ItiscommonlybelievedthatGodisdesperatelytryingtosavetheworldnow. ThatHeisstrugglingwithSatan to save all mankind now, while the devil is feverishly
trying to keep as many as he can "lost" forever.If this is true, who do you think
is winning?IfGodandSatanareinatitanicbattleforhumanlives,andifGodisasall-powerfulastheBiblereveals,then whyisfive-sixthsoftheworldnon-Christiantoday? Andwhyhavethousandsofmillionsalreadydiedwithout ever having hada
chance to be saved?
Manysermonshavebeenpreachedbasedonthepremisethat"thereisnomiddleground.Eitheryouarethis minute saved, or you'rea lost soul!"ManypeoplehavegrievedoverdeadlovedoneswhohadnevermadeaprofessionofChrist. Perhapsover one
who was a terrible sinner; perhaps over one who lived a "good" life, but never became
an active church member.Still others grieve because they are not sure whether some
loved one died "saved".The teaching that a person is either saved or lost comes
from the assumption that God is out to save the world now-that the mission of the
Church is to save mankind now-that this is the "only day of salvation," and that
this time is just about over.
These assumptions are all absolutely false!
WHY MOST HAVE NOT UNDERSTOOD
The vast majority of people have never heard the true Gospel-the good news of the
coming Kingdom of God. And of those who have heard it, most have not understood
that message because Satan has deceived them (Rev. 12:9).Therefore, they never hada chance to understand and be saved!
Are they all, through no fault of their own, "lost" forever, condemned to the lake
Shocking as it may sound, God does not intend for everyone to understand His truth
at this time! If He did, they would understand!
Many think that Jesus spoke in parables to make His meaning clearer.This was not
the reason.He spoke in parables to hide His real meaning so most of His hearers
would not understand. After Jesus had spoken the parable of thesower, He plainly
told His disciples,"Itisnotgiven"totherest(thosewhohadnotthenbeencalledbyGod)tounderstandthetruthaboutthe
Kingdom of God.They were not permitted to understand! (Mark 4:10-12; Matt. 13:10-13).
GodhasallowedthevastmajorityofhumanitytobeblindtoHistruth. HehasallowedSatantodeceivethe wholeworld. ItisGod'spurposeandplanthat,untilChristreturns,onlythosewhomHespeciallycalls(John6:44, 65) can understand the true
way of salvation.Aswelearnedinthepreviouslesson,thefuturemembersofGod'sFamilywillbethekings,priests,teachers and administrators in His soon-coming
world-ruling government. Only a comparatively few are now being called to fill these
positions. They are receiving the training necessary to prepare them to teach all
mankind when God's Kingdom is set up, with world-ruling headquarters in Jerusalem.
EVERYONE TO BE CALLED
God reveals in His inspired Word-the Holy Bible-that those He has not yet called
have not lost their opportunity for salvation.God is not in the process of saving
everyone now.After Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, He
will then begin to teach the way of salvation to millions. They will have their
calling and opportunity to understand God's truth and be born into His Family during
the Millennium.But what about the multiple thousands of millions who have already
died without ever hearing or understandingthewayofsalvation?AftertheMillennium,theywillberesurrectedtomortallifeandgiventheir opportunity to understand
God's truth, to be begotten by God's Spirit, to grow in His character, and to become
Spirit-born members of His ruling Family.God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
Everyone will ultimately be called and given an opportunity to receive salvation!God is absolutely fair!The truth about this important subject is plainly revealed
in the pages of your Bible. So be sure to look up and read each verse given in answer
to the questions. Don't just read this lesson-prove the truth from the Bible."Prove
all things; hold fast that which is good" (IThessalonians. 5:21).
Let's begin this eye-opening and encouraging study of God's Word.
WHY THIS WORLD IS BLINDED
SatandidnottellEve: "Choose my government and my way of vanity and self-centeredness,
and reject God." He tempted her with the beauty of the forbidden tree, appealed to
her intellectual vanity, implied that God wasn't fair to withhold certain knowledge,
and told her she wouldn't die (Gen. 3:1-6), assuring her she was already an immortal
soul dwelling ina material body.EvewasthoroughlydeceivedintobelievingSatananddisbelievingGod.Sheatetheforbiddenfruitandgave some of it to her husband
to eat also. Thus Adam willingly, but not wilfully, disobeyed God. When Adam tooktheforbiddenfruit,hetooktohimselftheauthoritytodeterminethespiritualknowledgeofgoodandevil. He appropriated the prerogative of deciding what is good
and evil-what is right and wrong-what is righteousness and what is sin.But Adam
did not have this ability of himself.Thus the first human disbelieved and disobeyed
God, choosing to go his own way and do his own thing. When Adam chose to reject God's
authority, he rejected revealed spiritual knowledge from God. He chose insteadtofollowSatan'sself-orientedwayoflife-hiswayof"get"asopposedtoGod'swayof"give."Consequently, all mankind, except for a few God has specially chosen to
call out of Satan's world, has been deceived by Satan for almost 6,000 years.
