Friday, October 22, 2010

A New Earth ...

At last … death itself is finally an obsolete concept, as is pain, heart ache, remorse, and guilt. It is only AFTER hell is ceased that all who love like He loves can finally be free. It is only AFTER death itself is done away with, no more to remind us of our former frailty, no more to bring to mind those things that cause us such pain; that we who have been redeemed are set free to love without boundary or regret. Scripture in Revelations chapter 21 begin by quoting the prophet … “and I John saw a new heaven, and a new earth, … for the former things are passed away.” John begins describing the beauty of heaven, but not before he stops to note the absence of death, pain, and sorrow. This sequence of events is required before our ultimate freedom can finally be realized. The last great controversy between good and evil must end.

Human minds are a frail thing. Our imaginations are colored by our perceptions of what is important, what we wish we could do, and limited by what reality has imposed on us. In John’s day, nations were made up of tribal peoples (extended families) generally settled in a similar region, joined together if prosperous by city states, possibly under a king. The height of civilization as John knew it would have been a giant city state. And so with intricate care John proceeds to give us the details of the Holy City of heaven that God has prepared for us to live in eternally. He enumerates the foundation and shows it depth of various valuable stones. He tries to give us an idea of the size, by modern dimensions about 300 miles square, but also as tall as it is wide, at its highest zenith, the throne of God Himself. The city is gated with solid pearl gates, a phenomenon that would have confounded the wisdom of his day both financially and militarily. Never has so large a single pearl ever been imagined, and if it existed, no known battering ram would likely have success in forcing it open. Just in its description of the gates, heaven is set out as an unconquerable city. It is impregnable.

Farming cultures dream of farming mansions, but in every modern city, grass tends to give way to streets, and development. Only parks maintain a connection with nature as it were, and houses or places of residence tend to be stacked on top of each other forming tall towers in order to fit higher numbers of people into small spaces. John might have marveled at New York City, or Los Angeles, but it might have only inspired him to better understand the need for height in the vision of our heavenly city. I imagine a great number of us may be living in penthouse type structures within large towering buildings, but then my imagination is colored by my current realities of large American cities.

Were I more of a quantum physicist I might imagine the same physical space occupied by heaven used in an infinite number of dimensions each with a different cultural or physical expression. Groups of families or perhaps simply random beings might move from one dimension and configuration to another in the blink of the mind’s eye; all occupying the same space and time, but segregated by which dimensional configuration they choose to exist within at one time; or if you really want to bend your mind a bit more; perhaps existing in several dimensions at once.

Of course you may read my ideas and decide this kind of multi-dimensional existence is impossible, or against the laws of physics as we know them today. But this is sort of my point; we do not know if a parallel universe exists or not but God would. We study the laws of physics, God writes them. We make mistakes in what we dream is possible, while God is not bound by our limitations or mistakes. We only use a fraction of our polluted brains today, while consuming poisonous foods, in a contaminated atmosphere, where moderation and temperance are by gone concepts. It is no wonder our minds are too finite now to truly understand what heaven will be like. But once there, our diets will be sheer exuberance, feasting on foods that baffle the taste buds in pleasure, while being converted completely without waste into pure energy. The water will bear no resemblance to the tainted earth we poisoned in our greed and arrogance, it will be clear, pure, refreshing and more satisfying that anything we could even imagine now. With water this pure, think of the ripple effects in the fruit drinks we make, the smoothies we enjoy, the shakes and frozen ambrosia’s we could construct. Imagine not being bound to the idea of seasonal harvests, but having them year round. What a restaurant we could open in the New Jerusalem.

But the construction of heaven is hardly the important thing that makes it special. And while our diets will no longer make us fat, and we can partake of every good thing the Lord makes for us, eating is only a minor distraction in the world to come. At first brush, I used to cringe at John Lennon’s famous song “Imagine” thinking it was an agnostic view of utopian life. But in later years, I have begun to see his line of … “imagining there was no religion” … as being a statement against the organized fanaticism that grips our world. “Nothing to live or die for” removes all the political motivations, as well as the basic need for survival motivation that today cause us so much harm. Perhaps my earlier hesitations about his song were incorrect; perhaps John Lennon is describing life in heaven. But even the peace and harmony he describes is not the singular thing that makes our heaven special.

