GOD’S “FIRE,” AND “SWORD,”
AND THE FINAL DESTRUCTION
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the INDIGNATION be over past. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
If you read all of Isaiah 26, you will discover something. The two verses just quoted above are from Isaiah 26:20, 21, the last two of the chapter. If you begin reading from verse 12, you will see that it is talking about the wicked not being raised from the dead and in verse 19 about the righteous being raised.
The setting is the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. Notice especially the word, INDIGNATION—let us paraphrase it a bit: “Hide yourselves in My love and protection until the ‘anger’ or ‘wrath,’ ‘indignation,’ or ‘trouble’ is past.”
Remember Psalms 78:49? “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath and indignation, and trouble, by SENDING (permitting to come) evil angels among them.” Who is bringing the INDIGNATION AND TROUBLE UPON THE EARTH IN THE LAST DAYS? WHY IT IS SATAN, OF COURSE.
When Jesus ceases His intercession for us in the heavenly sanctuary above, beyond the veil, every soul’s destiny will have been fully, finally and irrevocably sealed for this age. The four angels of Revelation 7 will then let go of the winds of strife because the sealing of the 144,000 (wheat harvest) has been completed by the Elect (Man Child or Barley). God’s army, Joel 1, 2 and Rev. 19, has been sealed and are now ready to begin the Grape harvest or one third of the earth, Zechariah 13:7-9. Two thirds of the population of the earth will die but one third will escape. This will be the Remnant or what remains or is left over. These Remnant have escaped into the “wilderness” (seclusion & obscurity) Revelation 12:6, 13-17. And that is how they will survive. They will have to go through the last 3 1/2 years of this final age in a mortal body of flesh in order to perfect their characters so they will be ready for translation at the end of the this last 3 1/2 year period. But the Elect will “shine like the sun” with their immortal bodies, Daniel 12:3, 10; Matthew 13:43. They are the Watchmen on the walls of Zion who were not asleep and woke up the sleeping Virgins. The five Wise Virgins have the extra oil of the Holy spirit but the Five Foolish virgins do not have the extra oil because they did not pray and study and their lamps go out in darkness.
God has done all in His power to draw every mind to Himself, beyond the sacred veil, safe in His arms of love. Soon it will be too late, for the Bible tells us that a time is soon to come when the decree will go forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still: And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12.
The word “sword” is often used in the Bible. It has a dual meaning. First of all, it represents the BIBLE or the GOSPEL. “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. Revelation 19:13-15.
The preaching of the Word of God (Fire), which is the Gospel, causes the wicked to hate and kill God’s people. But, in the last day they will not be able to kill God’s people who are sealed after, so they will kill themselves. Ezekiel 38:21, Zech. 14:13.
There is a very interesting scripture which applies to the wicked killing each other when they cannot kill God’s people. “A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the SWORD.” Jeremiah 25:31. Psalms 17:13.
Here is the second meaning of the word SWORD, i.e., a literal instrument of death; a gun, bomb, or knife, or sword. Anything that takes life. God is going to “give them that are wicked to the sword.” It simply means that God is not going to restrain them from blowing each other to pieces anymore and so they will self-destruct.
The use of the word “wicked” is very interesting. Before, God’s people were the “wicked” that had to be destroyed to save society. But, now, the table is turned and the hunters become the hunted. The slayers are now to be slain, just like Haman in the book of Esther and Daniel’s enemies in Babylon, Daniel 6. “All that take the sword will perish by the sword.” Matt. 26:52, Rev. 13:10. Many of these will be religious leaders, preachers who believe in a violent God, a military Messiah. They have chosen their modern day “Barabas” and he will lead them on to destruction.
JESUS SAID, “I AM NOT COME TO BRING PEACE, BUT A SWORD.”
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, was a mighty storm center. Again He said, “I am come to send FIRE ON THE EARTH; AND WHAT WILL I, IF IT BE ALREADY KINDLED? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” Luke 12:49-51. The word “accomplished” also means “ended,” or “completed.”
The early Christians were a peculiar people. Their Christ-like deportment and steadfast faith continually disturbed the sinner’s peace. Though few in numbers, without money, position, or titles, they were feared by evil doers wherever their CHARACTER AND TEACHINGS WERE SPREAD. The nominal believers in God were their greatest persecutors, especially after the 3rd century and the conversion of Constantine.
But why were they so persecuted? It was basically because the lives of the followers of Jesus rebuked the wicked within the church who were only nominal believers or Christians, in name only. This caused division. Jesus had said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. Is this a contradiction of the prophecy that Christ would be the Prince of Peace? Luke 2:14. No, it isn’t a contradiction, for the teachings of Christ will unite all who will follow those teachings in humble obedience. But since most of the world are under the influence and control of Satan, they hate and fight those who try to “live Godly in Christ Jesus,” 2 Timothy3:12. Their holy lives are a continual rebuke and cause a reaction on the part of the wicked. Since God takes the blame for evil and wrong in the Bible, Christ once again takes the responsibility or blame for the wicked’s retaliation against his message of love. In this sense, therefore, the gospel is a sword which brings division.
With these concepts clearly in our minds we can now understand how God makes war against Satan and all the wicked who unite with him. Now, let’s go to Revelation 19:10. “And I fell at his feet to worship him.” Here John is overcome by the brightness and beauty of the messenger who is about to show him some very important concepts about the great victory Jesus will achieve over the hosts of Satan. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. And the armies which were in heaven followed him…. And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Revelation 19:11,14,15.
We have already learned that the word “SWORD” simply means the Gospel Story from the Bible—the good news that God is love and that He has made a way of escape from the darkness and death of this world of sin. Here Christ is pictured as making war against the enemies of the cross by “smiting” them with a “sharp sword.” A sword would simply be the Bible story of Jesus given in a normal fashion under normal circumstances in this world of sin; but a SHARP SWORD would be the GOSPEL STORY BEING GIVEN WITH A LOUD CRY IN ABNORMAL TIMES WHEN THERE IS “GROSS DARKNESS” upon the earth. See Isaiah 60:1, 2.
The gospel is LIGHT which cuts SHARPLY through all the DARKNESS to bring salvation to those who accept, and SEVERE CONDEMNATION TO THOSE WHO REJECT. LIGHT ALWAYS CONDEMNS DARKNESS. LIGHT WILL ALWAYS “SMITE” DARKNESS. Truth always smites and wars against falsehood … it smites or condemns and thus destroys it.
For an example, let us suppose that a thief was in a house stealing valuables. The house is very dark and he has a little flashlight to get around and find what he wants. Let us suppose the owner of the house came home through the back door very quietly and turned all the lights on. What would the thief do? He would either try to get away without being seen or caught or try to kill the man or at least tie him up, if he could. Right. But, let us suppose that this man’s house is high on a mountain overlooking the ocean and the thief cannot kill the man because he doesn’t have a weapon. So, in his fearful attempt to escape he climbs out the window and falls to his death on the rocks below. Who and what killed him? Why the owner killed him by turning on the lights, some would say. But, really, what killed him was the violation of the law and his attempt to break that law and then escape instead of admitting his GUILT and surrendering.
Let us say again that a group of people decided to have a big party in a high-rise apartment. Lest they be caught, they keep the lights very low to avoid detection. Let’s suppose the owner of the apartment is a minister of a large and well respected church in Chicago and the son of this minister is leading a double life without his father knowing it. Let’s further imagine what this young man and most of the other people would do when the father comes home unexpectedly, turns on the lights, and sees all those naked bodies sprawled all over the room. They would try to hide and run away if they could. Some might even jump out of the window and kill themselves to stop the pain and frustration of guilt and condemnation.
This is what is going to happen to all the wicked in this last generation when Jesus comes. There will be no place to hide. The Bible tells us that they (the wicked) will say “to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he WALK NAKED, AND THEY SEE HIS SHAME.” Rev 16:15.
Throughout this study it has been our aim to show that “God’s wrath,” is not an arbitrary act on His part, but rather a withdrawing of His protection. However, it is a reluctant withdrawing of His power to prevent and restrain the evil lusts and passions of the soul. He is forced out of the person’s life. But God is always standing by to reassert His power on the person’s behalf if they repent and ask Him to come back into their life.
The close of human probation is an “act” or “decision” of man to finally be free of the restraint of God’s Holy Spirit. Man’s self-destructive, masochistic and sadistic actions that result from his final decision to be completely free from God’s love and truth can hardly be charged against our Lord. And yet God permits the Bible record to state, “I have done thus and so.” The only reason God takes the blame is because He cannot save man by giving Satan credit for these acts. He must remain sovereign so that man can worship Him, even if it is at first, out of fear. But those of us who desire to be like Him in character will know the truth about God and what kind of person He really is so we may be like Him. Those who continue to be afraid of God will be lost for this age. Revelation 21:8. They will come up in the second resurrection and go through the Lake of Fire which will be explained later.
“Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And He said unto them, strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Is it possible that after the 1,000 years when the Holy City is on the earth and the wicked are raised up to see the reward of the righteous that some will argue with Jesus over His decision to exclude them from the Golden City? It would seem so. This will go on for a “a little season,” which may be as long as 100 years. Isaiah 65:20.
“When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us;’ and he shall answer and say unto you, ‘I know you not whence ye are.’ Then shall ye begin to say, ‘we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou has taught in our streets.’ But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.”
What could be more tragic … more heartrending? “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” Luke 13:23-28.
Did you notice the expression, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth?” I just wonder if this gnashing of teeth would include some “blaming”others for causing them to be lost? I just wonder if they will be “gnashing” their teeth at each other at first; and then at Christ, and organize with and under Satan to try to take the city by force; and then after the panoramic view which unveils everything, they will be “gnashing” at one another again; and, because they cannot kill God and the saints, they will take their anger out upon one another. This will go on for a “Little Season.” Ezekiel 28:6-10. *See Note.
When we compare Matthew 25:31-46 with this passage we just read in Luke 13, we see a very clear picture. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory … and before him shall be gathered all nations: … he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Then follows the familiar, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.” Here again the lost ask Christ why He has excluded them from the kingdom and He tells them it is because they did not see Him in the person of the naked, the thirsty, the hungry, the imprisoned and the stranger. His final decree of fate is, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matthew 25:41. Psalms 9:16 tells us how God “EXECUTES JUDGMENT” or “MAKES DECISIONS.” He lets the sinner go his own way and do his own thing. He permits Satan to have complete control. But, in Revelation 7:1-3 his “judgments” are a “holding” action until the 144,000 (wheat harvest) are sealed which will be his army, Revelation 19. See Judges 7:13 and Ruth 2:23 concerning the first use of the concept of the barley harvest.
Even in this NT Scripture Christ again takes the blame. He pictures Himself as rejecting them, when they are the ones who are rejecting Him. This is also true in Revelation 3, where God “spews” the “Laodiceans” out of His mouth, when we are the ones spewing or spitting God out of our lives, even Jesus the “Bread, of Life,” and Jesus, the “wine,” of life.
*Note: Titus 2:11 reads, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” The marginal reading gives the original Greek rendering thusly: “Or, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared.” Obviously, this marginal reading gives a much clearer and stronger meaning in support of the concept of Universal Salvation.