HOW WILL THE WICKED BE DESTROYED
WHEN CHRIST RETURNS?
The Bible describes the coming of Jesus in many ways, but one of my favorite texts is found in 2 Thess. 2:8, “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.” This scripture has a dual or double application to both the Second Coming before the 1,000 years starts, which we believe will occur very soon, and also to the coming of Jesus after the 1,000 years. Another scripture Paul wrote in this same book says, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints….” 2 Thess. 1:7-10.
Paul wrote this epistle about 54 AD, during the time when Rome was beginning to persecute Christians, so we may assume he had Pagan Rome in mind. It also applies to Papal Rome for it also killed God’s people. But Satan is back of it all and so “that Wicked” basically applies to Satan and then in a secondary sense to anyone he uses to deceive and destroy God’s work through His people. Jesus told the Jews that He had come to bring fire on the earth, Luke 12:49, therefore, Christ’s Word, the Bible, is a “fiery” power that gives life to those who accept, and death to those who reject it. This helps us to clearly see then that the “brightness of His coming” is a development or a result of the spirit of His mouth which is simply His spoken and written word, not only in books, but especially in the lives of His people. John the Revelator pictures Christ as “smiting” the earth with a sharp sword that comes out of Jesus’ mouth. Rev. 19:15. And Paul tells us that God’s Word 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.” Heb. 4: 12.
When we speak of fire, we are talking about the only kind of fire that we know of, which is a literal and tangible fire that we can see and feel. This is a destructive fire which consumes literally. But when the Bible speaks about God being “a consuming fire,” is this the same kind of fire that we see and feel? Is God a physical, literal fire? Of course not, because this is a fire that is out of our realm of existence. It is from another dimension, as they say. On the day of Pentecost the “fire of God” fell on the 120 waiting, humbled, united believers, but that was not a literal, physical fire like you get when you strike a match and light your gas stove or wood stove or camp fire.
Oh, no! Listen to God explain it through Jeremiah. “Is not my word LIKE A FIRE? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces.” Jer. 23:29. Notice, friend of mine, that God says his word is “like” a fire. He didn’t say it was actually a fire, but like or similar to it. Was not this Moses’ experience when he saw the burning bush? Yes it was. “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bushed burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” Exodus 3:2. God’s presence does not consume or destroy matter.
This is not fire as we know it. It is completely out of the realm of science, as far as man’s knowledge and experience is concerned. Jeremiah explained it further when he said, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in His name. But his WORD was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Jer. 20:9. KJV The LB says, “His word in my heart is like a fire that burns in my bones, and I can’t hold it in any longer.” Jer. 20:9. LB. And John the Baptist was referred to by Jesus Himself as “a burning and a shining light:” John 5:35. We know John was Christ’s forerunner, his herald or the one who paved the way by announcing that the Messiah was about to appear. And what would He do when He came. “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matt. 3:11, 12. And isn’t that just what Jesus did? Yes, it is. The followers of Jesus received this “fire,” of truth and righteousness, healing, mercy and love. This revived and empowered them to receive the Holy Spirit (God’s fire) on the day of Pentecost. They went and preached the truth about Jesus and His Father everywhere. But, the Jewish leaders and people who resisted and rejected Jesus’ “fire of love” were burned up by the hatred inside of them. This caused division among them and eventually led to the actual destruction and literal burning of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
But did God do that to them? No. In fact, He did everything he could to prevent it from happening…to hold back the Destroyer (Satan, Rev. 9:11), but they would not listen. Their burning words of malice and hatred burned down their own city along with them. So it will be in the final day when Christ returns. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” James 3:5, 6. That is why James 3:2 tells us that if a man does not offend in word the same is a perfect man and able to bridle the whole body. But only God can do this in us and for us as we surrender to Him, for the “tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” v .8. Our precious Lord Jesus drank that deadly cup full of poison or fire of hatred for us. But, if we do not accept what He did for us in Gethsemane (oil press, Matt 26:36) and on Calvary, as well as what He is doing in the heavenly sanctuary above for us right now, then we will have to drink that cup of deadly poison ourselves, and it will kill us. That’s what Obadiah meant when he said, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” Obadiah 15, 16. 306. And so we see, dear friend, that God destroys no man. Nothing bad ever comes from God. Why even our temptations do not come from God. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:13:17.
God does not kill us. It is our sinning that kills us, and the “wages of sin is death.” Rom. 6:23. Jesus told the Jewish leaders that they would die in their sins if they did not believe in Him as the Messiah, John 8:24. He did not say, if you reject Me I will destroy you. They destroyed themselves. And so we see, dear reader, that when the Bible speaks of the “fire of God” as having destroyed someone we know that fire from God’s person or His presence did not flash out and kill that person, for God is not a literal fire. What then is the source of the literal fire that destroyed people and animals in the Old Testament? Can we find a model that will give us a clue? Yes, we can. Listen: “And the Lord replied to Satan, ‘You may do anything you like with his wealth, but don’t harm him physically:’” Job 1:12, 13, LB. Many tragedies then struck Job’s properties, one of which was fire falling from the sky. “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the herdsmen, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Verse 16.
The amazing thing that puzzles and baffles most people is the fact that the Father seems to be willing, even eager to take the blame. Notice: “…still he (Job) holdest fast his integrity, although thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job 2:3. Remember that this conversation is taking place before all the council of heaven. Doesn’t this show the Father’s infinite love for Lucifer? He is actually covering up for him in front of the heavenly council by taking the blame for the destruction of all of Job’s property. But now he goes beyond that and seems to purposely be sending Satan out to hurt Job physically. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand, but save his life.” Job 2:6. Now, who brought this literal fire down from the sky to kill the sheep and herdsmen? The messenger reported that the fire came from God. But which God? Satan is called “The god of this world…. 2 Cor. 4:4. And the simple truth of the matter is that Satan sent the fire which destroyed Job’s property. And this is true in every instance in the Bible when fire destroys a person or anyone’s property, for God never changes. We will deal more fully with this issue in chapter 27.
