From time to time it is important that we interrupt the normal process of Bible study in the Day Star and gather up a number of lose ends so that we don't lose sight of the big picture. Since this is our first issue for year 2000, I thought a summary statement about two topics presented in the past might be helpful and encouraging.
The Bible is like a diamond mine, just full of precious gems. Initially, raw gems are not very pretty until each one is cut and polished. Then, when a craftsman places them in a golden setting, the balance and beauty of many sparkling pieces come together to create a dazzling crown of gems fit for a king.
So it is with the Bible. I find that many people are informed on certain gems in the Bible, but they have not seen the glorious crown that contains all the gems!
The wonderful thing about seeing the crown (the big picture) is the balance and contribution that each gem offers to the sum of the whole. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and my view of the crown may be slightly different than yours, but I will do my best to share with you the big picture as I now understand it.
This summary statement is divided into two sections. The first part has to do with man's desperate need for salvation.
The second part has to do with the oncoming fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy. Hopefully, as the second section reaches its conclusion, you will see how these two subjects converge to make one big picture. Keep in mind that these are summary statements and are meant to be as brief as possible.
If you are a recent subscriber of the Day Star, you may want to take advantage of WUAS’ web site. It offers more detailed discussions on these and other recent topics.
Part I – Man’s Desperate Need for Salvation
Before life on Earth began, a great angel called Lucifer lived in Heaven. Among created beings, He was the finest and most supreme angel. God especially honored him and all the angels adored him. He even stood beside the throne of the Most High.
Over the course of time, he began to covet the higher position of honor and authority held by Jesus. Lucifer’s problem began with jealousy and with time, self-seeking ultimately corrupted his affection for Christ. Lucifer grew to hate Jesus and became especially bitter toward the Father when the Father refused to promote him to a position equal to or above that of Jesus. The Father patiently reasoned with Lucifer, urging him to change his heart and thoughts about Jesus, but to no avail.
Lucifer only became more defiant. To further his personal ambitions, Lucifer cleverly deceived a large number of angels using lies, innuendo and suspicion.
Ultimately, open rebellion erupted. It was clear that Lucifer was anti-Christ and one-third of the angels joined him in a failing attempt to usurp Christ’s authority. Lucifer and one-third of Heaven’s angels were forcibly captured and summoned before the Father.
They were convicted of high treason and sentenced to death because they had knowingly and deliberately committed irreparable acts of rebellion. As convicted felons, they would be kept "on death row" until every appeal to overturn their sentence had been exhausted.
Lucifer and the evil angels’ execution was stayed because God infinitely saw the universal benefit for allowing them to live until every appeal had been made. God knows what He is doing. He knew the devil could not run nor hide from His omniscience, so escape was not a problem.
God also knew that a number of faithful angels had been affected by Lucifer’s malicious claims and they needed time to see what Lucifer’s rebellion would produce. God also knew that Lucifer would present himself and his case before the universe in the best possible light.
Thus, Lucifer would make his appeal for justice on the basis of his conduct. So, the universal benefit for allowing the devil to live was much greater than immediate execution. Of course, God foreknew the enormous price He would pay for allowing the devil and his followers to live.
However, He also knew the eternal problem that would develop when He tried to explain His actions if Lucifer was destroyed before everyone understood the nature of sin and rebellion. God foreknew the untold suffering and misunderstanding that sin would bring to His universe, and ultimately to His own Son.
But once sin occurred, God chose to allow sin to continue for a few thousand years so that sin might be seen and understood by everyone for what it really is. Sin afflicts every being the same. Sin is a loss of faith in God’s abilities and rebellion against His righteous ways. (Note: When Lucifer finally put Jesus Christ on the cross, he removed any doubts that may have lingered in the minds of the faithful angels that he should be set free of the death penalty.)
Trust and Obey – There is No Other Way
The only way a created being can live with a mysterious and infinite God is through faith. None of God’s creatures fully understand Him or His actions. He is infinite and His ways are not our ways. Therefore, it is necessary for us to blindly trust Him during periods of time when there is no understanding.
Faith in God’s abilities and confidence in His righteous ways are the bare necessities for living at peace with God. God always does the right thing for each of His children. God is righteous. God is not righteous because He says He is righteous; instead, God’s subjects will declare him righteous at the end of sin’s drama.
After a complete review of His actions, they will exonerate Him based on the basis of the evidence presented to them. Even the devil will finally admit that God is righteous at the end of the 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:12; Isaiah 46:23,24)
Likewise, the claims and actions of the anti-Christ, Lucifer, will be seen for what they are and everyone will agree that jealousy and self-seeking reduced him to nothing. He is the father of lies and the mother of rebellion against everything good.
