The Waking Dead
We've been studying through what I've been calling the greatest collection of predictive prophecies in the history of the human race. We've spent five straight weeks here at CT studying these, but we've had a couple of weeks off.
So what I'd like to do is to take a couple of minutes here at the beginning of this study and just recap several of the predictions that we've seen as we've gone through the Book of Daniel over the past five studies. And I don't have time to prove every single one with chapter and verse, although I do have references on the slides. The point of this is if you've been here for the study, the whole thing is coming together. If you weren't here for all or part of it, I hope this will motivate you to want to go and check into this for yourself. I think especially if you're a skeptical person, it warrants checking into these previous teachings. But I want to take a look at Daniel's predictions before we study the final chapter in the book of Daniel, let me just run through these.
The point here is just to see the overwhelming quantity of predictions we saw.
Recap of Daniel’s Fulfilled Predictions
- In Daniel, 2, 5, and 7, he predicts the rise and fall of Babylon as a world power.
- This was Daniel predicting these things back in the 500s B.C. 2500 years ago, these things started to take place and they were written down.
- I argued the first week of this series why we can be confident that Daniel was written in the 500 B.C. when he says it was written.
- He predicts never Nebuchadnezzar’s temporary insanity. In Daniel 4, we saw the rise of the subsequent empire, the Medo-Persian Empire from the east to replace Babylon.
- We saw that the Medes in that empire would rise up first and the Persians would come up next, even though they were both one empire. This all took place.
- We saw the very night of the fall of Babylon predicted in Daniel 5.
- We saw the rise of Greece in the west, just like scripture predicted.
- We saw that Greece's first king, Alexander, would be mighty, but cut off suddenly in his prime.
- Alexander's Greece was split into four empires, as predicted.
- In Daniel 8 he predicted a ruler would rise out of one of the offshoots of the Greek Empire, and then he would viciously persecute the Jews (Antiochus IV Epiphanes)
- Antiochus would rise through intrigue
- Antiochus would attack the Jews unexpectedly
- Antiochus would stop temple sacrifices for 1150 days
- We that Antiochus IV would desecrate the temple through an Abomination.
- We saw that Antiochus would not die by human hand but through some other cause
- That God would send the Jews back to Israel sometime after Babylon's fall (Daniel 9)
- The Jews rebuild their temple upon returning.
- The Roman Empire would replace the Greek Empire.
- We saw that the Romans would possess a military might the world had never before seen
- We saw that a king would issue a decree to rebuild a defensive Jerusalem (Daniel 9)
- We saw that 476 years had passed between that decree in the coming the Messiah in 33 A.D.
- We saw the Messiah would be killed, apparently accomplishing nothing.
- We saw that the Romans would destroy Jerusalem and the temple after the Messiah's death. That happened in 70 AD.
- In addition to all these John Walvoord, Bible scholars says Daniel 11:1-34 contains approximately 135 prophetic statements, all now perfect fulfilled.
- Nations descended from the fallen Roman empire would retain their identities and reunite a fragile coalition in the last days.
- We saw that the Roman coalition would be capable of becoming the most powerful nation in the world. (And we know I'm not saying the EU is Rome 2. I'm not saying it's not.) What I'm saying is this is plausible that Europe can retain their identity, get back together in a powerful coalition.
- The final ruled world ruler, a.k.a. the Antichrist, will arise from this Roman coalition.
- It hasn't happened yet, but the stage is set. You can see where this would happen, right?
- We saw the antichrist will rule over the entire world
- Again, this hasn't happened. But the stage is set for this. Things are ready in a way that it simply wouldn't have been 50 years ago.
- The Antichrist will control everyone's purchasing power by assigning people a number.
- It would have been crazy even 30 or 40 years ago. Now the stage is set. The technology is there.
- The Jews will be regathered as a nation in the land of Israel and will regain control of Jerusalem.
- We also saw the Jews will rebuild their temple. That it will be functioning again.
- Now, it is not fulfilled, but they're ready. They've got all the stuff. The Jews would sure like to do that. There’s a pretty thorny political situation in the Middle East. But what scripture says is somehow a temple is going to be running again in the end times.
- Humans would develop weapons capable of wiping out all life. We've got that many times over.
- The final World War will center on the Middle East and Israel.
- Is that really that hard to believe? We're totally ready for that.
- The fall of both the Antichrist and the revived Roman Empire will coincide with the Return of Christ.
- And that obviously hasn't happened yet. But you really wonder how much longer that's going to be. That's the thing that's really struck me as we've studied through this book. These things are happening. It's speeding up. It's happening at an alarming pace.
Why does God give us so much predictive prophecy?
So we can know the messages from him. These are things we can check. It was future when it was written. But now we can look back and see the incredible accuracy. And he's trying to tell you about what will happen in the next life. There are things he says you can't verify. But because they are things we CAN verify; it gives us confidence in the message for the future. It gives us faith that has reasons. That has evidence. He's trying to give you a warning and an offer of eternal life with him. I just summarized 33 major predictions and we still have the cover Daniel 12!
The End of the World As We Know It
Remember Daniel 11? We studied it a couple of weeks ago. It told the story of the Antichrist and the final world war. Tonight, we'll learn just a little more detail about the end of the world as we know it. And then, we'll learn about what comes next, after the end of the world as we know it, which is the topic of eternal interest. So the end of the world as we know it, I think I'm going to have to finally bust out a timeline here. There's a final world war spanning a period of time. Antichrist is at the center of this, as we talked about last time. We know that's going to run right up to the return of Jesus Christ, Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist. That much has been established so far in our Daniel study.
I want to add a little more detail to this by just jumping back to a previous vision in Daniel 9:27. It says that,
He [the Antichrist] will confirm a treaty with many for one ‘seven’ [year period]. This is our last seven-year period.
And so, there's a seven-year period that apparently runs right up to the end of the world. It concludes at the same time as this final World War. It also says (in Daniel 9) that there's some sort of a peace treaty that the Antichrist is going to strike. It's going to be this huge monument to human progress. Finally, we got world peace. So shortly before the greatest war the world has ever seen, we are finally going to have world peace. Everyone’s going to be like, “Yeah, man, we did it. Cool. Go, humanity.”
Antichrist is going to bring this in. That's why people are going to be so into this guy. He's going to do it. People are going to be so hungry for peace that they're going to give up rights, they're even going to give up economic control because they just feel like, “we have to just give this up because this is the only way we're going to be safe.” Well, Daniel 9:27 goes on and says,
In the middle of that [seven-year period], the Antichrist will put an end to sacrifice and offering.
Something happens in the middle of this seven-year period. He says,
at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation.
And so, this ‘abomination of desolation’ that we see referred to in various places in scripture. This apparently is the act where the antichrist shows his true colors, where things turn from peace to war. And that's a war that never ends, a war that God himself has to intervene and say enough to keep human life from being wiped out. Of course, that war is going to run right up to the Return of Christ, it says,
until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
And that's this right here. We've talked about this. Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist. You see how these different passages correlate with one another. It's too big to ever fit into one place. That's why I love to spend so much time on this is and have a night like tonight where we can pull it all together. Synthesis. We're synthesizing things here.
The next version, Daniel, 12:1 one says this,
At that time, Michael, the great prince who protects your people will arise,
It says some sort of angelic thing happens here. Michael's an angel. He's one of two angels named in scripture. He shows up a handful of times. There's something that he and others do in the angelic realm. It doesn't really tell us. One theory is that in another passage that mentions him, Revelation 12, that there is some kind of war between the angels. I don't know if that's what's happening here, but you can read Revelation 12 for yourself if you want. But Daniel tells us that what happened as a result of this is that,
There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.
The greatest time of suffering ever, and that's saying something. You look at human misery now and he says that's nothing compared to the suffering of the end times. That is a time that is also known as the Great Tribulation. And this is the final three and a half years of human history, and will be the worst time to live. This time of the most agonizing suffering is going to be especially bad for the people of God.
