BRINGING HEAVEN DOWN - PART 7
AN HISTORIC OVERVIEW
Novermber 3, 2013
The book of Revelation is a series of visions of great and awe-inspiring events that Jesus gave to the Apostle John, some of which would take place in John’s day. These matters were being presented symbolically:
“A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John.”
– Revelation 1:1
But more was given to John than just a symbolic vision of immediate prophecy. John was given a glimpse of things past, present and future and was told to write them down as he saw them.
“So write down the things you saw, and the things that are, and the things that will take place after these.”
– Revelation 1:19
And even though John’s impression of what he saw was fearsome at times, the overall message is a message that is designed to encourage, strengthen, and renew those who read it. The angel told John:
“Happy is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near.”
– Revelation 1:3
We believe the happiness that derives from reading the book of Revelation can be achieved once we understand man’s historic walk to salvation.
Many are waking up to the truth that Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), would not go to war against his own creation. (Colossians 1:15-16) And they are inspired and encouraged by “The Ninevite Possibility” which suggests that we can avert any supposed worldwide destruction by teaching the plain and open teachings of Jesus and getting our generation to turn to God. (See Turning Back Destruction.) Nevertheless, many are not sure what to say about the dreadful personalities and the fearsome events contained in the prophetic book of Revelation. After all, Revelation is a part of the same Bible canon that presents the plain and open teachings of Jesus, so it cannot be ignored.
However, it must be recognized that the book of Revelation was the last Christian writing to be added to the Bible canon. For a long time, its characters, symbolism and authorship was in doubt. About 100 years after the other writings were canonized, the canon was re-opened and the book of Revelation was added, though controversy continued about its content, with claims that the original text had been greatly altered by adding to or taking away. If this is true, then that would explain the quick transitions from vision to vision, and the strange and inconsistent verbiage such as we find at Revelation 14:4.
Nevertheless, we believe the overall message and purpose of the Revelation remains even though much of the symbolism continues shrouded. And to the extent that it is consistent with the plain and open teachings of Jesus, we accept it, as we do when considering all other portions of the Bible canon, as we explain in Receiving Truth.
We, the authors of this website, have hitherto refrained from commenting specifically on the visions in the book of Revelation for those reasons. But the foremost reason we have withheld our comments is because not enough of Jesus’ plain and open teachings are understood which would open the door to a real understanding of Revelation. As long as man holds onto ideas of a wrathful, jealous God who wants His Son to carry out a wholesale destruction of His creation, the true good news as revealed in Revelation could not shine through. Our words would have been nothing more than a sounding piece of brass among an orchestra of poorly tuned instruments and tone deaf singers, and it would have been a complete waste of time.
But now we believe we have built a foundation of information upon which greater and weightier matters can be supported. The time has come for us to speak more boldly, and with more candor, which will challenge the comfort zone of many, but it will lead to great satisfaction and peace of mind for those who sincerely seek truth and who are willing to allow themselves to be guided by the Spirit of Truth. We hope to, at the very least, get our brothers to open their eyes to the bigger picture.
What we will present here is not new information. All of the ideas we will share are rooted in the Bible and already understood by most. But the way it is presented and developed may be an eye-opener – even revolutionary to some. What we are doing is merely putting the pieces together into one grand historic overview beginning from before the days of Adam and Eve through to Jesus Christ and culminating in our day. It is up to you, the reader, to use your own discretion as to the value of what we present. The Spirit will bear witness with you individually as to whether these things are so.
As we consider an historic overview of man’s journey on earth, we note that there are many paths we could take. Science tells us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So we will take the shortest path – a direct line leading to truth as embodied in Jesus of Nazareth.
“Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
– John 14:6
It would seem natural to begin in the book of Genesis with the account of Adam and Eve and their activities in the Garden of Eden. However, the Bible takes us back a bit further, before Adam and Eve ever arrived on earth.
