The Lake of Fire!
UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL THINGS
I received e-mail from a detractor this week that said, "You will never understand the Bible until you come to see that everything in the Bible must be taken literally." The truth is that it is hard to read more than a few verses in most parts of the Bible without coming across some figurative, symbolic, idiomatic, or metaphorical language, none of which is literal. Matt. 1:1, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the SON OF DAVID, the son of Abraham." Was Jesus literally the "son of David?" No, (literally) He was more like the twenty-sixth great-grandson of David. So even in the very first verse of the New Testament we are met with language that is not completely literal. And in the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, we have a whole book of symbols, figures, and metaphors. And the material between Matthew and Revelation is a mountain of spiritual instruction and teaching.
PARABLES, PARABLES, AND MORE PARABLES
Christ spoke ONLY in parables when talking with the masses, "ALL these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; and without a parable spake He NOT unto them" (Matt. 13:34). We need to pay strict attention to the Words of God. They are precise and pure (in the original manuscripts), but so many just refuse to believe what they read. Jesus only taught to the multitudes IN PARABLES! Nothing else, just PARABLES! How many believe that? Of course, any who would contend that much of what is written in the Scriptures is figurative rather than literal language will be accused of "spiritualizing away" the Scriptures. In reality, by not understanding spiritual things, it is they, the accusers, who are guilty of MATERIALIZING AWAY the Scriptures!
It is the physical that passes away. Only the Spiritual is eternal. And so it is impossible to spiritualize "away" anything, because once something is spiritual it is eternal and never goes away.
And so the grand teaching and spiritual understanding of such things as the "lake of fire" are literalized and materialized down to something ghastly and horrible rather than something marvelous and glorious. How can any human being with even an ounce of human compassion believe that our Heavenly God and Father is going to operate some hellish version of Saddam Hussein's torture camps for all eternity? Every parent who had a POW in Iraq is worried sick over the condition and treatment of their son or daughter in Saddam's camps. Seriously, do we think that these same parents would be happy and filled with godly joy if one of their sons or daughters were in some fabled eternal torture chamber, of God's Hell? Do any who delight in such satanic teachings ever really meditate on these demonic teachings? No, of course they don't. No one is THAT evil.
PARABLES ARE SPIRITUAL
What were those parables that Jesus taught? A parable is a story that contains in figurative or symbolic language a higher moral or spiritual truth. Parables are HIGHER, SPIRITUAL, GLORIOUS teachings of ETERNAL things. Literally they are of little consequence; spiritually they are of enormous consequence. But without knowing what the symbols represent in a parable, no one could ever understand the higher meaning. Therefore the multitudes of people did not understand the teaching of Jesus Christ, because He did not explain the meaning of the symbols to the masses, only to His disciples in private.
Many people have tried to tell me that parables are to be taken literally. What they don't realize is that they are talking about square circles. The very reason a parable is called a parable is so that we will know for sure that whatever is contained in the parable IS NOT LITERAL. Parables require spiritual understanding. Some require little (albeit some) spiritual understanding. Example: The Parable of a Beam in One's Eye. There are few believers who would not understand the meaning of this parable, although they might not practice its teaching. Others such as The Parable of the Prodigal Son requires much more spiritual understanding, as there are many more spiritual truths contained in this story. And probably the most complex of all parables is the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. (See my fifty-page explanation of this parable on this site).
I remember seeing Charlie Brown cartoons many years ago that had two levels of humor written into them: One very simple and easy to follow for little children; and another higher more sophisticated level of humor to keep the adults entertained as well. Unfortunately all too many Christians can only view parables on the level of very little children viewing Charlie Brown cartoons. The higher meaning is totally missed, and/or not believed.
A simple example: "Another parable spoke He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." Jesus didn't explain this parable, so what does it mean? Most certainly understand that leaven (like yeast) put into dough will cause the dough to rise through fermentation. But what is the spiritual application of this parable? Paul tells us that, "Know ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (I Cor. 5:6). But who believes this parable? According to Jesus, the kingdom of God is like this parable of the leaven and the lump. The kingdom of God moves and works throughout the entirety of the universe until the WHOLE of God's creation is brought under its influence. But who believes it?
The time comes when Jesus Christ will turn over the kingdom of God to His Father: "Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power ... that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL" (I Cor. 15:24 & 28b). Then the whole lump will be leavened with God! Everyone-ALL. This parable is not literal. The kingdom of God is not literally "leaven in a lump of dough! These teachings are SPIRITUAL! They teach GREAT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS! Every parable teaches a spiritual truth. Unless you understand the parable of the leaven and the dough, you don't understand the gospel. Because the leaven in the dough is like the kingdom of God and Jesus came preaching the "GOSPEL" OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD! You see, if the leaven does NOT leaven the WHOLE lump, then it is NOT "like the kingdom of God." Anything that does not involve the whole (everyone) cannot be "like" the kingdom of God. For anything to be "like" the kingdom of God it must involve the whole, the all, everyone, all mankind. Therefore Jesus said that the kingdom of God is "like" leaven that leavens the WHOLE LUMP! Aren't these little parables just MARVELOUS?
ISAIAH WAS NOT A FALSE PROPHET
It is paramount that whatever Isaiah prophesied,
that it be true and be fulfilled. Jesus did not contradict the prophecies of Isaiah by
coming up with a game plan to thwart the original purpose for God giving Isaiah the
prophecy in the first place. Yet there are those who would suggest just such a thing.
Now then was it "given" or "NOT given" to the multitudes to "know the mysteries of the kingdom"? That's right, it was NOT given. Continuing:
Jesus then explains the parable to His disciples only, "Hear ye [all of the disciples only] therefore the parable of the sower" (Ver. 18).
Jesus had just told the multitude this parable of the sower and his disciples heard it also, but neither group understood the parable, so He turned to His disciples in PRIVATE and instructed them in the meaning of this parable.
Not only the multitudes, but the apostles and disciples also did not understand Christ's teachings. They had to be instructed in private. And yet ... and YET, we are told continually like a broken record that the whole Bible must be taken LITERALLY. What is NOT literal cannot be taken LITERALLY. How hard can this be? A parable is still a parable (that is, figurative and/or symbolic words and language which point to a higher spiritual truth than the words themselves portray) even if the words themselves sound like they could be taken literally. The Scriptures say that Christ spoke to the multitudes in parables ONLY. We should stop fighting the Scriptures and believe Him.
"To him that has an ear to hear, let him hear" is the declaration throughout the Scriptures, but only those whom God has granted hearing and understanding will ever grasp the meaning. People don't understand the spiritual, they are afraid of the spiritual, and therefore, they want everything to be literal so that their carnal mind can be satisfied.
DISCIPLES DID NOT UNDERSTAND CHRIST'S PARABLES
Notice this: "And He [Jesus] called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Even though Jesus said, "hear and understand" neither the multitude NOR the disciples understood! Once again: "Then answered Peter and said unto Him; Declare [Greek: decipher, explain] UNTO US THIS PARABLE" (Ver. 15). Peter didn't understand this parable, the apostles didn't understand, the disciples didn't understand, the Pharisees didn't understand, the whole multitude DID NOT UNDERSTAND! Now not all parables are explained in the Scriptures as this one is. Did Jesus ever explain a parable by stating that it is to be taken literally just as His words are stated? No, NEVER! Parables are not literal stories of historical events or literal stories of prophetic events. Parables ALWAYS have a higher meaning than the literal words themselves.
In those few parables that our Lord explained and preserved for us in the Scriptures, He always assigned another and different meaning to each word or part of the parables. Every word or part of each parable stood for something other than the meaning of the literal words. Why then does the church today (ignorantly or intentionally) teach that those parables for which we were not given an explanation, are to be taken LITERALLY? The parable of Lazarus and the Rich man in Luke 16 is only one of the parables for which Jesus gave us no explanation at the time He taught it.
These hypocritical Pharisees were spiritually BLIND and the multitudes that followed them were also spiritually BLIND! Jesus said they were "BLIND leaders of the BLIND." Should we expect that things would be any different in our day and time? Are not many of the religious leaders in the world today blind? And are not the followers of these blind leaders also blind? Shall they not "both" therefore "fall into the ditch?"
The main thing that I want you to see in these Scriptures regarding the parables is that Jesus Christ did not go around the countryside teaching huge crowds of people spiritual truths by the use and means of simple little farming analogies. He taught, they listened, they understood NOT, they went back to their homes, and their lives were affected very little. Although Jesus did not heal most of them of their spiritual sicknesses, he did heal them of their physical diseases, and for this, many were most thankful and thought of Him as a great and godly man. The Pharisees and other such ilk, of course, only despised our Lord's every word and deed.
Now then, why would Jesus Christ spend years traveling the countryside teaching in parables so that the multitudes of people He reached would not understand a word He was saying? Consider if Jesus had either (1) Explained His parables and teachings so that they could and would understand, or (2) Just simply taught them in plain language what He wanted them to hear and know without all the parables and symbolic figurative language, then they would have heard and understood and perceived and repented and been converted, and Jesus would have healed them and saved them. But Jesus didn't want them to repent and be converted and healed and saved (at that time)! Why? Doesn't Christ realize that according to Christian teaching, no person can be saved after he dies without being saved before death. Has no one ever told our Lord about this adamant, unmovable, unrelenting dogmatic divine doctrine of Christendom? Apparently not, seeing that our Lord is going to save many times more sinners after death than before death!
SINNERS SAVED AFTER DEATH
Receiving salvation after one dies is a total impossibility according to Christian teaching. The Scriptural reality is that most of humanity will be saved in judgment after death. It is only the Firstfruits that are saved in this first life before the resurrection to judgment
Now there were many who did believe that Jesus was a man sent from God, and they followed Him. But why? Mostly because of His miracles and healings. They were taken in by His miraculous works. On one occasion Jesus said the multitudes were more interested in the miraculous bread that filled their belly rather than any spiritual food they could have received. But, just as quick as many were to follow Jesus, likewise, many quickly turned from Him. When Jesus told them that, "the flesh profits NOTHING" and "the words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT" (John 6:63), they decided they had enough of this Man: "From that time MANY of His disciples went back, and walked NO MORE with Him" (John 6:66).
And what do we see happening today? I heard again last night Creflo Dollar giving yet another version of the only sermon I believe he has, on how to get rich on this world's materialism! Over the past year or two I have come upon Mr. Dollar probably thirty or forty times while flipping through the channels. I have never once heard anything pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ come out of his mouth-only messages of how to cash in on worldly materialism! Albeit, I must confess that I cannot take more than about five minutes of his preaching at a time. Apparently he believes that materialism is spiritualism! I have nothing against Mr. Dollar. He is a fine looking young man with lots of energy and personality, but I do not believe that he has a clue as to what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. The "treasures" that Jesus spoke of were not houses, cars, jewelry, and money. The treasures of heaven are SPIRITUAL.
And so we have those who were called of God and understood some of the good things of the kingdom of God, but then turned away from Christ. We have whole multitudes that heard Christ preach for years and never understood a word He said, and died that way in their sins. And we have whole nations of people who have never heard of the name of Jesus Christ. What will happen to all of these multitudes and nations that died in their sins not being worthy of the kingdom of God? God will JUDGE them, and they will all be saved! That's what Jesus Christ is-HE'S A SAVIOUR-HE SAVES! He's the best Saviour there ever was or ever will be. Contrary to popular Christian teaching, Jesus Christ is very good at what He does. He is a PERFECT SAVIOUR. No one will be lost when Jesus sets His hand to SAVE THE WORLD! You can take that to the bank.
TWO STUPID ARGUMENTS
I hate to waste precious space and time on stupid things, but I feel an urge to tell you about an argument and an analogy that Christian detractors of the Truth continually send to me. I often mention in my writings and in answer to e-mails, that Jesus Christ is THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, and therefore, WILL SAVE THE WORLD. This should be axiomatic to even the youngest and newest minor in Christ, but sadly many Christian veterans of a half-century do not and cannot believe it.
One analogy that I have been given several times to prove that Christ can be the Saviour of the world, and yet NOT SAVE THE WORLD, goes like this: "When a fireman goes into a burning building to save trapped people, what happens if these trapped people refuse to be saved? Is the fireman not still a fireman simply because some do not wish to be saved?" Here we see the foolishness of the carnal mind at work desperately grasping for straws to support an unscriptural theory that Christ TRIES to save everyone (just like a fireman tries to save those trapped in a burning building), but is unable to save everyone because many REFUSE to be saved. Therefore Christ is STILL a Saviour even if He doesn't save everyone. See the logic in this analogy?
See the utter foolishness in this analogy:
And I have a whole folder full of this inane argument from detractors of the Truth (I will paraphrase as different ones contain different aspects of the same argument): "Well if everyone is going to eventually be saved, as you teach Mr. Smith, then why should those of us who are following Christ now, not just go out and live it up? Why shouldn't we go out and fornicate, get drunk, steal, kill, or do anything we want? Why not just enjoy life and have a happy time? Why should we obey God or pray or go to Church, or be concerned for other people now if we are all going to be saved later anyway?"
This is not an isolated argument-I get many such e-mails. Sometimes I just reply by saying: "Sir, it is not even necessary for me to answer your questions-you have answered them YOURSELF! You yourself have condemned your own darkened and unintelligent heart by the very stupid and foolish questions you ask. You prove to yourself by asking such things, that you do not really love your fellowman or God. You would PREFER to live a wicked life of selfish carnality and a continuous quest for physical pleasures of the flesh. You truly do not see the value of living a righteous, godly, and spiritual life. You condemn yourself as being unworthy of the Kingdom of God."
So here we have people who claim to believe in Jesus Christ and the goodness of God, who nonetheless, utterly condemn my teaching that Jesus Christ will SAVE THE WORLD, and often state that it is "I" who will be tortured in hell fire for all eternity for denying that there is such a place of eternal torture. Yet they themselves would prefer to live an ungodly life of sin and pleasure rather than to serve God from the heart out of love. I believe I have the mind of Christ when I say that all such attitudes will be judged in God's consuming fire.
TURNING THE SPIRITUAL INTO THE PHYSICAL
Who really believes that "the flesh profits NOTHING?" or that "the WORDS that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT?" I am sure that most of my readers are answering, "Well I believe these statements of Christ!" Well I hope you do, but I am afraid that many still think that "the lake of fire which is the second death" is literal even though we just read where Christ Himself says, "the WORDS that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT?" Who do you think spoke those words, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death?" Was it not CHRIST?
