As we attempt, via Bible Prophecy, to look further and further into the future; and even unto the Final End of The World: in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10): it shall become increasingly difficult to aim our “prophetic telescope” at things so faint and distant. You may compare the problem of getting a fix on the events at The END of The WORLD to trying to select and find a single distant star with a telescope. If the telescope is HELD IN THE HAND there is NO CHANCE: for no man is steady enough to hold a focus on an object that is millions of light years away. NO: the telescope has to rest on something that neither moves nor shakes. BUT EVEN THEN, you must obtain precise specifications from the astronomy manual to AIM the telescope, for the slightest error will have you looking at a spot that is billions of miles away from what you wished to see: and any attempt to “interpret”, rather than simply conform to the specifications, will lead you astray. In order to find what you’re looking for, you will have to exercise great diligence and carefulness in matters that have no apparent relationship to the practical necessities of your life. It may take you a while to get your telescope “dialed in” exactly, and maybe longer than you care to invest; you may conclude that it isn’t worth the time or the effort: After all, a star so distant has nothing to do with your life. You are CORRECT. It IS more important to look after what is immediately before you, than to locate and see a distant star. The Author and Designer of the Christian Bible agrees; and He has allotted very little space and detail in the Bible concerning the Last and Final End of the World. You may safely presume, that if you are “right with God” NOW, you’ll be “right with God” THEN; and you will have NOTHING TO FEAR from the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:12). You don’t need to know EXACTLY how the WORLD will END: you just need to know EXACTLY how YOU will END. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless (2 Peter 3:13-14).
EVERY MAN IN HIS OWN ORDER
In order to establish that there is such a thing as Millennial Kingdom of God upon the earth BEFORE The Last Judgement, it will be necessary to establish that there are 2 distinct resurrections; one at the beginning, and one at the end of the Millennium: being separated by an interval of a thousand years (Rev.20:4-6).
|1 Cor.15:22-26||For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.|
|23||But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming (PAROUSIA).|
|24||Then cometh the end (Grk. TELOS), when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have finallyput down all rule and all authority and power.|
|25||For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.|
|26||The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.|
Even though the Bible plainly asserts that there are 2 distinct resurrections that happen a thousand years apart: the plain assertion that this is so in Rev.20:4-6, has not settled the matter for many Bible scholars, because every prophetic reference to The End of This Age and/or World APPEARS to be either CONTRADICTED or CONFUSED by other scriptures which appear to address these same subjects. In most cases, the apparent disagreement is in that each individual prophetic address seems to be made in ignorance of and without reference to the other prophetic addresses which also appear to describe the SAME TIME and EVENT.
SO IT IS: that in 1 Corinthians 15:22-26, the Apostle Paul seems to KNOW NOTHING about the resurrection of OTHER MEN that took place at the SAME TIME that Jesus was resurrected.
|Matt. 27:50-53||Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost (died).|
|51||And, behold, the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;|
|52||And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.|
|53||And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many.|
Neither does the Apostle Paul take note of the resurrection of Moses, which took place nearly 1500 years before Our Lord was born (Jude 9). Nor does the Apostle Paul think it worth mentioning that this RESURRECTED Moses appears on The Mount of Transfiguration in his resurrected body, along with Elijah, who was Raptured 900 years BEFORE Our Lord was born (Matt. 17:2, 2 Kings 2:11). Nor does the Apostle Paul seem to think it significant that Enoch was Raptured 3300 years BEFORE Our Lord was born (Gen. 5:24, Heb. 11:5). The consideration of THESE things seems to leave the statement that Christ was the firstfruits somewhat in doubt; and we are returned to the consideration of what it MEANS for the Christian Bible to be INSPIRED. I shall have to focus your attention on the question of inspiration time and time again: For if at any point, you can no longer believe that God has seen to it that history has delivered to us an INTACT, RELIABLE, and UNMUTILATED Bible; then THIS, and every other attempt at forecasting the future from Bible Prophecy is VAIN.
The Apostle Peter says: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21). WHAT THIS MEANS, is that the contents of the Christian Bible, AS WE HAVE RECEIVED THEM, are NOT the product of any attempt by any particular man to set forth a SYSTEMATIC EXPLANATION of the PRECISE ORDER of events which will attend the 2nd Coming of Christ and/or The End of The World. The Bible provides us with NO orderly “list” of these things.
So, GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF: for we are about to enter a STRANGE LAND, in which we account the Christian Bible to be UTTERLY RELIABLE to tell us The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth; SO HELP US God.
The most unsettling thing that I must tell you is this: That the writers of the Christian Bible may NOT have even known what they were writing when they wrote it. By THIS, I distinguish the INSPIRED Holy Bible from my own writings: for I DO KNOW exactly WHAT IT IS that will be understood by YOU as you read what you are holding in your hands NOW. Isaiah DID NOT KNOW that when he prophesied a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; that he was predicting the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. He is clearly LED to believe; and DOES BELIEVE; that this prophecy is fulfilled in his OWN son (Isaiah 7:14-16; NOTE vs. 16, and Isaiah 8:3-4; COMPARE 7:16 with 8:4).
I hope that the single example that I have supplied from among the MANY that I could supply, will suffice to establish THE FACT: That those men that God used to WRITE DOWN THE WORDS which became the Christian Bible MAY NOT HAVE UNDERSTOOD the full and final significance of their own writings. NOT by the will of man.
It is also MOST IMPORTANT: That as we begin to SOLVE THE PUZZLE; that we do not imagine ourselves to be CORRECTING or MAKING UP FOR “God’s mistakes.” We must account the CONTENTS and the FORM of the Christian Bible to be the product of God’s INTENTIONAL DESIGN.
The Apostle Paul may very well have thought about those OTHER RESURRECTIONS as he was writing 1 Corinthians 15:22-26. He may even have been tempted to mention those other resurrections, and to JUSTIFY or EXPLAIN why he says that Christ is the firstfruits; while failing to mention the other saints…which arose…and appeared unto many. But it’s ALSO possible that the Apostle Paul just “forgot ” about those OTHER RESURRECTIONS while he was writing, and felt some REMORSE about his “oversight” LATER. Even if he DID notice the APPARENT CONTRADICTION later; or if someone else brought it to his attention; he just NEVER got around to either explaining or correcting his “apparent mistake”. So even if we are reading “Paul’s mistake”; we are NOT reading “God’s mistake.” If this single statement by the Apostle Paul is read as a denial that those PREVIOUS RESURRECTIONS took place; then throw your Bible in the trash, and go and study something worthwhile, like accounting or auto mechanics. If ANY single positive assertion in the Bible is finally realized as an irreconcilable contradiction to any other positive assertion in that same Bible; there is no point in studying to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15); for THEN, Bible study is JUST BUSYWORK with no practical objective. There are many professing Christians who see Bible study as a tiresome and pointless BURDEN that God has placed upon them; ALMOST A PUNISHMENT; like unto being required to write “I will behave myself in class” a HUNDRED TIMES on the blackboard: They only do it to avoid a “worse” punishment, OR to avoid criticism by their fellow church-members. If you REALLY BELIEVE that the Christian Bible is the UNCONTESTABLE Word of The Only True God; and that the Only True God will ultimately bless or destroy every soul of man according to how they relate to His Word in THAT Bible; you will be eager to learn everything that God gives you the power and opportunity to learn about THAT Bible. Not everyone is called to be a “Bible Scholar”; but we shall all give account for how we reacted to our opportunities to increase our understanding of The Word of God.
