Monday, July 1, 2013
Dare You Die This Death?
DARE YOU DIE THIS DEATH ? The Bible says, " Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Your choices determine which fate will befall you. Will you choose this one? by Richard E. Robbins Death is a constant reminder of our mortality. It lurks in the shadows, looming over us like a giant albatross taunting us to escape its long reaching wings. No one wants to discuss death. We do what we can to postpone its in- evitable finality to our lives. But, alas, nothing we can do will fore- stall the certain claim it has on our plans for the future. The Word of God tells us," And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." ( Heb. 9:27) We cannot escape the finality of death. We are mortal beings. No mat- ter how we live our lives, the good, the bad, the ugly, we must come face to face with this eventuality. We are going to die one day. It is certainly understandable that we don't want to face this grisly prospect, but did you know that there is a fate worse than death? What's that you say? WORSE than death? Yes, worse than death! The Great God of this universe has an awesome purpose in mind. He is deep- ly concerned with the fate of the human race that He created. He does not wish for a single human to perish ultimately. ( 2 Pet. 3:9) Yet death is all around us in wars, sickness, murder, suicides, and crime in the streets. It seems like a great con- tradiction to say that God doesn't want humans to die. But God has given man free will. He says in Deut. 30:19," I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;". It is ultimately our choice as to what fate may befall us. God wants us to live forever, but He has set conditions and laws in motion that if we follow them we will prosper and live (3 John 1:2), but if we choose death, He is more than capable of fulfilling our wishes. God's purpose involves dealing with mankind according to His master plan. The Bible reveals that God will bring back to life billions of humans who have lived and died in the past, in three separate events, called resurrections. The first resurrection will involve those whom God has called and chosen in the past, and up to Christ's return. They will be humans who have overcome Satan and this world, and their own selfish human desires. They will be given immortality, life everlasting, at Christ's second coming! These people never have to worry about death again. (Rev. 20:6, 1 Cor. 15:50-52) The second group, or resurrection, is for all those who never had the op- portunity to receive God's Holy Spirit. They were never able to understand God's plan or to make an informed choice on living God's way of life according to His laws and Word. This group includes all who were never called to salvation in this age before Christ's return. These people never understood that you can only start on the path to salvation, at this time, by specific invite from the Father. (John 6:44) They did not realize they were blinded to the truth by by the great enemy of mankind, Satan the devil, the ,"…god of this age…" . (New English Translation) (2 Cor. 4:4) These people will be raised to phys- ical life into a totally different world. They will be resurrected after this world has been transformed by 1,000 years of rule of Christ and the saints. (Rev. 20:5, first part)( Rev. 5:10) ( Rev. 20:4) The influence of Satan and his demons will be ended during the previous 1,000 years and God's way of life will have flourished abundantly. (John 10:10) This second resurrection is known among Bible scholars as the great white throne judgment. (Rev. 20:12) After this period (possibly 100 years, Isa. 65:20) Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit to test and try these people to see if they are truly ready for eternal life. (Rev.20:7-10) We then come to the real focus of this article, recognized by many Bible scholars as a third resurrection. What is the point of a third resurrection, one might ask? God here, is dealing with a totally different class of people than in the two previous resurrections.( Rev.20:13) After God has opened His way of life to all the multiple billions of people who have ever lived, and given them their chance to receive eternal life, He must then deal with a class of humans who have TOTALLY rejected God,and His offer of life eternal! As astounding as that seems, some will have no part with God or His master plan for the future! These people were given the gift of God's Spirit, had the truth of God's word op- ened to them, have understood what God was, is, and will be doing in the future, then fell away from the truth. Either through neglect, laziness, or blatant quenching of God's Spirit and rejection of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, these people have committed the sin which could not be forgiven. This is known in biblical parlance as, "the unpardonable sin". ( Hebr. 2:3, Hebr. 6:4-8, Matt. 12:31,32) Realize that God will have given them every chance to repent, to change their lives around and overcome the sins which separated them from access to God and His forgiveness. (Isa. 59:1-3) They knew what fate awaited them if they did not overcome. (Hebr. 10:26,27) These people knew that God could never be pleased with a person who knew the truth but withdrew from actively living and growing in God's way. (Hebr. 10:38,39; Luke 9:62; Hebr. 11:6) The only thing that God could mer- cifully do was to put them to death, for all eternity, in what the Bible calls the "lake of fire" ( Matt. 3:10; John 15:1-6; Rev. 20:13-15) This is also referred to as the sec- ond death. (Rev. 20:14) Obviously, you can't have a second death without a second life, so these people have been raised to temporary, physical life to face the judgment of condemnation. ( Rom 1:32; Rev. 21:8; 2 Cor. 5:10) These humans were given the under- standing of God's way of life that can only come through God's Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:14) They failed to overcome. (Rom. 12:21; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; Rev. 2:7,11 Rev. 3:5,12,21; Rev.21:7) They showed by their actions, thoughts, and feelings that eternal life was not something that they wanted. They challenged the veracity of God's word and made a mockery of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ during their life. The fruit of God's way (Gal. 5:22,23) and the fruit of Satan's way (Gal.5:19-22) were clearly experienced by these in- dividuals, yet, they deliberately chose to live Satan's way. What could God do? What would you do if you were God and had to decide the fate of these people? God will not coexist with sin. He will not allow people who have rejected Him to live eternally. Can you imagine allowing someone with a criminal mind to live in misery forever? That would be cruel and heartless on God's part and is not in God's character. (1 John 4:8,16) One of the parables of Jesus gives us an insight into this particular future event. It is found in the book of Luke, chapter 16, and verses 20-31. This para- ble has been misapplied by many in a vain attempt to show the immortality of the soul. Suffice it to say here that the soul is NOT immortal, it can and does die! (Ezek. 18:4,20; Matt. 10:28) The real meaning of this parable, in Luke, is much more profound than you have ever imagined. In this parable, which is figurative, we find a beggar named Lazarus and a rich man who die and are buried. The Bible clearly shows the dead do not communicate and are not aware of the passing of time. (Psa.146:3,4; Eccl.9:5) This is how we know the parable is figurative. In the story, Lazarus is found in the bosom of Abraham, an expression showing he had lived a godly life and had received eternal life as a reward. On the other hand, the rich man is depicted as being in torment over a flame surrounding him. This symbolic flame, no doubt, represents the lake of fire, the ultimate fate of the wicked. The rich man is told by Abra- ham that there is "…a great gulf…" separating them. This great gulf is eternal life that was no longer available to the rich man. He had lived his life in opposition to God's way of life, demonstrating what Christ said was the great difficulty rich people had with entering into the kingdom of God. (Matt. 19:23,24) The rich man was then faced with his final judment; eternal destruction in the lake of fire. So, what will this destruction be like? What will this "lake of fire" be like? It will most likely be a giant lake of molten sulfur burning with incredible heat. How will these people react when they are thrown into this fire? One can only imagine, that there will be sheer terror on the face of the in- dividuals as they fall down into the burning death awaiting them. A few seconds of horrible pain and then the blackness of darkness, forever. There will never be a resurrection from this fate. This judgment is eternal, never to be reversed. Even the memory of these individuals will be erased for all time. It will be as though they had never existed. As the prophet Isaiah said, " They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore thou hast visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish." ( Isa. 26:14) What a miserable, wretched fate. No longer any chance to ever have a per- sonal relationship with the great God of the universe and His son, Jesus Christ. What will you choose? Will you ig- nore God's call when it comes? Will you live your life in opposition to God's laws and truth? Will you ex- perience this awful judgment? Dare you die this death?
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