If you have a King James Bible, open to the book of Revelation. Here is what my KJV says in big bold letters at the top of the page: "THE REVELATION of St. John the Divine." But you see that title for this book is the invention of the translators. There is no such title in the Greek manuscripts. Now then, read the first verse of Revelation one: "The Revelation of JESUS CHRIST..." So we see that this book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and NOT that of "St. John the Divine." Furthermore, I don't think John would approve of anyone calling him "DIVINE."
The words that the lake of fire is the second death are a revelation of Jesus Christ, and Jesus told us that His words are SPIRIT. Not only are the words "lake of fire" and "second death" figurative, symbolic, and metaphorical, but since this is a revelation of Jesus Christ Himself, they are of necessity also, SPIRITUAL!
Christendom thinks it understands the words of SPIRIT which Jesus spoke, but does it really? Notice the context of these statements of our Lord. Jesus told the Pharisees and multitudes and disciples that He was the bread of life come down from heaven. Jesus again used bread at the last supper to SYMBOLIZE His FLESH which we are to eat in order to have life. The real, literal bread was a symbol of HIS SPIRITUAL FLESH.
So what is it that Christians by the millions do every morning in churches around the world? They take communion by eating real physical bread, which they have been told has now been turned into real physical flesh protein of our Lord's physical body! First of all, Christ's BODY IS SPIRITUAL, not physical, ("It is sown a natural body; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY" I Cor. 15:43, and "Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD" 15:50). In other words, they take something physical (bread); magically metamorphose it into something else physical (namely flesh); and think they have comprehended and achieved something SPIRITUAL.
Christ gave us word symbols to show us a higher spiritual teaching, namely that eating bread which gives physical life is symbolic of eating the real bread of life from heaven, the SPIRITUAL FLESH OF JESUS ("eating" and "flesh" also being symbolic of something else), which imparts SPIRITUAL LIFE.
The large crowds of people who listened to Jesus speak have long since died, and they died in their sins never having understood what it is to be converted, healed, and saved. They never have eaten of Christ's spiritual body. One of the main reasons why, "...for WIDE is the gate, and BROAD is the way, that leads to destruction [not eternal torture], and MANY there be which go in thereat" is because Christ did NOT open up to the multitudes the "narrow way" to understanding, repentance, and salvation.
THE THREE FESTIVALS AND THE SALVATION OF ALL
There is a beautiful type in the Old Testament that clearly demonstrates when and in what manner all these Unsaved masses will be saved. This Old Testament type is illustrated all through the New Testament, but the blind and unperceiving eyes of Christendom have for the most part failed to see it, believe it, or teach it.
The American Heritage College Dictionary: "type n 6. A figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, such as an event in the Old Testament that foreshadows another in the New Testament," p. 1485. There are many such types beginning back in the the first chapter of Genesis.
Here are just two examples: The Passover in
ancient Israel was a type of its true fulfillment to come in our Lord's crucifixion,
"Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are
unleavened [but now speaking spiritually]. For even Christ our
PASSOVER [Lamb] is sacrificed [crucified] for us "
(I Cor. 5:7). And James 1:18 clearly demonstrates the foreshadowing of the
firstfruits harvest by saying: "Of His own will begat He us with the
word of truth, that we should be a KIND of firstfruits [of the Spring Harvest]
of His creatures [not farm products]." It is also
important to note that whenever the word "first" is used, it always suggests more
to follow -- there is never a Spring harvest without a following Fall harvest. We will now
consider three of the Old Testament types that center on the harvest seasons.
JESUS TAUGHT THE PURPOSE OF THE FALL HARVEST
The eighth day of this Feast of Tabernacles was called "The Last Great Day of the Feast." Jesus Christ Himself came to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and spoke on the Last Great Day:
At what point in future prophecy, will Jesus Christ CUT OFF the invitation to all and any who are athirst to drink of His LIVING WATERS? Our Lord NEVER cuts off the invitation to drink of the living waters. These waters (a symbol for God's SPIRIT) will be available until every creature in heaven and earth is saved:
And this declaration is made just five verses before the END OF THE BIBLE!
But don't be deceived, Jesus Christ IS the "tree of life" in the Garden, and NO ONE can partake of that tree of life except he first pass the through the "FLAMING SWORD" that points in all directions and guards the tree of life. Remember, "Our God is a CONSUMING FIRE" (Heb. 12:29).
So Tabernacles celebrated the great Fall harvest, the largest harvest of the whole year. It was this great Fall harvest that would sustain Israel through the winter months. There were far more products to be harvested in the END of the year than in the Spring of the year. Therefore this same type must carry over into the New Testament.