I can imagine no limits on learning or travel. I can imagine touring stars, galaxies, and even to the edges of the Universe and back. I can imagine putting the knowledge I gain to use in constructing an entire solar system, planet by planet with housing, entertainment, food, places to visit – live – or enjoy for any who are interested. I can imagine creating more enhanced musical instruments, carving ornate furniture from rare woods, building elaborate swimming pools with fountains, slides, frozen fruit bars, waterfalls, and perhaps even a few log flumes as well. My earthly imagination can stretch beyond what is practical in this world. I believe we will travel at the speed of thought. But while I can imagine a great deal, still my imagination is stunted by my current environment, in short, I see through a glass darkly. But again it is not even the limits or lack of them, in my imagination that makes heaven special.

I will finally be free to live to serve others. This will be a decided change for me, as now I seem to live mostly to serve me (a trait I recognize requires Christ to change in me). But there my service to others will be my top priority, and will not be hampered by lack of resources, time, or imagination. I can find new ways to please my wife, my children, my parents, my friends, my heroes, and the strangers I encounter in any way I am able. The freedom to serve will be the most liberating feeling I will ever experience, and with it a joy there are no words to describe it with. The deepest contentment will dwell within me as I strive harder and harder to raise the standard for my service to others. This liberation, the antidote for sin and self-centered-ness, this is close to the best thing about heaven. But then my freedom is not the number one thing making heaven special.

Love, exploring the depths of love, and in so doing beginning to understand God better is close to it. We have only sampled what love is on this earth. It will take new creations to begin to contemplate it properly. The love of God for us will be something we will study for eternity, and will always learn something new and more about it in that time. To explore Love is to explore God. But even the largest attribute about God being love, is not what makes Heaven special. There is something even more than that.

It is God. It is His Son Jesus Christ. It is His Holy Spirit. It is God. Before we existed there was God. He made us with the thought of spending time with us. We are His children, created individually for His purposes for all space and time. To be with God, reconciled of our evil, rejoined with Him finally. This will be what makes heaven – Heaven. It is not the dazzling brilliance of the city. It is not the intricate architecture, swimming in the river of life, petting the tigers, talking to Moses, or even pleasing the wife that makes heaven ultimately so special. It is being with God. It is being close to the source of infinite love. It is feeling Him, hearing Him, learning from Him, sharing with Him, receiving from Him, giving to Him, honoring Him, and worshipping Him from a heart that cannot sit still. It is being with the God we have been forced by our evil to remain distant from. This is salvation. This is freedom. To be rejoined with our God; NEVER to be parted again. Multi-dimensional universes of infinite distance across cannot separate us anymore from our God. For where we are, He will be.

He will be able to talk with us one to one. He can answer our questions, give us a hug, ski with us down a snowy mountain (or perhaps teach me how), laugh with us, eat with us, and watch us while we sleep. And all of God can do this, not just Jesus, but Father and His Spirit – each distinct – each yearning to know us better without the wall of sin between. God’s ability to be everywhere allows Him to spend individual time with every single saved soul. The reunion with God will be unlike anything we can imagine. We are told today, that we are not alone. But our vision is blighted by our sin, and we do not see how our Father longs to show us He is at our side. In heaven, this will be visible to us. In heaven, spending time with God will be our ultimate reward. Like oxygen we cannot get enough of, we will be reconciled to our Father’s side forever. Nothing is more important than this, nothing else can even come close.

I take great assurance in knowing that everything ends with the death of evil, in me, and outside of me. I take comfort in the promise of my Savior to redeem even me. And I find joy unbridled that one day we will be united together never to be parted again. That is the home I seek. That is the mercy of the greatest gift of all time, that I will never be worthy of, and cannot be done praising Him for. That my friends, is the heaven I aspire to. I hope to see each of you there. I pray that Christ will begin by changing the core of me in preparation for that great day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Last Great War ...

