About Our Cover ...
After the final Judgment period, the earth will be purified by a "Lake of Fire" which will cover its surface.
In the Lake of Fire the incorrigibly wicked — those who have deliberately rejected God's master plan — will be destroyed. The earth's surface will be cleansed from all human defilement.
Only those who have been born again as members of God's family and inherit immortal spiritual life will remain to build a new heavens and earth.
Our cover photograph of a solar eclipse graphically illustrates how the flames of final destruction will cover the earth — baptizing it in a Lake of Fire.
The Last Great Day — The LAST JUDGMENT
MILLIONS have lived and died — yet have never once heard the NAME of Jesus Christ! Without THAT name no one can be saved (Acts 4:12)!
Are they lost forever because they didn't hear the gospel? Because the name of Jesus had not reached them?
And what about little infants that die?
The Only Day of Salvation?
It is commonly assumed that time is FAST RUNNING OUT on God. That He is desperately trying to get everybody saved before it is too late! Meanwhile Satan is pictured as trying to keep everybody lost! Satan, according to this view, is clearly the winner!
But this is not what the Bible says! What of the millions enslaved under the dreadful yoke of atheistic Communism? They have never been allowed to hear Christ's GOSPEL. They didn't choose to be born in a godless society. Are they forever LOST? Is the door of salvation forever shut in their face because they can't hear the truth in this life?
Paul says of the heathen peoples of this earth, "ye were without Christ, being aliens ... and strangers from the covenants of promise, HAVING NO HOPE, AND WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD." (Eph. 2:11-12.)
Clearly, people who have not heard the way of salvation and the name of Jesus Christ ARE WITHOUT HOPE OF SALVATION — ARE LOST FOREVER — IF THERE IS NO FUTURE OPPORTUNITY FOR SALVATION!
Would God be fair to condemn them because they CANNOT hear the truth?
What about those who have died before they could learn about God's plan? Perhaps some of your relatives and friends never grasped the importance of God's plan in their lives. Are they DOOMED FOREVER?
Can you imagine the multiple hundreds of billions of people who have been born, who have lived through miserable marriages, reared and lost children, and have grown old, suffered and died since the Creation of the Earth — NEVER KNOWING THE GOD THAT GAVE THEM LIFE — NEVER ONCE HAVING SEEN A BIBLE OR HEARD THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST PRONOUNCED IN THEIR EARS?
PHOTO CAPTION: Russian family on streets of Moscow under the yoke of atheistic communism. Are they lost forever?
Are these poor ignorant people forever lost? Is the hope of salvation and eternal life forever beyond their grasp?
Can you imagine a merciful and just God condemning innocent little children — whose lives were cut short before they could either walk or talk — to remain dead for all eternity without the knowledge of God's happy way of life? Is that the kind of sadistically cruel God you want to serve?
OF COURSE NOT!
That is the God preached by the false ministers of this world. But the God of your Bible is NOT THAT KIND OF GOD!!
God Is Fair!
God is a God of love. He is also a God of justice. He punishes the wicked for their willful sins. But what of the millions for whom Christ died, yet who never knew of God's provision for their salvation? Are they doomed forever?
Not at all! How, then, are they to learn of salvation? The surprising answer is revealed in the final step in God's Master Plan!
God has, in His fairness, planned for everyone who has ever lived to receive the very same opportunity for salvation you are being given!
Just as the week is not complete without the Sabbath Day, so God's Master Plan is not complete without God's seventh annual Holy Day!
Seven is God's special number signifying completion and perfection. Without the knowledge of this seventh annual Holy Day, you can't understand the perfection of God's Master Plan.
You are ready to begin the thirty-ninth lesson. In it you will see God's perfect justice and mercy upon all of those who have NEVER YET had an opportunity for salvation. You will learn that God's mercy to mankind extends even BEYOND the Millennium.
In order to understand this final phase — the wind-up — of God's plan, you must understand the last of God's annual Holy Days, symbolizing the Last Great Judgment Day!
Jesus told His disciples to follow His example, to do the same things He Himself had done. "If ye know these things," said Jesus, "happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
1. Did Jesus observe the Feast of Tabernacles in New Testament times? John 7:2, 8-10.
COMMENT: The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven-day Festival. It is followed by an eighth day — the Great Day of the Feast — the last of the seven annual Holy Days which God ordained.
