PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART 108
The Gospel of John has no eschatology or conclusion of Christ’s Mission. The Book of Revelation provides the conclusion. In fact, Revelation provides the ending of all Biblical predictions and thoughts. Revelation is in a language perceivable to the partners and followers of Christ, but not to those who are intending to hurt the cause of “redemption.” Jesus, Himself, gave this answer:
Then the disciples came and said to Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And He answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to him who has will more be given and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it (Matthew 13:10-17).
Jesus made some puzzling promise to his disciples and apostles, that He would drink wine with them in the “New Kingdom” and that they would be seated on twelve thrones over Israel’s twelve tribes. At Jesus last meal with his disciple, He told them this:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29).
Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:27-30).
“You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-29).
REVELATION COMPLETES THE PICTURE OF THE MISSING PARTS IN CHRIST’S PROMISE
Jesus Christ, in Revelation, does not expect to have all his followers meet Him right after they shed their earthly bodies. The followers, who would join Christ immediately, will die for Him and end up reigning with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6). Believers, who died the natural death, go to paradise, where they rest and wait for the final judgment and the second resurrection, and then enter the new Eternal Kingdom with God (Revelation 20:11-15). The rest of the human souls and spirits are stranded in space until hell and the devil are for ever incarcerated (Revelation 20:7-10). Hell already is prepared and waiting for the devil, his angels, and his wicked followers (Matthew 25:41). But before Jesus and those who died for him begin to reign, the world will face serious and devastating chaos, upheaval, and self-destruction. Man has the weapons and the means to blow up the world — and enough mad men to do it. There will be days when people would willingly want to die (Revelation 9:6). The Apostle Peter received this vision of destruction:
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire. But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this in his letters (II Peter 3:8-15).
WHY DOES GOD FORBEAR AND DELAY THE RETURN OF CHRIST?
The answer in Revelation was and is, that not all the saints have yet to be born and suffered and died for their faith in Christ. These souls and spirits are not resting in paradise, but they are already in heaven where they asked “why” God does not intervene. Also these souls will return and reign with Christ and they will not face judgment; for, they themselves will judge the world. A very great number of men and women will lay down their lives for Christ. There already is an overwhelming crowd in heaven. Beware of judging ourselves with our loose tongues!
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who were slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord holy and true, how long before thus wilt duge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been (Revelation 6:9-11).
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the art or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel, twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand of the tribe of God, twelve thousand of the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand of the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand of the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand of the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand of the tribe of Issa-char, twelve thousand of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand of the tribe, of Joseph twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Benjamin.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with their presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, not any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:1-17).
REVELATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE WHO DIE FOR THE LORD AND THOSE WHO DIE BELIEVING IN THE LORD
Believing in Jesus will not be sufficient, but their deeds will count much on Judgment Day. It will matter how one has partnered with the Holy Spirit here on earth. Man’s own faith will call for evidence, and words alone will not justify, actions will.
All the others who die in but not for the Lord, a very huge number will rest in paradise where Jesus took the thief and preached to the dead (Luke 23:43; I Peter 3:19). They will be resurrected on Judgment Day, after the reign of Christ and his martyrs, and their deeds will exempt them from being sentenced. Before Christ can reign and all his martyrs have come in, He will disable Satan from further damaging man in the world. After the reign of Christ, Satan too will get a chance to change, but Satan will not change. So, Satan too will gather all his dead from all over creation and be sentenced to eternal incarceration.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13).
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while.
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life again, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life again until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years.
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the evil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the book, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-15).