Creation and the Fall
Sometime after Lucifer’s eviction from Heaven, Jesus created man on the 6th day of Earth’s Creation week. He placed a righteous nature within man and placed him within a beautiful garden home. Jesus also placed man under the obligation of law. He said, "But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:17)
Lucifer knew about this obligation and also, its death penalty. So, he waited for an opportunity to entice Adam and Eve into rebellion. Lucifer wanted Adam and Eve to disobey their Creator, hoping that Jesus would have to destroy them.
Disguised in the form of a glorious creature, the devil performed a masterful deception and led Eve to eat the fruit. Although Adam knew better, he also ate the fruit. With that act of disobedience, both Adam and Eve came under the penalty of law – immediate death by execution.
Eve had been tricked into disobedience and Adam, out of love for his mate, had chosen to share in her fate. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were to be executed the very day they sinned. When Jesus saw their disobedience, He knew the Father would execute justice immediately.
Jesus rushed to the Father and offered to die in their place. The Father implemented a Plan of Salvation based on the death of His Son. From that time to this very day, Jesus has "stood in the way" of the angel of execution. But, a day of execution is coming.
Three Serious Losses
After Adam and Eve sinned, three things happened. First, they lost their righteous nature. Once they had a proclivity for right doing, now they had a natural propensity for wrong doing. Second, they were evicted from their garden home, just like Lucifer was driven from his Heavenly home.
God removed Adam and Eve from the garden because He did not want them to continue to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. Last, the guilty pair and Earth itself were placed under the curse of sin. The curse of sin is not the penalty for sin. The curse of sin includes sickness, suffering, inequity, injustice, sorrow and deformity throughout nature.
Yes, the curse of sin includes death, but not the second (eternal) death. The penalty for sin (the second death) is total annihilation. The penalty for sin comes by execution. God will execute the wicked at the end of the 1,000 years by calling down fire and brimstone out of the sky.
The death that we currently see, that is, death from cancer, AIDS, heart disease, murder, accidents and other physical maladies, is from of the curse of sin. All humankind is under the curse of sin and in various ways, we experience its consequences.
However, the good news is that no one needs to die the second death. God has made a way of escape. Even more, we can experience God’s wonderful salvation and joyful contentment in our hearts right now.
Here is the bottom line: Whenever a sinner comes to a place in his life where he or she is willing to put total faith in God’s abilities and God’s will, that sinner is covered by the righteousness of Christ’s sinless life. In other words, when a sinner submits or becomes willing to go, to be and to do as the Holy Spirit directs in his life, that sinner is no longer under the penalty for sin. He or she receives the full assurance of eternal life on the basis of faith in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit bears witness to this assurance by giving us wonderful joy and peace within our hearts! When one becomes reconciled with God, the Spirit also compels us to be reconciled with each other. God’s peace and joy surpasses all human understanding and all sinners can have it if they will open their hearts and surrender all to their Maker. Every born again believer experiences this oneness with God.
Please read the next three sentences carefully:
(a) Even though we receive Jesus as our Savior and accept His sacrifice on Calvary as our substitute, we still remain under the curse (consequence) of sin, but not under the penalty of sin, which is total annihilation at the end of the 1,000 years.
(b) Even though we may accept Jesus as our Savior and have the assurance of salvation, we are not sinless or perfect. Jesus enrolls all born again believers in a finishing school called Sanctification. The purpose of this schooling is to refine and polish our character so that we might enjoy the eternal company of God and angels.
(c) If we willfully choose to reject, neglect or ignore the Lord’s sovereign authority over us, we are moving, as did Lucifer and his followers, toward the commission of the unpardonable sin. The unpardonable sin is committed when we shut our heart’s door to the Holy Spirit. If a person is sincerely interested in living by faith in God, that is, if he is willing to go, be and do all that God directs, then that person has not committed the unpardonable sin.
However, if at any time we want to stop doing God’s will, we have the privilege of shutting God out of our lives, because He never removes our power of choice. Remember, Lucifer and one-third of the angels, as well as Adam and Eve, choose to rebel against God’s authority while living in an unfallen state! So, be assured that if a person turns away from submission to God, He will remove the assurance of salvation from that person if he persists in rebellion.
We Can Avoid the Second Death
If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus and escaped the condemnation of the second death, you can do so right now.
Simply turn your heart toward Heaven and tell God three things:
(a) "Dear Lord, I have rebelled against you and I am sorry. Thank you for your promise to forgive me (1 John 1:9) and for the salvation offered through the blood of your Son, Jesus. Thank you Jesus for taking my penalty and dying in my place."
(b) "Dear Lord, through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, I am willing to go, be and do all that you impress upon me. As a steward of all that you have given me, I place my life, talents and assets in your hands. I have chosen to put my faith in your sovereign abilities and in your righteous ways, rather than in myself and my will."
(c) "Dear Lord, send the Holy Spirit to live within me. Open my eyes and guide me into all truth so that I may spiritually mature and walk in harmony with you. I need to love others as you have loved me. I need spiritual healing so that I can rise above my hurtful past and forgive those who have hurt me. I need strength to make my wrongs right. I need insight into the needs of others, so that if possible, I can help them. I need a personal hunger and thirst for your truth so my soul can be filled to overflowing. I need your grace today to resist the devil and experience the fullness of life that you intended for me to have. Amen."
The essence of this prayer, offered each day, will change your life.
Part II – What Does the Future Hold?
The second part of this summary is a brief presentation about coming events as I understand them. This prophetic summary may be considerably different from what you have heard before. If this is the case, I ask readers who are not acquainted with me to give me a measure of grace as I introduce you to an interesting drama that springs from the Bible.
I have chosen to provide only a few Bible texts to support this drama, because the conclusions are based on so many texts that the flow of the story would be interrupted. Also, if I presented 1,000 Bible texts to "prove" the validity of my prophetic concepts, in the final analysis, my understanding of Scripture will not change your understanding of Scripture unless your study of Scripture has produced questions that are satisfied by my answers.
Key Words: Imminent Upheaval
I believe the Great Tribulation will commence imminently, any day now. As I understand the Bible, the Great Tribulation will begin with a global earthquake that has no previous equivalent. (Rev 8:2-5) This earthquake will paralyze the whole world. In rapid succession, four judgments will occur and these will engulf the whole Earth. All travel, communication, banking, commerce, manufacturing and distribution systems will be disrupted. The first judgment after the earthquake is fire.
One-third of the Earth will be set on fire by meteoric showers of burning hail. The second judgment is water. An asteroid impact will occur in an ocean and the resulting tidal waves will destroy millions of people who live along the coasts of affected nations. The third judgment is poisonous waters. A second asteroid will impact a continent. The impact will cause a shift in tectonic plates and large underground aquifers will become contaminated with deadly toxins and bacteria, resulting in contaminated water supplies over a very large geographic area.
Millions of people will drink the deadly water out of desperation and die. The fourth judgment is darkness. The Bible predicts a period of intense darkness will follow. Perhaps the darkness is caused by a large number of volcano eruptions. The light of the Sun and Moon is easily blocked by ejecta and debris from volcanic eruptions. The consequence of the darkness is impossible to calculate. In a word, world famine will begin. Crops cannot grow without a large number of consecutive days of sunshine.
Extended darkness also has a depressive effect on people. Perhaps the coming physical darkness can be compared to the spiritual darkness that presently covers Earth. Certainly, when these judgments of God’s wrath begin, many people will become serious about Jesus’ authority and power. That’s right! Jesus is the King of kings who directs these end-time judgments.
The Gospel Proclaimed
Just before the great earthquake occurs, Jesus will personally select and empower 144,000 people from all over the world and from every religious body. These people will be His "spokespersons" during the Great Tribulation. They will proclaim the eternal gospel through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to the entire world. The 144,000 will present three messages from God that will test and separate the people of the world into two groups. (Rev. 14:6-12)
One group will submit to Jesus, the other will stand in defiance against His authority. The first testing truth will be a mandate to reverence Jesus and worship Him by obeying His commandments. The problem with the worship of Jesus is that the world does not generally respect His seventh-day Sabbath as commanded in the fourth commandment. The second testing truth will be a mandate to resist the laws of the world’s crisis government (Babylon) that forms in response to God’s judgments.
The last testing truth will be a mandate to refuse the mark of the beast. I believe the mark of the beast will be a tattoo showing membership in the world union established by the anti-Christ. Of course, many people already know the mark of the beast is evil, but few people understand the circumstances under which the mark will be issued. To choose or reject the mark will be a life and death issue. Either a person joins the world union established by the anti-Christ or he will be cut off from every necessity for life.
The righteous will literally have to live by faith alone.
Judgments and Reactions
Because the coming manifestations of Jesus’ wrath will inflict a fatal blow on every infrastructure known to man, and because 1.5 billion people will perish within the first few months of the Great Tribulation, there will be a global "knee jerk" religious revolution of unprecedented proportion. This crisis revolution will be propelled by terror and anxiety caused by the events manifesting God’s anger. Man’s response is well defined in Revelation.
Religious leaders in every nation and culture will clamor for legislation, asking for laws with the severest penalties against those people who do not worship and honor God according to custom. (Sunday laws will be enacted in Christians countries, Saturday laws will be enacted in Israel and Friday laws will be enacted in Moslem countries.) Politicians will have no choice. They will suspend the rights of their citizens and support the claims of clerics because they are too afraid of an angry God.