Once more into the abyss … Finally, after so much delay, after so many years that have turned into centuries and centuries into millennia, the time for the ultimate extinction of evil has come. But alas, evil will not go down quietly. Once more, there is a time for war, one last final battle to decide the very fate of existence and death itself. This is the time to end all time, and after our work in heaven has been completed at the appointed time, it begins.

At the end of our first millennia in heaven, the time comes for end of evil. As such, the city itself moves from its stellar location back to the completely decimated planet earth. It descends on what used to be the city of Jerusalem. There is nothing there now, except the destruction that rained in great hail so many years ago. The bodies long rotten, decayed and returned to the dust they started from. The people of God do not wish to travel beyond the protective gates of the city, for at this time, evil lurks outside and will be set free “for a season”.

Satan is loosed from his bonds. The wicked dead are called forth from their graves. They do not come out as the righteous did, raised to the perfection of body and mind. Rather, the wicked are raised in exactly the same state that they went into the grave, diseased of body and mind. Every ailment is still in place, every scar, every wound, nothing is as it is wished to be. There is no guardian of light to lift them into the bosom of a loving God, as this is not something they ever wanted. The wicked wanted only the wealth and benefits of eternal life without any understanding of how to maintain true fulfillment. They would gladly steal what they wished for, even kill for it, as in life, nothing has changed. The only love that exists in them, is the warped love of self, that has always ruled their thoughts and actions.

Having come up from the grave, now what? Satan and his demonic fallen angel host begin to work miracles of their own, healing the wounds, and making ready an army. The city of God is a bright beacon of the perfection the wicked will not enjoy. The obvious wealth lies there for the taking. The inhabitants are push-overs, love-obsessed, weaklings. There will not be any real resistance, for the inhabitants do not wish to fight at all. Easy marks. And so the wicked are marshaled into hosts of mighty men, women, and children filled with hate in their eyes and souls. Love has left them. Hope has abandoned this crowd, They have nothing to lose, nothing is left to them but to kill the inhabitants and in so doing banish God to a far-off part of the universe to sleep while his fallen creations run amok, This is the fate that Satan convinces the wicked they can achieve under his leadership. He claims to know the secret to killing God, which is to say, putting God to sleep, so they can finally be free of His overbearing laws, and need for worship.

Here even at the end of all things, the great deceiver once again spins lies into beliefs. It is he who requires worship. It is he who would gladly control our every thought to insure his place at the forefront of our lives, even now on the precipice of losing it all. He has no choice to proceed to his doom. He has no options left to hurt God but to keep the wicked committed to rejecting the source of all Love. And so he uses the only weapon he has left, deceit and guile to motivate men to hasten their own destruction. No forgiveness is sought now. No repentance sought. No change of mind, heart, and soul – no surrender to Christ will be attempted now. No, only preparation to conquer what was not given.

If I wake in this crowd, rather than to the mercy of heaven and my loving Lord, I will know it is my fault, and I deserve what is coming. But I cannot imagine doing anything but laying face down in the dirt and weeping at the loss that I will never spend precious time with my Savior God. I would pray for death, for the mercy of non-existence. For to be so close to the source of love, and to find I have rejected it, to find my desire was insincere, my surrender far from complete, to find I have succeeded – only - in killing myself. This is the stark realization that proximity forces in the minds of those who thought they knew better. In the minds of all those who chose to serve expediency rather than God, in the minds of every skeptic who would not hear the word of the Lord, in the minds of every coward to who listened to the voice of men over the still small voice of conscience. To these; the stark realization that there will be no joyful reunions in perfection, only an imminent death.