Stated another way, our first parents were "kidnapped" by Satan, and followed the
way of life of the kidnapper rather than their potential spiritual Father, whom they
disbelieved and disobeyed.
By following Satan's way and rejecting God, Adam in effect chose Satan as the "god"
of mankind. And the BibleshowsthatGodhasallowedSatantoinfluenceanddeceivemankindeversinceAdamatethefruitofthe tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Let's reviewa few of the scriptures proving these facts.
1 . Is Satan the god of this world? 2Corinthians.4:4. HasheblindedpeopletoGod'struth? Sameverse. Is Satan also the prince of the power of the air? Eph.
2:2. Does he influence, or "work in," the disobedient? Same verse.Has he indeed
deceived the world?Rev. 12:9.
Comment: Satan, the "prince of the power of the air," influences mankind by "broadcasting"
his moodsandattitudesofvanityandselfishnesstothehumanspiritineachindividual.Humansunwittinglyaccept andexpresstheseattitudesastheirown. "Humannature"isactuallySatan'snatureexpressedinhumans. Because they have been deceived,
they are unaware of this spiritual broadcasting by Satan, and do not even know that
they have been deceived.
2. Do true Christians belong to Christ and God? Mark 9:41; 1Corinthians.3:23;6:20. IsthatbecauseGod, through Christ, had to "buy" them back?Matt. 20:28;
Col. 1:14;1 Tim. 2:6;1 Pet. 1:18-19.
Comment: "Redeem" (from which the word "redemption" comes) means to recover ownership
of something that had been lost.If we are Christians, Christ has redeemed us "bought
us back," so to speak.His sacrifice allows us, with God's help, to cease being the
kidnapped children of Satan, and become the Spirit- begotten children of God! The
fact that Christ had to pay a ransom (His life) to buy back those who are now His
proves that we all have belonged to Satan! (See John 8:44;1 John 3:8; Rom. 6:16).
3. What did God warn Adam that the penalty of sin would be?Gen. 2:17.
Comment: Adam and Eve sinned when they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil. God had foreseen that possibility. But He could not suspend the
penalty He had plainly said would follow disobedience.SohowwouldGodrescueHispotentialspiritualchildrenfromthekidnapper-Satanthedevil? Bydecreeing at
the very "foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8)-this present civilization based on
Satan's way, which began whenAdamsinned-thatHewouldsendHisfutureSon,JesusChrist,tolivewithoutsinandpaythepenaltyof man's sins.It was also determined
by God at that time that all of Adam's children should die: "it is appointed unto
men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).But how coulda man be
judged after he had died?We'll learn the answer as we continue studying the Bible
with this lesson!
4. Did Satan offer to give Christruler-shipofallthekingdomsoftheworldifHewouldworshiphim? Matt. 4:8-9.Did Christ acknowledge that Satan is the ruler
of this world?John 14:30.
Comment: ThisandtheotherverseswehavereadclearlyshowthatSatanistherulerofthis presentevilworld. ButheretainsthatpoweronlybyGod'sexpresspermission. GodhasassignedSatan6,000 years in which to rule over mankind. When
that time expires, Christ will forcibly intervene in world affairs and re-establish
the government of God on earth. He will then rule the world for the next 1,000 years.
Thus God's plan spans a period of one prophetic "week," since a day is as a thousand
years with God, and a thousand years asa day (2 Pet. 3:8).God has said to Satan,
in effect: "Six 'days'shallthoulabour, and do all thy work: but the seventh 'day'
is the SabbathoftheLORDthyGod:initthou shallnotdoanywork"(Ex.20:910).
Thefirstsixdaysofthis prophetic week God has turned over to Satan, and given
him free reign to influence and deceive.
