No More Death—All Made New
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there *shall be be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away....Behold, I make all things new" Revelation 21:4-5.
If it were given to every person to read these verses by the Spirit, the horrid doctrine of eternal damnation would instantly dissolve. Even without the spirit of revelation, one would think that the natural mind could surely come to the conclusion that there is a time when there will be no more death—period! Frankly, the natural mind can believe this; for it is as simple as adding numbers in basic arithmetic. First and second graders, even kindergartners can add 1 + 1 and know the answer is 2. When they have learned to read, they can read our text verses and tell us that there will be no more death and God will make all things new; for that is exactly what the verses plainly say. However, too often it is the religious mind with which we are dealing, and this is another matter. Therefore, those who have been bound firmly by spurious church dogma will not grasp this good news. It would be a miracle should they think outside the box of their particular religion. Moreover, they will remain that way until the blazing light of Christ Jesus penetrates their hearts and awakens them to this fact of life, a fact that will rule sovereignly over all death. It is then they will see that Jesus will be all in all and there can be no one remaining in death. The thought of eternal death for even one soul will then be unthinkable. That is what revelations by the Spirit of Jesus Christ do. They transform one’s way of thinking, seeing, living and speaking. They are the beginning of making all things new.
Until the unveiling of truth comes, the mere mention of the Apocalypse—as mentioned in the first issue of this series—often sends dreadful images racing through people's minds. They picture earthquakes, plagues, stinging locusts, the bottomless pit, everlasting damnation, the lake of fire, the antichrist, the mark of the beast, the false prophet, the rapture, and among other grave calamities, the final judgment, and eternal death of unimaginable torment. It is sad that some have been known to say, in so many words, that if God cannot get them to repent and bow before Him, He will just burn them in hell forever. Rather than having them as guests at His banqueting table, they will be the main course at the "Last Day’s Bar-B-Que."
There are various opinions concerning this judgment, and we can be sure that none of them bode well for the mass of lost sinners. They usually portray God as having the final say when it is all said and done. It is then that His longsuffering, melancholic anger is avenged when His fateful angels toss the unrepentant misfits into the everlasting flames of molten sulphur. This idea of endless torment is often called eternal death which commences after judgment is passed upon each man, woman, or child according to some beliefs.
It is said that Satan, like an evil attorney general of the underworld, will be at the great white throne judgment night and day accusing and charging each person before God. They will be on their own as the damning books are opened. They will have no one, not even Jesus to speak on their behalf, only sitting alongside God with a sad countenance upon His face knowing each soul’s fate. Some picture Jesus as being the judge while showing no compassion upon the soon to be prisoners of hell. There are various ideas of this final judgment; but most depict the countless mass of people standing naked with no counsel, no defense, just guilty as accused. The charges will be confirmed by what is written in each person’s book of records and judgment officially announced—GUILTY! Off to the flames of hell with you for rejecting my Son!" or "Off to hell with you for rejecting Me!"
After being cast into the molten sulphur, God will never heed their pleas, they will forever be tormented and separated from Him. There is no hope that they will ever enjoy a moment of respite regardless how they cry out to Him for mercy. If we had not heard or read storylines like this, we would be hard pressed to believe they could come from anyone who call themselves Christian (Christ like); for this is NOT Christ like, and neither does it have any marks of our God who IS ALWAYS love, and not only when people breath air, but ALWAYS!
By the way, has anyone calculated how long such a tribunal would take? David J. Stewart, unknown to me until now, estimates that 230,548 hapless sinners are plunging into hell everyday. (http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/billions_of_people_going_to_hell.htm). Of course, all the billions who are supposedly in hell and who will be going there, will be called out to stand trial at the great white throne judgment. For some reason I have not found, if a person has not voiced the proper prayer or belonged to the right church, they go to that fire-burning prison before there is ever a hearing, trial, or guilty verdict. It is supposedly a holding tank of torment where they wait to be officially condemned to everlasting damnation. Sounds crazy to me, and for what my thoughts are worth—it is crazy! It is insane! No just, loving human being, and certainly no parent would pass such a heinous sentence on their children for being disobedient. They wouldn’t do such a thing to their worst enemy. Despots and other amoral tyrants would do so, but not people with sound, compassionate minds. So this causes me to wonder about "Christians" who have no problem with the majority of humanity being condemned to such an eternal doom. I remember a friend of ours who told us that when she was a young mother, she said something to her son about all the lost sinners who would burn in hell forever. Her little boy said, "Mom, you sound as if you are happy about it." Out of the mouths of babes. She has now joyfully embraced for many years the good news that none will be lost, and shudders at the thought that she could have ever believed such a doctrine in the first place. But many of the things that were established by the 4th century church are hard to see around.
