THE VOICE OF
THE SON OF GOD
THE RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION
ANNIHILATION OF THE LOST?
HEAVEN & EARTH FLED AWAY
THE RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25). The words of Jesus are true, that all who hear the quickening Voice of the Son are lifted from their appointment of death and live, even as many of us came alive upon hearing His call; but "Marvel not at this," He went on to say, "for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29).
This does not sound good, does it? I mean, the word damnation in the English is very intense, which would not be a pleasant experience in which to be awakened. In our natural mindís eye, a person who finds himself in this resurrection would perhaps be as example used earlier with him being brought from the flames of hell to be sent back. Or if we believe in soul-sleep, the man would be awakened so he could stand before the mad judge and be damned forever in hellfire. Either way is not a comforting thought.
Contrary to popular belief, however, the resurrection of damnation, as the King James Bible has it, is a very promising subject and merits closer examination. Although this translation is classified as a work of literary art, it is not noted for its inerrant accuracy. It is, therefore, not always the best one to use for study. It certainly has the beauty and flare of that day, and many assume it is a more sacred way of speaking than the way our modern languages sound. However, King James English was not the language to Bible was written in, and it poetic style of writing does not constitute infallibility.
That form of English makes it difficult at times to grasp what is being said. To compound the problem, a large number of the words carried a different thought than what they do today. The loyal translators of the king can be given credit for the wonderful truths contained between, for there are many, but we should also know that there are a significant number of errors as well, as it is with all the others translations. Only the original manuscripts can be said to be flawless, and there are none in existence. Notwithstanding, DAMNATION is one of the words that needs to be addressed.
Rather than the resurrection of damnation, it is more accurately translated the resurrection of crisis, the resurrection of judgment, or the resurrection of turning. The Greek word is krisis from which we get our English word crisis. The word in the truest sense means a turning point. For example, when a person's body is racked with fever, and its highest temperature is reached, this is called the crisis. It is the turning point! Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says the primary meaning for the word is a decision. Damnation is very misleading; but turning point, decision, or judgment are words much closer to what krisis means. When we understand what judgment in the truest sense means, we would know that it is a good thing.
Judgment carries the thought of a decision for or against, and when the action is applied it brings about a turning point. When a judgment is in a person's favor, rewards are generally given due to their good works (promotions, raises, etc.).
Upon looking at the lack of evidence of an accused man, judgment can also come as an acquittal, and the turning point frees him. But when the situation constitutes it, judgment is levied against a person in the form of remedial (corrective) punishment. After the time of refining incarceration has worked its purpose, the man is also freed. This is the context that the word is most often used in the New Testament. The other translators of the Bible commonly used Judgment for the word krisis, depending on the degree they were influenced by church dogma or how daring they might have been to stray from the Authorized King James Version.
The King James version is not the only Bible containing discrepancies. The fact is, there are errors in all the translations of the Bible, and the mass of Christianity is basing their lives on their supposed infallibility.
Since our Bibles contain errors, should we stop reading them? Not at all! It good to read the Bible, for even though the errors are a part of the mysterious veil over its hidden truths, it is the greatest book ever written. There is a treasure of truth recorded therein.
Another verse where krisis is used is Hebrews 9:27: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (krisis)." If we were to stand on the premise that krisis means damnation, and damnation speaks of an eternal punishment, all mankind is in serious trouble. For the above verse would be translated: "It is appointed unto men (humanity) once to die, but after this damnation." Clearly, this would serve no purpose. It would be deplorable to even think God would do such a thing to the whole of mankind; but religion says the He will do it to most of them.
The translators, of course, could see there was no way they could translate the krisis as damnation in this verse. It just wouldnít work, so they rendered the word properly. However, with damnation being a substantial part of the Church of Englandís doctrine, they used damnation in reference to the resurrection Jesus spoke of. Apparently, when those to be judged seemed to be the more hardened sinners, especially the Pharisees, the translators took their liberty and used the harsh damnation as the word for krisis.
The Church of England may have been delivered from Roman Catholicism; but like the others, this church kept many of her old doctrines, especially that of eternal hellfire and damnation of the lost. And this has been erroneously carried down to our day and said to be the nature of the great white throne judgment.
ANNIHILATION OF THE LOST?
Some feel that God's "damnation" is composed of hellfire which will consume and annihilate the lost, while the vast majority who walk in the broad way believe that those who are raised in the second resurrection are thereafter cast into the lake of fire to be tortured forever.
The thought of annihilation is closer to the truth of a loving Creator, but some things are still lacking in their understanding of God's purpose for mankind and His ability to cause it to be fulfilled to its ultimate end. There is a time that the man of sin in EVERY PERSON, the old man that we once were, is indeed annihilated. It vanishes forever the same way Mount Hermon under the rule of Adam vanishes in transfiguration BUT THE INDIVIDUAL REMAINS AS A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST. He is joined to the Lord and becomes one Spirit and is no longer that living soul he was in Adam. It is similar to a child being annihilated when it grows into adulthood under the hand of the father. The child is gone forever but not the person.
Whatever has come out of God cannot be annihilated in the sense of it vanishing completely from existence. Paul related it once in a very short but powerful statement: "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36). Simply put, EVERYTHING HAS COME OUT OF GOD, IT ALL PASSES THROUGH CHRIST and His cross. It THEN GOES BACK TO HIM in resurrection changed to the same heavenly substance of Himself. What he said in this verse alone should lay to rest the thought of annihilation of anything that has come out of God. Isn't it clear that whoever is out of God, everyone, shall sometime during the ages find themselves in Christ and back to God? It should satisfy both camps, those whose minds have been traduced into believing the majority of Adam will burn up to be no more, and all who believe the "damnation of eternal torment." It should satisfy, but it usually doesn't. I have a list of ninety-three scriptures (free upon request) relating to this mandate and purpose of God, which doesn't seem to phase in the least the ardent "truth seekers," so called. It is unlikely, then, that only one verse saying all is out of, through, and back into God will have much impact. Even so, it remains a truth, and all the unbelief in the Church cannot stop if from coming to pass; and praise God, one of the sure things He has provided for this reentry is THE LAKE OF FIRE!
Before we get into the Lake of Fire and swim from the shallow shores of its basic understanding, which we hope to delve into later in the series, we will first notice some other points: "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and JUDGMENT was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection" (Rev. 20:4-5).
There are many interesting things about this verse, but one thing in particular stands out. The Greek word for JUDGMENT is KRISIS. This is the same word Jesus used in John 5:29, which the King James translators rendered as "damnation." Fortunately it was translated properly in this verse. It would have been just as easily translated judgment in John 5:29, but Rome's doctrine of a humanistic god had to be propped up wherever possible. It was a doctrine that could not stand on its own merits of truth, for it had none. It was popularized early in the Roman Catholic Church by Jerome's translation of the Bible, known as the Latin Vulgate. The error received reinforcement by an angered Dante Aleghieri (1265-1321) in his epic poem the "Divine Comedy," commonly called "Dante's Inferno." Both titles are very accurate in what they express. Considering truth, Dante's poem is a comedy, for it is truly A LAUGHING MATTER, but to be taken seriously, it is a travesty. And the title, "Dante's Inferno" it is exactly that. It is Dante's! It isn't god's! It is a product of Dante's vindictive hostility toward his bitter enemies of the Church and State. In exile his imagination created graphic pictures of the horrors of hell that he consigned his detractors to. From the abyss of the carnal mind came Dante's Inferno, not from the heavens of God.
