We have really enjoyed this Feast with you. The Last Great Day is special, and God realizes, I am sure, that going home from the Feast of Tabernacles after we have all shared time together is really difficult. We have been separate all year long, and now here we are all together, and now we will soon be going home.
I think God put the Last Great Day here to encourage us. This day, and the time period that this day represents—that we memorialize each year—has been planned for by God the Father, and by the One who became Jesus Christ, since Adam and Eve and very possibly, long before that!
It pictures one of the most exciting events one could imagine. It pictures an absolute miracle that man cannot conceive of in his wildest dreams. It pictures a time when God the Father and Jesus Christ, the 24 elders, and all the host of heaven, and all of us who are changed into spirit sons will rejoice with unbelievable exultation and triumph because it will picture a time when we have all succeeded.
As for us now at this time, we picture the resurrection of our loved ones that we miss so much. Each one of us has some relative—father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt, uncle; or some close friend—which we miss and look forward to seeing again. This day pictures this.
It is a good day to go home on because it leaves us with so much hope, and so much encouragement. It pictures a time when those who have died in war, those who lost limbs, those who were blinded, who were lame, who were halt, who died in sickness, who were enfeebled, will be resurrected to a new and healthy body living in a world that will become perfect; a world without crime, prejudice, war, hatred, lusts, poverty, and the senseless slaughter that we experience in the world today.
It will be a time when people who have never owned their own property will own their own land at last. And, no one who has a home will be laid-off at age 55 and lose his home and be on the streets, because he cannot get a new job.
It will be a time where we may be living in a very populated area, but yet we will not be jammed together as in the Los Angeles basin with its 18 million people, or in Bombay, India where they project 2 or 3 billion! It just will not be like this. They will have privacy. They will not be jammed together like rats. Health, clean air, good food (and all of it organic!), will be available for everyone.
This will be a time when there will not be many gods in the world. There will be just the One True God.
As we traveled over in Malaysia and Indonesia, Bali, and so forth, they have little sections of their yards with little homes—little houses—and in them are little gods. Well, that just will not be anymore. They will not worship, and offer to these gods. Those in Japan will not worship their rotund Buddha, and the other cultures will not have the upturned gutters on their roofs so that the demons cannot slide off into their yard. And in Bali, they even have a square mirror in the eaves of the roof so if a demon should try to come in at the eaves or the peak of the roof, he will see himself and be scared, and go away! True! Some of them will not even let you take their picture over there because they would be captured in the camera!
All this absurdity will be put away and there will be right teaching at last for all the world. No more superstitions, no more old wives' tales; it will be a time of freedom from unfounded fears.
Satan will at last have been bound and it will be a time when his hateful influence over God's creation (which has been here from the beginning), will have at last been removed. It will be a time when all mankind who has ever lived will be called by God. They will be given a chance to repent of all of their mistakes and foolishness (that we heard about in the sermonette) and have the opportunity to become the very members of the God Family just as we will be at that time.
When we consider all of these things, when we think of what this day represents because of our longing to be with our loved ones who have died, we long to see mankind healed and at peace. But in all of this, I do not think that we begin to see the enormity of the tasks that we will be required to perform to bring this about, and the amount of planning that God has put forth to bring this to pass because we are all involved in it. You are part of God's plan.
I do not think we take the life we are now living seriously enough as being the very training ground that will prepare us to perform the awesome job that we have waiting for us. Because, you see, that is why you are called—that is why this is a good thing to go home on—to realize why you were called.
As we shall see, we have an absolutely daunting job facing us in the very near future. And it is daunting! Though the original resurrection will take place by the power of God, the growth of the people, the teaching of the people, the helping of the people to overcome will take place because of efforts, in good part, of those called in the first resurrection as first fruits. It will be a time that each one of us will be vitally involved in seeing that all good possible comes to these resurrected brethren that are going to come onto the scene.
