Book: Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?

When viewing the panorama of human history—from individuals to great civilizations, from the forgotten, unwanted and rejected to the famous, idolized and celebrated—one is compelled to ask, “Why is there life and death, good and evil? Why does God allow and/or cause disasters, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, destruction, war, famine, pestilence, sickness, disease, pain and suffering, violence and death to befall all mankind throughout every generation and civilization?”

If God is a God of love, why does He not stop or prevent the wretchedness and misery of human suffering and accidental death—especially of innocent children and babies—and the abortion of the unborn? Why does God allow rape, murder, sadistic torture and cruelties of man against man— the strong against the weak, the wicked against the righteous? If God really hears the mournful cries of desperate humans suffering such horrific tragedies, disasters, sicknesses and death, why does He not intervene?

Throughout the ages, questions of life and death have haunted mankind— especially religionists and philosophers. Attempting to find answers to these mysterious realities of human life and death, men often find themselves separated from the true knowledge of God. As a result, men have cultivated countless theories and religious philosophies about the nature of God—as well as about the origin and purpose of life, the immortal soul, heaven, hell, purgatory and reincarnation. In the final analysis, however, they all admit that they simply do not have the answers to these seemingly inexplicable mysteries of life and death—and in particular, the ultimate mystery of all—why death?

Why Do Human Beings Die?

When a person dies, we are at once confronted with the ultimate weakness and the absolute helplessness of being human. Death brings us face-to-face with the stark reality that human life is temporary, and that no person has the power to escape death. Why does an immortal, eternal God of love consign the apex of His creation—man and woman made in His image and likeness—to death? Before we can appreciate the biblical answer, we need to understand why people die.

In the beginning, when He created Adam and Eve, “And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that crawls upon the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of heaven and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’… And God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was exceedingly good” (Gen. 1:26-28, 31). Everything that God created on the earth had been given to man to be used for his benefit. What a tremendous blessing God gave to mankind—dominion over the entire world!

Subsequent details regarding the creation of Adam and Eve are described in Genesis Two. As the account shows, Adam was created first: “Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). God then created Eve, his wife, from one of Adam’s ribs. He also gave them minds with full intelligence, freedom of choice and a fully functioning language (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:2-3).

God made man in His image and likeness, but of an inferior nature. Of all the creatures created to dwell on earth, only man has been given the attributes of God—including the mental ability to think and reason, to speak, write, plan, create, build, teach, learn, judge and rule. God gave human beings the capacity to love, hate, laugh, cry, forgive, repent and experience every type of emotion. All of these are godlike characteristics which humanity is privileged to possess, howbeit inferior to God.

Man is able to exercise these godlike attributes because he has been given a unique spiritual dimension that God did not give to the rest of His earthly creation. Every human being has this quality, which makes each one “a little lower than God” (Psa. 8:1-5). The Bible describes this spiritual aspect as the “spirit of man,” which is not an immortal soul. It is this spiritual dimension of the mind that imparts human life and intelligence (Job 32:8, 18; 33:4; Zech. 12:1; I Cor. 2:11 and James 2:26). (See Appendix K, “What Happens to the Dead?,” page 335.)

Though they were made of the dust of the earth, both Adam and Eve were created in a state of innocence—sinless and blameless before God. They were not yet subject to the penalty of death, because they had not sinned (Gen. 2:25). In contrast, neither did they yet possess eternal life, because they had not eaten of the tree of life.

Adam and Eve—Free Moral Agents with the Power to Choose

God created Adam and Eve as free moral agents—with the power of intelligence, independent thought and personal choice. He has since given the same to every human being. The ultimate choice that each must decide is whether to love and obey God. As Creator and Lawgiver, God has decreed that the penalty for disobedience to His commands is death. However, through faith, love and obedience, God grants the gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23). When God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, He gave him clear instructions. He also gave Adam distinct choices as depicted by the two trees. “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.… And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it” (Gen. 2:8-9, 15). The tree of life represented the way of God that leads to eternal life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolized the way of sin, disobedience and death.

God warned Adam that the consequences of making the wrong choice would be death. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it in dying you shall surely die’ ” (Gen. 2:16-17).

Enter Satan, Sin and Death: God must have thoroughly instructed Adam and Eve about His laws and commandments and the path to eternal life before allowing Satan the devil, in the form of a serpent, to tempt them. They were acutely aware that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would be subject to death (Gen. 3:3).

When the serpent entered the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had to determine who they would believe and obey—God or Satan. They had to decide between the commandments of God or the blatant lies of Satan. It was their decision. Would they trust in God and choose His way—the way of life? Or would they believe Satan and choose the way that seemed right to them—the way of sin and death? (See Prov. 14:12; 16:25.)

The Bible records that Adam and Eve elected to believe Satan. Had they believed God, they could have rejected Satan’s lying temptations. Believing Satan’s lies, they chose to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘In dying, you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, deciding good and evil.’ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of both of them were opened” (Gen. 3:4-7).

The Consequences of Adam and Eve’s Sin: First, their sin brought God’s judgment upon the serpent—Satan (Gen. 3:14). The Lord God then promised a future Savior to die for the sins of Adam and Eve, as well as the sins of their offspring (verse 15). Finally, He pronounced His judgment against Adam and Eve: “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your sorrow and your conception—in sorrow shall you bring forth children. Your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ And to Adam He said, ‘Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree—of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it!”—the ground is cursed for your sake. In sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and thus you shall eat the herbs of the field; in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return’ ” (verses 16-19).

When their eyes were opened to “decide” good and evil for themselves what was good and evil, their eyes became closed to the way of God and His righteousness—not only for themselves, but also for all their progeny. Moreover, Adam and Eve were denied access to the tree of life. “And the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to decide [what is] good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever—’ Therefore, the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he had been taken. And He drove out the man, and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life” (verses 22-24).

With Adam and Eve’s first acts of disobedience, sin entered the world. Primarily, they lost their innocence and their human nature was changed to a nature of sin and death. As Paul explains, this nature of sin and death became an inherent part of their very being, and through heredity has passed on to all mankind. “Therefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind [as part of their heredity]; and it is for this reason that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

Using himself as an example, Paul described man’s sinful nature as the “sin that is dwelling within me … a law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members” (Rom. 7:17, 23). Though he could know and do good, sin was always present to defeat the good that he desired to do: “Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me” (Rom. 7:21).

Paul further characterizes carnal human nature as irrevocably subject to “the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Consequently, all humans are naturally hostile to the laws of God: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can it be. But those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (verses 7-8).

This is the reason all human beings sin and die: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) —and, “in Adam all die” (I Cor. 15:22).

In the final analysis, our inherited human nature is a mixture of good and evil with the downward pull of the “law of sin and death.” Because of the deceitfulness of the human heart and mind (Jer. 17:9), very few people would be willing to admit that humans are basically evil. Instead, the average person feels that he or she is essentially good and only tends to look at the apparent good of their behavior. As humans, we are inclined to excuse our sinfulness and inner evil thoughts, and to justify ourselves as good. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits” (Prov. 16:2).

As a result, people view mankind as a whole as good, sincere, loving and mostly law-abiding. Indeed, those who practice good and help the needy and destitute with acts of kindness and mercy are genuine in their endeavors. These are the “good, sincere people” of the world who actually live by basic principles and have a sense of morality. Any good that they do can always be traced back to some form of the laws and commandments of God, as found in the Holy Bible. However, that does not mean they are called of God the Father and Jesus Christ unto salvation—though they may profess a form of Christianity and even attend church. From a human perspective, the observation and experience that humans are fundamentally good appears to be valid—especially when compared to the evil and wickedness of those who commit heinous crimes.

Paradoxically, the Bible portrays human nature much differently: “For we have already charged both Jews and Gentiles—ALL—with being under sin … for there is not a righteous one—not even one! There is not one who understands; there is not one who seeks after God.… For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:9-11, 23).

God’s perspective of mankind differs from the way we look at ourselves in that God looks primarily at the human spirit. God judges man’s behavior by the intents of the heart—and thus weighs our “heart” against the spirit-of-the-law requirements of His holy, righteous laws and commandments. People, however, tend to look only at exterior behavior, which on the surface appears good or actually is good. Such manifest good behavior does not erase the inherent evil nature of one’s mind and heart. However, although a person may be righteous in their outward behavior—doing good as they see it, as did Job (Job 1:8)—they must come to repent deeply of their sins as he did (Job 42:1-6).

Because we all die in Adam, even those who are redeemed, converted and receive God’s salvation in this life must still die and await the resurrection at Jesus’ second coming. (See Appendix K, “What Happens to the Dead?p. 335.)

Salvation from Adam to Jesus’ Second Coming

After Adam and Eve sinned, God promised a Redeemer would come to save mankind from their sins. He then drove them from the Garden of Eden and cut off access to the tree of life—showing that salvation for mankind in general was withheld until a future time when the Savior would come (Gen. 3:24). At that point God determined that He would call only a select few to receive salvation—only those who would truly love and obey Him—from that time forward until the prophesied death of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, in 30 AD.

The Bible lists a few righteous men who lived prior to the flood who will be resurrected to eternal life with the saints at Jesus’ return. They are Abel, Enoch and Noah (Heb. 11:4-7), and some of the other patriarchs listed in Genesis 5. God turned the rest of humanity over to their own devices to learn the lesson that the consequences of man’s way without God, in rebellion against Him, results in misery, suffering and death (Prov. 14:12).

Irresponsibly, they choose to follow the way of Cain. The generation preceding the flood was exceedingly evil, wicked and sinful: “And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the crawling thing, and the fowl of the air; for I repent that I have made them.’... Now the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt—for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. And, behold, I will destroy them with the earth’ ” (Gen. 6:5-7, 11-13).