As to the Apostle Paul’s assertion that Christ is the firstfruits; this may be understood as it was intended to be received by comparison to Rev. 13:8, where we are told that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Also Hebrews 9:26 and Revelation 1:8; BUT it is not my present task to present a Biblical description of TIME and SPACE. Suffice it for me to say that Our Lord Jesus Christ is “the hinge of history”; and that the PAST and the FUTURE are as 2 pages which meet in Christ, and now lay flat on the plane of time and space; joined in the incarnation of Christ. At the Final End of The World, the “book of history” is closed; both pages become as one page, and we shall realize HOW Christ was the same yesterday, and to day, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
|1 Cor. 15:23||But every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.|
So what about those who ARE NOT Christ’s?
WHEN do THEY get resurrected? We are NOT TOLD anything about the resurrection of the wicked in ANY of the 58 verses of the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and this entire chapter is devoted to the subject of resurrection. You will find that the resurrection of the righteous, and that of the wicked are sometimes mentioned in the same address; that the resurrection of the righteous is sometimes mentioned as a separate event; and that the resurrection of the wicked is never mentioned as a separate event. If you treat all the resurrection scriptures as descriptions of a single event, you will end up with a hodge-podge of irreconcilable contradictions: you will have to simply ignore some of them in order make any sense out of the rest of them and the 2nd Coming of Christ will appear to signal the immediate destruction of the entire world. I remind you, before we go on, that the ALMOST INSURMOUNTABLE difficulty of segregating the resurrection passages is a product of Divine Design; so that those who are less than scrupulously honest and meticulous, will be UNABLE to sort them out.
|1 Cor. 15:24||Then cometh the end (Grk. TELOS), when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.|
Those who deny that there is any Millennium, will see in this statement that The End of The World immediately follows the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection. But in order to assert this, they must contradict the order in which these events are presented in the Book of Revelation. There, the heaven and earth are fled away BEFORE the dead, small and great stand before God (Rev.20:11-12). The “devil”, here, is in the careless disregard for the details. The end shall come, WHEN He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1 Cor. 15:25 For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
If the coming of Christ occurs at THE END of the world, then He must ALREADY be reigning, RIGHT? But do you want to say that the reign of Christ includes every tragedy, sorrow, and evil that goes on unabated in this present world? Is Christ really “having His way” here, now, and ALREADY? Why then, are we commanded to pray, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done?
If Christ is ALREADY reigning (which means having His way), then that reign has been rather ineffective, for evil marches on unabated in this world. If Christ is already “having His way” in this world, then “His way” includes death, sickness, sin, tragedy, treachery, heartbreak, failure, misery, loneliness, witchcraft, false religions, heresy, tyranny, war, abortion, and divorce; and these are all the works of the devil that Jesus came to destroy (1 John 3:8).
This reign, is exercised during the Millennium. The word TELOS, which is translated to “end” in this place, does not refer to a point in TIME. The normal Greek word for the end of any AGE or specific historical epoch is ESCHATON, from which we get the word ESCHATOLOGY. TELOS means the FINALITY or CULMINATION. The FINALITY or CULMINATION shall come WHEN He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign (upon the earth) till (until) He hath put ALL enemies under His feet. Not every one who lives on the earth during the Millennium will be resurrected and righteous. As you shall see later, there is ANOTHER great conflict between the righteous and the wicked at the end of the Millennium. During the Millennium, there will still be DEATH. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26). There is no point in saying that the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, if the Second Coming of Christ means the destruction of the entire universe: for THEN everything that displeases God will be destroyed all at once and at the same time. The destruction of death is placed at the end of His reign. Some people will live all the way through the Millennium, all 1000 years of it: these are the resurrected and Raptured saints. Some, who were born during the Millennium will live extremely long lives of 500, or 700, or 900 years; just as in Genesis 5:1-32. Anyone who fails to live at least an hundred years during the Millennium will have died as a child (Isaiah 65:20-22).
|Rev. 20:7||And WHEN the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,|
|8||And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.|
The mention of Gog and Magog at THE END of the Millennium has caused many problems for traditional Pre-Millennial expositors; who hold that Gog and Magog are symbolic names for the nations that will attack Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation. The only possible resolution to this problem is that a REVIVED Gog and Magog are being referred to, NOT the same Gog and Magog that are described in Ezekiel 38:1-39:22.
Almost everyone agrees that Ezekiel is describing The Battle of Armageddon, but you must then account for the description of these primitive weapons, which will be burned in place of wood as fuel for seven years (Ez.39:9-10). If the Second Coming of Christ is The End of The World, then where do we get seven more years in which to burn these weapons? It is notable that no one would have had any problem understanding how this prophecy could be fulfilled until this century.
|Rev. 20:9||And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and destroyed them all.|
|10||And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet (already) are (since the beginning of the millennium), and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.|
This is the Final Conflict, at the END of the Millennium, in which the Devil that deceived them is finally removed forever from any POWER TO DECEIVE, or OPPORTUNITY TO TEMPT anyone.
|Rev. 20:11||And I saw a Great White Throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.|
We have now arrived at the events described in 2 Peter 3:10, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Also, Peter describes this final destruction of the heavens and the earth as The Day of God (2 Peter 3:12); a term that is not used anywhere else in the Bible. Once again, I assert that the unique character of such a phrase REQUIRES that we distinguish it from The Day of The Lord (1 Thess. 5:20), which is always used to describe The Great Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom that follows.
|Rev. 20:12||And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.|
Here we are, at The Last Judgement; which occurs AFTER the heavens and the earth are destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10-12).
|Rev. 20:15||And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.|
The dead that were judged here are all those who did not participate in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:5), AND all those who died DURING the Millennium. The RECENT and exclusively Protestant notion that ONLY the DAMNED are judged at the End of the Millennium is FALSE. The words, And whosoever was not found written, imply that someone WILL be found written in The Book of Life, and these will be the natural-born righteous who die during the Millennium
|1 Cor. 15:28||And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall also the Son Himself be subject unto Him (the Father) that put all things under Him (The Son), that God may be all in all.|
I will CONFESS: I do not understand what is meant by this statement; but it truly represents the final and complete dissolution of the material universe AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT, and a complete and final change in the nature of The Righteous. Take note here, of how this language agrees with the phrase, Day of God. The day of the Lord, elsewhere and also called The Day of Christ (2 Thess.2:2), is utterly characterized by Jesus Christ, the person. But in the Day of God, the incarnate Son will no longer need to mediate (1 Tim.2:5) between God and His creation. As long as this present creation lasts, there IS and WILL BE no authority or knowledge of God that is not derived FROM and THROUGH Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who said: All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18). Until that Distant Day, I will know no God, Master, or Lord other than Jesus Christ.
|Rev. 21:1||And I saw a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.|
The Final End of The World will also be a New Beginning. What awaits us THERE and THEN we do not know. We CAN know that if we are found to be IN CHRIST; that we shall live to see the New Heaven and the New Earth, and for eternity afterwards.
|John 5:25||Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.|
|26||For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself;|
|27||And hath given Him authority to execute judgement also, because He is the Son of man.|
|28||Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice,|
|29||And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.|
There is just no possibility of arriving at any understanding about how This Present Age and/or The World will end, UNLESS you are able to distinguish between the scriptures that address the 1st Resurrection and those that address the 2nd Resurrection. If ALL the scriptures that treat of resurrections are describing the SAME EVENT IN TIME: Then there is NO Millennial Kingdom of God, and the 2nd Coming of Christ is The End of the world.
Consider now, how in John 5:25-29, Jesus makes reference to two separate resurrections. In verse 25, He is referring ONLY to they that hear, while in verse 28, He says ALL that are in the graves. There can be no other reason for the peculiar distinctions between verse 25 and verse 28 other than that He is describing two separate resurrections.
If you conclude that the 2nd Coming of Christ will result in the IMMEDIATE END OF THE WORLD; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10); and if you will also continue to insist that ALL Bible prophecy WILL be fulfilled: YOU have a PROBLEM to solve.
|Micah 4:1||But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.|
|2||And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.|
|3||And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.|
|4||But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it.|
WHEN SHALL THIS PROPHECY BE FULFILLED? This prophecy CANNOT be referring to the New Heaven and the New Earth (2 Peter 3:13), for if the ENTIRE EARTH and the works that are therein are ALREADY burned up; there are NEITHER swords NOR spears to make into agricultural tools. AND, if this prophecy refers to the New Heavens and the New Earth; how can there be any strong nations to REBUKE, OR ANY people to JUDGE?
|Isa. 11:6||The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid goat; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.|
|7||And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion eat straw like the ox.|
|8||And the sucking (infant) child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ (adder’s) den.|
|9||They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.|
WHEN SHALL THIS PROPHECY BE FULFILLED? Has an infant EVER been able to lead around a lion? Has a lion EVER eaten straw like the ox? Has the earth EVER been full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (completely)?
|Ezek. 34:23||And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd.|
|24||And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.|
|25||And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.|
|26||And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season: there shall be showers of blessing.|
|27||And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves (took advantage) of them.|
|28||And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.|
|Jeremiah 30:9||But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I WILL RAISE UP UNTO THEM.|
WHEN SHALL THESE PROPHECIES BE FULFILLED? Some have suggested that the use of the name David is a symbolic reference to The Lord Jesus; but the continuous reference to David without qualification suggests that IT IS the actual historic David that is being spoken of. Note: David is not called “the king of the Millennial Earth”, but, a prince among them. Jesus is The King.
|Hos.2:18||And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down in safety.|
WHEN SHALL THIS PROPHECY BE FULFILLED? Shall we have the creeping things of the ground in the New Earth? There is no need to break the bow and the sword and the battle out of a New Earth, for those things are already burned up. To lie down in safety is to FALL ASLEEP; even in the woods (Ez. 34:25); WITHOUT FEAR. Has this ever taken place? Shall men grow weary and need to SLEEP in the New Earth?
|Joel 3:18||And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the House of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.|
|Ezek.47:1||Afterward He brought me again to the door of the House; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the House eastward: for the forefront of the House stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under the right side of the House, at the south side of the alter.|
|9||And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because the waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whither the river cometh.|
WHEN SHALL THESE PROPHECIES BE FULFILLED? There are 7 LONG chapters of the Book of Ezekiel devoted to an ELABORATE description of a NEW TEMPLE of GOD and the rituals to be performed there. Would you DARE to SUGGEST, that ALL the minute detail that is supplied concerning the dimensions of EVERY SINGLE ROOM, WALL, and DOORWAY are going to COME TO NOTHING? What could there be, in the new earth, that needs to be healed?
To DENY that there shall EVER BE a NEAR PERFECT Millennial Paradise on THIS PRESENT EARTH you will have to account all these prophecies as being either meaningless, or as downright lies. Why would God make men to hope for such a paradise by providing such an elaborate description of it, if He never meant for anyone to live in it? Wouldn’t you like to live in such a paradise?
|Isa. 65:17||And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the House of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.|
|18||But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.|
|19||And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.|
|20||There shall be no more thence an infant of days (who dies shortly after birth), nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner (that is living during the Millennium) being an hundred years old shall be accursed.|
|21||And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.|
|22||They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.|
|23||They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.|
|24||And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.|
|25||The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpents meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord.|
WHEN SHALL THIS PROPHECY BE FULFILLED? For an old man to fill his days means that there will still be death in the Millennium; but in the new earth, there shall be no more death (Rev.20:4). YES! God will create new heavens and a new earth: BUT (see verse 18 above) until then, we will be glad and rejoice in that which He will create BEFORE the new heavens and the new earth; and verses 18-25 cannot be taken to describe conditions in the new heavens and the new earth, where there is no more death! But I shall not go on producing MORE and MORE and MORE testimony from the Bible that there WILL BE a NEAR PERFECT Millennial Paradise on THE PRESENT EARTH which will begin at the 2nd Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
RAPTURED AND RESURRECTED SAINTS IN THE MILLENNIUM
There is no single subject in all of eschatology that is shrouded in more OBSCURITY than the character and circumstances of the Millennial kingdom. Even among those who are convinced that there WILL BE such a Kingdom, there is very little agreement about WHO will be living in it and what it will be like TO BE LIVING IN IT. The main controversy has always focused on the Raptured and Resurrected Saints: What are THEY doing during the Millennium? What do you think?
|Rev. 20:6||Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.|
Those who participate in the first resurrection are NOT present at the Last Judgement AS SUBJECTS of that Judgement. On such, the second death hath no power (Grk. EXOUSIA). The Greek word for power here literally means RIGHTS or AUTHORITY. The second death has no CLAIMS upon these. Therefore, even if they are present at the Last Judgement; they are NOT there to be examined and judged; they shall not come into condemnation, (Grk. KRISIN: the word for judgement) but are ALREADY passed from death unto life (John 5:24). Those who have a part in the first resurrection are those who were IDENTIFIED with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:4), and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof (Gal. 5:24). THIS IS NOT A THEORY; but a LIFESTYLE.
