articles of chapter 6

Resurrection and New Life

 

 

Aphorism

There are two resurrections, but only one for each person. There are also two deaths: the first death is for all, the second only for those who do not believe.

 

What does the resurrection of the body mean?

Resurrection means the restoration of the decayed human body and its reunion with the soul into a new eternal life. (Wikipedia)

We all know that there is little left of the human body that has been lying inside the earth for thousands of years. Many have been destroyed, you could say, completely. However, before the resurrection, God is believed to be able to rebuild people to what they were before death. The body is also united by the person’s soul and spirit. Everything is possible for God, probably also the rebuilding of man from sometimes even non-existent materials.”

The dead are to participate in the final judgment after the resurrection. In his Gospel, John affirms this: 5:28 “Don’t be amazed at this, because the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out—those who have done what is good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced what is evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

God has given all judgment to His Son, Jesus Christ. Judgments will be distributed after the end of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

Such a description of an event is generally accepted by the churches. In one key point, my interpretation of the Bible’s description of the resurrection, and the resurrection body in particular, differs from that described above. I will examine and justify it in the following.

The Acts of the Apostles in the Bible tells how Christ was first resurrected.

The Pentecostal Church defines the resurrection body as follows: “We believe in the resurrection of the body. The biblical doctrine of bodily resurrection is a special feature of Christianity that embodies the holistic value of man. The resurrection is not just about reviving the old body. In the resurrection, man gets a new kind of indestructible body that resembles an old body but is formed differently. Paul compares the old temporal body to the seed and the new spiritual body to the plant rising from the seed. A similar transformation takes place in the resurrection. The new body is connected to the old body. The resurrection body of Jesus gives us clues as to what our resurrection body is like. Between the resurrection and ascension to heaven, the body of Jesus was recognizable, physically touchable, and food-consuming, but independent of physical laws. In the new body man is free from the sufferings, imperfections, and needs of the temporal world. In the resurrection body, man is allowed to live eternally and perfectly in connection with God.”

“Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the resurrection, e.g. in accordance with the following principles: God grants Jesus the power to raise the dead (Joh 11:25). Jesus will restore “all those in the memorial tombs” to life, each one with his unique identity, personality, and memories (Joh 5:28, 29). Those resurrected to heaven receive a spirit body, while those resurrected to life on earth receive a healthy physical body, completely sound.”​ (Isa 33:24; 35:5, 6; 1 Cor 15:42–44, 50).

Who will receive the resurrection?  The Bible says that ”there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Act 24:15)

The righteous include faithful people, such as Noah, Sarah, and Abraham (Gen 6:9; Heb 1:11; Jam 2:21). The unrighteous include those who have not followed God’s standards because they have not had the opportunity to learn and follow them.

However, the resurrection is not given to those who have become so evil that they cannot change. When such a person dies, his destruction is final, and he has no hope of resurrection. (Mat 23:33; Heb 10:26, 27)

The Bible foretold that the resurrection to heaven would take place during Christ’s presence, which began in 1914. (1 Cor 15:21–23). The resurrection to life on earth will occur during the Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ, when the earth will be transformed into a paradise. (Luk 23:43; Rev 20:6, 12, 13).”

https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/what-is-the-resurrection/

 

The resurrection body, physical or spiritual?

In Corinthians, Paul speaks of the resurrection:

“How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come back?”      (1 Cor 15:35)
1 Cor 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial.
41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption;
43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power;
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body.

In verse 44, the physical body and the spiritual body are contrasted. Many believe these mean the same thing. Man has been said to be a soul, a living thing. In Hebrew, the soul is nephesh, and as evidenced by it, the Bible describes that man has a soul i.e., life force.

All the dead in their graves have been physical people. However, the churches’ doctrine and creeds describe that dead people are resurrected in the physical bodies they lived on earth. However, their resurrection bodies are as healthy as in the best days of their youth.

However, the Bible describes that we all (verse 52) become like our heavenly image. Verse 50 says that “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, which in modern language means that an ascending person cannot enter the Kingdom of God in the physical body.

1 Cor 15:49 As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let’s also bear the image of the heavenly.  50 Brothers, this is what I mean: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.  51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.

When the last trumpet sounds, the dead in Christ will rise in indestructible body, or spirit bodies. At the end of verse 15:52, it is stated, “we will be changed.” We who? This means those believers in Christ who are then alive. This is shown by the following quotation, 1 The 4:15-17. The verses also show that its author, among others, believed he would be still alive when Christ comes the second time.

According to the above, all who have died in Christ will become spirit beings like Christ in his glory. It would be pretty hard to imagine people rising to the clouds being in physical bodies. It would be a pretty cold ride.

All participants in the first resurrection are adults. We can deduce that they are dead in Christ. Not that any young person could be born again of Christ, but the future leaders of the kingdom are hardly young, let alone children. I do not think that the first resurrection involves children, not those who died as infants or mentally handicapped.

