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The series continues with a consideration of what constitutes an accountability to Christ’s judgment. The principle of extended benefit highlights another category of resurrection to mortality that will not expose the raised to an immediate judgment..

Watch the whole series here…

 

Visions of the Kingdom Age

Class 3 – Visions of the Kingdom Age – James Dillingham for Cranston Rhode Island Snr SS

This will be the 3rd class in our series entitled Visions of the Kingdom Age, as presented to the Cranston Rhode Island Ecclesial adult Sunday School. So, before we continue with our next observations you should know that these classes will also be available online in audio form at www.spiritsword.net under the menu Visions of the Kingdom of God.

 

In our previous class we were referencing not simply the fact that there are two categories of resurrections…. a resurrection to mortality preceding judgment and a resurrection to immortality following judgment… we had progressed into defining the terms for participating in that first resurrection to mortality for the purpose of judgment. We had recognized the actual control principle for accountability to that judgment is divine vindication, which is why enlightened rejectors who never progressed to the commitment stage beyond enlightenment will be required to face the son of God and understand God is right and they were foolish to deny the Creator’s righteousness. That first of the 3 stages in the development of the saints activates a divine accountability to our Creator’s righteousness that cannot be escaped.

Those three stages are enlightenment, commitment and performance. Eventually we will be examining how these 3 stages are very frequently demonstrated in divine rituals, divine laws, creational patterns and architectural design. These three stages are also very prominent in any quest to truly understand why our Creator repeatedly emphasizes the number 12 in relation to the enlightened community of any age.

 

This issue of the terms of enlightenment is why clause 24 of the BASF was amended back in 1898 to include the statement of qualification reading: the Responsible: namely, those who know the revealed will of God, and have been called upon to submit to it… That amendment was really just the tip of the iceberg as many other issues were involved in that amendment, including the nature of sin and how our Messiah actually bore sin and broke its power in his death.

 

Our focus at the moment however, would be these terms of enlightenment – what the amendment describes as “the revealed will of God” that qualify someone for a mandated attendance at Christ’s judgment… It appears we can’t define the level of enlightenment that commits someone to a required participation in divine judgment. However that bar does not seem to be very high.

 

➢ We are told that those who pierced the body of Jesus will see him (Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.

➢ Jesus promises that those he defines as the “synagogue of satan” would come and worship at the feet of the faithful in the Ecclesia at Philadelphia (Rev. 3:9). Both of these descriptions define rejectors of the gospel and certainly not baptized members of the enlightened community. In fact this particular promise of Jesus to the Brothers & Sisters at Philadelphia highlights how the principle of divine vindication will be extended to those God loves and approves. That synagogue of satan will be forced to understand the depth of their error, they will have to recognize that Jesus loved the Philadelphian Ecclesial members. That divine vindication is extended to include those who have loved and manifested God in their lives.

➢ Additionally Jesus declared to Caiaphus and the Sanhedrin that they personally would witness him coming in power and glory in the clouds of heaven, which would require their resurrection, although not baptized believers.

 

The qualification for resurrectional accountability is ultimately the vindication of our Creator. Within that larger framework is the primary category being those who have been exposed to whatever level of enlightenment that Yahweh and Christ determine necessary for judgment… that demand the vindication of our Creator to be addressed.

John 3:18-19 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

The condemnation referenced here is initiated by light and eliminated by belief… not baptism… but belief. Now baptism would certainly be included in the framework of anyone who truly believed… as baptism is the first act of obedience upon understanding. If one is not baptized then they certainly never “believed.” The messiah’s condemnation that cannot be escaped is for those who where exposed to that light but preferred darkness instead of that light, because their deeds were evil. This cannot be any clearer. Christ’s words here declare unequivocally that it is light – enlightenment- that is the difference between our judge’s condemnation or not.

 

This is a powerful statement but would be dramatically weakened if it were just an isolated expression.

Rom 1 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness

One does not have to be baptized in order to hold the truth. How many people have grown up in the Christadelphian community, refused to be baptized and led lives according to the ungodly rules of society? How many preaching efforts have gone on for years of education but never materialized in an obedient baptism? These enlightened rejectors number in the thousands in this generation alone. One does not have to be baptized to “hold” the truth in unrighteousness, although believers can certainly also qualify for this distinction, of holding the truth in unrighteousness. The wrath of god will be revealed from heaven against these people who have the truth – but don’t hold it in righteousness, whether or not they have been baptized.

 

Eph 5:5-6 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Now who are these children of disobedience and what is this wrath of God that comes upon them? One does not have to be baptized to be disobedient. The gospel demands we believe and be baptized. Jesus instructed his disciples in Mark 16: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. It is the absence of belief that insures damnation, not simply the absence of baptism. The wrath of God coming to the children of disobedience would certainly include the enlightened rejector who has never obediently been baptized… but cannot escape the extreme unpleasantness of that necessary divine vindication at Christ’s judgment.

