In the last post, “Ebola Virus Vs Christ’s Millennium“, I stated that God will not necessarily lift every consequence for every human action during the Millennium, and in fact that nations that do not come up to the Feast of Tabernacles will learn the hard way through no rain and perhaps other “plagues”, whatever they may be. So too, we should reconsider the overall meaning of this day in light of the fact that human beings will still have to overcome carnal human nature and thus will sin to one degree or the other during the Millennium.
First of all, though, in order to understand resurrections, we must understand death. Without death, there are no resurrections. Furthermore, let us not start with the exceptions and create a rule from them, for that is foolishness. It seems that this society trains us to go in the opposite direction, which goes down a rabbit hole every time.
For example, it was a rule in ancient societies that the firstborn son received a double portion of the inheritance. In exchange, the firstborn son was supposed to care for his parents in their old age and arrange for their burials when the time came. However, what if there were no sons whatsoever? Who did the inheritance go to?
This was the very question that came before Moses and before God when the land was allotted to the Children of Israel (Nu 27:1-11). There was a rule already in place, but provision had to be made when the rule could not be properly carried out.
I still shake my head when I think of a conversation, if you can call it that, a couple of years ago when I mentioned something about sex changes and who has to pay for it. I was quite rudely interrupted before I could even mention the name “Chelsea” Manning, who wanted the Army to pay for its sex change operation. The other person was actually arguing it was “wrong” to force a baby to have “the wrong sex”. I asked, “What are you talking about?” Turns out, she immediately went into a weird direction and was arguing about a condition that only applies to perhaps 0.0666667% of all births and trying to make a rule from it! Talk about off into the weeds!
And yet, who has not watched a political debate and not felt the same feeling? How many religious leaders pontificate upon exceptions and sometimes completely ignore the rules? Some even say the rules have been done away!
That is why first God set down the Ten Commandments. In one sense, they are very specific, yet they are easily broadened in any number of ways. Stealing, for example, is extrapolated to fraud. Bearing false witness should be the rule of the day, whether or not in a courtroom. Start with the broad, the general rule, and extrapolate out.
Likewise, exceptions for conditions that are not the norm were made. Killing is wrong, and most reasonable people would agree to that, but exceptions for war and for punishment of major crimes had to be made later.
Philosophically and theologically as well, we must look at the general rule and realize that the exceptions are just that: exceptions. One exception does not necessarily extrapolate to other exceptions, or at least they do not without a good cause.
Death Since Adam
Can anyone argue that every human being since Adam has died, except perhaps for the one odd story of Enoch?
24 Enoch walked with God; one day Enoch could not be found, because God took him.
I really don’t think anyone completely understands what this means. Some translations say “he disappeared”, “he was not there”, and I cannot find it right now, but I recall once there was a version that said Enoch was “translated”.
Now, did he die? Well, Hebrews 11:5 says no! There are many who would say he went to Heaven, but we all know the Bible speaks against such teaching, which again means that we must first look at the rule and not the exception:
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
~ Jn 3:13
“No man” is pretty all-inclusive and would mean Enoch as well! While it would have been difficult for people prior to the 20th century to have conceived of any other explanation than God taking Enoch to Heaven, perhaps what it really should point out is how fallible and incomplete our knowledge really is. It should humble us.
And, if God were to transport him forward in time to the first resurrection, who would we be to argue, anyhow? However, it pays to be mindful that that is just one possible explanation, and it is based only on the fact that the wording seems to indicate he did not die. However, there is a difference in saying in that he did not “see” death and actually saying he did not die. Lastly, even if he were transported forward in time, he is not right now alive, and therefore even then fits the definition of death — the absence of life.
You know what, though? Every other human being, including Jesus and all the Apostles, died since Adam. That is a fact. That is the rule. Enoch is the one possible exception. We must be careful basing our theology upon the exception, but unfortunately I believe that some in the Churches of God do just that.
The First Resurrection
We should all be familiar with what happens at the last trumpet, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Nothing earth shattering here. We faithful should be hearing this at least once a year (and hopefully more often).
So, let me ask: Is this the rule or the exception? Hopefully, the answer is clear. Those in the first resurrection will be few and far between. They are already the exception. However, those alive and caught up in the new birth will be fewer still. They will be the exception of the exception.
So, let’s remind ourselves of the rule:
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
~ Heb 9:27
This is the rule. Hopefully, we all know this. This is, after all, basic theology that even Protestants acknowledge.
So, here’s the question: Will people die during the Millennium?
