Fred R. Coulter—January 9, 2010

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Today we’re going to study and answer the question: What about all the people that I know in Sunday-keeping churches? And a lot of them, and even their ministers admit, that the Sabbath is the day to keep. I got a hot email from someone about some of the things that he thought we were teaching and what I did, I said, ‘Look, we just follow the Bible. We’re Scripturalists and the seventh day is there. That’s what God gave us and we do keep it. So here’s some information which will help you understand what we’re doing, where we’re coming from.’

One of the reasons why in Protestantism that they don’t understand is because they don’t realize the difference between commandment-keeping from the Scriptures and Judaism. We’ve got a book coming out, which we’ll have here probably in ninety days or so, hopefully; Phil Neal has been working on it. That’s one thing that is missing. Sunday-keepers say, ‘Well, we don’t Judaize.’ And they don’t know what Judaize means.

I’ll just give you a quick summary. Judaize means to follow the traditions of the Talmud, which the Jews have made, which totally circumvents the Word of God. We’re not going to cover that issue today, but that is one. What we want to do is ask the question: What is going to happen to people who are good and sincere in their trying to seek God and yet they go to Sunday-keeping churches?

I’ve got a book that I’m reading called, QuittingChurch. In reading it so far, I’ve begun to see something that is very important which is this: that Sunday-keeping people only come so far. Then they begin to see the sins and problems and hypocrisies in the ministry and in the people, and they give up and quit. Today millions of people are leaving churches. So I called the gal who wrote the book, Julia Duin. She’s a religion reporter for The Washington Times.

I talked to her for a few minutes and she said, ‘Well, I’m so busy that if you send me any material, I won’t have a chance to read it.’ I thought, ‘Yes, she’s so busy writing about religion that she doesn’t want to follow the Truth as found in the Bible.’ This is what happens in the Sunday-keeping churches. They are given just enough of God’s Word so they feel good, and they’re given just enough allowance for the way that they behave in a lawless grace so they feel their justified. And they are told that the Old Testament has been done away, when God says, ‘Don’t add to or take away from.’ So if you get rid of the Old Testament and you add your own traditions, you have taken away from, even though you carry the Bible. Isn’t it ironic, you can have the whole Bible, but if you don’t read all the Bible, you don’t know what it says.

Now what happens? What happens when that occurs? Let’s ask the question: Who is the deceiver? Let’s come to Revelation 12:9. And we see it today. If you want lies—let’s look at lies in politics to where we can see and understand something really important which is this: We can have politicians beginning with the President and all the supposedly important people in government—not only federal government, but state government—that can now stand up and lie bald-faced lies. You can see their promises on back videos and you can hear their rhetoric and see their action today. I have a new description of Washington, D.C. It should be DLC—the District of Liars and Corruption. Now that also applies to many, many churches.

How does this happen? Because Satan comes as an angel of light, but he comes to deceive. Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world.” Now that’s active, present tense, ongoing. We will see what happens when people reject Truth, here is just a little bit. Deceiving the whole world—now this is talking about a future war in heaven that is going to occur, so we won’t get into that, that’s another topic.

Let’s come back here to 2-Corinthians 4 and let’s see how the process is, because God has given us all free moral agency and we are to choose. We’re to choose whether we want to obey God or not, and God is also doing some choosing because, as we will see, ‘many are called but few are chosen.’ 2-Corinthians 4:1: “Therefore, having this ministry, according as we have receive mercy, we are not fainthearted.... [Paul is talking about the attitude that he had—and Timothy and Silas—toward God and toward the brethren and in preaching the Word of God.] (Here’s what needs to be done in everyone’s life): ...For we have personally renounced the hidden things of dishonest gain, not walking in cunning craftiness... [having an agenda or political motive] ...nor handling the Word of God deceitfully...” (vs 1-2).

Now if you handle it deceitfully, who is inspiring that?

  1. Satan the devil
  2. What is the human heart without God’s Spirit? Jer. 17:9: ‘Deceitful above things and desperately wicked, who can know it.’

So in coming to God, we’re going to see we have to come to God on His terms, not on our terms. We don’t say, ‘God, bless me because I really believe that Sunday-keeping is good.’ You come to God and God says, ‘Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy.’ Now what are you going to do? ‘Oh, but one in seven is good enough.’ Really? Nowhere in the Bible does it say that. “...nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the Truth...” (v 2).

Question: what is the Truth? It’s the Word of God. Jesus said, ‘Your Word is Truth. Sanctify them with Your Word.’ Now that really says a lot. What does sanctify mean? Sanctify means to be made Holy. Of course, then we’re also sanctified with the Holy Spirit on top of it—isn’t that true? Yes, indeed! Then in Psa. 119 we read, ‘All Your commandments are Truth. Your law is Truth. All Your precepts from the beginning are true.’ So this is how we need to approach the Bible and the Word of God.

  • God is Holy.
  • God is righteous.
  • God is true.
  • He has inspired the Word of God for us.

Now there may be some difficulties in some translations, but all of those can be discernable and understood if we go to the original language from which it was translated. And we can solve the problems if we are really looking for the manifestation of Truth.

Verse 2: “...we are commending ourselves to every man’s conscience before God. But if our Gospel... [Which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the sound words of Jesus Christ. And also the Gospel going clear back to the beginning in Gen., because that’s all part of it, because the Bible is one whole.] is hidden to those who are perishing... [Now, why are they perishing? Because they don’t have the Spirit of God! Of course, ‘it’s given to every man once to die in Adam’—is that not true? Yes, indeed! So unless we have the Spirit of God, look forward to the resurrection of life, we perish.] ...In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe...” (vs 2-4).

Not only are we to believe in God, we are to believe God. Not only are we to believe in God, we are to believe the Gospel. That’s what Jesus said when He began His ministry in Galilee. He came into Galilee after John the Baptist was put in prison, and said, ‘Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel.’ So they don’t believe the words of God. They don’t believe the laws of God. So what happens to them? They become deceived.

If a person is deceived, they don’t know they’re deceived—do they? Especially when they’re told what they are doing is right. Now here’s what happens: “...who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we do not preach our own selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. Because it is God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, Who shines into our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (vs 4-6). That’s just a summary of what happens in conversion, once you understand the Word of God, and so forth.

Now let’s look at something very interesting here, back in Isaiah 29. This is what happens when you become blinded because you don’t believe, and when you subject yourselves to the spirit and power of Satan. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, I don’t do that.’ Well, Satan comes along appearing very nice, only to deceive. Think about this for a minute: what is the best way that Satan introduces sin into the world? We can see it now on television with humor. Everybody laughs at it, but the sin has been announced. Then people begin accepting it. When we come to the Word of God and when we come to what people do and don’t do, you hand them a Bible, and we find here:

Isaiah 29:9: “Be stunned and amazed! Blind your eyes and be blind!.... [Remember, what did Jesus say? ‘If the blind lead the blind, they’re both going to fall in the ditch.’ That answers what’s happening in these churches.] ...They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink, for the LORD has poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes; He has covered the prophets and your rulers, and the seers. And the vision of all has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed... [That is true. They don’t understand the Word of God. What happens when you come up to the central doctrine of Protestantism and Catholicism concerning the trinity? When they can’t prove it, what is the final thing that you’re told? It is a mystery!We can’t understand it. The truth is you can’t find it in the Bible.] the words of a book that is sealed, which they give to one who is learned saying, ‘Please read this,’ and he says, ‘I cannot for it is sealed’.... [‘We don’t understand it, oh, it’s in symbolic language. It really doesn’t mean what it says.’ You know how most of the experts dismiss the book of Revelation? They say it was fulfilled beginning with the days of Nero.] ...And the book is delivered to him who is not learned, saying, ‘Please read this,’ and he says, ‘I am not learned’” (vs 9-12). ‘What do you expect me to do?’

“And the LORD said, ‘Because this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me, but their worship of Me is made up of the traditions of men learned by rote, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandments of men” (v 13). That certainly describes worldly Christianity—doesn’t it? Especially Catholicism and also Protestantism. But the truth is, upon repentance, that blinding can be removed. As we just saw in a recent sermon, that when people repent and turn to God and believe in Jesus Christ, a mental miracle happens, which is this: The veil over their mind and over their understanding—when they hear the reading of Moses—is removed. You have to start with Moses and then you progress to the Gospel. Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘Had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me.’

A comment was made: Well, about a year ago I started reading through the whole Bible analyzing the commandments and to see where I am, so I can understand God’s way. That’s the place to begin.

Let’s read here, v 14, the result of that: “‘Therefore, behold I will proceed to do again a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise ones shall perish... [Has that happened? Yes!] ...and the wisdom of the intelligent ones shall vanish.’ Woe to those who go deep to hide their purpose from the LORD! And their works are in the dark, and they say, ‘Who sees us? And who knows us?’ Surely, you have turned things upside down!.... [Of course, that’s in degree. You go back maybe a hundred years ago Protestantism wasn’t totally upside down, maybe a little eschewed. Today, it’s totally upside down and one of the leading bishops in the Lutheran Church says, ‘The Bible is not the final answer, especially for sexuality and homosexuality.’ But what did Paul write?] ...Shall the potter be regarded as the potter’s clay; for shall the work say of him who made it, ‘He did not make me?’.... [I’ve got a book that I’m going to use for Church At Home for atheists, Nothing Created Everything. Isn’t that wondrous? But what does it do? It eliminates God and puts man in the pinnacle of authority, so man can decide what is right and wrong. And when that happens, they blind themselves—don’t they?] ...Or shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘He had no understanding?’” (vs 14-16).

