Goodnews Christian Ministry
"Sound the trumpet in Zion, give the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the country tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming, yes, it is near." ---Joel 2:1
"He has his rising on the edge of heaven, the end of its course its furthest edge,
and nothing can escape his heat."
The flood constitutes a great dividing line in the creation. Not only does it separate Eden from Babylon, it marks the deepest part of the separation between man and God because it defines intense world-wide rebellion followed by divine Judgment.
While God was destroying Eden in the waters of the flood, He directed the angels who were loyal to Him to make war on Satan and on the wicked angels who had sided with Lucifer in his rebellion.
Led by Michael the Archangel, God's holy army successfully defeated the rebels and drove them out of the vault of heaven -- throwing them down to this world. "And now war broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. the dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven." (Rev.12:7-9).
Jesus told us that he watched this event happen. "I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Lk.10:17).
Accompanying Satan in his fateful fall from the vault of heaven down to the earth were all the angels he had misled (Rv.12:4). These are the dominions and powers of the underworld who promote and foment all the social chaos we see today on earth.
No longer a force in heaven, they concentrate their mayhem on the people of this planet, encouraging jealousy, rage, murder, greed, corruption, sexual perversion, lying, stealing and every other manner of evil seen on earth.
From the moment that the war in heaven took place, all things changed. Everything that happened afterward relates to the judgment of sin and to the destruction of Satan (and all of his works) by the forces of God.
With the flood of Eden, God's judgment had begun. The first creation was destroyed and Satan and his forces were banished forever from heaven.
Because he had stood firm when the Revolt first occurred, and then later led God's forces in Satan's defeat, Michael was chosen by God to take Satan's station. We can see an allegorical reference to this in the Book of Esther: "The king, who had recovered his signet ring from Haman, took it off and gave it to Mordecai, while Esther gave Mordecai charge of Haman's house." (Esther 8:2).
With this appointment, Michael became the guardian angel of God's people. Confirming this, Jesus, when he appeared to Daniel in a vision, told him, "In all this there is no one to lend me support except Michael your prince, on whom I rely to give me support and reinforce me." (Dn.10:21-11:1).
Imprisonment and then Rescue
The flood shows the intensity of God's judgment once He decides to act. What ensued in the wake of the flood was a period of '40 days' called by scripture, the time of 'mist and darkness'. (Ez.34:12). It was a black chaos in which all life had been extinguished except for that which existed on the ark, and so it represented God's temporary abandonment of the world.
"God is going to abandon them till the time when she who is to give birth, gives birth. Then the remnant of his brothers will come back to the sons of Israel". (Micah 5:2-3).
God had rolled the heavens of Eden up like a scroll (Is.34:4). All that was left of that world was water -- the water of the lower sea. Darkness covered the earth, and the land was no more.
In the aftermath of that disaster, Eden disappeared forever. Where it once had stood only chaos remained -- a time of mist and darkness. Riding atop the choppy seas of this darkness were eight people of faith and a tiny ark which carried the entire seed of the creation.
The shroud which covered the land was an infinite darkness because God had withdrawn His presence. "Yes; I am going to return to my dwelling place until they confess their guilt and seek my face; they will search for me in misery." (Hosea 5:15).
For forty days and forty nights creation was ruled by Satan, the monster of the nether ocean; and the people of God lay captive in his wicked grasp. Imprisoned in chaos, they floated along in darkness on the surface of the waters of the lower sea.
Then suddenly, in Eden's place appeared Babylon, the new world which God created out of Eden's wreckage -- a world populated not by Adam and Eve's children, but by the sons of Noah. (Gen.9:18-19).
It was a world made by Jesus soley for the rescue which He had been commissioned by God to effect: "I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness." (Ez.34:12).
It was only to seek and find His lost children that God allowed Babylon to come into existance.
Despite its miraculous rebirth, this world is not destined to last either. According to the Apostle Peter, the earth is going to be destroyed (2 Peter 3:5-10; 1 John 15-17) and for the very same reason that Eden was destroyed. Babylon is just a temporary replacement of Eden -- made only for our rescue by Jesus. It has no other meaning.
The People of the Past
There is a fundamental difference between the people who died before the flood and those who came afterward, and for this reason, Peter tells us that Jesus had to preach twice. He said that Jesus went down to preach to the dead after he was crucified (1 Peter 3:18-20).
The prophet Jonah alludes to Jesus' post-crucifixion decent into Sheol (Jonah 2:3-7). The Apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy spirit reveals that Jesus, after His crucifixion, had gone down into the countries underneath the earth, to the peoples of the past. The text of Jonah's verse 3:6-7 is vague in the Greek and has been interpreted by some writers in almost those exact words. There is no question that the Apostle Peter saw Jonah's prophecy that way.