And just as attending church, studying, praying, being loyal, being obedient, being kind and loving prepares us to be the Bride of Christ, so this Last Great Day which we rehearse each year should teach us that our involvement in the Kingdom of God will not in any way be passive, but extremely active! We are not going to roll around heaven all day and just play a harp! It is not going to happen that way!
We must understand that God is preparing us now to eventually serve, govern, care for, and teach the billions that will need to be taken care of and taught during the time involved in the Last Great Day.
We think of our calling—we think of being saved from this end-time world's destruction—that is good. Or, we think of the wonderful experiences of the millennium—and that is fine; there is nothing wrong with that. But, all of that is just preparatory to the wonderful event that this day pictures—and it is truly a wonderful event.
Our calling by God is just the beginning of the training that God has in store for us. He has called the weak and the foolish of the world that we might confound the mighty, and that is exactly what we are going to do.
We look at ourselves in a mirror—we do not think much of what we are today, but God looks at us and He sees the perfect future rulers that He has to have to bring about this Last Great Day. And, each of us is learning through the experiences of living our lives—overcoming, being married and raising children, growing old.
Frank Simkins' message touched me there concerning all the seeds we have sown. You know we do not think we have a big bank roll. Maybe we have not been the greatest success in the world, and we find ourselves elderly. Think of all the seeds we have sown—the good, and the bad we have tried to replace with the good—if you do not think that these experiences are absolutely necessary, then, you are incorrect! God is going to use all that age—all that gray hair. He holds gray hair to be really wonderful. (And I am certainly thankful about that!) The world around us does not, but God does, because of all the experiences that the aged have gone through, and lived through.
These things will help us to relate to and help those we are to work with during the period of the Last Great Day.
Now, we are in training to follow the pattern of Jesus Christ. And I think that we have to realize this—that we are going to follow the exact pattern that Jesus Christ—and we are following it—in being made priests and kings.
Please turn over to Hebrews 2, and verses 6 through 18:
Hebrews 2:6-10 "But one in a certain place testified, saying, 'What is man, that you are mindful of him? Or the son of man, that you visit him? [or that you care about him, or for him?] You made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands. You have 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 all things yet put under him. But, we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
So, He had to go through the sufferings of this world to become perfect—to understand what it was like to be a human being, and what we go through.
Hebrews 2:11 For both He who sanctifies, and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.
Now keep in mind what Christ went through because we are going to be going through the same things.
Hebrews 2:12-18 Saying, 'I will declare your name unto my brethren. In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto You.' And again, 'I will put my trust in Him.' And again, 'Behold! I and the children which God has given Me.' For as much, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of [shared] the same, so that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For truly He took not on Himself the nature of angels, but He took on Himself the seed of Abraham. Wherefore, in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to help them who are tempted.
Just as Jesus Christ took on the nature of man, that He might save him, we share that nature perhaps even more fully as we have lived longer in the flesh, struggling with our nature even longer. We will not end our lives perfectly like Jesus Christ, but we will understand the struggle that those in the future will have to go through—this is the training ground that we are in now.
And because of Jesus taking on the nature of man, a bond was formed—a bond of oneness—between Him and the people He died for. He understood what it was to hurt, to be hungry, to be up all night healing, driving out demons. He understood the frustrations—the fears of the people. And because of all He experienced, He had great compassion upon them.
You see, that is what we are going to experience as well. Because we have to go through this life struggling to overcome and learning the lessons of our mistakes, and the lessons of living correctly, we too have a strong bond with those we are going to be working with. We will be tender and understanding and merciful toward them. And will have a great desire for those we work with in the world to make it! Because we will understand what we went through and what they have to go through. We will be able to contrast this life with our new life, and we will want every one if at all possible to be with us in the Kingdom of God. We will have that much love and concern for them.
There will be a strong bond formed there between us—between those we work with. They will be truly regarded as potential members of the God Family. We will care for them greatly.
This does not mean we will be pushovers, because we have been there. But, we will be able to judge with real understanding and with mercy the people that we will deal with.
And just as Jesus Christ declared the Father's name to His brethren, so we shall declare the Father's name, and His Son's name to all those in the resurrection. It is going to be part of our job.
As the relationship we share with Christ is very intimate, so will our relationship with those we deal with be very intimate as well. And, as we will have had the fear of death taken from us, so also we will help those we work with to realize that they can have the same thing, and explain the awesome future that will be theirs.
And finally, just as Jesus Christ, our faithful High Priest is totally trustworthy, we will be able to be trusted as well. We will be faithful priests to those we work with in reconciling them to God, not by our dying for them as Jesus Christ did, but rather saving them through the teaching; encouraging them to the work toward salvation.
And because we have been tempted and failed many times, and had to overcome, we will encourage them that they can also overcome—that it is not impossible.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Because, we have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We know we too will be touched by their infirmities as well. We will understand. We will be faithful priests. We will know that we have been called at this time to overcome Satan, and the world, and wrong pulls.
But beyond this, we have been called to learn to make proper decisions in using God's Word. This is something that we are to go on to perfection with. We are to take God's Word into our lives and apply it individually.
Somebody asked me the other day, "What do you think that I should do here?" And I said, "I don't know. I think you had better find out what you should do." Certainly, counsel is there. But it is time for us to study God's Word, as was brought out about the seeds—which seeds are good for us? Learn to make decisions. We are called to go on to perfection. Because the role that God has in mind for us, as individuals, requires that we learn to make right decisions to be able to rule soundly, and intelligently in the future. This is the training ground that you and I are in now. We have to study and make decisions. I think that this is why we do not have very many ministers here—it requires you to make your own decisions. This is good!
How are we going to ever have that kind of ability—the ability to guide and teach so many in the future? What an awesome thing to think about!
Well, Mr. Armstrong understood what God had in mind, and how God works with us. He often said that God many times starts in a small way with us. He slowly brings us and develops us to be able to handle the larger responsibilities. That is how He started Mr. Armstrong out—very small—and Mr. Armstrong grew with all that was coming upon him.
Now we are extremely important to God because we are the nucleus of what He is planning in the future. Both those He has called down through the ages, and the ones He has called now will be the leaders under Jesus Christ to implement all that God has in mind in His plan, in His desire to create a family.
And to provide that leadership, God has created an overall course for us to follow.
The first step is:
1. God's calling has been given to us.
You are to live this life the very best that you can—to the best of your ability. Overcoming is going to work on putting down bad habits, and wrong attitudes. It is also to learn to love the brethren, to be merciful, to be kind, to be gentle, to be thoughtful, to be considerate of those we deal with, to be honest and truthful.
You see, we have to do more than just want to be a son of God. We have to truly learn to care for those who are a part of our family. That can mean husband, wife, son, daughter; those sitting next to us, and even the ones we do not even care for. We have to learn to overcome and do that.
We have to truly learn to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbor—which can be most anyone—as ourselves.
Now Jesus Christ talks about His plan, about the future that is coming to each of us who remain faithful.
Luke 20:34-38 And Jesus answering them said, 'The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage. But, they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more because they are equal unto the angels, and are the children [sons] of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now, [that] the dead are raised. Even Moses showed at the burning bush, when he called the Lord "The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," because He is not a God of the dead, but of the living, because all live unto Him.'
When will our positions be given unto us? When will all of this take place? There is a series of scriptures I would like to go through here to cover this, and I think we know some of them.
I Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep. 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 in Christ shall rise first. Then we who 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 be always with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.
I Corinthians 15:50-53 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold! I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, because the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Because this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
I have no idea what this will feel like. Will we go to sleep for a second, and the next second you have a brand new body? I do not know. But, I do know you are going to be changed. And though I do not know the exact timing, I would like you to turn over to Revelation 11, and we will see when this takes place. This is the chapter that talks about the two witnesses, and it is just after them that we are changed.