Now thing of this: you make a watch, finest watch ever been made. You put it down on the bench after it’s all done and you’re admiring it. All of a sudden a voice comes out of this watch and says, ‘You fool, you idiot, you didn’t make this. I just happened.’ That would be ridiculous! Even an atheist would say that couldn’t be so. Well, when they don’t believe God they become blinded.

Now let’s come back here to Matthew 13 and let’s see what Jesus said. Yes, there are mysteries of the Kingdom of God, that is absolutely true, but those are secrets that God is revealing through Christ. To those who won’t believe God and believe the Word of God, it becomes a mystery that they cannot understand. It’s like one man that I visited for the first time, who was contemplating keeping the Sabbath and he didn’t know too much about it. He asked, ‘What should I do?’ I said, ‘Well, why don’t you do this. Why don’t you for one month every Sabbath study on the Sabbath, and I’ll guarantee you that if you’re sincere and you’re seeking God, at the end of that month you’ll understand about the Sabbath.’ He didn’t understand it before, but when he studied it in the Word of God, seeking it with a right heart and mind and attitude—guess what? I came back in six weeks and he says, ‘I understand the Sabbath.’ The veil was lifted! Now the veil can close back down again, but with the deception that is in the world, and especially with people’s regard toward the Word of God, they are blinding themselves and Satan is right there saying, ‘Yea, go ahead. I’ve got you.’

Now Jesus spoke to them in parables and here in Matthew 13:10 the disciples were puzzled as to why He spoke to them in parables. “And His disciples came to Him and asked, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ And He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven... [Now that’s something. Once people turn to God in repentance and seeking the Truth, they will begin to understand. Since God is no respecter of persons, that can apply to anyone who would really sincerely do it.] ...but to them... [That is, the ones He was speaking to, the ones He healed, the ones He fed, etc.] has not been given. For whoever has understanding, to him more shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him’” (vs 10-12).

And that’s exactly what is happening to people in the world who consider themselves Christians today on a much more massive scale than in the past. Because they have caused the society—the preachers and teachers and followers—to reject God because of how they portrayed Him to them, because they don’t keep the Word of God, and they are blinded. And now we have a society, what? Filled with sin and lawlessness and murder and adultery and fornication and thievery and idolatry and occultism. Because of that, a lot of people are beginning to see, ‘Hey, I go to church on Sunday and I expect to be fed. I don’t. I go to church and I expect to see people who are converted, but they’re not. They’re just as carnal as people in the world. I go to church and I hear boring sermons. Why should I waste my time and go?’ Well, they’re beginning to get out from underneath the deception. How far will they go to try and come to understand? God will give understanding, but it has to come His way, because as we read, ‘That which is created is not going to tell the Creator what to do and how to do it.’

“‘...but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him’” (v 12). These verses become a tremendous conundrum for people to try and understand what Jesus is doing—was doing then and is doing now.

Now notice v 14: “‘And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah... [Which part of it we just read, which says:] ...“In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; for the heart of this people has grown fat... [You might just interject there: with sin.] ...and their eyes they have closed... [I talked to people who said, ‘Don’t talk to me about the commandments.’ A major step and reason for being blinded.] ...lest they should see... [Now here’s the part that people can’t understand and here is the question: What is God going to do about this? He’s blinding them using Satan to do so, and their refusal to understand what God wants, God also cuts them off even further and gives them over to their own devices.] ...and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them”’” (vs 14-15).

Oh! Doesn’t all churches tell you that the goal is to convert everybody in the world? They’re supposedly following Jesus Christ—isn’t that true? If that is true, why did Jesus say this? If He causes it to happen, and He doesn’t call them and convert them, what on earth is going to happen to them? Are they lost forever? Did God just reject them? Or is it like the fatalism of Calvinism?: You’ve been predestinated to hell from conception. Is that true? What about free-moral agency? What about choice? ‘Well, if you’re with us, you’ve been predestinated to salvation.’ What if you have pretenders in your midst? God is in charge, not men!

But Jesus said this, v 16: “‘But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.... [Now how do our eyes see? By willing attitude of wanting to serve and love God—right? Yes! ‘And your ears hear.’ You hear the Word of God and you want to do it—isn’t that correct? Yes! Today we have the whole Bible, that’s true. We have special blessings that come from that if we’re willing to yield to God to receive those blessings.] (Now here is the greatest blessing of all that comes): ...For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard’” (vs 16-17). Do we know more about the prophecy of Daniel than Daniel did, the one who was inspired to write it? Yes! He was told it wasn’t for him to understand. He was told at the end-time ‘the wise shall understand.’ The wise ones are who? The ones who believe God and keep His commandments and love Him with all their heart and mind and soul and being. Isn’t that amazing?

