Revelation Jewish New Testament, JNT, CJNT, David H. Stern
1. Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven, who had the key to the Abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], and chained him up for a thousand years.
An angel... who had the key to the Abyss. See 9:1N.
The dragon, that ancient serpent, etc. (see 12:9-10N) must be chained, his power severely limited for a period; afterwards he "must be set free for a little while" (vv. 3, 7 to deceive the nations (vv. 3, 8) and Israel (v. 9a) before his final defeat and eternJ punishment (vv. 9b-10). The ideas of binding demonic beings and of punishing them with eternal fire are also found in the Jewish apocrypha (Tobit 8:3) and pseude-pigrapha (1 Enoch 10:4-17, 18:12-19:2, 21:1-6, 54:4-6; Testament of Levi 18:12; Jubilees 48:15-16), and in Christian apocrypha (Acts of Pilate 22:2). See also 2 Ke 2:4&N, which quotes 1 Enoch 10:4-6.
3. He threw him into the Abyss, locked it and sealed it over him; so that he could not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were over. After that, he has to be set free for a little while.
4. Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years.
Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge.... They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years. Compare Daniel's prophecy:
"As I looked, thrones were placed,... and millions... sat in judgment.... And the time came when the holy ones possessed the kingdom." (Daniel 7:9-10,22) According to G. E. Ladd,
"[Revelation 20:4-6] is the only passage in the entire Bible which teaches a temporal millennial kingdom, and there is only one other passage in the New Testament which may envisage a temporal reign of Christ between his parousia [coming] and the telos (consummation, final goal]: I Cor. 15:23-24." (Revelation, p. 267)
But elsewhere Yeshua promises to share his rulership with believers (2:26-28, 3:21, 5:9-10: Mt 19:28; 1С 6:2). Also those who had not worshipped the beast.... Greek kai could mean not "also" but "in other words," in which case there is only one group ruling with the Messiah, not two.
5. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection.
6. Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years.
The first resurrection is the coming to life of God's holy people, as described in vv. 4 and 6. The second resurrection is not mentioned as such; it is implied by the parenthetical remark that the rest of the dead did not come to lift until the thousand years were over (see v. 12), at which time they are alive only long enough to experience the second death (see v. 14N, 2:11), which has no power over the believers.
They will be cohanim, "priests," of God and of the Messiah. "You [the people of Israel] shall be for me [God] a kingdom of cohanim and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). "You [believers in Yeshua] are... the King's cohanim" (1 Ke 2:9, alluding to Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 61:6). These promises reach their fulfillment here.
7. When the thousand years are over, the Adversary will be set free from his prison
A thousand years, the Millennium. Depending on their overall approach to the book of Revelation (see 1:1N), interpreters are divided over whether this period is symbolic (Amillennialists) or historical; and if historical, possibly present (Postmillennialists) or definitely future (Premillennialists); and if future, literally 1,000 years (most Dispensationalists) or not. Amillennialism sees Chapter 20 as recapitulating the events described in earlier chapters, rather than describing a chronologically later period. Postmillennialism understands the Millennium as the present historical age, with the Body of the Messiah establishing righteousness on earth in increasing measure (in which case Chapter 19 does not speak of the Messiah's victorious return, but of the triumph of good over evil at the end of the age). Premillennialism alone expects a future Millennium in which the Messiah himself will rule on earth, and I share this opinion. But I also agree with Lance Lambert, a Messianic Jew living in Jerusalem, who writes:
"It is my belief that there will be a millennium. It would not alter my faith or joy in the Lord if there were no such period. I find myself unable to hold such a conviction in an argumentative or hotly dogmatic spirit. If we are honest, both views present us with problems which are not easily answered. The vital need is to be ready for the Lord's coming and for all that will follow it." (77// the Day Dawns, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications, 1982, p. 160)
For more on the different eschatological positions, including the varieties of Premii lennialism, see 4:1N, 1 Th 4:15b-17N.