Clerics will claim that the only way to stop these horrible manifestations of God’s wrath is to legislate respect for God and His holy day of worship. As a result of martial law enforcement all over the world, the 144,000 and those who believe their message, will soon be identified as outlaws.
They will be portrayed as rebels resisting the sincere efforts of clergy and government leaders who are trying to appease God with repentance. Consequently, the three testing truths presented by the 144,000 will be deemed inflammatory and provocative. It is likely that most of them will be killed in the line of duty for their testimony.
About two years into the Great Tribulation, Jesus will allow the devil himself to physically appear on Earth and he will claim to be God. Jesus allows this because most of the world’s inhabitants will have rejected the gospel by this time. Therefore, Jesus turns the world over to the devil to bring the drama to a climax. The devil will deceive a large number of the world’s population by demonstrating amazing miracles. He will lead those who refuse to believe the eternal gospel to their destruction.
Within the span of a year, he will gain political and religious control of the world and set up ten kings to rule over the Earth. That ancient serpent, the dragon (the original anti-Christ) will masquerade as God and he will decree that religious distinctions are obsolete. He will establish and impose a one-world church/state with himself as king of kings (the world’s political ruler) and lord of lords (the world’s religious leader). To demonstrate devotion and allegiance to his one-world union, members will be required to wear a tattoo (the mark of the beast).
Rations for food, water and medical supplies will only be available to those who belong to the union and wear its tatoo. The tattoo will either be a "666" on the right hand of rank and file members or a tattoo on the forehead of Satan’s governors or leaders. The tattoo on the forehead is meant to mock the 144,000, who will eventually wear the name of Jesus and the Father on their foreheads after they are redeemed! (Rev 14:1)
When the mark of the beast is finally implemented, and the devil’s world empire is in control of Earth, God’s offer for eternal life is withdrawn since every decision has been made.
Wrath Without Mercy
The seven last plagues begin to fall after every person has made a decision about the gospel. The plagues last for about 75 days and contain the merciless vengeance of Jesus on the wicked for their defiant rebellion, and their role in killing and torturing His saints. During the fifth plague, Jesus unmasks the devil. The world will finally see who the anti-Christ really is. The wicked will be totally disillusioned because they put their faith in him!
They realize too late that they have been royally duped because they did not love truth and righteousness. They will clearly see how they have become anti-Christ, just like their leader. They will be filled with terror when they hear that Jesus, the Christ, will be appearing in a few days.
The devil will prey on their hopelessness. He will rally the wicked with their only hope of survival. He will urge them to join him and his angel forces in armed warfare against Jesus as He appears in the clouds. Of course, the devil and his army are soundly defeated at the Second Coming.
Jesus slays them with a powerful command that comes from His mouth. Jesus will call the righteous dead to life and the saints who have lived through the Great Tribulation will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. Then, the saints go with Jesus to the New Jerusalem and spend the next 1,000 years in Heaven taking care of business.
Resolution Occurs and Sin is Destroyed
During the 1,000 years, the saints will determine the punishment of the wicked. In God’s system of justice, there is judicial equilibrium: An eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth, life for a life. At the end of the 1,000 years, Jesus and the saints will descend within the New Jerusalem to Earth. Then, Jesus will resurrect all of the wicked. Lucifer will lead the wicked hordes in a final effort to destroy it, but Jesus stops them in their tracks. They will stand silent before His glorious white throne for three reasons.
First, Jesus will review and explain to each person why He could not grant them eternal life. Second, Jesus will explain the judgment of the saints. Each wicked person will be told how long he must suffer in the coming lake of fire until restitution for his evil deeds has been paid for in full. Last, Jesus presents a panoramic drama to everyone who has ever lived, the whole story of sin beginning with Lucifer.
When the presentation is finished, every knee will bow saying that God is righteous because He completely demonstrated His righteousness during the existence of sin. Even the devil will confess that God is righteous, not out of remorse for His sin and rebellion, but based on evidence that cannot be controverted. When the wicked finally see the devastating results of their evil choices and compare it with God’s righteousness, and when they see with their own eyes all they chose to forfeit, the resolution of the sin problem finally occurs.
Fire falls from Heaven and when the wicked have met their debt for restitution, they are annihilated. Sin and sinners will be no more! God will wipe away every tear. Jesus will create a New Heaven and a New Earth and the saints will live happily ever after with God because they have faith in His abilities and righteousness that will never waver. (More than 500 texts supporting these conclusions can be found in the free e-book, Warning! Revelation is about to be fulfilled, or order a paperback copy by calling (800) 475-0876.