Do we understand the book of Revelation more than the Apostle John who wrote it? Yes! So what kind of responsibility does that give to us? We better be faithful with the Word of God. We better keep His commandments and love Him—is that not true? Yes, indeed! Let’s ask the question. Let’s come here first of all to Matthew 22:14; let’s see something that’s important what Jesus said: “‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’” Why? Because few repent!

Let’s see what Jesus said about repentance here. Let’s come to Luke 13. Repentance is the first step to God, repentance and continual repentance is the way that you understand the Word of God, the way that you understand the relationship of God. Then we will answer the question: How is God going to solve this problem? Let’s concentrate on what we need to do now.

Luke 13:1: “Now, at the same time there were present some who were telling Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you supposed that these Galileans were sinners above all Galileans, because they suffered such things?.... [Isn’t that true, when we see a disaster happen, a lot of people say, ‘Well, they deserve it. It’s the wrath of God.’ Really? Maybe they did, but is it your judgment to say so? No!] ...No, I tell you... [They weren’t sinners above all. What about little children who have done nothing and they die? What about all the babies that have been aborted?] ...No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish…. [We’re going to see in a minute how important repentance really, really is.] …Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you suppose that these were debtors above all men who dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish’” (vs 1-5). Very interesting—isn’t it?

Now let’s come back to Matthew 7 and we’ll look at several Scriptures here. This will help answer the question, and perhaps when you look at it, those who are supposed to be Christian, the greatest majority are deceived. They intend good. A lot of them, when you approach them about the laws of God, their minds are just cut off, they won’t hear it.

Matthew 7:12: “‘Therefore, everything that you would have men do to you... [Now this is New Testament doctrine, mind you, so you cannot say the New Testament does away with the Old, because what are you going to do with this statement?] also do to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.... [That ties in with what Paul said and what Jesus said, ‘You have to understand the Holy Writings, you have to believe Moses. If you do that, you’ll believe Christ.’ Now notice what Jesus said here, v 13. As I read this I want you to think about the over one billion Catholics and Orthodox and probably the 100-million/200-million Protestants.] ...Enter in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many are those who enter through it’” (vs 12-13).

Aren’t people told today, ‘Well, salvation is simple. All you need to do is believe.’ Yeah, but remember this: you’re not to believe there is a God, you are to believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ and you are to believe God! What is the difference? If you believe God, you will do what He says. If you believe in God, or believe there is a God as the demons do, that’s not salvational—is it? No, because it says ‘they fear and tremble.’ Now the only way to get you through the narrow gate is Christ, v 14: “‘For narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it.’” Then He talks about false prophets and there are many warnings in it.

Let’s see then what God is going to do about it. Let’s pick up the story here, or the thread of understanding, by coming to Romans 2. As you look in the world, human nature is filled with good and evil—is that not right? Some people more good and less evil; some people more evil and less good. Now we know that God is going to judge everyone—don’t we? Yes, indeed! And we know that everything that we do is recorded in the spirit of man, which we have. When we die, that spirit without the mind and body has no viable function unless it’s put back in a body again. One can’t function without the other. Just like I’m recording here on a digital recorder. I can’t record unless I put in a chip to record upon. And the chip is no good by itself. I could put it up on the shelf and leave it there for a thousand years and if someone would come a thousand years later and have a machine to play it, put it in there, they would hear it—right? So that’s what happens when people die. They go to the grave and are dead.

Now God knows everyone who has ever been, because He’s created them, He’s made them, He’s given them special genetic code that’s unique to them. So God is keeping track of everything. Now let’s look at something here that is very important to grasp. This is one of these things in the writings of Paul that helps us understand what God is going to do with those that He has not called. Because ‘many are called—and many turn down the call. If you go to a, what you would call, a good, faithful Sunday-keeper and say, ‘Hey, come to church with me on the Sabbath.’ Well, what kind of church is it? ‘It’s just a little church, but we study the Bible.’ Nah! Because they have what they have in their church: they have the social affairs, they have all of these things, they’re well intended. Are they out there as desperate sinners, as robbers and crooks and murderers? No! Do they still have a deceitful nature? Yes, of course! Do they sin? Yes, of course, but they don’t understand the Word of God.

Let’s pick it up here in Romans 2:11. Let’s see how we can unravel this. “Because there is no respect of persons with God.... [Does that not conflict with what we read, ‘Many are called, but few are chosen’? Is not God respecting someone somewhere along the line? So this presents a problem. How do we solve that? If ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life’—how does that square then with, ‘many are called and few are chosen’? How does that square with so many good, sincere people out there in the world who are trying their best and many of them, giving of their lives.

