Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
All About --
The Resurrection from the Dead!
Is there really "life" after "death"? What does the Bible teach about the "resurrection of the dead"? Where did the popular belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die, and sinners to an ever-burning, eternal "hell," come from? If a man or woman dies, will they live again? The truth about the RESURRECTION from the dead is the single greatest hope of those of Israel who believe the Scriptures! It is the CORNERSTONE of Bible prophecy, and the only real hope of Israel! Yet nothing, it seems, is more misunderstood, than this awesome truth!
by HOIM Staff
Satan has cleverly deceived Israel on just about every facet of YEHOVAH God's Plan -- so what is the truth about the HEREAFTER? As the patriarch Job asked, "If a man die, will he live again?" (Job 14:14).
This is the question of the ages! Is there a "LIFE" after this present one? But what is the true Bible teaching about the resurrection? Just what IS it? What do you mean, "Resurrection," anyway?
Satan's Clever Deception
Let us strip away the spiritual blinders Satan has used to hide the truth, and see what YEHOVAH's Word has to say on heaven, hell, and the resurrection from the dead! Just where did the popular belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die, and sinners are plunged to hell at death, come from? And how does this concept fit in with the teaching of a "resurrection from the dead"? Is there really LIFE after death? Or is this life "all there is" -- so go for it?
Satan has cleverly deceived Israel on just about every facet of YEHOVAH's Plan -- so what about the hereafter? Nothing could be more important to understand!
In the garden of Eden, Satan whispered to Eve, as she stood contemplating the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and planted doubt in her mind, saying, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" When she told him they could eat of every tree, except one, which would cause death if eaten, the devil responded soothingly to her, "You shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:1-5).
Notice! Satan told her, in effect, that she already possessed eternal life, and would never die! He said, in effect, that YEHOVAH God was a supreme LIAR, and had hidden this truth from her and Adam -- and that if they ate the fruit of this particular tree, they would become as YEHOVAH God Himself!
And by disobeying YEHOVAH, in their innocence, and naivete, they SINNED -- and incurred the death penalty. As Paul wrote in Romans, "The wages of sin is DEATH" (Romans 6:23). Therefore, YEHOVAH God Himself had to intervene, and make a provision for their ultimate redemption -- forgiveness of their sin -- and then, when they have qualified, to give them what He originally intended for them to have -- eternal life as the children of YEHOVAH God!
Let's understand this awesome truth! And let's understand WHY Satan the devil desires to BLIND Israel to his awesome, ultimate potential! For few really understand or grasp this truth -- but it is the destiny of Israel, ultimately, to REPLACE SATAN THE DEVIL -- and to rule the Universe as the sons of YEHOVAH God -- as the expanding Family of YEHOVAH God!
The TRUTH of YEHOVAH God Revealed
Millions today suppose that the righteous go to heaven when they die -- and abide in the presence of YEHOVAH God Almighty. But is this very common belief really Biblical?
If the Bible teaches that the righteous go to heaven when they die, then certainly such Biblical heroes as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, and Daniel must be in heaven right now. Yet, hundreds of years after all those great men died, and when Yeshua began his public ministry, he remarked to his disciples, "No man hath ascended up to heaven..." (John 3:13).
After the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the apostle Peter told a large crowd of people in Jerusalem, on Pentecost, A.D. 31, that David "is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day." He added, so that he would not be misunderstood, "For David is NOT ascended into the heavens..." (Acts 2:29, 34).
These two scriptures disprove the fond illusions and cherished beliefs of millions of people who assume that the Bible teaches that the righteous go to heaven when they die!
David was a man after YEHOVAH's own heart (Acts 13:22). Yet the Scriptures plainly state that he did NOT "go to heaven." The only one who ever "went to heaven" other than the Messiah after his resurrection, was the Devil, and he was ultimately kicked out!
Then where did David go? What really happened to David and the Biblical patriarchs?
Let's strip away the spiritual blinders Satan has used to hide the truth, and see what YEHOVAH's Word has to say on this subject.
The Reward of the Righteous of Israel
To begin to answer these questions, the apostle Paul made an important statement in the book of Galatians. He asserted: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).
Christian Israelites, then, are Abraham's spiritual "children" or "seed." They are to inherit something that was "promised." To learn what Christian Israelites are to inherit, then we must see what was promised to Abraham.
The biography of Abraham is recorded in the book of Genesis. Abraham left the sophisticated city of Ur of the Chaldees to journey to the land of Canaan toward the west. He determined to obey YEHOVAH God and do the things He commanded.
YEHOVAH, in return for Abraham's obedience and submission to his way, made a specific promise to Abraham and his descendants. "And the LORD said unto Abram...Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (Genesis 13:14-15).