By way of revelation from Jesus to the Apostle Paul, we learn that God’s purpose for mankind ‘before the founding of the world’ – that is, before Adam and Eve – was that mankind was to be adopted into the heavens as God’s sons.
“Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, as he chose us to be in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and unblemished before him in love. For he foreordained us to be adopted as his own sons through Jesus Christ, according to his good pleasure and will.”
– Ephesians 1:3-5
This is the purpose God had, and continues to have, for his earth children. Yes, from the very beginning, Jesus Christ was to be the one through whom this adoption would take place. Without there ever being evil or rebellion in our world, Jesus was destined to come and to show us the way into heaven.
“So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living person.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, what is spiritual is not first. What is physical is first, and afterward what is spiritual. The first man is from the earth and made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust; and like the heavenly one, so too are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we will bear also the image of the heavenly one.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
From this we learn that man has a two-fold development. The first Adam was the one through whom we would acquire physical bodies. But when the last Adam arrived – Jesus Christ – he would complete our development and give us the means to acquire heavenly bodies! No, it was not God’s purpose that man continue in the earth bodies forever!
The Rebellion and the Fall
Before God’s purpose could be revealed to mankind, rebellion broke out in heaven when the once beautiful celestial being, Lucifer – aka the Shining One – no longer wanted to assent to divine rulership. He wanted to be a divine ruler himself who would bring his own form of liberty that he felt was superior to what he perceived as the restricting rulership of the Father. The prophet Isaiah prophetically spoke of this ‘pre-Adam and Eve’ rebellion when he wrote:
“How you have fallen from heaven, O shining one, son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the earth, You who vanquished nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens. Above the stars of God I will lift up my throne, And I will sit down on the mountain of meeting, In the remotest parts of the north. I will go up above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself resemble the Most High.”
– Isaiah 14:12-14
As Isaiah wrote, Lucifer sought a seat on the ‘mountain of meeting.’ His rebellion vanquished heavenly nations and caused a great upheaval. ‘Vanquishing nations’ is indicative of war, and war implies some type of organization of opposing forces. This beautiful ‘shining one’ obviously captivated the support of many lower beings who simply could not imagine such a powerful one would go astray and be so wrong. The Bible indicates that many celestial personalities followed Lucifer and were misled into judgment:
“Certainly God did not refrain from punishing the angels who sinned, but threw them into Tartarus, putting them in chains of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.”
– 2 Peter 2:4
“And the angels who did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place, he has reserved with eternal bonds in dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.”
– Jude 1:6
But war in heaven is not a physical battle as such a conflict might be conceived on earth. We suspect it would be a war of words, a war of ideas – with one side arguing against the divine will of the Father and one side arguing for it. Such a war would continue until every one involved had firmly made a decision by taking a stand on one side or the other – a battle plain of decision.
Even though it was not carnal, it was no doubt very terrible and very real. There would not be the displays of barbarities that are characteristic of physical warfare on earth, but such a conflict would be far more deadly. Physical life is in jeopardy in an earthly war; whereas war in heaven was fought in terms of life eternal. This war began before Adam and Eve were placed in Eden, but it did not end there.
While this war continued, as one of his many acts of rebellion, the Devil, and those who sided with him, turned their attention to the earth. Through the Devil’s cunning, represented as a serpent, Eve was seduced into believing that Lucifer’s distorted form of liberty would make her ‘like God.’
“At this the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die. For God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.”
– Genesis 3:4-5
As she considered the proposition, it began to appeal to her. Perhaps by being ‘like God,’ she could better and more quickly complete their commission that God gave them:
“Further, God blessed them, and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”
– Genesis 1:28
Through her desire for expediency, she sinned against the will of God for her, pushing ahead without first consulting her husband, her partner, who it appears would likely have advised her to stay the steady divine course. But when he found out about her sin, it was too late. And so he cast his lot in with hers – this woman whom he came to love so completely – agreeing to accept and undergo whatever punishment would befall her together.
“Consequently, the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something desirable to the eyes, yes, the tree was pleasing to look at. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it. Afterward, she also gave some to her husband when he was with her, and he began eating it.”
– Genesis 3:6
But the seriousness of this grave error quickly presented itself. Both of their consciences were seared as they knew they had failed. The divine protection they once felt seemed to disappear and in their minds, they were naked and without divine cover. Guilt had set it.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings for themselves.”
– Genesis 3:7
These two tragedies – the rebellion of Lucifer and the default of Adam and Eve – threw our world into a ball of confusion. The gift Adam and Eve were to give their offspring was tainted. Their failure to follow the divine will affected their children as Cain jealously slew his brother Abel. And as Cain went off on his own, he took with him, not the pure love and purpose of a divine Father, but the distorted and defeated unreality of disobedient guilt-ridden parents. (For a further discussion, see Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?)
The Devil’s Plan
The Devil has a great and profound hatred for our God and Christ Jesus. This whole conflict – the entire rebellion – is about Lucifer vs. God – Lucifer’s own creator! Mankind was not the target; we were simply pawns and collateral damage. In his distorted mind, the Devil believed he was doing man a favor, giving them ‘true liberty,’ showing them how to be ‘like God.’ When they fell into sin, the Devil took advantage of the chaos he created, and asserted himself as man’s ruler, concocting one nefarious plan after another to distract and confuse those foreordained sons of the Great and Eternal Father in heaven. His true anger was against the Father to thwart His foreordained purpose and desire for man to ascend to the heavens and meet their God face to face, with Christ Jesus showing us the way. No, rather than destroy man, the Devil wanted man as his own particular possession, for them to serve him as ruler, even as their god!
For his plan to work, the Devil would have to trick man into believing that an earthly existence is all there is. And he has developed several insidious schemes to accomplish that, including atheism, agnosticism, materialism, earthly kingdoms – anything to keep man from seeking their true hope and heritage in the heavens! Anything to embarrass the Father, interfere with, and, if possible, defeat His eternal purpose.
Those in the spirit world were very well aware of God’s purpose for man, and they knew the truth of the words spoken by the prophets:
“So my word that goes out of my mouth will be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, And it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”
– Isaiah 55:11
“Now look! I am about to die, and you well know with all your heart and with all your soul that not one word out of all the good promises that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.”
– Joshua 23:14
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, For I am God, and there is no one else. By myself I have sworn; The word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, And it will not return: To me every knee will bend, Every tongue will swear loyalty.”
– Isaiah 45:22-23
Yet, they were perplexed at how the foreordained adoption of mankind would be accomplished since the tragedy of the rebellion and the default of Adam and Eve had divided the human family so completely. Brothers warring against their brothers. Brothers dominating brothers to their injury. (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Brothers stealing, and lying, and murdering one another. Tribes devastating tribes with no real hope of worldwide peace in sight. Until . . .
The Father’s Answer
Having lost connection with the true God, man across the globe set up their own gods and proclaimed their gods were superior to all of the others. To this day, religious superiority of their gods is a major reason why we have not been able to heal the family of mankind. So much so that the prophets, the angels and various celestial personalities wondered: How could man be brought together as the unified family they truly are and receive their foreordained adoption?
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the undeserved kindness meant for you made a diligent inquiry and a careful search. They kept on investigating what particular time or what season the spirit within them was indicating concerning Christ as it testified beforehand about the sufferings meant for Christ and about the glory that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were ministering, not to themselves, but to you, regarding what has now been announced to you by those who declared the good news to you with holy spirit sent from heaven. Into these very things, angels are desiring to peer.”
– 1 Peter 1:10-12
We cannot deny that the Devil and his cronies were having quite a bit of success until the Father put into motion His answer to the Devil’s challenge. Christ finally arrived in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. During his ministry, Jesus demonstrated God’s answer to those who ‘were desiring to peer’ into the divine purpose. First, he revealed to us the foreordained purpose that we may enter into the kingdom of the heavens as sons of God:
“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. . . . Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God. Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’ Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.”
– Matthew 5:3, 8-11
And he taught that since God is our Father, we are all brothers:
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One.”
– Matthew 23:8-9
Through his life and ministry, he showed us the way to receive the divine destiny:
“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God; exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father are many dwelling places. Otherwise, I would have told you, for I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you home to myself, so that where I am you also may be. And where I am going, you know the way.’ Thomas said to him: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
– John 14:1-6
And he accepted everyone who wanted the glorious promise of heavenly adoption as sons of God:
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name. And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.”
– John 1:12-13
“For the creation is waiting with eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself will also be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
– Romans 8:19-21
From this point forward, the kingdom of the heavens is what mankind is instructed to pursue:
“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it.”
– Matthew 11:12
The ministry of Jesus is the ministry of reconciliation that he asks his followers to complete. It is a ministry of reconciling man to the God from whom they had been alienated through the trickery and machinations of the Devil and his comrades:
“But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not counting their offenses against them, and he entrusted to us the message of the reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. As substitutes for Christ, we beg: “Become reconciled to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
Much of Jesus early life is not revealed in the Bible. But we do know that whatever he had done during that time, it was enough to gain the Father’s unconditional approval, even before he began his ministry:
“After being baptized, Jesus immediately came up from the water; and look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw God’s spirit descending like a dove and coming upon him. Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’”
– Matthew 3:16-17
By means of his ministry of successfully revealing the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and man’s foreordained heavenly destiny, Jesus defeated the Devil’s plan and conquered him along with his cohorts and accomplices:
“Then the 70 returned with joy, saying: ‘Lord, even the demons are made subject to us by the use of your name.’ At that he said to them: ‘I see Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven. Look! I have given you the authority to trample underfoot serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing at all will harm you.”
– Luke 10:17-19
“I will not speak with you much more, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has no hold on me.”
– John 14:30
“I have said these things to you so that by means of me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.”
– John 16:33
After his resurrection, Jesus present himself to the Father to report his victory, and he was given even greater authority than he had before he came to earth:
“Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and became human. More than that, when he came as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
– Philippians 2:5-11
This event was prophesied by the prophet Daniel who had been given a vision of this coming encounter:
“I kept watching in the visions of the night, and look! with the clouds of the heavens, someone like a son of man was coming; and he gained access to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him up close before that One. And to him there were given rulership, honor, and a kingdom, that the peoples, nations, and language groups should all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom will not be destroyed.”
– Daniel 7:13-14
In spite of all the Devil’s machinations and generations-long antics, Jesus prevailed. The sacred secret was out! Man no longer had to suffer under the chaotic rulership of a mentally diseased and power hungry potentate. He was free. He was given the freedom of the sons of God! And by reason of Jesus’ faithfulness, the Ancient of Days granted him an everlasting rulership and a kingdom that would never be destroyed.
When Jesus returned to earth after appearing before the Ancient of Days, he told his followers:
“All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go,therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”
Jesus had begun ruling as king and now he entreated those who love him to spread his glorious message of victory and salvation to the whole world so that the peace of God and the glorious future that was ‘foreordained from the founding of the world’ could be realized.
The Devil’s Response
Now that the Devil has lost his battle to thwart the implementation of God’s purpose of adopting man into the heavens as His sons, the Devil turned his attention to those remaining on the earth to ‘persuade’ them not to pursue the heavenly reconciliation. And he is not limiting his activities to Christians, but Christians are at the forefront of his attack because they have been entrusted with the work of bearing witness to Jesus and revealing to all mankind their true, eternal and glorious future.
The Devil is using various methods, including theocratic domination (getting us to follow men rather than Christ), ideological confusion (teaching ideas that distort our understanding of God’s purpose, some of which cause one to reject God’s purpose), preoccupation (social, economic and material advantages to take up our time), upheavals (political crises and social unrest to discourage and mislead us) and lastly physical persecution and premature death.
But the Devil was defeated. From then on, he knew he will never be man’s true ruler. Whatever control he manages to assert is without any real authority and only exists over those whose minds are blinded so they cannot see the glorious good news about our heavenly inheritance.
“If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
However, one thing God will not do is interfere with our free will. No divine being is allowed to do that, so, it is up to us individually to make the decision to pursue God’s purpose for ourselves. And when we do, our celestial family (those who had been peering into earthly matters for generations) gets behind us, educates us, and supports us so that we can endure and attain our true destiny.
Jesus and the Father fully know what we are up against. Our planet has been severely handicapped by the rebellion by Lucifer, the default of Adam and Eve, and the anger of a cunning, yet defeated, adversary. So the bar is low. All we need to do is exercise faith in Jesus and follow his example. And as Jesus said, all it requires is just a little faith.
“He said to them: “Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard grain, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
– Matthew 17:20
“Then the Lord said: “If you had faith the size of a mustard grain, you would say to this black mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea!’ and it would obey you.”
– Luke 17:6
Contrary to modern day ‘ideological confusion,’ we do not have to know the answers to all theological questions.
“Just as I encouraged you to stay in Ephesus when I was about to go to Macedonia, so I do now, in order for you to command certain ones not to teach different doctrine, nor to pay attention to false stories and to genealogies. Such things end up in nothing useful but merely give rise to speculations rather than providing anything from God in connection with faith. Really, the objective of this instruction is love out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy. By deviating from these things, some have been turned aside to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of law, but they do not understand either the things they are saying or the things they insist on so strongly.”
– 1 Timothy 1:3-7
We do not have to search out the origin of every practice and holiday and custom, and meticulously avoid those with questionable roots.
“Nevertheless, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those who are not really gods. But now that you have come to know God or, rather, have come to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and beggarly elementary things and want to slave for them over again? You are scrupulously observing days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.”
– Galatians 4:8-11
We do not have to abandon common sense to follow the whims of men who set themselves up as theocracies.
“Let no one lead you astray in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things?”
– 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5
We do not have to be sinless, flawless or literally perfect.
“We who are Jews by birth, and not sinners from the nations, recognize that a man is declared righteous, not by works of law, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. So we have put our faith in Christ Jesus, so that we may be declared righteous by faith in Christ and not by works of law, for no one will be declared righteous by works of law.”
– Galatians 2:15-16
“By this undeserved kindness you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing; rather, it is God’s gift. No, it is not a result of works, so that no one should have grounds for boasting.”
– Ephesians 2:8-9
What we do have to do is to pursue the heavenly career by doing ‘God’s will’ – the best and right thing under the circumstances, as explained in the article The Perfect Will of God.
In truth, it is easier to do the ‘perfect will of God’ than it is to do the imperfect will of man.
But if we can manage just that, we will attain our reward of everlasting life in the heavens, advancing ‘from glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18) until we come face to face with our Infinitely Grand Father who has blessings for us that we cannot even fathom.
“But just as it is written: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
Yes, the future for mankind is glorious thanks to the person and authority of Christ Jesus! When on earth, 2,000 years ago, he conquered the opposition. He opened the floodgates of the heavens and finally revealed to mankind what man has been in eager expectation of and keenly searching for – the freedom of the sons of God! (Romans 8:19-21) Not just for a few, but for ‘all who would receive him.’ (John 1:12)
Jesus’ arrival on earth was an unequaled turning point in human history. It was not just the walk of a wise man or a great prophet, or the mere institution of another religion. It was the presence of divinity (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-16) come to save his confused and lost children, not from just one nation, but the entire race of mankind!
Jesus did not come to tell us that he would die and be resurrected. Those events occurred, but that was not his message. He came to tell us he lives, and we can live forever in the places he is preparing for us. (John 14:2) The message Jesus brought was spread by the 12 apostles and the 70 evangelists, among others. It was good news – glad tidings of victory and salvation! The theme was the Kingdom of the Heavens! The Kingdom of the Heavens! (Matthew 13:24; 13:31, 13:33, 13:44, 13:45, 13:47, 18:23, 22:2, 25:1) It is the same destiny that the Devil fought so hard to hide from us – ‘so the illumination of the glorious good news God, might not shine through.’ (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
With the arrival of Christ Jesus, we can let go of the old pre-Christian system. We should not be looking for ‘greater fulfillments’ of ancient prophecies. We should be looking to the words of one who is more than a prophet, the one who long ago fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 5:17) For whenever we hold on to the past, we are delaying our own future.
And when considering prophecies given after Christ’s resurrection, we should ever keep in mind the goodness, the mercy, and the love displayed by Jesus while on earth. We should never allow our own interpretations to sully the fine reputation and character of Jesus as man’s savior, not his destroyer. He truly is the Prince of Peace!
When an angel of Jesus gave the series of visions to the Apostle John which he recorded in the book of Revelation, John was told that those who read it would be happy. (Revelation 1:3) It was good news. It was never intended to frighten us or to cause dread. It is a story of victory already achieved!
This message of hope is for all mankind, not just Christians. Jesus is the creator of everything in our world; not just the progenitor of one religion. (John 1:3) His good news is the answer to the scientists who study our physical world looking for clues to our existence. It is the answer to the astronomers who search out into space for signs of our origin. It is the answer to the atheist and the agnostics who long for an understanding of how a loving God could allow the current systems to exist. And it is the answer for the downtrodden, the persecuted, the hopeless, and the hopeful. By means of the ministry of reconciliation, God’s will and purpose becomes the answer to everything.
“But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:28
It is now up to those who willingly pick up our torture stakes to serve as ambassadors of the good news and tell the glad tidings to all! The heavy lifting has already been done by Jesus. All man needs to do is preach the proper message of victory and salvation, and when the good news is preached in all the inhabited earth, then the end to man’s suffering and sorrow will come. (Matthew 24:14)
Only then can we expect the fulfillment of the promises:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
– Revelation 21:1-4
“And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its main street. On both sides of the river were trees of life producing 12 crops of fruit, yielding their fruit each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. And there will no longer be any curse. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his slaves will offer him sacred service; and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Also, night will be no more, and they have no need of lamplight or sunlight, for Jehovah God will shed light upon them, and they will rule as kings forever and ever.”
– Revelation 22:1-5
Yes, we must do our part. Those who love the Christ must join in the harvest work. We must not leave ourselves and our generation to the same old doom and dread of outdated and decaying religious systems. The Father and Christ Jesus have everything already in place and ready to go. The angels of the congregations are standing by. Man just needs to respond, even with just a flicker of faith, but faith indeed!
Having taken this brief overview of man’s path to salvation, can your spiritual eyes see what is going on? Can your figurative heart understand the importance of Jesus’ coming and the need to spread the plain and open teachings of the true good news? And can you now get a glimpse of the true meaning of the book of Revelation?
If not, do not worry. Being right or wrong about prophetic interpretations will not cause anyone to lose his or her reward as long as they do not reject the plain and open teachings.
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will be shown for what it is, for the day will show it up, because it will be revealed by means of fire, and the fire itself will prove what sort of work each one has built. If anyone’s work that he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward; if anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved; yet, if so, it will be as through fire.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
But, if your answers are yes, you are on the path to greatness by understanding God’s goodness. You will know that “The Ninevite Possibility” is more than a mere possibility. It is the will of God. And if you grab hold onto it, you will save not only yourself, but also those who listen to you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
Our series continues with Bringing Heaven Down – By Impartial and Consecrated Service
And we, as always, welcome your comments.