Satan's work is a labour of deception-of deceiving mankind-of turning God's truth
upside down-causing honest, sincere people to accept a counterfeit for the genuine-deceiving
people to sin. And how successfully he has worked at his occupation for nearly 6,000
years!We are now nearing the end of Satan's six millennial days of work. And the
coming seventh millennial day shall be the Sabbath of the Lord God. That "day" will
not belong to Satan. It belongs to God. In it, Satan shallnotdoanywork. Hewillbechained,restrained,andthrownintothesymbolic"bottomlesspit"(Rev.20:1-3).He will not be allowed to deceive anyone during the Millennium.When Christ
returns to earth, He will seizeruler-shipfromthearch-deceiverwhohasdeceivedandswayed humanity.Christ will restrain the builder and ruler of this world's civilization
and bind him for 1,000 years!
JESUS HID THE TRUTH ABOUT SALVATION!
When Jesus Christ came to earth nearly 2,000 years ago, it was not to set up His
Kingdom (John 18:36). Christ did not, at that time, come to restrain Satan from deceiving
the world.Contrary to what many have been taught, neither did Christ come to earth
the first time to call everyone to salvation. Rather,HecametodeliverHisFather'smessage-theGospeloftheKingdomofGod. That message included salvation through
Christ. But Jesus did not try to get everyone to believe this wonderful message!
Notice the New Testament proof that Christ did not try to convert everyone.
1 . Did Jesus speak to the multitudes in parables to make His meaning clearer, or
to hide it so the public wouldnotunderstand? Matt.13:10-15;Mark4:11-12. DidHespeaktothegeneralpubliconlyinparables? Matt.13:34. Wasthisbecauseitwasnotthetimeformosttobeforgiventheirsinsandbeconverted? Mark4:12.
Comment: Christ preached the Father's Gospel to the public as a witness. But He
worked with only a few specially called and chosen disciples. They were the ones
whom He really wanted to understand the truth about salvation and His coming government
3. Did Jesus often try to avoid crowds of people? Matt. 5:1; 8:18; 13:36; Mark
3:13; John 5:13; 7:10. Did He often tell those whom He had healed not to tell anyone
who healed them? Matt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; Mark 5:35, 41-43; 7:35-36.Did He want
everyone to know who He really was?Matt. 16:20; Mark 3:12.
Comment: FormostofHisministry,Jesusavoidedpublicity. ItwasnotGod'swillforeveryone to understand who Jesus was. Spiritual understanding will not be granted
to the world until Christ removes Satan from earth's throne!
4. After three-and-one-half years of Christ's preaching, and after His death,
resurrection,andascension into heaven, how many disciples remained with Him?Acts
Comment: The New Testament Church was started with only about 120 disciples. Only
after they had been trained could they teach and train others. Christ at first needed
only a few teachers to teach others to become teachers, so He called onlya few at
that time.Remember, one can come to Christ only if God the Father specially selects
and calls him (John 6:44, 65). But some will ask: "What about one who really wants
salvation-wants to believe in Christ-is willing to truly repent and come out of this
world and be led by God's Spirit in a true commandment-keeping Christian life? Do
you mean this individual cannot come to Christ unless God calls him?Answer: SuchapersonisbeingdrawnbyGod,otherwiseheorshewouldhavenosuchdesire. However,
most who think they are in that category have followed a false gospel, a false teaching
and are deceived. They have a false idea of what salvation is, a false concept of
repentance and a false idea of what God's way of life is all about.
Comment: From Christ's human ministry until His soon return to earth, God has called
only a small minorityofpeople. God'sChurchthroughthecenturieshascontinuedtobesmall-an"embryo"ofGod'snew civilization yet to come. That Church, as
we learned in Lesson 20, is in training to rule and teach the world with and under
Christ in the World Tomorrow.
WHAT PREDESTINATION REALLY IS
DoesGodknowaheadoftimewhetheranindividualwillbesavedorlost?HasGodforeordainedthatsome would be saved, while others are destined to be lost?Does
one have any choice at all regarding his or her own salvation?
"If God knows beforehand how I am going to decide," reasoned a man who was worried
about the subject ofpredestination,"thenitisallpredetermined.IfHeknowsinadvancethatIamtobelost,thenthat'stheway I'll have to decide in the end.And since I'll lose out anyway, why try?"On the other hand, if God knows I'm going
to repent, accept Christ and be saved, I'll have to do it in the end anyway, whether
I try or not. My ultimate fate was already predetermined - destined, or determined,
in advance.And if that is so, then we simply are not free moral agents-we have nothing
to say about it."
Thesubjectofpredestinationhasoftenpuzzledandworriedmanypeoplesimplybecausetheyhave accepted, without question, the teachings of their religion. Let's understand
exactly what the Word of God teaches about "predestination."