 

It is enlightenment that is the primary qualifier for accountability to divine judgment.

John 6:44-45  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

The condition expressed here for being raised up at the last day is hearing… Every man that heard (not everyone that has been baptized… but everyone that has ‘heard’). These must come to Jesus, being raised up at the last day.

It is this ‘hearing’… not baptism … that is the repeated condition for God’s demand that we answer to Him for rejecting His righteousness.

Deut 18:18-19 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoeever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

 

We know this prophet Moses speaks of is Jesus Christ. We are repeatedly told that in the New Testament. It is the words of Jesus that must be hearkened to or our rejection of his words will be required of us by our God. God will require… He will demand of those who did not hearken to the words of Yahweh spoken by Jesus… These enlightened rejectors will be asked…..by what right they refused God’s testimony. They will be accountable to answer why they disrespected their exposure to the light of divine righteousness.

 

2 Pet 2:20-22  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

 

All that facilitates our initial escape from the pollutions of the world… is exposure to truth, knowledge. If we pursue that knowledge, through that 2nd development stage of commitment – being baptized and obediently faithful then our escape can be successful. If we are overcome –without any distinction concerning the degree of our response, baptism or otherwise – then the end result is worse than if we had never come to that knowledge of Jesus Christ. This does not say that if we become entangled after we have been baptized then our latter end is worse than never having been baptized. The condition is knowledge… without any presumption of baptism whatsoever. We are worse off if we come to some knowledge of the truth, some knowledge of God’s righteousness, and then turn away from it.  We are somehow worse off than if we had never been exposed to that knowledge.  This means that those who never knew the gospel are better off than an enlightened rejector. How is that possible if there is no accountability at the judgment for the enlightened rejector?

 

In fact, if we want to maintain that only the baptized will participate in the resurrection to judgment then we are contending that those who tried to be obedient by being baptized but then failed are worse off than those who knew the way of truth but rejected it completely from the start, showing our Creator nothing but disdain for His eternal truths and principles. That understanding would be a dangerous violation of the righteousness of our Creator. Yahweh demands His right of vindication. We are not more powerful than God. We cannot refuse to obediently be baptized and think that we can escape personally suffering His direct and eternal condemnation. We cannot prevent our Creator’s vindication of His righteousness that we have been exposed to… through some level of enlightenment. There is no escape clause from divine vindication.

 

Now there is still a great deal of validating reasoning for the truth that enlightenment and not participation in a covenant binding ritual is the basis for a required participation in the judgment of Christ. If you would like to pursue this subject more comprehensively I would recommend listening to the two recordings entitled Resurrectional Accountability on this website: http://www.spiritsword.net under the menu heading of Challenging Issues. I believe those addresses of mine may still be available on bibletalks4u as well.

 

Let’s squeeze in one defensive commentary before we conclude our consideration of this aspect of the terms for participation in the resurrection to mortality for judgment.

1 Cor 15:20-23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Much is made of this reference of being made alive referring to the resurrection to judgment. This is an example of how the 2nd resurrection category of a resurrection to immortality is mistakenly applied to the resurrection to judgment. This reference has no legitimate application to the resurrection to mortality… whatsoever. This exclusively refers to the resurrection to immortality. The reason we can be totally confident of that understanding is that Christ was definitely not the firstfruits from the grave to mortality… which is the resurrection to judgment….  but he was definitely the firstborn from the dead for the resurrection to immortality. The immortalization, the divine harvesting of Jesus, constituted the firstfruits to Yahweh- paralleling the firstfruit dedication of the first harvest feast week every year in the Kingdom of God, which is a fascinating subject we will examine in another class.  The anticipated 2nd immortalization event – what Paul refers to here as “those that are Christ’s at his coming” also represent firstfruits – despite the fact that there is a 2,000 year separation… but they (or we/hopefully) are the firstfruits of both God and Jesus Christ, just like the firstfruits of the wheat harvest which were baked into two loaves with leaven and waved toward heaven to start the 2nd harvest celebration of the feast of weeks which was also known as the feast of firstfruits.  Any proposed application of this reference to being a condition to the resurrection to judgment (mortality only) is completely illegitimate as that is not the resurrection being referenced… being made alive simply for judgment does not qualify as a firstfruits condition…. as there were six people raised from the dead to mortality before Jesus was ever raised from the dead. This is yet another example of how error is promoted by mistakenly applying the conditions of the resurrection to immortality as if they apply to the very separate resurrection to mortality prior to judgment. We have to recognize that the term resurrection can apply in 3 separate applications: 1) exclusively to the resurrection to mortality prior to judgment 2) exclusively to a resurrection to immortality following judgment and also 3) the full range from death to immortality. If we exclude any one of these applications we can easily be found to be pounding a scriptural square peg  into a round whole. It will never fit.

