What is the Meaning of Life?
If you say we can’t know this or aren’t supposed to know this, you have just proven you believe tradition instead of the Word of God.
I realize some people give an abstract definition (worship God, love God, etc.) that doesn't help us understand the rest of the Bible better, so let me put this question another way…How does the Bible end?
Isn’t it telling that with every other book, the most important question is “How does it end?” Yet with the Bible, most people don’t know the answer. Better yet, people may say, “Good people go to Heaven. Bad people go to hell.”
When I get this ten word answer, I challenge this person to give an explanation with a minimum of 100 words like they would with a movie or they need to spend the rest of their life explaining to people the end of every movie and every book with: “The good people (blank), and the bad people (blank).”
When it comes to explaining the end of a movie, why do people give five minute (or more) explanations, act it out, repeat lines, describe action, etc., yet when it comes to the end of the most important book ever written, they are unable and unwilling to treat God's Word with the same energy, understanding, and enthusiasm as they have for man's word?
People need to explain what they believe and understand about the end of the Bible with at least the same intensity and level of understanding as they do for movies and other books, otherwise, these people are showing they value man-made culture over the Word of God.
What is your minimum 100-word explanation of how the Bible ends (last four chapters of Revelation)?
Take the time to write it out…be excellent: go HOT (write it out) or COLD (don’t continue reading).
You may want to read the last four chapters of Revelation...only! I have found that the first 18 chapters of Revelation are so full of imagery and information that people are mentally exhausted by the time they get to the last four chapters and totally miss the simplicity of the ending.
In fact, when people do read the last four chapters of Revelation, they have a hard time explaining it because they add some flawed explanation from the rest of the Bible to the events that occur at the end of the Bible.
Try this...read the last four chapters of Revelation like it was a movie you happened to turn to on your television. Imagine you just caught the end of this movie...you don't know what happened before. You are just watching the end. Forget what you think you know about the Bible while you read the last four chapters of Revelation and just focus on what is written.
Each day this week, I will be adding an installment to this post from selected sections of the sequel to "Modeling God".
If you are interested in reading the sequel to "Modeling God": Here is the link to the Table of Contents.
WEDNESDAY - REVELATION CONCLUSION
The last four chapters of the Bible (Revelation19-22)...
Revelation 19 tells us we OUGHT to want to make it to the marriage supper (wedding) of the Lamb. We aren’t told who the bride is, just that she is adorned in the righteousness of the saints. If this were a movie, this is the foreshadowing scene...the camera would pan up the backside of her dress and stop on the back of the bride’s head, before cutting to the next scene…
The rest of Revelation 19 focuses on the groom. It is Jesus (Faithful, True, Word of God, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS, etc.) and He is leading an army to conquer evil at the end of the Tribulation. The beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire…not hell. They have been judged. The rest of the people are killed and await judgment…
Revelation 20 covers the Millennium (1000 year reign) and judgments. There are two judgments: Salvation and Reward. The Reward judgment is done with books that record the works, both good and bad, of everyone who ever lived. Justice is equaled out. This has nothing to do with being a believer or not...everyone has to pay for what they did wrong and everyone will get rewarded for what they did right. This is the righteousness of the individual and is like dirty rags when compared to God's Righteousness which leads to Salvation. People who teach the believers don't have to eventually pay for every idle word, etc. are teaching a man-made tradition in place of the Word of God.
Then the Salvation judgment is done with one book. If a person’s name is not written in the Book of Life, they go to hell. This judgment is based on Righteousness. Those who chose to let God direct their actions have Righteousness from God. Everyone has been judged. Hell is actually cast into the lake of fire. (Notice, bad people don't go to hell...they go to the lake of fire.)
(An anonymous commenter accurately pointed out that Revelation 20 actually says Hades is cast in the lake of fire. Notice what the King James Version says: "14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." Notice what the American Standard Version says: "14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire." Once again, the American Standard is more accurate than any other translation. Also, thanks to commenters...they always seem to teach me something!)
Revelation 21 says the current Heaven and earth are passed away. A new Heaven and earth are created. There are some who think that God’s Plan involves us turning the current earth into the new earth. The Bible doesn’t say this. The current earth and Heaven are going away forever. God doesn’t remodel the current earth and Heaven into the new earth and Heaven. It is completely new...built from “scratch”. In fact, the new earth doesn't have a sea. Now, we find out the identity of the bride...
"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God:" (Revelation 21:2-3, ASV)
Out of Heaven comes the new Jerusalem. It is called a “bride”. It is called the tabernacle of God. The next five verses give specific effects of God’s Plan: no death, no sorrow, no crying, no pain, etc. Then an angel speaks to John and confirms the identity of the bride that was foreshadowed in Chapter 19:
"And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were laden with the seven last plagues; and he spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” (Revelation 21:9-10, ASV)
The new and holy Jerusalem is the bride of the Lamb…Jesus’ wife! (The main reason the Da Vinci Code got it wrong is that Jesus didn't get married in the past...He does get married in the future.)
Revelation 22 ends the Bible with the bride marrying the Lamb and living happily ever after!
Tomorrow we will look more closely at the bride...
THURSDAY - THE BRIDE
Yesterday, we saw that Revelation 21 reveals the identity of the bride of Jesus...it is the new and holy Jerusalem. Also, the new Jerusalem is called the tabernacle of God. Before we get into the details of what this means, let's look at some references that occur throughout the Bible supporting this conclusion...
John measures the new Jerusalem and it is about 1500 miles long, wide, and tall. (Revelation 21:16) Some see it as a cube, but it most likely would be more like a pyramid because it appears Jesus can be seen at the top. This is a “city” that is roughly half of the area of the United States. There is no temple in the city because the Father and the Lamb are the temple of it. The church will live in this “city”.
What are we looking at?
This “city” is the tabernacle of God. We are living in God’s house. The only other place in the Bible where it talks about God’s house is in John 14:
“Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go, ye know the way.” (John 14:1-4, ASV)
This “city” would qualify as a place that would be made up of many mansions. It would also qualify as a place that would be made up of many smaller cities that people would have authority over (like in Luke’s account of the parable of the talents).
Also, Jesus is referencing the Jewish marriage tradition where the groom goes away to prepare a house for his bride. The groom can't return until his father says the house is ready. This decision is completely up to the father of the groom. When the groom gets his father's approval, he can go get the bride. Now look at this passage again where Jesus is talking about the Rapture of the church...when Jesus will come again for His bride:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only." (Matthew 24:36, ASV)
Only Jesus' Father knows when Jesus' house will be done...
There is another passage about us being Jesus’ house:
“For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:3-6, ASV)
The church is the new Jerusalem, which is also the bride of Christ.
On Friday, we will look at the main principle that explains how we can understand the concept of eternity...
FRIDAY - THE PRINCIPLE
“The Turks tell their People of a Heaven where there is a sensible Pleasure, but of a Hell where they shall suffer they don’t know what. The Christians quite invert this order; they tell of a Hell where we shall feel sensible Pain, but of a Heaven where we shall enjoy we can’t tell what." (John Selden, c. 1650)
How many times have you heard people ask: "What are we going to do in Heaven?"
For hundreds of years, Christians have been able to explain hell, yet they can't explain Heaven. How do you think this affects our ability to reach people for Christ?
In order to get the Big Picture about Heaven and hell, we need to understand a key principle. This principle is not mentioned by name in the Bible, but it runs throughout the entire Bible. For example, the word "Trinity" and "Rapture" are not used in the Bible. However, what would you say about a person who said, "I don't see "Trinity" and "Rapture" in the Bible so it must not be true." I would say they are proving their understanding of the Bible is superficial.
Understanding this principle will explain the Bible from beginning to end more completely than any other principle. The principle? ARE, DO, HAVE.
The law of causality says every cause leads to an effect.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7, ASV)
Sowing and Reaping are both halves of the same whole. They are the cause and the effect! This verse ties this principle directly to God and those who fight it are deceived and attempting to mock God!!!! The Bible is written from cause to effect. The Bible is written to people. Those who can't see how the causality principle applies to people throughout the Bible are proving they are superficial in their understanding of the Bible.
When the Bible applies causality to people, it translates as: what we ARE is a cause and the effect is what we DO. However, there is a second part to this cause and effect process that is equally important: what we DO is a cause and the effect is what we HAVE. The Bible consistently states this causality progression: ARE leads to DO which leads to HAVE.
The world tells us the opposite. The world tells us what we HAVE will determine what we DO, and what we DO determines who we ARE. Isn’t this one of the equations behind advertising? “You need to HAVE this product so you can DO this thing and then people (or yourself) will believe you ARE a certain type of person.” The Bible consistently shows us the people who go opposite of God believe HAVE leads to DO which leads to ARE.
For example, the Bible tells us if we recognize who we ARE, then what we will DO is let God's influence on our hearts reflect in our lives and what we will HAVE is God's Righteousness coming out...which leads to salvation.
However, there are people who tell us to just DO good actions of ourselves thinking it proves we ARE good and deserve to go to Heaven. Actually, when we DO good actions of ourselves, it leads to a HAVE that is righteousness of ourselves. This righteousness leads to reward, not salvation. However, the world looks at these good works and wants to instantly say it proves the person must BE good. This is an abuse of causality...looking at the effects and saying they prove a cause.
The Bible uses causality correctly. The Bible will point out to people claiming to be good the question of why something bad came out. The Bible is using bad results to prove there wasn't a good cause. In this way, the Bible says that faith is justified by works...meaning if you really believe (have faith) it will be proven by good works. This doesn't say that everyone who has good works has faith.
Reversing causality is extremely short-term because it is trying to take the short cut of believing that effects prove causes. We see this when people lament their lack of money or possessions because it doesn’t allow them to be the person they were meant to be.
This is not what God tells us to focus on. God tells us to work on ourselves (ARE). Yet God tells us over and over again, in the Bible, to be profitable. The parable of the talents equates profitability with entry into heaven, while unprofitability is equated with hell. Furthermore, the Bible says (Psalm 35:27) God has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. Isn’t this a focus on HAVE?
People can reverse causality and come up with a contradictory interpretation of the Bible. They can take the verses that mention HAVE and state God wants you to just HAVE these things. The Bible commands us to HAVE certain attitudes and emotions (peace, joy, etc.). Preachers like John Piper state that we are just supposed to work ourselves up to HAVE them.
The Bible actually tells us to HAVE these as an effect of ARE and DO. However, preachers like John Piper won't specifically explain the causes that lead to having these emotions. "Modeling God" explains these causes...
Let me be clear: I call this the ARE. You can call it whatever you want...but the intent is to find out who God created you to be. If people disagree with finding out who God created you to BE, then they have a bigger problem than my use of the word "ARE". I use the word ARE to describe who God created you to be.
We are physical and spiritual beings. However, due to our physical birth, we give our physical beings pre-eminence over our spiritual beings. We see the DO and HAVE (flesh) as causes and the ARE (spirit) as the effect. Every “great mind” from the beginning of recorded history has stated that focusing on the physical will only lead to emptiness.
The Bible values ARE (spiritual).
The world values HAVE (possessions) and DO (activities).
Jesus wants us to focus on the spiritual. He wants us to focus on the ARE. In order to emphasize the spirit, we have to de-emphasize the physical self. When a person is “born again”, they are making a conscious decision to kill “the flesh” in order to give the spirit pre-eminence. They are admitting the ARE is the cause and the DO and HAVE are effects…and living accordingly. Today, the only reason we are able to do this is because of Jesus' death on the cross.
God’s focus is on the “being”. God looks on the inside of the person. However, God motivates us by telling us the eventual result of “being” is HAVING. So a “born again” person doesn’t ignore the DO and HAVE. However, they don't look to possessions and activities to make them happy. They just realize the DO and HAVE are an effect of who they ARE. The ARE is the Spiritual self that God made us to be...it is God's purpose for your life.
In the post that explains WHY Jesus is Fully Man and Fully God, we saw that Jesus' ARE is Right and Just. The effect of His ARE was a DO that was ALWAYS Right and ALWAYS Just. The DO did not make Jesus God...His ARE makes Him God (because it is the same ARE as God the Father's from the "Model for God" post). The DO proves to us that He is God. Once Jesus died, He no longer had to deal with the fleshly nature and we can be assured that now He can only operate completely in His ARE. One more example...
We will eventually look at the Book of Job to pull all of these concepts together. For now, read the first few chapters and notice that God and Satan are arguing over WHY Job is good. Satan says Job is good (ARE) because God gave him possessions (HAVE). God says Job has possessions (HAVE) because he is perfect (ARE). God and Satan are arguing over ARE, DO, HAVE!
God says the only way to prove it is for Job to lose his HAVE. Job loses all his possessions and still praises God. God was right.
However, Satan says Job still has his DO. So Job is covered with boils from head to toe...notice, nothing internally was done to Job. Job's DO was completely removed along with his HAVE.
The rest of the story is focused on a man completely in his ARE because he has no HAVE and no DO. Job's three comforters argue with him that he must have done something wrong because Job is experiencing loss. Job states he hasn't done anything wrong. The book documents a causality discussion...and there is a lot of amazing revelation that comes out of the Book of Job when it is viewed in this way.
Getting back to the Meaning of Life...
The Meaning of Life is focused on ARE...NOT HAVE and NOT DO. From the John Seldon quote, we see why people are unable to explain Heaven...they try to do it with HAVE and DO language!
Also from the John Seldon quote: "Hell" is focused on DO and HAVE...people will occupy the lake of fire and have a lot of pain...so much they will be unable to think...they will be unable to create...they will be unable to act in their ARE.
Next week, we will look at the implications of people projecting their worldly HAVE and DO perspective on the Bible and the Meaning of Life.