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Chapter 34

 

Several years had passed since Jesus returned to reign on earth. Israel's ideal living conditions convinced many tourists from other nations to settle in this abundant land. Homelessness and unemployment were nonexistent. A perfect economic system now existed, where everyone's needs were met. In every house there was an ample supply of succulent fresh fruit, crisp vegetables and grain products. Little children were an effervescent picture of health and energy. Millions came yearly to worship at the Lord's new temple and learn the full significance of the Feast of Tabernacles. They wanted to understand more concerning the new way of living under Christ in the Millennial Kingdom.
Worship was not one of restored Judaism, but worship by the nations of the world under the reign of Christ within the new unity of the Kingdom. All had become one in their desire and need to worship in Jerusalem under Jesus. This brought rain on their land and showers of blessing in their lives. Everything had become holy because Jesus had established holiness in all things, whether public, private or in religious life. Simon, David and their friends rose very early each day during the Feast of Tabernacles. It was on the first day of this celebration some men, young and old, gathered to look back and remember past events, not in a morbid self pitying way, but rather in thankfulness for their miraculous survival. There was no work today or on the eighth day of the Feast. David, who had been spared the harrowing tribulation experience, because he was raptured, turned to his father, Simon.
"How terrible it must have been for you and your friends living under Macro's rule after his peace treaty was broken."
The old man's voice trembled as he choked out the words, "Yes it was."
"David, I was with your Dad," replied Ari, feeling Simon's distress.
"I am still overcome when I realize the enormity of God's loving care. During the earthquakes and plagues we wondered how long we could hold on. I guess it was that inbuilt desire to survive that kept us going. Without God we would not be here now."
Nicholas had been listening to the men and summed up their feelings. "If Jesus had not returned to earth when He did, I don't think any of us could have lived much longer. When He came to earth it was the greatest, most incredible event I have ever seen."
Simon joined the conversation again.
"We can celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with true rejoicing before Jesus. He brought us safely through our troubles, just as God did in Old Testament times when He delivered His people out of all kinds of difficulties."
Sol had been quietly absorbing the words of his friends. His own murder had been nothing compared to what they had been through. "Thank God Satan is safely out of the way for the next thousand years and we are able to live in peace, without wickedness and tyrants."
"Speaking of such things, isn't it time we collected our families and went to the temple. I know I want to celebrate my Christian rebirth and the renewing of all nature."
It was a pleasant drive from the Sea of Galilee to the temple. All travellers converged on the centre of worship along the newly formed roads. Many came on foot, joining up with others from outlying areas. There was an air of excitement and anticipation as strangers chatted along the way. Today was the last day of the Feast. Simon linked his arm through Ann's and together they walked reverently into the temple. He recognized the man sitting at Jesus' right hand. This man had been one of the original twelve apostles. He was the apostle at the cross when Jesus was crucified and later cared for Mary the mother of Jesus. This man John, had been later banished to the Isle of Patmos, where tradition said he died. His eyes now rested on Jesus Who rose to speak.
"Welcome to this eighth and last day of our Feast for this year. Throughout the week you brought choice fruits and grain into the temple. A great number of your best animals have been sacrificed. I know those from other parts of the world join with you to give thanks to God My Father for all His provisions and care. There is now no veil in this temple to separate us. I am going to tell you what is to come."
Ari turned to Simon and whispered, "I thought we were already living in perfect conditions. What more can there be?"
Simon hushed Ari with a gentle touch to his arm, as Jesus continued. "As you know, almost all prophecies in the Bible have now been fulfilled. We are in a time of great blessing, yet other things must happen before this earth, as you now know it, passes away. At the end of the thousand years Satan will be released from his prison for a short time and will make another attempt to incite others to fight against Me. Once again, there will be a short period of rebellion and war.(1) Vast numbers, some of those born during my thousand year reign, will join forces with him. Although born into ideal conditions where all know about Me, the hearts of many will be corrupt and they will not worship Me. Outwardly they will conform, but inwardly they will reject Me. This is a sign that living in a perfect environment does not change the human heart. Again, armies will surround Jerusalem, but fear not, God is with us."
Murmurs of 'Alleluia, our God reigns' were heard as Jesus stilled the voices.
"God will send fire down from heaven to consume them. Satan will be thrown into the lake of burning sulphur. This is Satan's final judgement and the place where he will suffer torment forever, with Macro the Antichrist and Warwick the False Prophet. After this great war, the wicked are raised from the dead to be judged before the great white throne of God.(2) God has recorded all things in His books, to be opened at this time."
A voice was heard asking, " Master, where is this throne?"
Jesus replied, " It matters not, for judgement must surely come in this special place. The earth and starry heavens as we now know them will be destroyed at the end of My one thousand year reign. Eternity will begin with a new earth and a new heaven. Do not worry about these events. I will be in control of all that happens. Rather, bring your children up to love and honour Me."
The songsters and orchestra began to play as Jesus resumed His seat before His people. Simon, Ari and their families walked into the clear air to the tune of, 'When we've been here ten thousand years.......'
Simon walked beside John the Apostle and began to question him about some of the things to come.
"When the dead are delivered up from the earth and the sea, what are the things on which they are judged? Is it the same as when Jesus judged those who refused to help the Jews during the tribulation?"
"God opens His books and shows people that their faith alone gains them salvation and that the good things they did before they died are not enough to guarantee eternal life.(3) Just as all unbelievers missed the rapture, anyone whose name is missing from the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire to experience eternal separation from God. Every unbeliever from the time of creation must accept this judgement and punishment."
"What you are saying is that because they rejected Jesus before their physical death - which is the only way to be saved, they must go into eternal punishment?"
"Yes," replied John. "This is a throne of judgment for those who refused Christ as their Saviour. Their sinful thoughts, words and actions will be brought to light, even the sins they thought no one ever knew about."
As John turned to leave Ari he asked, "Do you realise just how blessed everyone is? To be in this Millennial Kingdom, knowing that you will eventually go with Jesus into the new heavens and new earth to live forever? Because you all repented and believed in Jesus before He returned to earth, He forgave all your sin. Because of this, no one here will have to face God's throne of judgement."
The answer was clear in Ari's mind and heart. He appreciated the greatness of Jesus' sacrifice and God's saving grace. Eternity was his.


The NovelNotes Feature

These are a helpful feature of this novel. Their use is optional. They may be used if you want to understand more of the underlying Biblical aspects of the story, or the historical and factual material. However, you do not have to use these to follow the story line of the novel.


Chapter 34 NovelNotes

1. The 20th Chapter of the book of Revelation tells of this last battle on earth. It ends when God sends fire from heaven to devour those who are against God. See Revelation 20:7-9.

2. This is the final judgement of all peoples who did not believe in the true God. It will include those who died not knowing Christ, those who were left on earth when the rapture took place and those who died during the tribulation period. For this judgement, all unbelievers are raised from the dead. See Revelation 20:11-15.

3. This is probably the main reason why many people will go to eternal punishment and separation from God. Many religions and even some churches, wrongly teach that good works get you into heaven. The truth is that they do not. Good works are something you do in gratitude for your salvation, after you are saved. Salvation cannot be earned by good works. Salvation is a free gift from God, gained purely by faith in Him and repentance from sin. See Ephesians 2:8-9.

Continue to Chapter 35