Yet despite what are obvious facts, the wicked choose again to believe a lie, and they march on the city figuring to overthrow it easily. As they near the gates of pearl, the sky becomes a theatre such as has never been witnessed by men. Satan is frozen unable to move. The hearts of all are stilled by the spectacle of it all. Both righteous and wicked alike stare at the panoply that was once our atmosphere. In this 3D, HD, projection is told the story of Satan’s fall from grace, of our parents in the garden, and then down through time each significant event in the great controversy. Each man, woman, and child, whether saved or not, sees their own lives play out in real time before their eyes – but this time their eyes are opened to the attempts God makes to redeem us, and our responses to His love. We see the effects of the great controversy with evil on our lives from womb to tomb. Then for all to see, a replay of the life of Christ, His birth, death, resurrection and ascension. Afterwards, the martyrs and the history of gospel unfolds, finally his second coming replayed. Time is irrelevant during this presentation as all see their own lives, and the story is revealed in truth to all.

Even the wicked cannot resist the power of Love in front of their eyes, and each and every voice declares that ONLY the lamb is worthy, that truly there is ONLY one God, one Son, and one Holy Spirit. The righteous again hurl themselves down in abject humility discarding their crowns and weeping that they too once caused our Savior the pain He endured to save us all. The sadness is so thick in the air you could cut it with a knife. For while there is gratitude that mercy has saved each of the redeemed, there is great sadness in the city that wicked would not be so redeemed. The disease of self has now finally claimed the throngs that lay outside the city gates. They will never sing His praise with us, join in service, and experience the perfection of love. Their time is at an end.

And as the wicked return to their senses, hardening their hearts once again to the influence of love, their cry ascends to kill the creator. Where only moments before they could not contain acknowledging His worthiness, now that self has returned to control again, they must kill the thing that is worthy. For all deviation from God’s ways leads only to killing the creator. This is the lesson of sin. There is no middle road. There is no compromise with evil. There is only God and good and life and love, the opposite of all of that – no middle road, no grey area. Satan represents now to the world what sin does. He is unmasked before his followers. Men marvel that he is not nearly as impressive as he tried to portray. He is nothing. He is marred by the evil he has so long nourished in himself. Men begin to question why they were ever so deceived.

And the curtain drops … Clouds gather from nowhere, but rain will not be found. Instead, great drops of burning hail begin to fall to the ground. Fire rains from heaven itself, it explodes from the magma under the earth, there is no escape from it. And the wicked begin to burn, each consumed according to the sentences proscribed so long ago. Satan will die last, as he is the father of all evil, but he will die. And the effects of hell, the punishment of death, of eternal non-existence will last forever and ever. The smoke of their torment ascending forever and ever refers to the profound effects of sin ever fresh in each redeemed mind. One by one, all the wicked pass away into nonexistence, until finally only death itself is left to be consumed. And so it is. No more death. No more fire. No more punishment to dread, or to witness. The war is finally over. Evil is no more. Gone forever. It is time for something we can hardly begin to comprehend in our current state …

Friday, October 8, 2010

Millennia ...

One thousand years. The Bible speaks of a thousand years in Revelations chapter 20, as a sort of time-out for Satan. He is bound to this earth alone in solitude for a thousand years with no-one to deceive. Those who did not embrace Christ and the freedom from evil He offers die and remain asleep until the thousand years are ended. At that point they are resurrected for a little season. But before we get too far ahead, I would like to focus a bit of attention on the thousand years.

We saved followers of God will be in heaven (the city). We will be given coverings of light, a harp which we will instinctively know how to play, a new name, a ring, and a crown containing stars to symbolize those we were instrumental in helping to show the love of God to. We will be eating from the tree of life and drinking from the river of life. We will be feasting at the table of God in gigantic banquets, and singing songs of praise not even the angels can truly understand. And we will be casting our crowns at the feet of Jesus as we come to realize our true unworthiness, and His great love and mercy that sees us in the place we are in. But we are not here for just parties, and worship. There is a work still to perform; a work requiring a thousand years.