Revelation 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their [the two witnesses'] dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
They will be so anxious to see these men dead.
Revelation 11:10-14 And they who dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them who dwelt on the earth. And after three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet. And great fear fell upon them who saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, 'Come up here.' And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand. And the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold! The third woe comes quickly!
The third woe is about to come, and the seventh trump.
Revelation 11:15 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 shall reign for ever and ever.'
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and Your wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that you should give reward unto your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them who fear your name small and great, and should destroy them who destroy the earth."
The final trump is coming. And the final last plagues are on the horizon, and things start to happen for us.
Now about this time, I would have to guess is where the Wedding Supper would have to come in, because all of these events take place right in here. So, turn over to Luke 12 because this is part of the process that God has put into action here to bring us to the final Last Great Day.
Luke 12:36-37 And you yourselves are like unto men who wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding. That when he comes and knocks, they may open unto Him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He comes shall find watching. I tell you the truth that He shall gird himself and make them to sit down to supper, and will come forth and serve them.
I would imagine that He would come by to each individual. I have no idea how long the wedding supper is, or the time frame. But He will come by to each individual, and I am sure He will acknowledge you, because, you see, He understands what it took for us to be at that supper. He understands the trials, the doubts, and the failings we have had to go through. And at that time, He and God the Father and all the host of heaven will welcome the very first fruits of Christ's creation. And, what a time that will be! We have this all to look forward to!
2. You have been changed into a spirit being.
That is the second step that God has in mind to prepare you to take care of the multitudes that are coming on the Last Great Day.
Luke 12:40-44 'Be you therefore ready also for the Son of Man comes at an hour when you think not.' Then Peter said unto Him, 'Lord, do you speak this parable unto us, or even to all people?' And the Lord said, 'Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom His Lord shall make ruler over His household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He comes shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you that He will make him a ruler over all that He has.'
This means we will be kings and priests.
Now we go back to Revelation 15, and we will start to go into the last Trump now:
Now these plagues appear to be completed in one 24-hour period. And, "filled up" means completes. This is the final thing that God is going to do to mankind before Israel is re-gathered.
Revelation 15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven gold vials [bowls] full of the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.
Revelation 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, 'Go your ways, and pour out the vials [bowls] of the wrath of God upon the earth!'
Now I am not going to go through all the vials here, but they are all plagues, but I am going to go to verses 12 through 16 because this also has a great deal to do with us.
Revelation 16:12-16 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates, and the water was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, for they are the spirits of demons working miracles, who go forth unto the kings of the earth to gather them to the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. [A battle we will be involved in!] 'Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments lest he walk naked and they see his shame.' And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew language Armageddon.
Please turn over to Zechariah 14, because this is where you come in! This is after the wedding supper, it would appear, and so now God brings you with Him when He comes back to correct the world. And correct it He does!
Zechariah 14:1-5 Behold, the day of the Lord comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the midst of you. I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, and the houses plundered, and the women ravished, and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west. And there shall be a very great valley because half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains because the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal. Yes, you shall flee like you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, King of Judah. And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Him.
You will be here for this as the first fruits! And, God makes quick work of this. He does not diddle around!
Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall decay while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall decay in their sockets, and their tongues shall decay while in their mouth.
God does not take any prisoners at this time.
Zechariah 14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them. They shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor.
This is what it is going to be like with our first contact as coming back as Spirit beings. Now back to Revelation 16 because it comes next.
Revelation 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial [bowl] into the air. And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne, saying, 'It is done!'
This is the last thing that God is going to do to rebellious mankind. The very last thing.
Revelation 16:18-19 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake it was. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.