So here is where we are. There were THREE great festivals in the yearly calendar of Israel:
First comes the wave sheaf, the very first of the firstfruits, on Passover, during the feast of unleavened bread. This represents CHRIST, the very first (wave sheaf) OF the firstfruit, our Passover sacrificed for us.
Second was the Feast of Weeks when the firstfruit of the land was harvested. This represents US, the FIRSTFRUIT to enter God's Kingdom. James says WE are the firstfruit of God (James 1:18).
Third came the great Fall harvest, the Feast of Tabernacles, a much much larger gathering, where ALL THE FALL HARVEST was gathered in! What does this Feast picture? This was the time of true REJOICING FOR EVERYONE. Absolutely EVERYONE. No one was left out of this great and final festival of the year:
NO ONE was EXCLUDED! EVERYONE was INCLUDED!
And so we see in the New Testament that these three festivals of ancient Israel are really TYPES in God's master plan of salvation. Christ the FIRST of the firstfruit. Then believers, the FIRSTFRUITS. And then the great FALL HARVEST.
But wait a minute. We know that Christ was the First of the firstfruit to be resurrected to life. We also know that all the believing saints who are to reign with Christ at His coming are the rest of the firstfruits. So where then does the great fall harvest of souls come into God's family? When have you ever been taught about the great fall harvest, which excludes no one but includes everyone? There is a reason why you haven't heard the truth of these Scriptures in Christendom.
According to Christendom THERE IS NO GREAT FALL HARVEST OF SOULS at the end of the ages!
That's right, they say there will be NO Fall Harvest in God's Kingdom. Just how do they account for such a thing? Is God such an inept and unskilled Farmer that He has a total crop failure when Fall harvest time comes, or will He just BURN THE ENTIRE HARVEST in the eternal fires of some fabled hell?
ENTER THE PROPHET BENNY
An interesting thing happened yesterday when I was scanning the channels looking for the latest news. Benny Hinn popped up on one of the channels, and so I stopped momentarily and heard the announcer say that Mr. Hinn was ready to complete his study on the Feast of Tabernacles. Now how coincidental can this be? Of course it was no coincidence at all as God is operating all according to the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:10-11). Since I was writing on this very theme myself, I thought that I would listen to what Mr. Hinn had to say. I then heard something that I have never heard before.
I am well aware of the fact that Christian doctrine does not teach that God will bring in the entire Fall harvest of humanity, but how do they explain it away? I had never heard the orthodox answer to this problem. Well, don't you know, Benny Hinn (teacher, author, evangelist, healer, prophet, and raiser of the dead) had the answer. (Can't say for sure that his answer is the orthodox one or not, but I'll pass it on anyway). He said to his audience that what he was about to tell them would shock them. Even I was on the edge of my seat. I could hardly wait for this new revelation. What could it be?
First he quoted from Daniel nine about the 70 weeks prophecy and from Amos, and then came his shocker. He said that God was going to do something that He had never done before. God was going to do something completely unheard of heretofore. He was going to perform a most unusual miracle. And just what is it that God will do? His audience was just glowing with anticipation. I could hardly wait myself. He next quoted his proof text for this most unusual miracle from God. And here it is, King James Version, Joel 2:23:
Well there it is! Did you catch that most incredible and momentous miracle of miracles? You don't see it? Well, actually, I didn't either until he explained it.
The key to his marvelous revelation is found in the words, "...the former rain, and the latter rain in the FIRST MONTH." I will now present to you Prophet Benny's insight into this phrase. He said that in the near future, God will send the former rain and latter rain, all in the FIRST MONTH of the year. Thus, (and here Prophet Benny takes a little interpreters license) the former rain really represents the former harvest or Pentecost (firstfruits) and the latter rain represent the Fall harvest (Tabernacles), so both the spring harvest of firstfruits AND the fall harvest of ingathering will BOTH TAKE PLACE IN THE FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR! So therefore there will not be a separate huge fall harvest, just one harvest in the first month only. And both of these harvests combined will NOT include all the produce of the field, ONLY THAT PORTION which is lucky enough to get harvested. This supposed spring and fall harvest combined, in the first month, will be but a small portion of the entire crop!
Wow! What prophetic understanding! What a fantastic miracle! What divine revelation! What spiritual insight! WHAT A CROCK!!
I am afraid I will now have to Scripturally depose Benny the prophet. (Actually, I kinda like Benny; he's a charming guy with a pleasant personality, and always seems to have a smile on his face; but don't believe everything he says).
Notice that I italicized the word month in each reference above. If you have a King James Bible you will notice that the word "month" in Joel 2:23 is in italics. This means that in the Hebrew manuscript from which this verse was translated, there is NO WORD "month" in verse 23. The translators inserted the word month thinking they would make the meaning of the verse clearer, when in reality, they turned the verse into a contradiction. It should read, "...the former rain, and the latter rain as in the first." Period. It is not speaking of "the first month," but "as in the first" or "as before" or "as in the beginning." Notice a few credible translations of this verse:
Does anyone see the word "month" in any of these translations? That's because God never inspired the word "month" to be used in this verse. So clearly this verse is not speaking about having a spring and fall harvest all in the same first month of the year! How conveniently Prophet Benny thought he had wiped out God's whole Fall Harvest of billions of souls by extrapolating a false prophecy and unscriptural doctrine from one non-existent word!
