Sermon: Last Great Day Sermon
Pastor Robert Scott
The Untold Story of Hell and the Resurrection of the Unsaved
Today we join with our Father Love to mourn those who have or will finally refuse His love with their free will and declare by their words and actions that they don’t won’t to live with the Family of Love forever. That is why this is called a solemn day. At the same time we call forth all generations who have not had the choice as to whether they want to live in the Family of Love by Jesus’ blood to come to Jesus. Their opportunity to know Him will come when they are resurrected in the general resurrection to come after the 1000 years of Jesus’ reign on Earth.
Today we will focus on the positive aspect a bit more than the negative. As the Day of Trumpets is a bittersweet day because of the wrath of Jesus to come at the sounding of the trumpet, so this feast is bittersweet in view of the mourning for the lost and the calling forth of those who never heard the good news. And ironically, most Christians have never heard the good news we share today.How do you sum up the truth 99% of Christians ignore, but truth that is proved by almost 700 Bible verses? That is a challenge we will undertake by God’s grace in this Appendix. More on this subject is available in Why Doesn’t God Heal Me? We have abridged this teaching by posting Scriptures that we invite you to read in your Bibles and meditate upon. We have given ten sermons on the subject, in which we did not come close to citing the many verses that prove the truth so few have understood.
As we click the save button in this document, we save it all. And that’s what God wants to do with all mankind, to save us all. But if we are to believe most evangelists, the vast majority of mankind would be burning in hell right now. They say, “If you die tonight without accepting Jesus, you will burn in hell!” They think they’re doing God a service by cursing people to hell. Instead, they’re spouting out the popular doctrine of demons accepted without question by the majority of the Christian world.
Christians will not be ready to face the events beginning in late 2012 if they persist in this false doctrine, wasting their time and spinning their wheels by going against God’s will and plan.
While God’s desire is to save all mankind (2 Pet. 3:9), He has bound Himself by His words to grant Adam and thus mankind free will. Adam relinquished the authority Jesus gave him over the Earth to Satan, who then became god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). God foreknew that Satan would hold most of the world captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26; Rev. 12:9; Eph. 2:1-3). By respecting man’s free will, which most would turn over to Satan, God would have to wait until Jesus’ return on the seventh-day Sabbath of 1000 years (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8; 2 Pet. 3:8) to begin to bring Sabbath-like rest and peace to the world.
Jesus explained that a miracle was required to bring salvation to men in this age. No one could come to Jesus unless the Father drew them to Him (John 6:44), allowing Jesus to choose them (John 15:16), after which by the miracle of intercessory prayer they would be able to be free enough from Satan and teachable to accept the call of Jesus. It is indeed a calling (Heb. 9:15). We must be called, chosen, and faithful (Rev. 17:14).
God foreknew that few would respond to the call and actually be chosen to be the first fruits in this age (Mat. 7:14; 22:14). A studious reading of Matthew 13 would amply demonstrate to a teachable person what many pastors do not understand. Jesus gave the parables of the Kingdom of God to hide the truth from the majority only to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom to His small number of disciples (Mat. 13:10-17; Isa. 28:9-13).
Is Jesus a Liar and a Failure?
If Jesus had tried to save the world at His first coming, as many believe, He would have been a miserable failure. But He never said that was His goal. He knew that Satan had the authority over the world for six days of 1000 years, so He did not dispute that fact when Satan offered him the world in the desert temptation (Mat. 4:8-10). He said that Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9; 1 John 5:19). Jesus called the gate that leads to salvation in this age narrow (Mat. 7:13-14), evidence that the majority would have to wait till later.
John called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Why don’t we believe that? Why do we believe Jesus is so powerless that He has only been able to save a small percentage of mankind? His hand is “not so short that it cannot save”(Isa. 59:1). It’s all part of His plan to call few now but to offer salvation to the whole world later. He must; after all, “there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11). We recite that famous verse, John 3:16, but do we believe it? Did God only love a select few He would call in this age? No. It is written, “For God so loved the world…” The Father’s will is “that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). Why do we think Satan is more powerful than God? Even Jesus’ name, Yashua, means “the Eternal saves.” Jesus, “the Savior of all men” (1 Tim. 4:10) was “a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6) and His death brought “justification of life to all men” (Rom. 5:18).
Jesus, the Word, spoke an unalterable promise: “…but indeed, as I live [meaning I have to die if I’m telling a fib!], all the earth will be filled with the glory of [Jesus].” God cannot lie. He will perform what He says (Num. 23:19). If “all Israel will be saved” and Jesus will “remove ungodliness from Jacob [unbelievers]” (Rom. 11:26), then He must raise them up. Common sense and logic are not to be discarded when reading the Word. The prophecy we read on the Last Great Day clearly says Jesus will open their graves (Ezek. 37:10-12).
Most assume that when God calls Himself the God of Jacob, He is only using a synonym for Israel. However, in most cases by using the name Jacob He is referring to Jacob’s state of unbelief before He wrestled with God and became an overcomer with God or a believer, as his new name Israel implied. So when God calls Himself the God of Jacob He is prophesying that one day all unbelievers will have an encounter with Him, Jesus, as Jacob had when he became Israel, a follower of and believer in Jesus.
Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32). Men still have free will, but Jesus says He will draw all people who have ever lived to Himself. To do that, He must “raise up [resurrect] the tribes of Jacob [the unbelievers” (Isa. 49:6). He will give them an opportunity to know Him. If He lets them die and burn in hell forever as most erroneously think, then He is lying and you can’t believe anything else He says.
Read Psalm 22: 27-29. This passage says that “all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to [Jesus, the Yahweh or Word who dealt with Israel], And all the families of the nations will worship before You…All those who go down to the dust [who die] will bow before Him.” Prophecies that all men will be able to know Jesus fill the Bible: “…To You all men come” (Ps. 65:2). Jesus says He has selected an appointed time to judge with equity (Ps. 75:2; Num. 23:23; Eccl. 8:5-6). “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Ps. 98:3). One day all earthly kings will hear the Word of God and thank Jesus for it (Ps. 138:4-5). They will be resurrected from sheol (Isa. 14:9).
Every man will one day stand before the judgment seat of Jesus (Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Sam. 2:10). But judgment cannot come without knowledge and understanding, which comes from God (John 9:41; James 4:17). We have a lifetime in which we are judged. God does not change, so He will give a lifetime period of judgment to those resurrected later. It’s not a sentencing or a reward day but a time of judgment.
The men of Nineveh and the queen of Sheba did not know Jesus. Yet Jesus says they will “rise up with this generation at the judgment” (Mat. 12:41-42). They will be resurrected so they can know Jesus. All will one day be “taught of God” (John 6:45). The Light, Jesus, “enlightens every man” (John 1:9). Either the light or truth of Jesus will be available one day to all men, or Jesus is a not a Light but a Liar!
Jesus explained that the dead would be raised, that God was the God of the living, not the dead. He even said that “all live to Him” (Luke 20:37-38).
The Pivotal Verse
When Peter wrote, Jesus had already come the first time, but Peter speaks of “a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet. 1:5). That later time is prophesied in multiple Bible passages. The timing, however, is only clearly spelled out in this verse: “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed” (Rev. 20:5). The second part of the verse referring to the first resurrection is parenthetical and refers back to the latter part of verse 4.
When we read Romans 10:8-21, it becomes clear that a person must confess Jesus with His mouth to begin the process of salvation. But what about the person that never even heard His name in this lifetime? Indeed, as verse 14 asks, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Either God is unjust and is a respecter of persons, or He will resurrect them to allow them to know Jesus and confess Him? If He doesn’t, He will be denying His Word expressed in almost 700 verses of the Bible. God be true, and every preacher who says God will cause unsaved people to burn forever in hell a liar (Rom. 3:4). Whose word do you believe?
God promises those who are guided by the Holy Spirit and walk in faith in this age “a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35;). Why call it better and call those who attain it “blessed and holy” (Rev. 20:6)? It is better than the second one because those called later will not be the Bride of Jesus (Rev. 19:7; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-32).
First Peter 2:6-12 explains that for most in this age Jesus is a “rock of offense” they stumble over because they are not presently “a chosen race” deemed ready to receive Jesus now, which only a small number are. We receive mercy now. Others will only be ready to receive that mercy in a resurrection later. Verse 12 shows that we are called to be a light to the “Gentiles” or unbelievers today so that they may remember our light in a future resurrection and “glorify God in the day of visitation.” God visits us now. He will visit them later for a time of judgment in which the book of life will be opened to them (Rev. 20:12). If they glorify God, what does that mean? It means they will be saved.
