What Could be Worse Than Death? | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Welcome to The Berean Call podcast. I’m T.A. McMahon, TBC’s Executive Director. We’re currently re-airing a discussion I had with Dave Hunt in 2003 featuring his book, Countdown to the Second Coming. This program begins with my listing the significant events that the Bible addresses that have taken place throughout the history of the world, as well as the final events that are to come. Dave explains that the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth is often misunderstood as the ultimate Kingdom of God. It is not. He also explains that what takes place as Jesus reigns in absolute righteousness demonstrates the incorrigible heart of perhaps millions who rebel against Him under the leadership of Satan. That’s followed by the new heavens and new earth and the Great White Throne Judgment. All those who have rejected Christ’s payment for sin will pay the eternal penalty for their own sins. Those topics and more are just ahead.

In this segment of our program, we’re winding up an overview of key biblical events from Genesis through Revelation, with Dave, of course, adding a commentary on each event. And we thought that might be valuable for those who are not familiar with the Bible and particularly prophecy.

Dave:  We also thought it might take one program. How many has it been, Tom, four?

Tom:  Well, Dave, you’re not supposed to remind them of that. There are new people here and they think, Oh, these guys really move along. Wow! They’ve really got it together. (Laughing)

Anyway, the Bible, among its other wonderful attributes is a history book—documenting significant events in the history of mankind from his creation through his final destiny. And, Dave, you know as we’ve mentioned, history is not just a collection of random events, but rather it’s teleological. That’s a term that the scholars like to use meaning that it’s moving in a specific direction according to God’s plan, we believe, for humanity.

Dave:  Scholarly words are not appropriate on this program, Tom. We’re just ordinary folk.

Tom:  Dave, sometimes I have to shoot for higher…

Dave:  Okay.

Tom:  (Laughing) … higher mark here.

The events we’ve covered so far are:  the Creation; the Fall; the promise of a Redeemer; the worldwide flood; the rebellion at Babel; the establishment of a people through whom the Messiah would come; the promise of a land for the Jews; the Exodus from Egypt and entrance into the Promised Land; the rebellion of the Jews in the Promised Land; the seventy-year removal of the Jews to Babylon; the restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land; the first coming of the promised Redeemer; the rejection of God’s Savior; His death, burial, and resurrection; the establishment of the church; the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem; and the dispersion of the Jews throughout the world. 

Then there’s universal anti-Semitism; the re-establishment of the nation of Israel; the preparation of the world for the antichrist; the apostasy of the professing church; the Rapture of the true church; and the resurrection of the dead in Christ; the judgment seat of Christ; the marriage supper of the Lamb; the seven years of Tribulation; the Battle of Armageddon; the Second Coming of Christ to rescue Israel.

And that brings us up to the thousand-year reign of Christ on Earth. We discussed that a little bit; we’ll go back over it. But the last three that you’re going to comment on, Dave, hopefully, the final revolt of Satan and unbelievers; the Great White Throne Judgment; and the new heavens and the new earth.  

Dave:  Tom, as you have been reading these, I mean this is really amazing. This is what the Bible covers. The Bible lays this out and explains it. There’s no book that does that. Well, some books that have been written relying upon the Bible that are commenting upon the Bible, but let’s take the Qur’an—nothing like that. The Bhagavad Gita—nothing like that. Ramayana, Mahabharata, the Hindu Vedas, sayings of Buddha, Confucius, you name it—nothing has this. And yet it is all accurate. For example, if you read the Bhagavad Gita—well, there are a number of different translations of it, so you’re not even sure what you’re getting. The same thing with the Qur’an. Unfortunately, and people often ask me, well what translation should I get?  Well, none of them are really good. The translators of the Qur’an into English, let’s say, they fudge a little bit. They try to make it sound a little better than it really is. But the Bhagavad Gita, it’s fantasy. It’s mythology.

Tom:  Dave, what about the Book of Mormon?  There’s some kind of history for you.

Dave:  Yeah!

Tom:  Some kind.

Dave:  That is fantasy as well.

Tom:  Yeah, it’s fiction.

Dave:  Anyway, we won’t get into that, Tom, or we won’t have time for what you want us to cover.

Tom:  Right. Last week we were discussing the thousand-year reign, the Millennial reign, of Christ. And, Dave, you know it’s amazing to me that a large part of professing Christianity doesn’t believe that Christ will physically reign on earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years. And it’s not for a lack of biblical information that they reject the event, is it?

Dave:  Well, Tom, this is—part of it goes back to Augustine—The City of God—and we’re going to establish God’s kingdom without the king. And the Catholic Church, of course, follows that. The popes, with armies and navies, built a huge worldwide kingdom—controlled the world. When they spoke or threatened excommunication, emperors trembled. So, they were really in charge.

But the Bible is quite clear. First of all, David—King David—was promised that he would have an heir, an eternal heir, who would be on his throne—that his throne would be established forever. This is an earthly throne in Jerusalem, not a heavenly throne where God himself sits. When the angel Gabriel, for example, announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, she said, “And upon the throne of his father, David, he will reign forever and ever.” Now that’s more than a thousand years, and that is interesting.