2. Did Jesus ALSO know that the Holy Day cycle was NOT COMPLETE until the Last or Great Day — the eighth day — of the Feast had been observed? John 7:37.
3. Turn to the central passage which outlines all of God's remarkable Holy Day plan (Lev. 23). Here, in Old Testament symbolism, lies the New Testament gospel message.
Was there an eighth day of worship held immediately following the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles? Lev. 23:34-36.
4. Was this eighth day one of Almighty God's annual Holy Day Festivals? Did God command His people to appear before Him on that day in Holy Convocation? Same verse.
5. Is it an annual Sabbath of rest? Verse 39.
6. Are God's people specifically reminded to keep this eighth day as a separate festival — distinct from the Feast of Tabernacles? Verses 39-42.
COMMENT: Since the eighth day was observed immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles had ended, people who had come to the Feast of Tabernacles continued to keep the final eighth day as well. It naturally became associated with the Feast of Tabernacles. In the New Testament it is called the "Great Day of the Feast" (John 7:37).
7. What was Jesus preaching on that last great day of the feast? John 7:37-39.
8. Did Jesus speak of the time of the final resurrection in connection with the Last Day? Compare John 11:23-26 with John 6:39, 40, 44.
God's Final Harvest Festival
1. When God established the Church in the wilderness, did He remind His people to appear before Him in Holy Day Festivals at three seasons of each year? Ex. 23:14-17.
2. What were these three seasons? Verses 15-16. COMMENT: The three seasons are the beginning of spring, early summer, and the beginning of autumn. The spring Holy Days were the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. About early summer, God's people keep the Day of Pentecost. And in autumn — the great festival season — come the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Within the three festival seasons fall all of God's annual Holy Days.
PHOTO CAPTION: INDIA - Today, for the first time since apostolic days, the gospel — the Good News — of the Kingdom of God is reaching India as a witness via The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast. Yet only the few are hearing — and far fewer understand! This simply is not the day Christ is trying to save everyone. Not until after the 1000 years will India's deceived billions, who have lived and died in utter ignorance, be called to the knowledge of the truth.
RIGHT: Only the few in India have the benefits of Western education. Most have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. BELOW: Hindu custom requires Indians to bathe in the Ganges River. more than 300 million Indians are blinded by Hinduism.
3. How long are God's people to continue keeping this final annual festival? Lev. 23:41. Is it "forever"?
4. In the days of Solomon, was Israel keeping the Feast of the eighth day? I Kings 8:66. See also II Chron. 7:8-10, the parallel account.
5. Did wise King Solomon know that the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles did not complete God's Holy Day plan? Same verses.
COMMENT: Beginning during the second week of the seventh month, King Solomon held a feast in celebration of the dedication of the new temple. This celebration included feasting and rejoicing for seven days (I Kings 8:65 and II Chron. 7:9), until the end of the 14th day of the seventh month. During this time Israel observed the fast day — the Day of Atonement — on the 10th of the month. The people then celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days (I Kings 8:65). Immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles, God's people observed the last or eighth day (II Chron. 7:9). It was a solemn assembly held on the 22nd day of the seventh month. On the next day the people returned to their homes (II Chron. 7:10).
6. After the Israelites had been taken into captivity for neglecting God's Sabbaths, and forgetting His Holy Day Master Plan, a few of the people were permitted to return to Palestine. Under Ezra and Nehemiah, did this remnant remember that the Feast of Tabernacles was not complete until the eighth day was observed? Neh. 8:14-18.
7. How was the eighth day celebrated in Nehemiah's time? Verse 18, note the words, "according to the manner."
COMMENT: The eighth day was kept according to the manner that was written in the Book of the Law, Leviticus 23:36.
8. What does it mean to keep the eighth day as a "solemn assembly"? Neh. 8:18 and Lev. 23:36.
COMMENT: The words translated "solemn assembly" in the King James Version should properly read, "day of restraint" (see marginal reference) from the Hebrew. The Septuagint clarifies this phrase, "a closing day," indicating that the eighth day — sometimes referred to as The Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles — was the final Holy Day in God's Master Plan.