Death During the Millennium
In many ways, the Millennium will be a restoration of things. However, will the Millennium be the end of all things? Hopefully, the future pictured by the eighth day, aka “Last Great Day”, points to the future beyond the Millennium. The Millennium will still be physical in many respects, even though the availability of the Tree of Life will be opened up to all.
21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.
41 Four tables were on this side, and four tables on that side, by the side of the gate; eight tables, whereupon they slew their sacrifices.
42 And the four tables were of hewn stone for the burnt offering, of a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, and one cubit high: whereupon also they laid the instruments wherewith they slew the burnt offering and the sacrifice.
Death during the Millennium will not be unknown, for there will once again be physical sacrifices in the physical temple at Jerusalem.
Is there anywhere that says people will not die during the Millennium? What about the fires of Gehenna? Will it be only for implements of war, or will it be there as a warning to those who would commit egregious acts such as murder?
Having said that, death will eventually become more rare as time proceeds. Why? Look at the lifespans of those prior to the Flood and consider:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
~ Ge 2:17
In what “day” did Adam die?
5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
~ Ge 5:5
Adam lived 930 years, just under 1,000 years.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
~ 2Pe 3:8
The earth will be restored, but it will not occur overnight. However, by the 2nd or 3rd generation, it might not be unusual at all for people to live hundreds of years. The Millennium will start out polluted, dirty and full of chaos, but it will be reshaped and reformed over time even as the heart of mankind becomes reshaped and reformed.
Still, will there be death? I say there will be. People will be reminded they are frail and fragile when you consider the bigger aspects of the universe. Just as the green leaves of the booths and decorations of the sukkah become brown and die, so will human beings still die.
And, isn’t that important? After all, Jesus came to conquer death by dying Himself. We must have a faith that survives even beyond death. Five virgins in the Parable of the Ten Virgins were wise, while five were foolish, and yet they all slept. Sleeping is symbolic of death. You and I must develop a faith that survives even death itself.
So, we come to the end of the Millennium, and there is a final war that Satan stages against Jerusalem. Those that follow Satan will surely die in the fire that comes down from Heaven.
Then, we come to the second resurrection, don’t we?
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
The cycle of the holy days, and how they lay upon one another symbolizing different things but with the same themes over time, it should be evident that mankind has to experience similar things in order to learn the same lessons. I believe that, for the most part except for special exceptions that have already been called out, that includes the experience of death itself. It includes having faith even through the ultimate enemy of human kind.
We concentrate a lot upon the dead who were never called, but what of those during the Millennium? There is no reason they could not be raised simultaneously or as one portion of the second resurrection, as they have already been judged! The death and resurrection of those raised in the Millennium will enable them to better counsel physical, mortal beings who have lived and died.
For, if we in the first resurrection will become guides, teachers and leaders, then isn’t our real job in the Millennium to teach the same?
Beyond the Second Resurrection
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
~ vv 13-15
HWA taught that this was a third resurrection. We should be mindful that the exact phrases “second resurrection” and “third resurrection” are not in the Bible, but it should be quite evident that since there is a “first resurrection” there will be at least one more. The connecting “and” in v13 indicates most likely this is a different event. In fact, if people will live and learn under Christ for 100 additional years (which is somewhat speculative, but it seems to fit), then the act of death itself dying must be a different event.
Sorry about having to go into details which in reality should be self-evident, but there are those who have nothing better to do than to twist the words of HWA and the Bible alike. In fact, if they are not afraid to twist Scripture, then it follows they would not be afraid of twisting HWA’s words either.
HWA did not teach that a person is resurrected, dies and is resurrected again for the third resurrection. You simply cannot find such a teaching from him. In fact, people will live out their lives after the second resurrection, and if not converted into the thrid. Even as there will be a remnant left alive for the first resurrection, there may well be a remnant that lives into the third resurrection.
The difference is that the third resurrection is purely a resurrection to physical life of those who had previously died and had rejected Christ completely and in full knowledge. It will be a resurrection to judgment being carried out. Obviously, which makes the statements of some so ludicrous, anyone who is already alive and left as a physical human being will not need to be resurrected.
This time, Gehenna fire will not be contained. Anything that is not spirit will be burned up. The earth itself will be purified for the New Jerusalem.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Prophecy usually focuses upon one of Christ’s comings. The amount of prophecy rises to a peak, timewise, at Christ’s first coming and then again at His second coming. In between are valleys where we are not given a whole lot of information.
The importance of the times these holy days point to is not in sifting and arguing over vague details, but it is all about the hope in the promise of the surety of God’s word and promises. We look through a glass dimly (1Co 13:12), but we still see!