The latter must also be allowed to rise, as do criminals and opponents and mockers of Christ. Their resurrection takes place in the resurrection of judgment. I cannot quite say what kind of resurrection children and the mentally handicapped get. Jesus stated that the Kingdom of God is like children. However, do infant deaths be born mentally developed and able to speak? I think so, but we’ll see it then.

 

The resurrected are like angels.

Matthew writes that the resurrected are like angels in heaven. Angels are spirit beings who know neither marriage nor the relationships between men and women. Luke, in turn, states of the resurrected that they have attained immortality, like the angels of heaven, because they are “children of the resurrection.” Thus, the resurrection means that the resurrected can be compared to angels, like angels, spirit beings, and immortals.

As a side note, I could say that there were two main religious groups in Israel in the time of Jesus, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection or the angels. The Pharisees acknowledged both. (See Act 23:8)

As I continue to look at the resurrection, a small summary of what has been said so far: In the light of the above, how is the biblical concept of “the resurrection of the body” to be understood? First of all, I am firmly in the belief that the resurrection of the body is going to happen. This is what believe all who draw their Christian faith from the Bible.

A difficult question for many is whether the resurrection body is physical or the resurrected ones instantly transform into spirit bodies? Yes, this is what the Bible says. The ascended man’s body is instantly transformed into a spirit body as the resurrected ascend against Christ into the clouds. 1 The 4:17 “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air And so we will be with the Lord forever.” – This letter to Thessalonians is about the believers who will be on the earth at the second coming of the Lord Christ. “With them” means those of Christ who are first to be resurrected.

This is how we come to the question of the first resurrection or the rapture. Then comes the second resurrection, sometimes perhaps a thousand years from the first.

 

The first resurrection

Rev 20:4 ”I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ for the thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years.”

Luke describes the set of the first resurrection: 12:32 “Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

God the Father has chosen this relatively small group of believers as leaders of the Kingdom of Christ to rule under Christ. That is what Luke means when he writes, “give you the kingdom.” The kingdom will be made up of twelve tribes, according to the sons of Jacob. Jesus promised his apostles in Matthew 19:28 ”Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

– The Bible also proves that David will be the king of Israel, which means the leader of the apostles. What about the position of Jesus Christ? He is the king of kings in the coming kingdom bearing his name.

The first resurrection is commonly described as the rapture. 1 Thessalonians describes the rapture as follows: 4:17 “then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever.”

– It’s not said more about the rapture. Is there a rapture in the clouds, or is this also a figurative expression? However, Christ reigns on earth, even if necessary by “iron scepter,” as Rev 19:15 describes, ”Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.”

 

Who Will Rise Up in Connection With the Coming of Christ?

 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame, to everlasting contempt. (Dan 12:2)

Dan 12:1 “And at that time, Michael shall stand up, the great ruler who stands for the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of distress, such as has not been from the existence of a nation until that time. And at that time, your people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the Book.”

Dan 12:2 “Many (NIV: Multitudes) who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Traditionally, this translation of Daniel’s verse begins with the word “Many.”

The Hebrew word ‘רַב Rab’ has been translated in some translations, such as NIV and YLT, using the word ‘multitudes.’ A more important question is: are both groups receiving a resurrection simultaneously? When I think about this, it is possible that it does not require the resurrection to take place simultaneously.

Here Daniel 12: 2 deals primarily with the first resurrection.  This could be called the resurrection of the righteous. There will be the second and last resurrection after the Millennial Kingdom of Christ is over. All the rest will rise then and will receive Christ’s judgment.

The Hebrew word “forever,” i.e.,‘owlam עלָם’, is also not definitely and always eternal. I have written a couple of examples in another article. It would seem more evident that all the dead would rise up and that the graves would be empty to be filled again during the millennium reign. If many are the correct translation, there is a problem: who do not get out of the graves. Could it be so that in the first resurrection, only the righteous will rise? The rest are sinners who have their turn in the second resurrection.

In the Millennial kingdom, judgments will also be given; this is a clear statement in verse 2 Tim 4:1. Isaiah also refers to this in saying how the sinner is cursed at the age of hundred years. Isa 65:20 “There shall not still be an infant of days, or an old man that has not filled his days. For the youth shall die the son of a hundred years, but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.” Dan 12:3 “And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and those turning many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”

–The group of resurrected is twofold: Those who are wise and have insight, who love God and Jesus, i.e., obey the will of God and Jesus in their lives, and secondly, those who work to spread God’s Word i.e., the gospel, and to bring others to righteousness.