Centuries ago the doctrine of eternal torment in searing hellfire and brimstone swept into the Church like fire itself. It is pagan in origin, and its roots are largely in Assyrian mythology. Such doctrines picture God with a violent temper, and His actions are justified only because "He is God." This portrays Him as unforgiving and relentlessly vindictive. One side of modern Christendom has watered down His temper. They picture Him as a caring Father for several thousand years as He tries to persuade His fallen creation to come back to Him, but always failing. He is shown as being weak in the face of rebellious men, a God who can never change or control the work of His own hands, the "mighty" creature called man. Some say He can change him if He chooses to, but that would violate man's sacred "free will." Before He would do this, they say, He would rather burn them in hell forever. With this mode of thinking they never give much consideration to what Paul said: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; WHO WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of the truth," and "Who worketh all things after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL" (I Tim. 2:4 & Eph. 1:11). Permit me to quote a dear brother in the Lord, Timothy Carroll of ARISE magazine. He brings this point home very well:
"To think that if man wills, God Himself cannot withstand him, is a childish notion and should be discarded from our very thoughts. Such have a very small God and their thinking is aligned with humanism. Wouldn't you say that if God Almighty is inclined or determined, it would come to pass? I pray so. Wouldn't you agree that if God Omnipotent chooses or prefers, it will come into existence? I pray so. Wouldn't you think that if the God of absolute and unrestricted power has a desire towards anything, it would be fulfilled? I pray so. Tell me, if the God of unlimited authority, subject to none other, is to be about, or delights in, or is to be willing to perform a task, wouldn't you pray He is capable of fulfilling it? I think so! So if God is inclined to save all of humanity, if God delights in saving all of humanity, if God desires to save all of humanity, if God be willing to save all of humanity, will all of humanity be saved? Will humanity be delivered from the bondage of corruption? Wouldn't you think the Will of God is greater than the puny, little, stubborn will of man?" End quote.
The sad part is, there are so many in the Church with the same mind-set of those ancient creators of pagan gods. Just recently, a seemingly sweet mother of two children and director of a Christian nursery school said this to me of her alcoholic father: "I hope he confessed Jesus as Lord before he died; but if he didn't, he is burning in hell where he belongs. And this doesn't bother me, for that is the way it is He deserves it." The thought of her father writhing in boiling lava and searing flames with no possibility of ever escaping, does not bother her; but when I told her of God's ultimate plan of restoration for all, she got fire-eating mad. That is what happens when people take on the spirit and philosophies of heathen gods. They get mean, Brother. They get real mean. You can curse God and spit on the cross, and they might roll their eyes and pity the poor fool; but touch any of their countless sacred cows, and they will nail you to the tree and damn you to the flames of everlasting hellfire; even as some may be doing, unsuccessfully, to this writer at this very moment.
HEAVEN & EARTH FLED AWAY
"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face THE EARTH AND THE HEAVEN FLED AWAY; and THERE WAS FOUND NO PLACE FOR THEM. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:11-15).
"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them...." The great white throne judgment the vivid imaginations and schemes of the carnal mind have had their day in painting detailed pictures of a giant-like God sitting upon a huge throne in the heavens somewhere with the mass of unsaved humanity anxiously standing around and waiting their turn to be judged.
Just for the sake of curiosity, let us entertain this thought for a moment. From the time of Adam to the end of this century, it is estimated that 80 to 120 billion people will have died without "saying the sinner's prayer," having never belonged to the "right church," never believed in "church dogmas," or whatever else man's darkened minds have conjured up as what constitutes "salvation." Let's say that the world soon comes to an end, and there are 100 billion lost souls scattered over the past 6,000 years who are suddenly resurrected, and the "great white throne judgment" begins. Since we are thinking carnally, let us also assume that each person is going to have their "day in court." Like any court proceedings, the judge (God) will supposedly read what His heavenly bookkeepers had steadfastly written concerning everything every person had ever done during their lifetime. This would take much too long to read each book of so many souls, and then pass sentence upon them. We can therefore conclude that things will be speeded up a bit. Let's say He will spend about one minute per person. If this scenario should be the case, how long do you suppose it would take to process all those billions? It would take 1,666,666,666 hours, or 190,258 years for this foreboding judgment to be completed. Should He only spend 1 second on each case, it would still take more than 3,000 years.
Jesus said of Himself that all judgment was committed to the Son of man (John 5:22,27); therefore, at 60 seconds per case, it would be close to 200,000 years before He had a free minute to fellowship with the saints. But let us assume that Jesus doesn't have the stomach for such an ordeal, that He has asked His stern Father to take care of it, and He is not taking part in these long, drawn- out, exhausting court proceedings. This would free Him to sit on His throne in Jerusalem and get acquainted for the "first time" with the lucky one billion saved Christians.
If this is the way it will be, we can expect a long line. If He gives each person only 60 seconds of His time, it will still take 1,902 years to get our minute with Him, and then it will take another 1,902 years before we get to see Him again. Our short visits will come around every 1900 years or so; that is, if He does nothing but shake hands, hug necks, and bless people night and day without ever taking a break. If He takes care of other affairs of the kingdom, it will be much longer before we see Him again.
I don't particularly enjoy giving time to such thoughts. But they need to be addressed; and after seeing how irrational they are, we can go on to brighter things.
"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." Where might this throne be? Is it in the heavens somewhere beyond the milky way? Is it on a distant planet especially designed for such an event? Or is the throne, perhaps, here on this planet we call earth, with it sitting at the edge of a deep, fire-burning pit, so these 100 billion can be easily cast into it after each guilty verdict is read? I mention such imaginary places only because these are very popular concepts in the Church today and need some exposure for what they are not.
Let us do some more thinking. If the earth and the heaven flee away in the presence of the One sitting upon the throne, where does that leave everything? It is annihilated, emptied, vacated, depleted, obliterated, erased it is gone. There is nothing anywhere to be found. There is no heaven for the throne to float in, nor an earth to rest upon. There is nothing left wherein the teeming billions can even have their ill-fated trial. There is not even the black vacuum of space, for that endless void is also a portion of the physical heavens. What heaven then, and what earth, could be fleeing in the face the One sitting upon the throne? It is the heaven between our ears! The spirit and carnal mind of man! It is the earth of the physical efforts and works of mankind! His cunning craftiness and all the schemes of human wit is what flees in his presence!
In the kingdom of fallen man, there is a place for his heavenly renown and reeling earth. It was given to him to rule over from the very beginning, even in his fallen condition, but once the King of kings puts every enemy under foot, there is no longer a spot found anywhere for the kingdom ruled by man. It is taken from him. Until this time Adam, the god, the elohim of this world (II Cor. 4:4, Psa. 82:6), reigned in death from the throne of Mount Hermon, but when the King of glory comes, mounted upon His four horses of war, and going victoriously into battle, the king of death loses ground. That fallen kingdom is captured and swallowed up in victory with no place left for the old.
Let us close this study with the words from the anointed pen of J. Preston Eby:
"The apostle Paul, speaking on Mars Hill, told the Athenians, '...God...hath appointed a day, in the which He judges the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead' (Acts 17:31). This passage sets forth four wonderful truths: (1) God has appointed A DAY (2) In that DAY He shall JUDGE THE WORLD in righteousness (3) He shall JUDGE THE WORLD by that MAN whom He hath ordained (4) This ASSURANCE is given unto ALL MEN.
"The judgment day is not a day of eternal doom, but a blessed day of ASSURANCE TO ALL MEN. But how is that assurance given unto all men? In just this way. God has appointed a day, an indefinite period of time in which He will in righteousness JUDGE THE WORLD by a MAN whom He has ordained for that purpose. That Man of course is His Son, and His Son died the death of all humanity, but this assurance lies in the fact that GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. The assurance given UNTO ALL is, that as God dealt with His own Son in this particular, He will also deal with ALL HUMANITY.
"This is the point that is overlooked by the vast majority of preachers and teachers and churches in this day. Today, all depends upon whether or not the person accepts the teaching of a particular church, submitting to its ordinances and rituals, embracing the doctrine which is held by all its members. Having done that, the particular church then assures the new member that he is a christian and that he going to a place called heaven. But the assurance of God does not rest upon any such frail foundation. God's assurance rests upon the FACT of THE RESURRECTION of His own Son, and the assurance is given not to a select few, but to ALL MEN" End quote.
Some will come forth unto the resurrection of life, and some unto THE RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION KRISIS. Whether it is the resurrection of life with rewards, or it is the resurrection of crisis with great loss, it still stands as THE ASSURANCE OF ALL MEN! We will see more about this assurance in our coming issues.
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach
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