While salvation did come for the few in this age because Jesus has come and called a few, the fullness of salvation for everyone will only begin when Jesus returns. John announces that salvation comes when the accuser Satan has been thrown down: “Now the salvation, and the…kingdom of our God…have come…” (Rev. 12:10). Why are we wasting our time trying to save people that God will bring salvation to later, against His will, and sometimes theirs? We are born again according to God’s will, not “of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Not everyone is blessed to be invited to the marriage supper with Jesus (Rev. 19:9). Why would we extend an invitation God does not offer?
Jesus is the only way to the Father (Jon 14:6). And He is speaking in Isaiah 45:21-22 as the Savior who will come and one day, in a resurrection, declare, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” He affirms in verse 23 that if every knee does not bow before Him, you can call Him a Liar. But He cannot lie, and every tongue will one day confess Jesus.
The first fruits of a crop are only a small part of the total harvest. God’s people today are called first fruits (James 1:18; Rev. 14:4; I Cor. 16:15). Jesus says that eventually all will be able to come alive spiritually in Him, but “each in his own order” (1 Cor. 15:22-23).
The Misunderstood Last Great Day
For those who keep the Last Great Day, it is no mystery. Jesus will at that time, after the Millennium, allow anyone who is thirsty to come and drink the waters of eternal life (John 7:37; Rev. 22:17). We call forth all generations of mankind to come to Jesus when resurrected on that Last Great Day observance, speaking to the dry bones as Ezekiel did in Ezekiel 37, a major proof of the second resurrection.
We also join solemnly on that day to mourn those who turn knowingly from God. They are the few who rebel against God after knowing Him. They commit the unpardonable sin because they refuse to be pardoned. They either say no to Jesus when presented with Him or they turn from Him permanently after tasting the goodness of God (Rom. 1:18-32; Heb. 6:4-6). In the first case, when they die, they are not conscious in the place of the dead, sheol. God resurrects them at the very end at the third resurrection, at which time their body is burned up in the lake of fire and all memory of them is erased.
The third resurrection, or raising up of the body to be thrown into a lake of fire, is obviously the worst resurrection of the three (God’s first number of completion, exemplified by the Trinity and our triune nature of spirit, soul, and body). It is, however, one that comes from a deliberate, willful, and long-term choice of rejection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:26-27; Heb. 6:4-6). And that brings us to the most misunderstood Bible subject—hell.
In the briefest of summaries, here is the truth about hell. By hell we mean the Hebrew sheol, the place of the dead. Gehenna fire, on the other hand, more often refers to the end-time lake of fire, especially the final one that encompasses the Earth (Mal. 4:1-3). The Bible refers to various compartments of hell (Prov. 7:27), including “the depths” of hell (Deut. 32:22; Isa. 14:9-15; Ezek. 32:23), the lowest pit where the demons abide, or the bottom levels, the only levels where fire is mentioned.
The other category of those who knew Jesus go to the third and fourth levels of hell (sheol) where “a fire is kindled in My anger And burns to the lowest parts of Sheol…” (Deut. 32:22). God speaks of the “remotest parts of the pit” (Ezek. 32:23), but He also speaks of the “midst of Sheol” (Ezek. 32:21), a middle compartment. And He calls it “the nether world” (Ezek. 32:18).
The top compartment, before Jesus came, held the righteous dead. They could not become alive and be with Jesus until He paid the price for them (Eph. 4:8- 9; Ps. 68:18; 1 Pet. 3:18-19). The top levels of hell are holding places where the unconscious souls of the unsaved sleep until a future resurrection.
Jesus took the children in His arms and declared that because of their teachability we should become like them to enter the Kingdom of God. It is doubtful any of those teachable children were over nine years of age. When children turn ten, in most cases they begin to enter pre-puberty and their hormones often keep them from being teachable as little children. From this we can infer that the top level of sheol contains the sleeping souls of the young, including aborted babies, who died without knowing Jesus, while the second level houses the souls of those who are ten or over, the adults and those heading to adulthood.
The souls and spirits of those who walked with Jesus but later committed the unpardonable sin are alive in the bottom levels of torment, where they have no rest for their souls. While the fire there is literal (Deut. 32:22), only in rare cases has it actually burned up bodies, as in the case of Korah’s rebellion when God caused the Earth to open up. The indications are that these rebels fell down to a fiery hell and were burned up, but since they did not have the Holy Spirit, they will be resurrected in the second resurrection.
Hell is Not Eternal!
Some who adopt this idea of people continually burning in a fire in hell are not satisfied with this degree of torment. But imagine the mental torment of Satan, the demons, and those who have chosen, after knowing the truth, to permanently reject God, to be reminded constantly that when resurrected in a the third general resurrection they will be bodily thrown into a fire that will burn them up (Rev. 20:14), only to be wandering spirits in the blackness of darkness forever. That is why God made a fiery hell (in the lowest parts of sheol) originally for Satan and the demons, to be a constant reminder of their fate.
Moreover, these are souls who are alive. Our souls, when we are alive, sense influences on our bodies before the bodies do. The soul is somewhat like an aura that surrounds us that gives us will, mind power, and emotions. The soul actually feels. As we feel the touch of the Holy Spirit when we have our hands open to heaven in an anointed song ceremony, our hands feel the weight of His presence, felt first by the soul that surrounds us. So the heat and/or smoke from fire and brimstone in mainly the fourth level of hell can be felt by these souls but cannot burn them since they don’t have bodies. The fifth level contains only the rebellious demons and Satan, when they are not roaming on the Earth.
These unpardonable sinners who knew Jesus and knew fully what terrible choice they were making will also be reminded of their future. They will be resurrected with their physical bodies to be thrown into the lake of fire, in the same way that Satan is referred to as a “man’ in Isaiah 14:16. God gives him the body he wished for in inciting Job to make comments in conceptual Hebrew that prophesied the devil would have a body that could be destroyed by fire.
It is possible that the third level, containing mostly smaller insect-like demons called plague demons, is occupied by some who accepted Jesus initially but learned more about a false Jesus than the real One and who persecuted the true believers. They will be in this level of punishment as retribution for what they did to God’s people. The perfect Judge Jesus will decide whether they are resurrected in bodies at the second resurrection with an opportunity to repent or at the third if their fate is sealed.
The Bible contradicts the popular belief that the wicked will burn in hell inside the Earth forever. Hell itself (along with those in its lower levels) is burned up at the end in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), which is a globe-girdling fire that destroys both the Earth and the heavens that Satan has marred. God replaces them with new heavens and a new Earth (2 Pet. 3:10-13). Satan and the demons and spirits of humankind or mankind that accepted Jesus but finally followed the evil one will be banished to a dimension of total darkness outside this universe—separated from God and from each other (Jude 1:13; 2 Pet. 2:17).
While the different original words used for hell in the Bible is far from the only reason for the vast confusion in this most misunderstood subject, this is a factor. Hades seems to refer to the bottom, fiery levels of sheol, the place of the dead. The valley of Hinnom, the place outside Jerusalem where trash and in some rate cases bodies were burned up, gave birth to the Greek gehenna, which more often refers to the lake of fire. And remember, hell is not eternal; it is eventually thrown into the lake of fire, its entity and its occupants.
The Awesome Plan of Love
Probably less than 1/100 of one per cent of all mankind who have ever lived will lose out on living as sons and daughters of God in the Family of Love forever. That’s because God is indeed love with a capital L (1 John 4:8). He is not the cruel Father who sends people willy-nilly to a fiery hell when He did not even draw them to Jesus in this age. That’s how many portray who they think is the God of “that Old Testament” that loved to smite people. That’s not God. That’s not Love. Foreknowing what Satan and Adam would do, He devised the best plan to enable almost all mankind to be saved, while respecting the free will of everyone.
If the Christian world had kept the days God calls holy rather than pagan holidays falsely baptized Christian, they would understand this concept. Jesus was the first of the first fruits by His resurrection just before sunset on a Saturday, three days and three nights after He was buried on the Wednesday Passover (Luke 23:54; Mat. 12:40). He offered Himself as the wave sheaf offering on the day after the Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:11), although that day was not a separate feast.
It was Pentecost or the Feast of First Fruits in which the small first harvest of souls in this age was pictured (Num. 28:26; Lev. 23:16-21). The larger harvest of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day signified the majority who come to Jesus in the Millennium and the much greater harvest when the book of life would be finally opened to all mankind through a second general resurrection (Rev. 20:11-12). These ones who were blinded by Satan in this age (2 Cor. 4:3-4) would be given a second life and a time of judgment (just as we who were called now have in this age, as seen in 1 Peter 4:17).
The vast majority of Christians believe we should be on a frantic crusade to try to save all the nations today. But God said instead that the gospel of the Kingdom of God would be preached as a witness to all nations and in the end time, not to save necessarily, because that’s God’s job, not ours (Mat. 24:14). And we would have understood this simple, saving truth if we had kept God’s days of love that show His plan of love to eventually bring all mankind into His Family of Love.
Instead, we have told God as Cain did that He must respect and go along with the way we choose to worship Him. After all, the majority keeps Sunday, Christmas, Easter and other pagan days that God told the believers (Israel) not to mix with true worship (Deut. 12:30-32; John 4:24). We tried to force these days on God, all the while persecuting and at times in history murdering those who dared to keep all His commandments (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 20:4; Dan. 7:25).
The major translations all render the following verse correctly, and this verse also correctly confirms the truth about few being called in this age: “When the Gentles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the [Divine Master Jesus]; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). Who appoints us to eternal life now? God, of course. He does not mandate us to go out and try to save those He is not drawing to Jesus.
God wrote the Bible as a puzzle, in a foreign conceptual tongue with doctrine established by reading verses that need to be put together like a puzzle. “A little here, a little there” is the way God expresses it (Isa. 28:13). In that way, only the teachable few, the weak of the world, would recognize their need for God (1 Cor. 1:26-27). They would be freed from Satan’s captivity and would understand. Only the even smaller group who kept the Sabbath and the holy days would accept the Sabbath rest in Jesus, in whom are hidden all knowledge and wisdom (Isa. 28:12; Heb. 4:9-11; Col. 2:3). Only they would fully grasp the Kingdom mysteries.
For those who accuse God of not being fair by giving people what they call a second chance, consider this. Satan is the one who complains about God not being fair. God is just, not fair. He shows mercy to whom He chooses to show mercy (Ex. 33:19). Jesus is the perfect Judge because He lived as a man withstanding all the pressures of Satan, and as God He knows men’s hearts.
The Loving Truth that Makes Sense
For most, including all the deceived Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and agnostics who don’t know Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), a second resurrection would be their very first chance. You can see why Joel Osteen and Billy Graham were less than clear to TV’s Larry King, a Jew, who asked them about all these people that are supposedly doomed to hell. How indeed could a God of love not give a chance of salvation in Jesus to those who died without knowing Him?
But what about those who were called and yet did not fulfill what God requires for them to be the Bride of Jesus in the first resurrection? After all, Jesus said that he “who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16), that eternal life is granted only to those who eat and drink of Jesus in communion (John 6:53), and that only those who persevere in overcoming are granted the reward of the first resurrection (Rev. 3:21; Mat. 24:13).
If you are a believer, how many “chances” has God given you? How many times has He picked you up when you failed miserably? Those Christians who don’t fulfill the conditions to be in the first resurrection will have to wait to be raised in the second one. God is just, and He is merciful. Who are we, the clay (Rom. 9:20), to judge the Potter? God is perfect and never makes mistakes in judgment. We make the mistake of judging Him.
Even the Jews who were cut off from Jesus foresaw the day when the Messiah would come and offer salvation to all. They believed the glory of God would return on the eighth day, the Last Great Day feast. They had a water pouring ceremony that pictured the day when Messiah would offer living water to all, as He spoke in John 7:37.
They also erected giant menorahs on this day so that all the houses of Jerusalem were filled with light. This pictured the day when the light of Jesus, the light of His truth, would shine on all men. Their traditional celebrations confirm the Bible truth we have transmitted today. But most have not had that Light shine on them today. So what does God want us to do?
Through many ministries who are endeavoring to do an end-time work in the spirit of Elijah, and we hope through the work God is doing through us, He is turning His children’s hearts back to Him and preparing a people ready to be raptured and marry Jesus (Luke 1:17; Mal. 4:6; 1 Thes.1:10; 5:9). Will we persist in thinking our job is to save everyone, or will we do the true work God has called us to do? That work is preparing ourselves and others to marry Jesus, preaching the Kingdom message as a witness. Will we obey Jesus when He said to “make disciples of all the nations [not trying to save everyone in every nation]… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Mat. 28:19-20)?
Will we be doing His will when He calls us to heaven in a rapture? Will we be deceived by doctrines of demons that we teach others, or will we prove all things according to the Word (1 Thes. 5:21-24)? It’s high time we became the light of the world to shine as examples of love, giving hope to a world that needs God’s Kingdom to come. That is one of the many lessons of this Last Great Day. We pray we can all learn those lessons.