Because Noah found grace in the sight of God, He spared Noah, his wife, and their three sons with their wives, from the flood—as well as various animals and living creatures that God sent to Noah to put into the ark. Approximately 1656 years after God created Adam and Eve, He destroyed all life with the universal deluge (Gen. 6:14-8:13). With the exception of a few righteous men from Adam to Noah, God deliberately withheld salvation from mankind. They all lived and died without an opportunity for salvation. Are these lost forever or will God yet give them an opportunity for salvation? If so, how and when will He do it? As we will discover, the answers are found in the meaning of the Last Great Day.

After the Flood: In God’s covenant with Noah and his descendents, He promised that although man’s heart was evil from his youth onward, He would never again severely curse the ground nor destroy all life: “[T]he LORD said in His heart, ‘I will not again curse the ground for man’s sake— although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will not again smite every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.’ And God blessed Noah and his sons, and He said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth’ ” (Gen. 8:21-9:1).

While God did not offer spiritual salvation to the descendents of Noah’s sons, He required that they obey Him and keep His laws and commandments in the letter of the law. However, because of human nature, it did not take long for mankind, under the sway of Satan and his demons, to once again rebel against God. In the third generation following the flood, Nimrod and his wife Semiramis led most of mankind into apostasy against God and promoted the worship of Satan as god. At the pinnacle of this rebellion, Nimrod’s kingdom of Babel was established by ruthless conquest. Genesis gives this account: “And Cush begat Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter against the LORD. Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod—the mighty hunter against the LORD.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar” (Gen. 10:8-10).

To usurp God’s authority and dominion, they sought to build a tower to reach into the heavens. “And the whole earth was of one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build us a city and a tower, with its top reaching into the heavens. And let us establish a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.’

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men had built. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, the people are one and they all have one language. And this is only the beginning of what they will do—now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they cannot understand one another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of all the earth. And they quit building the city. Therefore the name of it is called Babel, because the LORD confused the language of all the earth there. And from there the LORD scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:1-9).

Ancient secular history records that when God scattered the people around the entire world, they took with them their false gods, their religion and the government of Nimrod and Semiramis. In Alexander Hislop’s epochal book, The Two Babylons, he meticulously documents from a myriad of ancient records that the biblical account in Genesis One through Eleven is accurate.

In spite of the evil and rebellion of mankind, God continued to manifest Himself to successive generations through His creation and His laws that govern the heavens and earth and the human physical environment. God further revealed Himself to men through His Word—His commandments and laws. But since men did not want to retain God in their knowledge, humanity became increasingly sinful. Ultimately, God gave them over to reprobate minds and abandoned them to their own lusts and idolatry, to learn the ultimate lesson that man’s way leads to death and only God’s way leads to life (Rom. 1:18-32). From the time of Adam and Eve to this day, God has left mankind to their own devices under the sway of Satan—to live and die, to develop their own societies, civilizations, religions and laws with Satan as their god (Rom. 1:18-32; Eph. 2:1-3; II Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9). The history of the Bible and the world verifies this to be true.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Israel: In 1940 BC, approximately 300 years after the flood, God called Abraham and established His covenant with him and his descendents Isaac and Jacob, also named Israel, who had twelve sons from whom came the twelve tribes of Israel. Some 454 years later, in 1486 BC, God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of their Egyptian slavery.

When God established His covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, He did not make the Holy Spirit available to them nor did this covenant include the promise of eternal life. Rather, God required that the children of Israel obey Him in the letter of the Law. Accordingly, they received physical blessings and national greatness for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Although worded differently, the choices God set before the twelve tribes of Israel were identical to the choices He set before Adam and Eve: “Behold, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments so that you may live and multiply. And the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.

“But if your heart turn away so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I denounce to you this day that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days on the land where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live, that you may love the LORD your God, and may obey His voice, and may cleave to Him; for He is your life and the length of your days, so that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—to give it to them” (Deut. 30:15-20).

This cycle of blessing and cursing continued with the children of Israel and the Jews until the promised Savior came. In Hebrews Chapter Eleven, the apostle Paul lists those few who received salvation and the promise of eternal life from the time of Abel to Jesus Christ’s first coming. In addition, Peter informs us that the prophets of God were included among those God called in a special way to receive salvation unto eternal life (I Pet. 1:10-12). All of these will be in the first resurrection, along with all the New Covenant apostles and saints (Rev. 11:18).

What Is God Going to Do?

From the creation of Adam and Eve until the first coming of Jesus Christ, the vast majority of all mankind has lived and died without the knowledge of the true God. Selectively, from Jesus’ first coming, some have been called to redemption and salvation. Relatively few, however, have truly repented and become converted (Matt. 7:13-14; 22:14). Historically, the majority of humanity has consistently refused to believe and obey God. Deliberately, God has given mankind over to unbelief—to their own devices under the sway of Satan (Deut. 5:29; 29:1-4; Eph. 2:1-3; II Cor. 4:3-4; II Thess. 2:11; Rev. 12:9).

As Jesus explained to His disciples, those who refused to hear or believe Him and His teachings would be blinded, kept from spiritual understanding and given over to unbelief. In addition, they would lose what little discernment they already had. However, Jesus told His disciples that they would be given an abundance of understanding: “For whoever has understanding, to him more shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” He continued: “For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, ‘In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; for the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them’ ” (Matt. 13:12-15).

What Jesus declared was a mystery! He purposely blinded the unbelievers and closed their understanding so they could not be converted. Some might ask, “Doesn’t it seem unfair that God would call some to salvation and exclude others?” From a raw human perspective, it does appear that God is unrighteous and partial if He only grants eternal life to the few He calls and rejects all others with no hope whatsoever of salvation. As Paul writes, “But Isaiah cried out concerning Israel, ‘Although the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved’ ” (Rom. 9:27).

What an incredible statement! What about the rest of Israel and the remaining nations of the world? Is God only going to save the remnant of Israel and those few that He has called to the exclusion of all others? By showing such partiality, is God unfair and unrighteous? Concerning these very questions, Paul declares, “What then shall we say? Is there unrighteousness with God? MAY IT NEVER BE!” (Rom. 9:14.)

Why then has God turned most of humankind over to spiritual blindness and unbelief? Paul gives an answer: “For God has given them all over to unbelief in order that He might show mercy to all” (Rom. 11:32). Down through the ages the billions of people that God has deliberately blinded and given over to unbelief have died. How, then, is it possible for God to show them mercy and offer them salvation?”

Does God Contradict Himself? Within the space of a few verses, Paul seems to contradict Jesus’ statement that most have been blinded and given over to unbelief. He also seems to contradict his own account that only “a remnant will be saved.” He declares, “So all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26). And again, “[God] Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth…. He is long-suffering toward us, not desiring that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (I Tim 2:4; II Pet. 3:9).

How is God going to resolve these apparent discrepancies? In one place, He says that only a remnant will be saved. In another, He asserts that all Israel will be saved and that He desires for all to come to repentance and have salvation. Since God cannot lie, how is He going to accomplish this?

The answers are found in the meaning of the Last Great Day (John 7:37). The Last Great Day in the Old Testament is simply called “the eighth day … [a] holy convocation … a Sabbath”—following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:36, 39; II Chron. 7:8-10). It is the least mentioned (and consequently the least understood) of all the feasts and holy days of God. Yet, with God, that “which is least of all shall become great” (Luke 9:48; Matt. 13:32). More than any other holy day, this seemingly obscure “eighth day” has perhaps the greatest meaning for all of mankind.

As with the other fall festivals and holy days, the meaning of the Last Great Day could not be fully understood without Revelation 20. We saw earlier that Revelation 20 brings out the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles portrays the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Tabernacles pictures the unique, 1000-year period (often called the Millennium) which will offer universal salvation for all peoples and nations—with Christ as King and those of the first resurrection serving as kings and priests (Rev. 20:6).

At the beginning of the 1000-year period, Satan and his demons are to be locked into the abyss, a prison. At the conclusion of the Millennium, God’s final judgment is executed against Satan and his angels—casting them into the lake of fire and sentencing them to the blackness of darkness forever, never again to be free (Rev. 20:10; Matt. 25:41; Jude 12-13).

However, the plan of God is not yet finished. Revelation Twenty depicts another final age of universal salvation portrayed by the eighth day— the Last Great Day. In biblical numerology, the number eight signifies a “new beginning” or a “new order of things … and thus [eight] stands for the NEW in contrast to the old” (Vallowe, Biblical Mathematics, p. 85). The meaning of this “eighth day” reveals a fantastic, yet little realized or understood aspect of God’s magnificent plan of salvation for mankind. Indeed, it is a “new beginning” for the rest of the dead.

The Rest of the Dead Will Live Again—The Second Resurrection

It is by Jesus Christ that all will be resurrected back to life: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall ALL BE MADE ALIVE” (I Cor. 15:22). But each in his own order (verse 23). In addition to the first resurrection, Revelation 20:5 reveals that all the rest of the dead (who were not in the first resurrection) are also to live again: “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were completed….”

This verse answers what has been a mystery to mankind—the question of life after death. What John was inspired to write in Revelation 20 confirms Jesus’ declaration concerning the dead: “Truly, truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. For even as the Father has life in Himself, so also has He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and has also given Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of man. Do not wonder at this, for the hour is coming in which ALL WHO ARE IN THE GRAVES [meaning all who have died regardless of circumstances] shall hear His voice and shall come forth: those who have practiced good unto a resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil unto a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:25-29). In this passage, Jesus speaks of two separate resurrections, just as John describes in Revelation 20.

“The resurrection to life” is the first resurrection to eternal life as depicted by the firstfruit harvest of Pentecost. As immortal spirit beings, those of the first resurrection will not be subject to death: “Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power” (Rev. 20:6).