The Bible tells us in Rev. 13: 13 and 16:14 that Satan can bring fire down from heaven and work miracles. So the devil does have the power to bring fire down from heaven, and make it look like the Father did it. Obviously, this is what happened in Job’s case. We have already seen from the Scriptures that “God’s fire” is not a literal fire, as we know fire. Literal fire disfigures and destroys. This is not the work of our loving, heavenly Father, for only good gifts come from Him, James 1:17. Satan is not only our “adversary, the devil,” I Peter 5:8, but God tells us he is the destroyer. “Their king is the Prince of the bottomless pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon (and in English, the Destroyer). Rev. 9:11. LB. Sin entered the universe at the time of Lucifer’s defection and fall from heaven. This mastermind and genius of evil (genie means demon) began plotting the overthrow of God’s throne right from the beginning. Jesus identified him as a killer, and liar. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. John 8:44. Jesus is the truth. John 14:6. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, Satan began working through the elements to deceive and destroy the human race. We know this from the parables Jesus told. “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 13:34, 35. Now, let us notice the parable which will give us valuable insight into our search for the one who has introduced fire and other harmful aberrations of nature. “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.” Matt. 13:24-26. The servants could not understand how the tares were growing up when only good wheat was supposed to have been planted. The servants represent God’s angels as well as human agents the Lord uses in His harvest field. Jesus gave a direct answer to their question as to who had planted the tares (noxious or poisonous weeds which look like or appear to be genuine plants or in this case good wheat). “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matt. 13:39, 43.
We have already learned from Scripture that the word fire has a literal meaning and a symbolical meaning. The literal one is not from our God because He has nothing to do with literal fire. It did not exist before sin entered. It is one of Satan’s noxious weeds or aberrations of nature. But, God claims that anytime anyone is burned with literal fire He did it to them, for He always takes the blame. That is not only His nature, but His character. The symbolical one is the fiery emotion of the mind, anger, hatred, envy, jealousy, remorse regret, etc. The “furnace of fire” is the same as the “FIERY OVEN” in Psalm 21:9. We find that in Ps. 21:8 it is the “right hand” of God which causes the lost or wicked to burn up inside like a “fiery oven.” Throughout the Scripture from Exodus 15:6 to Deut. 33:2 to Psalm 98:1 to Isa. 48:13 to Heb. 12:2, we see that Jesus is the right hand of God. The expression, “ Arm of the Lord, “ also refers to Christ, Isaiah 52:10, 53:1. Jesus is God’s “WORD,” “HAND,” and” ARM,” to accomplish His holy will. And His will is always to save man, never to hurt him. As they reject Him they suffer terrible guilt. Isa. 31:9 indicates a fire is in Zion, where God’s heart is. He loves His people with a love as hot as a furnace of fire. His heart is on fire with an eternal love for us. The very “flame of Jehovah.” Song of Solomon 8:6.
In Hosea 7:6, 7 we see that God says, “For they have made ready their heart like an oven….in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges: all their kings are fallen.” Man’s fire is hatred. God’s fire is love. Notice that God says that “they,” the people themselves had “made ready their heart like an oven.” The heart is the same as the mind in the Bible. And so we see that the people are responsible for the anger, grief, remorse, regret, hatred and murder that burns within them. In the story of Calvary we can see clearly how it happens. Jesus pleaded with the Jews day after day to come to Him, but the more He loved them the more they hated Him. Finally He permitted them to stretch out His hands on the cruel cross. Still He was pleading for them, “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM; FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.” Luke 23:34. The translators of the Authorized King James Version, KJV, 1611 were classical Greek scholars, and therefore not so familiar with the Biblical Greek of the New Testament. One particular facet they seem to always omit in their translation is the present indicative or active mood and the imperfect active mood. My Greek and Hebrew teacher at Bible college taught us this and it makes the Scripture more meaningful in many cases. For example, Luke 23:34 could be translated “FATHER, KEEP ON FORGIVING THEM, FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.” And even the initial phrase of the text, “THEN SAID JESUS,” could be translated, “THEN (or at that time) JESUS WAS CONTINUALLY SAYING, OR JESUS KEPT ON SAYING.” If Jesus had not kept on praying this prayer Satan would have had a legal right to destroy everyone for they were killing their own Creator. Even Satan might have self-destructed with his angels if it had not been for Christ’s continual prayer. Even though his people were rejecting eternal life, Jesus, by dying on the cross earned the legal right to plead that their lives be spared and protected from as much mental and physical suffering as possible.
Another case of the continuous action is John 13:23; 21:20, where John refers to himself as ‘THE DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED.” I will not take time to go into all of the Greek grammar to try and prove my point here, not that I am a Greek scholar, for I am not, but I did take three years of Greek under a brilliant teacher and am familiar enough to figure most of these out to satisfy myself, which I have already done. But, this favorite phrase of John takes on a brand new meaning when you translate it with the continuous action present indicative. “THE DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS KEPT ON LOVING OR CONTINUED TO LOVE.” This immediately takes away the possible interpretation of Christ playing favorites. John was a disciple that did not always have a loving or lovable nature. A quick look at Luke 9:54 will prove that. Mark 3: 17 designates James and John as the “sons of thunder.” They probably were sometimes loud, boisterous, uncompromising, headstrong, fiery and fighting fishermen. But Jesus “KEPT ON LOVING THEM ANYWAY.”
Jesus clearly stated that the “HARVEST IS THE END OF THE WORLD.” Matt. 13:39. He also said that, “In the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matt. 13:30. Our objective is to discover how the wicked are destroyed when Jesus comes the second time before the 1,000 years begin. We have touched on aspects of this event in other places in this book, but each time we discuss it we will learn more details. By this time it should be crystal clear in your mind that the Hebrew prophets who wrote the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, always held God responsible for that which he permitted to happen. In other words, God always took the blame. This is clearly revealed on the cross when Jesus let them do anything they wanted to Him and then asked the Father not to punish them, but to forgive them. Since God never changes, we can see that He was doing in a body of flesh the same exact thing He had always been doing all through the Old Testament in a spirit form, as He led Israel through the wilderness and later in the Promised Land, as well.
