The Consequences of Sin--Part 4
Oct 30, 2009
Jesus' death on the cross is the ultimate picture of the consequences of sin. But the more pertinent question for us is whether or not His death on the cross left us with any consequences for our sins.
The fact that the New Testament speaks of aionian judgment at the time of the resurrection (as in John 5:29), and Rev. 20:13 says they are "judged according to their works," indicates:
1. Men will be held accountable for their sin
2. The law was not abolished
Apart from Jesus' comments in Luke 12 about men receiving few or many stripes, we are not given much detail about the actual application of the law at the Great White Throne. Of necessity, there are some differences in application from the present age. In fact, there are even differences in application between the Old and New Covenants.
At the Great White Throne, death is cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). There are two types of death in Scripture. The first is mortality, which came upon all men through Adam's sin. The second is spiritual. The spiritual death is not the classic torture of hell, but rather it is the type of death that Paul spoke of many times. "I die daily," Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:31. In our daily walk with God, whenever we deny the will of the flesh, we are putting the flesh to death. But it is not the first type of death. It is the second.
The lake of fire is the second death (Rev. 20:14). In our own lives, we submit to the same baptism of fire today, so that we might receive--through repentance--a lighter burden and avoid the sentence given to others at the Great White Throne. But whether we experience the fire of God today or later, the fire is all part of the character of God as expressed in His law.
The law clearly has different sentences, depending upon the sin. Jesus spoke of few and many stripes for the abuse of authority, and we see that ignorance of the law (His will) was only a partial excuse. In the law, the judgment always fits the crime. There is no "one size fits all" where every sinner burns in hell.
Every non-believer will have just one thing in common--they did not avail themselves of the blood of Jesus Christ. Some rejected it; but the vast majority never even heard of Jesus. Obviously, God will treat these people differently. But either way, because all sin is reckoned as a debt, their debt will be added up as only God can do.
When men were judged by the law in the days of Moses, a thief who stole $1000 would have to repay his victim $2000. His sin was reckoned as a debt to his victim. He also had to make sacrifice for his offence against God. The sacrifice testified to the fact that the thief was unable to pay God what was owed, and so only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ could pay that portion of the debt.
So at the Great White Throne, all of the non-believers will be "sold" (Ex. 22:3) because they cannot pay the debt themselves and did not avail themselves of the sacrifice of Christ to satisfy the debt to God. They will be "purchased" in a sense by the overcomers, who will be in a position at that time to serve as "redeemers."
A redeemer is one who purchases the debt note of another (Lev. 25:47-49). As part of the body of Christ that have come into immortality at the first resurrection, the overcomers will rule and reign with Christ. That means they will be given authority over others, as Jesus clearly taught in Luke 12:42.
When a redeemer purchases the debt note of a debtor (slave), the law gives him authority over that slave, and the slave must work for the redeemer until either until the debt is paid or the Jubilee year arrives. Lev. 25:52-54 says,
(52) . . . In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption. (53) Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him, he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight. (54) Even if he is not redeemed by these means, he shall still go out in the year of Jubilee, he and his sons with him.
This law shows that the debtor's labor was meant to "refund" the amount paid by his redeemer. The debtor's redemption did not set him free of all liability for the debt owed. It meant that he now owed the redeemer however many years of labor required to pay the debt.
So also it is at the Great White Throne judgment. The debtors are redeemed by Jesus Christ the Head, in conjunction with His Body. The Body is the executor of the Head. Jesus is the Redeemer; the Body consists of the redeemers. This legal process sets up the authoritative structure for the ages to come until the great Jubilee of creation when all men are set free, as per verse 54 above.
The primary difference between the days of Moses and the time after the Great White Throne is that in Moses' day all debtors were mortal, but at the Great White Throne, mortality is replaced by the second death, the spiritual death whereby men learn to put to death the "old man" and begin to "die daily." Their new masters will be responsible to teach them the love of God by personal example.
This is why verse 53 above gives us the prophetic purpose of the law of redemption: "he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight." In other words, the redeemers live by the love of God and have His character/law written on their hearts. So they will treat their "slaves" with true justice, love, and kindness, rather than with "severity."
In that resurrection, all will be given new bodies that will probably be comparable to the body of Adam when he was first created. Such a body was designed to live indefinitely. He had a perfect environment, nutritious food, and no genetic defects, so that (apart from falling off a cliff) he could live indefinitely. The cells of his body would last much longer and be easily replaced if they ever wore out, so he would never get old. I believe that this is the type of body that all humanity will receive at the general resurrection.
So they will all live to the time of the Creation Jubilee, which, I believe, will arrive after 49,000 years of history. Even as Pentecost occurred after 49 days, and the regular Jubilee after 49 years, so also will the Creation Jubilee set all men free after 49,000 years have passed. We are currently near the 6,000 year point in history, getting ready for the great Sabbath Millennium. The Great White Throne judgment appears after the thousand-year Sabbath for creation, so the age of the Lake of Fire will probably last another 42,000 years.
During that time, men will not die, because mortality is replaced by the second death, John says. In my view, the slaves will be given rest/recreation days every 7 days, and they will be given a rest year every 7 years. They will be given two rest years in the 49th and 50th years, according to the law. But on this level of application, because of extended life spans, the law will require them to remain under authority for a full 42,000 years until all of creation is set free.
During this time, Isaiah 26:9 says, "when the earth experiences Thy judgments, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Will there be judgments other than labor? Yes, of course. Jesus talked about few and many stripes, and it is obvious that this type of judgment goes beyond a sentence of labor. The labor part has more to do with the fact that these had no sacrifice to present to pay the debt to God Himself. But where men abused other people, there are other forms of judgment to deal with this. We will discuss that side of judgment next time.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "The Consequences of Sin." To view all parts, click the link below.