In verse 1, the events are connected with the coming of Christ, the great tribulation. Many dead will wake up. The time of great tribulation means that most of mankind will be destroyed. Does this mean that the dead have already been judged if they die during the tribulation time? Jesus condemns humanity both in his coming and during the thousand-year reign of God. 2 Tim 4:1 “Then I solemnly witness before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, he is about to judge living and dead at his appearance and his kingdom:” – In connection with his coming and in the kingdom during the millennial administration and at the end of the resurrection of judgment, he will judge the living and the dead.

According to an interpretation, a believer who renounces his faith in Christ is guilty of the mortal sin, the mockery of the Holy Spirit. Such can no longer receive God’s forgiveness. Such people may well be those mentioned by Daniel who rise to judgment, which is clear: shame and age-lasting abominations (abomination of desolation).

When Jesus appears, there will be people left on earth, subordinate to the kingdom. These could be saved at the last moment (those who called for Jesus’ name) or those who are good pagans whose salvation is based on their conscience. Rom 2:14 “For when nations not having Law do by nature the things of the Law, they not having Law are a law to themselves, 15 They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse them.”

They are allowed to obtain salvation based on faith adopted in the kingdom. After a thousand years, the second resurrection takes place, and after that, the so-called last judgment, when all those who lived and died in God’s kingdom awake to judgment. Joh 5:28 “Don’t be amazed at this, because the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out—those who have done what is good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced what is evil to the resurrection of condemnation.”

In verse 24 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” – This is Jesus’ promise of a favorable future judgment provided that, man will “endure to the end.” It also includes a lot more.

The chosen ones will not be judged with the rest of the world. God afflicts them and teaches them already during their lives, and they will be prepared to take responsibility for Christ’s leadership of the kingdom of God when they are resurrected.

In the second letter to Timothy, Paul writes that when Christ returns, Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. About himself and their kind who love the coming of Jesus, Paul says: 2 Tim 4:8 “For the rest, the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me in that Day, and not only to me, but also to all the ones loving his appearance.”

– Christ condemns during his millennial kingdom. Judgments are nevertheless distributed only to those who are in the kingdom. Judgments will, however, be given only to the survivors who are in the kingdom. The new resurrection will have to wait a thousand years.

 

The Millennial Kingdom of Christ

Christ promised his apostles before he ascended to heaven to come back “soon.” The apostles did believe in the quick return of Christ; after all, Jesus told them that they would not have time to take the gospel of the kingdom to all the cities of Israel when he had already returned. What happened when Christ did not return so soon? I do not know. Preterists, whose faith I have written an article, believe that all Jesus’ promises have already been fulfilled by AD 70 at the latest. Thus, Christ has come back and reigns in his invisible kingdom.

Why don’t I believe in preterist interpretation? For this reason, for example, when Christ comes a second time, he will capture Satan and his helpers. According to the Bible account, Satan should have been imprisoned for a thousand years. After a thousand years, the rule of the millennial kingdom of Christ has ended, and Satan should have been released.

When Christ comes, he is to capture Satan for a thousand years. If this has happened, the imprisoned Satan is released and then lost in the war against the forces of Christ and thrown into the lake of fire with his helpers. However, Satan seems to be in power even today.

However, we know that Satan is still “king of this world” today and is doing what He wants to shake believers away from faith to sin. Do you agree that the capture of Satan does not seem to have taken place, at least not yet?

Then, when Christ finally arrives and begins to rule his kingdom with his saints, the long (perhaps as much as a thousand years of peace) period of Christ’s kingdom begins. In the vision he received, Isaiah described this time for joy, happiness, and peace. People are healthy, living longer, but death has not yet been eliminated.

Life in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ: The resurrected are its leaders with Christ. They are in the spirit body but can also take a physical body like Jesus before ascending to heaven. An Apocryphal Book tells, e.g., of an angel called Raphael, who was on earth living with people. The people did not see any difference between Raphael and the people until Raphael himself admitted that he was a high-ranking angel of God.

People living on earth during the Kingdom of Christ are in physical bodies and are mortal, although life expectancy has lengthened.

 

Satan – the god of this world

Eve took a fruit from the forbidden “tree of good and evil knowledge” enticed by the serpent and offered it to Adam. They acted against God’s express prohibition, and God punished the inhabitants of paradise for the transgression by expelling them from there and depriving them of the gift of eternal life. Mankind became mortal.

How did God punish the serpent, or Satan, who, lying and tempting, caused Adam and Eve to break God’s command? This is hard to believe, but God gave the world dominance to Satan. This was confirmed by Jesus while on a long fast in the wilderness. For his part, Satan promised to provide the world’s dominance to Jesus if he bowed down before Satan to worship him. Luk 4:6 ”The devil said to him, I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want. 7 If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.”

Under what conditions did God give the world dominance to Satan? We don’t know that, but I may not believe that God would have promised Satan the world forever, without any restrictions. It is noteworthy, however, that Satan has always had access to God. Satan has taken advantage of this and appeared before God, accusing anyone at any time.

