The Final Destinies of the City of God and the Earthly City – part 2

Since the beginning of the commingled history of these two cities, God has judged the citizenry – beginning with Adam and Eve. This continual judgment could have been avoided had the citizens adhered to the word of God. But alas, we have human weakness and a proclivity towards self-indulgence:

…no man acts rightly save by the assistance of divine aid; and no man or devil acts unrighteously save by the permission of the divine and most just judgment. – St. Augustine

‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ Jer. 29:11 AMP

God’s plan is bigger than we can fully comprehend. We see some good people live difficult lives while we also witness many of dubious character live lives of wealthy excess with a continual satiation of sinful appetites – where it seems that no apparent penalty is being applied. 

In spite of what looks like an unresolved imbalance, (which somehow fits into God’s design), at the end of all present things, God has wondrous things in store for His children in the city of God, of whom all receive His promised eternal rewards:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to HIs plan and purpose. Rm. 8:28 AMP

So, regardless of our difficulties in this earthly life, we must do our best to stay on Jehovah’s path:

…in these days of vanity it makes an important difference whether he resists or yields to the truth, and whether he is destitute of true piety of a partaker of it – important not so far as regards the acquirement of the blessings or the evasion of the calamities of this transitory and vain life, but in connection with the future judgment which shall make over to good men good things, and to bad men band things…For whosever has real existence is this, is a keeper of God’s commandments; and he who is not this, is nothing. For so long as he means in the likeness of vanity, he is not renewed in the image of the truth… – St. Augustine

When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, of this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil. Eccl. 12:13, 14. AMP

To better understand that end, we must visit the events in the book of Revelation. Accordingly, however you view the concept of the ‘rapture,’ there will be a time when many of God’s children will be sequestered from the tumultuous events during the tribulations. In addition, there will be some holdouts that come to salvation through Christ as that time.

Thus, the city of God, (which we must remember is also the ‘kingdom of God’, exists in the present, but has its full realization at the end of time), is co-existing with the city of the earth during the tribulations. 

The resurrection of the ‘two witnesses’ signals the end of the tribulations, and the last chance for any of the city of the earth to change citizenship is then lost…

Following will be the ‘first resurrection,’ that is when the elders, the dead and still living saints, the Jewish converts to Christ, the ‘great multitude’ and the two witnesses come to reign with Christ on the earth for 1000 years

Note that nations are still existing on the earth (those unbelievers that managed to escape death during the tribulations – still having babies). All other dead unbelievers will stay dead during this ‘millennium.’  So, in effect, the city of God is again co-habituating this earth with the living remnant of the citizens of the city of the earth, all of whom are existing in their ‘soul state.’

During this 1000-year period, remember that the devil is bound up with the rebel angels in the abyss. (Rv. 20:1-3). And so, he has no direct influence in this time.

Thus, all without exception, were dead in sins, whether original or voluntary sins, sins of ignorance, or sins committed against knowledge; and for all the dead there died the only person who lived, that is, who had no sin whatever, in order that those who live by the remission of their sins should live, not to themselves, but to Him who died for all, for our sins, and rose again for our justification, that we believing in Him who justifies the ungodly, and being justified from ungodliness or quickened from death, may be able to attain to the first resurrection which now is. 

For in this first resurrection none have a part save those who shall be eternally blessed; but in the second, of which He goes on to speak, all, as we shall learn, have a part, both the blessed and the wretched. The one is the resurrection of mercy, the other of judgment. – St. Augustine (see Jn. 5:28,29.)

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love… Col. 1:13 NKJV

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over 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. Rv. 20:6 NKJV

After the 1000 years have elapsed, the devil is loosed, whereupon he seduces those outside of the church to make war against Christ and His followers. Thank God, the devil and his minions lose this final battle in a big way and are devoured by divine fire.

We have now come to the end of time, the day of the LORD, judgment day. Those citizens of the now eternal city of God are not subject to a ‘second resurrection,’ but enter into their eternal promise with their new immortal, incorruptible bodies, living on a new earth, resting in new heavens, in the city of God, New Jerusalem, which has come down from heaven.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not come to mind. Be glad and rejoice in whatever I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Is. 65:17 – 19. NKJV

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband; and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them [as their God,] and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Rv. 21:2 – 5. AMP

Now they themselves, when they have been purified, shall be sacrifices of complete and perfect righteousness; for what more acceptable offering can such persons make to God than themselves? – St. Augustine

Unfortunately, those who have steadfastly rejected the Father and the Son, are resurrected for a second time – to judgment, damned to the ‘second death.’ They do not get incorruptible bodies, but rise with bodies that are changed in such a way that they cannot truly die, but must suffer eternal anguish:

