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Monday: The “Why” Questions — 32 Comments

  1. I can read about it, study it, and discuss it with others, but The Millenium is hard for me to grasp, especially the part about the saints, along with Jesus, judging the wicked and meting out the portion of suffering they receive. I can understand it logically, but in my heart, I can't quite grasp it. What if one of the wicked is a loved one? By faith, I can believe that this will all make sense and we will clearly see the "why", but when that time comes, I can't imagine not being heartbroken. Maybe that is why it is AFTER the 1000 years that "God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes"? (Rev. 21:4)

    The good news about this is reflected in something the author said in today's lesson: "...We will see the countless times that God's still small voice beckon(s) the lost with words of kindness and love. How patiently He persist(s)... Silently He wait(s), longing for an opportunity to be recognized as the One who paid and infinite price so they c(an) have life..." (I changed the tense to present.) We who know Christ, know that Voice. I can imagine that Voice beckoning my mother and persisting with my brother. I know how willing God is to patiently wait; I held Him off for 52 years before I relented. In retrospect, that seems inconceivable, but He kept at it... beckoning and persisting. This gives me great hope for those who still have yet to say "Yes" to life eternal.

    • Jeffrey,

      I've pondered some of the thoughts in your first paragraph too.

      If a case is presented in the Judgment, and one of redeemed does not wish to look upon the “[formerly] hidden things of darkness” (1Cor 4:5), will they be at liberty to turn away? Can they choose not to look? Can they choose not to judge? Will it be to their glory “to pass over a transgression” (Prov 19:11)? Or will involvement in the Judgment be necessary (or even obligatory) for some reason? We must allow for that possibility, I think. But in this world there is a tendency, a desire, to expose. Some feel that there can be no real ‘closure’ until there is absolute “vindication”. And yet I think there is reason to ask – Is that the way of the heavenly world? Is it the way of the heavenly mind? Must heaven remain insecure until it sees all the hidden reasons for the absence of those who did not rise at Jesus’ call? Will faith not be enough to guarantee heaven’s security? I do expect there will be some cases which I will want to look into, but when the books are opened in heaven, I doubt that every saint will need to consider every case that comes up.

      • Imagine that the saints have arrived in heaven and the books are opened. Is it possible that every saint will say, "No, thank you. Unless you say I need to look, my Lord, I am already satisfied." I can't imagine needing any further evidence that God is love.

        • I have some of the same questions, however does it seem realistic or even logical, to be spending 1000 years questioning the loss of a love one, or any one for that matter. I can't imagine or visualize all that God has in store for the redeemed. What ever it is, the tears that will vanish and the shear length of time would have a positive affect. Our perspective is the here and now. That sounds insensitive and harsh, and it is as we feel those types of emotions that linger in our memory. Complete faith and trust is the solution to those type of concerns. Our own salvation is questionable at times. I continue to repeat over and over, Ephesians 2:8.

          • I see no particular reason to believe that the "thousand years" are literal years as we know them, since most numbers in Revelation are symbolic. But it's meant to indicate a long time - enough time for the redeemed to understand just how hard God worked to get their loved ones to be with them in heaven.

        • Jeffrey, in my opinion this is entering upon spiritual "meat" (in comparison to spiritual "milk"). Yes, I have long believed that such a scenario is possible, but would suggest that, if such thoughts are taken any further, caution be shown. Conditional prophecy is still, I feel, a subject that few are equipped to handle safely.

          • Stewart, the same word came to my mind. Scenario. If some have a burden to imagine a particular scenario, then so be it. I was checking a couple of verses that seem to be applicable. A familiar one was 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The word changed, is more than likely to be of differing opinions . An opinion that I can imagine, is that we are completely changed. Mind body and soul. I am not certain that all of the misery that continues in our current environment is what Heaven is like in any fashion. Yes there are loved ones that most likely will not be in heaven. Yes that is heart rending. But the word Grace seems to fit in here somewhere.

    • Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…”

      Since by definition, judgment will have already taken place, the righteous cannot be participating in the act of judging the lost during the millennium. What is “given” (Strongs = didōmi = “to furnish” or “to give to” or “to show”) to the saved is the judgment (noun) which has already taken place, from Strongs (krima = decree, decision), not the opportunity to judge (verb).

      The saved will open the books and see WHY the lost are not in heaven. Their judgment (krima) will be revealed (didōmi) and the reasons for their condemnation will be made clear and plain so that all will see and agree with God’s justice and mercy as well as His grace which was spurned by the lost.

      • Sieg, thank you for your thoughtful reply to my post. I am going to try to show why I assert that the saints will judge the lost during the time following Christ's second coming.

        I wasn't thinking of Rev. 20:4 but of 1 Cor. 6:2. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" In this text, "judge" is a verb. It is translated from "krinousin" (root "krino") and clearly is referring to the act of judging. If one also considers the following quote from Great Controversy, it is difficult to conclude that the saints will not be judging the wicked during the millennium.

        In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death. GC(1888) 660.3

        In Rev. 20:4, the saints are sitting on thrones (thronous) which connotes power or authority, not someone who is passively waiting to see what the final outcome is. Regarding your statement: "Strongs = didōmi = “to furnish” or “to give to” or “to show”. It is true that those are examples of possible translations. There are many other possibilities though, e.g. "to grant" or "to bestow" or "to commit". If we use one of these translations, it is logical to say that those on the seat of power are given the authority to judge. Most translations do indeed render it as "was given authority" or some form thereof.

        Disclaimer: I could be wrong. 🙂 I am using Strong's Concordance with interlinear texts from BibleHub.com. I make no claim to be an authority on original languages of the Bible.

        • Thanks Jeffrey. When Jesus comes, probation will have ended and judgment will already have been completed (Isaiah 40:10; Revelation 22:12). Moreover, Jesus tells us that "...the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22). We cannot again judge those who have already been judged by Christ as this would be tantamount to Double Jeopardy.

          So, we cannot participate in judging (verb) when judgment has already been completed by Christ, the only One to Whom all judgment was granted by God. The “book of death” you cite is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

          • Sieg, on this earth, is not the work committed to Christ being largely done through the "body of Christ,' that is, His people? God chooses human agencies through which to work.

            Is is not conceivable that Christ will also allow His people to take a part in the judgment - especially considering that Paul explicitly says that the saints will "judge the world." (1 Cor. 6:2)

            (We must not allow our interpretation of one portion of Scripture to contradict another.)

          • Hi Inge. That is a great question and I think we can address it without contradicting scripture. If Christ has already judged the world (Acts 17:31), how can the saints judge the world again afterwards (1 Cor. 6:2)?

            Indeed, on earth we are to carry out the assignments given to us by Jesus (e.g., Matthew 28:19) before probation closes and before Jesus has judged the whole world (Matt 25:31-46). This does not naturally lead to our right to judge in heaven, a right reserved for Jesus (Acts 10:42; John 5:22; 1 Corinthians 4:4). But even if we allow for that, it wouldn’t make sense for us to judge those who have already been judged by Christ before His second coming (Acts 17:31). Therefore, it seems to me that we must consider alternative interpretations of “judge” (krinō) in 1 Corinthians 6:2 such as “call in question” or “to approve.”

            • Okay, Sieg, then I have a question for you:
              What do you make of 1 Cor. 6:3 which states that the saints "will judge angels." How is that possible, according to your hermeneutics? (Weren't the angels judged by God? How can the saved do it *before* going to heaven?)

        • During the 1000 years the Saints will not be judging to pronounce guilt or innocence. Jesus would have already done that. The Saints will compare the acts of the wicked with the bible and (Decide)/come to the conclusion that every case was justly judged by God. It is then that God will ultimately mete out the deserved punishment to them at the end of the 1000 years. Remember the final death of the wicked comes after the millennium.

          Jeffery, it is not the saints that will mete out the punishment to the wicked. it is God! but he does it only AFTER the saints have had the opportunity to satisfy themselves concerning the fairness and justice of his judgment.

