Part 3 – I No Longer Believe in the God of the Bible

Angry God

 

This is part 3 to the series I No Longer Believe in the God of the Bible.  See part 1 and part 2. This started when an old acquaintance of mine I met in church told me that He no longer believes in the God of the Bible. He no longer believes Jesus rose from the dead and he said he de-converted from Christianity.

He has also written a book about what led him to his new way of thinking.  He and I are still in conversation about how he came to be where he is and he is aware that I am using his materials in a Bible class I teach and in this blog.  Part 1 of this series was from a chapter in his book.  Part 2 is the beginning to my response to his chapter.  I have decided not to use his real name at this point. We call him Billy.

Part 3…

To me sin had a very specific purpose.  It was to show man he was not sufficient in himself and that he needed God.  The Bible specifically states that the law came so that sin would increase. Romans 5:20  Without law there is no offense (sin) Romans 4:15.  God wanted sin to increase so that man could realize his present condition without God was to die and be destroyed.

The big danger of sin is that it works against God’s plan and hope for man. Sin can be extremely pleasurable, extremely painful or both. The pleasure of sin can be addictive and the pain scaring.  This too includes sins of others done against you. I believe both can harden the heart of the created to the imprint God wants to make on our heart concerning His love and the price He paid for us.  I think that is why God hates sin so much and His anger acts as a warning for us not to follow after it.   It’s effect on us can cause us to choose the pleasure or out of hurt reject the cure.

To make the cut we must join ourselves to God through Jesus. To me this is the absolute genius of God’s plan.  Think about this.  The creator engineers the process in such a way to have the created choose the creator as a way of making the cut to move to the next level.  To me this is the ultimate in quality control and to insure that the created with a free will has freely chosen God and has proven his love and desire for God. This choice is further proven by the created having his faith tested by earthly disappointments, overcoming doubts and actively fighting the fight of faith. The plan is such a revelation of the design genius of God.

So we join ourselves to God acting as Jesus who also became the prototype.  He is the example for all others to emulate.  So God said, watch this man Jesus.  Pay attention to Him.  This is how I want my created ones to think, act and behave.  Acknowledge Him as the prototype, become convinced of his superiority, do your best to emulate him. I will use this methodology for those who will make the cut to go to the next level of development.  I will call this being “In Christ” and call those that are in that state “saved.” Congratulations, you made the cut. You will move on to the next phase of development.

Since you made the cut, you are now in a new category and no longer subject to some of the things that the others who have not yet made the cut are subject to.  The Bible says it like this, “You are no longer under the curse of sin and the resulting death that will come. Romans 8:2  So, to summarize, God did forgive sin even before man thought to ask, yet man is still infected with the disease of sin till he finds the cure in Jesus.

In God’s plan, Jesus is everything. Jesus is the ultimate hero worthy of all our praise. The creator is pointing us to pay extremely close attention to Jesus our prototype.  Our attention is directed away from us and onto Jesus. Our doing good and living a good morale life means nothing at least in terms of God’s salvation.  However we are to emulate him, but even as we do, our good works are not to be a credit to our goodness, but tied to the goodness of God that now dwells in us motivated by our love and appreciation for our prototype Jesus.

So that is part one of the Good News that God has forgiven us all.  As the Bible says Christ died to atone for the sins of the World.  .

Part two of the Good News is that Jesus rose from the dead.  This is representative of what happens to us who were dead in our sins headed for destruction, but are now alive “In Christ” through our faith, because God implanted in us a spark of His life as a deposit he calls the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor. 1:22

I believe this too is just another part of the process of God to get us ready.  I don’t know everything the Holy Spirit does in the creative process, but I believe The Spirit prepares us by helping us know God better on an individual basis.  He comforts us and guides us and teaches us and we learn to discern and hear the voice of God.  John 16:13 This process continues till our current body dies.

The death of our body is a necessary part of the process. Eventually, we get a new more durable body and the soul and spirit of the new and improved man simply continues to live.  This new body I suspect will be much like the body of Jesus after the resurrection.