The Second Resurrection—to Judgment: Revelation 20 shows that the resurrection to judgment—which Jesus spoke of in John 5:29—occurs a thousand years after the first resurrection. Rightfully, it can be designated as the second resurrection. It is also referred to as “The Great White Throne Judgment” (Rev. 20:11-12). Those in this resurrection will not be raised as spirit beings, with eternal life. Rather, they will be raised to a second life in the flesh—subject to death. God separates those in this resurrection into two distinct classes:

1) From the creation of Adam and Eve to Christ’s return—all who God did not call during their first lifetime, because God deliberately bound them to a life of spiritual blindness and unbelief, they did not commit the unpardonable sin. In God’s gracious generosity, He resurrects them to a second life in the flesh to have their first opportunity for salvation. This includes all, whether young or old, who died untimely deaths as a result of war, disease, natural disasters, accidents, murder, suicide—as well as those who died as newborns, those stillborn and even those who suffered death by abortion.

2) All those who, in their first lifetime, rejected the salvation of God and blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. Having committed the unpardonable sin, they will be raised back to physical life for their final judgment, to be cast into the lake of fire and die the second death. (See Appendix L, “What Is the Unpardonable Sin?” p. 343.)

Forgivable and Unforgivable Sin: Jesus explained there are two categories of sin against God—forgivable and unforgivable. “I say to you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men except the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; that shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the coming age” (Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29).

The coming age Jesus spoke of is the period of the resurrection to judgment that occurs after the thousand years are complete (John 5:29; Rev. 20:5). Those who have committed forgivable sins will include all who God did not call and were given over to spiritual blindness and unbelief (Matt. 13:10-15; Mark 4:11-12). Paul writes that they were given over to unbelief in order that God might have mercy upon them in a coming age (Rom. 11:32). These will be resurrected in the first phase of the second resurrection and have an opportunity for repentance and salvation. Finally, those who committed unforgivable sins will be resurrected in the second phase of the second resurrection.

Jesus added that this general resurrection of “the rest of the dead” will include people from all nations who lived out their first lives at different times throughout history. In fact, those from different nations and times will be raised back to life at the same time as the unbelieving Jews (and others) of Christ’s generation. “The men of Nineveh [800 BC] shall stand up [be raised from the dead] in the judgment with this generation [the Jews of 28 AD] and shall condemn it, because they [those of Nineveh] repented at the proclamation of Jonah; and behold, a greater [one] than Jonah is here. The queen of the south [1000 BC] shall rise up [be raised from the dead] in the judgment with this generation [the Jews of 28 AD] and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater [one] than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:41-42). Clearly, Jesus is referring to the resurrection of judgment—“the coming age”—which is reserved for the rest of the dead as described in Revelation 20.

The Valley of Dry Bones—A Prophecy of the Second Resurrection: When Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, he maintained that during this present age only, “a remnant of Israel will be saved.” He further elaborated that “all Israel shall be saved”—although he did not fully understand when that would occur.

Centuries prior to Paul, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision of the time when all the dead of Israel would be resurrected to a second physical life to have their first opportunity for salvation. “The hand of the LORD was on me, and brought me by the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of a valley, and it was full of bones [these human bones showed that they once lived and had died]. And He made me walk among them all around. And behold, very many were in the open valley. And lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know.’

“Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live. And you shall know that I am the LORD.’ ” ’ So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a noise. And behold, a shaking! And the bones came together, a bone to its bone. And as I watched, behold the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above. But there was no breath in them.

“And He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain that they may live.’ ” ’ So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel [all the twelve tribes of Israel from all ages of time]. Behold, they say, “Our bones are dried and our hope is lost; we ourselves are completely cut off [for sins and transgressions]” ’ ” (Ezek. 37:1-11).

God instructed Ezekiel to continue prophesying: “Therefore prophesy and say unto them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves [a resurrection to a second life in the flesh], and will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD when I have opened your graves, O My people, and have brought you up out of your graves. And I shall put My Spirit [of repentance, redemption and conversion] in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. And you shall know that I the LORD have spoken it and have done it,” says the LORD’ ” (verses 12-14).

There can be no doubt that Ezekiel is graphically describing a resurrection to a second physical life, because the passage describes bones, sinew, flesh and breath—as well as referring to “graves” four times. These Scriptures emphasize the vital truth that the rest of house of Israel throughout history—which God had previously blinded because of unbelief— will be resurrected to a second life in the flesh to be given their first opportunity for salvation. It also confirms that in God’s first covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, He did not offer them the Holy Spirit, salvation or eternal life (Deut. 5:29). However, because God purposely blinded them, they did not commit the unpardonable sin in their first lifetime. Therefore, upon repentance, God will forgive their sins.

When they do repent, God will give them His Holy Spirit. They will have their hearts changed, become converted and have a chance to receive eternal life. Notice: “And I will sprinkle clean waters upon you, and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances and do them” (Ezek. 36:25-27).

In these two phrases of Ezekiel 37:13-14—“you shall know that I am the LORD” and “I will put My Spirit within you”—God is demonstrating that these raised to life will receive their first opportunity for salvation and eternal life.

Jesus’ statement about this resurrection to judgment—that “all who are in their graves” would hear His voice—is confirmed by Paul to also include Gentiles from all nations. “For as many as have sinned without law shall perish without law; and as many as have sinned within the law shall be judged by the law” (Rom. 2:12). He adds that the Gentiles “which do not have the law, [yet] practice by nature the things contained in the law … are a law unto themselves” (verse 14). Thus, they too will be “judged by the law.” When? Verse 16: “In a day [the second resurrection] when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” As with Israel, God has blinded all uncalled Gentiles and has chosen to not give them His Holy Spirit. Therefore, because they committed forgivable sins, God will likewise raise them back to a second physical life for an opportunity for salvation.