When Jesus did this, he did not go to the people who had died on earth before he was born, he went instead to those who had died before the flood took place. (1 Peter 3:18-20). This means that everyone who was born on earth after the flood occurred (even though they came and went thousands of years before Jesus appeared) God was able to rescue from our own scriptures.
How He was able to do this is a mystery, but Jesus confirmed it when he said, "On judgment day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here." (Mt.12:41).
But those who lived in Eden had to be preached to another way. They had no faith and went right on sinning up until the moment their world was destroyed. That is why Jesus had to go to them in spirit after he was crucified.
"In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that ark which saved only a small group of eight people 'by water'...that these spirits refused to believe." (1 Peter 3:20).
The dividing line that separated those souls from ours was a boundary of both faith and flood. Everyone born in Babylon is descended from Noah, and therefore has come to life in the seed of faith.
The people of Eden were just the opposite. Since they had no faith, God had no power to raise them up to see Christ the way He was able to do with us. Their souls could not be raised to life in this world because of their lack of faith, and for the same reason there is little likelihood that any of them listened to Jesus when his spirit preached to them in their captivity either.
Jesus As the Flash of Light that Began Creation
The universe was created in a blast of light the scientists call 'the Big Bang'. In this event, light fractured an immense darkness and began an explosive race to its farthest edge.
Following the instructions of Jesus, the Holy Spirit has created this world in such a way that its elements and events mirror divine reality. Therefore we are able to see in nature the reflections of the hidden truths of God.
They are not the same, but they often look the same. This is why we can see an image of the glorified Son in the burning brilliance of the sun above us. God created it this way on purpose -- a creation reflecting in metaphor a vast reservoir of images all pointing to the sacred spiritual reality on which the creation was based.
That is why it is possible to see in the birth of our physical universe images of the return of God to a world He had abandoned to the flood. Because God's time lines are so different from ours, it is conceivable, in the immense scope of the creation, that Adam and Eve and the world of Eden represent people and events that existed on the other side of the Big Bang.
Perhaps that is why this great primordial explosion at the dawn of time (bringing light into impenetrable darkness) represents such a compelling image of Jesus returning into the darkened lower waters to rescue the people of God trapped in it by Satan.
Science will never be able to prove such things, but the second letter of Peter alludes to a biblical universe that stretches far beyond the finite strictures most theologians and scholars now accept. Peter said that there were heavens at the beginning formed by the word of God, and that these were destroyed and replaced 'by our present sky and earth'. And these, too, he said, would be destroyed by sin. (2 Peter 3:5-7).
Are their stars and planets older than the Big Bang? The supposition seems untenable. But the conditions of our universe -- formed, as science shows us it was, in the equation of Adam's primordial sin -- i.e, after the apostasy of the Garden of Eden had brought death into it; coupled with Peter's enigmatic declaration above, forces us to the doorstep of the possibility at least that God's universe exists on both sides of that great fireball.
As we will see later, God has created a world in which there is great replication -- a world in which everything seems to be repeated over and over again all the way back to the beginning.
There can be no question that history's first fiery explosion vanquished intense darkness in a blast of light and triumph. The images that scripture's prophecies evoke is that of a Satan running at top speed across a universe that he himself made dark, being pursued by the light of God which is chasing and overtaking him from one end of it to the other. "He has his rising on the edge of heaven, the end of his course its furthest edge, and nothing can escape his heat." (Ps.19:6).
This same image seems to have repeated itself in the birth of the sky above us. And it continues, because we can see the physical image of Satan's darkness when we look into the sky at night. It is only then, when the sun's light is blocked that we see the real nature of the universe we inhabit. (Is.50:3).
It is infinite darkness -- dressed all in sackcloth -- but made luminous by billions of stars scattering all through it from one massive and single event at the sunrise of history when God commanded it into being, by saying: "Let there be light." (Gn.1:3). "See how he spreads out his light, covering the roots of the sea." Job.36:30.
Since God is light, and the universe we see just the opposite, we are able to see in the night sky the extent of the contamination of this world by Satan. Death, the result of Satan's apostasy, reaches as far into the cosmos as humans can probe -- to the very ends of the universe.
The stars and galaxies all die. Even the universe, Steven Hawkings acknowledged, must one day succumb to death. This is very significant. It means that everything in this universe was created under the sentence imposed on it by Satan's apostasy. Therefore it must have all come into being afterward.
Creation to God is forever. "Death was not God's doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. To be, for this he created all." (Ws.1:13-14). Thus Adam and Eve and their world must have been earlier.