Meaning of the Last Day
Turn in your Bible to Revelation 19 and 20. 1. Does this prophecy give a time order — first showing Jesus Christ, on a white horse, establishing His Kingdom? Rev. 19:11-16. Then are the martyred saints — the dead in Christ — to receive their glorious spiritual bodies, and rule with Christ for 1000 years? Rev. 20:4-6.
2. What happens to the rest of the dead people of the earth, those who died WITHOUT the knowledge of salvation? Rev. 20:5.
COMMENT: These are not "the dead IN CHRIST," but simply — the DEAD — those millions who are NOT Christ's — who have never been begotten and converted, who may never have heard the gospel or the name of Jesus.
Note also: The first part of verse 5 in the King James Version of the Bible is a parenthetical expression. Put parentheses in so that you can easily understand this verse. Here's how, "(But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection."
The sentence, "This is the first resurrection," refers to the resurrection of the righteous dead in Christ just before the 1000 years. "But," John makes clear, "the rest of the dead" — those who never had a chance to understand God's truth — wouldn't come up in resurrection "UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED"! This resurrection — after the 1000 years are finished — is the SECOND resurrection in time order.
3. Just after the 1000 years are over, does Satan, loosed from the prison of restraint where he has been kept during the Millennium, go out to do just as he has always done? Will he try to deceive the carnal people who, at the end of the 1000 years, were not born again into the Kingdom? Rev. 20:7-9. What is their fate? Verse 9. What then happens to Satan? Verse 10.
COMMENT: Notice carefully that the word "ARE" in the King James Version of verse 10 is printed in ITALICS. This is to indicate that the translators of 1611 added it to the original, inspired text in a futile attempt to make the meaning more clear. But because they themselves didn't understand this verse, they only succeeded in confusing the already plain meaning.
Remember that the beast and false prophet WERE CAST into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20) where they were consumed over 1000 years before! You should carefully cross out the word, "ARE" in your Bible, and substitute the correct meaning by adding the words "WERE CAST" in its place. Now re-read the verse. Isn't the meaning plain?
Fire can't hurt Satan because he is a spirit, not flesh and blood. But his punishment is terribly tormenting, because his whole goal has been to thwart God's plan to create righteous spiritual beings from the human beings on earth. Now Satan can do nothing. God has sentenced him — rendered him completely helpless — unable to deceive the rest of the dead who are now to be resurrected to have their first chance to understand God's Master Plan. (Write immediately for our FREE article, "Satan's Fate.")
PHOTO CAPTION: Roman columns stand sentinel over ruins of New Tyre. The inhabitants of Old Tyre never heard God's Gospel Message but Jesus promised they would be resurrected in the Last Judgment to have their chance for salvation.
White Throne Judgment
1. What did the apostle John see will happen following Satan's final rebellion and punishment? Rev. 20:11-12.
2. Is this a time of resurrection of the dead — the SECOND resurrection? Verse 12. Who are the people resurrected in this Great White Throne Judgment? Verse 12 compared with Dan. 7:9-10. These vast multitudes of resurrected dead are those who died never knowing or understanding the message of Jesus Christ. They NEVER HAD THE CHANCE to follow in His steps and participate in God's Master Plan. Other countless millions of infants have quietly and unknowingly awaited this — the second — resurrection from their graves — awaiting their FIRST OPPORTUNITY to learn God's wonderful way to spiritual life.
3. Who will be resurrected in this Last Great Judgment? Mat. 11:21-27. Did Jesus say that Tyre and Sidon had not received the witness of the gospel? Verse 21. If the people of those cities had heard the gospel would they have repented? Same verse. Wasn't the same true of Sodom? Verse 23. Then, to be fair, they ought to hear the good news — the gospel — shouldn't they?
4. Are the people of Tyre and Sidon, as well as Sodom, YET to hear the message of the gospel? Verses 22-24. Did Jesus speak of a time of Judgment when they would be given opportunity to understand what He had been preaching to the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum? Same verses.
COMMENT: In addition to the people of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, Jesus foretold also the resurrection of the heathen people of Nineveh and the resurrection of the Queen of the South — Sheba (Mat. 12:41-42). They, too, are going to hear the good news!
5. Will all of these people rise in a time of judgment? Mat. 12:41-42.
6. Will those of Palestine in the time of Christ who were unable to understand God's plan also be resurrected to a time of judgment? Same verses. Will they, together with Gentiles of all ages and nations, be given their FIRST OPPORTUNITY to understand at this time? Ezek. 37:1-10.
