Who Will Be in the Millennium?

MillenniumThough the word millennium is not in the Bible,
it means 1,000 years,
and the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is going to rule the earth from Jerusalem for that period.
When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet,
“The kingdoms of this world have become
the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ,
and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
So most important, Jesus Christ will be there!
Who else?

But the former ruler of the earth  (1 John 5:19)—satan the devil—won’t be!  He will be bound and imprisoned for the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2-3) “so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.”  This will likely happen on the first Day of Atonement  (Leviticus 16 and 23) and most likely a Jubilee Year will also begin on this date to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants” (Leviticus 25:10).

What inhabitants?  How many?

seventh trumpet“The great trumpet will be blown; they [children of Israel—verse 12] will come.  Judah—the Jews—and the other 11 tribes of Israel (Isaiah 27:13), lost to the world and to themselves, will be humbled from persecution and captivity—now ready and willing to serve as God’s model people for how the rest of the world should live His way also (Deuteronomy 4:6-8).

How many?  That news is not good.  Ezekiel prophesies only one third being scattered in the wind with a sword drawn after them (5:2).  Amos says cities will have only one tenth left (5:3).  It shouldn’t be surprising that God will save a tithe.  Or will it be only a third of a tithe?

What about the non-Israelites?  The statistics are ugly!  After the first four seals of Revelation are opened—the Four Horsemen—over a fourth of the earth is wiped out!  How many will survive all the damages to the trees, grass, seas and fresh water that follow?  A third of mankind is killed in the last three of the seven last plagues (Revelation 9:18).  Who will even be left to make mankind’s last ditch rebellion against the returning Christ in “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14)?

I don’t want to be there to find out!  And your only hope will be to be in God’s graces, protected however He sees fit.

If still alive during the chaotic cataclysmic events of Revelation, I hope to be in the Place of Safety (Revelation 12:6) for the 3-1/2 years of the Great Tribulation and the Times of the Gentiles.  Because God mercifully let Lot’s family go out of Sodom with him and because Noah’s family got to float away with him, we can hope that our children might get to go also and become princes and princesses as physical leaders in Christ’s Kingdom (Psalm 45:16).  God says the children of even one member are “holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14) and so you would think they might have the inside track for these positions of service.

Probably these protected individuals will receive special training for how to rule and serve with Christ as kings, priests and judges during the 1,000 years and then the Great White Throne Judgment to follow (Revelation 5:10, 20:4 and Psalm 149:6-9).  I tell God I want to be there because I need the training.  Wanting to save my own skin is probably not a good enough reason!

firstfruitsIf not still alive, then I want to be in the first resurrection that also takes place at the Great Seventh Trumpet.   How many will be in this “better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35)?   Revelation 14:1-4 specifies 144,000 firstfruits.  Who knows how many will be in the great multitude (Revelation 7:9, 14) because that’s why it’s called “innumerable”!

We know from keeping God’s holy day of Pentecost that God is only calling a few now to become the leaders in His soon-coming government.   His holy days of Tabernacles and Eighth Day—His next holy days coming in October—show that the vast majority of sons and daughters will be harvested during Christ’s 1,000 year reign and the Great White Throne Judgment that follows on the earth.

So who will be in the Millennium?

If you’ve read all this, understand this and want to serve with Jesus Christ in His soon-coming reign, then you are called.  Now we must make sure we choose and be faithful (Revelation 17:14).

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The Big Question About the Desires of Your Heart

The desires of our heart will likely come to pass.
So there’s a big question we should answer.

Desires of hearrtMy favorite Psalm is Psalm 37, and marked in bold yellow is “And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (verse 4).   I’ve never thought of wanting a butterfly on my feet, but in my heart I know that God has fulfilled this amazing promise throughout my 65 years so I count on that tomorrow.   He guides me at key junctures and opens timely doors.  Sometimes He has to kick me through them!  He is training me for what He has in mind not only now but also in His soon-coming Kingdom.

My best received desire—my wife Mary—is so grateful that when she was a teenager, her pastor Denny Luker and his wife LeeAnn challenged all the teens to write in the back of their Bibles their hopes, dreams and desires.  The Lukers challenged them to try God’s way first because they would find that it works!  Mary says it did, and now she is working on a new list!

That promise in Psalm 37 concludes a section of some qualifiers:  “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  Delight yourself also in the Lord …” and then the wonderful promise that God is eager to satisfy the deepest desires of your heart!

But the flip side—God also warns us:  “So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.  Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways” (Psalm 81:12-13)!

God doesn’t say He made their stubborn desires come to pass, He just “gave them over.”  God doesn’t cause all the evil around us; He lets people exercise their free “moral” agency which all too often isn’t!

God mostly has hands off today in this world ruled by satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Fred Crow at our recent Camp  Hye Sierra attended by Mary and me said he “never capitalizes satan because he doesn’t deserve it!”

It’s such a lovely song, but “This Is (NOT) My Father’s World” yet—until Jesus Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom on this earth and the Father Himself comes down to live on  the new earth (Revelation 21:3).   Okay, the song is true in that the world for now is of its “father the devil” (John 8:44).