Obviously, at the time of death, there is still work needed to done on creation before it is ready or fully mature.  I know this because even though I have been forgiven of sin, am In Christ my prototype, and the Holy Spirit of God dwells in me, I still have a desire and a propensity to sin, though diminished by the Spirit’s work in me.

I suspect the next process will happen during the period of time the Bible refers to as the marriage feast of the lamb.  The Bible says it like this…

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Rev. 19:9

This is where we meet Jesus face to face in all His glory and His majesty.  As the song goes, I can only imagine the impact that will have on me.  I know it will be life changing and transformational. Though this part of scripture is very esoteric, I have come to believe that this feast will last for a period of seven earth years.  Though it is primary depicted as a celebration, I imagine it will be most educational.  This feast will be held somewhere off-site in earthly terms.

The next phase of our development too is quite debated and controversial.  Part of the reason for this is because these texted have been debated for so long that different camps have sprung up with their different interpretations. I tend to go with the straight text on this.  The Bible says it like this…

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”a He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  Rev 19:11

I believe we who were at the marriage feast of the lamb are the armies of heaven.  There is no need for us to fight, because Jesus does all the fighting.  The Bible says he captures both the beast and the false prophet and throws them into a fire and he strikes down with his words the Kings of the earth and their armies who are there to do battle with them.

Then Jesus has one of His angels seize Satan himself, and chain him up for a thousand years.

The Bible says it like this…

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. Rev. 20:1-3

And we the created who made the cut are there to witness all this and to be changed by it too.  You might call this a form of continuing education.

So, God is also setting us up for one more encounter with Satan at the end of a thousand years.

But Why Why Why is all this necessary?  That is a good question and for me there is only one good answer.  It is very difficult process of taking a creation with a free will and maturing him into a true believer in the ways of God. God must engineer in us much more intelligence than we have today. Obviously, even more than the Angels who inhabited Heaven with God, for even many of them rebelled against Him.

So I believe as humans we are still way early in our development.

So what happens during the thousand years that Satan is chained?  Jesus reigns. We reign with him and we learn.

Jesus reigns with us over an earthly population that in the vast majority are not believers, not saved and have not had the Holy Spirit implanted in them.  It may seem hard to imagine that Jesus could come back and set up a kingdom and some still not believe.  But this is just what the Bible tells us.  It says He will rule from Jerusalem and He will reign with an iron scepter, which means that he will rule strictly by his rules of conduct. This will not be popular to many people of the earth.

Just prior to the thousand year reign, during the seven years of the marriage feast of the lamb, the earth was devoid of those “In Christ” who were with him at the feast.  The beast and the false prophets and Satan were in control.  There was much suffering on the earth during this period.  Some became followers of Christ and were persecuted usually by beheading.

When Jesus came back to begin his reign, he raised these, who were beheaded for His sake, from the dead also and they too reigned with Him.

The Bible says it like this…

4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. Theya had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. Rev 20:4-6

So what will the earth be like during that thousand years?

Isaiah the prophet tells about this time in Isa. 11.

6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.7The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.9They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Life spans will be extended during this time.  There will be no infant deaths and a man that does not live to be one hundred will thought to be tragic.  This is according to Isaiah 65.

So the people should be happy and follow Jesus right?  Well, many will follow after Jesus, but other, even with all they have seen and heard, will still not come to Him for salvation.

This too will be a great lesson for “the saved,” reigning on earth with Jesus.  All those who are reigning with him do not experience death during the thousand years nor will they ever taste death again.

Instead, after a thousand years, Satan will be released from the abyss.  He will come to the earth in all his fury and immediately begin forming an army with the people of the earth to fight against Jesus and His kingdom.

The Bible says it like this…

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Rev 20: 7-10

And what could we possibly learn from this?

Many things I am sure, but one for sure is how some men will respond to the rule of Jesus.  Even though all nature is again in harmony and his rule is characterized by peace, prosperity, and justice, many will reject Him and side with His enemy.  Most would rather be deceived than humble themselves willingly to Jesus. They prefer to be their own gods, knowing good and evil.

That is enough for this post, but look for part 4 where we will discuss the Judgment.

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