Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 1990 — Volume 3:1
Grace in the Arts:
The Coronation of The King
An Annotated Work of Fiction
Frank D. Carmical*
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.1
The forty-five days following the return of King Jesus to earth had seen the defeat of the world's armies, the overthrow of the world empire of the Beast, the rescue of friends, the capture of foes, and the cleansing and healing of a planet reduced to smoldering ruins by judgments and wars both terrestrial and supernatural.2
As the final hours ticked away, the last preparations were being made to re-establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Three solemn, televised-to-the-whole-world ceremonies would mark this occasion: the judgment of the Earth-Dwellers (resulting in punishment of the Beast-worshipers and the reward of those who aided the people of Israel during the brief reign of the Beast), the inauguration of a new ruling aristocracy (the former mortal, now immortal saints of history) over the governments of the world, and the climax of history itself, the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords over all nations of the Earth.
Rudy, a member of the aristocracy, was assigned part of the final worldwide inspections for this historic occasion. Rudy took time during the last day of his hectic schedule to take along a friend named Joe. Also a member of the body of Christ and a recipient of eternal life, Joe had lost his rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ3 for preaching a different Gospel4 and was confined to the dismal region of the Zone of Darkness5 at the South Pole for the next one thousand years.
The sun shone high and hot over the bombed-out city as the inmate from the refugee camp was running for his life. His camp jumpsuit torn and splattered with his own blood, the man darted around massive slabs of concrete and ducked under steel girders that had been mangled like coathangers by nuclear blasts. He dared not stop even to catch his breath.
Pursuing him was a flying, glowing giant, at least nine feet tall and with a wingspan of twenty feet. Not even the terrors he had seen and experienced in the empire of the Beast had prepared him for this!
He had once scoffed at his idea of an angel, a cherubic-faced flower child. Now he was escaping with an angelic guard in fast pursuit—an angelic hulk that would pygmy a linebacker. Behind the angel flew two others, unseen and unknown to the man, Rudy and Joe.
At last, the desperate man saw his only hope of escape—a storm sewer big enough for him to crawl through, but too small for his pursuer. With one last spasm of energy, he threw himself into the opening of the pipe.
Down on his hands and knees, he started crawling into the darkness. At last, he was headed for safety—somewhere, anywhere the angel would not fit.
But not ten feet inside, the entire pipe began to shake violently and the man was tossed helplessly from side to side. Soon he saw daylight ahead, and realizing that this was yet another earthquake, he crawled forward as quickly as possible to get out of the pipe and not be buried alive.
As soon as he was out of the pipe, he jumped forward to find a place of cover from falling debris. Suddenly, he realized that there was no earthquake. Only the pipe had been shaking. In front of him was a solid wall. He turned to his right. Another wall. He snapped around to the left. A third wall-this was a dead-end street. He whirled around to his only remaining exit.
There stood the angel, balancing the entire concrete pipe on his hip like a plumber. The man started to run past the angel along the side wall. Rudy and Joe waited behind, still unseen by the man, using their powers of invisibility.
The angel extended his free hand, emitting a beam of light that struck a section of the wall right in the man's path. Instantly, there was a gaping hole in the wall, the hard concrete melted into its original liquid form.
The man froze for a second, but seeing this as his only way of escape, he made a dash for the hole in the wall. Just as he was about to jump through, his legs caught in something. They wouldn't move. Looking down he saw that the concrete, liquid only seconds before, had solidified around his feet.
Exhausted and overwhelmed, the man fell to his knees. Then he noticed that the concrete had changed again—into its original dusty powder. The man sat down on the ground, covered with gray cement dust, and began to cry for the first time since he was a child.
"Please…let me go!"
Having no more need for the pipe, the angel tossed it aside effortlessly and spoke, his words reverberating with more bass volume than any speaker system could simulate. "What are you asking us to do?" At this signal, both Rudy and Joe became visible.
The man's reply was almost unintelligible, because of his tears and the strangling in his throat. Seeing Rudy and Joe as someone, anyone, besides an angel, he turned to them with pleading eyes. "Please…have mercy on me!" Joe turned away, unable to look further.
The angel's impassive face could have been carved from Italian marble. "Do you believe that mercy is being extended to you?"
"I don't know…. I don't know."
At this point, Rudy spoke. "You have a new King now. Do you believe that in this moment He is offering you mercy, that He is offering you life? Answer the angel's question."
The man's tears changed from those of panic-stricken pleading to heart-broken contrition. "I don't know what to believe. I don't deserve anything. I don't deserve your mercy. I don't deserve to live. But I don't want to be punished. I don't want to die. Please, don't kill me.
Rudy remained firm. "Then answer the question."
The angel spoke again with not the slightest trace of impatience in his voice. "Do you believe that mercy is being extended to you?"
The man hesitated, as though he wanted to answer, but no words would come out. He waited a moment and then quietly, almost meekly, he said, "I don't know why, but…I believe."
After a terrible pause, the angel reached forward, a gesture that could mean nothing but certain death. The man cringed, expecting to be transformed into liquid or dust as rapidly as the wall had been.
The angel extended his open palm to the man and spoke with no change in volume or intensity. "Then you shall have mercy."
Rudy also spoke reassuringly. "You shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord."6
Not yet fully comprehending, the man sniffed noisily, the tears and cement dust smearing dark gray across his face. The angel gestured again with his hand.
Understanding at last, the man reached out his hand. It was swallowed up in the angel's like a toddler's in the hand of a father.
The two lifted off from the dead-end street, the angel's wings glowing iridescently and flapping more gracefully and majestically than any monarch butterfly. The two had begun the flight back home.
"Well, Joe," asked Rudy somewhat playfully, as they watched the angel fly away with the man. "Would you say that that man was just born again or not?"
Joe shook his head. "I don't think I know any more than he knows. Only God knows."
"True, and I'm not pretending to know for sure either, but I can get a pretty good idea when a person responds according to God's Word. In my opinion, the angel offered another chance for eternal life and I believe that man took it.7
"But the man was terrified. How could he make an intelligent decision about eternity when he was scared out of his wits?"
Rudy arched his eyebrows. "I think God prefers a decision from someone scared to death of the consequences than a person who says no after having time to make an intelligent decision. This poor man was grabbing a lifeline thrown to him—I think that's one way to look at saving faith."
"We're back to our old argument. Let's not talk any more about this."
"I was half joshing you, Joe."
"Were you? Or were you reminding me of the past, Rudy? I can't bear that, not from you, of all people."
"I'm sorry!" cried Rudy. "I wasn't saying anything about the past."
"Joe, how do you ever expect to get along in this Kingdom unless you realize that the past is gone forever and you've got to go on from here?"
"Can you honestly tell me that you never remember the past? Your failures? Your sins?"
"I remember. But I don't let those memories defeat me."
"Nothing can defeat a defeated man. It's very easy for you to talk confidently with your rewards and your rulership!"
Thoughts came to Rudy's mind of how exasperated he would have been in his old life, but a marvelous new peace and patience was in control of his emotions. He knew that he had to finish his morning duties. All that was left on his schedule was to inspect a few sites in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Afterward he could join the others in the aristocracy for the ceremonies starting at 7:30 AM, Israeli time. But in the meantime, there was Joe….
"Joe, are you going to come with me while I finish my inspection?"
Joe looked at the hole in the wall where the angel had melted the concrete. "Why not? I don't have anything else to do."
The valley created by the earthquake when King Jesus' feet had touched the Mount of Olives was soon to become a vast waterway. Fresh spring water from under the Temple site already flowed outward in two directions. The eastern branch of this new river flowed to the Dead Sea, anticipating the day not too many years hence when this would be called "the Living Sea," because of the swarms of fish and the tree-shaded banks. Fishermen would clean their nets along the entire shoreline, except for a few salty marshes. The western branch flowed out toward the Mediterranean Sea, a river that would soon make Jerusalem a year-round seaport to all the world.8
Rudy could barely contain his enthusiasm when he saw how much progress had been made. "Joe, this is one of the grandest parts of the whole reconstruction of Israel. What better way to help Jerusalem become the capital of the worldwide Kingdom of God than by turning it into a seaport! A brilliant idea! And Ezekiel and Zechariah told us all about it over twenty-five hundred years ago!"
Joe peered out over the landscape. "I visited the Holy Land a number of times back in life." He paused and then continued, a slight tone of disappointment in his voice. "It all looks so different now."
"Well it should," said Rudy, "the whole thing's been a battlefield for three and a half years." I believe it's going to take seven years to burn all the tanks and armor. And seven months just to bury the corpses9—the ones the birds haven't already eaten.10
Joe sighed one of his very loud and long sighs. "It all seems very depressing."
Rudy shook his head in amazement at how anyone could fail to marvel at the miraculous accuracy of the prophecies in God's Word and the wonderful potential of the Temple waters flowing and bringing life to a valley strewn with death. Indignation slowly rose up inside Rudy, and then he checked it, speaking quickly. "Let's get on to the next site before I get depressed!"
Joe was even more let down when he saw Jerusalem. More than half of the city had been destroyed.11 A sea of green flags marking the location of corpses snapped in the wind for blocks and blocks of Jerusalem's bombed out suburbs. Most distressing of all was the smoke that constantly rose from the Valley of Hinnom, smoke belching out of the dreaded entrance to Hell.12
Looking east was much more encouraging. Rudy found that the entire valley outside the East Gate had been cleared and readied for the coronation parade route. There were bald spots on the ground where piles of trash had been burned and every trace of refuse or rubble removed. On these spots, young, tender grass sprouted up like baby hair and would soon make a carpet of green across the eastern face of the City of David. Already millions of people were assembling in the valley for the ceremonies later that morning.