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, will remain before me” – this is the LORD’s declaration – “so you offspring and your name will remain. All mankind will come to worship me…they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me; for their worm will never die, their fire will never go out, and they will be a horror to all mankind.” Is. 66:22 – 24. CSB

Yes, this is the final judgment, where everyone meets Jesus:

For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment [that is, the prerogative of judging] to the Son [placing it entirely into His hands]… Jn. 5:22 AMP

It is at this point that the two cities are finally separated into two distinct final destinies: the city of God to heaven on earth, and the city of earth (now the city of the devil), to Satan’s damnation. How does that look? We’ll take a look see next time…

Goodnight and God bless. 

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Can You Explain Your Faith?

After accepting Christ as our Savior and doing our best to live a godly life, the most important directive Christ gave us, was to spread the gospel to as many people as we possibly can. (Mt. 28:19, 20.)

The only way to be the most effective in that endeavor, is to have faith in what it is that you are preaching / teaching. Moreover, you must also be able explain to the hearer (layman, agnostic, atheist, follower of false religion, etc.), why you have embraced your faith.

The gospel is no different than mathematics, physics, or any other kind of study, with regards to relating it to others; i.e. you must begin with the ‘basics.’ Look to teach and invite, not to make wrong and divide. You’re helping facilitate a possible love-relationship between them and God, by relating how you got one, what that has meant for you and what it can bring to them.

We can begin this conversation towards salvation by talking about cause-and-effect. For example, there are universal laws that we cannot break. Oh, we can try, but calamity usually follows. If we leap from a plane without a parachute, the law of gravity is merciless. SPLAT!

Physics tells us that a force is created when a mass is accelerated. Thus, if we stand in the face of an oncoming train, we are going to have an intimate exposure to its force. MORE SPLAT!

The same holds true when we violate the laws of God. He implanted the law of right and wrong within each and every one of us so that we could avoid transgressing them:

“For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not [a secret hidden] in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and obey it?’…But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it.” Dt. 30:11, 12 & 14. AMP

Thus, in our discussion with an unsaved individual, we can point out that everyone has an innate knowledge of right and wrong, and that bad things happen when we make the wrong choices. In fact, we are sure of it, because everyone makes the wrong choices at times – some more than others.

If this innate law of right and wrong transcends our behavior, who set the standard and why do we feel remorse when we transgress it?

We can interject at this time, that as a Christian, we believe there is a God who both created and directs this universe, and who also takes a great and loving interest in the behavior of the people that He put here. He left us a plan for getting the most out of our lives:

“…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days…” Dt. 30:19, 20. AMP

We make the choice for life or death on a daily basis. And so, as a Christian, we believe that it is imperative to choose life, by obeying that power (God), through doing the things that He deems as right. It is our desire to be living in His favor rather than being in enmity with Him.

Some people don’t believe in a ‘god.’ If that’s the case then, they must believe that the universe and everything in it occurred by happenstance. In that scenario, life really has no meaning, and this short span of years that we have on this planet is all we’ve got.

However, a great majority do believe in a God (e.g. Jews, Christians, Muslims), who is righteous, loving and long-suffering with regards to the inhabitants of this planet, and is concerned when they go astray.

We as Christians believe that God gave us a ‘good’ world, but that some people in it have chosen bad paths, contrary to His will. We attest that God is good and all that He creates is good. Furthermore, we hold it to be true that some people rebel against Him because the have fallen prey to an evil influence. This influence is a good angel gone bad – Satan. So, God did not create evil; it is a perversion of HIs goodness.

“He was a murder from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him When he lies, he speaks out of his own character; for his is s liar and the father of lies.” Jn. 8:44 ESV

We believe that all the chaos in this world stems from that angelic rebel and his followers, and that this condition will persist until God puts an end to time.

Why does the all-powerful Jehovah God that we profess, allow such a state to persist? Because the world’s condition is a result of a gift that He gave us – free will. We have the ability to choose between good and evil.

Given that God knows evil is persisting, why did He give us free will? Because God loves us; He created us and the only thing He asks of us is to love Him back. Of course, real love must be expressed voluntarily.

We love, because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:19 AMP

The problems occur because of those who choose not to love God, but instead to deify themselves – a lesson that they learned from the devil himself. There is no peace or happiness in the end for them.

We were created to consist and coexist with God:

“I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:5 AMP

God spent centuries driving these messages home to His children, but evil persisted and many people were (and are) headed for death with no escape. Because He loves us so much, He sent a part of Himself, dressed up as a human, to deliver His children from themselves.

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.