Our special roundtable presentation has to be called off, almost as quickly as the dramatized way you hear it happen in the interchange between Keith and the Retrobots. The cancellations actually started the day before, but the last ones were called in within the final couple hours before we hit the record button.
Since the topic we planned on was geared to our panel of guests, we fall back on a last moment topic. Escatology is a huge area of study, and our time is limited. Still, we give it as much as we can, before Nathan has to run.
So, what exactly is Escatology. No, it’s not the study of really curvy cats. Although that would make a lot of sense. It is actually the study of last things. Or the study of end times.
Most of the time attention is given to what happens at the end of the world, raptured saints, the return of Jesus, and all like that there. We aren’t going there today. That is known as a global end time.
There’S another kind of end time. A personal end of time. Here’s a spoiler alert for you, we all die. Sooner or later, we will all come to a day where our bodies stop, and our time on earth is no more. When that happens, and we’ve reached our personal end… what comes next?
The biblical worldview has a few things to say on death and resurrected bodies. We have enough time to examine five of these points. Hebrews 9:27 states that we die, then are judged.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once,
and after that comes judgment,
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)
People die once. No second times through on this merry go round. God only allows us one shot at this physical life. There’s a lot to explore, do, and enjoy, but when it’s over, all that remains is judgement on how well we spent our time here. There’s judgement, no grace or mercy. We have that now. God grants all kinds of grace in this life, but only judgement remains when we account for what we did here.
1. The body returns to dust, the spirit to God.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (ESV)
and the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
When the body dies, the part that is spirit, or our soul, is torn away as the bond that holds it together is broken. The body begins it’s journey back to dust, and to the earth swhere it came. The spirit returns to God.
Wait. Does this mean that all people go to heaven? It says the soul returns to God, right? Yes… then the judgement. If all souls return to God, it is at this point they will be judged, and there are only two options. Two destinations, and one is already set, unless a choice of faith is made during your life.
2. Spiritually: born dead.
Ephesians 2:1-6 (ESV)
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience�
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved–
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
This claim is that it’s our physical nature to be self serving to our passions and desires. We are easy prey to sin and rebellion. Simply put, verse 1 states, you were dead in trespass and sin. It’s only by God’s love, grace and mercy that he even offers to take us out of it. We have abundant grace and mercy now. All we can count on when our soul returns to God is judgement.
What happens to the soul, after this encounter with God? What are these two destinations, and who goes there?
3. Second Death: Is for the unrepentant.
Revelation 21:8 (ESV)
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable,
as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,
their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
The short list of sins listed are only representative of who will be separated from God. A key trait in this list is the word faithless. Many sins aren’t on this list, but those people will find themselves here all the same. God knows the heart, the inner self, he knows who can stand before him, and still, from the core of their being, count themselves in rebellion, and faithless. There is a place where they will be. It’s a place where God is not, and they will have received their wish to spend their eternity without him.
Just as the body dies, decays, and returns to dust, the soul goes into a perpetual state of death. Are you living? Are you aware? Does it really never end? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be there.
4. Second Death: None for the repentant.
Revelation 20:6 (ESV)
Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power,
but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
There is some poetic language in play here. The first resurrection refers to Christ being the first fruit, the man by whom sin was concquered. As such there’s never any chance you’ll be going to the place where the soul is perpetually destroyed. Reigning for a thousand years doesn’t mean a literal thousand years. It means for a long period of time.
The simple answer here is that when God finds us worthy to be in his kingdom, we are blessed, and there’s only one destination for us. If one place is a death of the soul, the second death, the other place is life to the soul, forever.
What determines we’ll be in this blessed place of life?
Our time is nearly up, but we have time to bring up the matter of where sin and death comes from, and where we can find resurrection and life.
5. Through One man, sin. Through one man, life.
Adam: Through him, sin, with both physical and spiritual death came.
Jesus: Through him, resurrection, with spiritual life came.
1 Corinthians 15:21 (ESV)
For as by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
Because of Adam’s poor choice, we are alldeestined to make the same poor choices. We’re born into it. His poor choice doomed us all to a physical death, and we’re born into a spiritual death. When Christ came to the world, he proved he was worthy by living up to God’s standard. Living all the laws in his book with perfection. He died to justify us, and pay for our debt of sin, and just as he conquered death and was resurrected, we also have that hope. Whether our bodies die or not, we are blessed that we can claim spiritual life when we repent, and receive faith from the Holy Spirit to believe that he truly justified us. We fully claim God’s grace and mercy, and there’s no fear in judgement when we stand before him.
After Nathan has to leave the call, we have a final song, thanks to Kathy Adkins for permission to use her music.
To put a final closure to the day, the Retrobots close us out with a thought for the week.