In what follows, I consider the war in heaven described in Revelation chapter 12, the war between Satan and his angels against the angelic hosts of God. The question that should be resolved is when will this war be fought, and when will Satan and his forces be cast to earth? It must be remembered that this is a vision of the future presented to John. Another question related to the previous one is, has the vision already materialized?

As my readers ponder these questions, most come to mind the idea that when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and God exalted him as Lord and Christ to sit on the throne to God’s right, would have solved the question and driven Satan out of heaven.

How I came to the following conclusion based on few sentences of Revelation?

 

War in heaven

Revelation chapter 12 tells of war in heaven. The Archangel Michael and his heavenly angelic hosts fought in this vision against the “dragon” (Satan).

Rev 12:7 “Then a war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels fought back,
8 They didn’t prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven.
9 The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him..
10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.  11 They overcame him because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death.
12 Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time.”

The result of the war was that Satan’s forces were lost, and Satan and his angels were cast from heaven to earth. It is clear that in the vision, Satan and his forces will suffer a defeat to the forces led by the Archangel Michael. Note, however, that the vision does not mention Jesus Christ participating in the war in heaven.

Could it be possible that war has taken place and Satan has lost and been cast down to earth? Many scholars date the war to the time Jesus ascended to heaven. It sounds natural, but what does it mean to Satan? Satan had access to heaven to accuse those who he said did wrong, contrary to God’s command. Satan is the leader of a great multitude of angels. Satan is forbidden to enter heaven anymore. This is described in the Bible as telling that Satan found himself cast down to earth (Rev. 12:13). If it were that the Archangel Michael (not Jesus) drove Satan away and Satan remained on earth to entice people into sin, then what would that mean? No change to the former. That is what Satan has done for ages.

Was throwing Satan out of heaven the most decisive event in the war? As described in verse 10, I explain why I interpret the time of the war to take place until much later?

Pay attention to verse 10, where John hears the voice saying:

Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ;

My explanation:

This section’s important information is that the war has resulted in a) salvation and power b) the kingdom of our God c) the power of God’s anointed one, or Christ. I pay particular attention to points (b) and (c).

What does it mean that the victory of war brings the kingdom of God when it comes? Where has the kingdom of God come to? To heaven or earth? There has been a kingdom of God in heaven forever, it is absolutely sure and there has been no change. But has the kingdom of God come to earth? Answer honestly, do you believe that the kingdom of God reigns on earth? I don’t think it prevails yet.

Point c, is there in heaven “the power of the God’s anointed, i.e., Christ?” I believe that there is both the kingdom of God in heaven and the dominion of the Anointed One of God. – Satan has never had power in heaven, only the right to come forward with his accusations.

It is not a question of power in heaven! The answer to heaven is clear and undisputed. The question, then, is whether on earth is the kingdom of our God and the power of his Anointed One? That is why the kingdom of God and the second coming of Christ to rule has been long-awaited. So: Is there a kingdom of God on earth? Is there the power of the Son of God on earth? My answer is: NO. This result of the vision has not materialized.

And what conclusion can we draw from that? The decision is that this war has not yet been fought as is generally believed, right after Jesus ascended to heaven and received from God all power in heaven and on earth.

If war were to take place until sometime later, when? I can’t tell that, but one option would be close to Christ’s return to earth. Then the war in heaven and the war on earth would form one whole.

However, the final incidents and outcome of the war are already known to us. The result of the war is the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth and the power of the Son of God as well. These have not materialized, so we are still waiting.

The description of the war in Revelation highlights the war’s outcome in the very next verse at 12:10; “Now has come, etc.” From verse 10, I get the impression that throwing Satan would happen and very soon (i.e., “now”) result in the purification of power described in verse 10 and Satan’s elimination from heaven. How soon Satan’s inoperative power on earth will be realized depends on how soon Christ and his forces come.

Suppose the outcome of the war had been such that the fruits of Michael’s victory would not be realized until at least two millennia. Could the description of Revelation not have stated that “in due time Christ will return to the earth where Satan has been ravaged for a long time…” explaining that there is a long period between the two verses. But to jump at least two millennia feels amazing. However, the war timing does not change anything about the outcome of the war and its impact on events.

It, therefore, appears that there has been a long delay in the timetable told to John in the book of Revelation.

After much thought, I admit that it is possible that war could have been fought in heaven and, led by Michael, Satan’s forces had been defeated and cast upon the earth if this had happened, as many believe, already soon after Christ ascended to heaven. What would that mean?

Interpretation 2.

The war was fought, and Satan’s forces were defeated. Satan and his great flock of angels were cast down to earth when Christ ascended into heaven and was given all power. Satan became enraged and began to fight more fiercely against the supporters of Christ. According to this interpretation, war was fought almost 2,000 years ago.

