Now we come to the last two stones laid down in the foundation of the faith: The resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
The Greek of Hebrews 6:1 is written in this way: "Therefore having left the beginning of the Christ teaching, to maturity we should go on, not again a foundation laying..."
The word 'maturity' is 'teleiotes' and means "Consummation through collecting a combination of truths leading to a future consummation or completeness." The root word suggests fulfillment in an end stage.
So this is telling us maturity is the building of layers of truth, and as we know, not just knowledge but the application of those truths into our lives as a lifestyle. That lifestyle is called godliness. Not perfection, just godliness in grace.
The word 'foundation' is 'themelios', where we get 'theme'. It means 'a stone laid down' as part of a foundation along a true line, which will be used to build the rest of the building. It was also used in daily life to depict the course of instruction given by a teacher; line upon line, truth upon truth, here a little, there a little. Once the cornerstone is laid the rest of the building follows the plan of the Master Architect, the Lord. That's life for disciples.
All of that to say this...
The foundation of 'resurrection of the dead' does not mean a debate about a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture. The foundation is that there will be a resurrection of the dead. The details about 1st resurrection and 2nd doesn't really matter. The truth is all of us, every one of us, will have a resurrection from the dead and face judgement. V2 is written in the Greek as one thought: "...and both the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment."
They are seen as one unit. Not just resurrected. And not just judged. But as one unit, 'both the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment'. We are raised to stand before our maker and give an account. The rest is interesting to discuss, but not to the point of division or strife. We need to be sure we have that foundation, that focus.
For the Christian
We have judged ourselves and received the remedy, Jesus. So our judgement is not heaven or hell, but to stand before the Lord to receive accordingly for 'things done while we were in our (earth) *body.' But it is still a resurrection and judgment. Paul said if we carry ungodly character to the grave like envy, strife, divisions, they will be like wood, hay and stubble: They will be burned away when we stand before the Lord. "But you will be saved, yet as one who has been through a fire." (I Corinthians 3:3-15) *II Corinthians 5:10
That's why I'm not using this space to differentiate between the resurrections prophesied in scripture - prophecy is 20/20 in hindsight and we can always find reasons we don't agree with each other. The point the author makes is there is in fact a resurrection and a judgment in our future.
Popular in some circles...
...In recent years is the belief that hell/lake of fire and judgement is not eternal; that at some point the Lord will give those in hell or the lake of fire another chance, The question is asked how could a person be in torment forever when they only lived a few years on earth? But we could also ask why a Christian thinks they will spend eternity in heaven for just a few years of life on earth? The point is the author uses the word 'eternal judgment'. The word 'judgement' is 'krima' and means 'a verdict'. An eternal verdict.
Another hypothesis is that at some point of being in the lake of fire, the Father will simply snuff out the life of those individuals. They will cease to exist. To date however, we've seen spirit beings are eternal. Why wouldn't He just snuff out the life of Lucifer and the fallen angels? They are spirits, so eternal. It is foolish to hold to beliefs that cannot be proven by scripture, and even more foolish to debate that which we cannot prove, for these types of ideas are just ways for people to wrap their minds around who they know to be a good God, sending people to eternal suffering.
But if we step back and look at being with God the Father for eternity, and look at the concept of a lake of fire, it gets down to those who love righteousness as demonstrated in goodness, honesty, love, moral integrity and such. The only people in the Father's kingdom are those who love such things. Let me ask you this: If you go to a wonderful church full of intense worship and good teaching of the Word of God, how many of your unbelieving friends are eager to join you at each service? Exactly. And if a Satanist invited you to their coven meetings to worship the devil and nature and the spirits of nature, how eager are you to attend and keep attending that? Exactly.
Then how is it we do not understand that the only people in heaven are the ones who want to be there?
What is the Father to do with people who don't love Him and the above qualities that flow from Him? If someone loves dishonesty and taking advantage of people, lying and such, would they be happy in heaven? If someone is a user of people for their own gain, would they be happy in a kingdom culture that serves one another in transparency and purity of motive that looks for their neighbor's best interest?
A place had to be prepared, not created but prepared* for those who reject all that is God. They are spirit beings so they are eternal as far as we know and has thus far been demonstrated, but where to put those who reject love, joy, peace, moral uprightness, godliness, kindness, patience and so on? Wouldn't a God of love give them what they love? Wouldn't the only fair verdict be to give them what they desire? (*Matthew 25:41. Hell/lake of fire is the complete absence of God, a place He has withdrawn from, therefore it could not be created but only prepared.)
And such is the kingdom of darkness. That kingdom culture is all about everything that is NOT God. Instead of love there is hate and anger and fear. Instead of loving each other by demonstrating good will and kindness there is selfishness and such. In this earth life there are many things to dull one's senses to the torment of hell they are already in - remember that - the unsaved are already citizens of hell just as you are already a citizen of heaven: Distractions from the reality of hell include drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating, constant partying, and such. But once one dies, their spirit and soul go to the kingdom that person is a citizen of. That is hell. That is torment. But that is what they want.
We don't know the future...
By making the above points I am trying to get us thinking about the fact the only people in heaven will be those who want to be there because they love righteousness, uprightness, honesty, love, and all the godly traits which flow from the Father. Beyond that, we aren't told much in scripture.
But we do know the foundation of the teaching of Jesus is repentance from dead works, of faith towards God, of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. We do know that much of the body of Christ has never been taught these foundational truths, and therefore whatever foundation they do have, is incomplete. That makes whatever faith structure they've built on top of that foundation is as crooked and fragile as a building built without firm foundation.
I was a teacher at a Bible school that offered all kinds of 'tickle my ears' classes, but very few classes (mine only) on the basic foundations of the faith. So we had people thinking they were mature because they were learning so much, but when you listened to them pray or talk with them, they didn't have a clue when asked to explain what water baptism does for a person, or why we should be baptized. They didn't know that repentance is the first word of salvation as one turns to faith in God. So when they prayed, the faulty structure of faith they had built on their very incomplete and poor foundation became clear. They didn't know they were to use the name of Jesus to cast out demons. They didn't know they were to ask the Father, not Jesus, for requests. And so many other things like that.
Let us have a strong foundation in our faith, even if we have to tear down some things we've built on our faulty foundation and start building anew in those areas. Sometimes a little remodeling is good for the other all health of the 'building'. Blessings and new subject next week. Until then,
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