This universe came into being after the spiritual Flood. It was created by Jesus when He returned into the void of mist and darkness which the flood had created in God's absence. If this is true, the real dimension of the lower sea is quite vast and much larger than most of us appreciate. Yet it is all destined for annhilation because of sin.
The primordial light, then, can be viewed as a symbolic image of the sudden appearance of Jesus as he made His way from the Vault of God's heaven and returned to the shattered and darkened world of Satan to rescue us from the bondage of our chains -- bringing us out of the contaminated waters of the lower sea. "My salvation shall come like the light, my arm shall judge the peoples." (Is.51:5).
Parting the waters of chaos, God brought order into the disorder, forming a road for the redeemed to walk along so that they could follow Jesus out of the lower Sea to the glory of his holy kingdom. "The Lord has promised. I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the bottom of the sea..." (Ps.68:22).
The Woman in the Bushel
Despite the fact that it was born in faith, Babylon is a wicked world. That is why God has raised it up in a place so far removed from His own kingdom -- bringing it to life on a remote island in the depths of the lower sea -- an island whirling around in the wilderness of space --- simply for the purpose of judgment.
As a signal of this fact, the angel of God showed the prophet Zechariah a bushel with a Woman sitting inside of it. The angel told him that this woman was wickedness, and that the bushel she was imprisoned within was being taken to the land of Babylon -- to Shinar -- where a temple was to be built for it, together with a pedestal on which to place it.
Our own world is Babylon, so we are the destination this bushel was headed for. "I saw a bushel moving forward and asked, 'What is it?' The angel answered, 'this is their iniquity throughout the country.' At this, a disc of lead was raised, and I saw a Woman sitting inside the bushel. The angel said, 'This is Wickedness'. And he forced her back into the bushel and closed its mouth with the mass of lead." (Zech.5:5-11).
The Woman inside the bushel (Wickedness) is the famous prostitute of the Book of Revelation. "On her forehead was written a cryptic name: 'Babylon the Great, the mother of all the prostitutes and all the filthy practices on the earth'." (Rev.17:5).
The relationship between these two prophecies shows that Babylon (this secular and pagan world) is the wickedness that God has allowed to be built (under His control) in a dim outpost far removed from His own kingdom. Our civilization is the pedestal on which satan's temple to wickedness was allowed to be reconstructed out of the wreckage of Eden.
Imprisoned by God and His angels, wickedness and everything that it infected were carried away by the power of God to this designated and isolated spot to be raised up for judgment.
An Offer of Reconciliation
But first, because of the love of God, just ahead of that judgment came an offer of mercy. It was into this hostile world erected far out in space that Jesus -- God's righteousness -- suddenly appeared.
"When peaceful silence lay over all, and night had run the half of her swift course, down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word; into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt. Carrying your commands like a sharp sword, he stood, and filled the universe with death; he touched the sky, yet trod the earth." (Wis.18:14-16).
Even though he had been prophesied in advance, Jesus came in a sudden and unexpected appearance and changed everything. "With his power he calmed the Sea, with his wisdom struck Rahab down, His breath made the heavens luminous, his hand transfixed the Fleeing Serpent." (Job 26:12-13).
These prophecies point to the world dominion of Satan being suddenly and terminally interrupted by the coming of the word of God. This is why Jesus told the Pharisees, "But if it is through the Spirit of God that I cast devils out, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you." (Mt. 12:28).
Jesus was showing the world that the spiritual darkness of the 'Fleeing Satan' had been overtaken and transfixed by the overwhelming speed and substance of the light of God -- a conquest foretold in our own sky in the explosion of light which 'made the heavens luminous' at the beginning of time.
Jesus, who was with the Father from the beginning, created it all -- symbol and reality -- everything that we can see was created by Jesus for the sake of our salvation. "He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him." (Jn.1:1-5).
Whatever the actual circumstances, God has made the creation point to the fact that He has constructed Babylon out of the wreckage of Eden, starting this time, from a base of faith.
Noah and his seven passengers of faith were the only people from the civilization of Eden allowed to board the ark. So the new world that they started began in the seed of faith.
But along with the seed faith of Noah appeared others as well. An angel came to God in one of Jesus' parables and said, "'I thought you planted only good seed here, where do the bad ones come from?' and God answered, 'Some enemy has done this. Let them both grow up together and when they are mature we will select between them and keep the good, but throw the others in the fire.'" (Mt.13:24-30).
Like pharaoh and his army following the Israelites into the Red Sea, a people of Satan has followed God's creation into the divided lower waters. "The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horemen of Pharaoh's whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left." (Ex.14:28).
So the world that we see -- the Babylon that surrounds us -- is a divided creation where good and bad coexist -- where there is faith and non-faith and the two live together side by side. Jesus was sent by God to separate the two. And to prepare the world for the last judgment which would represent God's final condemnation of Satan and the end of the war that he had started against God. "I will punish Bel in Babylon..."