 

There appears to be another – small – category of people that will rise from dead when Christ returns,   but not for the purpose of judgment. It is a very interesting promise made in reference to Herod’s slaughter of the children at Bethlehem in his barbaric and futile attempt to kill Jesus as a child.

Matt. 2:16-18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

The reference to Rachel crying for the slaughtered children at Bethlehem appears to be because this is also where Rachel died and was buried after giving birth to Benjamin.

Gen 35:19-20 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.

Let’s review the prophecy about this slaughter and Rachel’s sorrow… representing the sorrow of the mothers in Bethlehem.

Jer 31:15-17 Thus saith the Lord;

A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, and bitter weeping;

Rachel weeping for her children

Refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

16 Thus saith the Lord;

Refrain thy voice from weeping,

And thine eyes from tears:

For thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord;

And they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord,

That thy children shall come again to their own border.

 

It is obvious God has made a commitment to revive from the dead the babies and toddlers who would be slaughtered simply because they were unfortunate enough to be born in the vicinity of Bethlehem within a two year range of the birth of God’s son. The comforting statement is made… don’t cry Rachel. Your work will be rewarded and these children will come again from the land of the enemy and be seen again in their own borders. We would have to work very hard to avoid seeing the obvious promise that these slaughtered babies and toddlers will be brought back to life at some time in the future. It is a source of hope for the Rachel-like mothers of Bethlehem. Otherwise there would be no comfort being offered at all… just a stop crying command but without any comfort. There’s no comfort in substitution. If we lose a child no amount of subsequent children would ever eliminate the unforgettable painful loss of a previous child. So on what basis will these children be raised to life again?

Not enlightenment. That is impossible. They were too young for enlightenment and therefore can’t be accountable to judgment. Those babies were 2 years old or younger.

It isn’t even for divine vindication, as these babies never had the opportunity to disrespect God or Christ. There has to be another motivation … a why answer for this raising to mortality. Now we should be very careful in our thought process here, as we should never suggest this is an impossibility… as that would be a contradiction of Yahweh’s righteousness…. because He has already done this  – on several occasions. Children have been raised from the dead back to mortality. God has already done this. It will be nothing new at all and not out of the range of our Creator’s right-ness. The widow of Zarephath’s son was raised from the dead and given to her mother who had faithfully hidden the prophet Jeremiah for an extended period of time. This was a child, as Elijah took the dead child from the mother’s bosom and carried him up to his loft. When the child was resurrected to mortality Elijah carried the child down to his mother again. This was not a full grown son, but just a child… the child of a faithful woman who refused to exercise the option of turning in Elijah for a large reward. The son of the Shunamite woman was raised – resurrected back to mortality by Elisha. The 12 year old daughter of Jairus was raised by Jesus back to life for the distraught Jairus and his wife. The promised raising of the slaughtered babies and toddlers at Bethlehem back to mortality fits perfectly into this same pattern… so we had better not suggest that would be wrong. God is never wrong.

 

But the question still needs to be answered. On what basis will these children be brought back to life after such a long time and not for the purpose of judgment or even divine vindication? The answer is given in the text: Your work will be rewarded. That ‘reward’ -obviously… due to the immediate context – would be the reviving of these children surrounding Rachel’s grave for which these Rachel like mothers would  so deeply grieve

We can ask what that ‘work’ might there be that qualifies for the raising of these unenlightened babies, born to enlightened, faithful mothers, but I don’t know how we can narrow what qualifying work that might be. Certainly bearing children is and of itself an act of righteousness, as God commanded Adam & Eve and Noah’s family to bear children to fill the earth. I think simply bearing children might be too simplistic a definition for what ‘work’ qualifies Rachel and the Rachel-like mothers for the raising of their slaughtered babies. But this qualification for a resurrection to mortality that is not for the immediate purpose of judgment highlights the divine principle of extended benefit. Our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ extend their glory and privileges and rights to their sons and daughters… to the faithful, and especially to the immortalized faithful in the Age to come. The only reason any of us can be saved in the first place is this principle of extended benefit. Not one of us qualifies for salvation outside of the gracefully extended benefit of our Messiah’s salvation.

