@frankpeachamvt @KennethNeal @cfowler … Friends … many thanks for your thoughtful confessions … and for the opportunity to respond in kind …
Is it possible that we are speculating whether upon the development of the Great Controversy, God created humans out of the knowledge that a miniscule number would spiritually evolve to the point that their human character will gloriously so defend God’s character that the Serpent will be destroyed by of all things, human glory? And are we speculating that such evolutionary human achievement will be at the cost having to dispose of the majority of created humanity, who, after lives of quiet desperation, will be reward by the mere wages of sin, eternal death?
I prefer Job’s response to God’s demand …
“I know that you[, God] can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You[, God] asked[ of me], ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
And I am drawn to Paul’s insight of humanity’s experience of spirituality, written to the Corinthians,
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
If, indeed, all that we can come to know is so insubstantial, so incomplete, so inadequate, that it will utterly disappear upon the return of Jesus, I take heart in the sense that we need not attempt to sort truth from error, and the sense that we dare not sort our fellow humans along our own pointless statements of belief.
I feel enriched by Peter’s admonition to the saints in the churches of Asia Minor, all of which were raised up by Paul, as Peter and Paul were living, likely, in their final decade … (1 Peter chp 4)
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
About the question as to where I see Justification by Faith in Revelation 14. I recently have been sensing the everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14 as describing a God with whom humanity has no agency.
The outcome of which is the obviously impotent saints simply awaiting their fate, if you will, embracing one another amid the proclamations of God’s self-revelation and embraced by the Faith of Jesus.
Meanwhile the Third Angel is calling after the remnant of Babylon still vainly self-justifying their lives by marching heavenward under a hail of brimstone; the Third Angel is calling for the remnant to simply stop the commandment validating and join the impotent saints awaiting the hour of God’s judgement, the hour when God will set to rights the universe he created at the expense, not of billions of evolutionarily failed humans, but at the expense of the Serpent himself. This outcome is the result of some eternally mysterious Divine transaction that ends the war in heaven and results in eternal celebrating in the newly recreated heavens and earth with the unnumbered redeemed humanity.
I am certain that this whole picture that I’ve described will dissolve upon the return of Jesus. It is inevitably all out of kilter with ultimate reality. That said, I feel it powerfully hopeful. And hope, like faith and love, sweep into eternity unmolested by the return of Jesus. Indeed, hope may well be the fountainhead of the glory we give to God upon His judgement-hour work.
The Three Angels’ Message does, indeed, describe those experiencing the return of Jesus as unlike any generation before. But not by their worthiness, as they are the most certain of their unworthiness of all generations of humans, having been rescued from Babylon, following the for-the-first-time-ever and universal clarification of the everlasting Gospel, the proclamation of which by God’s grace literally enables them to welcome the return of Jesus in person. And if so, justification by faith is their core hope. This hope is not as in the roll of some cosmic dice, though, because truly our future offers no choice, no option, as the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14 confirms, we are utterly at the mercy of God, and our hope is that God is utterly merciful. Our hope is built on nothing less that Jesus blood and righteousness, as the hymn goes; justification by faith finally and for eternity is the Three Angels’ Message.
And if so, how can such saints not love one another? After all, being all in this together profoundly reflects Jesus’ all in this with us for eternity kind of love, such love one for another being, by Jesus personal testimony, the solitary identifier of those whom he has made his disciples.
Please note, that what I write will absolutely not survive the return of Jesus, though whatever hope may be engendered by the reading surely promises to not only endure unmolested the return of Jesus, but to be the trigger of a hope unquenchable across eternity.
In some sensed but otherwise inexplainable experience we live by faith, in hope, and with love already now and for eternity one for another as Jesus so loves us … and has since before the creation of the universe and will for all eternity.
Or so it seems … for now …