YEHOVAH later confirmed the promises to Abraham (Genesis 21:13; 22:15-18) and made the same promise to Isaac, Abraham's son (Genesis 26:2-5). Notice that this promise primarily included an inheritance of land forever. In order to inherit this land forever, eternal life for those of Israel also must have been part of the promise!
The promise made to Abraham, then, was the land of Canaan, which he and his "seed" would inherit for all eternity. Later, however, YEHOVAH expanded this promise to include the descendants of Israel (Jacob). The apostle Paul in Romans 4:13 called Abraham "the heir of the [Israelite] world," not just of the land of Canaan.
This, then, is the promise which all Christian Israelites, as the seed of Abraham, are to inherit!
New Testament Evidence
This same promise is reaffirmed in the New Testament. Yeshua the Messiah plainly told his disciples: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).
In the book of Revelation, we read the crystal clear statement: "...thou [the Messiah] wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men [of Israel] for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth" (Revelation 5:9-10, RSV).
The Psalms of David also make this truth clear. David wrote: "For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth" (Psalm 37:9). This entire psalm is full of similar references. Verse 29 adds: "The righteous [of Israel] shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever."
However, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and all the rest of the patriarchs are still waiting to receive what was promised to them. To this very day, they have not yet inherited the earth.
In the book of Hebrews we read: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed....By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise..." (Hebrews 11:8-9).
Notice further that these all "died in faith, not having received the promises" (verse 13). Also: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise..." (verse 39).
Clearly, then, the idea of the righteous going to heaven when they die is not Biblical. But what about the belief that evildoers are cast into an ever-burning hell?
The Two Extremes
There are two extremes concerning "hell" in the world. One totally denies that hell exists. It passes hell off as a mere ancient superstition which has no relevance whatsoever to modern life!
The other extreme, believed in by most so-called Bible fundamentalists, pictures hell as a terrible place of never-ending torment. It is ruled over by the devil and his demons who gleefully "roast" sinners like millions of wieners on a barbecue spit. According to this concept, there is constant weeping, wailing, crying, cursing, shrieking and screaming coming from the mouths of those in hell. Their torment is for all eternity. They are forever doomed!
But consider: If this concept is true, and if all sinners or non-Christian Israelites go to such a fiery place of torment, doesn't it strike you as unjust and unmerciful since MOST OF OF ISRAEL IS (FOR MOST OF ALL TIME) NON-CHRISTIAN?
The Bible says none of Israel can be saved unless they believe -- and obey -- Yeshua. Peter's exact words were:
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Yeshua the Messiah -- as YEHOVAH God's agent -- is the one who will decide the fate of every living Israelite. He decides who lives and who dies -- who is forgiven, and who is to be cast out of the Kingdom, and who will perish!
But what does this verse really mean? Does it mean that only those Israelites who profess the Messiah -- who become "Christians" -- can be saved, and all others are doomed to the fires of a never-ending hell? If so, then that must mean that the VAST MAJORITY of Israel is DOOMED!
Many have read into that verse what it does not say. They assume that unless we of Israel profess the Messiah, during this lifetime, we are doomed to an ever-burning hell fire for all eternity! But Peter did not say that! Rather, he simply pointed out that ultimately, it is the Messiah -- Yeshua -- who will decide the fate of every living Israelite! Let's understand this mystery!
When we analyze it, the common concept pictures Satan the devil as frightfully more powerful, successful, and intelligent than YEHOVAH God. It pictures YEHOVAH as being woefully impotent and weak, and incapable of doing His job! It portrays Satan as victorious and YEHOVAH as a defeated, vanquished and weak being.
Something is surely wrong with such a concept! The Bible reveals that YEHOVAH God is ALL POWERFUL -- the ALMIGHTY God. Satan can do nothing unless YEHOVAH God permits it (Isaiah 14:12-14, Luke 10:17, Job 1:8-12).
YEHOVAH is also ALL MERCIFUL. He is a God of LOVE (I John 4:8-10). Therefore, it is totally inconceivable that such a mighty, merciful God would allow Satan to thwart His plan, that He would allow millions of His people Israel to be lost and doomed to hell, just because they NEVER HEARD the name of Yeshua the Messiah even so much as uttered during their whole lives! Such a God would not be a God of love, but a sadistic monster, an evil fiend!
Thank YEHOVAH God that such a concept is totally erroneous -- and the Bible proves it so.
The Greek Words for "Hell"
Actually, there are three Greek words used in the Bible, all of them translated "hell." They do NOT refer to the same thing. Their meanings are totally different. One word is tartaroo. It is used only once in the entire Bible -- II Peter 2:4 -- and refers to the condition of restraint of the fallen angels. It never refers to men!
The second Greek word often translated "hell," in English, is hades. The word hades comes from two roots which literally mean "unseen," "unknown," "unperceived," or "unconsidered." It always refers to the grave, the place where the dead are buried! You can see the connection easily. When a dead person is buried, he is out of sight, unseen -- no longer known or perceived. He is gone.
The word hades is never used in the Bible to refer to gehenna fire, or the final hell fire! It always refers to the GRAVE! The Old Testament Hebrew word translated "hell" is sheol. It has the same meaning as hades and refers to a grave or pit or hole in the ground.
Hades (the grave) is the "hell" the Messiah was in for three days (Acts 2:26-27). The Moffatt translation renders this verse: "because thou wilt not forsake my soul in the grave, nor let thy holy one suffer decay." (When the King James translation of the Bible was made, Englishmen commonly spoke of putting potatoes in "hell" for the winter. They used the word to refer to a pit or hole in the ground.)
The King James translators themselves knew that hades meant "grave." They so translated it in I Corinthians 15:55. It could not possibly refer to the lake of fire or gehenna, because we read in Revelation 20:14 that "death and hell (hades, the GRAVE)" will both be cast into "the lake of fire." Hades, then, refers to the grave -- the abode of the dead -- not YEHOVAH's final punishment upon the wicked of Israel!
Hades is the "hell" that every human being, except those Israelites who are alive and changed to meet YEHOVAH God at His return, goes to when they die! All men alike, saint and sinner, rich and poor, kings and slaves, go to this "hell" when they die. No one escapes!
Solomon explained it clearly: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place [THE GRAVE]; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again" (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).
Think on that a moment. If men go to a fiery hell when they die, then so do cats, dogs, rabbits, chipmunks, skunks, deer, elk, moose, and every kind of animal! Isn't it ridiculous to think "good" animals go to heaven, but "bad" animals go to hell forever and ever? Animals don't sin. But Solomon said men have the same fate as animals -- one is no better than the other in death. Both go to the grave and turn to dust after they die!
Solomon understood. He declared: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Solomon said in verse 10: "For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
How clear, then. When people die, they go to the GRAVE and remain there. Their bodies turn to dust. The Bible says nothing about them being plunged instantaneously into a fiery "hell." "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," YEHOVAH says (Genesis 3:19).
Yet there is one more Greek word translated "hell" which we have not covered. And it does indeed refer to a fiery type of hell fire! Let's notice just what this "hell" is, when it occurs, and how long it lasts -- and who will be sent there!
"Gehenna" -- The REAL "Hell Fire"
What is the fate of the wicked, those who ultimately reject YEHOVAH God and despise Yeshua the Messiah?
John the Baptist spoke about the final fate or destiny of the wicked. Seeing evil-minded, blasphemous Pharisees and their ilk coming around him as he preached the Gospel, John was moved to exclaim: "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet [fitting] for repentance" (Matthew 3:7-8). He thundered to these hypocrites, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (verse 10). Then he said, "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will BURN UP the chaff with unquenchable fire" (verse 12).
Here John described the fate of the wicked. Like worthless brush, thistles, or the chaff of the threshing floor, they will ultimately be cast into a fire and burned up! This fire doesn't just "singe," or scorch; it thoroughly CONSUMES whatever is cast into it!
What strange fire was John talking about? Let's read on, and see what the Messiah -- Yeshua himself -- had to say about this mystery.
Yeshua first mentioned hell in Matthew 5, the "Sermon on the Mount." He declared, "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say unto his brother, Raca, ["vain fellow"] shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of HELL FIRE" (verse 22).
What "hell" was Yeshua talking about? And what did he mean by these strange-sounding remarks? The Greek word for "hell" Yeshua used in these verses is geenna (usually spelled and pronounced Gehenna), and refers to the ancient dwelling place of the sons of Hinnom, a valley just outside the city of Jerusalem which came to be used as a garbage dump or rubbish pit. Filthy, dirty garbage, dead bodies, and corpses of criminals were thrown into this valley and burned up. Yeshua used this figurative expression as a symbol of the final HELL FIRE which will consume the bodies of the incorrigibly wicked!
But when will the wicked of Israel perish in this fire? When will unrepentant sinners be cast into Gehenna fire? And what about the millions of Israelite people who have lived, and died, never understanding the truth of YEHOVAH God, who never even heard about Yeshua the Messiah?
And what about the saints of Israel -- those who will "inherit the earth"? What about those who will receive salvation, and eternal life? When will this happen? Just how will the plan of YEHOVAH God work out? Let's turn to the Book of Revelation, and see what YEHOVAH says! The truth is far more wonderful, and more glorious, than you have ever imagined possible!
First of all, when will the patriarchs, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with Moses, Enoch, Samuel, Joshua, David, and the Old Testament servants of YEHOVAH God, along with true Israelite Christians -- those who truly follow the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah, repent of their sins, and accept him as Saviour -- receive the promises? When will we of Israel receive ETERNAL LIFE and SALVATION?
The Incredible FIRST Resurrection of Righteous Israelites
The apostle Paul stated an important truth in the "resurrection chapter" of the Bible -- he declared in no uncertain words, speaking of the hope of the resurrection: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all [of Israel] be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits [the literal Greek says "firstfruit," singular, not plural]; afterward they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING. Then cometh the END, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father..." (I Corinthians 15:22-24).
Notice! When the Messiah returns from heaven, the SAINTS of Israel will inherit their reward! Many Scriptures spell out this wonderful truth. In this same chapter, Paul goes on, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we [of Israel] shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMPET: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (vs. 51-52). Paul explained further to the Thessalonians, "For the LORD himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead [Israelites] in Christ shall RISE FIRST: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the LORD" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The "last trumpet" is the seventh trumpet, blown at the coming of YEHOVAH God the Father! In the book of Revelation, we read the words of the apostle John about this awesome, mind-boggling, staggering event: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD, and of His Christ: and He [YEHOVAH God] shall reign for ever and ever.... And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets [of Israel], and to the saints [of Israel], and them [of Israel] that fear thy name, both small and great; and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:15-18).
At the Olivet prophecy, Yeshua the Messiah declared of the time (Revelation 10) when he himself returns to this earth: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels, with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect [of Israel] from the four winds, from one end of heaven [the sky] to the other" (Matthew 24:30-31).
This is the FIRST RESURRECTION! It occurs at the future coming of YEHOVAH God!
John writes of this incredible event: "And I saw thrones, and they [the saints of Israel, the ones resurrected at YEHOVAH God's coming!] sat on them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and THEY [THE CHRISTIAN ISRAELITES] LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS. But the rest of the dead [of Israel] lived not again UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED. This is the FIRST resurrection" (Revelation 20:4-5).
This is the first resurrection! Of that, there can be no doubt whatsoever! It is the resurrection of the saints of Israel at the coming of YEHOVAH God, at the beginning of the Millennium, or "thousand year reign" of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah!
John goes on, regarding these saints, and those who are in the first resurrection: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they [the Israelite saints] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (v. 6).
When YEHOVAH God returns to this earth, the patriarchs, prophets, saints, and truly converted Christian Israelites will be raised from their graves. At that time, YEHOVAH God will reward the righteous, and they will then assist Him in ruling over the entire earth for 1,000 years (see Revelation 20:4; Daniel 2:44 and 7:27).
But what then? What about the "rest of the dead" -- all the millions of Israelite people who ever lived? And what about the "wicked"? What does the Word of YEHOVAH God say about them?
The SECOND RESURRECTION of Israelites!
In the 20th chapter of Revelation we find a brief summary of YEHOVAH's plan for the future. When YEHOVAH returns, Satan the devil will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3), the saints of Israel will be resurrected, and they will reign on the earth with Him for one thousand years (verses 4-5).
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished, " the Apostle John writes (verse 5). Therefore, at the end of the thousand years, all those Israelites who lived and died, who were not saints, will be resurrected. This tremendous resurrection, of millions of Israelites, is recounted in verses 11 and 12:
"And I saw a GREAT WHITE THRONE, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Notice. This is a resurrection to life. The book of LIFE was opened. Those of Israel coming up in this resurrection will be judged "according to their works"! This is not a resurrection to condemnation -- but it is a resurrection to JUDGMENT!
Who are all these people who will stand before YEHOVAH God at the END of the Millennial reign of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah and the saints? They will be the millions of Israel who lived and died in this life, who did not qualify to be in the FIRST RESURRECTION, at the return of YEHOVAH God -- to be a part of the "firstfruits" of YEHOVAH God! The vast majority of these Israelites never even had a chance for salvation -- they grew up, lived and died in a society which didn't have the knowledge of YEHOVAH God, or His truth. They are those who lived and died in ignorance, those who never really understood, or in many cases even heard the true Gospel of the Messiah during their lives!
At that future time they will be "judged" according to their works -- how they LIVED -- that is, what they DID with the limited understanding and knowledge that they HAD!
They will be "judged" HOW? "ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS"! -- that is, by their DEEDS! YEHOVAH God will weigh them in the scales, at it were, and judge them according to what they did with what they had!
Paul explains this truth very clearly. Many of those of Israel who come up in this resurrection will be those dead who never understood YEHOVAH's Law -- who lived and died in ignorance and darkness. Some of them, because of their "conscience" which YEHOVAH gave them, were basically "good" people. Paul writes about them in Romans, chapter 2, where he says:
"For when the Gentiles [tribes of Israel in dispersion], which have not the law, do by nature those things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew forth the work of the law written in their hearts, their CONSCIENCE bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;) in the day when God shall JUDGE the secrets of men by Jesus Christ..." (Romans 2:14-16).
This will be a time of judgment -- but not a time of total condemnation. Many Israelites will be given an opportunity then for salvation -- to live out their natural lives, with the knowledge of YEHOVAH God, and will be judged according to how they perform. This would include little babies, who had died in infancy, young children, and even elderly people who simply never really understood YEHOVAH's truth, about His Law, or understood the identity of the Messiah, or his teachings!
How will these be judged? Yeshua tells us the standard of judgment His Father will use. Notice his own words:
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered ALL NATIONS [OF ISRAEL]: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
"Then shall the righteous say unto him, Lord, WHEN saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it to ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE, my [Israelite] brethren, ye have DONE IT UNTO ME" (Matthew 25:31-40).
Do you see? The Messiah, as YEHOVAH's agent, will judge those who come up in this vast resurrection "according to their works" -- according to how much love and compassion and mercy they showed to their neighbor -- their fellow Israelite man!
He will judge them according to what they did with the heart, knowledge, and understanding and opportunities that they had!
Yeshua said in another place, showing how he will judge those who come up in the second resurrection:
"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
"Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves?" (Luke 10:30-36).
In other words, even "lowly Samaritans" can be saved, and be in YEHOVAH's Kingdom -- if they show by their works love and mercy for others! But even priests and Levites can be cast OUT of the Kingdom -- despite their erudition and vast knowledge -- if they do NOT have love and compassion on their fellow Israelites!
Yeshua illustrated this principle in another place, where He declared:
"And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:47-48).
The Great Day of Salvation for the Faithful of Israel
Yeshua the Messiah put the truth of the resurrection plainly. He stated:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the DEAD shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live...Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which ALL [OF ISRAEL] THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, to the RESURRECTION OF LIFE: And they that have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:25-29).
Notice! This verse is talking about the GREAT day of the resurrection, when all of Israel who have lived will stand before the Messiah's throne. Those who have DONE GOOD in their lives, will be given LIFE! Those who have done evil -- a preponderance of wickedness -- will be judged accordingly!
This time of judgment will be not based on a person's "profession" of the Messiah during this life -- but rather ON THE BASIS OF HIS OR HER DEEDS! -- their "WORKS" of goodness, kindness, and compassion they showed to others!
Those of Israel who were really evil, to the core -- who were serial killers, or others who gave their lives over to do EVIL -- will be condemned to the "second death" -- the lake of fire called "Gehenna" !
Others, who have not been so wicked, who did a mixture of good as well as evil in their lives, but who never understood the truth of YEHOVAH God, or knew the name of the Messiah, whose lives were in reality a "mixture" of good and evil, will be judged "according to their works" -- their deeds in this life will be WEIGHED IN THE SCALES.
YEHOVAH God will give those Israelites, at that time, a chance to receive salvation and eternal life. Babies, infants, children, those who never really received an opportunity for salvation, will be given a chance to live in the flesh, to repent, and live out their lives in the flesh, to prove whether or not they will obey YEHOVAH God. Not all will be condemned!
This second resurrection will not just be a time of universal condemnation of Israel. It will be a time of JUDGMENT!
John writes of this resurrection:
"And I saw the dead [all Israelites who ever lived], small and great, stand before God; and the BOOKS were opened [containing the record of their deeds and misdeeds, both good and bad]: and another book was opened, which is the BOOK OF LIFE: and the dead were JUDGED out of those things written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS" (Revelation 20:12).
How will they be judged? BY THEIR WORKS OR DEEDS during this life -- and, if necessary, during that period of time when many can and will receive additional time to qualify for salvation!
Yeshua spoke also of this time of judgment, when all of Israel who ever existed will be judged, in Matthew's gospel. Notice! He declared to the Judeans of his time:
"The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south [queen of Sheba] shall rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here" (Matthew 13:41-42).
In another place, Yeshua also rebuked those of his own generation, those among the Israelite people who rejected his proof of Messiahship. We read:
"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be MORE TOLERABLE for Tyre and Sidon at the DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for you.
"And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for thee" (Matthew 11:20-24).
Notice! One generation, one people (all Israelites), will actually condemn another. One will be judged much more harshly and severely than another. Why? Because the sins of some are greater than the sins of others! That is the principle Yeshua is stating here.
Some Israelites will be judged and condemned, while others will receive comparatively light punishment. Not all sins are sins unto death. Only those of Israel who have "sinned unto death," or committed the "unpardonable sin," and given themselves over to gross evil and wickedness, in YEHOVAH's sight, will be cast into the lake of fire, at that judgment period.
All others will be warned, taught the truth of YEHOVAH God, shown their sins, and will be allowed to repent, make amends, and to have a "REAL chance" to obey YEHOVAH God, and to prove themselves, before Him!
Is this a "second chance"? Not really. The point is, many were never called of YEHOVAH God during this life. Therefore, many never really had a "first chance." That period of judgment will BE their "first chance" for salvation!
Although most evangelists don't understand this truth, and most evangelical Christians think today is the ONLY "day of salvation," the truth is, THEY ARE WRONG!
The "Great White Throne judgment" which occurs after the Millennial reign of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah, when all the dead Israelites who ever lived are resurrected to physical, human life, will be a VAST OPPORTUNITY FOR SALVATION FOR MILLIONS OF ISRAELITE PEOPLE who never understood YEHOVAH's truth and His plan! Having never understood it, they never rejected it, or turned away from it, or denied it!
The truth is, only a limited "few" of Israel are "called" of YEHOVAH God, now, during this lifetime. Only a comparative few of Israel are given their chance for salvation now, at this time, to be part of the "firstfruits of YEHOVAH God," when YEHOVAH God returns! The rest of the people of Israel will be judged for their deeds during this life, at the Great White Throne judgment -- and will then receive their chance for salvation! They will all be judged "according to their works" -- how much compassion and mercy and kindness they showed to others, during their life, according to their opportunities to do so!
This is NOT the "Only Day of Salvation" for YEHOVAH's People Israel!
This is not the ONLY day of salvation for YEHOVAH's people Israel!
As Paul wrote, to the Corinthians, quoting Isaiah in the Old Testament, "For he saith, I have heard thee in A TIME ACCEPTED, and in the [the word "the" is a mistranslation, and ought to be "a"] day of salvation have I succoured thee..." (II Corinthians 6:2). The Englishman's Greek Interlinear New Testament shows there is no article "the" in the Greek connected with the word "salvation," and the line ought to read, "In a time accepted I listened to thee, and in A DAY of salvation I helped thee." The rest of the verse ought to read: "lo, now is a time well-accepted; now is a time of salvation."
This passage is quoted from the prophet Isaiah. His original words were: "Thus saith the LORD, in AN ACCEPTABLE TIME have I heard thee, and in A DAY OF SALVATION have I helped thee..." (Isaiah 49:8).
Isaiah tells us more about this second resurrection period. He describes it thus:
"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy...There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; BUT THE SINNER being a hundred years old shall be ACCURSED" (Isaiah 65:17-20).
Notice carefully. This "second resurrection" judgment will evidently last at least ONE HUNDRED YEARS, during which time Israelite people will live out normal lives, children will grow up, and there will be homes, towns, villages, and cities. All people of Israel will have a fullness of days, to prove to YEHOVAH God whether or not they are deserving of eternal life in His kingdom! This may mean the period itself will last at least one hundred years. But any of Israel who are still "sinners," at the end of one hundred years, will be ACCURSED! That is, they will be judged worthy of the lake of fire, the punishment of Gehenna!
The Protestant idea that all must accept the Messiah now, before they die, as Saviour, or they will burn in hell for all eternity, is a FALSE, PAGAN CONCEPT! It is totally erroneous, and makes a mockery of both the power of YEHOVAH God, and the love of YEHOVAH God! Do you think Almighty God would create millions of Israelite people, and then allow Satan to deceive the vast overwhelming majority of them, causing them to lose out on salvation, so that they will be cast into Gehenna fire? Such a fantasy pictures Satan as overwhelmingly more powerful than YEHOVAH God!
YEHOVAH is in complete control of His Creation! Nothing can happen without His express permission, or contrary to His will. Even the suffering in this world, YEHOVAH permits, to teach mankind the difference between good and evil, right and wrong -- in a way that we will never forget it!
The Fate of the Incorrigibly Wicked of Israel
But now, notice what will happen to those of Israel who don't qualify for eternal life -- those who are so evil that they lose out on salvation, and whose final judgment is to be destroyed and put to death in the lake of Gehenna fire. This same Great White Throne judgment scene continues, in Revelation 20, in the verses which immediately follow:
"And the sea gave up the dead [of Israel] which were in it; and death and hell [hades, meaning "the grave"] delivered up the dead [of Israel] which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:13-15).
Here are those Israelites of the second resurrection who do NOT qualify for eternal life -- those who have been incorrigibly wicked. They will be cast into Gehenna fire!
As Malachi wrote: "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do this, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:1-3).
This awesome fire that will consume and annihilate all the wicked of Israel is called the "second death" (Revelation 20:14). It is the FINAL DEATH from which there is no resurrection! This death is the penalty of sin (Romans 6:23). It is the death the Messiah Yeshua came to spare all of us from!
John writes, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
The Tremendous Holocaust
What about this "hell fire?" Where will it be? How hot? How big? How long will it last?
Peter helps us understand. "But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10).
Notice verse 7: "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men"!
This great fire is the same as the "lake of fire," mentioned in Revelation, when YEHOVAH God judges the incorrigibly wicked of Israel. It will sweep around the entire earth! The elements themselves will be dissolved, the surface of the earth will be purged and consumed with tremendous heat. Every remnant of man's sin, every sign of iniquity, every last trace of evil will be devoured by the heat of this fire.
Then there will be new heavens and a new earth, in which the immortal, ever-living Israelite sons of YEHOVAH God will live and reign, throughout all eternity (Revelation 21:12).
But the incorrigibly wicked of Israel, those who deliberately persist in rebellion against YEHOVAH God when they know better, will have no part in it. They will be annihilated in the lake of fire! YEHOVAH will never entrust the awesome powers of the God-family to rebellious, selfish, spiteful, proud and perverse Israelites who have repudiated His love and despised His government throughout their lives.
Those Israelites who refuse YEHOVAH's mercy, those who refuse to repent when they receive YEHOVAH's truths, will be blotted out of existence! Actually, this punishment will be merciful for them. How much better it will be for them to simply die, rather than to have to suffer the agony of living forever and SEEING what they have missed out on, forever.
YEHOVAH God is not a cruel, harsh monster. Nor is He vindictive. He does not intend to torment the wicked for all eternity. Rather, He is going to punish them for their sins, in true justice -- and give them merciful death instead of endless pain and eternal agony in some man-devised "hell"!
"But the wicked shall PERISH, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away" (Psalm 37:20). This describes the true fate of the wicked.
These are not just my words. These are the words of YEHOVAH God!
Is "Hell" Everlasting?
In the book of Matthew, Yeshua the Messiah twice uses the expression "everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:8; 25:41). Notice 25:41 -- "Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
What did Yeshua mean by "everlasting"? The Bible does not contradict itself (John 10:35). Yeshua used a Greek word -- aionios -- which comes from the Greek aion, meaning an "AGE." The word aion is translated "AGES" in Ephesians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26. The aionios fire Yeshua spoke of refers to the age-ending fire which will occur at "the end of this world," and which will introduce the "world to come"! It is an epochal event!
This is why Yeshua calls it aionios or age-lasting fire! The translation "everlasting" is misleading, since the fire itself will not burn forever. Obviously not, since YEHOVAH's Word clearly shows that when the present earth is purged and purified, it will be refashioned into a resplendent NEW EARTH!
Notice a Bible example which proves Yeshua was not talking about an "everlasting" fire, in the sense people assume. Turn to Jude 7, where the identical Greek word, "aionios," is used, but where it is translated "eternal fire." Read this verse carefully: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. "
Jude said the destruction of these two cities is an example for us. Their fate depicts the fate of all the wicked, at the end of the age! They suffered -- notice it -- the vengeance of "ETERNAL fire." Now, what happened to these two ill-fated cities?
Read the answer in the book of Genesis. "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire [a type of the "lake of fire"!] from the LORD out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground....And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace" (Genesis 19:24-28).
This terrible destruction is a direct type of the age-end fire which will consume and annihilate the wicked! But did you notice? Jude calls this ancient punishment "eternal fire" -- yet, the fire which devoured these cities in ancient times is not still burning today! It burned itself out, long, long ago! Nevertheless, the awesome EFFECT of this tremendous fire IS "eternal" -- that is, age-lasting -- and still remains as a witness for us, today!
Now we should be able to understand what the expression "everlasting" fire or "eternal" fire means. It does not mean the fire itself will burn forever, any more than the "eternal" fire which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah is still burning, today. Rather, this expression refers to a great AGE ENDING FIRE, whose awesome EFFECT will be eternal! The fire itself will not last forever, but its effect is complete, total, and utter destruction!
Another much misunderstood scripture is Mark 9:43 where Yeshua speaks of "the fire that never shall be quenched." Does this mean the fire burns forever?
Not at all. Take a match, light it and set a piece of paper on fire. Let it burn. Don't put it out, or snuff it out. Just let the paper burn, until it burns up. Soon it will burn itself out. Now, what do you have? A burned-up piece of paper. But did you put it out? Did you "quench" it? No. You left it unquenched. It was not quenched. Not at all!
Even so, the final Gehenrta fire will not be "quenched," or "put out." Nevertheless, in time, it will burn itself out when the wicked and all their wicked works are burned up!
Any fire will go out when it runs out of fuel. That's the way the final Gehenna fire will be. In time, it will naturally burn itself out!
There you have it. The fate of the wicked of Israel, in the Bible, is death -- the second death in the lake of fire. These wicked Israelites will die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Their consciousness will be destroyed for all eternity. They will have no feelings, thoughts, emotions. They will be dust and ashes under the feet of the righteous! As we have seen before, man is composed of dust. He is dust. He does not have an immortal soul abiding within him. Therefore, when the wicked of Israel are destroyed, there will be nothing left of them to show they ever existed.
Only those Israelites who obey YEHOVAH God -- who really repent of their sins, and turn to YEHOVAH in true heartfelt repentance and obey His commandments, accepting the Messiah Yeshua as their Saviour and Redeemer -- will inherit eternal life, will be in the FIRST RESURRECTION, at the return of YEHOVAH God. True Israelite Christians and saints of YEHOVAH God will receive this gift at the return of YEHOVAH God, at the "first resurrection."
All the others of Israel will have to wait for their day of "judgment" -- and opportunity for salvation and eternal life! They are not necessarily condemned. Rather, they will then be "JUDGED" -- "according to their works"! They will come up in an awesome general resurrection of all the remaining dead of Israel, who ever lived, at the END of the Millennial age. Many Israelites will receive salvation at that time. As Paul wrote to the Romans, "And so ALL ISRAEL shall be saved" (Romans 11:26).
But the truly wicked, the incorrigibly wicked of Israel, those who demonstrated by their wicked and malicious works that they would never fit in YEHOVAH's Kingdom, will be punished by being cast into Gehenna fire. They will die the "second death." For them, there will be no more resurrection -- ever!
Today the Earth -- Tomorrow the Stars!
YEHOVAH God not only promises eternal life to those of Israel who obey and serve Him, however, His promises are much more than that. The resurrection itself is not merely a gift to make those of us of Israel like the angels of heaven, as many people suppose.
Paul gave us a glimpse into what YEHOVAH God has really placed in store for us, when he wrote, "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we [of Israel] are the children of GOD: And if children, then heirs: HEIRS OF GOD, and JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also GLORIFIED together [with him!] " (Romans 8:16-17).
"Glorified together" with the Messiah? What does that mean? To be inheritors along with the Messiah -- of what, exactly?
Again, Paul explains it: "For our conversation [Greek, "citizenship"] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20-21). John adds: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us [of Israel], that we should be called the SONS OF GOD." He goes on: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:1-2).
Do you get that? Do you grasp that? Those of us of Israel shall be literally "sons of GOD" -- and we shall be just like the glorified MESSIAH -- who himself is the firstborn SON of YEHOVAH God the Father!
"God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He appointed HEIR OF ALL THINGS, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of HIS GLORY, and the express IMAGE of his person, and upholding ALL THINGS by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE ANGELS, as he hath BY INHERITANCE obtained a much more EXCELLENT NAME than they " (Hebrews 1:1-4).
("By" is translated from the Greek word dia which may also be translated as "because of," "on account of," or "for" depending on the context of the scripture. In this case "by" does not fit the context which shows that YEHOVAH is the God of the Old Testament. The last part of verse 2 should read: "...FOR whom also He made the worlds.")
What name has the Messiah "Inherited"? What name does any "son" inherit from his father? THE FATHER'S NAME! And what is his Father's name? It is the name of YEHOVAH -- the name of Yod Hay Vav Hay -- YHVH -- the very name of ALMIGHTY GOD!
Do you see? We of Israel will inherit that very name WITH HIM! We will literally join him, and the Father, IN THE EXTENDED FAMILY OF YEHOVAH GOD ALMIGHTY! As His Sons, we will be VERY GOD as HE is VERY GOD! He will always be the supreme Patriarch of the Family of YEHOVAH God -- the "Boss" and the overall RULER -- but we will join Him and Yeshua the Messiah, and rule the entire UNIVERSE -- "ALL THINGS" -- with them -- forever and forever!
What a calling! What a destiny! What a mind-boggling future!
Paul was so overwhelmed by this knowledge that he wrote: "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him OVER the works of thy hands: Thou hast put ALL THINGS in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left NOTHING that is not put under him. But NOW we see NOT YET all things put under him" (Hebrews 2:6-8).
Not yet! But SOON! YEHOVAH God intends to place the ENTIRE COSMOS -- THE WHOLE FAR-FLUNG UNIVERSE -- under the born-again, resurrected SONS OF YEHOVAH GOD -- those of Israel who will be given eternal life and bodies like that of His own! What a calling! What a marvelous, incredible, amazing destiny!
No wonder Job declared, in sublime faith: "If a man die, shall lie live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my CHANGE come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands" (Job 14:14-15). "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another" (Job 19:25-27). Praise YEHOVAH God -- Hallelu Yah!
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