1 . Does the Bible say that some are "predestinated" ("predestined" is the modern
term) to be called now? Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:11-12. Are others predestined, appointed
or foreordained to be blinded in this age? I Pet. 2:8.
Comment: Predestinationhasnothingtodowithanyparticulardecisionyouwillmake,oryour fate-ithasonlytodowiththetimeofyourcalling-whetherGodcallsyounoworlater. Thereisnotoneword in the entire Bible about anyone being predestined
to be lost.God has not predestined or foreordained anyone either to accept or reject
Christ -to be saved or lost.The decision we make regarding our salvation is not
predetermined. God has ordained that we make our own decisions. God's purpose is
that we develop His character, and character cannot be created by divine will. It
must be developed through experience. And experience requires time. Although God
tells us which decision we ought to make (Deut. 30:19), the final decision to choose
life or death for eternity is still ours!
TheonlydecisionthatispredeterminedisGod's. Godhaspredestinedsometobecalledatcertaintimesfor a specific purpose. The rest will be called by God to
understand the way of salvation later. Predestination simply has to do with when
one is called.JesusChristestablishedHisChurchtotrainthefuturekingsandpriestsofGod'sKingdom-tohaveapartin teaching the way of salvation to the
masses during the Millennium. God knew far in advance that leaders, teachers and
governmental administrators would be needed for His Kingdom, so He planned ahead-
predestined-that He would call some to this training, especially in this age.
2. WasitbeforethefoundationofthispresentworldorderthatGoddecidedtocallcertainonesat certain times? 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4-5.
Comment: Ifyouareonenowcalled,God"foreknew"you. And"whomhedidforeknow,he alsodidpredestinate"-tobelost? No,"tobeconformedtotheimageofhisSon,thathemightbethefirstborn amongmanybrethren. Moreoverwhomhedidpredestinate,themhealsocalled..."(Rom.8:29-30). Notwill call in the future-but called now
in this age.Ifyouarecalled-ifGodhasrevealedthiswonderfultruthtoyourunderstandingandyouarebegottenbyHis Spirit-you are having your opportunity now-your one and
only opportunity to prepare yourself to be used by Christ in the loving labour of
helping to save the vast majority of mankind in the World Tomorrow!
MOST NEITHER FINALLY LOST NOR SAVED
1. Have all sinned and therefore earned the penalty for sin-eternal death?Rom. 3:23;
6:23.But did Christ, the Creatorofallmankind,giveHissinlesslifetopaythatpenaltyinourstead?Rom.5:8-10.Cansalvationcome only through Christ?Acts 4:12;1 Tim. 2:5.
Comment: No one can come to God except through JesusChrist. Noonecanhavethedeath penalty he has incurred paid in any other way. But neither can anyone receive
the benefit of Christ's payment unless he has an opportunity to accept it. No one
can build God's character without His Spirit, and that Spirit is given only after
repentance, belief and baptism. And God will not give immortality to anyone who
has not already proven he or she will live God's way.Millions have lived and died
without any opportunity to fulfilany of these essentials. They cannot be given
Theyarenot"saved,"yet neither are they finally condemned.They will have their
opportunity later.Butiftheyhaven'tfinallylostsalvation,thenwhohas? Actually,onlyaverysmallminority. TheBible describes two waysa person can lose salvation.
2. Will those whom God has already called to receive the knowledge of salvation
be given a "second chance"iftheysinwilfully? Heb.10:26-29;6:4-6. Toreceivethispunishment,wasitfirstnecessaryforthem to have known God's truth?Heb.
Comment: It is only those to whom God has revealed the knowledge of His truth who
have been given a chance to understand spiritual salvation and receive eternal life.
If they sin wilfully after receiving that knowledge, they will not havea second
chance for salvation!There isa big difference between sinning willingly and wilfully.Adam sinned willingly, but that does not mean heiscondemnedtoperishinthelakeoffirebecauseofit.Thereareonlyafewwhohavesinnedwilfully,and they are
condemned to the lake of fire!God will forgive any sin that is repented of-even
if, through weakness, temptation or habit, the sin is repeated. As long as a person's
intention, attitude and desire is to obey God, he will repent, and God will forgive
him (I John 1:9). Jesus said we ought to forgive seventy times seven times (Matt.
18:21-22). God is even more willing to forgive than that!So what isa wilful or
an unforgivable sin?
