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Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Old Sinful World is Gone and a New Eternal World Appears

The Old Sinful World is Gone and a New Eternal World Appears
Revelation 20-22
Many of the visions in the book of Revelation, even though they are cloaked in mystery and symbolism, are visions and stories of battles between God and the rebellious evil powers and principalities of this world.  The waring between good and evil heats up to a frenzy during the end times and there can be no more guessing as to what is right and what is wrong. Even though God’s judgments can be clearly seen coming down against sin and rebellion, most of the world’ people refuses to see God working, or receive the Truth and instead hold tightly onto their beloved lie.
The book of Revelation’s great harlot of Babylon, the one who in the end times, corrupts the whole world, she will finally fall. Heaven will open and Christ, the “Faithful and True”, with crowns on His head, and eyes like fire, will come out on a white horse to judge and make war against evil, and break her power and corruption. (Revelation 19:11-21) The kings and the merchants and shipping magnates of the world who are important and wealthy because of the harlot of Babylon, will all weep and mourn and cry out when they see the “smoke of her (the harlot of Babylon) burning”. (Revelation 18:18)
Too many have proudly taken the broad way and broken God’s laws by joining themselves to this “Babylon harlot” and her cruel violence. Too many have rejected the narrow way of love, humility, truth and honesty. And by crushing the poor and helpless, and murdering the defenseless and tearing apart community, they have become wealthy.  All rushing to join themselves with the spirit of the whore of Babylon and having their minute of pride and fame.   
But now these arrogant wealthy leaders of the world see that all their riches and status are gone and they cry out,” Alas, alas, that great city, Babylon, that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!  For in just one hour such great riches came to nothing.” (Revelation 18:16-17a)
Even as the people on earth mourn the death of the harlot of Babylon and the corruption and evil power she brought them, the inhabitants of heaven rejoice and celebrate this great victory over this sin and over the end of this evil stronghold that gripped the world’s people.  “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!”  they all sing. The powers and principalities of Babylon has been broken by the Lamb. 
After this great victory, the marriage of the Lamb and His bride takes place.  All those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord during their lives become the radiant bride of Christ in  heaven. The bride is given fine linen and clean bright robes to wear, which represents the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:8) 
The saints (the bride) live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years (whether this is actually 1,000 years or is symbolic for a long period of time we don’t know) The saints are given thrones (authority) and they do the important work of judging and they will also be priests!  (Revelation 20:4 and 7)
After the thousand years Satan will be released from the bottomless pit and will go out and again deceive the nations around the earth.  He will gather them together to battle against Jesus Christ, the Lamb and His saints.  (Revelation 20:7-8) This could be a spiritual battle and not a military one.  But, of course, Satan and the evil forces are stopped, and Satan is cast into the lake of fire - forever. All of the forces of evil are powerless before Jesus Christ the Lamb, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.   
The dead are raised, and John sees a vision of a “great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away.” (Revelation 20:11) Jesus Christ is the One sitting on the great white throne. (John 5:22) History has now ended and all of the dead, small and great are raised from the dead and are standing there before God.  (Revelation 20:12) 
“And the books are opened …and the Book of Life also, and the dead are judged each one  according to his works, by the things which are written in the books.” (Revelation 20:12b)  “And anyone not found in the Book of Life, is thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)  
We do not know what all of this means, as we can only glimpse the shadows cast from the truths found in these visions from Revelation.  Scripture says that these dead at the great white throne judgment are judged by how they lived their lives on earth! Judged by how they followed what their God given conscience told them was right and loving?  And how they rejected or accepted what their conscience told them was wrong.  
Since Jesus Christ is the “Truth” and the “Light of the world” and these ones are judged by how they followed what “truth” and “light” they had, then I would guess that these ones never had the chance to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord during their lifetime.  But perhaps many of them tried to follow their conscience - the little light and truth they had. 
 I do not believe that these ones at the great white throne judgment who are found in the “Book of Life” and judged by whether they were bad or good in this life, are the same ones who are the “bride of Christ”. The followers of Christ – the bride of Christ - will not be judged for their sins at all, since their sins are forgiven and covered by Christ.
Could these ones at the great white throne judgment, who are judged by how good or bad they were in life, be in another category? Their names are written in the “Book of Life” so we know that they will live in God’s love.  I don’t think any of us know all of these answers.  We do know that God is merciful and loving and will judge each person with justice.   
The book of Revelation ends with visions of the old heaven and earth passing away and a new heaven and earth opening to our view (Revelation 21:1)   Jesus, the Lamb appears and calls out to everyone: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the waters of life freely to each person who thirsts.”  (Revelation 212:6) Again the offer of eternal life is given to everyone who wants to belong to God.  But sadly, not everyone wants God’s ways or is thirsty for these waters of life and truth.
The book of Revelation closes with Jesus’ grand promise to the Church: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to everyone according to his work.”  (Revelation 22:12) And “Surely, I am coming quickly”.” (Revelation 22:20) Bible scholars translate “Coming quickly” as meaning “coming inevitably”.  In God’s time.  We can count on it!
What comes from heaven as our promise should be sent back to heaven as our prayer.  “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Come”.  We are waiting for that Day when our faith will be sight!




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