That would mean that Jesus ’promise to return to the earth “soon” has been delayed. The delay has lasted for nearly two thousand years, and the victory told John in the vision has not been utilized; Satan is allowed on earth to entice people and nations to war and unrest, away from the worship of the true God. In this interpretation, the interpretation about the kingdom of God and the power of Christ is reduced to authority in heaven. The power of Christ, and with it the power of God on earth, will then be realized in the future when Christ and his angelic hosts, commanded by Archangel Michael, arrive on earth, and a great battle begins.

If so, God has, for some reason, considered it best to delay the return of Christ and the commencement of his kingdom. Satan has been given extra time and will undoubtedly take advantage of it.

These wars and the confusion of faith are described in the following chapters of Revelation chapter 12. I think it is clear that if war has not yet taken place in the time described in chapter 12, the war will be waged during the following chapters of Revelation: the events described in chapters 13-19 bring out so strongly that I believe Satan and his closest helpers and assistants are on earth, as these chapters describe.

 

Satan is bound

Satan and his angels (spirit beings) cast on the earth are waiting anxiously for the next round of war; Jesus Christ, with the Archangel Michael and the heavenly angelic powers, comes to earth and destroys the forces of Satan. (I remind you that events are not always presented in the order in which they occur; Satan has not yet been bound, and his assistants have not been captured. Revelation may use the imperfect tense to describe future events)

Satan’s capture and bondage is not described until Revelation 20:1 ”I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 He captured the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and tied him up for a thousand years.
3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time.”

Rev 19:20 ”The beast [Anichrist] was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.”

20:2 ”He [the angel with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand] seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the bottomless pit, locked it, and sealed it over him to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were over. After that he must be set free for a little while.”

Satan was only captured, but two helpers, the Antichrist and the false prophet, were thrown alive into the lake of fire. The old notion is that a fiery lake is a punishment that brings the pain of hell, which has been interpreted literally until recently.

 

Satan is set free

When the time of Christ’s kingdom is coming to an end, Satan will be released. It tests humanity: who are faithful servants of God and who go out to follow Satan?

Satan is therefore released. Why didn’t Christ destroy Satan when he came to earth for the second time under the leadership of a mighty army of angels? Satan’s helpers, The Antichrist, and the false prophet, are sent to suffer their punishment, but Satan is only imprisoned. What is the plan of God and Christ? Wouldn’t it make more sense to destroy Satan as soon as Satan is defeated? Destroy Satan and all his angels so that they will never be able to entice mankind to sin. But no, the plan of God and Christ is different.

20:7 “And after the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison.

8 and he will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them.”

– The translation I use from 1938 is bold and translates the forms of warfare involve “space-to-earth” operations in the coming war. I checked many English translations but found no other proactive and forward-looking translations except in this Finnish translation. When we know the tools of modern warfare, the idea of warfare across space does not sound today impossible at all but somewhat credible to the greatest extent possible.

Satan begins to mobilize the great masses with him in the struggle for world domination. The battle will end, and Satan’s forces will be destroyed when the fire of God falls from heaven upon them. According to the Bible, Satan is thrown into the fiery lake (a metaphor), where his assistants Antichrist and the false prophet are already waiting.

10 “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast [Anttichrist] and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

 

The second resurrection

Rev 20:5 ”The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. 6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.”

The “other dead” are thus those dead who were not raised in the first resurrection. The second resurrection will take place after the end of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

Now the world is free from all distractions; Satan and his angels will no longer be able to interfere with the execution of God’s plan. Now begins the epilogue, from which I could say that it is, in fact, also the first chapter of God’s New World. Its main content is

  • – The resurrection of judgment
  • – Enforcement of the judgment
  • – The beginning of God’s New World
  • – God descends to earth
  • – People are God’s co-workers in the New World

The first resurrection is the resurrection of the few and chosen. They are Christ’s own and will rule with him the Millennial Kingdom. Nor do they have to attend the final judgment following the Second Resurrection. The Saints of the First Resurrection are in the spirit body as they ascend and change, as I pointed out in the words of the Bible above. Jesus was also in the spirit body when he was resurrected but could take the physical body if he wanted to. Perhaps the risen saints are similar to Christ in this respect.

All those who remained in their graves in the first resurrection will now rise so that no one will stay in the tomb anymore. All ascenders are now gathered before the judgment seat of Christ.

I have interpreted the resurrection body to be a spiritual body. When the traditional interpretation has been a physical body, there was behind it the idea of punishment; those who went to hell had to be in a physical body to suffer the fiery lake’s torture forever. If we are willing to give up the idea of such punishment of eternal torture, we can at the same time give up the idea that the resurrection body is a physical body.

Mat 22:30 ”For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like God’s angels in heaven.”

Luk 20:35 “But those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.  36 For they can’t die any more, for they are like the angels, and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.                                                                      Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die, yet will he live.

Act 26:23 how the Christ must suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, he would be first to proclaim light both to these people and to the Gentiles.