No, my dear readers, the firstfruits are but the beginning of the harvest, and there is to follow the full fall harvest of all humanity. God said that this end of the year fall harvest was a time of REJOICING. One could hardly rejoice over throwing the entire fall harvest of humanity into some hellhole of eternal fire!
THREE TIMES there was a great festival to God wherein, by the use of types, God showed mankind His plan of salvation. The PASSOVER, the FIRSTFRUITS, and the FALL HARVEST. These three festival types in the Old Testament were to have their fulfillment in future realizations of these types.
EVERY MAN SAVED IN HIS OWN ORDER
I Cor. 15:20, 23, 24 presents us with the type and fulfillment of the three harvest festivals:
THEN COMES THE END
I Cor. 15:24 says, "Then comes the END..." "The end" of what? Just what is it that "ends" in "the end?" Does the earth end? Does the universe end? Do we end? What ends in the end? "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming [Gk: His presence]. Then comes THE END..." (II Cor. 15:24). Let's look at a few verses before we come to "the end" in verse 24:
Comment: Contrary to popular teaching, there was no heavenly welcoming committee of men and women who became firstfruits BEFORE Christ became the FIRSTFRUIT. No, there were no saints welcoming Christ back to heaven. Christ taught:
Jesus Christ was the FIRST. Ask your pastor if this verse really is true, that "NO MAN" has ascended into heaven. This would then mean that Lazarus and Abraham in the Rich man parable also were NOT IN HEAVEN as most teach that they were, wouldn't it?
Among the very last few words that Christ uttered on this earth were these:
So yes, Christ is the first of the firstfruits. He is the first of EVERYTHING, He is the very Creator; and He is the last, the end, the CONSUMMATION of God's plan of universal salvation.
Comment: First I want to show you that the word "alive" in this verse is a word that is used with reference to imparting immortality, and not just mortal life. The Greek word is zoopoieo, and it means to give life beyond the grasp of any future death. Notice how it is used in Rom. 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead [Christ was raised to immortality, not back to a mortal life] dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [zoopoieo] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you." So clearly God does not give "mortal" life to our "mortal" bodies, seeing that we already have mortal life. No, He imparts IMMORTALITY to us. And this is exactly what Paul tells us in I Cor. 15, "For this corruptible [body] must put on incorruption [spiritual], and this mortal [dying or dead body] must put on IMMORTALITY [Gk: DEATH-LESS-NESS]" (Verse 53). And to whom does Christ grant immortal "zoopoieo" life? Answer: "ALL." The very same "all" who die in Adam are the very same "all" who are given life IN CHRIST.
It is also noteworthy that it is "...IN Christ ALL..." and is not restricted to only, "...ALL IN CHRIST..." as many have tried to twist this verse to mean. They say it is only all those who are "in" Christ. But that is not what this verse says. It says "in Christ ALL." That is the order of words. This verse is not speaking of those just the "all believers" who are said to be "IN Christ." No, this verse is speaking about the very same "in Adam ALL" who die become the very same "in Christ ALL" who are made alive. And although this particular verse does not say that "all" are now "IN Christ," it does most definitely say that "in Christ," the "ALL" shall be shall be "made alive." "Made alive" does not prove they are "in" Christ or that they are "saved," only that they have been given immortal life. Then comes JUDGMENT. But don't think that therefore there is no Scripture that says they will eventually "ALL" be "IN" Christ, because there is:
Christ first raises ALL to mortal life. At a later date He gathers this same ALL into Himself. The "in Christ ALL" (I Cor. 15:22) then becomes the "ALL IN CHRIST" (Eph. 1:10). Every creature in heaven and earth will be ONE IN Christ! I hope you can believe that.
The King James starts a new sentence and a new verse with the words, "Then cometh the end..." It should, however, be a continuation of the previous sentence. There are three items in view here, not just two. The Concordant Version has a better rendering of this:
One, two, three. So there are three orders or classes that synchronize with the three festivals of harvest, and not just two classes that synchronize with Prophet Benny's first "month" of the year only theory. Notice them:
These three match perfectly with the three types of harvest in the Old Testament. So yes indeed, there will be a fall harvest at the end, at the CONSUMMATION. Now the rest of verse 24:
Notice that Christ does not rule "forever and ever" as is popularly taught, but rather delivers up the kingdom to GOD His Father. But He does this after He puts down ALL RULE AND ALL AUTHORITY, AND ALL POWER. Who/Where? EVERYONE/EVERYWHERE! "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together [just like the fall "ingathering of the harvest"] in one ALL ['things' is not in the Greek] in Christ, both which are IN HEAVEN, and which are ON EARTH, IN HIM" (Eph. 1:10). And so here is our Scripture which clearly states that "ALL" in both heaven and earth will become "ONE IN Christ." Now they are no longer just given life in Christ, but now they are SAVED, they are "one in Christ!"
Notice that there is coming a "GATHERING TOGETHER OF ALL IN ONE [Christ]." And that this gathering together of all in one consists of ALL IN THE HEAVENS AND ALL IN THE EARTH! Who then is left out? NO ONE! These ALL in heaven and earth are not gathered "under" Christ, but "IN Christ!"
Let's read it again. A verse this important and all encompassing cannot be over emphasized:
Now then, when "ALL" in both heaven and earth are gathered into one "IN Christ," absolutely no one is left out. This is also in perfect harmony with other Scriptures regarding the salvation of everyone in both the heavens and the earth, and even those dead and six feet UNDER the earth. Next book, Phil. 2:9-11:
Sometimes when something is important God gives us a SECOND WITNESS:
And when something is really important God even gives us a THIRD WITNESS:
It is futile to say that I Cor. 15: 22 means only the all who are "in" Christ will be saved, even though the order of words is clear in all translations. It is not "all IN Christ" that is spoken of in this verse, but rather "in Christ ALL" that is spoken of. But later, after resurrection, after judgment, "in the dispensation of the fullness of times," we learn that, indeed, it is "ALL in Christ" and now the "ALL" is EVERYONE IN HEAVENS AND ON THE EARTH-ALL OF GOD'S CREATURES!
By the way, for all those ultra-stubborn ones who say that, yes, all will bow their knees, and if they don't God will break their knees and force them to confess that "Jesus is LORD," let me present this Scripture:
Oh that Christians would learn to stop fighting and contradicting the Scriptures.
So then, "in Christ ALL" shall be made alive with immortal and incorruptible life; ALL both in the heavens and in the earth shall be judged (set right), and then all in the heavens and all in the earth will bow and confess that Christ is LORD of their lives; and ALL in both heaven and earth will be gathered together in ONE "IN Christ." This is the great fall harvest. This is the meaning of Tabernacles. This is the grand and glorious note on which the ENDS OF EONS climax!
TO BE "IN CHRIST" IS SALVATION
What does it mean to be "IN Christ" seeing that ALL IN HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL BE "IN Christ?"
How many will be reconciled "IN Christ?"
Of course, how could it be otherwise? Jesus doesn't make just "some" new creatures from the old, no, He makes "ALL THINGS ... NEW." And we all know this verse:
How many will be IN Christ? We read it: "ALL." There is coming the time when there will be no more condemnation IN ANYONE ANYWHERE! Praise God and BELIEVE IT!
WHEN IS IT TOO LATE TO BE SAVED?
But are these Scriptures believed? In the "the end," in "the last day ," in that "GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST," can "ANY" man really and truly drink of Christ if he is thirsty, or will it be TOO LATE?
What about the Rich man in the parable who said,
Can this Rich man come to Christ and "drink"? Ask your pastor. The answer will probably be, "NO, he cannot come to Christ and drink, because for him IT IS TOO LATE."
"TOO LATE?" The "END," the "END of the Feast," "the LAST day," "the LAST great day of the Feast," is, "TOO LATE?" NO! The LAST great day of the feast is NOT too late. The LAST GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST IS WHEN Jesus said let "ANY MAN" freely come and drink of the water of life:
In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man, we find the Rich man being Judged, so he has not as yet partaken of the water of life, but he will. And so the church today has relegated this marvelous type of the fall harvest of rejoicing into an eternity of grieving. They see no need to SAVE the harvest. Their message is to BURN AND DESTROY THE HARVEST! To them the Fall Harvest is not worth saving; to them the Fall Harvest is EVIL, and needs to be burned in fire for all eternity. This is decidedly not the way God views humanity in the end time of harvest. It seems that the greatest minds in theology today cannot understand the simplest analogies, types, and parables in the Scriptures?
GOD THE FARMER
Think about these things with a little bit of sensibility and reverence for God's desires. Oh how we demean the very God we claim to worship. For millennia man has tilled the ground, planted seed, cultivated, sweat and toiled in anticipation of a GOOD CROP. You can't count the times that Scripture talks of food, produce, oil, olives, figs, corn, wine, cattle, milk, honey, seedtime and harvest. The ideal setting being a land filled with happy children , peace, health, and PLENTY! Our Lord said that God His Father is a "Farmer" ("My Father is the Farmer" John 15:1)
Now it is indeed acknowledged by the church that God will have a small spring harvest of firstfruits, but when it comes to the FALL harvest, the really BIG harvest, The Greatest Farmer in the Universe, will not have a bumper crop but will rather have a TOTAL CROP FAILURE! Or more precisely, He BURNS THE ENTIRE FALL HARVEST. Does this blasphemous teaching sound to you like God is being exalted as the Greatest Farmer in all the earth? An all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Farmer Who can cultivate and produce a perfect and complete Fall Harvest? Why would our Father's Son, Jesus Christ, liken His Father to a Farmer, knowing in advance that His Farmer Father will produce fall harvest that is worse that the worst of human farmers?
