I’ll start this blog entry off with common knowledge among us Christians.
We know that God is good. And we know that God’s goodness is not merely one dimensional. His goodness is compromised of different characteristics, which are often reflected throughout the bible to help us better understand God in all of his glory. Two prominent facets of God’s goodness are:
1.God is good because he is loving. He is full of loving-kindness, and within his love and mercy, he has made a way for us to be set free from the wrath that we desperately and rightly deserve.
2.God is good because he is just. In order for God to be morally ‘upright’. (Which is the definition for goodness) We know that God, as a “good” judge, must judge the wicked, also known as those who have violated God’s laws. If God were to let evil prevail, I simply don’t understand how one would say He is Good, because he is no longer morally upright. Because God is good, this simply cannot happen. Only someone “evil” themselves would let evil prevail. Capeesh?
One of the reasons I find eschatology so exciting is because God’s character is revealed through the prophecies we see in the bible. An excellent illustration of this would be the “Resurrections” mentioned in Revelations (and other parts of the bible) It’s a tricky concept to follow, simply because very few pastors actually talk about this particular gem found in the bible. So before I get into what the first and second resurrections are. Let me say that in simplicity, the first and second resurrections are the two facets of God’s goodness displayed through: Heaven and Hell. Everlasting life vs everlasting contempt: God’s love and God’s justice.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
In the book of Daniel, he mentions a literal “waking up” of the world, those who have died and are being woken up by God and those who are ‘alive’ and being brought together or “caught up” together if you will, when Christ returns (Notice how he says ‘many’, not all will awake indicating some are alive when Christ returns In Daniel 12:2. But that is another story). Let me just say, that you do not want to be apart of the “Second Resurrection”, also known as the second death or the resurrection of judgement, or also said to be the resurrection of the unjust according to scripture. If we start to dissect this, it brings up a whole sea of other questions to mind: what happens when we die then ? Do our souls leave our body? Do we literally sleep until Christ wakes us up? Or do our souls live on? And mesh with our spiritual bodies when Christ resurrects us? I am no scholar so I’m not going to attempt to answer those questions. So lets first take a look at what the bible says about the first resurrection and deal with that:
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
1 Thess 4:15-18
15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,4 that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
3 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
To be continued! (My hands are cramping up!)