If a person has been given spiritual understanding of God's way and has experienced
the blessings of that way, but decides he no longer wants it, changes his attitude,
deliberately chooses a life of rebellion, despising God's Law, then this sin is unforgivable
because he will not repent of it!God will not give eternal life to anyone who insists
on living Satan's way."Itisimpossibleforthosewhohaveoncebeenenlightened,whohavetastedtheheavenlygift,whosharedin the Holy Spirit, who have tasted
the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away,
to be brought back to repentance" (Heb. 6:4-6, NIV).Such people have been specially
called by God and given His Spirit, yet at some point in time they purposely, knowingly,
rejected it! Perhaps through bitterness, refusal to forgive others, or neglect of
prayer and Bible study, they stopped allowing God to build His character in them.
Like the servant who did nothing with his poundortalent,theyfailedinGod'spurposeforthem. Theyhavebecomesocallousedtotheirsinsthatthey, no matter
what Godcoulddo to try to correct them, will never want to repent.
3Did Jesus speak of another sin that will not be forgiven by God?Mark 3:28-29;
Matt.12:31-32.What grave accusation did the scribes and Pharisees hurl at Jesus?Mark 3:22; Matt.12:22-24.
Comment:Tointentionallyspeakabusively(themeaningoftheGreekwordtranslated"blasphemy")against theHolySpiritandattributeworksofGod'sSpirittothedevilistodeliberatelyrejecttheonlypowerbywhich one can be converted and given
salvation. It is a deliberate, premeditated, wilful rejection of God and His power!
Isaiah49:8,from which2 Corinthians 6:2 is quoted, correctly state it?
49:8) is "now isa day of salvation." If it were true that this is the only time
when one may be saved, God would notbefair,forHeisnowcallingonlyafew!Thisageisindeed"the"dayofsalvationforthefewGodisnow calling.But all others
will have their "day" of salvation later!
Godhaspurposelyallowed them to be deceived by Satan. Therefore, most people
simply have not had a chance to understand the truth about salvation.They have not
yet had an opportunity to be saved!
"FIRSTFRUITS" CALLED TO SALVATION NOW
1. When Jesus came to earth about 4,000 years after Adam had cut mankind off
from God, did He say that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God would be preached to all
nations during this age for the purpose of converting them?Matt. 24:14.
Comment: TheGospelJesusproclaimedistobepreachedinalltheworldonlyforawitnesstoallnations before the end of the present age-not to convert them!Most
who hear the true Gospel do not really understand it or the way to salvation. God's
truth is spiritual knowledge,andspiritualknowledgecannotbetransmittednaturallytoamortalhumanmind(ICorinthians.2:11-14). Spiritual truth is revealed by God!
None can receive it, though their ears hear the words, or their eyes see them (Matt.
13:14), except as God opens their understanding and reveals the truth to them by
His Holy Spirit.
2. EventhoughmostofmankindhasnotyetbeencalledtounderstandGod'splanofsalvation,someDO understand and come to Christ. Are these people specially
called by God the Father? John 6:44, 65. How are they referred to by the Apostle
James?James. 1: 18.
Comment: Those now called are merely the"first-fruits"ofGod'splanofsalvation.Godhascalled only a few in this age-not for special favours, but for special responsibilities.
They have been called to grow in God's character so they, when born into His Family,
can rule righteously in the World Tomorrow. Then they will help bring salvation
to every mortal during the Millennium.
Comment:ThepromisewasmadeonlytothoseGodhadpredestinedtocall. ItwasGod,notthe apostles, who added new converts to the Church (Acts 2:47).TheHolySpirit,whicheveryhumanneeds,uniteswiththehumanspiritthatisinus. ItistheimpregnationofGod-life which makes us the begotten but not yet born children
of God's Family-heirs, but not yet inheritors.It is the spirit of understanding,
imparting to the physical brain spiritual comprehension the ability to really understand
spiritual knowledge. It is the divine love of God placed within us. It is the faith
of Christ-the same faithJesushad-nowgiventous. Itisalsothespiritualpowerweneedtohelpusturnfrom,resistand overcome Satan's "get" way and turn to God's
“give” way.It is the power by which the few first-fruitsnowcalledmaydevelopGod'sholy,righteousandperfect character, which is God's purpose for having put
humanity on the earth-that God may thus reproduce Himself.When Adam chose to disobey
God, he was cast out of the Garden of Eden and denied access to the Holy Spirit and
eternal life. He was spiritually kidnapped by Satan! Although the world would then
be ruled by Satan for 6,000 years, God knew that this was the best way for humans
to learn their lesson.ThosewhoarecalledbeforeChrist'sreturnmust,throughthepowerofGod'sSpirit,overcomeSatanwhile he is still ruling. That is not
easy, but it helps them to qualify for greater positions of responsibility in the
WorldTomorrow. Greatercharacterisbuiltwhenonehasobstacles,suchasthedevil'sinfluence,to overcome.Living in a world filled with sin also helps us learn
to thoroughly hate sin (Ps.97:10; 119:104). The results of selfishness and competition
are painfully obvious to those God calls out of Satan's world.After Christ returns
and restrains Satan, a utopia will finally result that will reflect the benefits
of God's way. The comparison with Satan's 6,000 years of rule will be spectacular!