 

Another validating avenue for this principle would be understanding that the children of the faithful are divinely distinguished from the children of the unenlightened and unfaithful in the divine equation. A parent’s relationship to God extends some level of direct benefit to their children. This is a divine principle. One example of this is

1 Cor 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

 

The fact that the children of a single believing parent qualifies for a status of holy to the Creator of the universe is not an inconsequential understanding. This distinction of holiness cannot be without some level of real and redemptive value… if not, that holiness distinction would be meaningless.

 

This is the divine principle of extended benefit. This principle is of extreme importance to us on an individual level. It is the very basis of our potential eternal salvation. Because the only one who ever deserved salvation from the justified condemnation of death.. was Jesus of Nazareth. The grave could not hold him. The grave can certainly hold us. It is only the basis of this principle of extended undeserved benefit (which we capsulize into one word – grace) that this salvation is extended to others beyond Jesus who have not perfectly and flawlessly and exclusively projected the righteousness of Yahweh every moment of their life. That salvation benefit is extended through Jesus to those less deserving… those with a lesser holiness status. This is a principle… not a technicality. Principles have wide ranging applications. Divine principles are eternal, forever and apply in every progressive stage of the divine educational plan. Individual divinely appointed laws and rituals … are not forever… just the principles they project… in the same sense that shadows disappear as the light source creating that shadow progresses through the day … but the substance casting those shadows does not disappear.

 

This principle of extended benefit is demonstrated a number of times in scripture. One example would be the lives of 275 people on that ship who were saved in the violent Mediterranean storm as Paul was being taken to Caesar due to his appeal. An angel told Paul: God hath given you all them that sail with you (Acts 27:24. Paul saved those people from death at that time. God’s saving ability extended through Christ and through Paul to those 275 on that ship, certainly not to a total salvation, but certainly an extended benefit on the divinely valued basis of Paul’s relationship with Yahweh & Christ.

 

Another example of this principle is the saving of Lot from Sodom. Peter tells us Lot was a righteous and a just man. Yet it is made very clear that the divine motivation for saving Lot from the destruction of Sodom was due to Abraham. Gen 19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

 

A rather powerful demonstration of this principle on several levels would be how David and his 600 men returned to a burned Ziklag after being dismissed from the Philistine army invading Israel. Their wives and children were gone. There were no bodies, suggesting they had been stolen for slavery. However, they found a man who had been dying for three days and three nights- rather appropriately to our demonstration. They fed him, revived his strength and he led them to the recovery of all of their wives and children, without a single wife or child missing. Perhaps this carefully detailed historical event reflects the time when the presumed dead families (even children) of the faithful will be returned to them by a man restored to life & vitality after three days and three nights.

 

Therefore… Rachel and the Rachel-like mothers around her Bethlehem grave could take great comfort that their babies slaughtered by the Romans due to the birth of God’s son, will see their children again… in those borders. Therefore under the terms of that same principle we have the opportunity participate in the extended salvation benefit of our Messiah…. and therefore, there is a possibility that the children of the faithful who may have died before any possible enlightenment … could possibly be revived from the grave… not for judgment, but like Jairus’s daughter… be revived from death to learn and know their Creator… because their parents truly loved God … as well as their child that died too young.

 

And therefore, let’s consider the powerful exhortation radiating from this understanding. This principle offers a distinct opportunity and motivation for those of us who are or will be parents. We can definitely affect the level of divine favor or absence of favor that can be extended to our children. Our personal relationship and individual status with God and Christ … can most definitely benefit our children indirectly… on the basis of the principle of extended benefit. We should never take the degree of our personal divine favor for granted. Historically, the enlightened community has always been excessively overconfident concerning the status of their divine acceptability. Parents have another motivation in striving to project our Creator’s right-ness in our words, lives and thoughts.. not only because we love God and Jesus.. but additionally… because we love our children.

Sacrifice is always a feature of love. We always sacrifice personal indulgences and advantages for the benefit of those we love. If we want to access our Creator’s protective care for our children… then we had better be on our best God-like behavior. Just as salvation is not automatic… neither is our Creator’s favor.

 

We will consider one more validating application to not only the principle of the right of divine vindication but the extended right of vindication.

 

• Micah 8:8-10 (vs 15-18 identify this prophecy in the context of the Millennial Kingdom introduction) Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: When I fall (death), I shall arise (Resurrection); When I sit in darkness (the grave), the Lord shall be a light unto me (being called from the darkness of the grave). I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, Until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness (another reference to resurrection, but also that God will be our Advocate and plead our cause). Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her Which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God? Mine eyes shall behold her.

Micah prophesies that the divine right of vindication is extended to those among the enlightened community who are divinely approved. Even the enlightened rejectors upon whom the beloved of God suffered ignominy will be raised for no other reason than to witness the glory of those they disrespected, exploited, humiliated or persecuted to some significant degree… and then they will die in shame, forever.

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