You look at the woman called Mother Teresa, who gave her life to the poor in India to help them, and she did. But what did the Catholic Church do? They used that as fundraisers and much of the money that they got that was raised by phone from New York City; they got millions and millions of dollars and very little went to her. It went into the coffers of the Roman Catholic Church. That wasn’t her fault. But she was dedicated to her cause, but did she know God the way the Bible says we ought to know God? If she was doing that, and was a Sunday-keeper and a holiday-keeper, and the rosary, and all of this sort of thing—which is not found in the Bible—is God going to reject her? She was blinded and didn’t know any better. How can it be that ‘God is no respecter of persons’ then?

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How is God going to solve the problem of blinding people? Since God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11), how is He going to solve it? Let’s continue on here and we’ll pick up on it and we’ll get a key, which will help unlock this.

Romans 2:12: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law... [God didn’t give the law to everybody in the world. He gave it to Moses to give to the children of Israel, and Israel was to take it to the world, and they didn’t do that. There are a lot of people, they live their lives and die; live in the society where they have been. They may have been good as far as they understood. There’ve been how many different kinds of societies down through all the span of history and all the human beings that have ever been.] ...and as many as have sinned within the law shall be judged by the law.” So if you know the law and you sin, you’re judged by the law. God has given you a conscience and intends you to repent. Let’s understand this: The law judges everyone at all times everywhere, too, when you really grasp it.

Paul is coming to a point here, v 13: “(Because the hearers of the law are not just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.... [Now what if you only have partial knowledge? What do you do then?] (Paul begins to answer the question): ...For when the Gentiles, which do not have the law... [Wasn’t given to them. A lot of the Gentile countries didn’t have the Word of God until the Bibles were printed and distributed around the world. And how many other generations have come and gone. You think of those people down in the middle of the tropical forest in South America. People didn’t even know they existed until 300 years ago, first came in contact with them. What about them? God cut them off; didn’t give them understanding. How many generations have come and gone with those? How about the people that died in the Flood? Yes, they were given over to evil, that’s true. Was God offering them salvation? No! What’s going to happen to them? How about when we have war? Are innocent people killed? Yes! Are children killed? Yes! What is God going to do about them? They don’t have the law, but notice, here’s a clarifying statement:] ...For when the Gentiles, which do not have the law, practice by nature the things contained in the law...” (vs 13-14). Now you think about that.

Now I saw a special on the natives in New Guinea, and they run around naked. If you lived in that jungle you would, too, because it’s hot and it’s sweaty and it’s humid. Another thing, too, most clothes rot because of all of that. But they enforce, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ And they enforce, ‘you shall not steal.’ They’ve never seen a Bible; they’ve never heard the Word of God. Now they’ve been blinded and yet they’re doing some of the things that are contained in the law.

“...these who do not have the law are a law unto themselves... [God will honor anyone who keeps the number of commandments that they know or don’t know, but if they don’t know and they still follow the things in the commandments, God will honor them because of it, though they’re not called for salvation. Being called for salvation is a completely separate issue. God is the one who has to call. He has to draw them. They have to repent, they have to be baptized, they have to receive the Holy Spirit in order to then, in receiving the Holy Spirit, be accepted for salvation by God. Now that eliminates the vast majority of people. Did God create all these people in vain? What is He going to do? We’ll answer that question here in just a bit.] ...Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their reasonings also, as they excuse or defend one another).... [Now notice v 16. This becomes very important]: ...In a day... [What is that day?] ...when God shall judge the secrets of men... [Because no one is going to have secret things that God does not know about.] Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” (vs 14-16).

What is that day? When is that going to happen? Let’s come to 1-Corinthians 15. Let’s answer the question here. First of all we need to ask: what’s going to happen to those who are truly converted and have the Spirit of God? When will they receive eternal life and how will they receive it, since the Bible says when you die you know nothing and Jesus said, ‘No one has ascended into heaven except the Son of man who came down.’ Also, that souls do not go to heaven. ‘The soul that sins, it shall die.’ So you can’t have any such thing as an immortal soul. Now there is a spirit of man, which we discussed earlier, which does go back to God when a person dies, but has no consciousness, because without a mind and a body it does not function.

Let’s answer the question: What’s going to happen to those who are converted. 1-Corinthians 15:20: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the first-fruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death [Adam] by man [Christ] also came the resurrection of the dead.... [So there’s no salvation without the resurrection from the dead.] ...For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive…. [Now. all ‘die in Adam,’ and ‘allshall be made alive.’ Now we will see, that doesn’t say that all shall be saved.] …But each in his own order:... [so there is an order.] ...Christ the firstfruit... [He was the first raised from the dead.] ...then, those who are Christ’s at His coming” (vs 20-23). That’s when the first resurrection takes place. If they are Christ’s, they are resurrected and receive eternal life.