Why Resurrected to a Second Physical Life?

The billions of people who are raised back to physical life in the second resurrection will not have to contend with Satan the devil or his demonic angels. They will have already lived their first lives under the authority of the “god of this world.” Revelation 20:10 shows that before the second resurrection occurs, Satan and his demons will have been judged, sentenced, cast into the lake of fire and, finally, consigned to the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 13).

Since the second resurrection period is the final age of salvation, those of that time will not reproduce because the cycle of human birth and death must come to an end. As we will see, however, there will be an innumerable number of children of all ages who will be raised in this resurrection who will grow up to be adults and qualify for salvation.

Those in the second resurrection will have new bodies and minds, but they will still have memories of their first lives. As prophesied in Ezekiel 37:11, when the Israelites are raised to physical life again, they will exclaim, “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts”—showing they understand that their first lives led them into spiritual blindness, lust and sin. But why is God going to raise them back to life as physical human beings again? What is the purpose of living a second life in the flesh?

All Must Qualify for Salvation or Reject It While Living in the Flesh: Because God created mankind in His image and likeness from the dust of the earth, it is His purpose that all must qualify for salvation (or reject it) while living in the flesh. As we have seen, however, because of sin, God has blinded the majority of mankind and cut them off from salvation— so that, in the end, He might have mercy upon them all. Since God is love and desires to grant salvation to all through Jesus Christ, He has determined that all those who committed forgivable sins in their first lives will be raised back to a second physical life for their first and only opportunity for eternal life. Down through history, the vast majority of people who have lived and died are in this category. Undoubtedly, there will be billions and billions of people in the first phase of the second resurrection. John writes: “Then I saw a great white throne and the one Who was sitting on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead [the “rest of the dead” described in verse 5], small and great, standing before God…” (Rev. 20:11-12).

During the final years of the Millennium the whole world will be prepared for the billions of people to be raised in the second resurrection. Those billions will immediately require housing, clothing, food, water, etc. In preparation, the whole earth will be transformed into a Garden of Eden— a fantastic utopia—ready and waiting to receive them.

When those of the judgment period are raised back to life, they will repent of their sins and God will forgive them. “And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. And you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will call for the grain, and will increase it, and will lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruits of the tree and the increase of the field, so that you shall never again receive the curse of famine among the nations. And you shall remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations” (Ezek. 36:28-31).

With their sins forgiven, they will be begotten by God’s Holy Spirit—the earnest of their salvation. Although they will be converted, they will still have human nature and be subject to sin. However, upon true, heartfelt repentance they will be forgiven (as long as they commit forgivable sins), and—because they will be living under the grace of God—the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be a continual propitiation for their sins (Rom. 3:23-26; I John 1:7-10; 2:1-2). Furthermore, they will be given ample time to live in faith, hope, love and obedience to God the Father and Jesus Christ in order to qualify for eternal life.

How Long Will They Live? It takes time to overcome human nature, grow in spiritual knowledge, and develop faithful, godly character in order to qualify for eternal life. But how long will this take? How long will those in the judgment live? As we previously learned, people will live to be one hundred years old during the Millennium in order to prove whether they will faithfully live in love, devotion and obedience to God (Isa. 65:20). Based on this precedent, we can conclude that God will likewise grant those in the first phase of the second resurrection one hundred years in which to live their second life in the flesh. This will allow ample time to learn to love God the Father and Jesus Christ—to keep the laws and commandments of God, overcome human nature, build godly character and develop the deep abiding faith required for salvation—thereby qualifying for God’s gracious gift of eternal life.

The Resurrection of Children, Infants and the Spirit of Man: The second resurrection will also include countless children of all ages who had their lives cut short by war, murder, sacrifice to satanic gods, violence, torture, rape, famine, disaster, disease or accident. In His great love and tender mercy, God will raise them all to a second physical life in which they will be able to enjoy their lives to the full, receive the salvation of God and qualify for eternal life. These innocent babies and children—who in their first life were often unloved, rejected, considered inconvenient, or “legally” murdered—will become the loved, the accepted, the desired, and held and embraced in tender loving care.

What about babies that were aborted, miscarried, stillborn or died at birth—or newborn “throw-away” infants? The destruction of these innocent infants and the abortion of the unborn constitute one of the most heinous, fiendish works of Satan and his demons. What will God do for these most innocent ones? Are they lost forever? God the Father has promised that Jesus Christ will annul and completely undo all the works of Satan the devil (Heb. 2:14). Therefore, in His great love, tender mercy and forgiveness, God will raise them all back to a new physical life. Furthermore, He will give them back to their mothers and fathers in one of the most beautiful acts of redemption and reconciliation God could ever perform.

But, how will God raise the dead back to life? God is able to transform the dead back to physical life because, at conception, He gives to each person the “spirit of man”—which is also the spirit of life. This human spirit functions much like “spiritual DNA” in that it “records” everything that is unique about a person. In addition, this “spirit of man” is permanently locked in at conception, thus no man can destroy it.

This guarantees that from the instant of conception—the uniting of the father’s sperm with the egg of the mother—the newly begotten human life has within itself everything he or she will need to become a living person. The spirit of man gives life and enables the physical development of a new human being in the mother’s womb—directing the genes and chromosomes to form each boy or girl in a continuous process. Without this spirit of man there would be no life—or, as the apostle James writes, “[T]he body without the spirit is dead…” (Jas. 2:26).

When talking to Job, Elihu declared that he fully understood he was made by the spiritual power of God. “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). The prophet Zechariah tells us that God “forms the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1).

While David was praying and meditating on how God created him in his mother’s womb, he wrote, “For You have possessed my reins; You have knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Your works are marvelous and my soul knows it very well. My substance was not hidden from You when I was made in secret…. Your eyes did see my substance, yet being unformed; and in Your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them” (Psa. 139:13-16). The word “substance”—used by David to describe himself after he was conceived— is the identical word used today by so-called “modern science” to describe the initial mass of cells that begin developing immediately following conception.

More on the Spirit of Man: Since the spirit of man contains the complete master “genetic blueprint” of every individual from conception, the only difference between a newly conceived person and a full grown man or woman is development and growth. Consequently, when the aborted and stillborn are raised to life, they will probably be resurrected as full term babies and given to their mothers and fathers, who will then lovingly care for them. They will grow up, live their lives to the full, and have an opportunity to be converted and qualify for eternal life.

However, the spirit of man is not an immortal soul. Neither does it have consciousness outside of a human brain. In order for it to function, the spirit of man must be united with the human brain. When a person dies, the thought process stops (Psa. 146:4), the spirit of man returns to God, and the body returns to dust. “Then [at death] the dust [from which man is made] shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). When Jesus died on the cross, His last words were, “Father into your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46; Matt. 27:50; John 19:30). (See Appendix K, “What Happens to the Dead?” p. 335.) The apostle Paul writes that after death the “spirit of man” is stored with God in heaven until the time of the resurrection (Heb. 12:23).

Through conversion, this human spirit is perfected by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit during the Christian’s physical lifetime. For the dead who qualify for salvation in this age, God will use the perfected “spirit of man” to transform each resurrected saint into a glorious, spiritual, immortal body and mind, through the power of His Holy Spirit. (See Rom. 8:14-17; Phil. 3:20-21; I John 3:1-2.)

Likewise, Ezekiel 37 describes the second resurrection in which the entire house of Israel will be raised to a second physical life. Each will at that time be given a new physical body and a new mind reconstructed from the dust of the earth according to their unique “human spirit.”

What Kind of Judgment Will They Receive? Before this question can be answered, we need to emphasize that today, during this age, true Christians are being judged by God according to their spiritual works only after they have repented of their sins, been baptized and received the Holy Spirit. Such are saved by the grace of God through faith: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).

Consequently, once a person has been converted, they are to conduct their lives by walking in the good works of God—His laws and commandments. Through daily prayer and study, they are to spend the rest of their lives growing in grace and knowledge, and overcoming human nature and sin by the power of God’s Holy Spirit in them. This is how a Christian develops godly character (II Pet. 1:3-11), loves God with all his or her heart, mind and strength, and qualifies for eternal life through the grace of God.

Although true Christians live in the love of God and stand in His grace, God judges them according to their spiritual works of faith, hope and love. The apostle Peter writes that this judgment for eternal life is now on the people of God: “For the time has come for judgment [for eternal life] to begin with the household of God…” (I Pet. 4:17). Jesus also said, “The one who endures to the end, that one will be saved” (Matt. 24:13). In Jesus’ messages to the seven churches, He repeatedly declares that everyone who is called to the first resurrection is being judged according to their works. Where their works are deficient or sinful, He calls them to repentance (Rev. 2-3).

Since God is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11), those in the second resurrection will receive the same opportunity for salvation and eternal life. Christians in this age are continuously under God’s judgment from the time of their conversion until they die in the faith. Likewise, God’s judgment for eternal life of those of the second resurrection will not begin until they too repent of their sins, are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. They will then have to grow in grace and knowledge, develop godly character and be faithful for one hundred years—the end of their second life in the flesh.

Although eternal life is the gracious gift of God, each will be judged according to the spiritual works of his or her second physical life, not the sinful works of their first life. As John writes, “[T]he books [the books of the Word of God] were opened [to their understanding]; and another book was opened, which is the book of life [an opportunity for salvation]. And the dead were judged [after their resurrection] out of the things written in the books [the Word of God], according to their works [in their second physical lives]. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and the grave gave up the dead that were in them; and they were judged individually, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12-13).

At the end of the one-hundred-year period, all that have qualified for eternal life will be instantaneously changed from flesh to spirit. They will enter the spiritual Kingdom of God as part of God’s extended family— which by then will have expanded greatly, becoming “the nations which are saved” (Rev. 21-22). Jesus proclaims, “Blessed are those who keep His commandments, that they may have the right to eat of the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city [New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 22:14).

The Second Phase of the Second Resurrection and the Lake of Fire: While the vast majority of those in the first phase of the second resurrection will attain eternal life, there will be some who will refuse God’s gracious gift of immortality. In so doing, they will have committed the unforgivable sin—blasphemy against the Holy Spirit of God the Father. At the end of the one hundred years, these will remain alive in the flesh for a while longer—until the rest of the dead who had previously committed the unpardonable sin will be resurrected. This second phase of the second resurrection will include all who had committed the unpardonable sin from Adam’s time to the return of Jesus Christ and during the Millennium. They will be raised briefly to life in the flesh in order to receive their final judgment with all of the other incorrigibly wicked. (See Appendix L, “What Is the Unpardonable Sin?p. 343.)

Jesus sternly warned those who had received the Holy Spirit that if they did not have the godly, righteous works of love and obedience required for salvation, they would not receive eternal life. He warned that if anyone rejected God’s salvation and blasphemed against the Holy Spirit of God, they would be rejected, accursed and cast into the lake of fire—the same fate that awaits Satan and his demons. “Then shall He also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’ ” (Matt. 25:41).

All those who have committed the unforgivable sin will not have their names written in the book of life—and will be cast into the lake of fire to die the second death. “And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). Verse 14: “And death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” And again, “But the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death… And nothing that defiles shall ever enter into it [the New Jerusalem], nor shall anyone who practices an abomination or devises a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:8, 27).

After the incorrigibly wicked are cast into the lake of fire, the fire will then expand to encompass the whole earth and its atmosphere. The apostle Peter writes: “However, the day of the Lord [for those who face the second death] shall come as a thief in the night in which heaven itself shall disappear with a mighty roar, and the elements shall pass away, burning with intense heat, and the earth and the works in it shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10). At that time, Peter adds, “the heavens, being on fire, shall be destroyed, and the elements, burning with intense heat, shall melt” (verse 12). Thus, the wicked will be consumed in the lake of fire.

The New Heaven and New Earth—
The Final Fulfillment of the Last Great Day

Peter also writes that the earth and its atmosphere are to be burned up in preparation for a new heaven and a new earth: “But according to His promise, we look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (II Pet. 3:13).

Jesus Christ gave the apostle John a vision of the new heaven and new earth: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from heaven say, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men; and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people; and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying; neither shall there be any more pain, because the former things have passed away.’ And He Who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Then He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts, I will give freely of the fountain of the water of life. The one who overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son’ ” (Rev. 21:1-7).

The climactic fulfillment of the Last Great Day is the ushering in of the new heaven and earth. Thus, the “eighth day” (as the number eight signifies) is a “new beginning” in the plan of God—an open door to eternity. God then brings the New Jerusalem to the earth—to be the home of God the Father and Jesus Christ, His bride and all the saints in the first resurrection. This is the place Jesus told His disciples He would prepare for them (John 14:2).

Notice its glorious description: “And one of the seven angels that had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, and I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem [which is not the bride, but where the bride will dwell], descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. And her radiance was like a most precious stone, as crystal-clear as jasper stone. And the city also had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and inscribed on the gates were the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east were three gates; on the north were three gates; on the south were three gates; on the west were three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and written on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

“And the one who was speaking with me had a golden measuring rod, so that he might measure the city, and its gates and its wall. And the city lies foursquare, for its length is as long as its breadth. And he measured the city with the rod, twelve thousand furlongs; the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits; the angel’s measure was according to a man’s. And the structure of its wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like pure glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each of the gates respectively was a single pearl; and the street of the city was pure gold, as transparent as glass” (Rev. 21:9-21).

New Jerusalem will also be the ultimate fulfillment of the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles. God the Father and Jesus Christ will personally dwell with their spiritual family and, from this time on, there will be no temple: “And I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city has no need of the sun, or of the moon, that they should shine in it; because the glory of God enlightens it, and the light of it is the Lamb. And the nations that are saved shall walk in its light; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. And its gates shall never be shut by day; for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it” (Rev. 21:22-26).

New Jerusalem will become the capital city and center of the universe. It will always be filled with righteousness and the Holy Spirit of God, as John’s final vision reveals: “Then he showed me a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the middle of the street, and on this side and that side of the river, was the tree of life, producing twelve manner of fruits, each month yielding its fruit; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face; and His name is in their foreheads.

“And there shall be no night there; for they have no need of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God enlightens them; and they shall reign into the ages of eternity. And he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things that must shortly come to pass. Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book’ ” (Rev. 22:1-7).

God the Father and Jesus Christ plan to share the never-ending vastness of the universe with the immortal, spirit Family of God—in fulfillment of God’s purpose for the majestic heavens He created (Rom. 8:17-18; Heb. 1:2-3). Indeed, the Last Great Day pictures a new beginning—an open door to eternity! AMEN