And notice Daniel's order of events here. He says, (1) the Antichrist commits the abomination (2) the great tribulation, (3) the great final World War and then (4) the end. Now, let's compare this to what Jesus teaches on the same subject. I'm just going to read a couple of verses. I love this because Jesus is quoting Daniel here when he gives his order of events for the end times. Let me just show you a couple verses in Matthew 24. He says,
The day is coming. [Jesus is talking here right before he dies.] When you will see what Daniel, the prophet spoke about.
He says, ‘I'm going to I'm going to get into Daniel here,’ Jesus says, just like we've been doing. He says,
when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place,
I want you to watch for that. And so you've got the Antichrist, this person standing in the holy place. The antichrist himself enters into the temple. He sets itself up as God. It looks like maybe he bases his headquarters out of there, I don't know. But he goes in and in this brazen move sets himself up as God, according to the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 2) and desecrates the temple. And that is the spark that sets things afire, according to Jesus. And Matthew even says at this point, hey,
let the reader understand.
Matthew writes, he's like, ‘are you listening? This is of utmost importance.’ He says at that point,
those in Judea must flee to the hills.
He says you don't want to be anywhere near Jerusalem when this suffering comes down. Get out of there. There's still time when you see the abomination of desolation. Jesus says,
there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.
It's almost word for word Daniel 12:1, describing the Great Tribulation. Jesus goes on, he says.
In fact, unless that time of calamity is cut short, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God's chosen ones. God is going to be the one to intervene and put this war to an end. And how will He intervene? Well Jesus says a few verses later,
they'll see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Another quote from Daniel 7:13. And so Jesus has the same order of events, (1) Antichrist, (2) abomination in the temple, (3) the Great Tribulation, (4) the war is launched and then (5) God intervenes by sending the Messiah. Just at the last moment. In fact, if He had waited any longer, all life would've been lost. But he doesn't. He comes just in time.
So this time of distress, it's a three and a half year period. We read this in Daniel 7:25 and we're going to read it again later tonight in Daniel 12:6-7. It is a three- and half-year period of suffering.
The Book of Life and the Books of Works
And then he says,
but at that time your people, everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.
And so, what is this book that he's talking about? This is a book that we find in various places in scripture, a book known as the Book of Life. It comes up in conjunction with the end times. And really throughout. I don't think it's a physical book with written paper and pen, but it's a record that God keeps. And what does this book have in it? Well, it has everyone who will be delivered. It's the list of all the people that get into heaven. Back in ancient times, a city would keep a book, a record of the people were citizens of that city. And if you were in the in the book, then you got in. And God says, ‘I got one for heaven.’ The record of people that belong there. And he knows the future before it happens, and so he knows everybody who's going to end up in heaven. And so all those names, it says, are written in that book from even before the beginning of time. It's because he knows how you'll respond to Christ’s offer.
But the Book of Life, it's not a list of good people. It's not like good people go to heaven and bad people don't get in. No, there’s nobody good enough to go to heaven except for Jesus. No, it's a list of forgiving people. Jesus Christ died. He offers his death in your place. You can be forgiven, and you can be cleansed by him. You can have your name entered into the Book of Life. When you receive Christ and ask him to take the penalty for your sins, your name is entered into the Book of Life and you are a citizen of heaven. And that's never going to be taken away. What an awesome offer from God. That's it. That's a decision you can make tonight. You can get your name in the Book and you can know you will be delivered when the world comes to an end.
Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake.
Well, sleeping was a metaphor for death. It's not like people who are just lying there, homeless, sleeping on the ground will wake up. No, he's saying people who've died, who've been buried. And so, what scripture teaches is that when you die, there's a part of you that is physical and there is a part of you that is spiritual. And when you die, those two parts of you are separated for a time. Your body stays. It turns back into dust. Your spirit, on the other hand, the soul, goes somewhere else. It's either a place with God or a place without God, depending on whether your name is in the Book of Life. And then at the end of the world, your body is made new and then it's rejoined with your soul forever to face final judgment, which he's going to go on to talk about.
