Who will be there? Everyone whom God has offered salvation since Adam and Eve.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
Who are these “many?” The New International Version says “multitudes.” They are split into two groups–winners and losers, if you will. Some will receive everlasting life, some receive everlasting contempt. Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible says about “contempt”: “3.Abhorrence, thrusting away…”
The saved are the 288,000 plus the innumerable multitude of Revelation 7 and 14. A careful comparison of the attributes of each group of 144,000 shows that these are two separate groups. The first group is made up entirely of Israelites who are alive at the end time. The tribulation is held up until this group of 144, 000 can be sealed:
Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
The second group of 144,000 is made up of people who have died prior to the tribulation and include Abraham, David, and Paul as well as other qualified Christians who will be in the first resurrection (“firstfruits”). Notice that this group is from “among men,” and are not limited to the tribes of Israel:
Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
The “great multitude which no man could number” could not be defined when John wrote these verses because at that time God did not and still does not know which way all these people are going to choose, whether they will accept or reject His offer of salvation.
Look at the word “multitude,” Strong’s #3793 which means, “a throng, company, numbers of people…” The Greek word used in Rev.7:9 is also used in Mat. 26:47 and Mat. 14:21,23.
Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Matthew 26:47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
How may men DOES it take to arrest one man? Ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred, two hundred?
Matthew 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
You don’t have to stretch your imagination to think that this crowd could be in excess of twenty thousand people in all, if there were five thousand men.
One group that Christ has identified is the “tares.” Keep in mind that these parables are “red letter,” that is, in the King James Version, they are direct quotations of Christ himself. They originated in His mind, or the Father’s. HE created the characters and MAKES THEM SAY WHAT HE WANTS THEM TO SAY as instruction for us. They are NOT fictional characters out of some novel. They are GOD DESIGNED, and we had better take heed. In the following parables, verses 37-50 are red letter:
Matthew 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The TARES have to represent at least 50 percent of the church. If you have ever walked in a wheat field, you know that it might take even closer to 60 percent to cause the wheat to be uprooted by pulling up the tares. Notice verse 40, that the tares are gathered and burned at the end of the world, or, as Young’s explains, “age, indefinite time, dispensation.”
Notice verses 41-42: destruction in the furnace of fire is the end for “all things that offend and them which do iniquity.” Several translations that I compared make it plain that these people do not attain salvation (RSV, NEB, Amp., NAS, NIV). The tares are certainly in the group being cast into the fire because Christ gives no indication that any of this group will be saved.
The three out of four potential “good seed” which go bad will surely be gathered up with the tares in this resurrection also, because they, too, fall under the condemnation of verse 41. They also are offenders by doing iniquity.
Look at another parable where this same Greek word for “world” or “age” is used:
Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Verses 47-50 are certainly talking about the first resurrection and tie in with verse 41 about the wicked.
Verses 41 and 49 are describing the people in Daniel 12:2 who are resurrected to everlasting contempt. Remember, the people in both categories are resurrected simultaneously in Daniel 12:2:
Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
This time of trouble which begins in verse 1 does not end at the time of Christ’s return. The world governments are subdued, but those wicked who are being judged and destroyed are still in the midst of that time of trouble. Notice that verse 1 does not say that the resurrection is at the end of this time of trouble, but implies that it is in the midst of it.
The five foolish virgins will be in this resurrection also, Mat 25:1-12.
Notice, again, that this parable is all “red letter.”
Matthew 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
The five foolish virgins are either still alive or have been resurrected in a physical state. Their time limit on repentance ran out. They put it off too long. The marriage supper is well under way when these five foolish virgins find their way to the banquet hall and appear at the door. They call on Christ to open the door and let them inside, verse 11. Verse 12 is Christ’s answer, “I know you not.” This clearly shows that they are physical and that those who have been changed to spirit beings are inside at the banquet. It takes a HUGE leap of imagination to stretch the word “afterward” to mean that these foolish virgins don’t show up on the scene until after the white throne judgment at the end of the millennium. This would also require that the marriage supper would last over 1000 years.
Can you imagine, first of all, the SIZE OF THE BANQUET HALL? WHAT KIND OF FACILITY WILL IT REQUIRE TO COMFORTABLY CONTAIN THOSE WHO ARE AT THE MARRIAGE SUPPER–the 288,000 and the multitude? Is there a structure on earth today which would fit the bill? Also, what are the numbers of people in the surrounding environs, the 50-60 percent tares and the three good seed that went bad? Remember, the saved are 288,000 plus the great multitude. These come from the remaining fourth good seed, so the number of bad seed out there will be at least three times the number saved plus the tares. If there are a million people saved at this time, how many millions are unsaved at this time who have been resurrected to the physical? All these physical beings are living in abject horror. They remember Romans 14:10-11:
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
These people did not bend their knees with the proper attitude in their former lives. 2 Cor. 5:10 comes flooding back to mind:
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
They are stunned and shocked by the thoughts of Rev. 20:12:
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
A tare is not going to be thrown into the lake of fire for failing to follow laws that he did not have access to, or as punishment for something he was not warned about. God has dealt fairly with these people over the centuries and they refused to listen and apply the warnings to their lives. That is why they have missed salvation. “Liberalism” is a modern term, but the attitude is fundamentally human when dealing with God’s law in any age. It reflects the attitude of twisting and changing scripture, brushing the instructions aside, and putting off making real, necessary changes in order to conform to God’s instructions.
There will be conversation between the saved and the doomed. Look at the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Remember, this is also “red letter.”
Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
When the rich man opens his eyes in the grave, what does he see? He sees the saved and the lake of fire. This rich man represents all the unsaved. His mouth is cotton-dry from fear. See, he is physical. A spirit being would not have this problem. He wants Lazarus to cool his tongue with a drop of water:
Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
The rich man carries on a conversation with Abraham. This is when the rich man (and all the people he represents) realizes that he is in the first resurrection. He realizes that his five brothers are not present, either physical as himself, or spirit as Abraham. He knows that they are yet waiting on their opportunity for salvation. THAT is why he wants Lazarus to go warn them. He wants a miracle performed to save them:
Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham responds in verse 29:
Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
These people already have God’s Word. They will get no miracles. The end-time people WILL get Elijah, but remember that John the Baptist did no miracles:
John 10:41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
The only instruction we get is God’s written word. If we will not be persuaded (Strong’s #3982, “convinced…”) by God’s word, there will not be MIRACLES to convince us either. Believing God’s word as written will produce the kind of faith that God requires for salvation. It cannot be produced by just witnessing a miracle. Remember Rev.20:12: we are JUDGED by what is written in the books.
Published September 10, 1997
© Edgar Y. Bennett
PO Box 509
Black Hawk, CO 80422 USA