I heard a sermon years ago by one of the evangelists in which he said that every structure that mankind has relied upon so much will be done away with—all the bridges, water supplies; landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, World Trade Center, San Francisco Bridge, the Arch in St. Louis; cities such as Kansas City, and Los Angeles will all be leveled. He brought out that at this time, because God is going to build everything new, that everything man has looked to is going to be ground up into dust. The environment that man has so depended upon—man's creation—is going to be taken away from him and totally destroyed.
Picture all the major cities falling. Dams break. No water supplies. No gasoline. No electricity. We are back to dirt. That is exactly what we are going to. Man will have nothing of himself to look to.
Revelation 16:19-20 . . . And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
So you can begin to see what God is doing here with us as the firstfruits here.
Revelation 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent [which means anywhere from 75 to 130 pounds!—as if men had not been hurt enough]; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for the plague thereof was exceeding great."
And this is the last punishment that God brought upon man.
After this, there will be nothing that man has done that man could look to. He only has God now. Everything man holds important will be taken away—his sustenance, his security; everything—will be removed from him. Everything that he knew will be gone for ever. It is not coming back.
Even though those who remain may hate God, being angry at all He has done, they will soon realize that there is no other choice, because they are going to get hungry and thirsty. They will have no place else to turn. And as they thirst and hunger, God will indeed love and help them, and they will begin to repent. This is part of the job we will have. And at this time, during the last great plague, is when Israel starts to be regathered. We will be involved with this too.
Isaiah 27:12-13 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall thresh from off the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and you shall be gathered one by one, O children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come who were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and their outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem."
3. Who will we rule with?
Revelation 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. And I saw the souls of them who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished because this is the first resurrection.) Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. On such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
This is the third step so that we might be properly trained. We will reign with Jesus Christ and be taught by Him personally, and be able to grow in understanding that we've never had before.
Now, where are we going to rule? Revelation 5:10 says that we will be kings and priest and shall reign on the earth.
Luke 19:15-19 And it came to pass, that when He was returned, having received the kingdom, then He commanded these servants to be called unto Him, to whom He had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, 'Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds.' And He said unto him, 'Well! You good servant. Because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Lord, your pound has gained five pounds.' And He said likewise to him, 'Be you also over five cities.'
Now, I do not know what you had thought when you first heard that, but I think I thought of trying to run New York City, or San Francisco. I thought that I could never do that! But you see, there will not be any New York City, or San Francisco, or Kansas City, or Paris, France. You will be starting from scratch with the people that have been greatly reduced in number because of the war. You will be starting from scratch to rebuild cities—planning them—under Jesus Christ's rule understanding how He wants it done! It will be a tremendous adventure that we are all going to share in.
And in the beginning when the world is recovering from being almost totally destroyed, we will be given cities, counties, and towns to rebuild. And as we gain in experience, and maybe some will have that experience already, we will be given nations to rule over. But you see, just like Mr. Armstrong said, God is going to start you out in a small way because of the billions of people that you are going to have eventually to take care of in the future. So, you are going to start at the very beginning and learn from scratch. You will be on the ground floor.
At this time, Jerusalem will be the focal point of government, and the whole world will look to and flow to the headquarters of God for guidance on how to please the Father and on how to live. And, you and I will be right there at the same time, learning how to administer and to follow God's laws in their deepest intents—a depth that we have never had.
And the Millennium will be a time of rest—a 1000-year Sabbath—for those coming out of the end-time catastrophe. And for us, as well as them, it will be a time of restoring and building and growing, and undoing the incredible damage left in the wake of 6000 years of man's misrule.
Do you begin to get the idea of the tremendous opportunity that you are going to have to rebuild, refashion, to take from scratch what God has in mind and build it?
God intends we comfort the people:
Isaiah 40:1-2 "Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. "Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, because she has received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
This will be the time when mankind, who has had extremely poor government all of their lives will be governed by you, and those that help you. Your leadership will picture purpose, love, strength, compassion, power, and gentleness. We will be learning in that environment to be ready for the awesome responsibility that is coming before us. Slowly, God develops us, bringing us to the point He wants us to be.