Satan intended this world to be a gallows for God's people, but God has reversed Satan's plan and turned it into a gallows for wickedness instead. God's judgment will bring an end to death once and for all, and return the kind of perfection to creation that God had established in the beginning.
"I seemed to hear the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, 'Alleluia! Victory and glory and power to our God! He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication; he has avenged his servants that she killed'." (Rv.19:1-2).
This world -- the entire lower waters which lay below the vault -- is destined to be plunged into an everlasting fire -- a fire described by John in his vision as a 'burning lake of sulphur'.
This is why we all must leave Babylon. God is committing it to the flames. "...earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace...The first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea." (Rv.20:11, 21:1).
The new creation destined to replace it will be formed in the upper waters -- in the third heaven -- the heaven that Jesus came to lead us into. In that new creation, Jesus will be King because he rescued us from Satan's grasp and set us free from the sentence that condemned us to death, allowing those of us who believe in him to live forever.
The third heaven has not yet been opened. This heaven is the bride of Christ and cannot be entered until the day of the wedding. Therefore all of us who are chosen will enter together at the same moment.
The day that this third heaven opens is not the day each of us dies, but is a day that will immediately follow the judgment. That is why all who have already died in Christ are being kept in a safe place underneath God's altar -- awaiting the day of the bride -- a day still to come. (Rv.6:11).
For those who have put their trust in Jesus, rescue is assured. "I rescue all who cling to me. I protect whoever knows my name." (Ps.91:14). "Write this: ...I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty; it is the rightful inheritance of the one who proves victorious; and I will be his God and he a son to me. But the legacy for cowards...is the second death." (Rv.21:6-8).
Jesus Christ, therefore, is a narrow door that God has opened for us just before the End to allow those who want to, to escape the punishment that is coming -- the fiery wrath destined for Satan and all his angels when the waters of the lower sea come crashing back together one final time.
The Key to Our Rescue is Faith
God can only rescue us through faith. The same choices given to the angels are given to us. Armed with a full knowledge of both ways, we are free to choose for ourselves which to follow. God has given us all the chance to be a Michael or a Satan.
How little faith we really have can be seen in how we approach this wicked world. Even while we claim Christ, many of us worry far more about the cares and tribulations of this world, plotting whatever course it takes for us to succeed in the kingdom of Satan. So we ride the fence because that seems smart.
We have the world talking to us on one side about living wisely according to the smartest ways of Babylon. On the other side is Jesus and his Gospel. And it is only because of the weakness of our faith that we have a problem between the two.
That is because the world goes on as it has since the beginning and nothing has changed. "Well where is this coming?" they ask. (2 Peter 3:4).
"They are choosing to forget that there were heavens at the beginning, and that the earth was formed by the word of God out of water and between the waters, so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded by water. But by the same word, the present sky and earth are destined for fire, and are only being reserved until Judgement day so that all sinners may be destroyed." (2 Peter 3:5-7).
God maintains control over our ultimate fate. We can see this in the conditions under which God allowed Satan to tempt Job: "Very well, God said to Satan 'he is in your power. But spare his life." (Job.2:6). While this seems to imply that God has trusted Satan to obey Him as far as our physical lives are concerned, it actually represents a mandate from God that concerns our soul -- a mandate Satan has no power to undo.
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Mt.10:28). Satan has no power, independent of God, to take away the life of our soul or our body. It is God who makes the ultimate decision that determines our fate.
That is what the Day of Judgment is all about. That Satan's temptation of Job and his temptation of us are related is clear in Jesus' words: "Simon, Simon! Satan, you must know, has got his wish to sift you all like wheat; but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail, and once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers." (Lk.22:31-32).
Physical death is not death as far as God is concerned. Jesus said that God intends to bring us all back to life because we must come and stand before Him at the Day of the Trial. "Do not be surprised at this, for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves at the sound of his voice: those who did good will rise again to life; and those who did evil, to condemnation." (Jn.5:28-29).
Forest Lawn, then, is an image of the mouth of the dragon. When it swallows us up in death Satan seems to have won his war. But the promise of Jesus is that through faith, God's power over the grave is absolute.
When God called us into this world to live for a time in the flesh, He raised us up out of a dungeon -- a dungeon scripture calls the belly of the dragon -- a pit we can see reflected in the graves we must return to at the end of our lives .
And it is from this same belly that we will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. "I will punish Bel in Babylon and take from his mouth what he has swallowed." (Jer.51:44). On that day those who pursue evil will follow the dragon into the lake of fire, but the people who chose in faith to follow Jesus will escape with their lives.
Jesus promised that they will never die.
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