First; why that number? After all Satan could have been bound for a day or a million years, it is relatively immaterial to us isn’t it, as we have forever in our mindsets at this point. Some believe, this thousand years is a symbol of the Sabbath rest, as our created life on earth is about 6000 years old, the seventh millennia could be a symbolic recognition by our creator that our earth itself needed a rest. This kind of speculation regarding the significance of numbers in the Bible is interesting, but not necessarily based in fact. Similar speculations exist around the number 400 for example. There was about 400 years between the flood and Abraham, 400 more years until Moses, 400 years of Judges, 400 years of Kings, and 400 years of captivity and desolation just prior to Christ’s first coming. Since then another 2000+ years have passed. There are 12 tribes of Israel names after their 12 brother / sons of Jacob; there are 12 gates to the city, and 12 foundation stones it is built upon; 12 disciples that became 12 apostles. Seven days in a week; seven candlesticks in a holder in the temple; seven last day churches; Interesting phenomenon around numbers, but nothing too telling – so why introduce a millennia now?

Perhaps this thousand years is for the benefit of Satan himself; a chance for him to contemplate all the vast pain he is responsible for; a chance for him to realize just how far from God and perfection one can go when at first the deviation looks so small. But as Satan seems to have only ever hardened his position against God, I doubt this time period is for his benefit. What about us? I submit there are two pressing concerns left over from our time spent on earth. The first is the disposition of those who are not with us in perfection. We have never been intended to judge anyone while on earth, the lives, actions, and motives of others are hidden from our view; but in heaven this situation changes. The biggest judicial review of history itself begins, as the books are thrown open to all who have interest to review the records of the fallen and insure God’s judgments are fair and upright. It will be difficult for parents to see a missing child, and not question if perhaps a mistake has been made. Still more difficult for married couples who spend their lives together, attend church regularly, and find they are now parted in eternity (one waiting the resurrection of the wicked, one already in perfection). To let go of the love for those we care most about, will require a degree of “proof” so often demanded in our world.

And the records will be opened. We will see every detail of the lives we examine, from the earliest cognitive responses, to the dying breath and thoughts. We will see every deed, every word, and every thought behind them as recorded in the books of life and of death in heaven. And the pain of it will be immense. For we will share the pain God feels, when He is forced to acknowledge His rejection in the hearts of those He thinks only to love. It breaks the heart of God to be rejected by His creations, His children, His precious treasures; as it will then break our hearts no longer burdened with pride, selfishness, and thoughts of how we might be perceived to be caught crying. Tears will flow like rivers as we read the detailed accounts of those we loved, of memories we never saw from their perspectives, as time after time they choose to reject love, and embrace self-interest. Every attempt that God makes to lure them to Him is rejected. Every sin against them committed even by us, is capitalized on, by Satan to harden their hearts against our God. For we bear responsibility in the loss of our family, of our loved ones, of our world, and community. Our lack of action, our lack of giving when it was needed, our unwillingness to sacrifice time, energy, or resources when needed to save another at the most critical times will have played a role in the demise of another’ eternal soul.

We do NOT yet understand the great price we are paying with our constant addiction to self-interest in this life. We have no idea of the magnitude of our tiniest decisions. We have no idea the impact of our casual words spoken without thought of how they may be heard and interpreted. We are so careless with the lives of others, as we refuse to see the value in other souls, and focus only on our own. Were all the members of a church to simultaneously fall into vision and foresee the great impact of their selfishness during this special millennia, they would awaken and give every cent they had to the cause of Christ. They would gladly quit their jobs, and spend every ounce of energy ministering to the needs of those who now they ignore. For the price of a lost soul, weighs too heavy on perfected hearts. When finally we love as He loves, we are not equally protected and assured that we did all we could to help others as God does. For God is perfect in His efforts to redeem fallen man, but we; we are much less perfect. We put self ahead of our efforts to save others, as self blinds us to the cost and impacts of what we do. It will be at this time, that we will require healing from our God in order to continue to exist. And healing will come again, as He wipes all tears away from our eyes. For despite our shortcomings and responsibility for the loss of other souls, our God remained faithful to try to redeem them, and they would not.

Those who believe that hell burns forever, do not fully understand what it is like to have heart like the one of our God. To love as God loves is not a casual thing, or a part-time endeavor. Love cannot be blinded to the needs or pains of another, rather love is keenly aware of these things. To love as God loves is to be filled with love from bottom to top, to be consumed with how to bring peace, joy, and comfort to the object of our love – with NO thought of reward. To love another is its own reward. Our time in heaven must be long enough for us to insure for ourselves for all time that our God has been just in how He has dealt with those who refused to embrace Him. But our time must have a limit so that we do spend our days in dread of the execution of the sentences that have been pronounced.

For me, I almost do not want to know. The mercy that I would be in perfection is enough for me to trust in whatever judgments God has made on those I find missing. I already know, my record will be wanting. I already know, I have not done enough to save those I love. I already know, my selfishness will be more than enough to break me in the world to come. No matter what I do from this point forward, my deeds to this point have caused more pain than sought redemption. I already know I have been an instrument of destruction, more than a reflection of His love. While I believe He can and does forgive me; for me to open the records of others to review and remember my own participation in their demise is already too much for me to bear. Even so Lord, save me from myself and the evil I seem powerless to evict from my soul.

The self-interested heart finds a kind of fulfillment in the judging of others. There is a kind of satisfaction in trying to uncover the truth, and render a just sentence, for deserved behaviors. We think of judging the wicked in these terms today, because our hearts are infected with self. But when made pure from our disease; the work of judging those who were more like us that we care to admit, and who suffered at our own hands will not be a satisfying, fulfilling work. It will be nothing but sad. Sorrow will fill the halls of heaven while this work must persist. We will verify what does not need verification. We will review true justice and infinite love, and the mystery of how it can continue to be rejected in the hearts of man. It is a strange work we are destined to perform.

You see it is impossible to fully enjoy eternity at this point. For evil still exists, it exists in the embodiment of Satan bound alone on earth, it exists in his demonic following, it exists in those who sleep and await a resurrection to judgment. While evil continues to exist in the universe, it is impossible to fully enjoy eternity with God. For us to finally be free, the influence of evil must be rid of throughout all of time and space. This must begin in our hearts and minds. We must learn the lesson Satan failed to learn. We must trust God completely, regardless of how it looks to us. We must rely on His wisdom, knowing He does nothing to hurt us, and everything to save us. We must come to know, that only God can be trusted despite whatever considerable knowledge we gain over time. This lesson Satan failed to learn. When facing a conflict with God, He broke trust with God, and trusted in himself to the downfall of everything that followed him in this. Our ability to choose away from God will exist forever, but our inclination to choose it will be halted for permanently etched in our minds is the price for lack of trust.

We must also learn the lesson that Adam failed, by not trusting God with those who we love. We must be confident that God loves us all, and will provide for our need to love in a special way for all time and eternity. For we will never tire of loving, as love itself is the basis or definition, or substance, or power, make-up of our God beyond the point of our current understanding. Given our choice to trust God above ourselves, and with everything that we love; we will finally be ready to see the extinction of evil from all the Universe. And this extinction is right around the corner …

Friday, October 1, 2010

Second Coming ...

And just when you thought your life was at the end of its rope … Given the massive scenes of destruction described in Revelations that immediately precede the most anticipated event in history - the second coming of Christ; it is a miracle that anyone is alive and still waiting. From the loss of religious freedoms by well-intentioned moralists, to the coming of Satan as Christ – from the prohibition to follow the Bible, to the demands to worship as one is told, not as one believes – from the plagues that comes from God, and the destruction and demonic possessions that originate from Satan – now finally to the mental agony of knowing your past is laden with sin, but unable to find one in the present to ask forgiveness for: it all comes down to this – Jesus returns.

A small dark cloud appears in the sky about the size of a man’s hand, as it approaches the earth it becomes larger and larger. Scientists will no doubt attribute this event to a world-wide cataclysmic end to our existence. As it approaches it transforms from darkness to light, eventually becoming more brilliant than the sun. I imagine when He is finally near enough that every eye shall see Him, He will be seen large enough to encircle the Globe, surrounded by angels in the clouds around Him. What the wicked will hear as the most ominous sound in human history, the righteous will hear as the most beautiful music they could ever comprehend. The sound of love to one, is the sound of guilt to the other. The sounds of acceptance and belonging to the those who have maintained their allegiance to His word, is the sound of impending doom to those who have rejected it. Our brothers, wives, and children personally engaged in the premeditated act of taking our very lives to extinguish all remaining opposition to the world’s new leader Satan disguised as Christ, will break off from their deeds and realize quickly their error.

Terror begins to fill the hearts of those who have sworn their allegiance to the imposter Christ. They realize they are deceived, and even more realize their own willingness to participate in the deception. Those who presumed they had control over the lives and fates, and believed that nothing could touch them now, find themselves vulnerable in the presence of true power. They like Adam and Eve in the garden, feel exposed, naked, unable to mask their wickedness. And “self” cries out to hide from the expositor of its evil nature. They begin to think better to die, than to face the picture of infinite love with a heart that is devoid of all love. Great regret fills their minds, as they realize all the times that love reached out to them, and they refused it. Their unyielding addiction to self overwhelms them, and they begin to seek suicide as their answer, crying for the rocks and debris to fall on them and hide them from the light of love.

But as afraid as the wicked are, there are a few Charlatans who believe despite their recent past, and compromises with evil to stay alive, they will be forgiven and join with those who have remained faithful unto death. They approach Christ, and ask Him, why they are not ascending to greet Him in the clouds, for they have waited a long time too. And He reveals to them the emptiness of their words as He says … “Depart from me, for I know you not.” Their religious actions were as upright as any human eye could determine. They cast out demons, healed the sick, preached to the masses – and yet never had a true conversion of the heart. They never learned how to love, or what love means. For despite their outward appearances, they did not visit those in prison (the guilty). They felt no kinship with the homeless (the poor, and sometimes mentally ill). They had no sympathy on the sick when the cameras and lights were not around. In short, they were able to walk by every need – unaffected. If this is you today, you should ask Christ to change your heart so that you see “need” as He sees it; so that in this great and mighty day, you will not be a part of this crowd.

So many profess Christ in our world today, but do not allow Him to truly change who they are. They do not let Him root out the self-addiction we all suffer from, and as such are blind to the needs all around us. Without true change the heart does not break for the condition of our fellow man, it hardens against them. Without true reform, we are unmoved at the plight of others, and completely subsumed with our own fates. The mark of a Christian is the tear stains on his cheeks as he listens to the pain of his brother. The mark of a Christian is far from the 666 branded in the evil doers, but is the smile he offers when helping another’s needs even at the expense of his own. The mark of a Christian is the heart of Christ embedded within him. It is unnatural for humans to become like Christ, it takes an active action of Christ on our hearts and minds to become as He is. We must ask for it. We must allow it. Or we will never know the joy or the power of it in our lives today or in heaven.

We watch amazed from our positions around the globe, as He calls all the righteous dead to resurrection. There are no disembodied souls accompanying Him on His triumphant return to earth to claim His family and servants. There are angels with Him. There are those first fruits He took with Him from His first trip to earth when we arose on the third day. There is Enoch, who was the first human to so totally submit his own will to Christ, that he literally left earth to walk heavens streets since before the flood. There too is Elisha who was carried away on a chariot of fire. Moses who was called from the earth since long ago. These men and women were real humans, who lived real human lives, and some died real human deaths. But they were all invited to heaven before the main harvest, as a sampling of first fruits to present to God. But now is the time for the main harvesting of the world.

The remaining dead come forth from the last place on earth they died or were buried. They come forth from death, nowhere near as they went into it. They come renewed, recreated in perfection, back to the image their creator intended, fully restored in body, mind, and heart. They are the perfect age, perfect height, perfect weight. They can see for miles with their transformed eyes, and hear a pin drop at the edge of the galaxy with their renewed ears. Their hearts are beating rapidly as their king who they gave their last ounce of courage for has called them back into existence. Death, like sleep, has passed many years as if only a second. Their minds were just seconds ago occupied on their imminent demise and now are fully engaged at the spectacle of their ascension in to the clouds to be with their King. They have no knowledge of what has taken place since they died, nor how long it has been. It is as if their lives have never been interrupted by death, only a momentary pause, and then the scenery changed dramatically.

Now perfected in His image, their hearts, minds, and bodies are free from all traces of sin. They have no natural inclinations to do evil, or serve self. Those things have been finally, and fully eradicated from their existence. They are inclined to love. They are inclined to serve. And now, as the realization of what is happening to them comes fully to mind they turn and ask their accompanying guardian angels, where their loved ones are. I hope the answers do not break their hearts once again.

How merciful our God to allow the dead to sleep untouched by woe in our world that continues after they leave it. Those who believe the dead in Christ, never really die, have no concept of what it would be like to be perfect mind, heart, and soul, and watch the sin and evil of your loved ones be repeated again and again and again. No Saint, should even have to be exposed to the true nature of evil in those they care about around them. The revelation of true character would break their hearts over and over and over again. It is the mercy of God, to allow the dead to sleep without dreams of consciousness of any kind. When finally awakened in the great day of His coming, their lives will forever focus forward on the positive things around them, no more to contend with the burden of sin.

But on this day, death itself must yield up its harvest to our King. Adam and Eve arise, and every faithful servant of God since them to us who have fallen, wake up. They are caught up first says the scripture, then we which are alive and remain (Thessalonians 4:16). Finally it is our turn, our angels are revealed to us as in the twinkling of an eye (or perhaps better worded the blink of an eye), we too are transformed into the perfection God intended for us. Like the dead who have been raised, we are still unique, still distinctive, and still recognizable to those who knew us – but perfection is a long way from what we are today. The blemishes in our skin are gone, the discolorations in our hair gone, the cowlicks, the scraggly beards, the imperfect muscles, the over-abundance of fat cells, the imperfections in our senses, and perhaps most importantly – our minds are freed from the effects of sin both inherited and indulged in our lifetimes. We are truly, and finally free.

This alone, the final and full freedom from sin and all of its effects, and inclinations makes this day the greatest in the existence of mankind short the days that enabled it. Only the life of Christ in our world could mean more to us than the day of our freedom, for without His life, our day of freedom would never be. The Bible will have finally reached its fulfillment as reconciliation with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will have been achieved. No more prisoner to self, or bound to serve it, we can walk into the throne room and bow and speak directly to the God of the Universe. This is beyond the imaginations of men. It is asking an ant to describe nuclear fusion in a common language, our minds like those of the ant, have been limited by our sinful condition so long, that in the present world there are no words to describe the meaning it will have to be face to face with God without fear, with only love.

Time itself is put on life support. As a concept, time will lose much significance when facing eternity with God. But there is still some events that take place in the measure of time. A prophet once wrote we would not immediately return to the city that same day. It would take as much as a week to get there. I imagine during this week, families will reunite. Lessons will be given to us about the remainder of the Universe, how it functions, how to travel it at the speed of thought. I imagine our work will be laid out in front of us as for the coming 1000 years we have a new duty to perform. I imagine there will be so much joy and information than even now, our feeble minds cannot begin to comprehend it all. But it will be.

Back on earth, the ascensions of both living and dead righteous complete. There remain a few tasks to complete. There were a small group of people who were raised at the second coming of Christ to witness it first-hand. These were not a privileged few, rather a cursed few. They were the priests who killed our Lord on His first trip here. They were raised to see His words fulfilled with their own eyes. And their lament was loud, and formidable. As with all the wicked who were seeking death, the final plague of hail in the fifty pound variety begins to fall and they are granted the deaths they seek. Accompanied with the first world-wide earthquake plus 10 on the Richter scale, islands moved out of the sea, coastlines fall into it. In short, nothing survives this final global ending event except Satan. The world will lie dormant and destroyed completely for the next 1000 years. Satan will be bound here for a 1000 year “time-out”. He will be alone with no-one to tempt chained to the desolation he is responsible for.

But for those who have experienced the transforming power of Christ on our lives; for those who have remained steadfast to His word and have not yielded or compromised with evil for the sake of preservation of their earthly existence – this will be the day we have waited long for. This will be the final end to our earthly existence. From this point forward, our nature, our bodies, and our very lives will return to the perfection God intended. From this point forward, our point of view, will be radically altered. But there is more still to come …