A millennium of sorts appears in the lengthy collection of opinions about Messianic times found in Chapter 11 of Babylonian Talmud tractate Sanhedrin: "Rav Kattina said, "The world will exist for six thousand years, then for one thousand years it will lie desolate....'"(Sanhedrin 97a) This passage and a related one are quoted fully and discussed in 2 Ke 3:3-9N.
Likewise, although the events leading up to the Messianic Age are described differently in the Zohar (the central text of Jewish mysticism compiled in the 13th century), it tells us:
"Happy are those left alive at the end of the sixth millennium to enter into [the millennium of] the Shabbat." (Zohar 1:119a) With this compare MJ 4:1-11&NN.
Traditional Judaism has other views of how long the "Days of the Messiah" will last. In the following passage ellipses stand for the Scripture verses the rabbis bring in support of their estimates.
"It was taught: Rabbi Eli'ezer said: 'The days of the Messiah will be forty years....' Rabbi El 'azar ben-'Azaryah said: 'Seventy years....' Rabbi [Y'hudah the Prince] said: "Three generations....'
"Another taught: Rabbi Eli'ezer said: "The days of the Messiah will be forty years....' Rabbi Dosa said: 'Four hundred years....' Rabbi said: 'Three hundred sixty-five years, like the days of the solar year....' Abimi ben-Rabbi Abbahu taught: 'The days of Israel's Messiah will be seven thousand years....' Rav Y'hudah said in Shmu'el's name, 'The days of the Messiah will last as long as from the Creation until now....' Rav Nachman ben-Yitzchak said, 'As long as from Noach's days until our own.'"(Sanhedrin 99a)
This chapter of Revelation portrays the Millennium and the events at its close as distinct from the period following, when there will be "a new heaven and a new earth" (Chapters 21-22); a similar differentiation is found in the Tanakh in Ezekiel 36-48 (see v. 8N below). Likewise, traditional Judaism sometimes makes a distinction between the Days of the Messiah and the 'olam haba ("the world to come"):
"Rabbi Chiyya ben-Abba said in Rabbi Yochanan's name: 'All the prophets prophesied [the good things] only for the Days of the Messiah; but as for the 'olam ha-ba, "no eye but yours, God, has seen what He has prepared for him who waits for Him" (Isaiah 64:3(4))."'(Sanhedrin 99a; similarly B'rakhot 34b)
However, in the following passage specifying the length of the Messianic Era, eschatological events which the New Testament assigns to different periods are conflated. This excerpt from a first-century С. Е. Jewish book pseudepigraphically attributed to Ezra the Scribe is remarkable for the sheer quantity of ideas similar to those elaborated in the New Testament: it refers to the Messiah as the Son of God (Mt 3:17), speaks of his death (Mt 27:50), mentions "those with him" (whether angels or saints returning to rule, v. 6 below; and see 19:14N), and alludes to the New Jerusalem (21:1-2), resurrection (vv. 4-6,12 below), the doing away with what is corruptible (1С 15:42-54), the throne of judgment (vv. 11-15), judgment on the basis of deeds (w. 14-15; Mt 25:34-46), the Abyss (9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8; vv. 1-3 above), torment and Gey-Hinnom (14:10, 19:20, vv. 9-15 below, 21:8; Mt 5:22, 5:29-30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 23:33; Mk 9:44-47), the final Paradise (21:1-22:9), and a seven-year period (Daniel 9:24-27; also compare above, 12:14, with Daniel 7:25, 12:7).
"Ezra,.. .the time will come when the signs I have told you about will come to pass, that the city now unseen will appear and the land now concealed be revealed. Everyone delivered from the predicted evils will see My wonders. My Son the Messiah will be disclosed, along with those who are with him, and he will gladden the survivors four hundred years [variant readings: 1,000 years, 30 years (close to the length of Yeshua's life)]. After those years My Son the Messiah will die, and all in whom there is human breath. Then the world will be turned into the primeval silence for seven days, as it was at the first beginnings, so that no one is left.