God had to send the Flood in Noah’s day because “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Later he had to scatter mankind from the Tower of Babel because “now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Genesis 11:6).

Yes, the desires of our heart will likely come to pass.  Especially if we make them a priority and really set our minds and actions to bring them about.

Yes, people are drawn away by their own desires and enticed.  Then when this desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin that becomes full grown and brings forth death (James 1:14-15).

heart flowering

When I was a teen, I saw advice that we should worry more about spending our money and resources wisely, and then we would find that enough money would naturally come, like a law of the universe.  Well, yes, if we work and do our part!   God promises to supply our needs and we can’t outgive Him.  We hear stories about people who almost seem to be crazy in their generosity and charity work and yet are able to keep it up.

Jesus said “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).

So the question is:

Are the desires of our heart good or evil and are we working with God to change them to good?

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Something Big

BacharachMove over Beethoven and sorry Grieg, you’re classic good but Burt Bacharach has always been my favorite composer.  I’ve always grooved on his hit songs whether LP, 8 track or CD.   I was blessed to see him and  Dionne Warwick live at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles years ago and enjoyed a wonderful evening of Bacharach’s live performance in Colorado Springs about a year ago.  If I see he will be performing anywhere in Colorado, I will aim to get there.

Yet somehow I only heard a song called “Something Big” off the Internet about a year ago.  I kept asking myself how’d I miss that!  It became my favorite on a CD  even over “Walk on By” and “Raindrops Keep  Falling on My Head.”   When it played, I would always play that track again!  In spite of the fact that I never heard Bacharach play it live at one of his concerts.

Maybe that’s because the Internet says the song came from his “Living Together” album released Jan. 1, 1973.  The movie was rather forgettable and apparently the songs also.  I remember few of the songs from it and totally missed this one I now really like.

That’s because the words really resonate with me now.  I was playing the song as I write this and recommend you play it while you read this.

I won’t quote all the lyrics by Hal David so as to avoid any copyright issues but I  hope you are singing them in your thoughts as you read them and enjoying the infectious rhythm  and trademark soaring strings and rousing brass:

“I want to be the man I’m not and have the things I really haven’t got” 

I want to be the man of God He has called me to be and actually makes possible for me to be!  I want to have the mind of Christ and bring every thought in subjection to the obedience of Him (2 Corinthians 10:5).  I want to have all of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  I want to have every word I speak be the way I would speak when I am resurrected to be a spirit Son in His Kingdom.

“Something big is what I’m living for, yes, it’s what I’m living for”

kingdom comeI am seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).    I am seeking the things above (Colossians 3:1).  “Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality” (Romans 2:7).

“Why do I go on and fill my life with little things when there are big things I must do”

The sufferings—and even the greatest blessings—of this present time are “not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).   Are there ways we are neglecting so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3)?

So press on, forget those things which are behind and reach forward toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Paul wrote those lyrics in Philippians 3:13-14.  Imagine if Bacharach put that to music!

Something Big!  We dare not settle for less.

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Now You Can Share in the Spiritual Wisdom Taught at Camp Hye Sierra

PTDC0004

My wife Mary and I just returned from serving on the staff at Camp Hye Sierra which ran from June 26 through July 3.  A crucial purpose of the camp was to help the 214 teens and staff develop their personal relationship with God.

To be there was such a gift from God, but for everyone who didn’t have that opportunity, here are the

Recaps of the spiritual messages that were given:

In staff training, Camp Director Ed Dowd stressed that the campers are “not just some kids who show up.”  God is calling them and offering them His promise of salvation (Acts 2:38-39).  He regards them as “holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14).  For all 214 camp participants, God is seeking “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).

Nicholas WintonKids Winton SavedBen Light, in his split sermon, gave the example of Nicholas Winton who rescued 669 children from Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and then sought no glory for his selfless service.  Mr. Light said the test is:  Do those served grow as persons?

Fred Crow noted in his Sabbath split sermon that the environment we come from creates a flawed vision of right and wrong. We’re here at camp learning the values set by God. We don’t set the standard.  Jesus Christ did.  We do model it, showing one another that God’s Way works.

internet influenceJohn Elliott, in his opening Bible study, said camp is a wonderful opportunity to develop “friendships and relationships.   We can do so much more by working together in love.”  He said “when you see God show up, He says ‘come’ and be part of the family and team.”

In his Campfire message, Mr. Dowd challenged everybody to “test God this week through obedience and see how He blesses us.  God is giving us a beautiful opportunity to be part of something grand.”

Mr. Dowd led the Compass Check and showed that “God wants His way of life to be your foundation.”  He highlighted Jesus Christ’s words in Matthew 5-7 that Jesus said we are to hear and do and pointed out that they are action words.  We should not wait for life to come to us.  “The righteous has an everlasting foundation” (Proverbs 10:25)

In Christian Living for staff, Mr. Crow said faith equals belief in action that comes by hearing and doing and being guided by God’s Word.  Everything we do must be based on the foundation of faith and truth.  Mr. Crow asked a provocative question:  “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  He closed with a favorite quote:   “All scripture is God breathed, and He doesn’t waste His breath.”