“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Isa. 63:9. But the very next verse seems to contradict this one because it says that He was turned “to be their enemy, and He fought against them.” It is impossible to understand the Scripture with the carnal mind, for Paul tells us, “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Rom. 8:7. The law of God is a transcript of His wonderful character of love. Stony hearted readers of the law, like the Jews, will only see the letter of the law, which “KILLETH, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVETH LIFE.” 2 Cor. 3:6. The fight of Isa. 63:10 is the battle for the mind. Jesus was fighting or wrestling with them to submit to His love. Jacob had this experience. He wrestled with Jesus or fought against God’s efforts to save him, for if Jesus had “wrestled” in a physical sense he could easily have overcome Jacob. But God never uses force. He only uses the drawing power of love. Satan desired to destroy Jacob, but Jesus only let him touch Jacob’s thigh and put it out of place. Christ took the blame for that even. It woke Jacob up to the fact that he was not wrestling with just a “man” although Christ had taken on or assumed a human form for the occasion, in order to assure him of His love and forgiveness. Satan was trying to destroy Jacob with a sense of guilt. The physical activity that night may have helped Jacob to release most of his tension so he would not have a nervous break down or go insane. In any event God was able to reveal Himself to Jacob in this most unusual circumstance and make it a beautiful lesson for all of us today. We can gird up the loins of our minds, I Pet. 1:13, and thus defeat Satan, by strapping on the sword of the spirit, Eph. 6:14.
Now, let us explain the “BINDING” of the tares of Matt. 13:30. The binding of the wicked is for the express purpose of “burning” them. Let’s take the word “bind” first and notice how it is used in Rev. 20:1-3. Satan is pictured here as being cast into a bottomless pit, bound (past tense of bind) with a chain by the angel from heaven. He is supposed to stay in this pit for 1,000 years so he will not deceive the nations anymore for ten long centuries. Since Revelation is a book of symbols we should first look for a symbolical meaning of the actual events that will take place when Jesus comes the second time. The bottomless pit is simply this earth, for the word “pit” as used in the Bible means “the grave,” although it is expressed in various terms. Let’s notice the Hebrew parallelism of Isaiah 38:18. “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” Another text reads, “whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave.” Ezekiel 32:23.
So, we see that a “bottomless pit” is basically an endless graveyard, which is what planet earth has been for 6,000 years. The phrase is from the Greek, phrear tes abussou, “pit of the bottomless (place),” or “well of the abyss.” The word “abussos” is used very often in the LXX to translate the Hebrew “tehom” which seems to represent the primeval ocean or “deep” of Gen. 1:2. Job 41:31 uses “abussos” to represent the sea in general and in Psalm 71:20, the depths of the earth. In Rev. 17:15 waters or sea represent peoples or nations. Since Satan is the “king” of the bottomless pit (Rev. 9: 11) and the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) it is only logical to conclude that Satan is the one who is making the people angry at each other so they go to war and kill each other. Christ calmed the sea and told His disciples to not be afraid. Psalm 46 tells us “we will not fear” even though the earth is removed and the mountains (governments) are carried into the midst of the sea;” v. 2. What this means to me is that no matter what Satan stirs the masses (sea) up to do, we do not have to be afraid, for He always has control. “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” Ps. 46:10. We know that when Jesus comes the wicked are going to die by their own hands, for the Bible tells us, “every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” Ezek. 38:21. Compare also Zech. 14:13; Jer. 25:31-33. Christ will rescue His elected saints or church out of this final holocaust or suicide of the nations which is really what Armageddon is going to be. Notice that the word, “GATHERED” is used in Rev. 16:16 just as it is used in Matt. 13:40. But Rev. 16:14 reveals who is actually doing the gathering. Jeremiah 22:7.
EVIL SPIRITS ARE GATHERING THE NATIONS
“For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Rev. 16:14. But true to form, God takes the credit or blame for this gathering in verses 15 and 16, because He is allowing Satan and his angels to do it.
THE FINAL SUICIDE OF THE NATIONS
Now, the result of this final suicide of the nations is that everyone but those who believe m Jesus will die. Jeremiah saw this terrible slaughter revealed to him in a vision over 600 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem. “O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? (He is no doubt given a vision of all the wars of the long centuries which builds up to the final battle of Armageddon). I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. (Here the earth is described in the same way Moses’ pictures it in Genesis 1 before God created the earth in the beginning). I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. (No doubt from all the earthquakes and volcanoes Satan will bring in the last days and hours before Jesus returns to rescue us). I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.” Jer. 4:19, 20, 21, 23,-25; Isa. 14:12-17.
“THERE WAS NO MAN,” the prophet said. Now, why wouldn’t there be any “human beings,” left on this earth? For man is a generic term here referring to people in general, or the universal race, which would include women and children as well as “men.” The answer is so simple you will probably wonder why some people seem to make it so hard to understand. First of all, Satan will “gather” all the nations together to destroy them. God will try to prevent them from killing each other with a wonderful message of love through His final elect, but they will not listen and will pass a death decree against this chosen group who will stand up against the New World Order and expose it by preaching the truth about God. Rev. 2:10; Rev. 13:15. This will be a time of trouble for God’s people, which will be similar to what Jacob went through at the ford Jabbok. The Bible calls this “THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE.” The prophet described it like this: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7.
Jesus told us that the “harvest is the end of the world,” Matt. 13:39. He also said that the wheat and the tares would “grow together until the harvest.” But He also told us that the tares (wicked or lost) will be bound in bundles to be burned first. So, the “burning” of the wicked takes place before the “wheat” (righteous or saved) are gathered “into My barn.” Now, where is God’s barn? Jesus told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3. The apostle Paul predicted this same event in these words, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Thess. 4:16, 17. Jesus warned us that there would be many deceptions in these last days just before He returned to take His people out of this world to the “FATHER’S HOUSE.”
For decades now many people have believed in what is known in theological circles as the “Secret Rapture.” The word rapture is not a biblical term. It is from the Latin and its essential meaning was a “a mercy rescue by force,” as I understand it. Well, Jesus is coming to rescue his people at His Second Coming, but it will not be a secret coming. The Bible makes it very clear in the gospels as well Revelation 1:7; 6:14-17 that “every eye shall see Him” and “then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matt 24:27-30. Jesus also compared His return to the lightning that shines from the east to the west. Jesus used the Harvest as a means of illustrating His planned return to this earth in the final age before the millennium. He said that the Harvest would be the end of world (age). Matt. 13:39. But the Harvest is not a one time event. It has three phases. The first phase is the Barley, a very short period of time, like one day. The second phase is the Wheat which takes forty days and then the Grape Harvest, which will take the rest of the last segment of time which will be three and one half years. So, there will be three phases of the harvest. There are precious promises to those who dedicate their all to Jesus Christ in this last hour of earth’s history to vindicate the character of the Father. Luke 21:34-36, Malachi 3:16-18 and Revelation 3:10 are promises that the Elect will be translated at the time of death decree which will be passed against them.
