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March 2, 1998

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Q/A Topics:
Satan in Heaven?

I wanted to ask you a question concerning satan and the fact that in Job chapter one, it would seem that he is in the presence of the Lord as the conversation unfolds regarding Job. I am wondering how satan can be in this position before God in spite of his sin nature and his unholy essence? This topic came up at our Monday Bible study and there was no concensus on the importance or the relevance of what appears to be a contradiction. No one in our group is stumbling or shaken over this, we are simply without an explanation short of with God all things are possible.

It would seem that Satan does, indeed, still have "access" to God's presence...because of that Job passage. Also, you may recall that Satan had asked "permission" to work Peter over good, too.(Lk22:31) In order to make such a request, he obviously has access to God. He is called the "accuser of the brethren."(Rev12:10)

Just as Paul indicated that our struggle is a spiritual one, against "spiritual hosts of wickedness IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES."(Eph6:12) Jesus also remarked that, ""And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Mat 11:12) As you may also recall that the angel sent to give Daniel answers to his visions was delayed in conflict for 21 days until he had been rescued by Michael.(Dan10:13)

But Satan is cast out of heaven eventually as "war" breaks out in heaven.(Rev12:7-10) But that appears to be yet future, probably during the "Tribulation" (Jacob's Trouble).

As for "why" God has allowed such a state of affairs, perhaps He will explain it to us "all by and by." Like the old song says, "then we'll understand it better, by and by."

But this is one of the wonderful things about the New Heavens and Earth, that nothing evil will be present there...as God makes "all things new."(Rev21:5,27)


Crowns & 24 Elders

Additionally, do you have an interpretation of the passage in Revelation chapter four concerning the 24 elders tossing their crowns before the King as that may relate to the various crowns that we as Kingdom servants may earn as described by Paul in Phillipians 4:1,1 Cor. 9:25, 2 Tim 4:8, and John in Revelation 2:10. Are these the same crowns and are they eternally ours or do we give them back to the Lord as we glorify and honor Him? Again, not an essential but certainly something that is in our futures and is exciting to reflect upon.

Real good question. When you find the definitive answer, would you please let me know?(smile) And, if you know (for sure) who the "24 elders" are, would you let me know that, too.(smile)

To know "what" crowns those are, one would need to know "who" the 24 elders are. And I have heard many explanations. But I don't know of any from Scripture that I am comfortable with. The one that makes the "most sense" to me is that they are heavenly representations of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles of the Church...as both Israel AND the Church are to be present in heaven. As things on the earth are a "pattern" of things in the heavenlies. (Heb8:5) But again, I don't necessarily know that this is a doctrine "specifically" taught as such in Scripture, unless I've missed something.

However, it does seem to illustrate what will happen. Crowns represent all sorts of things in NT doctrine. But ultimately a "crown" is a symbol of authority and rulership. And we do know that all authority, even Christ's, will ultimately be turned back to God the Father, so that He is "all and in all." "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." (1 Cor 15:28) And if Christ subjects Himself back to the Father, then, it is only natural that Israel and the Church would also be subject to Him...if this is who the elders represent...because the "servant is not greater than his Master."(Jn13:16) If the Master is subject, then, most certainly the servants are, too.


Inheriting the kingdom

I am enjoying the website. I have a question about your current article. (Who/What Goes to Heaven? -Feb,98) Do you consider "inheriting the kingdom" equivalent to "going to heaven" in most or all of the instances where the phrase "inheriting the kingdom" is used?

This would seem apparent. Peter speaks, "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (1Pet1:4)

Now, of course, in our studies on the "Teaching of Jesus" from Matthew recently we discussed how the "kingdom of heaven" (Mt4:17) was referring to Jesus, Himself...and all that He represents.

It is not so much that we "inherit heaven" but that we go to be with Jesus (Jn14:3) and we "see Him as He is" (1Jn3:2) and become like Him... And all these things are part of the essence of being in heaven. If we were going to merely a "place" it would not be much to look forward to. But we go to be with Christ Who is the Light (Rev21:23) as God chooses to "dwell among us." And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Rev 21:3)

Of course, this "eternal" situation should not be confused with that which is earthly, and centered around Israel. Lk1:33 speaks of Jesus ruling over "Jacob." And of course there is the "kingdom" Jesus will rule of "all the nations" (Mt25:31~) which is an earthly kingdom, and centers, again, around Israel...and is prophesied much in the O.T.

And in another sense, the "kingdom of heaven" or the "kingdom of God" is also any generic reference to "things of God."

But, in the current month's article, yes...it is about "going to heaven" to be with Christ.


Helping people not raptured?

If all believers are raptured, what will happen with our earthly wealth? As I understand U.S. law, we won't be considered dead unless a body is produced, right? If our bodies are raptured with us, there will not be the reading of a will, right? Any ideas on how we can help those that don't take the mark of the beast? We believers have homes, furnishings, cars, property, investments and businesses that could assist with the purchasing of Bibles, food, clean water, shelter and herbs or medication that these individuals will need. I'm picking your brain for ideas.

I must admit, when I first read your note I laughed a bit. When I think of what little possessions I have, and "who" it is that might have legal claim to them, my attitude is...let them jump through the legal hoops and see what they can get.(smile)

But seriously, I'm not quite sure how to respond to you. I wonder what Paul meant when He said, "the time is short, so that...those who use this world, as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away."(1Cor7:29-31) Jesus said, "do not lay up treasures on earth.."(Mt6:19)

If we think about the 7 years that are about to come, and those who "Call upon the name of the Lord"(Joel2:32) after the Rapture, we are told that the "beast" will "make war with the saints..to overcome them."(Rev13:7) And that anyone who would not bow to the image of the beast would be killed.(Rev13:15)

Also, if we consider the disasters that are to come upon the world, I really seriously doubt that our meager, individual earthly possessions are going to give much "ease" to Tribulation saints. It is not a time of ease for them. It is a time of persecution and martyrdom.

As for "law" as you put it...it would not surprise me but what the world dictator who will rise up will likely establish some laws of his own regarding those things. He will "intend to change times and law"(Dan7:25) as he persecutes the "saints of the Most High."

So, to get back to your question...it is not really something I think about. And, since you have brought it up, I don't believe it is realistically something we, who are anticipating the Rapture, should concern ourselves with, necessarily.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."(Mt6:34)

Along these lines, a friend sent me this poem:
When I've quit this mortal shore
And mosey 'round this earth no more
Don't sigh, don't cry, don't weep, don't sob,
For I have struck a better job.

Don't go and buy a large bouquet
For which you'll find it hard to pay,
Don't hang around here feeling blue
I am definitely better off than you.

Don't tell folks that I was a saint
Or anything else you know I ain't,
Just tell them I told you of my Lord so true
Who came back just as He said He'd do.

Tell them He carried me away to the sky
To live with Him forever in the sweet by and by.
Then believe it yourself, if you can hear
Come unto Him and He will draw near.

I really am sorry that you'll be so sad
And I really don't want to make you feel bad
But I gotta admit, there's no better care
Than to be done with down here... and to finally be "There".


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