Bill Grinnell in his activities meeting said “today should be a day of thankfulness and praise because we sure have experienced God’s blessings.”

Adam & Eve 2In Compass Check, Mr. Elliott said “It’s through challenge and adversity that we grow.”  While human nature around the world has tended toward personal independence where “it’s all about me,” and popular songs lament being used and dumped, Mr. Elliott said for us “today is a brand new choice.  Here’s what it comes down to:  daily choice.”  Elenor Roosevelt wisely said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words.  It is expressed in the choices one makes.  In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”  Mr. Elliott said “God’s Spirit is working with everyone in this room.”

In Christian Living for staff, Mr. Elliott said everywhere we see a trend for lawlessness which results in instability, confusion and corruption.  But we can choose each day to have blessings for being guided by God’s Word.  God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).  “God gets involved and the most wonderful things happen.  And it only gets better.”  Mr. Elliott closed with Jesus Christ’s promise from Revelation 22:7:  “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

In Compass Check, Mr. Dowd said “We fight a different kind of war.  The first casualty of war is truth.” But it is important to know the truth before the war comes.  “The key to any war:  be prepared.”  Mr. Dowd said the best way to resist wrong is to avoid it, the way David said in Psalm 101:3:  “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.”    James 4:7-8, one of today’s memory scriptures, gives the formula for how to resist wrong:  “Submit to God.  Resist the devil … Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

In Christian Living for staff, Mr. Crow said we must choose to resist wrong on a daily basis by being guided by God’s Word.  1 Peter 5:8 calls satan (small s because he doesn’t deserve a capital) a roaring lion, and Mr. Crow said he hides in plain sight.  But James 4:7 says if we resist him, satan has no right to bother us and must flee.    Mr. Crow said we must put on the whole armor of God which is forward facing and doesn’t cover the backside because we must never retreat.  The assuring truth is that “we’re not on our own.  God gives us the way to escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  We must not be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

BibleDuring Compass Check, Mr. Dowd stressed that “here at camp we are family.”  God is building a big family.  We want relationships like David and Jonathan built where they loved each other as themselves.  Mr. Dowd said God’s mindset is based on the two greatest commandments of Matthew 22:37-39 and we must base all our decisions on these two commandments.  He challenged “Apply them and see how God will bless you.”  In John 15:14 Jesus says we are His friends if we do what He commands us—the commandments are not optional.

For Christian Living for staff, Mr. Delamater shared questions he was asked in camper Q & A sessions which ended up being about building relationships.  He defined a godly relationship as being when God is involved in the relationship.  Although people think of a relationship as being a one-on-one situation, Mr. Delamater said at least four individuals are involved including two people, God the Father and Jesus Christ our Brother.  He said “If you want better relationships with others, improve your relationship with God.”  As disciples of Christ, we want to “Look like our Master because we are building godly relationships.”

Mr. Grinnell encouraged activity staff to “run through the tape” rather than pull up upon nearing the finish line.  He said “The campers deserve every bit of your passion.  Sabbath is only the end of activities—not camp.”

Our Camp Director gave the Compass Check asking everyone to think carefully about goals and sub goals.  But our ultimate goal should be to be in God’s family (Matthew 6:33).  “This should be what drives us every day.  God will provide the blessings so long as we’re doing verse 33.”

In his Bible study, John Elliott said we can know with full confidence that we will be in God’s Kingdom, which the Sabbath pictures, if we are doing the one thing:  becoming children of God in God’s family by developing the mind of God to show agape love to God and fellow man (Matthew 22:40).  He who overcomes in this manner knows God the Father will share His eternal life with him (Revelation 21:7).

During the 2 p.m. Sabbath service in the Pavilion, in his split-sermonette Alex Love talked about how to trust God to be in control like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did rather than be like Ned Kelly, a legendary Australian outlaw who took matters into his own hands deciding for himself what was right and wrong.

In the second split-sermonette, Derrick Slocum gave three ways to keep our direction centered on God:  We need a good foundation; we must choose God’s blessings; and we must build godly relationships.  He gave a great illustration of how two people at the bottom of a triangle which has God at the top of the triangle, when they are both seeking God’s direction in their lives, will be moving closer together.  In contrast, two people where one is seeking God’s direction but the other is rebelling away from God, will be moving farther apart.

kingdom comeIn his sermon, Mr. Dowd started off talking about driving Highway 180 into King’s Canyon which is dubbed “The Road to Nowhere.”   He said “satan wants us to be on this road to nowhere and turn back overwhelmed and spiritually tired.”  But God wants us to “take everything we’ve learned this past week and use it as a springboard to next year.”  He challenged us to choose the narrow, difficult path that few find (Matthew 7:14) in three steps:  1) Identify why by seeing the big picture.  2) Make the commitment and become baptized.  3) Ensure that every aspect of your life aligns with the right road.  He concluded that “God the Father and Jesus Christ are right now working miracles in your life.  Take the road to God’s Kingdom and continuously be guided by God’s Word.”

These are wonderful spiritual lessons for all of us to learn and build on as the family of God.

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