7. Are these resurrected billions raised to physical human life? Ezek. 37:5-9. Are they again to have corruptible human bodies, made of flesh and bones — to rely on air to sustain their physical existence? Same verses.
8. What is God's promise to these resurrected peoples? Ezek. 37:13-14. Isn't this the same outpouring of God's Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ spoke about in His enigmatic sermon on the Last Great Day of the Feast? John 7:37-39.
PHOTO CAPTION: The harbor of Sidon is as busy today as it was in Old Testament times. Jesus promised all an opportunity to learn of God's master plan — the Sidonians will rise in the second resurrection.
PHOTO CAPTION: WHAT ABOUT THE BILLIONS OF HEATHEN? Three out of every four Egyptians — pictured above — are illiterate, unable to read the Bible at all. They will understand for the first time when its books are opened to them in the 100- year Judgment.
PHOTO CAPTION: Buddhists crowd the narrow streets of Hong Kong. As many as 10,000 people live on a single acre of land in these slums unaware God has planned for their salvation.
PHOTO CAPTION: Cairo family living under the domination of Egypt's President Nasser where nine out of ten people are Moslems. Their chance for salvation has not yet come.
PHOTO CAPTION: Turkish man and elderly woman worship the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. Because they don't understand God's plan today are they lost forever?
PHOTO CAPTION: Chinese fishermen's wives and their children are promised a FIRST chance to learn God's truth — a chance they haven't had yet!
9. Does the apostle Paul explain to Gentiles that until they are called to salvation, they are utterly without hope of eternal life? Eph. 2:11-12. But doesn't Paul make clear that once the Gentiles have received God's Holy Spirit, it supplies them with the missing key to real understanding of the Scriptures? Eph. 3:4-6.
10. Is God willing to overlook the time when this multitude sinned through ignorance of His Word? Acts 17:30. But once spiritual understanding of God's Master Plan is made available, what is His simple command? Same verse.
11. Will these resurrected billions — who could not understand the Bible because they lacked His Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds — finally be able to understand in this Last Great Judgment? Will they, too, be given the opportunity to participate successfully in God's wonderful plan? See again Rev. 20:12 and Dan. 7:10.
12. What are these books that are opened? Same verses.
COMMENT: The Hebrew word translated "books" in Dan. 7:10 corresponds exactly to the Greek word translated "books" in Rev. 20:12. This Greek word is "biblia," and it is from this exact word that we derive our English word, "Bible"! Check it in your dictionary!
The "books" that are opened are the books of your Bible! They will be opened to the understanding of the billions of people who have NEVER YET heard the name of Christ or been able to understand the message of God's Word. Those who have never before been able to participate in God's Master Plan! This is that same outpouring of spiritual understanding — of living waters — that Jesus Christ referred to in 30 A.D. on the Last Great Day of the Feast (John 7:37-39)!
13. Did God pre-arrange for all to have a chance to come to repentance, even though they might have died without knowledge of His plan of salvation? Is this to be done according to God's plan, at the time of His choosing? II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:4.
COMMENT: Those people who were born to physical life first — many before the first coming of Jesus Christ — have not yet had the opportunity to participate in God's plan. Their chance is coming, but they will be called last — in the Last Great Judgment! We who were born later, after the death and resurrection of Christ, are being given our opportunity as God's firstfruits (James 1:18). Even people during the Millennium will be called to participate in God's plan before the vast majority of unsaved mankind who must be resurrected from their graves.
Truly, the "last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen" (Mat. 20:16)!
What Is Judgment?
1. Who is the Chief Judge in the Last Great Judgment? Rev. 20:11; Dan. 7:9 compared with Ps. 9:7. Doesn't the Bible plainly show the Chief Judge will be the resurrected Jesus Christ? John 5:21-22. And are the saints to judge with Him? I Cor. 6:2.
2. Is Christ the Chief Judge of both the living (quick) and the dead — those to be resurrected? Acts 10:40-42.
3. How is the judgment of this great multitude accomplished? Review Rev. 20:12 and Dan. 7:10 in the light of Rom. 2:6-11 and Eccl. 12:13-14. See also II Cor. 5:10.