The spring harvest is the harvest of those firstfruits that have entered into the straight and narrow gate. The fall harvest is the harvest of all those who went the wide and broad way into destruction. Destruction is not the final destiny of the nonbeliever. Being DESTROYED, PERISHED, and LOST are all conditions awaiting SALVATION, and are not conditions to be eternally punished! All, absolutely ALL, who are not in the first resurrection are in a condition likened to: "lost," "perished," or "destroyed." Contrary to orthodoxy these conditions are NOT hopeless:
DESTROYED, PERISHED, AND LOST
DESTROYED: Is being destroyed a condition from which there is no salvation? Jesus said,
Is there no salvation from this "destruction" in gehenna fire? Notice that they are not "eternally lost" in gehenna fire, but they are "DESTROYED" in gehenna fire. Their condition is that of being DESTROYED. This is not a hopeless condition or even our own Lord would have been put into a hopeless condition.
Later they did destroy Jesus Christ and sure enough three days later God SAVED Jesus from that destruction.
Notice what Job said with relation to being "destroyed":
Yet Job knew that God would yet save him. In Jeremiah 18 God tells Jeremiah to go down to the Potter's house and observe him at work. Jeremiah sees the potter destroy a marred work in his hand and refashion it into something useful. This we learn is an analogy of how God would "destroy" Judah (Ver. 7), and yet save him in the end. God will refashion all of marred (destroyed) mankind into glorious sons of God!
PERISHED: Can a person perish and still be saved? Of course. Even "righteous" men can perish,
Perishing is not something that can cut off God's arm of salvation.
LOST: Can a person sin, be lost, die, and then be saved? Certainly. Let's look at one of those parables of Jesus that Christendom thinks of as easy to understand little stories, when in fact they don't even begin to understand. You all know the story contained in the parable of the Prodigal son so I won't read it all, but let me give you the "truth" of this parable.
God is the "Father" in this parable, and the Prodigal is EVERY SON WHO HAS GONE ASTRAY.
This man SINNED, he was LOST, and he SPIRITUALLY DIED! Do we ALL spiritually DIE? "AND AS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE..." But isn't this speaking of the PHYSICAL death of our bodies? No it is not. The second part of the verse gives us the answer as to which death this is,
Notice that "judgment" comes after this death, and not before. We already learned that JUDGMENT is upon the house of God NOW! Each individual Christian in every generation is judged NOW, in THIS life, BEFORE he physically dies! And so the "death" that all men must partake of before judgment is SPIRITUAL DEATH. Notice:
How pray tell can the physically dead, stand, if they are dead?
So here then is the order of things. The Prodigal Son SINNED, he was LOST, he spiritually DIED, and then? And then he was JUDGED! Where and when was he judged? In the hog pens of a far alien country, that's where. God had to bring him out of this alien county (Mystery Babylon the Great) with all its "riotous living" (Luke 15:13). And so it was that God JUDGED this Prodigal with the beasts and swine of Babylon until he "came to himself." (Ver. 17). Seems to me that God sent King Nebuchadnezzer into the fields with the beasts to live like a beast, so that he too "came to himself." God has not warned in vain to
He that has an ear, let him hear.
And so this Prodigal SINNED, was LOST, and spiritually DIED. Surely he is outside of the realm of salvation now. No, he is in the perfect realm FOR SALVATION. How many millions of times this parable of the Prodigal Son has been read, but how many times has its truth ever been understood and perceived? This prodigal was, according to his father, "DEAD." And it was after his father said that he was "dead" that he welcomed him back, forgave him, exalted him, and rewarded him! Now who says one can't be saved after death. It is after death that most of humanity will be saved.
May God finally grant you to SEE SOMETHING SPIRITUAL! Parables are NOT literal, that's why they are called "parables" instead of "history." This parable pictures the carnal mind going the way of the flesh. What are the wages of living a riotous life in the alien land of lustful Babylon? Is it "life and joy in the holy spirit?" I speak as fool. Here is the wages of riotous and carnal living in the hog pens of Babylon: "For the wages of sin is DEATH..." (Rom. 6:23). SPIRITUAL DEATH! What must happen AFTER we spiritually DIE? "JUDGMENT!" The spiritual DEAD must be JUDGED. Does judging CORRECT the spiritually dead sinners? Yes it does. That is what the parable of the Prodigal Son is all about. God's "ways and means" ALWAYS WORK!