"After seven days the age not yet awake will be roused, and what is corruptible will perish. The earth will restore those who sleep in her, and the dust will restore those who rest in it. The Most High will be revealed upon the throne of judgment, and then comes the End. Compassion will pass away, pity be distant, longsu tiering withdrawn; only judgment will remain, truth stand, faithfulness triumph. Recompense will follow, the reward will be made manifest. Acts of righteousness will awake and acts of iniquity not sleep. Then the Abyss of torment will appear, and in contrast the place of refreshment; the furnace of Gey-Hinnom will be manifested, and in contrast the Paradise of delight.
"Then the Most High will say to the nations that have been raised [from the dead]: 'Look now and consider whom you have denied, whom you have not served, whose commandments you have despised! Look, now, before you: here delight and refreshment, there fire and torments!' Thus will he speak to them in the Day of Judgment. For thus shall the Day of Judgment be: aday on which there is no sun, moon, stars; no clouds, thunder, lightning, wind, rainstorm, cloud-rack; no darkness, evening, morning; no summer, fall, winter: no heat, frost, cold, hail, rain, dew; no noon, night, dawn, shining, brightness or light — except for the splendor of the brightness of the Most High, whereby all shall be destined to see what has been determined for them. And its duration shall be, as it were, a week of years. Such is my Judgment and its prescribed order; I have shown these things only to you." (4 Ezra 7:25-44)
8. and will go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:2) to gather them for the battle. Their number is countless as the sand on the seashore;
To deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them for battle. Compare the structure of Ezekiel 36-48 with Revelation 20-22. Ezekiel 36-37 speaks of Israel's salvation, with David ruling over them (compare this chapter, vv. 1-6). In Ezekiel 38-39 Gog from Magog interrupts this rule with an eschatological battle, in which the nations come against the Kingdom (compare this chapter, vv. 7-10). The final order is described in Ezekiel 40—48 in terms of a rebuilt temple in a new Jerusalem (compare Revelation 21-22). In both places a temporal kingdom is followed by an eternal kingdom after a final war.
Ezekiel writes that Gog, from the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval, will come with armies from a number of other places against the Jewish people regathered into the Land of Israel from the other nations and living at peace in unwalled towns. Those nations are the same in Ezekiel 38 as in Ezekiel 27, in the lament against the king of Tyre, who is, as is clearest from Ezekiel 28:11-19, a stand-in for Satan.
9. and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them.
Fire came down from heaven. Compare Ezekiel 38:22. 39:6.
10. The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Now that Satan's front-men have been taken care of (19:21), the Messiah attends to Satan himself.
This is the final event in the long and wicked history of the one who originated rebellion against God. Already at the beginning, after enticing Adam and Eve to commit the First human sin. God knew and said what the end would be:
"I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [EveJ, and between your seed [all who sin and rejoice in the sin of others, whether angelic (Ep 6:10-13)or human (Ro 1:32)] and her seed [her descendants, i. e., humanity; but more particularly, the unique "seed" spoken of in Ga 3:16&N, Yeshua); he [the Hebrew is singular, referring to Yeshua, not plural] will bruise [or: crush] your head, and you will bruise their heel Ithe Hebrew is plural; humanity can be injured. Yeshua cannot]." (Genesis 3:15)
This prediction of Satan's ultimate downfall is fulfilled in stages. Thus when Yeshua said, "Now is the time for this world to be judged, now the ruler of this world will be expelled" (Yn 12:31), he was speaking of how his death on the execution-stake would defeat the Adversary (compare Revelation 12). The Messianic Community also has a part in causing Satan's ruin, as Sha'ul writes, "God, the source of shalom, will soon crash the Adversary under your feet" (Ro 16:20). In vv. 1-3 above that Adversary is chained in the Abyss, and here he is hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur (on this see v. 15N) to be tormented forever and ever.
11. Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.
The One sitting on the throne is Yeshua. Although he shares the throne with God the Father (3:21), it is through Yeshua alone that God renders the final judgment (see also v. 12aN). According to Yochanan's Gospel,
"The Father does not judge anyone, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.... [The Father] has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Don't be surprised at this; because the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to a resurrection of life and those who have done evil to a resurrection of judgment." (Yn 5:22, 27-29)
What the Gospel calls the "resurrection of life" is in this chapter called the first resurrection, for believers only; while the "resurrection of judgment" applies to "the rest of the dead" (v. 5). who experience the second death (v. 14). See Yn 5:22N and compare Ac 17:31.
Earth and heaven fled from his presence and no place was found for them, because they are corrupted by sin, unholy and impure (Ro 8:19-22). Although in the present age the impure defiles the pure, when God himself appears in glory his purity banishes the impure, for his holiness cannot abide that which is corrupted by sin (see Mt 9:20&N). The only remedy is "a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away" (21:1).
12. And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne.
"All of us will stand before God's judgment seat.... For we must all appear before the Messiah's court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body... on a day when God passes judgment on people's inmost secrets. (According to the Good News as I proclaim it, he does this through the Messiah Yeshua.)" (Ro 14:10,2C 5:10, Ro 2:16)
Books... another book, the Book of Life. There seem to be two elements in the Final Judgment. First, there is judgment for eternal salvation (v. 5) or damnation (vv. 14-15) on the basis of being written in the Book of Life. Second, there is judgment according to works from what was written in the books (plural); this concept appears in the Tanakh at Daniel 7:9-10. From these books God judges all our deeds (see Ro 2:6&N), both public and secret, and even our innermost thoughts (see vv. 11-15N, v. 12aN). For the saved this judgment determines rewards (1С 3:8-15&N), while for the lost it determines degrees of punishment (Lk 12:47-48). But third, in traditional Judaism there is yet another meaning to these books — they determine what a person will experience in this world, not in the world to come.
The Hebrew term "sefer-chayim" ("book of life," "book of the living") appears in the Tanakh only at Psalms 69:28-29(27-28), "Add iniquity to their iniquity, don't let them come into Your righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of life And not be written with the righteous."
(Incidentally, this is a continuation of the passage quoted at Ro 11:9—10.)
The first reference to such a book is in Exodus 33:32-33. After the Israelites made the golden calf, Moses prayed that God would forgive them for this great sin, "and if not, then I pray that you blot me out of your book which you have written" (compare what Sha'ul writes at Ro 9:2-4a&N). Adonai's response to Moses was, "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book."
Other places in the Tanakh referring to a book containing individual destinies in the olam haba are Malachi 3:16 ("a book of remembrance was opened") and Daniel 12:1 ("every one whose name shall be found written in the book"); while Psalm 139:16 ("your book") seems to refer to the 'olam hazeh. In the New Testament the term "Book of Life" appears at Pp 4:3 and MJ 12:23 (and compare Lk 10:20), as well as six times in Revelation (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27), always signifying eternal salvation. There are other references in the Pseudepigrapha (Jubilees 30:22, which mentions a second book, the book of those who will be destroyed, with the possibility of having one's name transferred to it from the Book of Life; 1 Enoch 104:7; 108:3, 7; I Baruch 24:1) and in early Christian literature (Vision of Hennas 1:24, Similitude 2:12). In the Mishna it;; spoken of in Pirkey-Avot 2:1 (quoted above in vv. 11-15N), 3:17.
From God's answer to Moses in Exodus, together with 3:1-5 above, we learn that it is possible to fall from grace, to have one's eternal destiny changed from salvation to condemnation, in consequence of unrepented sin in one's life, even though such passages as Ep 1:3—14 and 1 Ke 2:9 suggest that salvation is predestined. One way to deal with this antinomy is to suppose that everyone's name is initially written in the Book of Life — babies who die before the age of responsibility go to heaven. But upon reaching the age of responsibility, everyone sins (Ro 3:23); and only those who turn to God through Yeshua the Messiah (Yn 14:6) can know that they are saved. A name is not removed from the Book of Life unless the person has committed the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Spirit, of finally and definitively rejecting God and his Son Yeshua (Mt 12:32&N).
The term "book of life" finds a prominent place in the liturgy for the High Holy Days. Thus the final blessing of the 'Amidah is expanded so as to conclude: "May we and all your people, the house of Israel, be remembered and inscribed in the book of life, blessing, peace and prosperity, so that we will have a life of goodness and peace. Blessed are you, Adonai, the maker of peace."
Some Messianic Jews take exception to the customary greetings for Rosh-HaShanah — "Shanah tovah likatevu" ("May you be inscribed [in the book of life] for a good year") — and Yom-Kippur — "Chatimah tovah" ("[May you have] a good sealing [of your destiny in the book of life]") — on the ground that as believers in Yeshua our names are already written in the Book of Life. This is unnecessary scrupulousness, for here the "book of life" is not concerned with eternal salvation but with life in this world. The tradition is that on Rosh-HaShanah God opens the heavenly books and judges people according to their works, writing in them who will die and what kind of life the living will enjoy during the coming year. The Ten Days of Penitence, Rosh-HaShanah through Yom-Kippur, are thought of as offering an opportunity for repentance that will influence God to change these fates for the better. But on Yom-Kippur these fates are fixed or "sealed." All of this is portrayed most clearly in the important High Holy Days prayer Un'tanneh Tokef (literally, "Let us recount the authority" of this day), quoted in full at MJ 9:22N.
13. The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done.
14. Then Death and Sh’ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire.
All the dead who have not participated in the first resurrection are now resurrected and judged (see vv. 5-6N above). There is no longer any need for Sh'ol, where the dead are held for judgment, since this is the judgment. Nor is there need for death, the punishment for sin, since sin is now being banished from the universe, as foretold by Sha'ul at 1С 15:54-55. Likewise the sea, a biblical metaphor for death, destruction and turmoil (see Isaiah 57:20, Ezekiel 28:8, Psalm 107:25-28). harboring fearsome, Satanic creatures such as Leviathan (Isaiah 27:1, Psalm 104:27, Job 40:25-41:26(41:1—34» and the beast of 12:18-13:8 above, releases its dead for judgment, so that, having served its purpose, it too disappears (21:1).
15. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire.
This is the event foretold by the parable of the sheep and the goats in Mt 25:31-46:
"Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, 'Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels!' ... They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life." (Mt 25:41,46) The "eternal life" spoken of is depicted in 22:1-22:5.
It is possible that the lake of fire is meant literally, to the degree that the wicked, in resurrected physical bodies, will experience physically the torment of burning and stench forever. Or it may be a metaphor for the eternal pain of knowing that one is forever to be denied the bliss of being present with the God of the universe and must be separated from him, to burn forever with frustration, anger and regret; Jean-Paul Sartre's play, "No Exit," is one man' s expression of this understanding. For more on the lake of fire, see 19:20N.
Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire. (On "Book of Life" see v. 12bN.) This is the climactic moment for the wicked. Yet it is not God who has determined their fate, but they themselves, by their deeds that fall short of God's holiness, and by their lack of trusting Him for salvation through Yeshua the Messiah. "The Lord... is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins'\ (2 Ke 3:9). And compare Ro 2:1-8, especially vv. 5b-6: ".. .by your unrepentant heart you are storing up anger for yourself on the Day of Anger, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed; for he will pay back each one according to his deeds," as taught in Psalm 62:13(12) and Proverbs 24:12. God's desire is that the wicked should turn from his evil ways.
"Therefore I will judge you, О house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says Adonai, God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, О house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says Adonai, God; so turn, and live!" (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved. Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God's only Son." (Yn 3:16-18)
The Judaism of today tends to finesse or minimize the punishment to be meted out to the wicked. Orthodox Judaism speaks of a probationary period (like the Roman Catholic purgatory) of not more than eleven months for members of the House of Israel. In this sense Judaism does not take sin seriously, in terms of its consequences to the individual sinner.
To those who cannot relate to vv. 11-15 because they find the doctrine of eternal punishment for the wicked too fearsome, or because they cannot accept that God would be "so mean — it's against his loving nature," the Tanakh replies, "The fear of Adonai is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111: 10). Justice and mercy, holiness and love are qualities which God balances in his own way, which may not be the way we would choose.
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, says Adonai,
and my ways are not your ways.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
"There is a way which seems right to a man,
but at its end are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12).
Everyone is to face God's judgment. Although God is a God of mercy, he is also a God of judgment. This is taught equally by the Tanakh, the New Testament, and Jewish tradition.