Let me address those of you who still believe that this judgment brings eternal damnation upon each lost soul. Have you considered how long this might take? If you are planning on living next door to Jesus, or having Him over for supper on occasion, you are going to have a long, long wait. Perhaps a thousand years, maybe a million or two million before judgment can be passed upon each of the billions waiting their turn to be eternally damned. Have you ever wondered if there will be porta-potties there?
Notwithstanding, this is one view of the unscriptural doctrine of "eternal death." Some are a little more tolerant of God, bless their benevolence. They give Him a pass, as if He needed one, by saying that He will simply annihilate the lost, that they will be forever rendered unconsciously dead. Although this is better than the eternal torment story, they miss the mark as well. They really do; and I say this because I believe what Jesus told John over their rationale. He said, "...there shall be NO MORE DEATH..." Revelation 21:4.
What can be missed in our Lord’s statement? It is very clear—NO MORE DEATH! If this is true, the idea of "eternal death," whether in torment or unconscious death (annihilation), is an impossibility. No more death means no more death of any kind, period!
Man’s mind can be quite the creator of dubious fables. The narratives are very often legend to say the least, and amazingly, this is all without a shred of scriptural evidence, and I mean true scriptural evidence which is of the accurate Hebrew and Greek renditions. It is strange that intelligent people embrace without question these tales as if their salvation depends upon believing them. For instance, do you have to believe in the rapture in order to be raptured in case the rapture hypothesis is true?
Such is the world of religion, and it is virtually impossible to reason with those who are concretely steeped in their beliefs. They may listen to you out of courtesy; but their minds will be at the ready to ward off anything contrary to what they believe regardless of how much true information is presented. To help understand this phenomenon, please read Hardwired to Lie, Publication #224.10 (www.godfire.net/apocalypse_22.html). Copies are free upon request as well as the secular version (www.godfire.net/hardwired_to_lie.htm).
The Greek word, apokalupsis, as we pointed out previously, is the word from which revelation was translated. Apocalypse is a transliterated word from apokalupsis, and means the same. There are other transliterated words in the scriptures with which we are familiar; such as: cherub from the Hebrew keruwb (imaginary figure); Christ is the transliteration of the Greek word Christos (anointed); paradise is the transliteration of the Greek word paradeisos (a park); seraphim is a transliteration of the Hebrew word sawrafim (burners, or burning fire). Apocalypse is the transliteration of apokalupsis, (unveil, uncover, reveal, disclose, remove the cover, manifest, bring into view, lay open what had been hidden). The New Testament Greek Lexicon says that apokalupsis is used of events by which things, states, or persons are hidden from view until they are made visible to all.
With the popular concept of this word, can you imagine if we translated apokalupsis as the transliteration, apocalypse, throughout the New Testament scriptures? For instance, as Paul wrote: "How that by revelation (apocalypse) he made known unto me the mystery" Ephesians 3:3. If we read as a transliteration rather than the translated word, revelation, it might be thought that the only way to know the mystery of Christ is by having a terrible apocalypse to come upon us, to have it beat into us, by being tortured, imprisoned, starved, plagued, etc., for such is today’s understanding of the word "apocalypse."
Over time the transliteration has taken on the meaning of doomsday, great tribulation, and persecution by Satan’s emissary, the infamous antichrist. With such wide-spread misconceptions it is no wonder that dictionaries adopted these ideas and rendered definitions like: "A cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil." But this is not what the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, is about.
Isn't it good that we can see the veiled mysteries of God do not come by way of tribulation, but by revelation, an apokalupsis, if you please? We must say, however, those hellish things can certainly be processes which bring us to a place wherein our eyes are opened to see that which had been hidden, thus a revelation; but the pseudo apocalypse wherein the world is engrossed is not that apocalypse of Jesus Christ.
The apocalypse/unveiling of which the book of Revelation speaks is surely a part of what Paul wrote to the saints in Rome: "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation (apokalupsis) of the sons of God." Romans 8:19. This is easily understood by most of you; but what would people think if the transliterated word, apocalypse, was used rather than manifestation? We will see: "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the apocalypse of the sons of God." The apocalypse of the sons of God? According to the common meaning of the word, this verse could be understood as meaning that the sons of God will bring great tribulation; but something would not be quite right with this; for the verse says that creation is earnestly expecting, waiting for, and looking forward to this apocalypse. Therefore, this excited expectation would unlikely be in this particular act of the play if those in bondage viewed the unveiling of the sons of God as the church and the world think of the apocalypse.
This scenario, of course, is far-fetched; but that is what we would have by using the transliterated word apocalypse with today’s concept of its meaning. However, when manifestation, or revealed, is used we get the clear picture of what Paul was saying. Now that is something worthy of the earnest expectation of all creation!
The word in the original language which is translated earnest, and sometimes eager expectation, is an interesting expression. It pictures a man standing and waiting for something to happen, so much so as craning the head forward with anticipation. This is probably why J. B. Phillips translated it the way he did: "The whole creation is standing on tiptoe, eagerly awaiting the revelation of the sons of God." The word for earnest is apokaradokia (head in the sense of watching) and is repeated, i.e., apokaradokia apokaradokia, which intensifies the meaning of the word. It, therefore, speaks of intense anticipation as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance expresses. It is to crane the neck, waiting for and anxiously expecting something that is about to happen. This is what Paul says creation is doing. It is eagerly awaiting this surpassing event which the world has desired since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Another translation captures the essence of these words and Paul’s intent: "For all creation, gazing eagerly as if stretched neck, is waiting and longing to see the manifestation of the sons of God." Weymouth New Testament.
It’s not likely everyone of God’s creation would be standing on tiptoe with outstretched necks, waiting, and longing for the apocalypse of the sons of God if it meant great tribulation, widespread persecution, and suffering as the word means to many. But the word and context of the verse does not suggest such. If it did, creation would not be longing for that day to come.
The world, however, is looking at a similar revelation, which is actually the same revelation, and due to misunderstanding, a foreboding apprehension invades many souls. It is — the Book of the Revelation/Apocalypse of Jesus Christ that was given to the apostle John.
People are not at all apprehensive when they read about or see the glory of God being revealed (apokalupsis) in people’s lives. They are not overly concerned when the subject comes up about the sons of God being manifested (apokalupsis); but when they hear or read about the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, some turn pale as anxiety grips their souls.
Before continuing, we should understand that the book of Revelation is NOT the Revelation of Saint John the Divine. Although those things he wrote were revealed to him, they were revelations, they were uncovered, and he saw the signs of those things which had been veiled from antiquity—it was not his revelation! The verse is clear about this, saying that it is "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to *show unto his servants things which must shortly [Grk. en-thchos, in haste, with speed] come to pass; and He sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." Revelation 1:1.
You see, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him! That which lay in the secret chambers of darkness, totally veiled from view, was given to Him, not to John. The revelation was given to His Son, Jesus Christ. He then opened it up to John as signs that pointed to a future manifestation. Prior to this, it all lay in abeyance, in darkness to the human eye, awaiting to be called from behind the veil of the covering cherubim.
Unknown to most, holy things commonly abide in darkness. They live there. They are at home there. And they are pleased to remain there until their apocalypse. It is not that they love darkness; but darkness is a realm wherein mysteries are wrought and eventually come forth. Let me say, the darkness of death and hell have been many a man’s portion, and out of that darkness have come wonderful things—the manifestation of the Spirit of the LORD, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and holy reverence of Him.
Isaiah knew something of this holiness and darkness. He wrote, "Verily thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." Isaiah 45:15. And we can add to his thought by drawing from the psalmist: "He made darkness His secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds..." Psalm 18:11.
This begs the question, how can the one who is light be in darkness; for being light, wherever He is must also be light. When light appears, most assuredly, things light up in its presence. Moreover, we know that "...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5. Darkness is always destroyed in the presence of light. So how can God, Jesus, or the Sons of God be in darkness? In one respect, the answer is simple. It has to do with perception. To a blind man, everyone is in darkness; but to those who are not blind, everyone is in the light. Therefore, to people’s natural perspective, God is hidden. To them He is in darkness. No matter how hard they strain their eyes or stretch their necks, all they see is darkness.
Jesus said, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath *declared him. John 1:18.
No man has ever seen God; but if you have seen the Son you have seen the Father; because the Son has declared, brought into view, unfolded for the first time that which His Father is and had given and revealed to Him. Those things that His Father had given and unveiled to Him were His life, His holiness, His nature, His Love, His mercy, His grace, His power, His authority, His Majesty! His Father gave and manifested through Jesus everything that He was, and that manifestation was an Apocalypse!
The Apocalypse was the unveiling of Jesus Christ at that time as a single man in the image and likeness of God, and soon, we pray, very soon, it will be the unveiling of Jesus Christ as a corporate man in the express image and likeness of God. And as you surely know by now, there is nothing to fear. The thought of it should cause everyone who is not threatened by the light of truth to stand on tiptoe, with outstretched necks and craning heads anxiously anticipating His appearing. For that is what the Apocalypse is about! It is His Appearing! It is the glorious display of majesty, power, and love to the world! The entire message of the book of Revelation will be missed if Jesus Christ is not seen to be unveiled in all the glorified reality that His Father gave to Him.
The revelation/apocalypse of Jesus Christ also includes His body, the sons of God that Paul spoke of in Romans 8:19; for how can a head be unveiled and not the body along with it? When Michelangelo unveiled his sculpture of David, did he remove only a little napkin that covered the head while leaving the body veiled? Obviously not! The people in Florence earnestly expected and waited while he chiseled and chipped away at the marble block where a perfect form lay hidden in darkness within the stone and behind the veil, waiting to be dis-covered, un-covered, un-veiled. The image was revealed first, ever so slowly, to only its creator. And once its maker was pleased with the image, his workmanship could be manifested to all. It was after it was finished that the entire veil fell to the ground, and the whole work of art was revealed at the same time, both the head and body. Christ, the Head, will not be unveiled without His body.
We are his body and members in particular, 1 Corinthians 12:27. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. Everything that He is, we are! We were created and hidden in Him in the Beginning, and we will be revealed together with Him in the End. The Apocalypse is about Jesus Christ’s coming and being manifested in His body. This shouldn't take us by surprise; for we have been told that "When Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4. This tells me that where the Head is there is also the body.
Let us pause a moment and consider. Do we want to see Jesus when He appears? The answer is obvious. Sure we do! But how will we see Him? Will it be by taking a transatlantic, Feast of Trumpets, flight to Jerusalem, and then be driven by a tour bus to the Mount of Olives after Fox News heralds His arrival? Or will we see Him in His body? In His body, of course! For Jesus will be seen where He abides in the Cloud of His people that is made of many members. His appearance, or apocalypse, will be seen radiating from His great cloud of witnesses who are just like Him. He will come from where He lives, not from clouds hanging overhead nor from somewhere in outer-space of the universe, but from the inner-space of His body.
As His apocalypse comes to its glorious conclusion, in every respect of our Lord’s being—His life, His authority, His majesty, His power, and more—will be unveiled, seen by all the people of the world!
We may not know what we will be; but we know this, when reality breaks forth, we will manifest His likeness, for we will see Him as He is! 1 John 3:2. This is a sure word, brethren! His appearing in His body is going to break down the doors of darkness and come forth in brilliant reality of being like Him! Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ!
At such a juncture of the ages, death will have met its match. The sting of death and the horrid grave will be swallowed up in victory, 1 Corinthians 15:54-55. This is a straightforward, no-nonsense prophetic promise from a man of authority; but how can such enormous things as death and hell be swallowed up? Simply by the LAKE THAT BURNS WITH HOLY GOD-FIRE! "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God....And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them....And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire....And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:12-15. It is herein that death and hell will cease to be. After the Lake that burns with the consuming Brimstone (Grk. Theon, God-fire), the unveiling (apocalypse) of all things made new will be known and seen by all:
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be NO MORE DEATH, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make ALL THINGS new....for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." Revelation 21:1-6. And please note that there is nothing greater that will make a man thirst than heat, especially the Lake of God-fire that destroys death and makes all things new—FOREVER!
Elwin R. Roach
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