There are actually at least 24 titles or designations for them which I refer to as the Barley to begin with. They are also called the “Watchmen on the Walls of Zion,” who are not sleeping. In contrast the Ten Virgins are fast asleep until the midnight hour when the cry goes forth, “Behold the Bridegroom is coming.” Jesus was a prototype of the Barley or first fruits and the 120 is a type of the 144,000 whom the Elect will go throughout the earth and select during a forty day period, the same as Jesus increased His disciples from 12 to 120 in forty days after His resurrection. The Remnant are those who will be hiding out for three and one half years from the face of the serpent, Rev 12:14. They will comprise the grape harvest at the end of 3 1/2 years. They will be the one third of the human race who survive, Zechariah 13:7-9. But the rest of humanity, the two thirds, will die. I have written about this in-depth in other publications and made videos explaining it.
WHEN CHRIST STANDS UP FOR HIS PEOPLE
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matt. 24:21, 22. We know there have been times of tribulation for God’s people in the past. Jesus predicted the fall of Jerusalem by Titus and gave instruction to His disciples so they could escape it, Matt. 24:15-20; Luke 21:20-24. In both of these chapters Jesus was speaking under the inspiration of His Father’s Spirit, not only to the Jews of His day, but to the believers who would go through the dark ages as well. But, I believe his message has even a greater relevancy and application to our day. The reason I say this is because of Daniel’s prediction.
And at that time (when Satan has his final destructive machine completely set up to destroy God’s people, Dan. 11:44,45) shall Michael stand up (this represents Christ standing up for his people to protect and shield them from Satan) and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12: 1-2. Now, we have in this last Scripture the same description of trouble or tribulation as Jesus gave in Matt. 24:21, 22. But in Daniel’s prophecy we see that He connects the resurrection with this time of trouble as well as the standing up of Michael which would indicate that He has completed a certain necessary work or made a decision and now is about to do something. The thing He is standing up to do is come to earth to rescue His “bride,” who is about to be killed. Everyone has made a final and irrevocable decision for or against Him and He has only one thing left to do, and that is to claim His bride and leave the rest of humanity to do whatever they wish to do, for He created them with free choice. This will be the time of the “burning” of the wicked, which will be followed by the coming of the bridegroom (Christ) in the clouds of glory to catch up the quick and the dead, His mature church, Philadelphia. Rev. 3:7-12.
GOD MAKES HIS FINAL CALL
Remember that Jesus holds out his hand of mercy to the people by delivering a final message of love (His fiery law of love) to the world through His people, His Elect. This wonderful message of love is simply, “BEHOLD YOUR GOD.” In other words, “LOOK AT OUR WONDERFUL SAVIOR JESUS.” Isa. 40:9. Notice that when the wicked are cast “into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. 13:42. It doesn’t say that their bodies are being consumed at this point in time, for this burning is a mental agony as they realize that they are fighting God Himself in the person of His saints. Gamaliel’s counsel to the Jewish Sanhedrin is proof that He recognized this possibility. “And so my advice is, leave these men alone. If what they teach and do is merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them, lest you find yourselves fighting even against God.” Acts 5:39. This very truth was soon after displayed in the life of Saul of Tarsus, when the light of God’s love shone on him and he submitted to it by saying, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Acts 9:6. Saul the “Christian killer” became Paul the Christian tiller, tilling the soil of human hearts and planting the seed of God’s love in those hearts throughout the then known world. Jesus did not appear to Saul to hurt him, but to actually stop the pain of guilt and remorse in his mind which was “pricking his conscience” every day more and more. It was a fire inside of him that would eventually have burned him up completely if he had not surrendered to the light and voice of Christ’s loving appeal. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself.” Acts 9:4; 22:6. LB This was actually a mini Lake of Fire for Saul, explaining what all the wicked will experience in the future until they also come to their senses and repent.
Judas heard this same voice of entreaty over and over again, but kept on rejecting it. Jesus revealed Judas’ sinful plot at the last supper to the twelve without exposing or fingering him. It was, as if, Jesus was saying to Judas, “OH, JUDAS, PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. I LOVE YOU JUDAS. ABANDON YOUR PLANS AND LIVE.” But Judas wouldn’t listen. Jesus washed his feet and later whispered, as he handed him the “sop” (probably a crusty piece of bread dipped in honey), “He it is, to whom I shall give a sop (morsel), when I have dipped it.” John 13:26. Only Judas heard Jesus say that for Peter had a sword and would not have let Judas escape from that upper room to betray Christ and the other disciples. “Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.” Jn. 13:28. Can you imagine these rugged fisherman sleeping if they had known Judas was leading a mob to arrest their Lord and perhaps even them? I cannot imagine such a thing. They would have never let Judas out of that upper room if they had known. But, just as no one knew the wicked heart of Lucifer until the cross, so no one knew Judas’ heart until he later cast down the thirty pieces of silver in the temple and said, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, ‘what is that to us? see thou to it:” Matt. 27:4. In other words, “We couldn’t care less. That’s your problem.” Judas then went out and hanged himself. Can you imagine the guilt, grief, sorrow, self-Loathing and self-hatred Judas had for himself as he saw Jesus being so terribly mistreated and abused? Can you imagine the “FURNACE OF FIRE” that was burning inside of Judas during this time? It must have been terrible.
This is precisely what the wicked will go through who reject the SEAL OF GOD and accept the MARK OF THE BEAST. The Father’s hand of love, even His only begotten Son, was reaching out to Judas to draw him back from the edge of the abyss over which he was about to plunge. But Judas wouldn’t listen. That outstretched hand of love burned in his mind as he remembered Christ’s many acts and words of kindness toward him. It all came down upon his head like “COALS OF FIRE.” Proverbs 25:21, 22. “Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.” Psalm 21:8, 9. Compare Malachi 4:1-3; Hosea 7:5-7. John the Revelator also saw the wicked “burning up” inside ‘’as a fiery oven.” He drew a word picture of the sufferings of those who would choose to worship the beast and his image by receiving the mark of the beast in his forehead or hand. “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (God’s presence is always with us (Ps. 139), always pleading. Was not Judas tormented in Christ’s presence?) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Rev. 14:10, 11.
WHAT IS THE LAKE OF FIRE?
This terrible mental suffering takes place before Christ comes for Rev. 19 gives more detail on this same event. In Rev. 14 they are still worshiping the beast, but in Rev. 19:19, 20 we see that the beast and all of his allies gather together to make war against Jesus. But the beast is “taken” and the beast and all of his worshipers are cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” A lake is a body of water and water represents people, Rev. 17:15. So, here we see a great mass of humanity “burning up” with hatred toward God and toward each other. “EVERY MAN’S SWORD IS AGAINST HIS BROTHER,” and there is a world-wide slaughter. The masses of humanity who have refused the SAVIOR’s outstretched hand of love now turn themselves into a sea of blood, Rev. 16:3. This is exactly what happened to the Jews inside of Jerusalem. They slaughtered each other without mercy. The blood of dead men was everywhere. This is the terrible future for every person who does not receive the outstretched hand of the SAVIOR. Oh, friend of mine, won’t you let Him take you by the hand right now? You’ll never regret that decision.
As a result of the wicked destroying themselves literally, just as Judas did, in order to escape the terrible burning in their minds, the earth is now empty of any living human beings, for all the righteous have been gathered into God’s barn,” or taken up to the “FATHER’S HOUSE.” Satan is now left alone here on this earth for 1,000 years to argue and feud with his evil angels about what they should have done or could have done to win in their fight against God. Perhaps the greatest proof that Satan is an unrepentant, incorrigible sinner is the fact that after the 1,000 years he still seeks to destroy by deceiving the lost masses of humanity into thinking they can attack and overcome the Holy City, New Jerusalem. Another interesting aspect of Satan’s personality, nature and character is that he is not able to rebuild the earth that he has destroyed. The ruined condition of planet earth is a mute reminder of what he really, truly is …A WASTER, SPOILER AND DESTROYER. Exodus 12:23, Isa. 16;.4; 48:18; 54:16; John 10:10. The literal fire that the wicked used to destroy themselves with at the coming of Jesus is an aberration of God’s original creation. Satan somehow has learned how to pervert nature against man by combining certain elements in a reverse manner so the new formula of elements caused a breakdown of life instead of a sustenance, as God originally intended. A good example of this is oxygen which, one chemist and scientist told an audience, is called the “SWORD” of the elements. I suppose that he meant by this that oxygen combines with other elements to cause a chemical breakdown in matter. I believe that God’s original creation was easy to understand. It was in harmony with man. And man and his mind and body were in perfect harmony with nature as it came from the hand of God, its Creator. Satan learned how to distort the vibratory frequencies of man and animals, turning them against each other and themselves. Thus these distortions and perversions have caused nature to be out of harmony with itself and with man. Animals hunt and kill each other and so does man. But, let’s come back to oxygen. According to Webster’s unabridged dictionary.
Oxygen is the most abundant of all elements. It occurs free in the atmosphere, forming one fifth of its volume. It is very active, being able to combine with nearly all other elements and is essential to life processes and to combustion.” Now, I want you to think about that for a moment. Without oxygen, as we know it today, nothing can burn. In other words, without oxygen, as we know it today, literal fire could not exist.
The reason I am making a point of this is that I want us to realize that fire as we know it today is a literal fire that can burn and devour and destroy. Oxygen, as it exists in our atmosphere, makes that possible. Therefore, I am convinced that the oxygen we have today is not the way God created it in the beginning. Something has happened to our air and to oxygen, as well as to all the elements. Before sin entered, there was no breakdown of matter. No bacteria, no rust, no mold, no waste, or destruction or death: This all came as a result of Adam’s transgression. Let’s take oxidation as an example of how our air has been changed. Oxidation is the union of a substance with oxygen. It is the process of increasing the positive valence or of decreasing the negative valence of an element ion. Oxidation is simply the process by which electrons are removed from atoms or ions. Oxidation is in a phrase, the scientific definition of how oxygen combines with other elements to break down matter. NO FIRE WITHOUT OXYGEN. Rust is a product or result of oxidation. Rust is the reddish-brown or reddish-yellow coating formed on iron or steel by oxidation. In botany rust is the name of any number of plant diseases caused by parasitic fungi. Rust is simply deterioration and spoilage. But it cannot occur without oxygen. According to the oxidation reaction theory, all matter or substance in the earth today breaks down because of or by a process known as oxidation. Time correlates with oxygen. There is no time without oxygen. Scientists measure time with or by radio active isotopes. Carbon 14 dating is based upon the half life of carbon 14 (C-14). It is by this dating method that scientists are able to determine the age of life forms from the past which only have part of their matter left, such as a bone from a dinosaur or a piece of wood or coal buried in the ground. Without oxygen this would not be possible.
The reason God is eternal is that everything in the universe, except for planet earth, is continually regenerating itself by virtue of the fact that it has a vital and unbroken connection with Him, the Creator. Only this earth measures everything by time. We count years by how long it has been since we were born. We know we are growing older by the wrinkles and gray hairs: Time is used to measure how long it takes for matter to deteriorate, rust or bacterialize and finally return to dust again. Man would never have returned to dust again if Adam had not sinned. Adam and Eve did not know what death was. They had never seen it or experienced it. Even Lucifer, as far as we know, had not observed death. God was preserving him alive so he too could witness the results of his selfish sinfulness and rebellion.
Surely the Father’s hope was that Lucifer would return once he saw how terrible a thing sin is. He would preserve the fallen angels and Lucifer himself alive without death. But He would allow death to come to Adam and Eve and their children, the creatures of His love, made in His very own image. Can you imagine the pain it must have caused Him? Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Our little world would become the eternal classroom and guidebook for the universe throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Why did the Father permit Lucifer to lead one-third of the angels astray? Jesus tells us that the devil was a murderer “FROM THE BEGINNING, AND ABODE NOT IN THE TRUTH, BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM.” John 8:44. It had to be demonstrated to the entire universe that all life, light and power comes from the Father. Lucifer challenged this and only time would prove whether or not he was right or wrong.