The Prophets speak of this judgment as the Day of YHVH; see Isaiah 2:12,13:6-13 (a verse of which is alluded to in Mt 24:29): Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1, 3:4(2:31) (quoted at Ac 2:20), 4:14(3:14); Amos 5:18-20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:17-18; Zechariah 14:1-9 and Malachi 4:5(3:23) (alluded to at Mt 17:10-11).
"The prominent feature of these passages is a dramatic sense of doom, underlined by a few characteristic motives, such as a darkness and wailing.... The warning is given that the Day of the Lord is near.... The wicked will be punished, justice established, mankind confounded, and its destiny somehow definitely changed.... God will... act — suddenly, decisively, and directly, in a single day, with vehemence and terror." (Encyclopedia Judaica 5:1387-8) In the New Testament can be found the terms "Day of God" (2 Ke 3:12), "Great Day of Adonai-Tzva'ot" (16:14 above), Day of the Messiah Yeshua(Pp 1:6,10; 2:16), and the ambiguous phrase, "Day of the Lord," which can mean either "Day of YHVH" or "Day of the Lord [Yeshua the Messiah]" (1С 1:8, 5:5; 2C 1:14; 1 Th 5:2-3; 2 Th 2:1-2; 2 Ke 3:10). (Also see 1:10&N, where the Greek expression is unique, making my rendering, "Day of the Lord," controversial.)
Moreover, God judges not only outward deeds, but the inner man. In the New Testament we see this when Yeshua confronts the P'rushim (Lk 12:1-5, Mt 23:23-28) and in the whole tenor of his Sermon on the Mount (Mattityahu 5-7); also compare Yn 2:23-25; Ro 2:16; MJ 4:13, 10:30. The Tanakh too speaks of secret deeds and motives when it says: "God will bring every work into judgment, concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Compare also Psalm 139. The Oral Torah affirms this:
"Rabbi [Y'hudah HaNasi, 135-219 C.E.] said, '... Pay attention to three things and you will not come under the power of transgression: know what is above you — an all-seeing eye, an all-hearing ear, and all your deeds recorded in abook'"(Avot 2:1)
So there is no room either for the common misunderstanding on the part of both Christians and Jews that the Old Testament portrays God as stern, judgmental and lacking mercy, with the New Testament picturing him as so merciful that he overlooks judgment and even justice; or for the opposite mistake of thinking that the New Testament, with its talk of hellfire, focuses on judgment more than the Tanakh.
Quoting Hosea 10:8, which depicts how the inhabitants of Samaria will feel when God judges them by having Assyria carry them away, Yeshua warns that the Day of God's judgment will be fearful: "Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!1"(Lk 23:30).
The Bible gives a symmetrical picture of salvation history. In its first two chapters, at the beginning of history, a sinless world is described; and at the beginning of the third chapter (Genesis 3:1-7) Satan the serpent (see above, v. 2) entices Eve and Adam into sin, resulting in damage both to humanity and to the world (Ro 8:19-22). God's plan from the very beginning was lo remedy this damage through the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, the slaughtered Lamb (5:6,9; 13:8; Ep 1:4-7; Yn 1:29); 1,256 chapters of the Bible deal with the outworking of this plan. Now, at the end of history, here in the third-to-last chapter of the Bible, sin is judged, with Satan (v. 10) and the wicked (v. 15) condemned to the lake of fire: while the final two chapters of Revelation present a newly created world and a humanity restored to Eden-like sinlessness. This is what is meant when God says (21:6), "I am the 'A' and the 'Z,' the Beginning and the End." There is but one asymmetry: Satan and the first man, Adam, cause sin at the beginning; while God the Father and the second man, Yeshua, cause sinlessness at the end (1С 15:45-49, Ro 5:12-21).
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5
- chapter 6
- chapter 7
- chapter 8
- chapter 9
- chapter 10
- chapter 11
- chapter 12
- chapter 13
- chapter 14
- chapter 15
- chapter 16
- chapter 17
- chapter 18
- chapter 19
- chapter 20
- chapter 21
- chapter 22