1 Cor 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man.

2 Tim 2:18 They have abandoned the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place, and so they destroy the faith of others.

Luk 14:14 and you will be blessed, because they don’t have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous.”

Act 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess all of these.”

 

Last judgment

What saves a person at the last judgment?

For the final judgment, people will be raised from their graves in the bosom of the earth as well as in the depths of the sea. Rev 20:13 ”The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works.”

Did you notice that the Book of Revelation says his works will judge everyone? Which is decisive, faith in God and Christ and the grace of God and Christ, or deeds of faith? In the Middle Ages, there was a heated controversy over this, with Luther being a solid supporter of grace as opposed to Catholics. Romans reconciles the words diplomaticallyRom 4:16″ Therefore, the promise is based on faith, so that it may be a matter of grace and may be guaranteed for all his descendants—not only for those who were given the law, but also for those who share Abraham’s faith, who is the Father of us all.”

Is the decisive factor in salvation the faith of man, involving God’s grace as a complementary factor or the works of faith? Ephesians seems certain:

2:8 “For you are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God’s gift: 9 not on the principle of works, that no one might boast.

The Act also agrees: Rev 20:13 ”The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works.”

– Paul cares for Old Testament believers, such as Abraham, who was promised that all tribes would be blessed in Abraham’s seed.  Gen 12:3 ” I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.
28:14 Your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. In you and in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.”

The Epistle to the Romans brings out the essentials of faith; how much faith is bestowed on each?

Gen 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.
28:14 Your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. In you and in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Let us first look at verses that emphasize faith.

Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Joh 7:38 He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.

Act 16:31 hey said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Rom 5:1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Rom 10:9 that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Rom 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Mat 10:32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.

1 Cor 1:21 For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe,

2 Tim 3:15 From infancy, you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.

1 Pet 1:21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God.

2:6 Because it is contained in Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will never be ashamed.

1 Joh 3:23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded.

The Bible emphasizes the importance of believing the gospel. The gospel is the power of God, for the salvation of the believer. Believers will receive the seal of the Holy Ghost.

Mar 1:15 He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near! Repent, and keep believing in the gospel!”

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.

Eph 1:13 You, too, have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed in him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,”

The verses above contain a wide variety of references to belief. However, the main message is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” – Do we have to believe everything the Gospels say or all the Bible passages where the name of Jesus is mentioned?

When the Bible says, believe in Jesus, it means that we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, our Lord, that Jesus will come the second time and give judgment with the power God has given him.

 

Strive to enter in

Jesus also encouraged believers to strive for salvation: Luk 13:24 Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able.”

Why strive if salvation can happen simply by believing in Jesus? Why does Jesus say the door is narrow? Why do only a few manage to get inside? Inside, but where? I will tell you my interpretation.

Salvation is easy; when anxiety is at its worst, death is near. He who cries out to God or Jesus Christ for help will be saved. Salvation here means preserving your own life. It does not yet guarantee eternal life in the kingdom of God. To enter the kingdom of God, one must strive as Jesus put it. If a man fails in the race, he will not enter the first resurrection and the kingdom of God. To enter the kingdom of God, one does not have to strive for heaven, but to compete to enter the earthly government of the Kingdom of God or the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, to rule the world together with the Saints.

 

Why has God given people a different measure of faith?

Rom 12:3 ”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.”

What does it mean that God has given each person a different amount of faith? Who could explain the basis on which God has chosen certain people even before the beginning of time? Eph 1:4 “even as he [God] chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;”

Room 8:29 “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers; 30 Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified.”

According to his plan, God has known those who will become like Jesus in the future from time to time. These elect God also calls and justifies and glorifies like Jesus.

However, not everything is predetermined to the end. The Bible states that even the elect may be mistaken for Satan (Mat 24:24).

 

Who will be saved?

God promises to save everyone.

“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.” (1 Tim 4:10)

This Bible verse states that God is the Savior of all men. That is clear, but it is complemented by the saying ‘especially of believers.’ This seemed exceptional, and at first reading, I could not quite say how the salvation of ‘especially believers’ views all salvation. I interpret it to mean that, above all, God primarily saves believers. However, God is the Savior of all people, even non-believers, the Savior of all. Once this is clear, one only has to decide how all people will be saved, even those who do not believe.

As I write about universalism and annihilation in the future, the promise of God told in this verse will rise above all principles. The principle of universalism is that everyone is saved. On the other hand, annihilation is the most extreme punishment; punishment is for them an eternal difference from God; they cease to exist as if they had never lived.

”For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor 15:22)

“My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you might not sin. Yet if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, one who is righteous. It is he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world’s.” (1 Joh 2:1-2)

Jer 32:27 “Behold, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?”

Mat 19:26 “Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  – it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18). God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. (Jam 1:13). If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He can’t deny himself. (2 Tim 2:13). – The saying ‘denying oneself’ means, I think, that God’s promises are kept. He doesn’t undo his promises. In particular, God’s people Israel is the subject of its commitment.

Num 23:19 ”God is not a man, that he should lie, Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?”

 

Universalism 

More than 100 billion people have lived on earth over time. Can they all be saved?

Universalism is generally defined to mean the salvation of all human beings. My understanding is that it is possible to believe in all Christians’ salvation based on the Bible. All Christians have at least some, perhaps weak, yet some connection to Christianity. Pagans, that is, those who do not believe a drop in Christianity’s content, often have no relationship with Christianity. How could we believe in the salvation of such godless people, even if the Bible reads that God is the savior of all?

Biblical phrases such as “So are all made alive in Christ” can be interpreted universally; “All men are made alive in Christ.” However, my interpretation of such verses requires that the person has a slight conception of God or Christ. No matter how small, one on whom the fire of God can take action to burn out the Christian faith from within all the earthly slag.

Thus, Christian universalism means that all people who have ever lived will eventually recognize Jesus as Lord.

The salvation of all the world’s people, pluralistic universalism says that all religious paths bring salvation. Defined in this way, both forms of universalism lead to the same. The principle of Christian universalism that all people who have ever lived will eventually recognize Jesus as Lord leads to pluralistic (unitarian) universalism, according to which all religions lead to salvation. By definition, no one is left out of salvation. – Thus far, I don’t think the word of the Bible meant stretching.

This doctrine comes from the Greek word Apokatastasis, which has its roots in the Bible. The ancient Greek concept of Apokatastasis panton (Αποκατάστασις  πάντων)

means “the restoration of all things,” to which Peter refers when speaking of the ascension and return of Jesus to heaven:” whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets.” (Act 3:21). This verse has been interpreted in the early church that Christ God restores all mankind to a fixed, paradisiacal state.

If God and Christ want “all” to be saved, provided God Jehovah and His Son recognize them, then how is that possible?

The following idea, completely unbiblical, occurred my mind: Before pronouncing the judgment in annihilation, Christ asks those who claim to have never heard of Christ: “Are you ready to take a basic course in Christianity, taught with a new teaching technique and learned in half a second?” Those who agree will be taught about the God of the Bible and His Son and the foundations of Christianity. After the course, they will all be asked, “Do you now believe in Jehovah God and His Son, Jesus Christ?” All who answer positively are saved.

All those “course participants” who say they do not believe will be sentenced to annihilation despite the course. Annihilation means the complete and immediate cessation of life and consciousness after the judgment’s proclamation —no right of appeal.

It has been said that God does not share the gift of faith to a certain extent, but he does in his own time. And also Rom 12:3, ”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.

Rom 14:10 ”For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess to God. 12 So then each one of us will give account of himself to God.”

– I understand that all Christians will be saved, but what about the 100 billion Gentiles who lived at different times?

There are passages in the Bible that, based on the translation, can be interpreted as an endless and irreversible condemnation. One must choose which one he considers correct and decisive, the Bible passages that offer universal hope or eternal torture quotes after the last judgment.

The Bible does not speak in the original languages of “eternal destruction.” It is a question of a time-limited penalty. However, the translation of the Bible I use is still in its old positions:

Mat 25:41”Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

”For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him [Christ];  and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.  (Kol 1:19 – 20).

– All the fullness of God dwells in Christ, who has made peace through his cross and is ready to reconcile all things through himself, both on earth and in heaven. Reconciliation is not compelling reconciliation, but requires that one voluntarily wants it.

Mat 25:41 ” Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The above verses could be understood as meaning that the path to salvation is also open to the Gentiles if only they will receive Christ; turn so you may live.

1 Pet 3:20 ”who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”

 

What happens to those who are not saved?

When God cannot lie, is Bible speech of the hell a lie, or misinterpreted or misunderstood?

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life..
17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him..
18 He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.”

Through the centuries, humanity has believed in the existence of hell. Hell was deep underground inmost beliefs, and people got deeper down the more horrible deeds they had done. Maintaining such a belief was a great way for the clergy to keep the parishioners under control. When the Bible had not even been translated into the people’s vernacular until the 16th century, the ordinary people had no opportunity to verify the priests’ fierce sermons’ validity. When the first vernacular translations became available, another problem arose; were the biblical sayings of eternal, never-ending torment translated correctly?

Many Bible readers and scholars believe the punishment of the “lake of fire” is eternal even today. The Greek words aionaionos do not mean, according to current knowledge, infinite eternity. Nor is the Hebrew word owlam. The enlightened Bible reader himself may have inferred this by using common sense. For example, when God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with eternal fire. The so-called ‘eternal fire’ has been extinguished long ago.

Today, it may be argued that hell does exist, but it is only lasting for a certain period. The Jewish notion of punishment lasting up to a year may be invoked.

I have written about the fire of God, by which I mean a bit like a Catholic purgatory. There is at least such a difference that Catholics believe they will be caught in purgatory as soon as they die before entering heaven. God’s purifying fire, as the Bible means, does not purify man until the final judgment is at hand. This cleansing fire may well be painful and may be the cause of these hell perceptions.

Is it possible to even preach Christianity as a testimony to all people of all nations? Preach so that they understand what is at stake. At the final judgment, someone may say; hey, what are you talking about? Who is this Jesus? Oh, that Jesus, from whom a man once in the marketplace shouted, “Jesus saves”?

God also has at his disposal a different kind of fire that is consuming. Satan’s army is destroyed in such a fire that consumes by falling from heaven. (Rev 20:9)

 

What about the Gentiles?

The fence of salvation is low – for Christians. The problematic question is: what about the one hundred billion Gentiles? I explored the question of the number of humanity calculated over time. According to demographers, the answer to this was also found on the internet, and it was over 100 billion. Today’s population is just under 8 billion. Of that, Christians make up about a couple of billion. The largest Church is Catholic, about 1.2 billion, divided into Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic.

How could one hundred billion Gentiles live on earth? Well, sometimes in the Middle Ages, said my teacher of religion at school, scholars wondered how many angels would fit to stand at the head of a pin. Wouldn’t there be enough space with this principle?

What about the Gentiles? That is, those who a) have not heard of our God Jehovah and Christ Jesus, or b) who have heard, but only by mention, and have been in faith in another god all their lives. Then there is point c), which includes those who have renounced Christianity and perhaps knew God and Jesus very closely. How are these?

“I believe it follows from God’s love that man can choose eternal separation from him. What will result from the final rejection of God? Annihilationist interpretation of the Bible is convincing to me. I believe that the eternal separation from God is equal to the eternal separation from life and existence. But how many people end up turning their backs on God completely?” I read these thoughts on a website while gathering material for this article.

In my blog post https://salatturaamattu.fi/miksi-uskovat-ihmiset-eivat-usko-raamattua/ I reflect on annihilation and the problem of the second death under the title “Christ did not die the second death.”

1 John says that love is of God; and whosoever loves, is born of God, and knows God. 4:8 “The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

It is impossible to think that a loving God would allow torture, let alone eternal. Or that God would order such a destiny for some. I understand and accept annihilation because it removes a person from existence; he has sometimes been but is no more. Even his memory is no longer remembered.

Do I believe this message? Or do I believe the biblical accounts of how God allowed the pagans to be treated?

 

Is God Almighty?

Behind the word, almighty used in the New Testament is the Greek word παντοκράτωρ pantokratōr. Strong’s gives the word definition, e.g., omnipotent, the ruler of all, almighty, God.

Is the correct meaning ‘almighty’ or ‘almighty of all.’ In my previous writing, I pondered God’s omnipotence; no man can see the face of God without dying. God told this to Moses, who wanted to see God’s face. God hid Moses in the rock crevice and allowed him to see God from behind. I asked; could not Almighty God come up with any solution that Moses could have seen the face of God without dying? While the meaning of the pantocrator is also omnipotent, the ruler of all, then the relevant question is whether God is almighty in every sense.

“In The first chapter of the book of Judges, there is a funny example of a description in which the power of God is presented as limited. It tells how God helped the tribe of Judah to win the wars. However, the men of Judah did not defeat the inhabitants of the plain because they had reinforced chariots (Judg 1:19). Is God stronger than wooden chariots but not quite as strong with iron ones? 1:2 “Yahweh said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.” 1:19 ”Yahweh was with Judah; and drove out the inhabitants of the hill-country; for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

The Bible proves that God is good. The Bible says that only God is good. Therefore, one may ask, why is there so much evil in the world if God is good and love and yet omnipotent?

Even regarding the above, I cannot believe that the loving God could accept eternal torture as punishment for his creatures. Even the pagans are created in the image of God. That is why, earlier in this writing, before the final judgment of annihilation was pronounced, I proposed a “quick course of Christianity” for the convicts, after which no man could say, “I did not know” or “I did not understand.”

After taking the course, if a person on judgment still says defiantly, “let your judgment come,” he can rightly be condemned to annihilation, that is, eternal separation from God and life and existence.

 

What is the new life like in God’s New World?

What is the goal of the resurrection?

I dare claim that 99.9% of Christians who believe they will be saved believe they will get to heaven. Personally, I don’t think the goal of salvation is in heaven. I prove it with explicit Bible promises. When the promise is fulfilled, each saved person wonders why they ever dreamed of going to heaven.

The promise: “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.”

The promise is fulfilled: The last book of the Bible testifies how John sees what is happening in the vision: The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will descend from heaven to earth. God’s dwelling is in the midst of the saved people in New Jerusalem. God dwells among them.

Why on earth do people seek access to heaven when God Himself dwells on earth in their midst?

 

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