What are they going to be doing after they are raised from the dead? Let’s come to Revelation 20 and we will answer that question. So, before we can understand what’s going to happen to all of the rest of the people, we need to understand what is going to happen to those who are in the first resurrection and receive eternal life. The real truth of the matter is this: Until the book of Revelation was written, to come to the understanding of what we are going to come to today, which we’ve understood for many years by the way, it could not have been understood.

Revelation 20:4: “And I saw thrones; and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and those who did not worship the beast, or his image, and did not receive the mark in their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Those are all of those in the first resurrection.

Let’s understand this: The beast existed in various forms beginning when? The Garden of Eden—right? Did not Satan appear as a serpent? Yes! In the last days we’re going to have the mark of the beast, which is another problem that we’ll be confronted with, but we’ll talk about it a different time.

Notice v 5, because v 4 talks about those who will be resurrected when Christ returns. “(But the rest of the dead... [Who are the rest of the dead? All of those who weren’t Christ’s to be resurrected in the first resurrection. What does the rest of the dead include? All human beings who have lived and died and were blinded, never understood the Truth, were not called unto salvation. In this mix, we have two categories:

  1. Those who did not commit the unpardonable sin.
  2. Those who committed the unpardonable sin.

The unpardonable sin, for those who commit that, we’ll talk about that in a little bit, will be cast into the lake of fire and they will be burned up. “(But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were completed.)” (v 5). So the rest of the dead wait until after the millennial reign of the kingdom of God.

He says, v 5 (referring to v 4): “This is the first resurrection…. [But notice the parenthetical statement, because it’s qualifying that not everyone’s going to be in that resurrection when Christ returns.] …Blessed and Holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power.... [Now what does this tell us? The rest of the dead that are raised, the second death could have power over them. Now we’ll see what that means.] ...But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (vs 5-6).

Now let’s come down here to v 11. This is after the millennium and this is when the rest of the dead are raised. If you want to know about vs 7-10, listen to any sermon on the Last Great Day, which explains it. “Then I saw a great white throne and the one Who was sitting on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead... [Who are those dead? The rest of the dead! Cannot be those who are in the first resurrection, because they are raised to eternal life when Christ returns. So this is the rest of the dead after the millennium.] ...small and great, standing before God; and the books were opened... [Does that refer to understanding the Bible? Could very well be.] ...and another book was opened, which is the book of life.... [What does this mean? This means now they have an opportunity to have their names written in the book of life, because they never had it in their first life. We’ll see how God is going to do that here in just a little bit.] ...And the dead were judged out of the things written in the books, according to their works” (vs 11-12).

Stop and let’s ask a question. If they were judged on their first life alone, before they died, because you have to have a first life—right? If you’re raised, after you have died, that’s a second life—is it not? Yes! In their first life since all men are sinners, if God judged them upon their sins, there would be no salvation—would there? So these have to be the works that they do after they are brought back to life. Now there’s a separate judgment for them. Let’s see how Jesus explained that back here in Matthew 12. Jesus makes a differential with this. This is why if you believe in the immortality of the soul instead of the resurrection, you will never understand what’s going to happen to the rest of the dead who are not raised when Christ returns.

Matthew 12:31: “‘Because of this, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men... [Let’s ask the question: What if you lived and died and never understood God, because you were blinded? When is sin and blasphemy forgiven? When you repent. Well, if you died and never had a chance to even understand it and repent of it, how’s that going to be accomplished?] ...but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor the coming age’” (vs 31-32). Now the King James says coming one. What is the coming age for those people? After the thousand years were finished, the rest of the dead lived—right? Is that another age for them? Yes, it is!

Let’s come down here and pick it up in v 39. Let’s see what else Jesus said. After they said give us a sign. “And He answered and said to them, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights... [And that’s not a day and a half, by the way.] like manner the Son of man shall be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights’” (vs 39-40).

Now notice v 41. Let’s see what this says. “‘The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment... [Now where did we read of a judgment of the rest of the dead? Rev. 20—right? Yes!] ...with this generation... [Now there’s a 900 year separation between the men of Nineveh when Jonah went there and the generation to whom Jesus was talking to.] ...because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here.’” Now when they repented, were they granted eternal life? No, they were granted reprieve from the destruction of Nineveh and the invasion of armies that God was going to send as punishment against them for their sins. You can read the book of Jonah. Even the king took off his crown and his clothes and was in sackcloth and ashes and was repenting.