          • Hi Inge. Satan’s fate/judgment (Gen. 3:15) and sentence (Ezek. 28:18) was foretold before there were any saints, was sealed at the cross (John 12:31; John 16:11) and will be executed after the millennium (Rev. 20:10), facts that Satan himself is well aware of (Rev. 12:12). As such, how could the saints in heaven participate in judging (verb) those who have already been judged and sentenced?

            As in the case of lost people, in heaven we will see the judgment of Satan and his angels and will all (Isaiah 45:23), including Satan (Philippians 2:10-11), understand and agree with the judgment and sentence. I think Patrick Humes articulated this well and I can’t really add anything insightful beyond that.

            • Sieg, you seem to be interpreting and interpolating a bit, but you haven't quite answered question:
              How do you interpret 1 Cor. 6:3 which states that the saints "will judge angels"?

              Even the NLT translates the text as " Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life." 1 Cor. 6:3 NLT

              Doesn't this imply, at the very least, some active participation? Paul is reasoning that the Corinthians ought to be able to use their God-given powers of intellect and judgment to deal with problems in the church, buttressing his argument by the fact that they will some day be called upon to judge angels. So how do you harmonize this with what you wrote earlier which seems to absolve/deny the saints any active participation in judgment. Or perhaps you interpret this text as very differently from what I see as the most obvious interpretation.

              Keep in mind as well, that God could have had angels preach the gospel to the world. Instead he's given us the job. Could there be a parallel?

          • Hi Inge. No one has been able to explain how it is possible for the word "judge" to mean "decide the guilt or innocence of" in any of the cited texts (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:2) perhaps because that would make no sense (i.e., we would be judging those who God has already judged and sentenced). Thus, I believe "judge" must have another meaning. I have suggested some possible meanings that make a great deal more sense to me (e.g., "call in question" or "determine the validity of") and that maintain the consistency of all of the Biblical examples. So, the saints will judge ("acknowledge the validity of") God's judgment of earth's inhabitants as well as of Satan and his minions. I hope this is clearer.

            Yes, it does involve our active participation which I believe entails examining and agreeing with God's love, mercy and undeniable justice for man and for Satan.

            • Hi Sieg,

              I hadn't noticed that anyone was defining "judge" to mean determining guilt or innocense, because that would, indeed, be nonsensical.

              I have no inside information on the issue, but, judging by the scriptural references, I believe that God invites active participation in the act of final judgment just as He invites active participation in extending the offer of salvation. To my mind, that implies a little more active participation than you appear to allow. However, God has not revealed the details, and for what God has not revealed, I believe that silence is golden. (Ellen White does say a little more on the subject, which is what Jeffrey and the lesson author referenced.)

      • Inge. Indeed, silence is often worth more than a thousand words. Thankfully, we will not have to wait long before we will learn the answers to our questions as we sit at Jesus' feet.

  2. It seems that we shall not be exposed to everything that everyone did since that would serve no purpose. Jesus will not seize to be gentle even during this time for He cannot change who He is. It seems to me that it is in the cases where you are asking the why question that you will receive an answer. So different people will be dealing with different cases of interest to them for the purpose of the vindication of God. For the saints will not find any delight in evil.

  3. I thank you for your words and also that deep thinking, but as you stated I truly believe that Christ will some how remove that hurt from us not to witness our love ones demise.Christ loves us too much to let us go through that pain and heartach. We have to trust Him, as only He knows that outcome. Lets cotinue to pray for each other to heed the voice of our Lord and Saviour as time is running out as Christ is almost here.

  4. This is going to be a bitter sweet experience. Imagine all the prayers that has gone up for you (by others) and those you have placed for yourself and others, and God is now answering the questions why such and such never make it to the kingdom. Personally, I know my mom has prayed ceaselessly for me and my siblings and at the time she went to “sleep” I was still of the world or had not given my life to Christ. Our reunion in heaven will be sweet (praise be to God)! on the other side my elder brother who did not give his life to Christ before his death( I dont want to be judging before the time) and I am open for correction and guidance, this would be a bitter experience. But God has promise to wipe away all tears from our eyes (praise be to God) and what we can do is continue to diligently share the gospel and continue to fervently pray that the Holy Spirit continue to touch the hearts of mortal human beings. To God be the glory.

  5. I don't want to judge anyone. When I talk to God I always tell Him, "Pass!"
    But if it is something we *have* to do, then so be it.

    I think this is one more way that God shows the Universe how loving and JUST He is. Maybe some people will still have doubts in their hearts or don't understand why some people were not saved. This will show them clearly that it was the person's decision not to be saved and not God's revenge.

    Also, I think this is how God shows His transparency. Unlike human governments, He has nothing to hide. It is very interesting that God has *BOOKS*. Records are kept. And in the Millenium we will have access to those books, and this will help us understand a lot of things and why/how they happened.

    Also, this is the end of sin. If God had destroyed Lucifer as soon as he decided to go against God, God would be a cruel dictator. There was a need to let it play out, because there had been no sin before Lucifer - nobody knew what it would entail. (I believe/imagine) Nobody could imagine just how utterly destructive sin is. God in His infinite wisdom had to suffer along with all of creation until it ran its course. Now everyone knows what sin is and its consequences. And the judgement of the lost is included to help us understand.

  6. Stewart and Jeffrey, I understand where you are coming from. Wouldn't you want to know why someone who you thought would be there isn't? How is He going to "wipe away all tears" when we see our loved ones not with us? It is by showing us the many times that they turned away from God's mercy.

  7. The thousand years will be a very important time for us the saints (I'd like to think we will all be there) because finally we'll get answers for all the confusing questions about Gods character that we are experiencing now. From the beginning of satans rebellion he has tried to tarnish Our Heavenly Fathers image...he managed to convince his Angels and he is somehow managing to convince people today even though there is amount of evidence of Gods love (Christ death). During those thousand years Gods character will be cleared from satan accusations. We will see our God for what he really is..Holy and Just..and his patient for ever amazing to understand. No other can bear as our God has for us! What an amazing experience it will be!!!!

    • Tamae,I would ask a question regarding the reason for the thousand years that have been mentioned. How long do we think it will take God to accomplish what is needed as some have described? According to anther post, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 may be an answer.

  8. We have come a long, long way here from the Fall of Satan. We keep adjusting the master narrative of the great controversy to new biblical ideas as they arise in the text. Notice how readers now are adding newer ideas to justify it, such as the idea that Jesus will personally show people the "record" so they will "understand" what happened.

    One truth seems to be clear: we are in a process. And part of that process is the privilege of writing the story.

  9. There was a time when God effectively said to Moses, "Leave Me alone, that I may destroy this people [Israel], and I will start all over again with you". (See Ex 32:10.) But Moses does something incredible. He does NOT leave God alone, and he effectively says, "No, thank you, I will pass on that."

    In some respects what Moses did may look like disobedience [it is true, he really did not do what he was told], but it was not disobedience. Moses displayed such a tremendous boldness before God that day, and yet, if there had been the slightest taint of rebellion or revolt [i.e. sin] in his action, I have no doubt that it would have killed him.

    But who was it, really, that saved Israel that day? who was most appreciative [with regards to the outcome]? who was the happiest person involved? I believe that it was God Himself! Israel came VERY close to being wiped out... but "the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people." (Ex 32:14)

    Psalm 106:23

    [This thought is rather indirect, I know, but I hope there is some relevance in it.]

  10. when it comes to the saints passing judgement, i dont think we will recognise anyone as a brother or a sister. i strongly feel that this division on blood relations where we view one person as a real brother and another one as aneighbour was brought about by sin. the difference that exists was brought about after the falling of man. after transformation shall hve taken place, we will belong to one family with God being our father and jesus our brother. so during the judgement the saints will not feel a pinch, because there will be no more earthly relations

  11. I need help clearly defined on the issue of 1000 years in heaven with Our Lord. Why the Bible specify that time period? Is it (going) to be possible for the saints to judge the wicked, or the world daily until that period expires?


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