It has taken nearly 6,000 years for this demonstration to be fully carried out. Every challenge and question Lucifer has raised has been answered in the life and death of Jesus, and today in His followers. The lord god of Eden told Adam and Eve in their garden home, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen. 2: 17. This is the first death threat in the Bible. Paul tells us that the “fear of death” and even the concept of death itself, was brought in by the devil, Heb 2:14, 15, because our Heavenly Father is always and only a life God, never a death God. That is, beloved, although the Lord permits and allows death He is not the one who started or initiated it. There was a tree of knowledge of “Good and Evil” in the “midst” of the garden, Gen. 3:3. But, the TREE OF LIFE was also in the midst of the garden, Gen. 2:9. They may have been side by side. As it has turned out this tree has become the “Tree of growing up,” because of all that the human race has learned since Adam and Eve ate of it. It was not His perfect will for them to learn the difference between good and evil in this fashion but He permitted it and the Great Controversy between and evil has ensued to this day. Why did God permit it? This is the question we are trying to answer. On that answer turns both the mystery of iniquity and the mystery of godliness.
The next natural question that comes, is: “Did God create evil then?” We can answer this by simply asking another question. Did God create Satan? The answer is, “no, He did not.” He created a beautiful angel named Lucifer, but Lucifer turned himself into a devil or into Satan; the Adversary of God and man. “Thou (Lucifer) was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, TILL INIQUITY (SIN) WAS FOUND IN THEE.” Ezek. 28:15. And so we see that God did not originate or create evil, but He takes the blame for it, Isaiah 45:7, so we will not have to bear the guilt of sin.
Divine love and compassion mitigated, moderated, lessened or softened the results of sin, which is death. But with each passing generation, the result of that penalty has become more and more obvious and severe. When Adam doubted the goodness of His Creator and that all of God’s trees were good he broke the light connection with Jesus, His Creator and his robe of light slowly began to fade and his whole nature began to fall and deteriorate. If they had been faithful to God and developed a perfect character like Christ, their Creator, they would never have witnessed the results of sin in their own bodies or in the creation they loved so much. But it was permitted for a purpose and a reason that is beyond our full understanding at this time.
As we look at Jesus we never see Him rejecting anyone, but we see the majority of the people rejecting Him. His hands were continually stretched out in love to all. Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. We again must realize that the “FIRE” which has been prepared for the devil and his angels is not only a literal fire, but a symbolic one as well. Furthermore, the fire spoken of here by Christ as having been “prepared for the devil and his angels,” has not been prepared by God. We assume the text means that, for that is our carnal concept of God. Notice in Jere. 22:7 that God claims to be preparing “destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons:” God claims to be doing that which He is permitting. We see this in Matt. 13:30, where the householder (God) is instructing His servants (angels) to bind the tares in bundles to burn them. This “burning,” is two-fold. First there is the mental suffering, as with Judas, and then secondly, comes the physical destruction as with King Saul and Judas, who both committed suicide. I Chron. 10:4, 5, 13, 14; Matt. 27:3-5. We must also realize and re-emphasize that when the Holy Bible speaks of God’s fire, or the “fire of God,” it is not speaking of a literal burning inferno like Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, Dan. 3, but a non-literal fire like Moses saw on Mount Sinai. That fire did not require oxygen to burn, for the bush never burned up or consumed as it would have if oxidation or combustion had been occurring. There was no smoke. GOD’S FIRE represents truth, righteousness, holiness, purity and love. The giving of the law was another occasion when God’s fiery presence was manifested in a loving attempt to draw his people into close fellowship with himself. Jesus Christ was and is the living personification and embodiment of this fire. In fact, He even described Himself in this manner.
Notice his words: “I am come to send fire on the earth and what will , if it be already kindled?” Luke 12:49. In the verses following, 50-53, He spoke of a baptism He had to go through, obviously a fiery baptism of persecution in the form of hatred, slander, malice, physical torture, total rejection by those He loved the most, and finally death, due to a broken heart.
But it was the FIERY LOVE, THIS WHITE HOT PASSION, Acts 1:3, that enabled Jesus to overcome and conquer the fire of Satan’s hatred through the heart of carnal flesh. FOR YOU CANNOT KILL LOVE. And because God is LOVE, I John 4:8, and is also “harmless” (Heb 7:26) and therefore, does not destroy, the only kind of fire that could possibly come from Him, would be a loving fire of truth and righteousness.
DOES JESUS BRING DIVISION?
Therefore, the fire that Christ brings with Him when He returns, is not destructive in ITS INTENT, BUT IN ITS EFFECT. Why? Because of the way people will relate themselves to it. Jesus said, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace, on earth? I tell you nay; but rather division.” Luke 12:51. “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matt. 10:34. Was it Christ’s intent to bring “DIVISION” and “A SWORD?” No. But that was the effect of His first advent or coming. Why? Because men rejected Him and this rejection brought strife and division. It sometimes seems that wicked men are more united in carrying out their evil plans than the righteous. For example, while Moses was up on the mountain, receiving the Ten Commandments from God, Aaron was down below “leading” the people into apostasy. The people were more united in this apostasy than they ever had been or ever would be under Moses. And in the same way, the Jewish leaders and people in Christ’s day were more united in their condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus than they had ever been before or ever would be again. And so, we see that Jesus, the Prince of Peace did not cause strife, division, war and bloodshed, but He claims to be causing it, for He always assumes responsibility or blame for whatever He permits. The sword in Matt 10:34 is equated with fire. Jesus guided Israel for 40 years with a cloud by day and a fiery pillar at night. Nehemiah 9:9-17 and I Cor. 10:4 tells us this was Jesus Christ revealing Himself to Moses and Israel. The Bible teaches us that fire is a revelation of God Himself, “FOR OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.” Hebrews 12:29.
Since God is love, then a revelation of God would naturally be a revelation of His character of love. Jesus is the Word made flesh and that we “beheld His glory (character) the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-3, 14. This revelation of His WORD OF TRUTH OR FIRE OF TRUTH saw its ultimate fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible abounds with references to God’s Word being a light or a fire.
“Thy Word [Jesus] is a lamp [fire] unto my feet, and a light [fire] unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. “In Him (Christ) was life; and the life was the light [fire] of man.” John 1:4. Cleopas and his friend said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures.” Luke 24:31, 32. Satan and Christ appeared to Abraham as a “SMOKING FURNACE AND A BURNING LAMP.” Gen. 15:17. We know the lamp represents God’s Word or Christ and I believe the smoking furnace represents Satan. God was appearing to Abraham to reveal a special message to him and Satan was right there to pervert it. The Burning Bush did not give off any smoke. See Rev. 9:2, 3. God’s lamp (flaming torch) Gen. 3:24; Heb. 1:7, Rev. 1:14, was not literal fire. But the smoking furnace was. Jesus told his disciples, “I am the light (fire) of the world.” John 8:12. If Jesus abides in our hearts, we too will be vessels and channels of His glory.” Matt. 5: 14. The phrase “like fire” indicates that the presence of God had the appearance of fire to human eyes, but was not actually fire as we think of fire in a literal sense.
With this Scriptural understanding firmly implanted in our minds now, let us consider another fiery passage. “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” 2 Thess. 1:8-10.
JESUS’ FIRST FIERY COMING
We know that Jesus Christ is the total and absolute perfection of God’s presence. That presence was revealed in a bodily, fleshly, human form almost 2, 000 years ago when Jesus came to earth. Jesus said that He had come to “BRING FIRE,” on the earth and truly He did, for the demons screamed in terror and fright at His presence. Jesus was “REVEALED FROM HEAVEN” the first time in a body of flesh. But it didn’t take place in just a day or a week or a month or even a year. No. It took about 33 years for the Father to fully reveal Himself to the Jewish nation at that time. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.
This is the way God revealed Himself to the world “IN FLAMING FIRE” at Christ’s first advent. It was a PROGRESSIVE REVELATION of truth, righteousness and love lived out in the person of our beloved Redeemer. The Hebrew mind never writes in reference to time, for God is beyond and above time, space and matter. Throughout the Old Testament there are many “fiery” references to the coming of Christ which applied to both His first coming and His second coming in our day. Here is one. “Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” Mal. 3:2, 3. That prophecy was written 400 years before Christ’s first advent, but it applied to both of his appearances or advents. Compare it with Rev. 1:7. “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Now, let us look at two passages which will clearly reveal how the wicked will be burned up and destroyed when Jesus returns in the clouds of glory. Remember now and keep in mind the concept of PROGRESSIVE REVELATION. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. Notice the phrase, “MORE AND MORE,” indicating that the “SHINING LIGHT” was not revealed in an instant or in one single day. It took place over a period of time. And so it was with Christ’s first advent and so it is and will continue to be with his second advent. God is pouring out his Holy Spirit on “ALL FLESH” today, Joel 2:28. That is, He is pleading with all people to come to Him. But this prophecy had an initial fulfillment on the day of Pentecost and lasted all the way through the early Christian dispensation until the apostasy or falling away (2 Thess. 2:3) Paul predicted. It is to have a much wider and greater fulfillment in our day. Some people believe it has already come and will continue until Jesus Himself appears in the clouds of glory to culminate and consummate THE BLESSED HOPE.
CHRIST’S FIERY LOOK OF LOVE
Let us now consider for a moment what we have learned so far. Christ’s glorious and destructive coming does have an explosive end-point, but there is a progressive build-up to that dramatic moment. Let us look at what is transpiring on the stage of action right now that is leading us to this climatic end-time event. In Rev 19 we find another description of Christ’s second coming to this earth with fire parallel to what Jesus and Paul described. “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. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns …And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Rev. 19:11-15.
The key phrases we should notice here are “HIS EYES WERE AS A FLAME OF FIRE.” Once again the fire simile is used to describe His look of love. Then the phrase “HE HAD A NAME,” tells us that He is revealing His character, for in verse 13, it tells us His name or title is “THE WORD OF GOD.” And then verse 15 tells us that a SHARP SWORD, goes out of His mouth and this is also His Word. It is with this SHARP SWORD which is His “FIERY WORD” that He smites and burns up the nations. The phrase in verse 16, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” reveals this august personage to be none other than the CREATOR GOD Himself, even our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus walked the earth in a body of flesh He sent seventy of His disciples all over the countryside to prepare the way for His coming, see Luke 10:1. Later on persecution caused His gospel message to be spread everywhere. Acts 8:1-4 tells about it. In the Old Testament God used angels to carry messages to human beings. How appropriate then for the final “LOUD VOICE,” message or “LOUD CRY” proclamation of Rev. 14 and Rev. 18 to again be given by angels who are working with and through human beings as the angel Gabrielle worked through Daniel. An angel also worked through John the Revelator, Rev. 1:1.
Angels are called, “FLAMES OF FIRE,” Heb. 1:7 and yet they are “MINISTERING SPIRITS,” to us, Heb. 1:14. In Matt. 13 Jesus told His disciples “THE HARVEST IS THE END OF THE WORLD AND THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS.” See also Rev. 14:14-20. Matt. 16:27 tells us Christ will come with the angels when He returns the second time to earth in “FLAMING” glory. 2 Thess 1:8. In Rev 19:14 Jesus is pictured as riding a WHITE HORSE. “And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Now, verse 8 tells us that the “FINE LINEN is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SAINTS.” The armies in heaven would therefore be His translated people, (saints), riding horses, as if in battle. 2 Kings 2:11, 2 Kings 6:17. Rev. 6:1-8 describes four horses which represent the first four church eras or periods of church history after Jesus went back to heaven. When we piece these symbols together, we see a beautiful picture of Jesus using (riding) His saints (church(es) as vehicles to give or sound out a last warning message to the world. Furthermore, Psalm 34:7 and Psalm 91:11, 12, indicate God protects His people (church(es) through the holy angels.