4. Are they not judged by the Word of God — the Bible — in accordance with what they will do after they are resurrected to material, mortal life? Rev. 20:12. Is this not the same sort of judgment period true Christians must experience today? I Pet. 4:17-18. Will these resurrected peoples be considered a part of God's household after they receive His Holy Spirit? Rom. 8:14.
COMMENT: This multitude is raised to physical life after the 1000 years are finished. THIS IS THE SECOND RESURRECTION. Their names will be written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:12), and they will be given the seal of God's Holy Spirit in their minds! Those who never were given a chance to fulfill the purpose for which they have been born, now will be given a trial period so that they too can qualify for spiritual life. They are required to act upon the knowledge God has given them, to choose righteousness as defined by God's law, and shun evil, the breaking of that law.
Vast Majority to be Saved
God Almighty, in His wisdom, has devised the best possible way for men of all times and nations to receive salvation and eternal life.
This Master Plan is so simple yet so effective that the overwhelming majority of mankind will flee the corruption of their desperately wicked human nature, and turn gratefully to God — submitting to His guidance and government. But if salvation were guaranteed to every man — it wouldn't be necessary for you to struggle with and overcome your own wicked human nature. No righteous character could be built.
A very few people out of all the earth's population ever fail in God's plan. They fail because they stubbornly insist on their own ways — the ways of death (Prov. 14:12 and 16:25). They persist in living rebellious, sinful lives, making themselves and everyone else around them miserable.
These people have proven by their repeated willful acts of sin they will not let God govern them through His Spirit. They have willfully rejected God's ways.
God gives everyone all the help, encouragement and opportunity for success needed to inherit eternal life. GOD WILL NEVER QUIT HELPING you! But these rebellious people have quit on God! They no longer show by their actions they really want to inherit eternal life and so God, in love, will not give it to them.
In order to secure peace and prosperity — order, real happiness and success throughout all eternity — God can't allow these wicked people to make life miserable for others around them. Although God certainly has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:31-32), these sinful people must be put out of the way. They must not be allowed to make themselves and others unhappy any longer.
Let's understand the wind-up of God's Master Plan and see what follows after the Great White Throne Judgment period.
Completion of God's Master Plan
1. Isaiah envisioned the final days of the Judgment period when the resurrected billions will be given the VERY LAST CALL to participate in God's plan. How does he describe it? Isa. 65: 20-25.
2. Isn't this the same sort of God-governed, happy, peaceful society the people of the Millennium will enjoy? Verses 21-25 compared with Isaiah 11:6-10.
3. Are these resurrected multitudes counted among God's elect — made participants in His Master Plan, and given candidacy for the Kingdom of God — AFTER they have received the Holy Spirit? Isa. 65:22-23. Do they now have an intimate relationship with God the Father? Verse 24.
4. Will the billions called to participate in God's plan in this Last Great Judgment period be given a full 100 years to prove by their works how they will use God's Spirit, and willingly submit to His divine direction? Verse 20.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Lake of Fire, after the Last Judgment period, will cover the earth and consume the wicked and cleanse the earth's surface — illustrated here by a solar flare.
COMMENT: Isaiah prophesied how long the White Throne Judgment period would last. During this time Christ and the resurrected saints will rule. It is the time of the second resurrection. The earth will be as peaceful and productive as the Millennium itself. Children who died will live again for one hundred years, building character through the power of God's Holy Spirit. Older people who had died without knowing God's plan for them will also be resurrected to live for one hundred years.
The close of the one-hundred-year White Throne Judgment is pictured by John in Revelation 20:11-12.
The Third Resurrection
1. After 100 years of testing what will happen? Will those few who remain stubbornly rebellious be accursed? Isa. 65:20.
COMMENT: Those who have willfully rejected God's ways of life will perish in the Lake of Fire at the end of the 100 years. But something else also takes place at the end of the 100 years — THE THIRD RESURRECTION.
2. What does the apostle John see happening immediately after the final 100-year period of testing is over? Rev. 20:13-14.
COMMENT: The word translated "hell" in Rev. 20:13 is "HADES," the Greek word for "the grave."
This third resurrection is the resurrection to damnation, or destruction, spoken of by John (John 5:29). There will be THREE resurrections. The first resurrection takes place at Christ's second coming when all the firstfruits — the elect saints — are born again.