So for even for people in the world, if they repent of their sins will God honor that? Yes, indeed! So what happened in history? The destruction of Nineveh because of their repentance was deferred for 120 years. Because God always honors repentance, whether it is unto salvation because of a calling of Christ, or whether it is acknowledgment of one’s sin to avoid further punishment. ‘Stand up’ means to be resurrected. ‘The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.’ How are they going to live, except be resurrected—right?

Notice v 42: “‘The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment... [Notice, it says the judgment.] ...with this generation... [Again, over a thousand years difference in time.] ...and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.’” This tells us what? All those who did not commit the unpardonable sin will be raised (and we will see here in just a minute) to a second physical life. Obviously, they’re not going to be raised to eternal life—are they? They never met any of the qualifications or the calling of God to receive eternal life. Since there are no immortal souls, and their souls aren’t in heaven, they have to be raised back to another life. If that life is subject to death, it means that it is a life in the flesh, which means a second life in the flesh for a first opportunity for salvation.

Just put in your notes there and you can study this out. What is one of the proofs that we have that that’s what Jesus wants and that’s part of God’s plan? John 11, the resurrection of Lazarus, whom He loved—right? He raised him back to physical life again—right? He was dead, four days in the tomb buried—correct? Raised him back to life so that he could what? Probably be part of the 120, receive the Holy Spirit of God so when he died again he would be able to be in the first resurrection, able to receive eternal life.

Let’s come back to Ezekiel 37 and this is a very hard chapter for someone to understand if they do not have the New Testament and the book of Revelation. This is why the Jews, in rejecting the New Testament, cannot understand Ezekiel 37. How are you going to have people be given salvation, given eternal life, and you’re not going to live forever in the flesh? How can you understand what’s going on here in Ezekiel 37 unless you first understand what we’ve covered leading up to it here. Now Ezekiel didn’t understand it. Today the Jews can’t understand it. The best they can do is say, ‘Well, this is a prophecy of the return of Jews after the Holocaust in Europe.’ Did people come back to life in the flesh again or not? No, they didn’t! The ones who escaped were able to be there.

So let’s read what it says and understand that if we put the Scripture together here a little, there a little, line upon line, compare them all together, then we can see the whole picture of what’s going to happen. We saw in Matt. 12 what? We saw the descendants of Judah told that they would be raised in the judgment with the children of Nineveh and with those like the queen of Sheba, meaning Jew and Gentile. Is that not correct? Have to be.

So what happens here in Ezekiel 37 is going to happen to everyone who ever lived and died and led, what we would call, a life that did not commit the unpardonable sin, including all of those who lived decent, honorable lives, but God never called. Or were blinded, because they did not repent, and God did not remove the blinding. So here are all of those of the children of Israel who were never given salvation, because the covenant under Moses was not unto salvation. It was unto physical blessings.

Ezekiel 37:1: “The hand of the LORD was on me, and brought me by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the midst of a valley, and it was full of bones.... [Now how do you get bones? People die and what do they leave? Bones—right? What does this tell us? They were alive once—right? They died.] ...And He made me walk among them all around.... [That must have been kind of eerie. Here’s the whole valley full of bones. You see this every once in awhile when you see it on television, the history of Holocaust, destruction, and the Pol Pot took all the heads of the people that they had slaughtered over there in Cambodia and they just racked up the skulls; same way with the Aztecs. When Cortez came, he saw the racks of skulls of those who had been killed.] ...And lo, they were very dry.... [Showing they’ve been dead a long time. So God has to do this in vision to teach him a lesson which is answered not until Rev. 20.] ...And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’.... [What would you do if you were asked that question, standing out there looking at those bones?] ...And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know’” (vs1-3).

“Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD.... [Now Ezekiel didn’t rebel. He didn’t say, ‘What do you mean, Lord, how are these bones going to live again?’ No, God continued to explain to him.] ...Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live. And you shall know that I am the LORD.’”’” (vs 4-6).

Amazing thing—isn’t it? Is this a second physical life in the flesh? Yes, it says so, right here. ‘I’ll bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin, put breath in you, you shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ What does this tell us? How do you really know the Lord? If you’re converted and have the Spirit of God. This tells us these people died never having been converted. Part of those who died without knowledge. Part of those that Jesus was talking about in Matt. 12.

So Ezekiel was obedient, v 7: “So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a noise. And behold, a shaking! And the bones came together, a bone to its bone. And as I watched, behold the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above. But there was no breath in them” (vs 7-8). Just like after God created Adam, there he was whole and complete, but he wasn’t alive yet—right? Same thing here.