From the information we now have we can see that God always reveals Himself to the people on this planet through fiery experiences. This explains why the final message and Christ’s glorious return are spoken of in these terms, consistent with the manner of his dealing with people in the past. The life of Christ and His first advent serves as a model for His second coming. Therefore, there is a parallel between His first coming and His second coming. Just as His first coming took about thirty-three years to take place, so His second coming is also a progressive revelation of His fiery character of love through the Holy Spirit in His final chosen people as they give the loud cry …BEHOLD YOUR GOD! At the close of the period of Jesus’ first coming He died. The cross marked the end of the era of His first coming. It appeared that the church had died with Christ. But the resurrection brought it to life and vitality again. And so it is with the second coming. The church is about to experience persecution as they demonstrate the Father’s true character of love in their lives. The same love, patience, meekness, dignity and grace that shone in the SAVIOR’s face as He stood on trial before the rulers, Herod and Pilate, will again shine through the lives and faces of the waiting saints in this last hour of earth’s history. The destruction of Jerusalem followed 40 years after Christ’s death on Calvary.
Jerusalem is a symbol of the impending destruction that will fall upon the whole world because of their rejection of truth and their persecution of God’s people. But as the world dies in their sins, as did the Jews, John 8:24, God’s people will be raised a victorious church as they meet their Lord in the air. I Thess. 4:13-18. The Bible declares that God will “consume” Satan and of course, all of his followers by the “BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING.” 2 Thess. 2:8.
Let us notice now how this actually took place. When Jesus arrived on the scene in Bethlehem, the Jews were in a very serious state of apostasy. God had not been able to speak to them for over 400 years. Malachi was their last prophet. However, there was a little glimmer of hope left. They had not completely separated themselves from God by joining up with Rome, but as the “BRIGHTNESS” of Jesus’ character-glory shone on them they began to resist its glorious rays and forced themselves into the arms of Rome and full apostasy. The Father did not intend for this to happen, but this was the result or effect of His efforts to reach out and bring them to Himself. It broke His heart. Their rejection of Him brought them under the shadow of the Golden Roman eagle who then swooped down in 70 A.D. and destroyed them. They were destroyed by the BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING which they rejected. “OH ISRAEL, THOU HAST DESTROYED THYSELF;” Hosea 13:9. Even now in our day, history is about to repeat itself. The world today is in a terrible state of apostasy similar to the days of Noah when the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Gen. 6:5. The “BRIGHTNESS” of the Father’s and Son’s character glory is even now beginning to be revealed in the earth. It will become brighter and brighter as the darkness of apostasy and rebellion of church and state increase in their hatred and antagonism toward the final Elect and their message.
The world’s rejection of the Father’s love will drive both religious and secular elements in society to separate themselves from God’s protection. THE BRIGHTNESS OF CHRIST’S CHARACTER GLORY today will again destroy them as it did the Jews, but not in the sense that God is smashing them with his fists from heaven. This is never God’s method of dealing. His nail-pierced hand of mercy is held out to save, never to hurt. As they move away from it, instead of toward it, they are left to themselves and the unrestrained forces in man and nature will destroy them as it did in the days of the flood. This same character glory, which is driving them to self-destruction, is the very means by which God hopes to save them and would save them, if will they relate themselves to it properly and accept it. But if they reject His love, all that God intends for their salvation will be turned for their destruction because of their own perverse and stubborn will. The very weapons they prepare to destroy God’s people with will be turned upon themselves for their total annihilation.
“And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” Ezek. 38:21; Zech. 14:13. “He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.” Psalm 7:16. The physical means by which Satan was able to destroy the Jewish nation was the Roman armies. This was the shadow to which they had run for safety which led to their destruction. Darkness hates light and seeks to hide from it. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:5. “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35. “And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” Isa. 8:22.
GOD’S PEOPLE BLAMED
The seven last plagues, which men will bring upon themselves, will be the means by which Satan will destroy this final generation on planet earth. But even while they die men will be cursing God instead of repenting. “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” Rev. 16:9. This text proves that God never gives up in His loving efforts to draw the sinner to Himself by repentance. Repentance is still available to the sinner at this point, but they refuse it again. “AND THEY REPENTED NOT TO GIVE HIM GLORY.” The word “GLORY” here means “character.” The wicked still refuse to acknowledge and receive God’s true character, which alone will fit them for heavenly citizenship. God has “power” (control) over the plagues, but He is not bringing the plagues. In fact, He is trying to save mankind from the worst effects of that which he is bringing upon himself by his rape and abuse of nature through avarice, greed and self-aggrandizement. The plagues are simply an ecological rebellion or kickback of nature itself against man’s terrible abuse of it, during the last few decades especially. Pollution of all kinds in the air, water and man himself with all types of man-made chemicals will have its sure result during the seven-last plagues. But instead of accepting responsibility for what they have done, man will blame God for the plagues. Our very atmosphere is ready to ignite into flames. Only God is preventing this. 2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12.
A death decree will be passed against God’s people who refuse to acknowledge, join and bow down to the NWO beast system Rev. 13:15. Just as the Jews sought to blame Jesus for their troubles with Rome, so the leading men in authority in our day will blame God’s people for the plagues and all other problems in the earth. It will be declared that we must die in order for the world to be saved. Notice the parallel in Jesus’ life and death. “He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.” Luke 23:5. “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees, a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” John 11:47, 48. Then Caiaphas, the high priest stated prophetically, “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” John 11:50.
Thus it has been recorded and history is about to repeat itself in the person of Christ’s final Elect who will reflect His very likeness in this last hour of earth’s dark and bloody history. “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory (character) shall be seen upon thee.” Isa. 60:2. Jesus will arise and cover our nakedness with His Holy and Righteous character within and without. Jesus was able to overcome the hatred of men in His hour of trial through the white hot passion of His Father’s eternal love. Acts 1:3; Song of Solomon 8:6, 7. This will be the very same experience of all who trust in the Lord Jesus. Listen: “He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels… because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.” Rev. 3:5, 9-12. Yes, the final elect will overcome and get the victory, just as Jesus did, by trusting in the Father’s love. Satan will not be able to overcome them. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-27. What a glorious promise of victory for all who trust in the Father’s love even as Jesus did. We may lose everything in this life. We may even be put to death as was Jesus, but we will have a part in the resurrection and come forth from the grave just as Jesus did. It may appear that Satan has almost won in this final conflict, but out of the darkness will shine forth the glorious, saving message of God’s eternal love. This is truly the power of His resurrection that Paul spoke of which each of us may claim by faith right now. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:10, 11.