They lived and reigned with Him a thousand years; for the entire time of the Millennium. This means that there is someone to reign over. This does not refer to positions of relative authority among the resurrected saints, because ALL the saints lived and reigned with Him. They are clearly reigning over the non-resurrected residents of the earth during the Millennium. The Lord gives us a description of the division of political authority in Luke 19:11-27; and even though this is a parable; it still addresses the distribution of authority. I do not take this, however, to suggest that we shall all be burdened with the affairs of natural mankind, but that we shall not be subject to them in the way we are now. As it is, most of the princes of this world (1 Cor.2:6) are not only godless, but corrupt. Life in the Millennium will not be complicated by the imposition of unjust laws that create more misery than they prevent, and neither will the wicked be able to run rough-shod over the righteous as they do so freely in this age. Jesus spake this parable to them because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear. The main focus of this parable is the DELAY between the 1st Coming and the time when the Kingdom of God should appear. BUT NOTE: Jesus does not correct their impression that the Kingdom of God would be appearing ON THE EARTH. Jesus taught us to pray: Thy Kingdom Come (Matt. 6:9-10). Going to heaven is ONE THING: The Kingdom coming is ANOTHER THING.
The main problem; the problem at the root of every other problem that people have with believing that there is a Millennium and that the resurrected saints are on the earth to participate in it IS: Whether or not they CAN or WILL be married and have children DURING the Millennium. SO, the entire difficulty of discovering what the Raptured and Resurrected Saints are DOING WITH THEIR TIME during the Millennium ENDS UP being totally focused on ONLY 1 QUESTION: Can Resurrected and Raptured Saints STILL HAVE SEX?
And is it not true, that the ONLY SCRIPTURES which APPEAR to deny that Raptured and Resurrected Saints BOTH marry and PRODUCE CHILDREN during the Millennium is a SINGLE STATEMENT by Our Lord Jesus Christ, which occurs in 3 DIFFERENT forms in Matthew, Mark, and Luke?
|Mark 12:25||For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.|
|Matt.22:30||For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.|
|Luke 20:35||But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.|
And if I can DEMONSTRATE and PROVE that all 3 of these “versions” of Our Lord’s answer to the Sadducees refer ONLY to the 2nd Resurrection – will you PROMISE to do a thorough search of the scriptures and FIND ANY other scripture, EVEN JUST 1, that says, or even implies that Resurrected Saints cannot marry (or be married) and bear children during the Millennium? I propose to you dear Reader, that there is NO, NOT EVEN ONE scripture in The Old and New Testaments, besides what is quoted above, that can be taken to suggest or even imply that Resurrected Saints cannot marry and bear children during the Millennium. Besides, you must account for the fact that Jesus has already stated that in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in His throne of glory….everyone that hath forsaken (relinquished the privilege of having a) wife, or children….for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundred fold (Matt.19:28-29). An hundred fold means a great abundance of those same things that were forsaken, including both wife and children. Besides, all of the Millennial Promises we just reviewed include children, and the existence of children PRESUMES the existence of a mother, who must also be a wife.
Think of all the Christians that have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS for the sake of their love and loyalty to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Think of the young men and women who died in the arena in Ancient Rome: are they to be denied the pleasures of marriage and children forever? It was God, Who said, It is not good that the man should be alone (Gen.2:18): It was God that said, Be fruitful, and multiply (make babies), BEFORE THE FALL (Gen.1:28). If there is no EARTHLY Millennium for the Resurrected Saints, and if they will not dwell in families and bear children; then what God made in the Garden of Eden must not have been all that good in His sight. (Gen. 1:31)
AS WE BEGIN to consider the 3 DIFFERENT answers which the Bible places in the mouth of Our Lord to the Sadducees 1 question, we must not take anything for granted until we understand the PURPOSE of the question.
|Matt. 22:23||The same day came to Him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked Him,|
|24||Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed (children; heirs) unto his brother.|
|25||Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue (children), left his wife unto his brother:|
|26||Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.|
|27||And last of all the woman died also.|
|28||Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.|
This is NOT a question; but a TRAP. The Law of Moses FORBADE a divorced woman from returning to a previous husband if she has been married to another man (Deut. 24:1-4), and also forbade any woman from having more than 1 husband. NOTICE HOW CAREFULLY the question is framed: By saying that NONE of the 7 brothers had any children by this wife, they prevent any of the brothers from having a superior claim to this woman. The very NATURE and CONSTRUCTION of the question is meticulously designed to make it IMPOSSIBLE to answer without being confronted by a moral dilemma concerning the Law of Moses. I don’t think that I would be taking an unjustified liberty in asserting that the Sadducees DID NOT make up this question just for Jesus.
|Acts 23:8||For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.|
The matter of the RESURRECTION was continuously disputed between the Sadducees and Pharisees; the question about the 7 brothers was probably put to the Pharisees again and again in order to embarrass and confound them.
SO, the QUESTION is NOT really a QUESTION: but is a “worse case scenario” that is proposed in an attitude of sarcasm. The Sadducees DIDN’T want an answer, because they DIDN’T believe in the resurrection ANYWAY.
You will not find a SINGLE INSTANCE in the New Testament where Our Lord provides a simple and unambiguous answer to a sarcastic and insincere question. When the Pharisees tried to entrap Jesus in the matter of paying tribute unto Caesar, He answers them in a way that leaves the question itself REALLY UNANSWERED. He says: Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s (Matt. 22:21). This answer does not really tell us what belongs to Caesar OR to God. If you take the Lord’s answer in the OBVIOUS and LITERAL sense; then ONLY the money that has Caesar’s image (picture) and Caesar’s superscription (name and title) on it belongs to Caesar; but then also ALL the money that has Caesar’s name or picture on it belongs to Caesar. Neither does the Lord tell them HOW MUCH money belongs to Caesar. The Lord is definitely affirming their obligation to PAY TAXES to the government, but NOTE: this is NOT the question the Pharisees ask Him. they say is it lawful (right)? They are not speaking in reference to Roman Law, for that would make the question pointless: Roman Law required that they pay taxes, and EVERYONE knew that. The Pharisees are trying to ENTRAP Jesus by framing the question so that the answer has MORAL and CRIMINAL IMPLICATIONS. If Jesus had just said YES; He would have been publicly accused of affirming the MORAL LEGITIMACY of the Roman Government, which OFFICIALLY embraced a Pagan Religion. If Jesus had just said NO; He would appear to be denying that the Romans had a RIGHT to collect taxes from the Jews; He could be accused of TREASON, and ARRESTED. The question WAS NOT A QUESTION, but only an attempt to ENTRAP Jesus (Matt. 22:15).
The Lord’s ANSWER to the Pharisees AFFIRMS the right of the Romans to collect taxes WITHOUT confirming the MORAL LEGITIMACY of their false religion. ALSO, the Lord’s answer leaves the Pharisees in CONFUSION, for they are now fallen into the very trap they set for Jesus. The “hot potatoe” is now in THEIR HANDS; and they are left to decide what belongs to Caesar. I am SURE that the people asked the Pharisees to tell them WHAT BELONGS TO Caesar and HOW MUCH belongs to Caesar. For Jesus to have just said, YES! to such a question, would be to IMPLICATE Himself as being IN COMPLICITY with something that was not morally or spiritually correct. If Jesus had just said, NO! the Pharisees would have run right down to the police station and accused Him of sedition. AND, for Jesus to make a simple explanatory answer would have invited a hundred more questions of a like nature: it would look to all the bystanders like He WAS TRAPPED; that He had been outsmarted and cleverly manipulated by His adversaries. There is no single instance in the New Testament where Jesus responds with a simple and agreeable explanatory answer to an INSINCERE QUESTION whose ONLY PURPOSE is to embarrass, entrap, or humiliate Him.
After the Pharisees are confounded in their attempt to ENTRAP Jesus by their insincere question, the Sadducees then step forward and try to do THE SAME THING with the insincere question about the seven brethren; and Jesus doesn’t fall for this trick, either. If I may but have THIS understood: that Jesus NEVER answers a dishonest and conspiratorial question with a SIMPLE EXPLANATORY ANSWER; then I can PROVE to you that Our Lord’s answer to the Sadducees is directed to the 2nd, or Last and Final Resurrection ONLY.
I remind you AGAIN of what I have asserted several times already: That ALL Biblical addresses to ANY eschatological subject are PURPOSEFULLY DESIGNED by God to confound and confuse any attempt at producing a plain and simple, easily defensible set of doctrines, about WHO gets WHAT and WHEN they GET IT; or whether or not there IS any such thing as a Millennium, or a Rapture, or a Tribulation, or an Antichrist. BUT…I am NOT suggesting that God doesn’t want ANYONE to EVER be able to understand for themselves how This Present Age will END or what The Next Age will be like. What I AM SAYING. . . . .is that the resolution of these perplexing difficulties is found by PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION to nuances and details which are in themselves SO minute and easy to overlook, that they will NOT PROVIDE a sufficient weight of evidence to convince anyone who DOES NOT BELIEVE that the Christian Bible is completely reliable in EVERY DETAIL of it’s form and contents. Furthermore, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit: He will shew you things to come (John 16:13). We may therefore EXPECT that if we approach our Bible in an attitude of submission in order to LEARN rather than to CONFIRM; that the Holy Spirit will AWAKEN US to those DETAILS and NUANCES which were always before us, and we shall see a PLAIN DECLARATION in the Bible of the things to come.
|Mark 12:23||In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.|
NOTICE! The question AS POSED by the Sadducees PRESUMES that in the resurrection, IF THERE IS A RESURRECTION, men would be able to MARRY. What they are denying is an EARTHLY RESURRECTION into an EARTHLY KINGDOM in which MARRIAGE is POSSIBLE. They are not denying that some men will have eternal life in some form or another. They ARE NOT denying that there is a Last Judgement at which all souls will be present. Their question is focused on a BODILY resurrection into a material world in which marriage is POSSIBLE. The very nature of the question ESTABLISHES that there was among the Jews a WELL KNOWN expectation of an EARTHLY KINGDOM OF GOD in which resurrected men would be able to marry.
HOWEVER; the Ancient Jews DID NOT anticipate this resurrection to take place before The End of The World. Their expectation was connected to the creation of new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17-25).
The idea that there would be 2 SEPARATE resurrections that would be separated from each other by a distinct length of time was TOTALLY UNKNOWN to the Jews. THEREFORE, the Sadducee’s question is DIRECTED to the only resurrection which was commonly acknowledged in their day, and this was always associated with the new heavens and the new earth (Isaiah 65:17). The Pharisees and the Sadducees were UNAWARE of ANYTHING like what Christians now call the first resurrection (Rev.20:5-6). This is also why Paul, in announcing and describing this first resurrection, says he is going to shew us a mystery (1 Cor.15:51). The Greek word for mystery means, “A secret, previously unknown, and/or only known by a select group”.
THE SADDUCEES KNEW NOTHING ABOUT, AND WERE NOT ASKING ABOUT, what we Christians call THE 1st RESURRECTION. Their question is ENTIRELY DIRECTED to CONDITIONS IN THE NEW EARTH, and Our Lord’s answer to them describes conditions in The New Earth.
So, dear Reader, you can see that I have ALREADY proven that Our Lord’s answer to the Sadducees is an address to the ONLY RESURRECTION that was commonly taught among the Jews, for Jesus says NOTHING here to plainly indicate separate resurrections. THAT RESURRECTION is what Christians call the Last or 2nd RESURRECTION; at which both WICKED and RIGHTEOUS persons will be judged. In the Old Testament, the resurrection of the wicked and the righteous are regarded as a SINGLE EVENT; in the which the only distinction is that the RIGHTEOUS are always mentioned FIRST.
|Daniel 12:2||And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.|
I do not know the significance of the use of the word “many” above. I can only note that another legitimate translation of this word is “the multitude”. (Young’s Literal Translation).
Jesus refers pointedly to this LAST and FINAL resurrection in words that UNMISTAKABLY indicate the Last Resurrection:
|John 5:26||For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.|
|27||And hath given Him authority to execute judgement also, because He is the Son of man.|
|28||Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice,|
|29||And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.|
The Apostle Paul says: They that are Christ’s at His coming (1 Cor. 15:23). In this place, Jesus says ALL that are in the graves. The 1st Resurrection includes ONLY they that are Christ’s. The 2nd Resurrection includes BOTH the Righteous and the Wicked. There is NO OTHER POSSIBLE CONCLUSION.
As we proceed now, to examine the 3 different answers the Bible records to the 1 question that is asked by the Sadducees, you will see that these 3 answers actually describe 3 different groups of people at the 2nd Resurrection: and what started out looking like a problem that cast a shadow of doubt on the inspiration and credibility of the Bible, will turn into a surprising proof that God designed and preserved every part of it.
3 ANSWERS TO “1” QUESTION
|Matt.22:25||Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and , having no issue (children), left his wife unto his brother:|
|26||Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.|
|27||And last of all the woman died also.|
|28||Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her.|
As we begin to “sort out’ the 3 different answers Our Lord gives to this “1” question; it will be necessary to pay VERY CLOSE attention to the details and nuances in EACH QUESTION and EACH ANSWER.