I do not know exactly the next order of things, but the earth is going to have to be reshaped and rebuilt. Turn to Ezekiel 36. This is the time also when the animals will be taking on new natures. And also, the deaf, blind, and the lame will be healed.
Ezekiel 36:33-35 Thus says the Lord God, 'In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be built.' And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, 'This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden. And the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.'
This is what you will be doing. The 11 million square miles of desert with temperatures up to 136 degrees Fahrenheit in Libya, and 134 degrees in Death Valley, California, will have to be changed into fertile ground. Do you see the enormity of what has to take place? There are thousands of square miles of country where hardly a soul lives. But, they will all have to be made available for use for what God has in mind.
And, over the years, the people we will deal with will become converted and be changed into spirit beings, but I do not know if that will take place during the Millennium, or just before the Great White Throne Judgment. But, we will see the family of spirit beings increase because of the great events about to take place. Again, this is part of God's plan.
And because of our reigning under Christ and being under his guidance for a thousand years our abilities will have grown tremendously. And because of that ability, we will be able to serve in a greater fashion those who are going to come up.
This is all part of the plan of God, brethren, to bring us along slowly and train us for the greatest job ever given to anyone at anytime.
Now the Millennium is just about over, and the earth has become a virtual paradise because of your guidance and teaching in following God's instructions.
And then, Satan is released for a short time.
Revelation 20:7-10 "And when the thousand years are completed, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison. And he shall go out to deceive the nations who are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about, as well as the beloved city, and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
You will see this as well!
Now at this time, the damage of the war has been corrected. The earth is now at rest waiting for the event God the Father, His Son, all the host of heaven, and we who are part of the firstfruits of the spirit beings have been waiting for all this time—the converting of all mankind—the entire world—except those who refuse to be a part of what God plans to do.
The earth has been made ready to house the people. The mountains have been lowered. The fields are planted and are fertile. Their homes, their farms, the earth now at rest waiting for what God has in mind. It is prepared to feed the billions that are going to be resurrected. We have been made ready to receive and teach them about God because of all we have been through.
Revelation 20:5 (But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished because this is the first resurrection.)
This is a parenthetical statement showing ours was the first resurrection.
This is what we all remember. I remember as a boy growing up, I had this aunt who owned a small ranch up in the Sierras, with a log cabin, and she had this old Victrola that you hand cranked to wind it up, put a needle in it, and then play a record on it. I used to like to play the song where you had, "The head bone is connected to the neck bone..." And, at that time, I never even dreamed that I would ever read to you Ezekiel 37!
Ezekiel 37:1-14 "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about. And, behold! There were very many in the open valley. And, lo, they were very dry! And he said unto me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered , 'O Lord God, you know!' Again He said unto me, 'Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, "O you dry bones, Hear the word of the Lord!"' Thus says the Lord God unto these bones: 'Behold! I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.' So, I prophesied as I was commanded. And, as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone! And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above, but there was no breath in them. Then said He unto me, 'Prophesy unto the wind, and prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, "Thus says the Lord God, 'Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.'"' So, I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, and exceeding great army. Then He said unto me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold! They say, "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost. We are cut off for our parts"' Therefore prophesy and say unto them, "Thus says the Lord God, 'Behold. O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall have put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land. Then, shall you know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, 'says the Lord."'"
Brethren, how many are in the whole house of Israel? 10 billion? 20 billion? 30 billion? I do not know. How many will be resurrected upon the earth? 50, 60, 70, 80 billion? And each one of them will be completely unconverted! Will they be resurrected all at once? My best guess is that they would be. How will we possibly relate to all the generations whose ways are foreign to us? Of course, God has seen to it throughout all generations that He has called people who can relate to them when they are raised up.
And, though at this time we are not the mental giants we would like to be, at that time we will have the full use of our powers and our mind, plus 1000 years of training. We will be ready to serve all the billions who will come up. This is all part of God's plan. He has it all perfectly worked out.
Now there seems to be a time limit imposed by God. Here is where God tells us He makes all things new, and He seems to give the indication here that there will be a one-hundred year period after the Millennium for the billions to live in.
Isaiah 65:17-20 "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. And the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind. But, be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create. For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people. And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days. For the child shall die an hundred years old, but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed."
So, here we see that God gives His people—each person—a full life to truly understand the opportunity that he or she is being offered—a time to overcome and be accepted into the God Family.
What will these people have to learn? Everything! Everything from the basics to the difficult. There will have to be a common language as is brought out in Zephaniah 3. This shows again how much God loves His people.
Repentance comes to Israel and to the world around them. But, these changes will not come overnight. Our change did not come overnight, and neither will theirs. It has taken you many years to accomplish the character that you do have, and it will for them too. God is not going to change anyone into a spirit being who is not fully prepared to live happily throughout all eternity.
Now, what problems are going to have to be addressed?
False religions will be one. Many have concepts of how they worship whomever they worship. This will have to be addressed and the truth taught to them.
Prejudices that have existed forever in this world will have to be addressed. And Genesis 5:6 where God said that He saw the wickedness of man was great, and every imagination of their heart was evil continually—this is who we are going to get to train! Probably the greatest problem we will have to deal with will be the hatred, anger, and resentment against those who have perpetrated horrible crimes against others. This will have to be dealt with.
From the beginning of man all through to the days of Noah, to Nimrod, to all the kings and governments who went to war, to the Crusades, to the ethnic cleansings, to the civil wars, world wars, and all the other terrible things that have been and are being done—the government killings, the starvings, the cruel leadership, plus all the abominations, murders, stabbings, rapes, child abuses, tortures, burnings, shootings, destructions, bombings, poisonings, cheatings, experiments—all of these things have been done since man was created.
I have read a book called, The Source, and I could not believe the carnage that has taken place just in that historical novel.
And though man may see the need for the forgiveness of God for what he did to others, the others are going to have really difficult time giving those forgiveness who have caused so much damage to them, and to their people, and to their families. Consider the conflicts in Bosnia/Yugoslavia; Germany and the Jews; even here in the North and South of the United States. That may seem far away now to us, but to those who come up in the resurrection, it will be only moments ago!
It will not be an easy job. Yet, it is going to be awesome. The years of anger and hatred will have to be overcome and replaced with true forgiveness. We have a hard time with that now. And we do not have any of the things that they faced.
And all of this will have going for it 3 important factors:
Now brethren, this will not be drudgery for us, or a dismal job. It will be the most fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding work that we could ever envision being given. And this is exactly what our calling is about. We will have the pleasure of bringing those we are working with from what we used to be—foolish, miserable, perverted, lazy, rebellious, puffed up, sneaky, deceitful people—to a people with the very character of God. And if that is not reward enough, I do not know what is! You are going to be so fulfilled by that.
Now with all these huge numbers of people to work with, will God allow us to work with those of our family? And I would have to say, Yes He would. It does not specifically say so, but I think that the more insight we have in anyone we work with the better off we are, or better able we are to take care of them.
I have my mother who desperately tried to understand what I believe, and she could not. She tried. I have a dad who had a very difficult, miserable life. And, he could not understand anything at that point.
I have my Uncle Sam who used to tease me unmercifully. I was cleaning his .32 Winchester one day and I had my thumb on breach like this, and I was looking down the barrel to see if it was dirty, and he fired his .38 pistol right next to me, and I thought I had been shot! Bang! And I thought that I had been killed. I almost cannot wait to get a hold of Uncle Sam!
And, I had my Aunt Ida who made root beer, and when you set the case on the counter half the bottle would explode. I had my Aunt Millie who was so afraid of lightning. She would always hide under the bed. And that was no small job for Aunt Millie because she was a large woman!
And, I have my Uncle Wick who had been in jail a few times.
And I had my brother—I was with him when he died—he had cancer on the outside of his lungs from asbestos poisoning. And I sat there spending about 2 hours telling him about the Kingdom of God. I explained to him what he would come up like, what it would be for him. And when I was finished, he told me, he almost could not wait to die! He is looking forward to what is coming. I am looking forward to seeing him as well.
I have my grandson who died at birth as well.
Every one of us has had loved ones and friends we would like to be with. And I think that God will allow that to be possible in our working with them.
Now when we think of the Last Great Day, do we always think of our loved ones that are dead being resurrected? We should think more deeply now, and think of them as being changed into spirit beings, because that is what is eventually going to take place.
Now, when this takes place, God's desire for mankind will have been fulfilled.
Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and Him who 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 that were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead, which were in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them. And they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell 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.
So this is the final thing that is done here, in a sense. All the people who ever lived will find themselves in one of two categories: They will either have become immortal members of the God Family, or they will have ceased to exist, because God will not allow anyone to exist who would be miserable throughout eternity.
Even with all these things taking place, the events of the Last Great Day still are not complete. God's millennial plan for us is complete just up to this point.
Jesus Christ and we can be truly excited because He and we have completed what God has set about us for to accomplish. That is, to prepare the world for Him to come down and live with men.
I Corinthians 15:22-28 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, and afterward they who are Christ's at His coming. 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. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He has put all things under His feet. But when He said all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, who did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
In other words, God the Father gave Jesus Christ the job of subduing the earth, of converting the world, and now, that is finished.
Now we all rejoice in that! God's millennial plan for the world and for us is complete. And now Jesus Christ ceases to be the Mediator! I do not know if you ever thought about that or not! He no longer has to mediate because we are part of the God Family. He has successfully carried out God's plan, and the entire universe will have been brought into subjection, and everything will be under His control, prepared to give back to God the Father.
But even this, brethren does not complete the Last Great Day. There is one more even to come, and it is the greatest event of them all!
Revelation 21:1-5 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And, there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold! The Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people,' and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, because the former things are passed away. And He who sat upon the throne said, 'Behold! I make all things new.' And He said unto me, 'Write' for these words are true and faithful!
It will be a brand new age! A fabulous city, brethren, will come down from heaven!
Revelation 21:14-27 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lies foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, by the angel. And the building of the wall of it was jasper, and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second was sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, a sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, because the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day, because there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither one who works abomination, or makes a lie, but rather only they who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
I do not know if you understood the measurements there of the city, but we are talking here about 1500 miles square! That is like from Kansas City to either West or East Coast. And then that high also! I cannot envision a city that large! But, that is what God says is going to come down to this earth.
This then, brethren, concludes the final chapter of the meaning of the time referred to as the Last Great Day. And Jesus leaves admonitions to us to not let down on this calling we have been given.
Revelation 22:12-14 "And, Behold! I come quickly, and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
This is that 1500-mile square city! This means for us to work to clean up our lives now, and to yield ourselves in obedience to Jesus Christ. That means to work to be reconciled, to plant the right seeds you heard about in the sermonette. It means to be reconciled to each other and to hold no grudge; to hold no anger in the homes between husbands and wives, families and children. It means that we should not be judging each other over foolish little things, but instead have a deep respect in patience and godly love one toward another.
Why? That is the way that God lives. That is the way He wants us to live as well. It means to turn from Satan's way to God's way. God wants us to do this so that we might not perish with the world. And, just as a reminder:
I John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof. But, he who does the will of God abides for ever.
That is what we want! Jesus wants to remind us that the city that is established on earth by God the Father will be inhabited only by the righteous.
Revelation 22:16-17 "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." And, the spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And, let him who hears say, 'Come!' And, let him who is thirsty come! And, whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:20-21 He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I come quickly!' Amen! Even so, come Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen!