Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth, to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Dave, last week I said we’re about to conclude our discussion of your book A Cup of Trembling…
Dave: That was very optimistic…
Tom: Well, I try to be optimistic, Dave, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out, you know, because you were headed for Europe. I thought we’d just get some closure on this, and so on. So, as people may or may not know, we tape this program, so although they get it from week to week, we may stack some up and do some—you know, two, three, four a week, and then we wait until you return, pick up where we left off, which is what we’re doing this morning.
Dave: It’s been quite a while.
Tom: Right. The last time we were together, we were talking about what Israel would have to go through—we were talking about Armageddon. It’s not the most uplifting scenario you could find, except that our Lord does intervene and saves Israel. Now, it does say that “all Israel will be saved.” They go through this Tribulation, Jacob’s trouble—time of Jacob’s trouble—and yet “all will be saved.” Now, there is something that’s positive, upbeat, exciting.
Dave: Well, that’s all Israel that is alive when Christ returns at the Second Coming, and they see Him, recognize—here is God, but He’s a man who was pierced to the death, who was crucified, and two-thirds of all Jews will be killed in what’s called “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” Jeremiah:30:7, and we get that in Zechariah 13: He’s going to bring one-third through the fire; two-thirds will be killed. But…
Tom: Now, Dave, when you say that, it may sound like to some that God is selective, saying, “Okay, two-thirds I’m going to wipe out and one-third save.” Is this determined on…what basis?
Dave: Tom, it’s amazing how God does things, and I’ve often mentioned it. Almost every time I get off an airplane, I say, “God, you did it again!” For example, coming back from New York three or four days ago, who does the Lord sit me next to on the first plane? He’s a Muslim, but he’s not all that knowledgeable, doesn’t really practice it, goes to the mosque on certain holidays, and so forth. Well, I’d better not say his position. He’s heading for China, and he is in charge of the technological center for one of the largest American corporations, which they’re setting up over there.
I have a wonderful conversation with him. Open to the gospel! How does the Lord do that? I don’t think He made him get on that plane; didn’t make me get on that plane. I don’t know how He does it. But there are Israelis—there are Jews—all over the world who have just determined in their hearts they are not going to accept Christ, no matter what. They don’t even care about God. They do keep the Passover, which is amazing, because that’s a fulfillment of prophecy. But they could care less whether God exists or not. They run their own lives, and then you have those who, in this last chapter, I think we quote Elie Wiesel. He’s a Nobel Prize winner, survivor of the Holocaust, and he’s saying, “Well, what we need is education. That’s going to save us, if we just had education.”
Well, here’s a man who went through the Holocaust himself, survived, his family died—education? The most educated country in the world is Germany! That didn’t help.
Or, “If you just knew the facts.” Well, I think the Nazis, who tortured them and killed them, put them in the gas chambers, I think they knew the facts. They knew what they were doing. So, again, he leaves God out of it.
Unfortunately, as Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” And you have God, all through the Old Testament, through His prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and so forth—He’s weeping over His people. They’ve gone into idolatry, for example. He says, “Don’t do this abominable thing that I hate. I’m going to have to punish you.”
You know, you’ve got five children; Ruth and I have four. You know the heart of a father or mother. You don’t want to punish your child. But when they simply refuse, then what are you going to do? You can’t let them run the universe—God’s universe. He can’t let man run His universe. So, He gives warning, He pleads, He has sent Christ to die for their sins—paid the full penalty that His own infinite justice required—and yet there are still many Jews and Gentiles who reject, refuse…they even reject the—when you think of university professors, for example. One of the things I was talking about with this Muslim—highly educated man, you know, Ph.D—top guy in high-tech stuff of various kinds, and a Muslim, but he still sort of believes in evolution.
Now how can you…a university professor, highly educated, and you think we’re cousins to an octopus or something? And you don’t even accept the evidence of DNA—it couldn’t possibly happen. The manufacturing instructions to build a whole body with trillions of cells, and the relationship between them, incredibly complex. We don’t even understand it yet with medical science, and how to operate high-tech nano-chemical machines by the millions? And it’s all written out in the instructions, and even Einstein himself admitted “matter cannot organize itself into words—into language.” And it’s all there, coded, to be decoded by protein molecules, certain protein molecules, in the DNA. And then, Tom, they refuse to accept that evidence, and they are determined to pursue this bankrupt…I don’t have words enough to say how I just…it’s despicable! This idea that man came from some impersonal force that somehow caused chemicals to come together, and over billions of years, whatever happened, you’ve got the human brain, the most complex organism in the universe, and we still don’t understand it today. Tom! That is wicked! That is rebellion. And what is God going to do? Just keep pleading with them and pleading with them? He’s got a program here, and I know you want to talk about it. He’s got a new heaven and a new earth coming, wherein dwells righteousness. And the rebels—finally they have to be put in their place. They have to be put away.
Tom: So this two-thirds—that’s the way it works out. It’s not that God said, “Okay, I’m just going to cover two-thirds here, and one-third I’m going to save. This is volitional…
Tom: …this is the way the numbers pan out.
Dave: Exactly, exactly. And how they happen to be in the right place to get killed, and how the others happen to be in the right place to believe, I don’t know. But it is, as you said, Tom, it’s very important. It does not violate man’s choice, man’s free will. So, when it says, “All Israel will be saved,” that’s those who are left. It doesn’t mean every Jew that ever lived, nor does it mean every Jew that happens to be alive at that time, because many of them will be killed because they have rebelled against God.
It’s a tragedy, Tom. We plead with people—that’s part of the reason for this program. But you can bring a horse to water, you can’t make him drink.
Tom: Dave, and it really gets more interesting—that’s probably not the right word—but we have…
Dave: Intriguing, how about that?
Tom: Okay, well, I’m not even thinking of intriguing…
Dave: All right…
Tom: It’s almost—it demonstrates, as we’ve mentioned on this program many times, the heart of man. Because once all Israel is saved, and we believe there also will be Gentiles that come through the Tribulation, and then Jesus Christ himself reigns here on Earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. We’ve talked about Satan being bound. He’s bound for 1,000 years, and all those, those who populate the earth, Jews and Gentiles, many become believers, but some just profess to be believers…
Dave: Apparently millions, sounds like it: “Like the sand of the sea.”
Tom: Right. And so you’d hardly say that, well, it was from the evil influence that was out there. Satan is bound. Christ is ruling and reigning from Jerusalem. It’s got to be a time in which righteousness is prevalent.
Tom: Yet then, Satan is loosed, and rebellion takes over. How’d it get…how do you explain that, Dave, except for the heart of man?
Dave: That’s right. As Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart.” People often say, “Well how come some people believe in Christ and other people don’t? That must be God causes them. You have to become a Calvinist.”
No, why don’t you ask them? They’re the ones that made the choice. Ask them why they chose to reject Christ in spite of all the evidence, and so forth. So I think that the Millennial reign of Christ—it’s 1,000 years—and when the 1,000 years is ended, it says, Satan is loosed. So, as you said, it lasts a little more than 1,000 years, but the reign of Christ is 1,000 years in righteousness, and then Satan is loosed and immediately he deceives the nations! Incredible! And they come against Jerusalem to destroy Christ. So that’s maybe a short time after the 1,000 years, because it’s not going to take long. And they are wiped out. Tom, I think the Millennium is the final proof of the incorrigible evil in the human heart.
You know, you think of it. What’s God going to do? He’s got a tough problem on His hands. He created man because He loves us and He gave us the capability of saying yes or no. So we could respond to His love. So we could love Him and receive His love. But the ability to say yes is meaningless without the ability to say no. And God did not program man. He wants people in heaven whose hearts have genuinely been won, and who really love Him and who want to be there. It’s beyond our comprehension.
But anyway, when, as you said, Christ reigns in righteousness, everybody has to behave. The earth is better than the Garden of Eden, and Satan can’t even get here because he’s bound for 1,000 years. And yet, that does not change the human heart. It reminds me, Tom, of the old saying, I remember I used to use this as an illustration years…many years ago when I was speaking on a university campus, and particularly in the Berkeley street people…the People’s Park, the revolution that they had there in those days—a lot of them were reading The Little Red Book of Mao, and they were really into communism, and I would say, “You know, communism promises ‘We’ll have everybody living in a new house. We’ll put a new suit of clothes on everyone.’ Jesus says, ‘Big deal. You still have the same rascals, scoundrels, living inside of those new houses, and living in those beautiful new suits. Jesus says, ‘I’ll put a new man inside of every suit.’”
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new suit or an old suit. It has to involve a change of the heart, and that comes from the inside, and the person has to be willing. And how that comes about, Tom, well, people, as I mentioned, some people say, “Well, why do some believe and some don’t?” Well, ask them. They decided.
So this is the final proof of the incorrigible evil of the heart. You know, some people say, “Well, if I’d been in the Garden of Eden, I wouldn’t have sinned. I wouldn’t have been deceived by the serpent.” And you know, the sociologist and so forth, they blame everything on society, or environment.
Tom: Our parents…
Dave: “If we just had prosperity,” you know. “Some people are so poor…” Well, a lot of the terrorists today, they are not downtrodden, so-called Palestinians. They are very wealthy. Osama bin Laden is one of the wealthiest men in the world. So that theory doesn’t work. It’s the heart in man. But…okay. God says, “I will demonstrate it to you.” A perfect environment. There’s no poverty. Everybody has plenty to eat. I mean, it’s an abundance. It’s Paradise. It’s better than the Garden of Eden!
And what happens? The heart of man comes out. So, Tom, there will be then a new heavens and a new earth. The Lord is going to destroy the whole thing. Peter talks about it. The whole universe is going to go up in a big atomic explosion, and then He will make a new heavens and a new earth and a ew Jerusalem!
And we read of that in Revelation 21…
Tom: Now, Dave, for some who maybe have…it’s the first time they have heard anything like that—when you talk about this great explosion, you’re not talking about those who’ve put their faith in Christ, who went through the Millennial reign of Christ, believing upon Him—they’re not destroyed, are they?
Dave: No, we are in new bodies, resurrected bodies, like Christ’s body. Where is heaven? Where is the Father’s house of many mansions? It’s not off in some distant planet. It’s not part of this physical universe. It’s in eternity. And God dwells in eternity, outside of time. And so, it is only this physical universe, in which we have lived and functioned—the only thing the materialist thinks exists, but we know thoughts are not physical, and so forth. We’ve been through that. So, we will be in another dimension. And it is this physical universe that will be destroyed, and then remade.
Tom: Remade. Let me read from the Book of Revelation:21:10: The Apostle John is being showed a vision here. “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal, and had a great wall, and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates, twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel…” And, Dave, I won’t describe all of this, but this sounds like something that we can’t even comprehend. Is most of this symbolic? Or will this be, in fact, is this a description of the way it’s going to be?
Dave: Well, we understand what the Bible—we take it literally, when it should be taken literally and symbolically when it should be taken symbolically. And you say, “Well, how do I know?” Well, you can pretty much tell. When it says, going back to verse 1 again, when it says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. There was no more sea,” I don’t think that’s symbolic. There…literally, there is a new heavens and a new earth.
Now when it describes—it says it has “the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even a jasper stone, clear as crystal,” and so forth, and it goes on with all the details of it here that you didn’t read…we don’t have time, I think some of that…I don’t know that we would call it symbolic, but it’s…look, it’s describing something that we don’t have words for. So he has to give it to us in what we know. But it is far beyond, beyond that. So this is the best he can do. But this is a literal new heavens and a new earth. A literal city. It’s a fantastic city, verse 22: “I saw the temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb in the temple of it.” Again, that’s a bit difficult to understand. But Tom, it’s amazing. It doesn’t say, “This is the new Moscow.” Or “the new Paris.” Those cities have passed. This is not the new Washington D.C. It’s not the new Rome, the headquarters of the Catholic Church. This is the New Jerusalem. Forty times in the Bible it is called “the city of David.” Over and over, God says, “This is the city that I have chosen, where I have put my name.” He says, “This is the city where I will dwell forever.” Now, that opens up a whole other subject, which this book is all about. God’s choosing of Israel. God’s choosing of Abraham. Why did He choose them? Why couldn’t He choose the Americans? Or why couldn’t He choose the Japanese? Or the French?
Well, He had to choose somebody, and the Jews—some of them, I guess, could complain, as Topol in Fiddler on the Roof said, “Chosen people! Why didn’t you choose somebody else?” What has it got us, but persecution, and so forth? And that was, of course, because of their sin.
So, God has a people—the chosen people. He has revealed Himself—and we’ve talked about it in this book that we’re now wrapping up. The great proof of the existence of God and that the Bible is His Word is Israel—What He has said about them. He’s laid out the whole history, and we’ve been going through it in this book, A Cup of Trembling, which, by the way, Tom, I’m right in the midst of revising it and updating it…
Tom: Expanding it…
Dave: Yeah, well, it always gets expanded when I touch it—that’s what the staff complain about. But…
Tom: Awww, we don’t complain, Dave! Because just as you’re working on expanding What Love Is This?, it’s terrific new stuff. It’s great.
Dave: Well, it’s finished. I had to answer all the objections of the Calvinists—so, that should be out by the end of August, I hope.
Tom: Yeah, Dave, new heaven and new earth. Sin will not enter in. That’s something so hard for us to comprehend—you know, we look at things—even in reading Scripture, we live in a finite, fallen world, and sometimes, you know, we take things in by osmosis. It’s so hard for us to put that aside, and say, Well, wait a minute! This is the way it’s going to be.
But it is glorious. It’s going to be glorious. Even though we can’t really grasp it right now.
Tom: But no—sin not entering in. How can that be?
Dave: That’s a tough question. It’s one—those who do not believe in free will, they always raise that. Well, if you’ve got a free will, you could choose to receive Christ or not to receive Him, and you’re going to carry on with a free will throughout eternity, what would keep you from rebelling in heaven—sometime, a billion years from now, or whatever—like Satan did?
Tom, that is a big subject that we need to discuss. I should write an article in the newsletter about it. But basically, when you look back, it’s not just a nice story—man’s redemption, the sin of Adam and Eve, all the horror that has happened in this world, God becoming a man to demonstrate His love, to pay the penalty for our sins.
You see, Satan was never redeemed, and he cannot be redeemed. There’s no history—the throne of God will be the throne of God and of the Lamb. We’re there because we love Him, and we’ve been bought by His blood. Paul said, “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” Part of our problem is we live in bodies—physical bodies of lust and weakness and so forth. We’re going to be delivered from that, and we’ll have new bodies like His body of glory. Why would we ever want to rebel? It’d be impossible for such a thought to come.
But, Tom, it took a long history—it took…you know the lessons you’ve learned in your life, the lessons I’ve learned in my life, and we will have a history of gratitude and love for the Lamb of God, and our song will be—as we have it in Revelation 5: “Unto him who loved us, and loosed us from our sins, in his own blood.” He’s washed us in His blood. And that will be our song forever. There’s no turning back.
There will be no more sin. It couldn’t possibly enter. But that’s a prospect for those who are willing to accept Christ and to come to God on His terms. Otherwise, you will be out of this forever and forever—separated from God in a horrible, burning thirst, because we were made for Him, and it will be like dying of thirst forever and forever and forever.
It’s a tragedy, Tom, and I just hope that no one that is listening to us would ever be in that condition but that they would all accept Christ and thank Him for dying for their sins.