his faith, to whom apostasy does not work, will be saved and enter the new Kingdom of God as God descends from heaven with the new Jerusalem.

The Laodicean church is different. The parishioners consider themselves rich, they have worldly good, the acquisition of which is more important than true faith. 3:16 “Christ says to them, But now, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”

 

Why is the word of God so ambiguous?

Already in the time of Jesus, Jewish scholars argued over the correct interpretation of Old Testament questions. The Pharisees and Sadducees disagreed e.g., on the right understanding of life after death. Nothing changed for any reason after Jesus died and ascended to heaven. Christian congregations formed schools of doctrinal questions. Over the centuries, the situation only got worse. Ecclesiastical assemblies formulated creeds to clarify doctrine. It was so fierce to guard the ‘right’ doctrine that dissidents were free to kill. The theory of the Triune God and the tradition of the dual nature of Christ are still official doctrines of the major churches — despite the repeated Bible message that God is one, and Jesus Christ is the Son of God whom God made Lord and Christ.

After all, God in His great wisdom could have made his words more unambiguous and free of interpretation if he had wanted to. But no. God even sends a tremendous and powerful deception at the end of days, so that even the elect will give up the true faith. God even gave the world to Satan to rule, and Satan will do his best not to reveal the truth.

God has given faith to people unevenly, to others little, to others a lot. If a person has no faith, he has no interest in solving questions of faith. Satan leads such people in search of worldly pleasures.

Why does God do this? The Bible talks about wise people. In particular, Daniel’s book emphasizes the importance of the wise:
11:33 “Those who are wise among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by spoil, many days.
12:3 Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
12:10 Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand.”

God is certainly aware of the situation and allows his plan to be fulfilled with justice and love for his creation. 

 

God is love and justice

Job 34:12 Yes surely, God will not do wickedly, Neither will the Almighty pervert justice.”

However, you may stubbornly stumble that the Bible says so clearly that…. Think about this, though: Is God love if He concretely executes the torture punishment of the fiery lake? Imagine that you have received an acceptable judgment and entered the paradise of God. You will not find your own children in paradise. You ask the angel where they are and you hear that they are being tortured forever in the lake of fire. Don’t you ask God to be merciful and rather destroy the children forever than torture them in the lake of fire? Will God answer you that “you, along with many others, demanded the punishment of the fiery lake for all the wicked, and your son lied (Rev. 21: 8) on many occasions.” Rev 21: 8 lists the groups of sinners who fall into the lake of fire: “But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” – Here, both great sinners and trivial ones are combined in the same punishment. However, I cannot believe that the fearful old grandmother and the man slipping lies would be forever with Satan and his helpers in the fiery lake.

 

Eternal and eternity in the Bible

αἰών aiōn G165

  1. for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
  2. the worlds, universe
  3. period of time, age

αἰών ain, ahee-ohn’; from the same as G104; properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity (also past); by implication, the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future):—age, course, eternal, (for) ever(-more), (n-)ever, (beginning of the,  while the) world (began, without end). Compare G5550.

According to Strong’s, the word aiōn means perpetuity of time (eternity). If it also means worlds (worlds, universe) then O.K, but there are Bible passages where ‘eternity’ can be used, and there are other passages, where a long, yet limited era, a world age, is meant.

The Bible speaks of eternal punishment, but also of how the glory of God and Christ is eternal. E.g. Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.” 

Incorrect Bible translations began hundreds of years ago. The KJV and the new NKJV could talk about worlds. For example: Heb 1:1 “God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.” Some other translations may use the word universe instead of world.

However, when using the plural ‘Worlds,’ KJV is more accurate than many others, but still has not found the right word. A correct word to describe God’s work of creation would be eon, ‘world age.’ “There are five different eons identifiable in the Bible (in Greek aion). Greek philosophies, among others, of timelessness, have, over time, obscured the original meaning of this term. So it has now been replaced in many places by vague expressions such as “eternity” or “world.”

CLT, Concordant Bible translates Heb1:2 using the word eons instead of world(s)as follows: “in the last of these •days speaks to us in a Son, Whom He -°appoints enjoyer of the allotment of all, through Whom He also makes the eons;”

However, when using the plural ‘Worlds,’ KJV is more accurate than many others, but still has not found the right word. A correct word to describe God’s work of creation would be eon, ‘world age.’ “There are five different eons identifiable in the Bible (in Greek aion). Greek philosophies, among others, of timelessness, have, over time, obscured the original meaning of this term. So it has now been replaced in many places by vague expressions such as “eternity” or “world.”

Rom 11:36 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen..”Forever here in Greek is αἰών aiōn. Concordant translation (CLV) Rom 11:36 seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is •all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!

Rom 16:27 “to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever! Amen.”

The word “forever” is wrong. It seeks to create a sense of infinite eternity. The correct translation is “for the eons of the eons.”

World, eternity, world age? Such expressions are commonly used in Bible translations. All are based on the Greek word aiōn and the adjective aionion. The Hebrew equivalent is owlam. However, all the words mentioned above mean periods, perhaps even extended periods, which, however, will end. They have a beginning and an end.

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (KJV Mat 24:3), When the apostles asked about the end of the world, did they mean the complete destruction of the whole earth? After all, the Bible tells of the last days, describing in 2 Pet 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

However, the question and answer only mean the end of the current world eon. When this eon ends, a new world eon begins, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. After that, a new eon begins again, when the last judgment is given, and the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem descend with God himself to earth.

 

The last judgment

In my end-time writings, I have pondered what God’s final judgment is. Many people have believed the Bible’s literal word “the lake of fire,” where sinners may be tormented eternally and tortured with no end. I will return to this question about eternal punishment a little later and try to show that it is a question of a wrong translation. The Bible also describes end-time penalties as “deep darkness.”

Who will not be convicted at the last judgment?

“Most assuredly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (Joh 5:24)

People, in general, think that all will have to participate in the final judgment. Earlier, I wrote that the co-rulers of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, i.e., the saints of the first resurrection, will not be judged together with the world. 1 Cor 11:32 “But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Does John’s statement further expand this group, which does not have to be condemned? If they are involved in the first resurrection, then they belong to the group I mentioned. If for some reason, they are not included in the ranks of the first resurrection (because it is to be a ‘little flock’), they are, by faith, saved by the last judgment. In my view, they will take part in the trial, but by faith, they will receive an acquittal.

If, despite their faith, they have lived sinfully, what kind of treatment of God’s purifying fire will they receive? God’s fire purifies away man’s sins. The procedure may be more prolonged and more painful, depending on how sinfully a person has lived.

 

Eternal punishment

The punishment of the Last Judgment has almost always been translated to be ‘eternal’. The convicts will be thrown into the lake of fire, where they will suffer forever. Rev 20:10 “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night to the ages of the ages. The leaders of the rebellion are cast into the fiery lake, tormented night and day, forever and ever. KJV uses the saying…“and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. The Greek text says this: εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.”

Slavery is also said in the Bible to last forever. The slave’s ear was pressed against the door frame, and a hole in the pinna was inserted with an awl to attach the slave’s mark. The Bible says a slave is forever the property of his owner. ‘Eternal’ is owlam in Hebrew. An indebted person could sell himself into slavery and thus work to pay off his debt. Slavery, described as eternal, was of limited duration and ended at the dawn of the next jubilee. This was done at least with those who sold themselves into slavery. Those enslaved in the war may not have been treated in the same way.

When the first vernacular translations of the Bible came in the Middle Ages, the clergy had a problem. Until then, the Bible was only in Latin, and priests in their sermons could present their interpretations without the listeners being able to check the Bible. The priests had taken the opportunity to paint a picture of hell as a place of eternal torture in the lake of fire. The priests sold God’s forgiveness and raised large sums of money as

The eternal punishment of God in the Jewish faith lasted only one year.

 

Death dies

 Rev 20:14 “Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”  – If Death is thrown into the lake of fire, what is the purpose of this measure? By no means eternal torture in the lake of fire, but Death will be destroyed. Death is no longer needed. “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.(1 Cor 15:26). Once Death is dead, no one needs to die anymore, neither the first death nor the second death. Sinners have been punished, and there are only eternally living children of God in the world of God.

What happens to the fiery lake after Death is thrown there, and Death is dead? Did it sound a little crazy? Death is dead! Death is not actually thrown into any lake. Death cannot die, but it becomes unnecessary when no one must die because no one sins anymore. The removal of death in a fiery lake is a figurative expression of the disappearance of the phenomenon of death in the world.

And then, did the sinners sentenced to the second death continue to be tormented in the fiery lake? What if the fiery lake for them, too, is just a metaphor of destruction? According to one interpretation, those sinners who do not receive the purifying fire of God but face the second death called “the lake of fire,” are destroyed, or they cease to exist. When the Bible speaks of eternal punishment, it is timeless. The destroyed people are forever dead, and there is nothing left of them, unlike people who are purified by God’s fire. Many believers outright seem to demand God to torture evil sinners endlessly in the lake of fire. They are pleased that sinners get the wages they deserve and that “weeping and gnashing of teeth” has come as an eternal punishment for these convicts. The eternal separation from the connection of God is in itself the severest possible punishment for man, and torture in the lake of fire can no longer increase the sentence. Eternal life in the New World, the Paradise of God, is, on the other hand, the greatest reward man can achieve.

 

Man in the post-resurrection New World

The book of Revelation tells how God’s heaven and New Jerusalem will descend to earth, and God and Jesus Christ himself will sit there on their thrones.

Man receives tremendous powers and can do mightier deeds than Jesus did. What could be more impressive than, for example, raising the dead to life?

Jesus said: Joh 14:12 “Most assuredly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these will he do; because I am going to my Father.”

As we read the Bible, we have noticed that while living, healed the sick, drove away demonic spirits, and even raised the dead back to life. Otherwise, Jesus lived like ordinary people; for example, he might get tired. After rising from the dead, while Jesus was still on earth, he could walk through the walls and the locked doors. He could move from place to place in an instant. He could appear entirely unknown. He could be in a physical body e.g., presenting to Thomas the traces of the crucifixion in his hands and feet, or he could appear to people as a spirit.

What did Jesus tell the apostles about the powers they could have after the resurrection? Mat 17:20  “Because of your unbelief. For most assuredly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Jesus is currently a human in heaven who exercises all the power of God. His throne is on the right side of the throne of God. What will be the role of Jesus Christ in the New World? We know from the book of Revelation that there are two thrones in the New World, the Father’s and Son’s thrones. I have interpreted the role of Jesus so that he would not use the executive power in the same way as now when and near future as the tribulation of last days and the Day of the Lord is coming. There is no need for this because then there will be people in the world who are images of God as man was originally. All are God’s co-workers, working hard like the Father, fulfilling the tasks God has given them. In the New World, Christ is the High Priest of God.

His throne is on the right side of the throne of God. What is the role of Jesus Christ in the New World? We know from the book of Revelation that there are two thrones in the New World, the thrones of the Father and the Son. I have interpreted the role of Jesus so that he would not use his executive power in the New World in the same was as now when the last days before the time of tribulation and the Day of the Lord are coming. There is no need for that either because then there are only people in the world who are images of God as man was originally. All are God’s co-workers, working hard like the Father, fulfilling the tasks God has given them. In the New World, Christ is the High Priest of God.

The New World is a wonderful paradise of peace. But, have you thought that in creating man, the purpose of God was to obtain a large number of reliable co-workers for himself. What tasks has God planned for this new group of co-workers? We don’t know God’s plan yet. We know that God must make available to his co-workers the mighty powers to which Jesus referred. Future tasks will probably require such forces. What tasks will God give us? Does God send people to conquer new worlds for himself?

If you ever thought about this: If in the future humankind were only to live a peaceful life in paradise, we would not need such powerful forces.

 

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