The second resurrection takes place after the Millennium is over. In it all the unsaved dead will be given physical life and their FIRST opportunity to know and understand the gospel. They will have one hundred years to grow in godly character.
The third resurrection takes place when God's plan is complete. All of those wicked who have rejected God's ways and died in their sins will be raised to physical life. They will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive THEIR REWARD — to suffer final extinction in the Lake of Fire. For them, this is the SECOND DEATH! They will never again be resurrected!
3. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE PUNISHED BY THIS SECOND DEATH? Rev. 20:15 and Rev. 21:8.
COMMENT: This is called the SECOND death, because all of those who have died once in their sins will be raised to die a SECOND TIME in the Lake of Fire. From this final death there is no more resurrection!
4. Doesn't anyone who persists in evil, rejecting God's good way of life, finally end up in this all-consuming Lake of Fire? Heb. 10:26, 27.
5. Wasn't this same fate promised to the wicked of Old Testament times who rejected God's ways? Dan. 12:2 and Mal. 4:1-3.
6. Isn't this the same scene depicted in the "parable" of Lazarus and the Rich Man? Won't the wickedly self-indulgent rich man suffer the destruction of this Lake of Fire? Luke 16:24.
COMMENT: If you don't already have your free copy of the booklet, "Lazarus and the Rich Man", send for it immediately! In the meantime review Correspondence Course Lesson 15, page 9.
7. When the incorrigibly wicked are destroyed are not their wicked works destroyed with them? II Pet. 3:10.
COMMENT: The overwhelming majority of mankind will have already proven themselves. Having yielded themselves to God, they will have received God's gift of eternal life. Hundreds of thousands who qualified before Christ's second coming, multiple billions who qualified during the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth, and resurrected billions who qualified during the 100-year Judgment period will already be spirit-born members of God's spiritual family.
The much smaller number of rebellious will meet face to face with their Judge in the third resurrection. Their temporary human life will be suddenly cut short in the seething flames of the Lake of Fire! The Lake of Fire will consume them, their wicked works, and ultimately the entire surface of the world which God has finished using as a testing area in His Master Plan.
Only those who received their spiritual life can escape this global destruction, in which all that is fleshly — corruptible — will perish.
Read the description of this end-time conflagration recorded in II Peter 3:10, 12 and Rev. 20:14-15. See again Mal. 4:1-3.
All that remains of the wicked and their world is ash beneath the soles of the feet of the spiritually born Sons of God.
Baptism of the Earth With Fire
1. To what historical event does the apostle PETER COMPARE THIS FINAL WORLD-CONSUMING Lake of Fire? II Pet. 3:5-7 compared with verses 10-12.
2. Didn't God destroy ungodly men and the society in which they lived during the time of Noah? Weren't only the righteous saved alive? Review Gen. 6: 12-13, 17-18.
3. Didn't John the Baptist foretell a coming baptism with fire? Mat. 3:11. Did John mean that it would be a pseudo-spiritual, emotional spasm called "the baptism of fire," or didn't he mean that just as the world before Noah was "baptized" — submerged in water — so the end-time world would be "baptized" — cleansed with fire — when God's Master Plan is complete? Were those to whom John spoke converted people, who had received God's Spirit, or were they Pharisees and Sadducees who were willfully and deliberately rejecting God's ways by substituting their own traditions? Verse 7.
COMMENT: These wicked ministers of John's time willfully rejected the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom of God. They had laid aside the key to knowledge revealed in God's Master Plan.
Later on they were responsible for putting to death Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb in that plan. John warned them that unless they would repent (verses 8-9) they would be rejected as failures in God's plan, and be cast into the Lake of Fire (verse 10). Thus they would be "baptized" — immersed — in this Lake of Fire, devoured by the second death for all eternity!
This was a grave, stern warning from one of God's prophets. But in spite of it the religious leaders of Jesus' time put Him to death. In all probability, this small group will suffer the second death, after the Last Great Judgment period.
With this final baptism of the earth in a Lake of Fire, the earth, befouled by man's scratchings and scrapings upon its surface, will be purged of all defilement.
4. Isn't this the time when the old earth will no longer be useful to God, and its outer surface must be changed as someone might discard a used garment? Ps. 102:25-28, Heb. 1:10-12; see also Isa. 51:6.
