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LESSON 16:

HOPE

Lesson 16A Picture of God
00:00 / 09:51

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Desert Road

So how does this story end? Two ways, actually. There is the end of God’s story: the story of a loving God who, in the midst of a great controversy, is seeking to restore order to a universe where evil and selfishness had arisen. Then there is your story: the story of an individual who is confronted with the task of choosing who or what you will ultimately live for.

The End of All Things

Private Beach

the end of gods story

 

The history of evil played out for thousands of years. God sent knowledge and wisdom. God sent demonstrations of His love. God sent messengers to declare His love. In the face of all the cultures and societies in the earth, God called the people to salvation.

 

The Loving Word of God came to earth in the form of a human and made His home among humans.

 

He became a servant of humanity and died for their sins. And, with the intention of living among them and giving them eternal life (John 3:16), He then went to heaven and started preparing it for the arrival of repentant humans. He has been doing this for nearly 2000 years, allowing evil to fully mature. All that He has predicted has come true. The time prophecies are finished. The next major event is the glorious Second Coming of Jesus.

 

God can say only so much. There is only so much He can do to demonstrate His love to humanity. Eventually people need to make a final choice. Eventually the cries for justice will need to be answered (Revelation 6:9-11).

 

If a call for justice isn’t answered, then the mercy of God becomes the malevolence of God. But praise God, He not only tells us that He will perform justice fairly, He gives us the timeline and the method that He will use. That’s authenticity!

The End of God's Story

 

After the “times of the Gentiles” were finished (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:1-19) the time of the end began. Christ began the work of judgment. There are two parts. The first part is investigative, and it begins at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). It will reveal who will come to heaven, and what is an appropriate amount of wrath to be executed upon the corrupt systems of this world (Revelation 18:6). The second part is executed judgment, where the judgments are poured out: deliverance to the righteous, and wrath and condemnation to the evil.

 

The story of judgment unfolds in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Revelation 15-19 tells us that the corrupt systems of the world, called Babylon, will be judged through a series of plagues. Then after the plagues have been poured out on Babylon, the Word of God will return and capture those earthly systems and kingdoms. Christ will throw them into the Lake of Fire.

 

Many people believe that this lake of fire is an eternally burning hell. But the first things that Christ throws in there are things that cannot be burned. They are systems of false belief and kingdoms of the world (Revelation 19:20). They aren’t even people; they are ideas. The lake of fire would be better translated in our current English language, not as a fire that burns eternally, but as a fire that burns completely. It is a fire that burns until there is absolutely nothing left to destroy (Malachi 4:1). The lake of fire leads to non-existence. All earthly kingdoms are destroyed.

Judgment

There will be only one kingdom left at this point, the kingdom of God.

 

In Revelation 20 and 21, we are shown events following the Second Coming of Jesus. A strong angel is shown locking the devil into an abyss for 1000 years without any access to anyone else on earth (Revelation 20:1-3).

 

During that 1000 years, the just are in heaven, on thrones, and judging (Revelation 20:4). They are reviewing the history of humanity and of angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). This is God’s way of answering all the questions of those who have been saved. They will see the lives and choices of those who did not make it. When all are satisfied with the answers, then the city of God, the New Jerusalem, will descend out of heaven to the earth. Satan will be released, and the second resurrection will take place – the resurrection of condemnation. All the unjust people who have ever lived will be raised from the dead (John 5:29; Revelation 20:5-8). There will be a final judgment where everyone will declare God is just in His decisions and that even their sentence is deserved (Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:11-15).

Thy Kingdom Come

 

This admission does not lead to repentance. Hardly. Instead, they become enraged. Evil angels and humans unite to attack the city of God where the just dwell. As they move toward the city with hatred in their hearts, God removes the veil. Because of God’s love, He has veiled his glory from humanity and cast the evil angels from His presence. He has done this in love, to give everyone a chance to repent. To save as many as possible.

The destruction of the wicked demonstrates that God is love even now. It is the full revelation of God's glory that rewards the righteous and the unjust (Romans 2:6; Job 34:10, 11). To the unrighteous God's Glory is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 59:1, 2), but to the righteous, He is their sun and shield (Psalm 84:11).

God is still loving. He is not unjust. He is not evil or malevolent. His judgment is to make right the wrongs done throughout time, not to overcorrect. A God of love is not going to torture, for eons, people who committed evils, in most cases, for less than 100 years.

God declares to the universe that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). He won’t become evil in the destruction of evil. All the lost are destroyed holding fiercely onto their sins. They have chosen to be separated from the life-giver, and so, they are gone. This is the justice of God.

And in the end, death itself is thrown into the Lake of Fire and destroyed, and even hell is thrown into the Lake of Fire and destroyed (Revelation 20:14, 15). Evil is no more.

 

Then God creates, again. He creates a new earth and a new heaven. The old ones are completely gone. No more sin to scar the universe. All things are made new. God wipes the tears from the eyes of the faithful, who are never to mourn in sorrow again. There is no more disease, sickness, or death. No more pain.  All the bad things are gone, and God makes His home with humanity, and they will dwell together in the house of the Lord of love—forever. Once more all creation sings the praises of God, that He is Love (Revelation 21:1-5).

Perfect Justice

 
Image by Aaron Burden

the end of your story

The story of evil started with selfishness. It was based on a lie. It was based on the lie that Lucifer could be equal with God. And that God was selfish. And that God’s law of Love couldn’t be kept. And that a better law existed, which said: “Do whatever you want.” The law of evil. The law of selfishness. The law of sin and death. The law of Satan.

 

Satan, the father of lies, lied to Adam and Eve (John 8:44). Satan said that they wouldn’t die. The lie was that they would live forever as gods (Genesis 3:4, 5). But the truth that God told them was that they would die without Him. There is only one God who is eternal in and of Himself (1 Timothy 6:16). All other beings receive immortality only as a gift from God (John 5:26). Humanity lost the gift of immortality when they sinned in Eden. The only thing you can be sure of in this world is death (Ecclesiastes 9:2).

 

The lie that Satan first told in Eden is, still, being told today, though in different forms. “You will be reincarnated and live forever.” “You won't really die. You will immediately go to heaven.” “You will go to hell and be tormented forever.” It’s as much a lie now as it was then.

The End of Your Story

 

When we die, our choice, either for God or against God, has been irrevocably made. The Bible says that we don’t go on living.

 

God created us as an engineer would build a machine. He formed us from the earth, and breathed into the dust power, and then man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). He supplied food, water, and sunshine as a means of sustaining life. When we die, the reverse of that process takes place: the power of life goes back to God, and our bodies decay back into the elements of the earth (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Thus, no person is now suffering in hell. Both the just and the unjust sleep (Daniel 12:2; Mark 5:39) in their graves until they are resurrected, either to life or to condemnation (John 5:28, 29).

 

In 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, Paul tells us that when Jesus returns, He will give us immortality as a gift; not only to those only who are asleep but also to those alive at His return.

 

In one resurrection or the other, either the resurrection of life and of eternity, or the resurrection of condemnation and of death, you will be raised.  God wants you to be in the first one so badly that He died on the cross for you. You, alone, choose which one you will rise in.

What will be the end of your story? You now know the story of good and evil, of love and hate, of selfishness and selflessness. Will you surrender your life to the great lover? Will you allow him to remake you inside and out? Will you know one day what pure, holy, good, love looks like when you look Him in the face? 

I set before you the story of life and death. Choose life. Choose love.

When You Die

 

Course Work

Are you wanting to follow this God of love? Maybe you weren’t ready to make a decision before about surrendering your life to God and accepting Christ as your personal savior. We would like to help you know what to do: