The End of Hope
Jesus’ story of the rich man (Matthew 19.23) and beggar (James 2.5) illustrates the double meaning of this title; see Luke 16.19-31. [Side bar, moral of the story: Matthew 6.19-21.] Hades is the abode of the departed until the Rapture (Revelation 4.1) or the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20.11-15), for the residents of Paradise (Luke 23.43) or the Pit (Isaiah 14.12-15), respectively. Notice that there a “chasm” of impossibility for travel between the two, but Abraham, at least, is able to converse in both. Jesus had discussed this, generally, with Nicodemus in John 3.16-21, as a warning. We pass by such people daily, as Apostle Paul reminds in 2 Corinthians 2.15-16. Our “scent” expresses the end of hope to each!
A. Final Assignments
- Revelation 20.11-15 describes the awesome event of the Great White Throne judgment.
- Because of our acceptance of the truth of John 14.6, Christians will not be condemned; for, our names will have been written in the Book of Life. We will be there in attendance with Jesus, as Paul assures in 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18. Notice that believers in Paradise will be gathered before any believers still alive, a brief “twinkling of an eye” (a blink = 1/32 of a second) difference, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.52. Powerful God!
- The Great White Throne judgment will be for those from the Pit of Hades. They will suffer the same “lake-of-fire” fate of the chief resident, satan (Revelation 12.7-17, John 12.31, Ephesians 4.7-10, Isaiah 14.12-15).
- Paul explains the differentiation further Romans 2.1-11, especially the contrasts of verses seven and eight. Those of verse eight were detailed in the study “161204 The Devolution of Society” (sozoclass.com).
B. The Judge
- Jesus’ description in Matthew 25.31-46 is of the Great White Throne judgment. Jesus is not describing works for salvation but works resulting from salvation, as He said to the Pharisees in Matthew 9.10-13, including Hosea 6.6. For, Jesus was responding to people described by John 6.47 which understanding is explained by John 1.12 and which understanding is explained by John 3.16 and which understanding is explained by John 14.6! Contrast this with Jesus condemnation of the Pharisees in Matthew 23.4; no mercy!
- Jesus, again, identifies Himself as the Judge in John 5.22-23. Paul repeats this identity to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17.30-31. Apostle Peter drives this point deep into the Jewish leaders and people in Acts 2.14-36, reminding them of what Jesus had said to them in Matthew 22.41-46, quoting Psalm 110.1.
- So, Paul, twice, expresses dismay and disbelief that followers of Jesus would consider any other ‘salvation’ than the “Judge”, in 2 Corinthians 11.3-4 and Galatians 1.6-9.
- Peter states the same to the Sanhedrin or ruling Jewish counsel in Acts 4.12. Although his statement concern the physical healing of a paralytic, the truth can be applied generally , as Jesus does with another paralytic in Matthew 9.1-8. [Side bar: How were healing and forgiving sins equal? Fundamentally, sin is disbelief in God (Hebrews 11.6); sins express lifestyles of such disbelief (Matthew 15.18-20).] Receiving faith for healing expressed the paralytic’s faith in Jesus as Savior. Paul summarizes the power of the name ‘Jesus’ in Philippians 2.9-11 and, then, encourages application in daily life in verses 12-13, as Peter spoke to the Sanhedrin.
- So, Paul is, rightly, dismayed and in disbelief that the Galatians would want to abandon the only Savior, in Galatians 1.6-9.
- He states the most important reason for remaining loyal in Galatians 1.4:”…that He might rescue us from this present evil age….” There is no escape from Earth apart from Jesus! And, besides, Jesus is the Judge at the Great White Throne judgment!
D. Pivot from Evil
- Consequently, 1 John 2.17 gives us rationale from Apostle John: “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (my underscore for emphasis). Societies wounds are characterized as “the lust of the flesh” and/or “the lust of the eyes” and/or “the boastful pride of life” (verse 16). Passing away!
- Paul, too, in 1 Corinthians 7.31: “…the form of this world is passing away” (my underscore for emphasis). Luke 17.26-37 helps to explain the context of Paul’s words “use of the world”. Our world could change in a moment!
- This is what John the Revelationist saw and wrote in Revelation 20.11: “…from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (my underscore for emphasis).
- To not be left behind to suffer God’s wrath (Romans 1.18-32, Revelation 6 [especially 6.16-17]; 8-9; 9-12; 14-20; 16.1-18.24) before being sentenced to the lake of fire is the best reason to pivot from darkness to light, from satan’s kingdom to God’s, as Paul states in Acts 26.16-18!
- Jesus was sent to rescue us from this fate; Galatians 1.4. Praise You, Savior and Lord!
The Great White Throne judgment is real and will occur when God calls an end to time (Mark 13.32). At that moment, the hope of Heaven will be realized by Christians (1 Corinthians 15.24) but lost for those skeptical of John 14.6. This scenario is visualized by analogy in Numbers 21.4-9. Would you have looked?
Paul makes one final plea in Hebrews 3.12-15 for our attention before the end of hope! And, he emphasizes the point in Hebrews 9.27-28. May we be the “scent of life” (2 Corinthians 2.16; Isaiah 45.22) to our societies, which portray symptoms of death.
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.