ALL IN THE MILLENNIUM WILL BE CALLED
The 6,000-year sentence on Adam's world-being cut off from God-is due to end soon.
This world, still Satan's world except for God's Church, is fast plunging into a
period of great tribulation just before Christ's return.Suddenly, when most needed,
but least expected by a world cut off from God, Jesus Christ will come in supreme
supernatural power and glory as King of kings. He will then marry His bride-thefirst-fruitsofHis Church, who have made themselves ready-and together they will
rule the world from Jerusalem during the Millennium.Then, after this world has been
freed from Satan's rule, freed from his deceptions and spiritual influences- when
this is God's world-Christ will begin to convert everyone and bring them into His
eternal Family!Many will then remember the warning given them by God's Church before
the Great Tribulation began. Others will have been warned during the Tribulation
by two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-12). They will be willing to admit that their old way
of life, based on the ways of the old civilization founded by Satan, was wrong. And
they will gladly accept God's way.Bythemillions,humanswillbespirituallybegotten,willgrowinGod'scharacter,andbebornintotheFamily of God all during the thousand
1 . When Isaiah the prophet was told by God that the vast majority of Israel was
blinded (Isaiah 6:10), what did he ask?Verse 11. How long did God say this spiritual
blindness would last? Verses 11-1 2.
2. Will all Israel eventually be saved after the Deliverer-Christ at His Second
Coming- comes out of Zion to call them to salvation?Rom. 11:26-27.
3.Will the nations of this earth, who have never heard about the true God and His
way of life that leads to salvation,learnGod'swaysandwalkinHispaths?
Comment:Notonly Israelites, but also Gentiles will come to be taught by Christ,
the returned Deliverer and "root of Jesse," at the time when He sets His hand to
remove the spiritual blindness from Israel and Judah.
4. WhenChristisKingoveralltheearthduringtheMillennium,willtheHolySpirit(representedby"living waters") go out from Jerusalem?Zech. 14:8-9.Will
God pour out His Spirit on all people?Joel 2:28-29.
Comment: The Holy Spirit will be made available to all and will open their minds
to understand God'swayofsalvation.First,themodern-daydescendantsoftheancient12tribesofIsraelwilllearntoobey, and then, following their example, also all
of the other nations.Just think what a time of great rejoicing it will be as each
new member of the God Family is born into the Kingdom of God during the Millennium!
They will then join the ruling saints in preparing for the time when thousands of
millions will be resurrected and taught the way of salvation after the thousand years.
THE REST CALLED AFTER THE MILLENNIUM
All who live during the Millennium will have their chance to participate in the salvation
process. They will havetheiropportunitytogrowspirituallytowardspiritualbirthintotheGodFamily.Butwhataboutthosewho have already died without having heard
or understood God's truth?
1 . Did Paul clearly understand that the people of Israel, and mankind in general,
were spiritually blinded? Rom.10:16;18-21.AlthoughtheseIsraelitesheardtheGospel,theydidnotobeyit.WasthisbecauseGod hadpurposelyallowedtheirblindness?
Rom.11:8,25,32. Yet,didPaulknowthattheywouldhaveafuture opportunity
to receive salvation?Verse 26.
Comment: When Paul said "all Israel shall be saved," he meant ALL Israel, including
those of his day.But when will they be given their opportunity to come to the spiritual
knowledge of salvation?
13. Is this clearly a resurrection to physical life -do the bodies have flesh, skin
and bones, and require air to live?Verses 5-9.
3. WillGodalsogiveHisSpirittothesemillionsofpeople? Verse14. WilltheGentilesalsobe resurrected and return to their "former estate"?Ezek. 16:55.
Comment: Israelisatypeofallnations. Ezekiel'spropheciesdescribeatimewhenbothIsraelitesandGentiles who died in spiritual ignorance will be given an
opportunity to receive salvation.
All the inhabitants of Sodom died centuries before Ezekiel wrote this (Gen. 19:24-25).
God can "bring back their captives" (RAV translation of Ezek. 16:53) or "restore
their fortunes" (Moffatt,RSVandNIV)onlyby resurrectingthem! AllunconvertedIsraeliteswillberesurrectedatthesametimeasthoseGentiles,andallwill begiventheirfirstopportunityforsalvation!(Verse62). TheprophetEzekieldoesnotexplainwhenthis resurrection will occur, but Christ did reveal it in His revelation
to the Apostle John.
4. Does God want to eventuallycallandsaveeveryone?2Pet.3:9;1Tim.2:4.
Iseveryonesavedatthe same time, or is therea definite time-order or sequence?ICorinthians. 15:22-24.
Comment: Evenasallmendie,thesameallwillbemadealive(verse22). Everyonewhohas ever lived and died will be resurrected-first Christ was resurrected, then
later the saints who lived and died beforeChrist'sSecondComingwillberesurrected.
Butwhataboutthevastmajoritywhoneverwere Christ's? Verse 24 includes them
all in "the end"-when Christ completes His job of conquering every enemy (verse 25).That will happen after the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-10).ThosewhohavenotheardorunderstoodGod'struthhavenotbeenconsignedtoeternaldeath. Theyhave not sinned
wilfully. They never had a chance! Even if some have lived up to the best they
knew while alive, the Bible teaches only one way to salvation-through belief in Christ
(Acts 4:12) and spiritual conversion and growth as defined in the BibleMostofourlovedoneswhohavedied"unsaved"inallprobabilitydidnotdielost. Theymostlikelywerenot called during this age, but their call is coming later. They shall
be resurrected to mortal life and given spiritual understandingandtheopportunitytobecomemembersofGod'sFamily.Revelation20tellsuswhenthisgreat resurrection
5. DoestheBiblespeakofa"first"resurrection,thusimplyingthatthereismorethanoneresurrection? Rev.20:5, last part.When will the second resurrection
occur?Same verse, first part.
Comment: The first part of verse 5 is a parenthetical comment. The verse should
read: "(But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.)
This is the first resurrection."
Thesentence,"Thisisthefirstresurrection,"referstotheresurrectiontoimmortallifeofthefirst-fruitsofGod's plan, which will occur at Christ's return, just
before the 1,000-year period begins (verses 4, 6).
Butnoticefurtherthefirstsentenceinverse5:"Buttherestofthedead[thosewhoneverhadanopportunityto understand God's truth] lived not again [would not
come up in a resurrection] until the thousand years were finished."Thisresurrection,whichwilloccurafterthe1,000years,isthesecondresurrection. Itisa resurrection
to mortal life!
6.How is the second resurrection further elaborated on?Verses 11-12.How will thesepeople be
Comment: The dead who stand before God couldn't include true Christians today, becausetheywillappear before Christ and receive their rewards at the first resurrection
when He returns. It couldn't refer to those converted during the Millennium, because
they will have already inherited the Kingdom during the thousand years, after livinga normal life span.Thoseinthissecondresurrectionarethosewhodiedinspiritualignoranceinpastages.Theirtimeofsalvation will occur after the second resurrection,The Greek word translated "books" in verse 12 isBiblia. ItisfromthiswordthattheEnglishword"bible"is derived. The books that are opened are the books of
the Bible! They will be opened to the understanding of thethousandsofmillionsofpeoplewhohadnotbeenabletoknowandunderstandGod'spurposeandplanfor
them during their previous lifetime, never having been called by the Father and given
His Spirit of understanding.Some, assuming that "judgment" means only the pronouncing
of a sentence based on past behaviour, having thoughtthatthesepeople,eveniftheyrepented,coulddonothingtoaltertheirfate. Thankfully,Godis merciful,
always willing to forgive upon true repentance.In this period of judgment, not only
will the Bible be opened to their understanding, but the Book of Life will alsobeopened.Thesepeoplewillbegivenanopportunitytoreceiveeternallife!God,inperfectfairness,will give them the same opportunity for salvation He now gives
to those He calls in this present age. However, they will not be subject to Satan's
influence as we are today, because Satan will have been finally sent to his punishment
(Rev. 20:10).Let's be sure we understand the meaning of God's judgment referred
to in Revelation 20:12.
7. Are true ChristianstodayalreadybeingjudgedbyGod? IPet.4:17. Isthisjudgmentsothattheymightavoid condemnation?ICorinthians. 11:32.