New Heavens and New Earth
1. Now that all God's children are born into His spiritual family, what is His new plan? Isa. 65:17-19.
COMMENT: The Hebrew word "bara" used in Isaiah 65:17 and translated "create" is actually the participial form of the verb, and should therefore be properly translated, "creating."
With the immersion of the earth in the cleansing Lake of Fire as a type of baptism, the cycle of creation is complete. Rising from the Lake of Fire, a spiritual NEW HEAVENS and a NEW EARTH WILL APPEAR. THIS IS the site of GOD'S NEW project. Notice verse 17 should read, "For, behold, I AM CREATING new heavens and a new earth ...." Let's get a glimpse of this new project God has promised to begin.
2. Isn't this same new project described in the New Testament? Rev. 21:1, 5 compared with II Pet. 3:13.
3. Is this the time when the New Jerusalem will descend out of heaven to the earth, and become the capital of the universe? Rev. 21:2 and Isa. 52:1.
4. Isn't this the first time in history that God the Father will join Jesus Christ on earth with His newly born spiritual sons? Rev. 22:3-5.
COMMENT: Prior to the cleansing of the world in the Lake of Fire, God the Father would not come to the earth because it was polluted by the sins of mankind. When it is purified He will establish His personal headquarters and throne in this Holy City.
5. Doesn't God intend to share this new project with His spiritual sons? Isa. 66:22.
6. Who is it that will live in the Holy City, and have a part with God and Jesus Christ in the refurbishing of the universe? Rev. 22:14.
7. How will the Holy City be built? Rev. 21:10-25. Notice the size of the city. How big will it be? Rev. 21:15-17.
COMMENT: A furlong in the days of Jesus Christ and the apostle John was approximately 582 feet. This would make a city nearly 1,500 miles in each direction!
8. Are rivers of living waters to be available in this New Heavens and New Earth? Rev. 22:1-2. Isn't this time also pictured by the Last Great Day of the Feast? The final day in God's perfect Master Plan for man's ultimate spiritual re-creation? Of course it is. Doesn't Luke in writing Acts describe this as the RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS? Acts 3:21. Aren't all reborn Christians to receive spiritual refreshment from God at this time? Acts 3:19.
Now You Understand God's Holy Days
Consider for just a moment!
Before you began to study your Bible with the aid of the AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE, you probably knew nothing at all of God's plan for the eventual salvation of mankind. Now this knowledge has been made available to you. Your mind has been opened to understand things that men all over the earth want to know. You now know the answers to the basic, important, over-all questions concerning life and the purpose for which you have been born, because God has chosen to reveal it to you.
This is a startling fact — did you ever wonder why such a thing is true?
Why has this vitally important, essential knowledge been made available to the entire world through only one source, and why has it been made available to you — now?
1. When the multitudes asked Jesus for a sign, that His work was the work of God the Father, what did He reply? John 6:28-33.
2. Did Jesus make clear that whoever was FEEDING GOD'S PEOPLE was doing God's work? Verses 32-33. Did the people understand or were they only interested in feeding their physical bodies? Verses 26 and 34.
3. Did Jesus mean that God's true work in any age would be operating food or soup lines? Or didn't He mean that God's work would be feeding the starving minds of humanity with the vital truths of God's inspired Word? Verse 35. See also Mat. 4:4.
4. Did Christ command the apostle Peter to faithfully feed the spiritual Church? John 21:15-19. Later, didn't Peter pass on this command to the elders of the New Testament Church? I Pet. 5:1-2.
5. What is it that God's ministers are commanded by Jesus Christ to preach? II Tim. 4:2. Is this to be done at SPECIFIC SEASONS OF THE YEAR? Same verse.
6. What must God's ministers preach to His Church in specific seasons of the year? Lev. 23:4. Isn't this the reason God originally created the seasonal cycle? Gen. 1:14.
COMMENT: From the creation of the heavens and earth, God has been illustrating His remarkable Holy Day plan to mankind. God's Holy Days are patterned according to the seasons of spring, summer and autumn. The only church fulfilling Christ's command to proclaim the truth of God's seasonal plan in its DUE SEASON IS the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD with its headquarters in PASADENA, CALIFORNIA.
7. What does God think of ministers who don't feed the people of God in proper season, who don't give them the understanding of His wonderful plan? Ezek. 34:2.
COMMENT: Other organizations may seem to have some little truth, but it has been cleverly mixed with the POISON OF ERROR! The mixture is DEADLY! Imbibing of this diluted poison will sooner or later end in your eternal death — THE SECOND DEATH! These diluted poisons may appear to be good, but they are improperly labeled as "Christian," and contain poison just the same.
No other work on the face of the earth is feeding the starving people of this world the truths of God's Word. The true ministers of God have provided you with an understanding of God's Holy Day plan in these chaotic end-times, through THE WORLD TOMORROW broadcast, THE PLAIN TRUTH magazine, and PRIMARILY the AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE.
If you hope to inherit the blessing of eternal life, as outlined by God's Holy Day plan, you need to be very careful to feed your mind only the edifying words of God as they are disseminated from THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD, headquarters at PASADENA, CALIFORNIA.
Acting Out God's Plan Annually
All of God's annual Holy Days are built around the annual harvest season in Palestine — but it is the SPIRITUAL harvest that God is interested in. Old Testament Israel was reminded of their dependence upon, and relationship to, Almighty God by the seasonal cycle of harvest Holy Days. Now God's faithful New Testament Christians can go — individually — to their own Bibles and receive the vital life-saving knowledge of God's Master Plan for spiritual harvest through these SAME HOLY DAYS!
What man wants to REMEMBER, HE MUST CONTINUALLY REVIEW. As true Christians observe each annual Holy Day Festival in its season, they are reminded of God's Master Plan, and their individual part in it. Each year the cycle of Holy Days is repeated, and each year these festivals act as a reminder of God's over-all purpose for the salvation of all mankind.
God's annual Holy Days give you the opportunity to "ACT OUT" the purpose for which you were born. By "acting out" God's plan each year, your goal is constantly kept in the front of your mind. It is reviewed for you because you are symbolically "reliving" it each year.
God Almighty, in His loving mercy, has revealed this wonderful knowledge to you. If you intend to achieve the purpose for which you have been born, you MUST BEGIN TO KEEP the Holy Days which point out that purpose. If you neglect your opportunity for salvation, how can you escape the Lake of Fire and the second death (Heb. 2:3)?
What you will do with this knowledge is up to you. Notice God's admonition: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: BECAUSE THOU HAST REJECTED KNOWLEDGE, I WILL ALSO REJECT THEE, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6).
What will you do?
Your Next Step
We know it is the earnest desire of true believers to meet together with brethren of like understanding on God's annual Holy Days — in obedience to God's injunction found in Hebrews 10:24-25.
For a few of God's people this may not be possible on the weekly Sabbath Days because they are scattered as the "salt of the earth." Our Heavenly Father knows about this situation, and although He doesn't expect you to attend weekly Sabbath services when it isn't possible He does expect you to make an EXTRA CONCERTED EFFORT TO ATTEND HIS ANNUAL HIGH SABBATH HOLY DAYS!
Bible examples indicate that Sabbath services were held in local areas in New Testament times, but the Apostolic Church always gathered at a few central meeting places for God's annual High Sabbath Days. This same practice is followed by God's people in these end times.
The commanded meetings on God's annual Sabbath Holy Days provide the only opportunity for many brethren who might otherwise not hear their Pastor, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, or Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong, or others, speak in person. At these annual Festivals brethren in like mind gather together to hear the Bible expounded with greater clarity IN A PERSONAL WAY by all of God's chosen ministers.
Although this Holy Day series in the AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE is intended to provide true Christians with the Bread of Life — in due season — we know all who have fully repented will want to attend the annual Festivals which picture God's Master Plan as He commands.
That is why we URGE YOU — IF YOU are FULLY YIELDED to God's inspired Word and have REPENTED of your old ways, if you desire earnestly to be baptized and to keep God's annual Holy Days where He has placed His name to write immediately to MR. HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, POST OFFICE Box 111, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, 91109, or to our LONDON OR AUSTRALIAN OR SOUTH AFRICAN addresses (See page 2).
God has provided a SIMPLE, EQUITABLE WAY for you to convoke with brethren of like understanding on His annual Holy Days. You should write and ask for information regarding attending God's annual Festivals. Be sure you mention in your letter that you have completed Lesson 39 of the AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE!