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Wise and Just Judge

Posted by Walt Thompson on Friday, 30 June 2017 in Family of God 0 Comments

Wise and Just Judge

A discussion of Love, Time, Freedom, and Justice

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit,” John 19:30.

 

The Bible describes the death of Jesus on the cross as paying the price for the sins of the world—my sin, and your sin--that though we will die, we may rise to life again and live forever without end in heaven and a new earth, where sin and its disastrous consequences no longer exist. Yet, we are still here!

Anyone living in the world today sees beauty and goodness, and everyone also sees evil and badness. One cannot live long here in our world without experiencing both of these in our own lives and witnessing them in the lives of everyone else living here with us. The Holy Bible does not leave us long in the “dark.” It tells us that our world is engaged in a cosmic war between good (love) and evil (selfishness)—between God, who is love personified, and Satan, who is the epitome of everything opposed to love. (Revelation, chapter 12; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18; Job chapters 1-4)).

Soon after Adam and Eve ignored God’s warning, telling them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, lest they die, they yielded to the serpent’s (Satan’s) deadly lies and ate of the fruit. Not long afterwards God appeared to them and shared with them some of the things they would experience before they died, but not before promising them that Eve would have a Son that would crush the head of the serpent (devil) and restore Adam and their faithful descendants to their original state in an entirely new world, even more beautiful that the one they were then enjoying, (Genesis 3:15—see entire chapter three).

That promise was made six thousand years ago, and two thousand years after the Messiah (Jesus) won the victory over the devil, but the devil’s head has not yet been “crushed.” We may wonder, why not?

 

The answer!

God is love (1 John 4:7, 8)! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him, John 3:16, 17, NIV. In love, God gave His Son, Jesus, who came to this world as a man just like Adam with all of the same qualities that Adam had before he yielded to Satan’s lie and lost his dominion of the world to him. Jesus, in taking on the characteristics of Adam, void of His divinity, came to meet Satan face to face and overcome him, thereby restoring the dominion of the earth back to Adam and his descendants. He accepted this challenge knowing that if He should fail and be overcome by Satan, the results would be disastrous beyond imagination. As it is impossible for man to comprehend God, eternity, and such love as this act required, so it is impossible for us to fully understand the full consequences of the price that was paid for our restoration into the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28) (Psalms 8).

It is important to note at this point that the Bible is clear that the Son is Jesus Christ, who is one equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. While this is a concept difficult for human beings to grasp, just as it is difficult to understand how God (all three) has existed from eternity past to eternity future, we must accept by faith, for in every sense, there is no other source of information explaining the beginning of our world, the course of events transpiring during the past six thousand years, the present status of our world, or of the future of this world and the universe at large, than the Holy Bible.

Yes, it is because of the love of God that the head of Satan has not yet been “crushed” and removed from this world--the same love that caused Jesus to come to this world at such risk to save us. It is the love with which He, (God) has waited for the devil and his followers to be judged and given justice.

Please permit me to explain. The Sovereign God that created the universe, all the worlds within it, and the laws by which it is governed, is also responsible to enforce the laws He established. According to all natural law, the transgression of them is death, the end of life from which there is no recovery. As God is love, so also, God is Just. Accordingly, no living being in His entire creation will ever be permitted to experience eternal separation from Him without first undergoing judgment whereby to establish justice—a process that requires time.

In the world today, innocent men and women are sometimes executed for crimes they did not commit or have any part in. Others are sometimes released from death row before later evidence reveals guilt of such a nature as to deserve execution. The same principles exist at the universal level. While God may “know”-- as He knows all things--even our thoughts, on-looking intelligent beings from earth, in heaven, or perhaps from other worlds, might at some time throughout eternity question God’s judgment and the justice in His determinations. Hence, if He is to prevent a repetition of the terrible catastrophe we are experiencing in our world with the devil and sin, His judgments must be proven infallible for now and for eternity.

For this reason, the Bible indicates that God has allotted seven thousand years, three thousands of which are designated to occur following Jesus’ declaration of victory over Satan, His accuser.

 

Judgment beyond challenge

Before proceeding with the Biblical evidence and description of judgment, let us consider the issue of good and evil in the absence of the Biblical account. It is evident to every observing mind that good people and good things exist, and that bad people and bad things exist. It is also evident that the two are ever in conflict, both on a local, and on an international level. We have established means designed to prevent and/or resolve these conflicts, and though we are sometimes able to experience temporary resolution or suppression, none, as far back in history as one may search, has ever successfully found a permeant solution to our differences such that everyone is able to enjoy peace and happiness throughout a successful life that never ends. It just has never happened, nor given any evidence that it ever will. Good and evil do exist in our world, but neither good nor evil continue forever, but are, without God, always followed by eventual death—the end of life.