Comment: God judges His Spirit-begotten children by evaluating how well they live
by His written Word. Their rewards in God's Kingdom, as we learned in Lesson 20,
will depend on theircharacter development during their mortal life.Those resurrected
after the Millennium will be judged the same way. They, like Spirit begotten Christians
today, will be given enough time to prove they are willing to live God's way through
a life of overcoming and obedience to God.WithGod'sSpiritfreelyavailable,andfreedfromSatan'sspiritualinfluences,theywillbegiventheirfirstand only
opportunity for salvation through repentance, baptism and growing in godly character
during a second mortal life.Those who continue to live God's way of life will be
changed from mortality to immortality at the end of this period of judgment.
VAST MAJORITY TO BE BORN OF GOD!
Imagine, if you can, the astonishment of those resurrected at the beginning of the
period just described. Each person will be in his first moment of consciousness since
death. At first, some may think they are in "heaven," "hell," or "purgatory." Most
will simply be confused bewildered.Nothingthatmanyhadbeentaughtaboutanafterlifewillturnouttobetrue. Facedwithundeniable evidence that their old teachings
and ways were false, they will be more willing to admit this, start over and be taught
the truth. Untold millions who never had any religious teaching whatsoever will
start learning from scratch.Whowillteachtheseuntoldthousandsofmillions?MillionsofteacherswhowillhavebeenbornintoGod'sFamily in the first resurrection and
during the Millennium.Those resurrected back to mortal life will then undergo a
process of conversion similar to that of Spirit- begottenChristianstoday. TheywillbetaughtGod'sLaw,andwilllearntheyareguiltyofsinanddeserving of
the death penalty for all eternity as a result of their sins. They will learn of
God's mercy, and that Christ paid the penalty for them, if they will accept His payment.The vast majority will repent.Upon repentance and faith in Christ as their personal
Saviour, they will be forgiven and God's Spirit will be giventothem.Thenthey,asSpirit-begottenchildrenofGod,canbegingrowingspiritually-developingGod's
holy, righteous and perfect character within them.Formany,unlearningallthefalsehoodslearnedintheirfirstlifeandlearningGod'struewayswilltaketime. And building
character will take time, because character can be developed only through time and
1.How long will their period of judgment last?Isaiah. 65:20.
Comment: ThisverseinIsaiahapparentlyreferstothisjudgmentperiod,suggestingthatthoseresurrected then will live for100 years, no matter how old they were
when they died.
God is great, merciful, loving, not willing that any should perish. He wants all
to come to the knowledge of the truth and to true repentance. But He knows it is
best that most people come to understand His truth in a betterworldthanthispresentevilworld. Thatiswhytheywillberaisedupinthesecondresurrection a resurrection
intoa world free of Satan's deceptions, and lovingly ruled by the God Family.
They will be able to compare the results of 6,000 years of Satan's "get" way with
the 1,000 years of God's "give" way under Christ. With 7,000 years of humanity now
history, these mortals will face up to what their previous experience in sin really
proved.The vast majority will choose God's way.
2.How did Jesus refer to this special "day" or period of judgment for people who
have yet to hear and understand the wonderful message of salvation? Matt.
Comment: Christ mentioned thepeopleofTyre andSidon, Sodom, Nineveh in Jonah's
time and finally the Queen of the South.All of these examplesofpeoplewholivedindifferentgenerationsarecomparedtothecitizenslivinginthecitiesandtowns
of Jesus' day, the vast majority of whom did not understand or believe His message.
Jesus tells us that they will be resurrected with the generation that lived during
His time!Jesusgaveenoughexamplesofpeoplelivingatwidespreadtimestoprovethatmostofhumanitywillbealive at the same time on this earth. There will be
pre-Flood men and women, all 12 tribes of Israel, those who lived during the Middle
Ages and the vast majority living now. Even babies and children who died untimely
death will be resurrected then.They will all rise in the second resurrection because
they had not been called by God during their first lifetime.This group includes
all people of all times except those who will have already been born of God, and
those relatively few individuals who already had their opportunity to receive eternal
life, but deliberately rejected it, having sinned wilfully.Those few will be resurrected
and will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:13-15).TheancientpeoplesJesusmentionedinMatthew11and12wouldhaverepentedifHehadpersonallycome to them
in their day. And they will repent and receive the Holy Spirit when resurrected
into a world that has been personally ruled by Jesus Christ for 1,000 years!YourBibleshowsthatthevastmajorityofthosewhohaveeverlivedwillfinallybebornintoGod'sFamilyat the end of their coming period of judgment.God's Master Plan
of salvation for mankind will then be complete.
How wonderful and reassuring is the truth of our all-wise, loving and merciful Creator