The resurrection of the body. This is a teaching in the Old Testament. You can see it right here. It's expanded upon in the New Testament. We're going to get some more details in a moment. But notice Daniel's language is a little bit strange. He says, ‘many will awake.’ You'd expect him to say everybody because everybody is resurrected.
But he lays out kind of a weird way,
these to everlasting life, but the others to shame and everlasting contempt.
He groups the resurrection to two different groups of people. Some rise to eternal life. Others rise to shame and everlasting contempt. And so we need to talk about both of these situations here. Revelation 20 gives a little bit more detail as to these resurrections, that it's not just one resurrection that happens at the same time.
Revelation 20:4 says,
the believers came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.
Weird. I never knew this. There's a thousand-year period when Christ comes back, at the beginning of that, believers get their bodies back. At the end of that, non-believers get their bodies back. And so there's a gap between these two resurrections. He says,
This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection.
That's the one you want to be a part of.
The second death has no power over them.
Yes. If you're in the first resurrection, you will only ever die once. Exactly once. Scripture talks about the second death, which we'll talk about in a moment. Some awake to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Revelation 20 tells us a little bit more about the latter group here, the group whose names are not in the Book of Life.
I just want to read a couple verses it says, John says,
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne.
John gets this vision of the dead who are resurrected, standing before the throne of God. This is the latter group, the ones that are woken up to everlasting shame and contempt. John says,
and the books were opened.
We've seen these books in Daniel 7. You can just imagine a stack of books as far and as high as the eye can see. What's in these books? It’s actually another kind of book here.
Another book was open, which is the Book of Life.
Remember the Book of Life? So, there are two types of books. The books and the book. The books and the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
Apparently, God keeps track of everything you do, everything you think, and everything you say. There are detailed records of your life, believe it or not, in heaven. All of the secrets, he says, are going to be exposed for all to see when the end comes. The dead are judged according to what they had done. I would not want to stand up to that judgment. Thank God my name is in the Book of Life because I do not, I could not, stand based on what I've done. God standard is perfection.
What are some sample charges that might be found in the books?
Adultery, murder, and lying, those might be some. You might be saying, ‘well, I'm doing okay on that.’ Although, adultery of the heart, murder of the heart, lying in the heart, those would be sins as well. God knows about those.
Failure to do the good you knew you should have done. James says that's a sin, if you know some good you should do, and you don't do it. Selfishness.
Pride over the good that you did do. What about religious pride? We're proud of all the works we did. We're proud of all the times we went to church and all the rituals we did and all the prayers we said. God says that's pride too.
Failure to thank God in gratitude is a grievous sin that happens every day.
Failure to act from faith for the glory of God.
Failure to love God and other people with all of your heart and soul and mind and strength. That is a really bad sin, according to God. That's the greatest commandment. I violate that one all the time.
Failure to ask for God's forgiveness, for his mercy. That's truly the one unforgivable sin. The rest of these could be forgiven if you received Christ, if you got your name the Book of Life. But if not, that's just going to be one more. That'll be on the list. This list, I don't know how long this is going to take, but he says,
anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
That's what Daniel is saying when he says they'll wake to everlasting shame and everlasting contempt. Those are really strong, really negative terms. I don't like talking about this, but when it comes up right here at Daniel, I feel like there's no way around it. We've got to talk some about hell.
Many Bible teachers deny hell; they don't like it. And they basically edit it right out of the scripture. They avoid the passages that talk about it. It's not a pleasant thing to talk about. I don't know if you ever wonder--You look at the evil in the world, you wonder if there's a God, ‘how can He let this go on? Ever wonder about that? We're like, “Where is God? Why don't you do something?” Well, the Bible says that God promises that he's not slow, but he's being patient. He's giving people a chance to turn to Christ. But at the end, he will finally judge evil. He will finally do something to right the wrongs. And that's what happens at this final judgment.
God doesn't want anybody to go to hell. He says, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” in Ezekiel 33:11. He doesn't want that. He wants you to get your name in the Book of Life. But if you don't want it in there, if you're saying, “I think I'll stand on my works,” if you're too proud to receive Christ forgiveness, then he's going to say, “OK, have it your way.” There are no second chances, there's no working off your sins when you get there. It’s only: Have you received Christ or not? Is your name in the Book of Life or not?
There are various descriptions of hell throughout scripture. Norm Geisler, I think, says this pretty succinctly. He says,
“Nowhere does the Bible describe it as a “torture chamber” where people are forced against their will to be tortured. This is a caricature created by unbelievers to justify their reaction that the God who sends people to hell is cruel. This does not mean that hell is not a place of torment. Jesus said it was (Luke 16:24). But unlike torture, which is inflicted from without against one’s will, torment is self-inflicted. Even atheists (e.g. Sartre) have suggested that the door of hell is locked from the inside. We are condemned to our own freedom from God. Heaven’s presence of the divine would be the torture to one who has irretrievably rejected him. Torment is living with the consequences of our own bad choices. It is the weeping and gnashing of teeth that results from the realization that we blew it and deserve the consequences. Just as a football player may pound on the ground in agony after missing a play that loses the Super Bowl, so those in hell know that the pain they suffer is self-induced. Hell is also depicted as a place of eternal fire. This fire is real but not necessarily physical (as we know it), because people will have imperishable physical bodies (John 5:28–29; Rev. 20:13–15), so normal fire would not affect them.”
Geisler, Norman. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Article on Hell.
This is not a pleasant topic. The Bible brings it up by way of warning and accompanies it with the offer of forgiveness.
Finally, some may ask, “What right does God have to send people to hell? And I think that question shows our problem. We don't realize how bad our sin is or how much God has done to rescue us. We're just so used to living with it. To reject his offer of his only son, to fall that far short of a standard, God says something has to be done about that. He can't just look the other way. This question also ignores the power of free choice that God has given us. As C.S. Lewis says,
“There are only two kinds of people in the end, those who say to God, your will be done and those to whom God says in the end, your will be done.”
Lewis, Screwtape Letters, pg. 69
God says I'm giving you a choice here. You have a choice tonight. What will you choose? There's a lot more that can be said about this subject. But we don't have time. We've got some reading that you can do if this is something you'd like to read about more. We can talk about it afterward as well. But this is one of the groups that is resurrected to an eternity apart from God.
On the other hand, though, he says there's another group, those whose names are in the Book of Life, who are resurrected to everlasting life, eternal life. An awesome eternity with God. This resurrection as described here is not very specific. As we read the New Testament, we see the resurrection is a multi-stage resurrection. There are multiple parts to this resurrection. And I want to try to lay this out for you here.
- The first one, the way I read it, happens before this final seven-year period. It's an event called the Rapture, by theologians. There are a few passages in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15:50ff) that teach that Jesus Christ is going to come and get believers who are alive before this final terrible time of suffering. There are a lot more passages that indicate that he's going to come and get his church before this final period of suffering. It looks like in an instant of time, it says believers will be translated from mortal to immortal, and we'll go, and we'll be with Christ forever. We'll wait out this final terrible time of suffering not here on Earth, but where Christ is. Jesus was the first resurrection. This apparently is the next stage, where Christians get our new bodies, both living and dead. Christians get their new bodies before this final seven-year period.
- Then when Jesus returns, the Old Testament believers are raised with believers who died during this Great Tribulation. And then we go on into this final thousand-year period that we read about. Again, I don’t have time to say much about that tonight, but you at least know it's there.
- At the end of that, that's the resurrection of unbelievers that we read about in Revelation 20, and then the final judgment. And that's when eternity begins.
The point, though, is that the afterlife is a physical place where we'll have new bodies. That's one of the main applications of the resurrection to understand. We've developed this view of the afterlife where we are ghosts floating around on clouds, playing ethereal harps. That's not what scripture teaches. It's a real place. God is going to remake the world. He's going to remake your body. It's not going to be ravaged by the negative effects of all that's happened here. And you're going to live forever on an eternal world. And so, it's a very physical place, a very real place.
Randy Alcorn says,
“This present life then is not our last chance to eat, drink and be merry. It's the last time our eating, drinking and merry making can be corrupted by sin, death and the curse.”
Alcorn, Randy. Heaven. Pg. 459.
What awaits is actually pleasures untold, it’s the world the way that it should be. And not in its present broken state; the world is broken.
Daniel says, back in Daniel 12,
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
There is a glory here that Jesus showed a little bit of when he was here, there were moments of it. We are going to have some kind of awesomeness radiating from us in heaven.
and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
You can see it is beyond language to describe the fullness of heaven.
But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.
Seal it up, not to hide it from people but to preserve it. It is the official copy of the revelation that he was given. There will be other copies as well, but he says,
seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.
Daniel is 90 at this point, he has lived a long life, he has received many visions from God, and now God tells him, ‘Daniel, you’re done. You’re done with your ministry. Seal it up, roll it up, this is all you’re going to get for the rest of your life.’
Many will go here and there, and knowledge will increase.
‘Here and there’ is a term for searching, and it does say knowledge will increase. And it will, especially as the end gets closer and closer. We’re in a better position to understand these prophecies than Daniel was.
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank.
Remember this is all a vision.
One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river,
“How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”
This man clothed in linen is probably the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ himself. One of the angels asks Jesus, ‘How long until this is all going to end?’
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven,
He is really taking an oath here,
and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time.
That’s a phrase you’ll want to get familiar with if you are going to study bible prophecy. He says until,
When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.
And so, he is talking about this final period of suffering, this Great Tribulation. Daniel says,
I heard, but I did not understand.
And that’s encouraging to me. I’m going to say that a few verses from now. This was confusing to Daniel. He didn’t understand and he was honest about that. He says,
So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end.
He says, ‘I told you, you’re done, go your way, live your life.’
Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
Wait, I thought it was 1260 days? We said that a number of different times studying these prophecies. And then Daniel drops this on us in the last couple of verses of his book, a new time period that we have no idea what to do with. It’s 30 days longer than the last 3-and-a-half-year period. But then it gets worse, he says,
Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
Which is another 45 days! So, we have an extras 75 days after the return of Christ that we have to do something with. The best explanation that I have run across for this, is that this is probably the time after Jesus comes back where some things need to be taken care of. There are some judgements, there are some rewards, there is the setting up of his government. When you think about the US government, the election is in early November and the President doesn’t take office until late January, that’s actually about 75 days. It takes time, there is a changing of the guard. And what Daniel is saying here, if you make it to the end of the 1335, you’re golden. It means you’re in, it means you’re blessed, you must have been in the Book of Life. The Messiah is taking the time to set up his kingdom. And he says,
As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.
And God says to him, “Daniel, pretty soon you will be one of those who lie in the dust of the ground, and then you will rest, and your soul will go to be with Christ. Your body will then be raised in the last day and then you will wake with the rest of those that will be blessed, and you will receive the inheritance set aside for you.’
I’d like to spend the rest of our time just talking a little bit about this inheritance. I can’t stop quoting Randy Alcorn when I teach on heaven. I’ve got a couple of longer quotes from him I just want us to ponder here as we draw this to a conclusion. In his book on heaven he says,
“Our belief that Heaven will be boring betrays a heresy—that God is boring. There’s no greater nonsense. Our desire for pleasure and the experience of joy come directly from God’s hand. He made our taste buds, adrenaline, sex drives, and the nerve endings that convey pleasure to our brains.”
Why do you think he gave you all those, so you can do accounting? He is a God of fun and enjoyment!
“Likewise, our imaginations and our capacity for joy and exhilaration were made by the very God we accuse of being boring. Are we so arrogant as to imagine that human beings came up with the idea of having fun? ‘Won’t it be boring to be good all the time?’ someone asked. Note the assumption: sin is exciting and righteousness is boring. We’ve fallen for the devil’s lie. His most basic strategy, the same one he employed with Adam and Eve, is to make us believe that sin brings fulfillment. However, in reality, sin robs us of fulfillment. Sin doesn’t make life interesting; it makes life empty. Sin doesn’t create adventure; it blunts it. Sin doesn’t expand life; it shrinks it. Sin’s emptiness inevitably leads to boredom. When there’s fulfillment, when there’s beauty, when we see God as he truly is—an endless reservoir of fascination—boredom becomes impossible. Those who believe that excitement can’t exist without sin are thinking with sin-poisoned minds. Drug addicts are convinced that without their drugs they can’t live happy lives. In fact—as everyone else can see—drugs make them miserable. Freedom from sin will mean freedom to be what God intended, freedom to find far greater joy in everything. In Heaven we’ll be filled—as Psalm 16:11 describes it—with joy and eternal pleasures…”
Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Chapter 41). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Let that sink into your mind.
“Another reason people assume Heaven is boring is that their Christian lives are boring. That’s not God’s fault; it’s their own. [That’s really true.} God calls us to follow him in an adventure that should put us on life’s edge. He’s infinite in creativity, goodness, beauty, and power… We think of ourselves as fun-loving, and of God as a humorless killjoy. But we’ve got it backward. It’s not God who’s boring; it’s us. Did we invent wit, humor, and laughter? No. God did. We’ll never begin to exhaust God’s sense of humor and his love for adventure. The real question is this: How could God not be bored with us?”
Alcorn, Randy (2011-12-08). Heaven (Alcorn, Randy) (Kindle Locations 7489-7496). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
But he is not, he is delighted in us and he longs to spend eternity with you. Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher, has this to say and reunions in heaven,
“If we have known one another here, we shall know one another there. I have dear departed friends up there, and it is always a sweet thought to me that when I shall put my foot, as I hope I may, upon the threshold of Heaven, there will come my sisters and brothers to clasp me by the hand and say, “Yes, my loved one, at last you are here.” Dear relatives who have been separated from you, these you will meet again in Heaven. One of you has lost a mother—she is gone above. And if you follow the track of Jesus you shall see her there. We shall recognize our friends. Husband, you will know your wife again. Mother, you will know those dear babes of yours—you memorized their features when they lay panting and gasping for breath. You know how you hung over their graves when the cold sod was sprinkled over them and it was said, “Earth to earth. Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes.” But you shall hear those sweet voices ever more; you shall yet know that those whom you loved have been loved by God.”
Charles Spurgeon, Quoted in Alcorn, We Shall See God, p. 94-95
What are we saying here? At the end of all the prophecy that we have studied, what are we going to conclude? This question: what are you going to do with all of these fulfilled prophecies? You have seen them, I gave a brief summary tonight, distilling 5 hours into 5 minutes. What about it? What do you think? Is God the God who declared the end from the beginning or not? He says that he has done this so that you will know that he is the Lord. What are you going to do with these? If scripture has been right this often about the predictions we can check, doesn’t it make sense to pay closer attention to the ones we can’t check yet? God is making you an offer; what he is offering you is eternal life with him in a new body on a recreated Earth. He is going to wipe all the tears away, there is going to be no more death or crying or sorrow or pain because look he is making all things new, he says. It is eternity that is relational, with your brothers and sisters in Christ, where you will experience pleasure and joy as it was intended. And you will do that all in a context that will never end, and you will never taste death again. I love how CS Lewis says it at the end of his books, the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle. Here is how he describes the beginning of heaven,
“The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: HarperTrophy, 1994), 228. Quoted in Alcorn, Heaven, 462.
Don’t miss out on real life, don’t sit through a teaching on heaven and then find out you are unable to go there Get your name into the Book of Life. Experience what the bible promises.