Verse 9: “And He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain that they may live.’”’.... [Second life in the flesh—right? Yes!] ...So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.... [Just like it says back there in Rev. 20, there was so many there was no place found for them.] ...And He said to me, ‘Son of man... [Now he identifies who they are—right?] ...these bones are the whole house of Israel.... [What did Jesus tell the Jews? ‘That you will be raised with the generation of the Ninevites and the queen of the south and stand in the judgment’—right? The whole house of Israel—remember, there were twelve tribes.] ...Behold, they say, “Our bones are dried and our hope is lost; we ourselves are completely cut off’” (vs 9-11). They knew they were sinners, but they never had an opportunity for salvation. Let’s see it. It really is fantastic, because this answers the question: What is God going to do with all of these people that He never called? They’re living—is that not correct? Yes!

Verse 12: “Therefore prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves... [Meaning they were dead and buried—right? Even though the vision was many bones.] ...and cause you to come up out of your graves, and will 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 have brought you up out of your graves.... [For what purpose? They already lived once, but they died without the knowledge of salvation. They died with their minds closed, although they didn’t commit the unpardonable sin. How many people out in the world commit the unpardonable sin? Very few, indeed, very few! But how many have had their minds opened to salvation? Again, very few indeed!] ...And I shall put My Spirit in you...”’” Meaning, an opportunity for salvation—isn’t that correct? Yes! Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit—correct? Yes! Do we see signs of repentance here with these people? Yes! They say, ‘Our bones are dried and our hope is lost and we ourselves are completely cut off.’ When they’re resurrected, they’re going to say, ‘What has happened? What is this? How could this be?’

And they’re going to look around and see millions and millions and millions of people. Also they’re going to see millions and millions of what? All the saints who were in the first resurrection—right? They’re [the saints] going to help bring them salvation. This is going to be salvation on a mass scale, unheard of, and it’s going to be God who’s going to do it. The sons of God and all of those who enter into the Kingdom of God during the millennium will all be there together to handle these billions and billions and billions of people down through history who lived and died and were not called unto salvation, because salvation did not really begin, with the exception of a few of the prophets, etc., from the Old Testament, did not really begin until Christ came.

That’s why Jesus said that their minds are closed, ‘lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and be converted and I would heal them.’ Here in this resurrection, which is referred to as the second resurrection, because the first resurrection is when Christ returns—right? That’s when they receive an opportunity for salvation.

Now notice, v 13: “‘And you shall know that I am the LORD when I have opened your graves, O My people, and have brought you up out of your graves.... [They’re going to understand that this is a second physical life. Just like when a person goes to the hospital and dies, brought back to life. A lot of them after they realize that they really died and were brought back to life, a lot of them change their lives. They say, ‘Boy, I’m going to change the way I’ve been living.’ Well, so are these people.] ...And I shall put My Spirit in you... [conversion] ...and you shall live... [Have a time to live, keep the commandments of God and show that you want salvation, which they will.] ...and I will place you in your own land. And you shall know that I the LORD have spoken it and have done it,’ says the LORD” (vs 13-14).

Quite a tremendous prophecy—isn’t it? So that answers the question: How is God going to take care of all of this? A lot of evangelicals think, ‘Well, it’s our job to evangelize the world.’ Well, yes, we need to go out and preach the Truth and evangelize as much as we can, but it is God who calls—is it not? It is God who chooses for salvation—is it not? Based upon repentance, yes! That’s why ‘many are called, and few are chosen,’ but the rest are not left out. They are not called for salvation to the first resurrection, which Hebrews says is a better resurrection.

  • The first resurrection is to eternal life.
  • The second resurrection is to a second physical life for the first opportunity for salvation.

The blindness will be removed, Satan will not be around, everything will be there to teach them, to help them, and so forth.

If you want to have more details about it, go online and you can download any sermon that I’ve done on the Last Great Day and that will fill in some other details for you. So this is how God is going to take care of it. Quite a tremendous thing—isn’t it?

Think of this: Protestants who say that everything in the Old Testament has been fulfilled—what do they do? They cut themselves off from the knowledge of God. Then if you try and talk to them about it, they say, ‘Well, no one gets a second opportunity.’ What about if they never had a first? So this should help clarify it and answer the question: Lord, what are You going to do about it?

Scriptural References:

  1. Revelation 12:9
  2. 2-Corinthians 4:1-6
  3. Isaiah 29:9-16
  4. Matthew 13:10-12,14-17
  5. Matthew 22:14
  6. Luke 13:1-5
  7. Matthew 7:12-14
  8. Romans 2:11-16
  9. 1-Corinthians 15:20-23
  10. Revelation 20:4-6,11-12
  11. Matthew 12:31-32,39-42
  12. Ezekiel 37:1-15

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Jeremiah 17:9
  • Psalm 119
  • John 11

Also referenced: Books:

  • Quitting Church by Julia Duin
  • Nothing Created Everything by Ray Comfort