The phrase “there were with us” occurs ONLY in the Matthew account. These are a HYPOTHETICAL seven brethren; and in this “version” of the question they are with (contemporary with) the Sadducees. Also, the word deceased is unique to the Matthew “version” of the question. The translators of the KJV found it necessary to distinguish this word from “died” which is used in the other accounts because it is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT word. The word for deceased is literally: ENDED. They ENDED. This places these seven brethren as AMONG and WITH the Sadducees; the implication being that THESE seven brethren WERE Sadducees; but by the time they ask the question, these seven brethren are ALREADY DEAD. Our Lord’s ANSWER then; will address seven Sadducees who are ALREADY DEAD.
|Matt.22:29||Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.|
Jesus is not telling them that they “made a mistake,” but accusing them of WILLFUL IGNORANCE. The word for err means to “wander aside, leave the path”. The word for knowing is literally “beholding, paying attention to”. They are led away from the truth by IGNORING the scriptures. The scriptures they are ignoring are ALL those Millennial PROMISES you just reviewed. Remember: They deny that there will ever be an actual resurrection of deceased men in physical bodies into a MATERIAL WORLD where MARRIAGE is possible. As I said to you before, there is not, and you cannot find, any scriptures in the Old Testament that say or even suggest that resurrected saints cannot marry and bear children. If you think that Jesus was referring to some Old Testament scriptures that say they neither marry nor are given in marriage: THEN YOU FIND ONE! (to those who are critical of me here, I re-state the challenge and I await your answer) – WHERE in the Old Testament does it ever say or even imply that resurrected people cannot and will not marry and bear children?
They also WILFULLY IGNORE the power of God. They are NOT denying that God CAN raise the dead should He please to do so; but that God can RESOLVE the MORAL DILEMMA of whose wife shall she be of the seven? By saying to the Sadducees that they IGNORE both the scriptures and the power of God; the Lord is CONDEMNING them. This is not a “reproof” but a JUDGEMENT against them.
|Matt.22:30||For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.|
The “they” being referred to here, are those seven brethren, about which the Sadducees are inquiring; and to be like the angels of God in heaven is a “step down” from being created in the image of God (Gen.1:27), NOT a “step up”. This also does not mean that they MUST be in heavenly bliss, for there are evil angels as well as good angels. The literal Greek for this phrase is, THEY are as (just like) ANGELS. The word angel has several meanings in the Bible, and depending on the context, it can mean “immaterial spirit-being”; it can mean “representative figure”, or “caricature”; and it always means “messenger”. In Acts 12:15, the Apostles; presuming Peter to be dead; think it is his angel at the door. They evidently think that this is “Peter’s ghost”; the disembodied spirit of Peter. But, when Jesus has risen from the dead, and appears to His disciples, He says, a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have (Luke 24:39). Jesus thereby affirms that resurrected men have real bodies made of real matter, which angels do not have, for they are spirits (Psalm 104:4, Heb.1:7).
|Matt.22:31||But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which is spoken unto you by God, saying,|
|32||I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.|
Now here is where you must listen very carefully to what Jesus is saying, for if you just race over these words, it appears that Jesus has not really answered their question. By saying, as touching (Grk. “in reference to”), the resurrection of the dead, He is referring to the subject of resurrections in general. He then asserts that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are counted among the living, but God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He is making a distinction between the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and these seven brethren.
ONLY in the Matthew “version” of the answer do we find the phrase, resurrection OF the dead. This is a general term, referring to ALL THE DEAD, and infers that these seven brethren are AMONG the “dead”; and God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. In this “version” of the Lord’s answer, the Lord refers to their question of RESURRECTION into a PHYSICAL BODY in which MARRIAGE IS POSSIBLE by telling them that THEY (the Sadducees) are LEFT OUT of THAT PARTICULAR resurrection. They will be resurrected ONLY at The Last Judgement, where they will be condemned, and join the Devil and his angels in the everlasting fire. NOTE that the lake of fire is said to be prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt.25:41)..
Since men will be cast into the lake of fire, they appear to be labeled here as “angels (messengers) of the Devil”. Jesus did NOT say “The Devil and his angels and all wicked men”, as if He meant assure us that men would be included. His words presume that men will be included. These men are resurrected into an angelic (permanent; changeless) state, and then cast into the lake of fire.
This first “version” of the Lord’s answer addresses all those who are unrighteous and perish BEFORE the First Resurrection. They have NO PART in the First Resurrection, which is the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14). These are all the unrighteous who have no part in the first resurrection, and are left to be summoned later at the resurrection of ALL that are (still) in the graves (John 5:28). But the REST of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the FIRST resurrection (Rev. 20:5).
|Mark 12:19||Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.|
|20||Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.|
|21||And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.|
|22||And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.|
|23||In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.|
In this; the 2nd version of the Sadducees QUESTION; the seven HYPOTHETICAL brethren are NOT SAID to be with the Sadducees; therefore, it is NOT necessary to view these seven brethren as living contemporaneously with the Sadducees. Our Lord’s answer to them will address when they (these seven brethren) shall rise.
|Mark 12:24||And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the Power of God?|
|25||For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.|
And AGAIN; Jesus issues the CONDEMNATION for ignoring the scriptures and the power of God. By saying When THEY shall rise; Jesus connects being UNABLE to marry with WHEN they shall rise. Jesus DOESN’T say, “When ALL men shall rise”; but indicates a particular resurrection in which THEY shall rise. They ALSO become just like the angels which are in heaven.
|Mark 12:26||But as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the Book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?|
|27||He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.|
Once AGAIN, these 7 brethren are COUNTED as AMONG THE dead, and God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. These 7 brethren are ALSO become as (just like) ANGELS. The same term is used here as in Matthew: they ARE as (just like) ANGELS. The Lord also makes a distinction here between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whom He accounts as ALREADY RISEN, and WHEN these seven brethren shall rise. Jesus says that God would not call Himself the God of the dead, and THEREFORE, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must be ALIVE….but, since Jesus offers this as the proof of resurrection, He is also, and therefore, SAYING that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are ALREADY resurrected!
But….if the fact of eventual resurrection for all men means that they are all men are alive in the same way that He says Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are, then all men are saved, and none is doomed, for ALL men get resurrected eventually. This assertion, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive, and that being “alive” is the equivalent of being resurrected, means that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are already resurrected, and are already living in the paradise of God (Luke 23:43, Rev.2:7). This same thing is inferred in John 5:25, when Jesus speaks of the hour that is coming, AND NOW IS …when they that hear shall live. For the righteous, the hour NOW IS. From the perspective of those are alive and remain (1 Thess.4:17), the hour remains yet coming. In other words, all the righteous who have left this world prior to the First Resurrection are immediately transported to that First Resurrection, to meet the Lord in the air, with no consciousness of the passing of time between. This is inferred by the language of Hebrews 11:39-40, where after we have been presented with a list of past heroes of faith, it is said of them: …these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (what promise?) God having foreseen some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. The context in which this promise is mentioned, restricts it to what these past heroes of faith were looking for; and they were looking for a better country, that is, an heavenly (Heb.11:16). There are no countries in “heaven”, my Friend; they were looking for a heavenly (blissful, beautiful, and peaceful) country; and this they will find, in the Millennial Earth, which will be the paradise of God (Rev.2:7); which is the restoration to Edenic conditions, including the tree of life (Gen.2:9). The Bible also says, it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement (Heb.9:27): there is no allowance made here for “purgatory”, or “limbo”, or any other intermediate state. When a man dies, whatever happens NEXT amounts to the judgement. If he arrives in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, he has not been damned. If he arrives at The End of The World and The Last Judgement, his name is looked for in the Book of Life (Rev.20:15). In either case, Jesus makes resurrection and life to be equivalent in all the seven brethren discourses; and no where does He acknowledge any conscious intermediate state in which men are simply waiting for the final word on their fate.
This group of 7 brethren represent all the wicked who DIE of natural causes AFTER THE 1st resurrection. They include those who die in wickedness during The Great Tribulation and during the Millennium. Jesus says they greatly err. They err in their presumption that all men must be resurrected at the same time. They err by presuming that all men are saved; for their question presumes that all the seven brethren, and the woman they all married, have eternal life. They err by ignoring the multitude of scriptures that predict and describe the Millennial Kingdom. And they err by suggesting that God cannot resolve the moral dilemma of whose wife shall she be. Their greatest error, is that they dare to approach the Son of God in an attitude of sarcasm and contempt, in the hope that they can make a fool of Him.
|Luke 20:27||Then came to Him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked Him,|
|28||Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife and raise up seed (heirs, children) unto his brother.|
|29||There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife and died without children.|
|30||And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.|
|31||And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.|
|32||Last of all the woman died also.|
|33||Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife of them is she? For seven had her to wife.|
Now consider: the 2nd resurrection and The Last Judgement must concern someone OTHER than those who have ALREADY passed from death unto life (John 5:24): and so DOES NOT involve those who are in the 1st resurrection. That leaves ONLY the WICKED DEAD from before the 1st resurrection; the WICKED DEAD from AFTER the 1st resurrection; and the RIGHTEOUS DEAD from AFTER the 1st resurrection. The RIGHTEOUS DEAD from AFTER the 1st Resurrection are all those who were natural born and died during the Millennium in a state of RIGHTEOUSNESS. These, the NATURAL BORN, RIGHTEOUS MILLENNIAL DEAD are described in the Luke version of the Lord’s answer. NOTICE how VERY DIFFERENT the Luke version of the Lord’s answer is from the versions in Matthew and Mark.
Let us consider now the RIGHTEOUS who rise at the Last Resurrection.
|Luke 20:34||And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world (Grk. AGE) marry, and are given in marriage:|
|35||But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (Grk. AGE) and the resurrection from among the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.|
|36||Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.|
THAT world (AGE) is a reference to the New Heaven and the New Earth (Isaiah 65:17), the subject about which the Sadducees were inquiring. AGAIN, I repeat: The Sadducees KNEW NOTHING of 2 SEPARATE resurrections.
Only in this answer does Jesus say they are resurrected “in THAT resurrection THAT (is) OUT from among the dead (Grk. TES ANASTASEOS TES EK NEKRON). This expression DOES NOT occur in the Matthew and Mark accounts of the Lord’s answer.
- Only in THIS answer does Jesus say neither can they die anymore, for the OTHER 2 groups of HYPOTHETICAL 7 brethren are going to suffer the second death (Rev. 20:14).
- Only in THIS answer does Jesus say they are EQUAL unto the angels. The Greek is EXPLICIT here. He DOES NOT SAY they are as the angels; as in Matthew and Mark. In this case, they gain the only angelic quality that will not diminish them: they are no longer subject to the decay of aging.
- Only in THIS answer does Jesus say they are the children of God, BEING the children of the resurrection. This is a curious construction and can lend itself to 2 different interpretations, both of which agree with my premise. EITHER these people attain their status as children of God only AFTER the resurrection (while we are children of God BEFORE the resurrection – 1 John 3:1), OR, the phrase “the resurrection” is here put for those people who already WERE resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium. If the second reading is correct, then those in view here are “the children of those who were already resurrected”. IN ANY CASE, these are called the children of God, while the two groups in Matthew and Mark are NOT called the children of God.
There are 2 different Greek words commonly translated to children. One word simply means “offspring of (TEKNON)” and THAT word is NOT used here. The word that is used here is HUIOS, which means “in the likeness of”. Those who are “in the likeness of” this world (AGE) marry, and are given in marriage. When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He was to all appearances, in the same likeness as before His crucifixion. Since, as a resurrected man, He could eat (Luke 24:43), there is no reason to believe that He was not wholly functional in every other respect; and so shall all those be who have a part in the first resurrection. After the Last Resurrection, no one will be in the likeness of this (present) world, and neither will they marry or be given (for the first time, as virgins) in marriage.
HOWEVER – I do not suggest that existing marriages between holy persons will be dissolved in The New Earth, so that they will be no more than brothers and sisters to each other. It has to be answered to HOW it could be that God would so frown on divorce throughout this world-age, and then be the cause (practically speaking) of millions of divorces among the saints in the next world. It has to be accounted for; HOW it could be that the confusion of the sexes is considered an horrific abomination by God in this creation, if God Himself will permanently obliterate all sexual distinction among the Saints in the New Earth.
I presume that all marriages will have been made before the New Earth, in either this or the Millennial Age; and that these marriages continue in some concrete way, unbroken, through eternity. Do you REALLY love your husband or your wife?
NOW SOME SAY that the reason WHY we will not marry, is because we cannot die anymore. But God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply BEFORE they sinned, and BEFORE they were subject to death. Immortality therefore, does not preclude marriage. And besides, when God created Eve, he said, It is not good for the man to be alone: and THIS is the reason that God gives for creating the different sexes.
SOME SAY, we no longer need to produce children because WE cannot die anymore, and that the ONLY purpose God had for marriage was to keep the earth populated. But this suggests that God would have been satisfied with us alone, if we were immortal and our children had never come into existence. We don’t desire children because we realize some need to “keep the race going”, we want them because we love to have them, and we expect (or hope) to be delighted and fulfilled in them!
AND THEN, the lamest explanation I ever heard for why those who cannot die anymore have no need of children, is the idea that “we” obtain some sort of “immortality” through our children; in that they in some way resemble or represent us. “We live on” they suggest, “in our children “. But you are you: your child is someone else, NOT YOU. If you die in your sins, your punishment will not be shared by, nor mitigated by, your child who is still alive on earth. And then, Jesus does NOT say that they neither marry, nor are given in marriage BECAUSE they cannot die anymore; He just says, neither can they die anymore. Jesus has not made immortality itself into a condition that precludes marriage OR children by this statement.
NONE of these 3 answers to the Sadducees “1” question have ANYTHING to do with those that are involved in the 1st Resurrection, but ONLY address those who stand to be judged at The Last Resurrection. That this CANNOT have anything to do with the born again (John 3:3) children of God who live on the earth NOW before the 1st Resurrection is made OBVIOUS by the fact that those who are resurrected in Luke 20:36 ARE NOT children of God UNTIL the 2nd Resurrection. Those who are born again ALREADY ARE the sons of God (1 John 3:2). This identification as sons of God AFTER the 2nd Resurrection has to do with the character of Millennial Religion; in which those who were Raptured and Resurrected at the 1st Resurrection are DISTINGUISHED from those who are NATURAL BORN and live righteously during the Millennium. As we continue to examine the Luke “version” of the Lord’s answer you will see that it addresses a DIFFERENT GROUP ALTOGETHER from the Matthew and Mark answers; for ONLY in the Luke “version” is the specific term “THAT resurrection from (out from among) the dead (Luke 20:35) used in the Greek Original. This distinguishes the resurrection of THESE “righteous” 7 brethren from the “unrighteous” 7 brethren in Matthew and Mark.
|Luke 20:37||Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.|
|38||For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.|
HAVE YOU NOTICED? Not ONE WORD about IGNORING the scriptures or the power of God! Not one mention of any error! The very fact that the rebuke is missing from the Luke “answer” gives it a completely different character from the Matthew and Mark accounts. And IN THIS CASE ONLY it is said that all live unto Him. The construction of the phrase in the Greek implies (to me) that ONLY the living live unto Him. Any other way of comprehending this means that all the wicked are also living unto Him; and He is NOT the God of the DEAD. In THIS CASE ONLY is there such a thing as being accounted WORTHY to OBTAIN that world, and the resurrection from (out of and away from) the dead. The brethren in the Matthew and Mark accounts are NOT said to be accounted worthy to OBTAIN (gain, receive) that world.
NONE OF THIS has ANYTHING TO DO with those who are in the 1st Resurrection. The Lord has not “volunteered ” any information to the Sadducees about the 1st Resurrection because He NEVER gives a simple explanatory answer to INSINCERE and CONSPIRATORIAL questions which are asked only for the purpose of trying to ENTRAP or HUMILIATE Him.
In closing, consider now, how that the differences and the similarities among the questions and answers can be compared and contrasted in a way that agrees with my analysis of these Synoptic Passages.
The Answers in the Matthew and Mark versions of this discourse are nearly identical: this connects these two groups together in their “ends”, or fate; both groups are damned.
The Questions in the Mark and Luke versions of this discourse are nearly identical; and this connects these two groups together in their origins, or beginnings: both groups are alive, and then die, AFTER the First Resurrection.
The Matthew Question is unique, in that it refers to the beginnings, or origins, of this group. These are the unrighteous who perish before the First Resurrection.
The Luke Answer is unique, in that it refers to a different conclusion than the Matthew and Mark answers. These are the natural born righteous who die during the Millennium, are accounted WORTHY to obtain that world, and neither CAN they die anymore.
AND WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE, dear Reader? Would you have the resurrected saints “RULING AND REIGNING” over the natural born that are still on the earth from some kind of floating satellite (as some say) during the Millennium? How then can it be said that they have inherited the earth? (Matt.5:5) In such a case, they have only inherited a “condo in the sky”. Do you really long to be the “boss ghosty” over some portion of the earth?
Let me ask you, do you think that we shall be resurrected into physical bodies WITHOUT those organs that distinguish the male from the female? Would you have the resurrected saints to HAVE THOSE ORGANS; but for them to be dead and USELESS? (think about that, you men) Would you have the resurrected saints to be living like a bunch of PALACE EUNUCHS; who WATCH while the NATURAL BORN marry and have children? Shall we float and fly about like helicopters, dispensing “spiritual advice ” to earthly people who are busy about what we are SO GLAD to have gotten away from?
MANY people teach that EVEN IF there is a Millennium, we who are resurrected at the return of Christ will have no use for any of it, because we will all be some sort of incorporeal angelic beings. The silly (but popular) picture of the deceased sitting on a cloud, clothed in white robes and doves wings while strumming a harp for eternity is YET more attractive than the “heaven” that many would send you to. Just imagine: as soon as you die, THEY SAY you get to begin an eternity of DOING NOTHING but gazing at God and screaming Holy! Holy! Holy! without change, without sleep, without a break, FOR EVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER………..AND I’ll bet you’re in such a hurry to start doing this that you will ask the Lord to take your life off the earth by tomorrow morning! Won’t you? Why not?
You who have unmarried children; consider: If you tell your son or daughter that Christ is returning soon, and that this will mean that they may NEVER get to be married and have sex: don’t you think that such an idea will provoke them to rush into a bad marriage, or engage in pre-marital sex, lest they lose their chance FOREVER? How can a young and unmarried man or woman be eager for the return of Jesus Christ, IF THIS MEANS all that they ever hoped for in marriage, children, and fruitful labor, will be gone forever…and ever….and ever.
Why would Our Lord promise, that in the regeneration, we will receive houses we don’t need? Do angels need houses made of earthly materials? And what would be the point of telling us about wives that cannot bear children, and are in fact, really no more than sisters? We are told that we shall receive both wives AND sisters; but if they neither marry nor are given in marriage during the Millennium, then they are ALL, in fact, JUST SISTERS! And HOW are we going to get those children that are also promised to us? (Matt. 19:28-29) Will the Lord just make some infants out of the dust and give them to us?
I understand and identify with the sense of revulsion that many will feel when confronted by the possibility of facing the realities of marriage, work, and children AGAIN in the next age; but that sense of revulsion comes from the sorrow and pain of this age. Just imagine what life would be like now, if you never felt a moment of fear, never got sick, were never displeased with your husband or your wife, never lost a child to tragedy or evil influences, and every time you set your hands to labor, you reaped an abundant reward from your efforts. Can you think about that?
Your children, who are not bitter and disappointed with life YET, will have NO PROBLEM with Millennial marriages, and they need to know that nothing good will be withheld from them, if they wait for “the right person” and “the right time”. I must declare these things to you BECAUSE the Bible declares these things TO ME. For the Raptured and Resurrected Saints, the Millennium will be just like The Garden of Eden; EXCEPT, the Devil will not get the best of you THIS TIME. In The Garden of Eden, work, marriage, sex, and babies, were ordained and commanded by God BEFORE THE FALL. These things were good in God’s sight then, they are good in God’s sight NOW, and they will still be good in God’s sight in the age to come.
Address all correspondence to:
Just Another Christian
Read on line – THE GREAT DREAM: the great and final apostasy of Christendom, described (1991) 472 pages 516 scripture quotations
1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?