Monday, March 12, 2018

In Torments?

The Lord’s 5-part parable beginning in Luke 14 and running through chapter 16 is the longest running accusation He ever had against the Pharisees.  Most of these stories are misinterpreted in some manner or another but each one is an accusation against the hypocritical Pharisees.  No parable of the Lord’s has likely been more misused than the satirical story of the rich man and Lazarus.
The rich man and Lazarus is not a teaching on eternal torment or heavenly bliss.  I’ll explain some of the symbolism and what is being taught but this article is not exhaustive.  Most of us misinterpret what the Lord is saying here due to our ignorance of the cultural climate and the teachings of the Pharisees.  
As background, it is important to understand that the Pharisees lived in relative opulence while the “everyman” Israelite lived in poverty under the oppression of the Romans.  The Pharisees taught the poor that it was virtuous to be poor, that they should embrace being poor, because in the “afterlife”, they would be rewarded by having their fortunes reversed.  They also esteemed their rabbinical teachings over the law and made God’s Word of “none effect”.  One way that they made God’s word of none-effect was that they borrowed Pagan ideas on the “afterlife” from the Babylonians and Egyptians and shunned the teachings of Moses and the prophets which clearly declare in (Gen. 3, Ez.18:20, Ecc.9:5-10, Ps.146:4, etc.) the Old Testament, that death is actually the absence of life and not life in another form.
“Now a certain man was rich and he dressed in purple and cambric, daily making merry splendidly." 20 Now there was a certain poor man named Lazarus, who had been cast at his portal, having ulcers, 21 and yearning to be satisfied from the scraps which are falling from the rich man's table. But the curs also, coming, licked his ulcers." (Lk.16:19-21)
At the beginning of this story, this “certain” rich man is described for us.  He is clothed in “purple and fine linen and eats sumptuously.  Other than that, we know nothing of him.  Lazarus is described as being poorwith dogs licking his wounds, and he is sustained on the crumbs which fall from the rich man’s table.  We are also told that when Lazarusdied, “angels carried him away to Abraham’s bosom”.  Nowhere else in Scripture are we told of a place called “Abraham’s bosom”.  The rich man (by contrast) is buried, while Lazarus himself is carried away by angels to this place.  Notice that.  Lazarus is physically carried away.  He isn’t buried like the rich man.  What were the OT and NT words ,respectively for “grave Sheol and “Hades”.  In this story, “hades” which simply means “the grave” or “unseen” is translated as “hell” by most versions.
“Now the poor man came to die and he is carried away by the messengers into Abraham's bosom. Now the rich man also died, and was entombed." 23 And in the unseen, lifting up his eyes, existing in torments, he is seeing Abraham from afar, and Lazarus in his bosom." (Lk.16:22-23)
Lazarus is being comforted in the “unseen”, while the rich man is in “torments”.  Why?  We are told nothing of the supposed righteousness or faith of Lazarus (unless being poor and having dogs lick your wounds is virtuous) and similarly, we are told nothing of the supposed wickedness or lack of faith of the rich man.  What is more important, we are told absolutely nothing of the saving work of God which is where salvation originates or the channel of salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember, Jesus had yet to go to the cross.  I have heard a preacher say that “Lazarus wasn’t literally poor and the rich man wasn’t literally rich” but that the conditions described are indicative of their righteousness and faith.  If that were the case and we are to believe that their afterlife circumstance is determined by their righteousness or faith, then shouldn’t the roles be reversed?  Should we not take that to mean that Lazarus was poor in faith and righteousness and the rich man rich in faith and righteousness?  That argument makes no sense and is the result of wrongly dividing the word of truth and taking things literally which are figurative (such as the story as a whole) while taking things which are literal and interpreting them figuratively (such as individual words).  
And he shouting, said, 'Father Abraham, be merciful to me, and send Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip of his finger in water and cooling my tongue, for I am pained in this flame.'" 25 Now Abraham said, 'Child, be reminded that you got your good things in your life, and Lazarus likewise evil things. Yet now here he is being consoled, yet you are in pain." (Lk.16:24-25)
Where in Scripture are we told that Abraham is in charge of people in the afterlife?  Pleadings by the rich man for comfort are being made to Abraham in this story, not God.  Are we not specifically told in Deuteronomy 18:11 that anyone who “consults with the dead” is “detestable to the LORD”?  Yet are we to believe that Jesus has given new instructions and new revelation to…His…enemies?  Did Jesus reveal that we are actually alive when we are dead (in opposition to all Old Testament teaching) and that it is ok to consult with the dead?  I don’t think so.  I think it is far more likely that Jesus is brilliantly demonstrating in front of the Pharisees, the multitude and His disciples how the Pharisees are ignoring “Moses and the Prophets” also known as the Old Testament.  
“Yet he said, 'I am asking you then, father, that you should be sending him into my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may be certifying to them, lest they also may be coming into this place of torment.'" (Lk.16:27-28)
The description of the dress of the rich man seems odd if we are learning what brought him to be in torment, does it not?  What if the style of his dress is symbolic of something deeper that may be lost on us but would be immediately known by the Lord’s audience at the time?  The Pharisees had taken the place of Moses in teaching the people according to Matthew 23:2.  They were at the time, Israel’s aristocracy.  They were a class which was a melding of priest and king.  When the tribe of Levi (the tribe of priests) is described in Leviticus, they are described as dressing in “fine linen”.  Judah was the tribe from which the line of kings descended from.  Purple is a royal color designating regal standing.  It seems that the rich man represents 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Who does the rich man request that Lazarus warn to avoid this torment?  You would think that perhaps he would want his wife and children warned (if he had any) however, he requests that his “five brothers” be warned.  If the rich man represents 2 tribes, could each of the “five brothers” represent 2 tribes as well?  The coupling of tribes with the five brothers and the rich man would equal 12; the number of the tribes of Israel.
“Yet Abraham is saying to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them!'" 30 Yet he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone should be going to them from the dead, they will be repenting.'" 31 Yet he said to him, 'If Moses and the prophets they are not hearing, neither will they be persuaded if someone should be rising from among the dead.'" (Lk.16:29-31)
Interestingly, Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers have the Old Testament (Moses and the prophets).  The rich man says, “no.”  He knows they won’t believe because he didn’t believe what Moses and the prophets said either.  They all believed that death was actually life somewhere else.  They all chose not to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah.  Abraham said that they would not believe if someone rose from the dead.  This is amazing when you consider that shortly after this story, Jesus raised…from the dead…a man…named…Lazarus.  What was the Pharisees’ reaction?  They plotted against the Lord wanted Lazarus killed (see John 12:10)!!  Jesus was later crucified and rose from the dead.  What was the action taken by the chief priests and Sanhedrin?  They bribed the Roman guards of Jesus’ tomb to say that His disciples stole His body (see Matt. 28:12)!!
One of the key condemnations the Lord makes against the Pharisees in the story of the rich man and Lazarus is their hypocrisy.  The Pharisees managed to hold onto their relative wealth while keeping the everyday Israelite in poverty by insisting that it was ideal to poor in this life because they would be rewarded in the next.  So, Jesus, here; takes this ridiculous claim to its logical conclusion. While the poor Lazarus is comforted in the afterlife, He casts the rich man as in torments.  Because logic would tell you that if you will be rich in the next life because you are poor in the current life, then the inverse must also be true.  This was brilliant and while the true meaning of this parable is lost on most of us, The Lord’s intended audience heard it loud and clear.
“And in all this, between us and you a great chasm has been established, so that those wanting to cross hence to you may not be able, nor yet those thence may be ferrying to us.'" (Lk.16:26)
“Yet He, answering, said to them, "A generation, wicked and an adulteress, for a sign is seeking, and a sign will not be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet." (Matt.12:39)
What about this chasm between Lazarus and the rich man?  It is commonly taught (but not found anywhere in Scripture) that in the “realm of the dead”, there is a dividing line (a chasm) between the righteous dead and the wicked dead.  Again, nowhere in Scripture is this to be found.  However, twice before in the Old Testament we find a literal gulf of water preventing Israel from moving toward “good things”.  First, in the Exodus account, the Red Sea stands before the children of Israel and their escape of the Pharaoh.  God through Moses parts the Red Sea making a way for Israel to cross over.  Next, in Joshua 4, The LORD dried up the Jordan River so that Israel could cross over.  These two crossings of a gulf were to signs for Israel to believe.  The gulf between Lazarus and the rich man is symbolic of unbelief.  When Jesus pronounced to the Pharisees that no sign would be given except the sign of Jonah (concerning His death, burial, and resurrection) what had just happened?  The Pharisees had continuously ascribed the miracles of Jesus to the work of demons.  He had just used 5 loaves and several small fish to feed over 4,000 people and still they asked for signs and would not believe.
Israel nationally rejected their Messiah and after Israel was set aside by God (until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled) they have been in torment since A.D. 70.  God’s chosen people have been some of the most persecuted people in the history of the earth.  We see that because the rich man and his 5 brothers (the 12 tribes of Israel) did not believe, they are in torment.  
“even as it is written, God gives them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to be observing, and ears not to be hearing, till this very day." 9 And David is saying, Let their table become a trap and a mesh, And a snare and a repayment to them:" 10 Darkened be their eyes, not to be observing, And their backs bow together continually." 11 I am saying, then, Do they not trip that they should be falling? May it not be coming to that! But in their offense is salvation to the nations, to provoke them to jealousy." 12 Now if their offense is the world's riches and their discomfiture the nations' riches, how much rather that which fills them! 13Now to you am I saying, to the nations, in as much as, indeed, then, I am the apostle of the nations, I am glorifying my dispensation, 14 if somehow I should be provoking those of my flesh to jealousy and should be saving some of them. 15 For if their casting away is the conciliation of the world, what will the taking back be if not life from among the dead? " (Rom.11:8-15)
Will Israel forever be in torments?  According to the Apostle Paul, God (not Israel out of their “free” will) gave them eyes that they would not see.  It was not Israel’s time to believe when Jesus was heralding His earthly ministry.  Israel will believe though as will everyone else, in due time (1 Tim. 2:3-6) according to God’s plan across the ages of time.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Four Future Resurrections

Have you ever heard a preacher ask the question, "if you were to die tomorrow, where would you spend eternity?"?  This is a common question, used to elicit an emotional response but has no scriptural basis.  The question that IS scriptural was asked by Job and goes like this:

"If a man die; shall he live again?" (Job 14:14)

Death is the problem facing all mankind, due to Sin; specifically, the sin of Adam.  However, like Adam, most Christians do not believe God.  Most Christians believe the serpent who said, "Ye shall not surely die."  Sure, they believe the BODY dies, but not the SELF.  I even heard a popular local pastor remark from his stage (to many "amen!!!"s) "We don't believe in death."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem.  The cornerstone of the gospel (Paul's gospel) is that "Jesus DIED for our sins, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES..." but how can one believe Jesus DIED for our sins when one doesn't believe in death?  Instead, Christians (aside from a couple of marginalized denominations) have put their hope in death, rather than in resurrection.  

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." (Job 19:25-27)

Resurrection has been promised to all.  If you will one day die, due to Adam's transgression; congratulations, you will live again (1 Corinthians 15:22) due to Christ Jesus' obedience.  

There were two sects of religious hypocrites who hated The Lord.  One group was the Sadducees "...which say that there is no resurrection..."(Matt. 22:23).  The second group was the Pharisees who (according to their Talmudic traditions) made the resurrection of no effect due to their belief in an immediate afterlife.

The Sadducees were correct in not believing in an afterlife.  Where they were wrong was disbelieving God in His promises made to the living yet left unfulfilled.  These promises (like the land grant to Abraham) will be made good by God in resurrection.

The vast majority of Christianity has much more in common with the Pharisees in this regard.  They believe in resurrection but it is really pointless due to their not believing in death; God's judgment on sin. Like our first parents, they have been deceived by the Serpent and believe that no one really dies.  They believe that "death" is a doorway to another form of life; making resurrection redundant and God a liar.

Scripture refers to death as God's enemy and the last enemy to be defeated (1 Cor. 15:26).  Christians have made it a friend rather than an enemy.  

Listen to a Christian speak of someone who has died and you'll see what I mean.  John "is in a better place", John "has gone to be with The Lord", John has "graduated to eternity", etc., etc.  Scripture uses none of these euphemisms for death. Instead, scripture says:

"For the living know that they shall die but the dead KNOW NOT anything..." (Ecc.9:5)

"His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in THAT very day, his thoughts PERISH." (Psalm 146:4)

"The dead praise not The Lord, neither any that go down into silence." (Psalm 115:17)

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die..." (Ezekiel 18:20)

"Men and brethren, let me speak unto you of the patriarch, David, that he is BOTH DEAD AND BURIED..." (Acts 2:29)

"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (John 3:13)

All of the dead; are dead, awaiting resurrection.  Resurrection is the hope given us in scripture. It is the undoing of the death state.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The fact is, most Christians do not believe that ANYONE "perishes"; not REALLY.  And due to that belief, they consequently believe that EVERYONE has some form of "everlasting" life.  After all, if someone dies and goes to "hell", where they are tormented forever, doesn't THAT person have "everlasting" life?

The KJV (and most bible translations) has done a terrible disservice in hiding the truth of God's ages from mankind.  The word the KJV translated above as "everlasting" is in reality, "aionious" which means "age-abiding".

This is word which has been almost totally obscured by bad translations is the adjective form of the noun "aion" which means "age" and has absolutely nothing to do with the word "eternity".  There are ages of time that God is working out His purposes during.  In Galatians 1:14, Paul refers to this age as “this present evil age (not “world”)”, he speaks of  “past ages”in Ephesians 2:2, and of ages to come in Ephesians 2:7.  I have made a little chart of what seem to be the 5 major eons or ages of time (with scripture references).  Please email me at for a copy.

In regards to this article on resurrection, I will reference this present eon (Eon 3) and  the two next (also the last) eons of time.  These are referred to as “the millennial reign” (Eon 4) and “the new heavens and new earth” (Eon 5).

When it comes to the topic of resurrection, most Christians assume a single resurrection of all the dead; believers and unbelievers.  Many believe that this will occur at Christ's return and that the final judgment will commence.  Adam will be resurrected with Abraham, Paul, and Aunt Wanda.  Is that accurate?

What would you say to the fact that scripture indicates at least FOUR future resurrections?  That's right, at least FOUR different and distinct resurrections, and involving different people.  

Before going into that topic, there were several accounts in scripture of people being raised to mortality.  Probably the most recognized account was Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  The account can be found in John 11:1-50.

There are some very interesting take-aways from a close inspection of this passage.  

➢ Jesus used the figure of sleep to tell the disciples that Lazarus was dead (v.11)
➢ Jesus used the figure of awakening for resurrection (v.11)
➢ Jesus did not use a euphemism for death. (v.11)
➢ Jesus said that Lazarus would “rise again”; not “he is alive now”. (v.23)
➢ Martha knew that in the “last day” there would be a resurrection. (v. 24)
➢ Verse 26 in the KJV omits an important phrase that was in the manuscripts “aiona ton “ (for the age)
➢ Jesus mourned the loss of his friend. (v. 35)
➢ Lazarus was made alive again at Jesus’ command. (v.43)
➢ John’s parenthetical insertion elaborating that Caiaphas was high priest but was not speaking of himself, points to provision in Numbers 35 for the death of the high priest, tying it to Hebrews 9:27 (v.50-51)

As I pointed out earlier in this article, death is described in scripture as oblivion, a state of no awareness; and is commonly figured as “sleep”.  Jesus, himself, does so when notifying the disciples that Lazarus had died.    Likewise, when speaking of how he would resurrect Lazarus, he figured resurrection with an awakening from sleep.  Now, if the state of death were just another form of life as most of Christianity believes, this figure would mean absolutely nothing.  

The KJV omits a very important phrase in verse 26 of John 11.  The KJV reads this way:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?

In the manuscripts, the words “eis ton aiona” (for the eon) are in the text, yet omitted from the KJV and many other bible versions.  Here is how this verse should read:

“And everyone who is living and believing in Me, should by no means be dying for the eon.  Are you believing this?” (John 11:26)

Beginning in verse 23, a dialogue is occurring between Martha (Lazarus’ sister) and Jesus concerning Lazarus being resurrected.  Jesus tells her that her brother shall “rise again” (v.23), she responds that she knows that “…he shall rise again at the last day.” (v.24).   The resurrection of the last day is pointing to the resurrections described by Daniel in Daniel 12:2 (see below):

“From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life and these to reproach for eonian repulsion.” (CLV)

Interestingly, the resurrection to eonian life (the scope of the gospel of John) is separated by 1,000 years from the resurrection to reproach, even though both are mentioned together in the same verse.  See Revelation 20:4-15 for more details on these two resurrections.  We will cover in more depth later in the article.

Back to Lazarus.  The omission of the phrase “for the eon” from the end of John 11:26, is a contributor to the false teaching of an immortal soul and that there is no death.  It makes a lie of truth.  Jesus did not say that anyone who believes in him will never die.  He was saying that no one who believes in him will die for the eon.  That eon is the next age, the millennial reign of Christ at his return.  We know from many passages of scripture (such as Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 5:18, 1 Corinthians 15:22, etc.) that all die, with the exception of believers who are alive at The Lord’s return (1 Thess. 4:15-17).  Jesus was saying that Lazarus would take part in the resurrection to kingdom promised to Israel, at His return.

We know in that in verse 43, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.  This however, was not a resurrection to immortality but to mortality.  Lazarus died once again, although we have no account of that second death.  We know that he was not raised to immortality because scripture points to Jesus as being the “first fruits” of immortality (1 Cor. 15:23).  The Lord could not very well be the first fruits if others were given immortal life before Him.  

At this point in time, the only person who has been raised to immortality is Jesus Christ.  He is also the only person alive now, who has ever been resurrected.  With that in mind, what does the scripture say about when one could expect to be resurrected?  Did any people have different expectations with respect to resurrection?  Will all believers be resurrected at the same time?  What about the resurrection of unbelievers?

The Hope of Job

The Book of Job is the oldest writing in the Bible.  Although there is some debate on exactly who Job was, it seems that he was a Gentile believer in the God of Abraham.  In the beginning of this article, I cited Job’s question posed, “if a man die, shall he live again?”  What was Job’s expectation of resurrection?  Interestingly, the Book of Job is the oldest scripture we have and contains the latest expectation of resurrection (almost).  Here is another passage from Job concerning resurrection,

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see GOD.” (Job 19:25-26) 

Job knew that he would be resurrected by the work of his Redeemer and Job did not expect to go to heaven at death to see his Redeemer but to see him on the earth.  But, when?  The timing of what Job knew to be the resurrection was described in chapter 14 v. 12 as being: “…till the heavens be no more…”  This puts the resurrection Job looked toward after the millennial reign of Christ, when this earth and heavens is burned with a fervent heat described by Peter in his second epistle as the coming of the “day of the LORD”:

“But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; 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)

John describes the time just before the resurrection of the “rest of the dead” similarly in Revelation 20:11 by stating that “…earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them”  This is referred to by John as “the first resurrection”.  As we will soon see, it is not the first resurrection that will take place but it was the first resurrection made known.  

The hope of Job, Adam, and Eve was that of a restored earth; Paradise regained.   An eon of time is coming in which the curse (brought by Adam’s disobedience) will be removed from the earth.  The scriptures speak of this as “paradise”.  Many pagan ideas have corrupted this truth over the years, including the idea that “paradise” is just another name for “heaven”, or that paradise is actually “sheol” (of the Old Testament) but an evaluation of scriptural context and word usage places “Paradise” as the restored earth (New Earth).  

“For, behold Me creating new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor shall they come upon the heart." (Isaiah 65:17)

“hoping for and hurrying the presence of God's day, because of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements decompose by combustion!" 13 Yet we, according to His promises, are hoping for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness is dwelling." (2 Pet.3:12-13)

And I perceived a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth pass away, and the sea is no more." (Rev. 21:1)

We are told that the tree of life, which has not been available since the fall of Adam, will be on the New Earth; Paradise.  See below,

"Who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias. "To the one who is conquering, to him will I be granting to be eating of the log of life which is in the center of the paradise of God." (Rev. 2:7)

“In the center of its square, and on either side of the river, is the log of life, producing twelve fruits, rendering its fruit in accord with each month. And the leaves of the log are for the cure of the nations." (Rev. 22:2)

The word, “paradise”, is only used 3 times in all of scripture.  Probably the most recognized passage containing “paradise” is Luke 23, which brings us to the question of the thief on the cross.  

“Now one of the hanged malefactors blasphemed Him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 Yet answering, the other one, rebuking him, averred, "Yet you are not fearing God, seeing that you are in the same judgment!" 41 And we, indeed, justly, for we are getting back the deserts of what we commit, yet this One commits nothing amiss." 42 And he said to Jesus, "Be reminded of me, Lord, whenever Thou mayest be coming in Thy kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Verily, to you am I saying today, with Me shall you be in paradise." (Lk. 23:39-43)

The malefactor on the cross asked that The Lord remember him, when?  The answer from scripture is “when you come into your kingdom”.  First, has Jesus come into His kingdom yet?  No.  The kingdom of the heavens will not be established untilJesus’ return.  Secondly, did Jesus say He would grant the malefactor a place in the kingdom?  No.  He denies him a place therebut promises him a place in Paradise, the New Earth.  This is where Job, Adam, Eve, Noah, and I believe many Christians living today, children who died without faith, and many who never heard any gospel will be resurrected to live.

To dispel another myth of Christianity, Jesus and the malefactor did not “go to Paradise” the day they died.  Jesus said in Matthew 12:40, that just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale, so too, would He be three days and three nights in the “heart of the earth” (the grave).  After His resurrection, Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him because He said, “…I am not yet ascended to my Father...”(Jn.20:17)
How could Jesus have been in Paradise on the day He was crucified if:
a. He said He would be in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights
b. He was dead (not alive) on the day He died and would not be resurrected for 3 more days
c. The Kingdom had not been yet established, much less the New Earth (Paradise)

The King James Version and most other translations place the comma before “today”, instead of after today.  This error, based on faulty theology, completely distorts what the Lord was saying and promotes the false teaching of immortality of the soul.  “Verily to you am I saying today” or “I declare this day”, etc. was a Hebraic saying that added solemnity to what was about to be said.  The absence of the Greek word “hoti” (that) is proof.  An example of “hoti” being used and not the famous Hebraic saying, is below:

And Jesus is saying to him, "Verily, I am saying to you that you, today, in this night, ere a cock crows twice, thrice will be renouncing Me." (Mark 14:30)

Examples of the Hebraic saying, can be found over 40 times in Deuteronomy, beginning with chapter 4, verse 26.

So, why was the malefactor denied a place in the kingdom?  It was an issue of timing.  The malefactor was a Gentile.  At the time of Jesus’ and the malefactor’s death, the kingdom had not yet been offered to Gentiles.  The first Gentile to be brought into the kingdom without becoming an Israelite (a full proselyte, was Cornelius in Acts 10.  This was in conjunction with the “keys of the kingdom” entrusted to Peter.  The kingdom resurrection will be covered exhaustively in the next section under “Abraham’s Promise”.

God revealed Himself progressively in scripture and also made known secrets throughout time in the scriptures to prophets.  When it comes to the question of resurrection, as scripture reveals more about a new resurrection, it moves up that resurrection.  That is why the expectation we have is important.

This first resurrection is what Job was aware of.  It is the resurrection that Adam, Eve, and the malefactor on the cross will have.  As I mentioned earlier, this resurrection (in my opinion) will also be the resurrection of most “Christians”, children who die without faith, and those ignorant of any gospel.  

I will cover this in more detail in the final section of this article.

Abraham’s Promise

“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:  For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; for ever” (Gen. 13:14-15)

The boundaries shown by God to Abram were the boundaries of the Promised Land.  God promised to “thee”, Abram, but Abram was (during his life) never an owner of this land.  He was only a stranger and sojourner in this land (Gen. 17:8) during his life but God will make good on his promises.  We read this in Matthew 8:11, “…that many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens” (Matt.8:11)  The kingdom of the heavens will be located on earth and its origin/jurisdiction/authority will be “of the heavens”.  Beginning with the Abrahamic Covenant, God made promises to a group of people, Abraham’s seed.  This was the testimony of the Old Testament prophets concerning Israel, God’s chosen people, being a race of priests and kings on the earth.  

This was the expectation of John the Baptist, who was making the ways straight for the Messiah, Jesus.  John was calling for national repentance and baptizing, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2).  No Gentiles at this time, had this expectation.  This expectation of either living to enter the kingdom of heaven or being resurrected to enter it was what Lazarus and Martha expected.  From our earlier discussion of Martha and Jesus, we remember her stating that she knows that “…he shall rise again at the last day.” (John 11:24).  

The Jews, being acquainted well, with the writings of Moses and the prophets, expected to be made good on the promises made from God to Abraham either by living to see it or by being resurrected into it.  The false assumption by most Christians today however, is that upon Christ Jesus appearing for a second time, there will be a resurrection at His second coming.  As I hope to show, this is not true. First, let’s look at what was made known to the prophet Daniel, about the close of this current age.  Let’s first begin with the resurrections referenced by Daniel.

“From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life and these to reproach for eonian repulsion.” (Dan.12:2)

Daniel was told by Gabriel, things that would befall his people Israel and over what period of time these things would occur, and how the time could be reckoned.  There were 70 sevens (490 years) spoken of by Gabriel.  This last period of seven years would be separated out after the Messiah was “cut off” (crucified and not entering into the kingdom for which He came).  By the reckoning of E.W. Bullingerthe seventy sevens (Dan. 9:24-27) began in 454 BC (see Neh. 2:1), the “seven sevens (Dan. 9:26 of 49 years) began from 454 BC, ending in 405 BC; when the second temple was completed and dedicated.  Finally, the three score and two sevens of Daniel 9:26 began in 405 BC and end when Jesus was crucified in 29 AD.  This is a total of 483 years completed; with a remaining 7 years yet to be fulfilled.  

This last period of 7 years (will be marked by the wild beast (so referenced in Revelation) “the prince” of Daniel 9 shall confirm a covenant (I personally believe this is not a peace treaty but that he will actually be confirming God’s covenant with Israel) with many for 1 week (7 years) but in chapter 9 verse 27, that he will “cause the sacrifice and oblation, to cease”.  This is the “abomination of desolation” that Jesus warns the disciples to look for in Matthew 24:15.  It is my belief that the abomination of desolation alluded to in Daniel 9:27, referenced by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, is further described by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, below:

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, it is my contention that there is no resurrection upon the return (Parousia) of Jesus Christ.  So, why do people believe there is a resurrection upon Jesus’ return to earth?  It seems to me that what is being confused is expectation for resurrection (which I will discuss in the next section) and Israel’s expectation (that of Abraham and his seed).  Let’s consider next a primary text used to teach an immediate resurrection of the dead upon Jesus’ return.

Now immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not be giving her beams, and the stars shall be falling from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Mankind in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land shall grieve, and they shall see the Son of Mankind coming on the clouds of heaven with power and much glory." 31 And He shall be dispatching His messengers with a loud sounding trumpet, and they shall be assembling His chosen from the four winds, from the extremities of the heavens to their extremities." (Matt.24:29-31)

It is my contention that what is described as the gathering of His chosen from the extremities by His messengers is not a resurrection but rather a gathering of faithful Israel who survive to the coming of the Lord.  Aaron Welch points this out in his article, “A Study on the Timing of the Snatching Away “ on his blog, “That Happy Expectation”. He points out that the prophet, Ezekiel, uses similar language “into all the winds”, “toward all winds”, etc. to describe God scattering Israel among the nations.

There are multiple reasons for this reasoning but the biggest is due to what is described to the prophet Daniel by Gabriel.

First, in Daniel 12:5-7, Gabriel explains that the time of Jacob’s Trouble (the final half week; 3 ½ years) before the return of Christ is described in verse 7 as being a “time, times and a half”.  The Israelites reckoned years by a lunar (not solar) calendar consisting of 360 days, so, a time, times and an half would be 360 x 3 + 180, equaling 1,260 days.  The time of Jacob’s Trouble begins when the sacrifice is stopped (halfway through the final heptad 7 years) and is reckoned concluded when Jesus returns and kills the Wild Beast (Rev.19:19-20).  

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Dan.12:9-13)

If Jesus ends the reign of the Wild Beast at the 1,260 day mark, what of the additional 30 days mentioned in Daniel 12:11 above (“a thousand two hundred and ninety days”)?  It seems likely that when the Lord returns, He will build the millennial temple described in Ezekiel 40-43.  However, the bigger point, is what Gabriel tells Daniel at the end of the above passage.  Gabriel says that “…blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the 1,335 days…”. Why?  Something extraordinary is going to happen.  I believe it is the resurrection of the Saints who have died having this resurrection expectation.  Gabriel says to Daniel, “…but go thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest (be dead/asleep) and stand (be resurrected) in thy lot (in his own order; see 1 Cor. 15:23) at the end of the days”.

It is my contention that this end of the days that Gabriel said would be Daniel’s resurrection day is the same as the last day (1,335 days from the beginning of Jacob’s Trouble) that Lazarus’ sister Martha expects to see.  

God uses numbers to symbolize things in scripture.  The number “12” is constantly used for Israel.  There are twelve sons of Jacob, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, etc.  Also, (I don’t believe in “coincidence”), notice what happens when you add together the numerals of the significant numbers given by Gabriel to Daniel.  At the end of the reign of the Wild Beast, when Jesus returns, 1,290 days are mentioned by the angel Gabriel. Then, Gabriel points to the resurrection of Daniel and the others who do not live to the 1,335 day mark.  The difference in days between the 1,290 and 1,335 days is 75 days.  

1,290 days (1+2+9+0 = 12)
1,335 days (1+3+3+5 = 12)  
75 days (7+5 = 12)

Will believers in the gospel of the kingdom (the gospel proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter, James, and John) be taken to heaven?  No Israelite was ever promised a place in heaven.  If we look back at the covenant made to Abraham and the land grant given by God (see Genesis 13:14-15 above) we see that Abraham and his seed was promised a future place on this earth; not in heaven.  Jesus, in his famous “Sermon on the Mount”, said that “the meek shall inherit the earth”. Before Jesus went to the cross, what did he say to his disciples?  Did he say, “I am going to prepare a place for you and when you guys die, just come on up there to where I’ll be, so that where I am, you’ll be there too.”?  No, he said “…I will come again, and receive you unto myself…”(John 14:3)

Peter asked the Lord what they would receive for leaving and forsaking their work and their families to follow him.  This is what The Lord said:

“Yet, Jesus said to them, “Verily, I am saying to you, that you who follow Me, in the renascence, whenever the Son of Mankind should be seated on the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  (Matthew 19:28)

These thrones and specifically the “throne of His glory” of Jesus, is the throne of David that Jesus will rule and reign from in Israel when His kingdom is established, here on the earth, after His return.  

and I have appointed a place for My people, for Israel, and have planted it, and it has tabernacled in its place, and it is not troubled any more, and the sons of perverseness do not add to afflict it any more, as in the beginning, 11 even from the day that I appointed judges over My people Israel; and I have given rest to you from all your enemies, and Yahweh has declared to you that Yahweh does make for you a house. 12 `When your days are full, and you have lain with your fathers, then I have raised up your seed after you which goes out from your bowels, and have established his kingdom;" 13 He does build a house for My Name, and I have established the throne of his kingdom unto the eon. 14 I am to him for a father, and he is to Me for a son; whom in his dealings perversely I have even reproved with a rod of men, and with strokes of the sons of Adam, 15 and My kindness does not turn aside from him, as I turned it aside from Saul, whom I turned aside from before you, 16 and stedfast [is] your house and your kingdom unto the eon before you, your throne is established unto the eon..” (2 Sam.7:10-16)

The above passage is the Davidic Covenant.  This was the Covenant made by God with David.  Like many prophecies in scripture, this prophecy too, promises a double fulfillment.  It begins speaking of David’s son Solomon, who would build a Temple for Yahweh.  But, it goes further and speaks of another Son of David, the Greater David, Jesus the Christ, who as we know was called, “The Son of David”, in the Greek scriptures (see Matthew 1:1).  The kingdom of the heavens, heralded by The Lord will be established upon His return and will see the gathering of from the four winds and extremities of the earth of the remnant of faithful Israel, who live to the coming of the Lord, and then, 75 days later, will see the resurrection of those who had died and have a place in this kingdom.  

The Expectation of the Body of Christ (“Secret” Resurrection)

which is operative in the Christ, rousing Him from among the dead and seating Him at His right hand among the celestials,” (Eph.1:20)

(we also being dead to the offenses and the lusts), vivifies us together in Christ (in grace are you saved!)" 6 and rouses us together and seats us together among the celestials, in Christ Jesus, 7 that, in the oncoming eons, He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Eph.2:5-7)
As I mentioned in the last section, no Israelite was ever given an expectation of a home in Heaven.  It was unheard of.  In all the Old Testament scriptures, in the four gospel accounts (kingdom gospel), and all the circumcision letters (James, Peter, Hebrews, John, Jude, and Revelation) only an earthly inheritance is ever in view for believing Jews and Gentile kingdom gospel believers.
Things radically changed with the calling of Saul of Tarsus and his becoming the chosen apostle by the risen and glorified Lord to take a different calling to those who were once “afar off from God”, the nations, the Gentiles.  

This gospel of God’s transcendent grace that includes elements foreign to the kingdom gospel is part of God’s plan to provoke Israel to jealousy.    I would encourage a reading of Romans 11 for greater detail on this.  Israel has been temporarily set aside by God while He does a new thing with a people who were not His people and who were supposed to have been reached by Israel who is to be (they still will be) a “nation of priests”.  Israel and the earthly kingdom promised them has been set aside and postponed until “the fullness of the Gentiles comes in” (see Romans 11:25).  After this, their blinders will be supernaturally removed by God and they will step into becoming the nation of priests God promised (but has not yet) made them.  One of the markers of this giving of sight will be that the Jews and Israelites (the lost 10 tribes) will be brought back to their Promised Land by God (not the United Nations) and will come back into covenant relationship with Jehovah.  This has not yet happened and that is why the “State of Israel” is a satanic counterfeit.  The parameters for what Israel (the realIsrael) will be like and how they will be re-gathered has yet to happen as prophets like Ezekiel described (see Ezekiel 20:33-49 and Ezekiel 36:22-38).  These things will happen at least 7 years before this eon comes to a close.  Further, they will preach the kingdom of the gospel once again but in the entire world for a testimony (Matt.24:14).  For those who insist that Paul heralded the same gospel heralded by Jesus in His earthly ministry, I ask the following question.  If Paul heralded the same gospel and it has been heralded ever since his calling, how could its heraldingbe a sign of the end of the age??

No believer doubts that Jesus sits at right hand of God, among the celestials as detailed in Ephesians 1:20 (at the opening of this section).  Yet, when the same wording is used to speak of our allotment, many will say that we will be here on earth?  How is that consistent?  Is it because Paul speaks as if we are already seated there?  Does that imply that it is meant to be understood as a merely spiritual locale?  I do not believe so.  Speaking of things yet to be done and what is considered done in God’s foreknowledge in the present tense or even past tense, is common in the Jewish mindset and in Jewish writings.  The scriptures are full of these.  We are spoken of as being the righteousness of God NOW.  Abraham was told by God that He has given (past tense) the land grant to him and yet, Abraham has yet, as to fulfillment, take ownership.  The present tense or imperfect tense of the wording should not in any way shake us from where our allotment is.  It is not on this earth, but in the heavenly (celestial) realm.

The question then becomes, when will this resurrection take place in relation to the things we have already looked at?  First, let’s look at a famous passage in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54and analyze some key points and at the same time debunk the common misconceptions.

Lo! a secret to you am I telling! We all, indeed, shall not be put to repose, yet we all shall be changed, 52 in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last trump. For He will be trumpeting, and the dead will be roused incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality." 54 Now, whenever this corruptible should be putting on incorruption and this mortal should be putting on immortality, then shall come to pass the word which is written, Swallowed up was Death by Victory." (1 Cor.15:51-54)

Paul is disclosing a secret here.  The KJV (and many other translations), translated “musterion” as “mystery”.  However, “mystery” as we understand the word, does not convey what the Greek word “musterion” meant.  It did not mean something that was difficult to understand.  Instead, it was similar to the idea conveyed when speaking of the ancient mystery religions.  The idea was that a secret that had to be disclosed was what was meant.  Paul was revealing a secret; something that had never been disclosed before.   This was a secret revealed to Paul by the risen and glorified Christ Jesus.  The secret was that we shall not all be dead when The Lord comes to receive us and take us to where He is.  Think about that with respect to what we discussed in the last section about Abraham’s promise.  A resurrection from the dead was promised.  In Daniel 12:2, remember that he spoke of resurrection, some awakening to reward and some awakening to repulsion and we learned that these two resurrections are separated by 1,000 years!  

I have heard many argue that the sounding of the last trump is the sounding of the 7th trumpet in Revelation.  According to these, this completely debunks the idea of a pre-tribulation “rapture” (I prefer “snatching away”) as the sounding of the 7thtrumpet occurs at the end of the Tribulation.  Not so fast.  First, in Paul’s passage we are reviewing, Who sounds the blast or trumpet that causes the alive to be changed and the dead to rise?  Jesus. Who sounds the trumpets (including the 7th) of Revelation?  Angels.  Also, at the 7th trumpet blow of Revelation, no mention is ever made of resurrection; only of judgment being brought down.  

The same argument is made concerning Matthew 24:29-31, attempting to make the secret changing and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, what is described in Matthew.  How can that be, though, when we honestly and thoughtfully consider and contrast the two passages?  The passage in Matthew speaks of no change and certainly no resurrection.  Instead, it is speaking of the gathering of faithful Israel and Jews to the Land.  It can’t be speaking of a resurrection because as we learned from Daniel 12:13, there will be no resurrection of those who expect to be resurrected to the kingdom until the 1,335 day mark, a full 75 days AFTERthe Lord’s returning in the clouds!!

No, what is being described by Paul is another resurrection and I believe it will occur earlier than any other resurrection described in scripture.  This was the secret resurrection for the Body of Christ, who is promised a home in the celestial realm.

For, if we are believing that Jesus died and rose, thus also, those who are put to repose, will God, through Jesus, lead forth together with Him." 15 For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who are surviving to the presence of the Lord, should by no means outstrip those who are put to repose, 16 for the Lord Himself will be descending from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall be rising first, 17 Thereupon we, the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be together with the Lord." 18 So that, console one another with these words." (1 Thess.4:14-18)

This passage is describing the same resurrection Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 which we just examined.  I ask you.  When is the trumpet sounded and by Whom?  There is no evidence of any resurrection for Israel and kingdom gospel believers at the return of Christ.  None.  Not to continue to kick a dead horse but in Revelation, at the sounding of the 7th trumpet, (and the previous 6) it is an angel (messenger) who sounds.  In Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus dispatches His messengers to gather His elect.  No change, no resurrection.  Gabriel instructs Daniel that it will be another 75 days before he is raised up to stand with his lot.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (2 Thess.2:1-9)

Ok, this is taken from Paul’s second letter to the Body of Christ in Thessalonica.  In the first letter, we read an excerpt about their hope of a coming resurrection.  In this letter, Paul hasto reassure them about something.  Huge persecution was taking place at the time.  What were they worried about?  From verse 2, we see that they are worried that “the Day of the LORD” is upon them.  What is that?  The Tribulation.  It was referred to as “the Day of the LORD”, “that great and terrible Day”, etc. in the Old Testament.  They were worried they were in it!  They were scared to death that they had missed the bus out of here.  The Day of Indignation, Jacob’s Trouble, the Day of the LORD, etc. is the last phase of this eon.  It is about the separating of the wheat from the tares, it is about Israel, it contains the kingdom of the gospel, heralding its nearness once again.  It also is a closed door on Paul’s gospel (2 Tim. 2:8, Gal. 1:11-12) of God’s grace.

The gospel that the Thessalonians believed…and I believe, becomes inoperative when God’s operation with Israel begins again (Rom.11:25).  Of necessity, that requires the believers in that gospel be taken out of the way. 
I want to now make a few key points concerning the text above in 2 Thessalonians.  The first point is not one that I hold dogmatically to in any way and it doesn’t make a material difference as to the overall point that I believe the snatching away of the Body of Christ will occur 7 years or more (but at least 3.5 years) prior to the end of this eon.  

First, with respect to the Greek word, (apostasia; literally “from-stand”) that is translated above as “apostasy”, I know longer believe it should be rendered “apostasy” and carry the meaning “departure from the faith”.  This Greek word is only found in one other place in scripture (Acts 21:21) and it is shown below:

“Now they were instructed concerning you that you teach all the Jews among the nations apostasy from Moses, telling them not to be circumcising their children, nor yet to be walking in the customs." (Acts 21:21)

We take for granted that “apostasy” means “turning from the faith” or “departure from the faith”.  This has been imposed on the text, in my opinion.  The Greek word doesn’t specify faith or religion as being what is turned from; only that a departure is made; a “from-stand”.  What were the Jews “from-standing” from?  Moses and the Law of Moses.  What is being departed from in 2 Thessalonians?  There is nothing specified is there?  Paul tells the believers in Thessalonica that the Day of the LORD will not come unless a departure and the revealing of the man of lawlessness be revealed first.  Could the departure spoken of be a departure from earth?  Paul makes the point in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that we are “not appointed to wrath/indignation”.  Post-tribulation and Pre-wrath rapture believers have long attempted to side-step this landmine.  The answer really is simple.  The Body of Christ; not Israel is not appointed to Jacob’s (Israel’s) Trouble.

Next, I want to look at what is withholding (holding down) preventing the man of sin (Wild Beast) from being revealed.  Many theories on this abound.  Probably the most common assumption is that it is the Holy Spirit, Who is preventing the revealing of the man of sin.  I have not held this view for quite some time because no one who has the Holy Spirit could be on earth during the Tribulation if the Holy Spirit is Who is taken out of the way.  Revelation states several times that there are an elect and Tribulation saints, therefore it cannot be the Holy Spirit.  I have heard that the Body of Christ is what is what is withholding.  Myself, I have held that view most of my life.  While I believe the Body of Christ will be taken out of here and snatched away (“raptured”, if you like), I do not believe the Body of Christ is what is being spoken of.  Another theory is that it is the archangel, Michael, who is withholding or holding back the revealing of the man of sin.  This is an interesting theory and I believe this a similar argument to that of the Body of Christ.  Michael (according to the book of Daniel) will “stand up” and leave Israel to expel Satan from heaven (see Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7) but again, this is not what I believe is holding back the revealing.  Let’s look again at the passage:

6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”

This argument is dependent on a thorough study of the grammar used.  That which is is holding fast (“withholdeth”) seems to be a placenot a person.  The genitive case of what is holding fast in the text is neuter.  That prevents it from being the Holy Spirit or Michael.  The genitive case would have been masculine or possibly the feminine but not neuter.

What is the “working of Satan” that reveals the man of sin and what does it have to do with a place?  In Revelation 12:7, we read that Michael expels Satan from Heaven.  Satan is holding fast right now to his place in heaven.  We read there was no place left for him there.  We, taking our place with Christ Jesus among the celestials (Eph. 2:5-7) that we read about in the opening of this section is why he is being dispelled.  Satan will be cast down to earth and read the following closely.

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit” (Rev.9:1-2)
Satan is the star who fell from heaven to earth in this passage.  Satan opening the bottomless pit (we know that the wild Beast comes from the abyss in chapter 13) is the “working of Satan” referenced in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and the place that is holding the Beast is the abyss.

For all of these reasons, I believe that the Body of Christ, those who believe the gospel given to Paul, will be resurrected and changed to a celestial place and this will occur before God resumes His dealings with Israel which will ultimately usher in the kingdom promised to Israel.

The Great White Throne Judgment

First, those in the Body of Christ will not stand before the Great White Throne Judgment.  The Apostle John who wrote Revelation (the only book of the bible where the Great White Throne Judgment and Lake of Fire are found) was an apostle to Israel under the Gospel of the Circumcision.  So, Revelation is to, and about Israel.  If you are a member of the Body of Christ, your apostle is Paul and Revelation does not pertain to you.  It is however, for you in that you learn about God and His plans, purposes and ultimate goal.

Paul never mentions the Great White Throne Judgment or Lake of Fire.  If you are a believer, saved by grace alone through faith alone (Eph.2:8-9) neither of these are anything for you to fear.  
I believe that the Great White Throne Judgment is for Israel and “unbelieving” believers who identify as Israel who will be judged in light of their works (good or bad).  The Lake of Fire will be for those whose names are not found written in The Lamb’s Book of Life and for those kingdom gospel believers who are not “overcomers” (Rev.2:11).

How can someone who is “unbelieving” be a “believer”?  Those in the Body of Christ are justified gratuitously or “freely” (Rom.3:24) and you will only find the cases of “unbelieving” believers in the Hebrew Scriptures and the letters to and about Israel.  In part 7 of his study on the Great White Throne, Dan Sheridan points to Hebrews 3 (written to Hebrew believers) where the author of Hebrews (most likely Paul) admonishes these believers to not have “an evil heart of unbelief”.   Sheridan goes on to say, “Moses was an unbelieving believer. Want proof?  Turn to Numbers 20:12, here is what Jehovah says to Moses, “and the Lord spake to Moses and Aaron, ‘because ye believed not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” 

Was Moses not saved?  Yes, he was saved but Moses did not partake in the Promised Land due to his unbelief.  This seems to be happening at the Great White Throne in general and the Lake of Fire in particular. 

This judgment is one of works and has nothing to do with salvation or faith.  

“And I saw a great white throne, and Him who is sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven did flee away, and place was not found for them;12 and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and scrolls were opened, and another scroll was opened, which is that of the life, and the dead were judged out of the things written in the scrolls -- according to their works;13 and the sea did give up those dead in it, and the death and the hades did give up the dead in them, and they were judged, each one according to their works;14 and the death and the hades were cast to the lake of the fire -- this [is] the second death;15 and if anyone was not found written in the scroll of the life, he was cast to the lake of the fire.” (Rev. 20:11-15)

“and if any one may take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the scroll of the life, and out of the holy city, and the things that have been written in this scroll;” (Rev.22:19)

As with all scripture, we have to look at the context.  Revelation was written by John to the seven Jewish churches in Asia Minor.  This book is to and about Israel and is all about God’s dealing with unfaithful Israel during the Great Tribulation.  Once the Tribulation begins, the dispensation of grace will be over and a short age of wrath will ensue.  We should always remember, “His anger is but for a moment.”

In Revelation 22:19 we see that people may have their names blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life for taking away words from the prophecies contained in Revelation.  However, we learn in Revelation 20:11-15 that names will also be added to the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Just reading the text in our English translations, we will not see this, but we are told that the Book of Life will get larger during the Great White Throne Judgment.  Thanks again to Dan Sheridan for his study on this.

If you will look at “scroll” in verse 15 of chapter 20, the Greek word “biblos” (Strong’s #G976) was used.  However, when you see “scroll” in verse 12, the Greek word “biblion” (Strong’s #G975) was used.  “Biblion” is a smaller “biblos”.  You will need a concordance to find this distinction because the word “scroll” or “book” is used in English translations and no distinction is made to size.  When looking at a Greek interlinear text of this passage, you can see the distinction in the text.  You will see the word “scrollet” used in verse 12 and “scroll” used in verse 15.

So, as works are judged, names are actually added to the Book of Life.  The Book gets larger.  I think there will be more added to the Book of Life and less cast into the Lake of Fire.

The resurrection to this judgment and to the subsequent New Earth, was what Job’s resurrection expectation was at his time.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, James, John, and Cornelius will be resurrected to the kingdom of the heavens, 1,000 years prior to the Great White Throne Judgment.  The resurrection of the Body of Christ will precede that resurrection by at least 3 and ½ years.  Having an expectation based on faith determines the resurrection.  

In my opinion, mainstream Christians are not part of the Body of Christ.  They do not (just as I once did not) believe Paul’s gospel, shown below:

“Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are saved, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly." 3 For I give over to you among the first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that He was entombed, and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, thereupon by the twelve." (1 Cor.15:1-5)

Mainstream Christians, for the most part have a works based non-gospel.  First, due to the false teaching of the immortality of the soul, they do not believe Jesus “died for their sins; according to the scriptures”.  Secondly, they do not believe Jesus’ death took away sin.  They believe their belief/wise choice/getting baptized/continuing to abide in Christ (insert any work you like) is what saved them.  Jesus’ work was necessary (incidental) but not enough.  They also, do not really believe He was “roused”.  Due to the immortality of the soul doctrine, they believe that He (His person) was never in the tomb needing roused.  He was in Paradise.  Those are significant problems when it comes to what the gospel is.

At best, Christians may have their blindness removed and believe the kingdom gospel during the Tribulation.  There may be many Christians who are Israel.  They will have to overcome to not be harmed by the second death however.  Many may fall for the strong delusion; believing the lie that is promoted by the Man of Sin.  

As with all who find themselves at the Great White Throne judgment, there works will be judged and there are two possible outcomes.  One outcome is that the person is sent to the New Earth as a mortal and will eat of the tree of life.  The second possible outcome is that the person will be cast into the Lake of Fire to die a second death.  

Those who die the second death will miss out on the New Earth eons of time.  This isn’t their end however; as God is merciful, Jesus’ work will ultimately undo Adam’s disobedience, justifying all (Romans 5:18), reconciling all (Colossians 1:20), and finally, making all alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-28).  
The Final Resurrection; the Abolition of Death

“For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead." 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified." 23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence;" 24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power." 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death. 27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him." 28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.)" (1 Cor.15:21-28)

When the ages have finally run their course and all enemies have been placed under the feet of Jesus; He will abolish the last enemy; death.  If death is abolished; by its very definition, this will end the Lake of Fire, the Second Death.  Think about this.  1 Corinthians 15:21-28 is the furthest event in time, recorded in the scriptures; likely tens of thousands of years beyond the Great White Throne judgment.  After all these resurrections, immortals on the earth, ruling and reigning with Christ and mortals eating from the tree of life; the only death that exists is the Second Death and those in it.  

These will finally be resurrected to never die again and God will be “ALL in All”.  That, is the result of the good news.  None of His creation will be endlessly lost to Him.  The Good Shepherd searches until He recovers and finds all the lost sheep; and so too with God.  Sin, evil, and death will one day completely be eradicated from creation.