Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | January 23, 2018

The Final Judgment, It’s All True, All of it! Part 6

The Great White Throne Judgement

The Bible describes a series of resurrections starting with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Broadly speaking there are two classes of resurrection, the resurrection of the justified and the resurrection of the unjust. The resurrection of the justified is in three stages and one last stage for the unjust:

Stage 1, the Lord Jesus Christ

Stage 2, the Church

Stage 3, Israel and the Old Testament saints

Stage 4, all who have rejected salvation by faith in Jesus Christ

The resurrection of the unjust comes last; this is described in Revelation 20:11-15 where it is written:

“11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

The scene presented by these verses is fearful beyond our ability to even imagine. Those who have rejected Christ have usually turned to the creation as their support and verse 11 tells us that earth and sky have fled from his presence; all of the things on which the unbeliever has depended is now gone. Imagine a black void with only a great white throne in view and on that throne the judge who will pronounce you guilty and condemn you to an eternity of torment and suffering; nothing is worth that, absolutely nothing!

What About the Earth and Sky?

In verse 11 we are told the earth and sky fled from his presence; in other sections of the Bible we are told of it’s future with varying descriptions. For example, in 2 Peter 3:11-13 we are told:

11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.”

In Romans 8:18-22 we read:

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

For a number of years I was under the impression the present heaven and earth would be destroyed by fire but then the significance of the verses in Romans began to have an impact on my thinking and I began to believe that possibly the fiery destruction of 2 Peter just might be a refiner’s fire, a purifying fire that would destroy the corruption left by sin and restore the original purity of God’s creation, the kind of creation that would cause the Trinity to once again say:

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! Genesis 1:31

I’m inclined to believe this is what the Trinity has planned but this time it will be even better! I have long observed what I believe to be a respect the Trinity shows to his creation; it would have been so simple to just wipe the slate clean and start all over. Instead of doing this the Trinity sought redemption for his creation even if it meant becoming a part of that creation and dying a painful death.

The loving grace and mercy the Trinity has shown will continue and the creation, which has groaned under the curse, will finally join in with God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. The refiner’s fire which will purifiy all of God’s children from sinful works as described in “The Coming Family Celebration” will also purify all of creation as a new heaven and a new earth, totally free of the corruption of sin.

The Preservation of all Life

In light of my comments about creation and the Trinity’s respect for it I’m compelled to express my opinion on one other matter; a comparable respect for the many animal lives that have been so beautifully and wondrously created. I’m encouraged by several verses including Matthew 10:29 where it is written:

“What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

To me this suggests an awareness and concern if even a small bird shall fall; if the Trinity holds such a view it becomes very easy for me to believe that those special lives that have been created with such loving care and remarkable individuality will not be ignored but find their place along with a restored creation in the new heaven and the new earth. I’m truly hopeful that “the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” will include the wonderful, beautiful animals with which we have been blessed by God.

There is no specific Biblical support for this position but to me it would be so like the Trinity to lovingly care for them too. In all too many cases these small treasures have suffered at the hands of man and I can imagine them too, as a beautiful part of creation, looking forward to the day when they will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Next time we will think on eternity and the new heaven and the new earth.


Responses

  1. Brother David, these posts are so edifying, thank you for the ever important focus on eternity! (Not sure if I’d agree with your interpretation of I I Peter 3:10, sounds to me that “everything will be destroyed by fire” literally.) However, the coming Judgement is so neglected in preaching, a tremendous lacking in our pulpits power to convict man and prepare him for that fearful day.
    I often ponder over magnificent animals of creation and the ones so near and dear to me. God knows them personally, “I know every bird in the mountains and the creatures of the field are mine” I am often comforted by Job 12:10, “In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind”.

    Forgive me if I commented too much. I really appreciate your blog, especially “It’s all true, all of it!” Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand your concern, I too thought that meant total destruction but how could creation look forward with eager hope if its future is total destruction and how could it join with God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay? These verses in Romans 8 have given me something to think about: “20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

      Thank you for your interest and your comment, it’s not too long!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve mentioned before that in my LifeGroup study (Sunday evenings with high school girls) last year, we looked in depth at this very discussion of whether heaven and earth would be destroyed or refined. The conclusion that study came to was the same as yours, dad. It said that through what scripture presented, that it would be refined through fire and brought back to it’s original glory. Somehow, that gave me great comfort to know that God loved his original creation and did not want to destroy it but redeem it. Not just humans, but the earth and sky and animals, everything. I have never contemplated before that it included precious animals, but why wouldn’t it. Animals are such an incredible blessing to humans in a multitude of ways and they have most certainly suffered under the curse and are also eager for redemption and restoration. I love you dad. Thank you for always writing your blogs, they are a blessing.

    Like

    • Dear Karen,
      Your comment brightened my day; I’m so happy you are finding my thoughts helpful and encouraging. Animals are so very precious, God’s willingness to give each of them a unique personality is a strong indication they have great value to our Lord; it is easy for me to believe they will have their share in the glories to come. Thank you for commenting!
      Love,
      Dad

      Like


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