There are a number of statements like this in the Bible. For example, I can’t remember how much of the Millennium we covered last time, Tom.

Tom:  Not much.

Dave:  But…

Tom:  It’s always good to go over it again. I like to hear it.

Dave:  Many people think that the Millennium, that’s the kingdom—that’s the ultimate kingdom that the Bible talks about. Obviously, it couldn’t be, for a number of reasons. For example, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Well, there will be flesh-and-blood people on the earth during the Millennium. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot even see much less enter into the kingdom of heaven.” But there will be many people on this earth who are not born again during the Millennial reign of Christ. Proof of that is the fact that after Satan is loosed, he deceives them, and they come against Christ in Jerusalem to destroy him.

Tom:  But those who were originally established, they were believers, or they were…

Dave:  Oh yes, they…

Tom:  It’s the descendants…

Dave:  Right.

Tom:  …of these who begin to populate the earth.

Dave:  Mm-hmm. Then of course when Isaiah announces the coming of the Messiah, the birth of the Messiah: “Unto us a child is born… [that’s the babe born in Bethlehem] unto us a Son a is given; [that’s the eternal Son of God for whom this body was prepared in the womb of the Virgin Mary] the government will be upon his shoulders,… [so we know this is the Messiah]. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father,” and verse 7 says, “and of his kingdom and peace there will be no end.” But the Millennium ends after a thousand years, and it ends with a war, the final war on this earth.

So we have a number of reasons why the Millennium cannot be the ultimate kingdom that the Bible speaks of. Christ came announcing the coming of the kingdom. Well, there is an earthly kingdom and a heavenly kingdom. And this earth “abideth forever,” although it will be destroyed. So the throne of David actually will exist forever in the eternal state. But that will only have been begun in the Millennial reign of Christ.

There will be sin, unfortunately, during the Millennium. There will not be in the eternal state. So, when Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see or enter into the kingdom of God,” He wasn’t talking about the Millennium. He was talking about heaven—the eternal kingdom of God. When Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15, “Then cometh the end when he (that is Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father…and God will be all and all.” That’s the final state.

Tom:  Dave, just on that note, though, it says “a new heaven and a new earth.” I know we’re jumping ahead, and maybe we shouldn’t get into this right away, but there will be an eternal earth, I guess.

Dave:  Exactly, exactly. Yes, I guess we come to that a little bit later.

Tom:  Yeah.

Dave:  But what is the Millennium then?  We probably mentioned this last time, I can’t remember it, Tom, but the Millennium, I believe, is the final proof that God’s kingdom cannot be established except over those who have been born again by the Spirit of God. That’s why Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” There must be a transformation in the heart of man. You can’t—well, Tom, you know we’ve dealt in the past with sociology and psychology and political reformation and “we’re going remake this world.” This is what the world’s leaders are all about. This is what they’ve been working for, for thousands of years. Well, of course, many of them were despots and they wanted to take control. But now we have supposed democracy, and more and more of the nations of the world are turning to democracy. And President Bush is trying even to establish democracy among…Muslim nations?  Islam couldn’t survive in democracy, where you have the freedom to express you own opinion and to come to your own conclusions. It has to be imposed. But, “Oh yeah, we’re going to solve our problems, and we’re going to bring peace to this earth,” and so forth.

Tom:  And morality, Dave. You have many Christian leaders who are looking to a process to create a morality, a higher morality, for people. Forget that!

Dave:  Trying to change the world. No, Jesus didn’t send us out to change the world. He sent us out to call men out of this world into the world to come. So the Millennium, I think, is the final ultimate proof of the incorrigible evil in the human heart. There is no changing the human heart. Tom, I think we mentioned it last time. I find it just absolutely staggering—one of the many evidences we find all through the Bible that it is true, it’s the Word of God—it presents things not from a human standpoint, not what you would think or I would think, but it gives us the truth, and it tells us that even though Satan will be locked up—this is better than the Garden of Eden.

Some people say, “Well, I wasn’t there. If I had been there, I wouldn’t have eaten of that fruit.” Really?  Well, it’s going to be better than the Garden of Eden. Perfection, with Christ ruling and reigning. We will be in our resurrected glorified bodies. No excuse for anyone. They will see the evidence of who Christ is and what He has done and the resurrection of Christ and the redeemed. You can’t deny it. Let me see it with my own eyes. There it is—for one thousand years, Satan can’t even get into the Millennial reign as he got into the Garden. He’s locked up! And Christ makes everyone behave. I mean everyone knows the truth. And we will see once again what Paul wrote of in Romans 1: “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful, but became vain in their imagination, their foolish heart was darkened, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

So when Satan is released at the end of the thousand years, he immediately deceives the nations! He’s got lots of followers. Lots of followers! What could he offer them that they haven’t had during the Millennium?  But they don’t want Christ; they want Satan. Incredible, Tom!

Tom:  I think also, autonomy. They don’t want to submit. They don’t want to be subjected to authority.

Dave:  Yeah, Satan offers a false freedom, but it’s no freedom; it’s slavery. Anyway, so the Millennium ends with a war, with an uprising. It says they come “like the sand of the sea.” This must be millions and millions of people. They’ve been populating this earth. Wow! If you were writing—Tom, you and I have tried to do a little bit of writing. You’ve done some scripts for movies and so forth, and I’ve tried to write a few books. We wouldn’t come up with a scenario like that.

Tom:  It’s too absurd. It’s too ridiculous. It’s too…

Dave:  After Christ has been here for a thousand years, everybody knows the truth! And then they turn against Him. Well, that’s what we see at the Cross. The creature crucifies the Creator. Why? He’s done nothing but good. He has demonstrated His love, His mercy; fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead—what is their complaint?  “We will not have this man reign over us.” It’s exactly what you said, Tom, they want autonomy. “I want to do my own thing! I want to be my own person.”

Tom: “Captain of my ship.”

Dave:  Right.

Tom: “Master of my own fate.”

Dave:  So, what comes next, Tom?

Tom:  Well, what happens to these people?  The Great White Throne Judgment.

Dave:  That’s solemn. It’s frightening. Revelation 20: “And I saw a great white throne, and he that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great,…” This is not the judgment of believers, and this is not to decide whether you’re going to get to heaven or not; this is deciding your eternal punishment—according to your works, what you’ve done, you will suffer, justly, throughout eternity. “I saw the dead,…” so these are the dead. “…small and great, stand before God. The sea gave up the dead that were in it. Death and hell gave up the dead which were in them.”

There’s something worse than hell. Something worse than death. This is the second death, it says. “All whose names were not found written in the book of life—the books are open, it says, and the dead, that is, they’re dead in trespasses and in sins—they are judged out of the things that are written in the book, and “whosever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Tom:  Yeah.

Dave: “This is the second death.”

Tom:  Dave, it reminds me of the saying, “Born once, die twice. Born twice, die once.”

Dave:  Very good. Maybe you have to explain that.

Tom:  You’re born once, it’s a physical birth, and if that’s all there is, then you’re going to die not only physically but you’re going to die spiritually, separated from God. You’re actually already dead, separated from God forever.

But if you’re born twice—you’re born physically and then you’re born again spiritually, then you die only once, if the Lord doesn’t come...

Dave:  Then we may not even die.

Tom:  Right, right.

Dave:  So, the Great White Throne Judgment. And then Revelation 21 begins, “And I saw a new heavens and a new earth, for the former were passed away. There’s no more sea.” And, of course, Peter talks about that in —2 Peter 3, he says, “Seeing then that all these things will be dissolved….” Well, he says, “just as the world of the past was destroyed by water, so this present world will be destroyed by fire.” And, of course, I sometimes think of those people who claim—Hugh Ross and others—“Oh, it was a local flood.”

Well, if it was a local flood, it will be a local fire, over there in Mesopotamia, so we don’t need to worry about it. No, no, this whole universe, Peter says, “The heavens will roll away like a scroll.” The works—everything will be burned up. Probably a huge atomic explosion. I don’t know what type to describe. I’m not a nuclear physicist. And this old universe that has been contaminated by sin—that has been the scene of Satan’s and man’s rebellion, angels’ rebellion—they will all be locked away, and it will be destroyed completely. And in its place will be a new heavens and a new earth.

Now, obviously, where are you going to be when this is all destroyed?  If you’re not in the hands of Christ, if you have not been given a new body, an eternal body, that is indestructible, you’re not going to survive.

But of course, we’re talking about this universe, and God does not dwell in this universe and heaven is not in this universe. So, we will be in another dimension. I don’t know how else to explain it when all this occurs.

And then we have the new heavens and the new earth, and we see the heavenly Jerusalem coming down like a bride out of heaven. And it’s huge! It’s about 15—it’s a cube of about 1,500 miles on each side. Wow! And nothing will enter into it that defiles. This is the eternal state now. But apparently, there will be those who are on this earth, nations on this earth—they are not the heavenly people. Apparently, they will have physical bodies. I don’t understand it because there is—Revelation 22—there is the river of life that flows out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, and there is the tree of life, which was in the Garden, you remember? 

And Andrew Murray—I love the way he said it years ago—he said the problem with the human race was they got the wrong tree! Instead of getting the tree of life, they got the tree of knowledge, and they’ve been choking on it ever since.

Tom:  Right.

Dave:  And knowledge really corrupts, and the world of academia is about the proudest and farthest from God—not everyone—but knowledge puffs up. But the leaves—it says, it bears twelve manner of fruit, and the leaves are for the healing of the nations. That I don’t understand, Tom, but apparently, there will be physical people, and we will go between heaven and earth and this heavenly Jerusalem will somehow be on this earth, sort of hovering between heaven and earth. I don’t know.

Tom:  It’s unimaginable, Dave, but it’s wonderful. And God’s prepared it for those and offers entrance in as a free gift.

Dave:  For those who acknowledge their sin and that Christ died to pay that penalty for them and will receive Him as their Savior. It’s that simple, and it’s free, by God’s grace.