Yes, some today place their faith in science and technology, hoping to eventually escape this world and find a better place somewhere in the universe, or some state of existence whereby good and evil might coexist free of obligation, restriction, or any other encumbrances. Of course this sounds nice, but as the plan of God will eventually prove, such a thing will never happen.

Or some believe the lies of Satan, claiming that we never die, but live on indefinitely as “spirits,” either in heaven or in the fires of hell, tormented without end.

On the other hand, the Bible describes a God that has a better plan that provides a promise that good, happiness, and peace without end actually does exist and is available by choice to anyone without exception--and the means by which it may be experienced. That same plan provides for the freedom to reject goodness, and to experience evil and its natural consequences, i.e. death from which there is no resurrection—and unerring judgment guaranteeing love and justice for all.

 

The Plan

Let us look again at the Bible passage noted above, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have life everlasting,” John 3:16 (my rendition).

The Bible tells us that soon after Adam and Eve “fell” for the serpent’s (devil’s) lies, God made a promise to them that One of their descendants would “crush the head” of the serpent (devil) and restore the dominion of the world to them and their descendants, never again to be tempted by evil, (Genesis 3:15). He then established a plan by which the blood of sacrificed animals would symbolize the shedding of His own blood by which the price of my sin and your sin (i.e. death), would be paid, the debt forgiven, and the record of it erased from the books of heaven forever.

The Bible says, again, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord,” Romans 6:23. This statement is predicated upon the moral law of love, the foundation of all of the natural laws by which this world and the entire universe are governed. God, who established this law is Himself the embodiment of love, 1 John 4:7, 8.

It is interesting to note, that this moral law is composed of ten unalterable precepts that describe every possible relationship among intelligent beings, man with man, man with God, and God with all of His intelligent creation, including the angels, good and evil, and intelligent beings living on other worlds.

Life is founded upon love and sustained by love. In the absence of love life cannot long exist.

Crucial to an understanding of love is the element of freedom to accept or to reject any one, or all of its precepts, so that whether we live or die is a matter of OUR choice.

Given this understanding of the moral law of love, It becomes easy to understand why God is so anguished by those of His creation that choose to reject it or any of its precepts, for, as noted above, God does not want anyone to die.

More than that, God did not only promise that He would defeat Satan and all evil, but He has actually done just that with the death of His Son, Jesus, on Calvary’s Hill while hanging upon a rough-hewn wooden cross.

Even this is not the sum total of it all. The life He gave, the blood He shed, also serves to pay the price of sin (our sins forgiven) for all of us that have been born into this world where Satan has claimed dominion for the past six thousand years—yes, for you and for me—for all of us are guilty of sometimes disregarding the moral law and have become subject to the death that quite naturally follows. 

Knowing human nature, one might wonder how a God of such love might communicate this truth to the descendants of Adam long before He paid the full price at Calvary. The Bible gives the answer to this question, too--and the plan was implemented almost immediately after He accompanied Adam and Eve out from their Garden home. God took a lamb, shed its blood, and made clothing for Adam and Eve while describing to them His plan by which every time they would sacrifice an animal they would be reminded of His promise that One (Messiah) of their descendants  would “crush” the head of the “serpent,” Genesis 3:15.

Cain, the first-born son of Adam and Eve was not convinced that a lamb was a better sacrifice than some of his choice garden produce. Abel, his younger brother believed, and sacrificed the choicest of his flock. God recognized Abel’s offering, but did not accept Cain’s. In a fit of anger, Cain murdered Abel (the first recorded martyr).

Seth, the third-born son of Adam, believed, and received the birthright and inheritance of Adam, the beginning of a succession of believing first-born descendants of Adam. This continued for the next nearly three thousand years until the time Moses led Israel (Jacobs’s descendants) out of Egypt and arrived at Mount Sinai on their way to the Promised Land.

While at Sinai, God renewed His covenant with Israel (Exodus 19:4-8); 1.)                           

Gave them the copy of the ten precepts of the moral law of love engraved on tablets of stone (Exodus 20:1-17; 31:12-18); 2.) Instructed Moses regarding the interpretation of these precepts of the moral law (Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy); 3.) Gave them a much more detailed version of the sacrificial system first given to Adam and Eve outside the gates of Eden, and many other instructions designed to fulfil His promise to Abraham to make his descendants a blessing to all the nations of earth. Jesus later acknowledged the eternal purpose of the role of the Israel’s laws. He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot of one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled,” (Matthew 5:17, 18).

God’s plan, using signs and symbols (types and antitypes), continued the practice of using the sacrifice of an animal as a symbol of God’s (Jesus’) own sacrificial death, in shedding His blood in the place of the penitent sinner. It prescribed in addition, an entire system of religious practice symbolizing the activities of Jesus as our High Priest in the sanctuary in heaven (Hebrews 4:14-16). Accordingly, Moses was instructed to build a sanctuary after the pattern he was shown of the one in heaven, (Exodus 25:8, 9; Hebrews 8:1-5). 

Two points are worthy of note here. 1.) God’s intention in “choosing Israel as His special people, a “kingdom of priests and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5, 6) was for them to be a saving influence whereby all peoples of the world would be blessed and offered life eternal. 2.) These texts clearly symbolize the rituals and religious services of Israel as symbols of the reality of a Sanctuary in heaven where Jesus serves as the officiating High Priest (see the entire book of Hebrews).

Other passages in the Book of Revelation indicate that the Sanctuary in heaven is actually the throne of God, Himself (Father, Son, depicted as a slain Lamb, and Holy Spirit symbolized as the seven Spirits of God) accompanied by four beasts, twenty four elders, and an innumerable company of angels (Revelation chapter 5).

It is important to note at this point that God is love, NOT for those choosing to believe and follow Him only, but of equal importance, though often overlooked, is the fact that His love is equally expressed among those that choose to reject His love and accept the consequences as demanded by the moral law of love, i.e. death from which there is no second chance. As already noted, belief in and compliance with natural law, including the moral law, naturally results in life. Disregard for, or failure to comply with it for any reason, naturally results in death (but not to the loss of God’s love!). Furthermore, every person has the God-given option to turn from disbelief to belief, and receive the life resulting therefrom. That door is never shut by God.

Unfortunately, one may, by repeatedly resisting the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart and mind, become so hardened in unbelief that it may become impossible to repent and choose love and life. The Bible describes this as the one sin that cannot be forgiven, for a God of love cannot force anyone to love and accept the life only He can give.

Cain provides one such example. In fact Cain’s rejection of God’s love exerted such a negative influence upon not only his descendants, but upon the entire society, that by the time of the flood, approximately fifteen hundred years after creation there were only seven people who believed and entered the ark along with Noah.

Perhaps the reader is by now wondering how this can be!

The answer is, the war is real. Satan is real, and he will spare no limits in his warfare against God and the human race that, since the fall of Adam, he claims as his own. No one comes into this world, nor leaves this world without having to confront his deceptive ire. But for the power of God’s love that through Jesus, His Son, defeated Satan and his forces of evil in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the Cross of Calvary, none would be able to resist his cunning disguise.

During the past six thousand years, this terrible, bloody, war has continued unabated, taking millions of martyrs in its wake. Yet it continues, for God is loving and just.

 

God is loving and just!

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. This being true, He must permit each one of us to experience the natural consequence of our choice, whether to believe and accept, or to choose not to believe and reject love and everlasting life. He, in love, never closes the door to anyone. When that door to life is closed, it is the natural consequence of rejecting life. 

This was the case at the time of Noah. There was nothing more a loving God could do. Only Noah and seven members of his family chose to enter the ark and live. It was true at the time of Sodom and Gomorrah when only Lot and two daughters accepted God’s plea to leave the cities before they were destroyed. And it will happen at the end of time when only those that have proven their love and faithfulness to God through a “time of trouble” such as had never before that time been so terrible (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21; Revelation 20).

Fortunately, the story does not end here. Though it is true that we are rapidly approaching the end of time, all through history, God’s love has been ever so patient, sparing nothing (even His Son) of heaven’s resources to rescue even just one more rebellious child from the slavery of sin in the devil’s camp. And His efforts have not been without success (Joshua 4:22-24).

Let us consider just a few of those rooted in Satan’s camp that responded to His love and patience when witnessing His blessing upon His chosen servants through the centuries.

A “mixed multitude” joined the Israelites when they were freed from bondage by Pharaoh at the time of the exodus, Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4).

Rahab and her household joined with Israel when the city of Jericho was destroyed (Joshua 6:25; Matthew 1:5).

Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, after having been healed of leprosy at the urging of a “little maid” Hebrew captive, (2 Kings 5:15).

Queen of Sheba when she heard of Solomon’s wisdom and fame, (2 Chronicles 9:1).

Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Babylonian empire after witnessing the wisdom and blessings of God on his behalf, (Daniel 4:37).

Darius, King of the Medes and Persians after seeing God through Daniel’s witness, (Daniel 6:26).

Just these few examples of prominent people prove the effectiveness of God’s desire to be known and accepted throughout Old Testament history, not to mention the rapid spread of Christianity throughout the entire world since the days of the Apostles. For example, see (Acts 11:19-26; 15:7-9; 15-18; Isaiah 45:21-29). Nor has the power of the Gospel of God’s love diminished since, in spite of, or because of, the millions of martyrs that have given their lives for the love of God and His desire that no one perish.

 

Love, wisdom, and justice in final Judgment

“God is love.” Yet the Bible describes a judgment for all who reject His love as prescribed in the moral law.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation,” John 5:28, 29.

“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:15.

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death,” Revelation 21:8.

How can this be? How can one understand a God whose love causes him to die to save sinners, yet destroys in fire those that reject that love?

Please consider the following scenarios:

There are worse things than death! Not infrequently we see people that have suffered painful, unrelenting, pain—longing--even pleading to die, yet lingering on! In fact, several states in the U.S. (and other nations) have now passed legislation permitting physician assistance in fulfilling that desire. And we might identify many other such situations where life has become so unpleasant that death would be welcome.

God is sovereign. He established the laws of the universe, including the Moral law of love. It is His responsibility, as sovereign, to enforce that law—just as it is the responsibility of nations and states to do so with members--and member states—even as we have experienced in this generation, i.e. Pol Pot, Edie Amine, Adolf Hitler, and many others.

Or please consider being in a place of eternal torment from which one could never escape—such as heaven would certainly be for those that despise God and His governance of love. Is it not a merciful act to annihilate those that would otherwise be subjected to such suffering?

For six thousand years we, the inhabitants of this world have had ample opportunity to see and experience the blessings of God’ love in action in the lives of those that have chosen to abide by the Moral law of love. And for six thousand years we have had opportunity to observe the terrible consequences occurring among those that have rejected that law, preferring rather, the “pleasures of sin.”  Certainly the record speaks for itself. God is not lacking of evidence by which to correctly judge each and every one of us as regards our eternal destiny—whether in heaven and the New Earth with Him, or to no longer exist.

One further question persists. Why the torment in the Lake of Fire? Please consider the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt may be relieved by repentance, forgiveness, and healing through the sacrificial blood of Jesus. Shame, as occurs when unwilling to repent, requires punishment and pain for resolution and relief to occur. Annihilation and eternal separation is never the desire of our God of love, and must always be by the choice of the sinner.

In the plan of God, sin will never again rise up anywhere in His vast universe, for every demand of the Moral law of love will have been told and experienced by every intelligent being throughout history.

 

War no more!

For six thousand years the war between God and Satan, between those choosing to follow God and live according to the Moral law of love, and those joining Satan and his rebellion against that all-encompassing law has continued.  While Satan was defeated at the Cross of Calvary when he crucified Jesus, the Son of God, thereby revealing the full extent of his terrible ire, he will experience judgment along with all of his followers at the time of the destruction of the wicked. “Then He (God) will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,’” (Matthew 25:41). Please see the entire chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation to witness the complete fulfillment of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 and the “crushing of the head of the serpent.”

 

            Addendum

We live in a world today in which human beings created in the image of God are already discovering and applying the natural laws governing the heavens with the intent of personally entering into those heavens in the foreseeable future.

The fact that God is permitting our present scientific and technological achievements to continue uninterrupted, must lead us to conclude that they are within the scope of His plan to reveal the full potential capacity of intelligent created beings whereby to prove that nothing has been overlooked in the judgment process. Before the conflict between good and evil—between He and Satan can be eternally resolved in a way that His Moral law of love can never again be questioned, it must be made clear that it alone has the power to give and sustain life, and that every possible alternative to it destroys life.

Until the present generation there was no way to judge the full potential capacity of intelligent created beings suggested by the following texts of Holy Scripture.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever …” Genesis 3:22.

“And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them,” Genesis 11:6.

The prophet, Daniel, added to this description of the potential of men with these words, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase,” Daniel 12:4.

Already today we humans, in collusion with the devil and his cohorts, have the potential to destroy everything on earth and of messing things up far out into space. From this we must conclude that these things, too, are even now demonstrating the true and full potential of intelligent, created beings anywhere in the universe. For unless this is true, human reasoning indicates that there is no way that God could ever be certain that sin would never again arise somewhere within His entire creation.

Only in permitting Satan and the human race to test their potential to the very limit could this point be made and proven for all time and eternity. The natural end product of sin must be tested and proven for the universe to be eternally secure.

Only in this way could the determination of the justice of the destruction of the wicked be proven. And only in this way could the claims of victory on the cross be vindicated.

Thanks be to God! The Holy Scriptures affirm that we have this assurance, (2 Peter 3:10-13).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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