Rudy checked with the attendants who would serve the largest meal in history later that day. Looking into the distance, Rudy could see innumerable rows of tables, their white, red, blue, and purple tablecloths whipping in the breeze.
Rudy pointed. "Do you see those?"
"Yes, I see them."
"Those are the tables for the Lord's first Passover and Communion here on Earth since the night before His crucifixion. Do you realize that not a week has ever passed since that night when His memorial Supper has not been observed somewhere in the world? But this is the first time since that night that the Lord Himself will be in actual attendance. Before He's always been absent.13 What a celebration!"
Actually seeing the tables was almost too much for Joe. He had looked once and could not bring himself to look again. Rudy was so wrapped up in the moment that he failed to notice the state of his friend and kept chattering along.
"Joe, just yesterday as they were setting these tables, I came by for an early inspection. I had one of the little refugee boys with me. He asked me what all the tables were for and I explained. Then he asked me where they were going to get all the bread and wine to feed so many people—most of the aristocracy will be here—and I don't know why it took me a minute to think of the answer. Can you answer his question?"
Joe was silent.
"Haven't you been listening?"
"Sure. What did you ask?"
"I asked if you could answer the boy's question—where is all the bread and wine coming from for the grand banquet here today?"
"Who's the Guest of Honor?"
Joe looked down, taking deep breaths.
Rudy answered his own question: "Jesus, of course. The One who turned water to wine and multiplied the loaves is the Host and Provider for the largest Passover and Communion in history!"
Suddenly, Joe broke down and began to sob. "Take me away from here, please. I can't take it any more! I can't stand it!"
"What's wrong?" Rudy asked, shocked at Joe's reaction.
"Don't you understand?" Joe sobbed. "I'm not invited! I'm not invited! I'm not invited!"14
Knowing that he had to finish the inspection, but that he couldn't just leave Joe in such a condition, Rudy quickly bowed his head in prayer and summoned Joe's old guardian angel. As soon as the angel arrived, Rudy took off.
Rudy hastily finished his duties, checking with the television crews to ensure that all was ready for the worldwide satellite telecast of the coronation. The entire event was to be recorded, not just with crude video equipment, but also with Heavenly electro-magnetic spectral recording material—the same material that could replay every thought, word and action of every man, woman, and child who had ever lived.
The grandstands for the guests of honor—the aristocracy—were the most unusual that Rudy had ever seen. Appropriate for glorified beings capable of flight, these tiers of seats were suspended in midair, forming a literal mile-high stadium surrounding the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Temple precincts. Because the chairs were made of the same gold as the New Jerusalem, they were not only antigravitational, they were also as transparent as glass.15 A billion seats suspended in midair and they were nearly invisible!
Rudy finished his inspection jubilantly. Then he remembered he had to take Joe home. This wasn't going to be easy.
When Rudy returned, Joe had calmed down, thanks to the guardian angel that Rudy had summoned to help. The angel had come to the rescue many times before and Joe's present needs were not overlooked by his faithful old guardian nor by Joe's faithful Father. Soon the angel left.
"Are you feeling better?" asked Rudy.
"Yes," replied Joe, "I'm exhausted. I don't know where you get the energy to do all this."
Rudy smiled. "I never think about how much I'm doing. Because I'm doing it for Him, it always seems easy.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean…it's a joy to do anything for Him. All these inspections we've gone on today seem like such a little thing to do for Him. Each time we stopped, it was, always in my mind that this thing or that thing was ultimately for Him—not for the Earth or the plants or animals, or the people, not even for the aristocracy. It's for Him."
"This planet is in ruins. What a terrible homecoming present for the King of kings! He deserves so much more. He is worth so much more than forty-four days of cleanup and patchup can give Him."
Joe smiled for nearly the first time since Rudy had seen him earlier this morning. "You know, Rudy. I felt just the opposite. Each time we stopped I could only think of how terrible it was that I was going to miss it all."
Suddenly Rudy's longsuffering patience gave way to righteous indignation—one of the first times since his unglorified state that he had ever felt genuine holy anger without sinning.
"Can't you think of someone besides yourself for once? Even now, after all you've lost out on, can't you think of Him?"
"I'm afraid my greatest mistake in life—"
"This is life!" shouted Rudy. "This is eternal life right now! Wake up, Joe. Don't talk about the old days like we were still back there living in sin. They don't exist any more. Today, right now, is what life is all about."
"Eternal life for me…"
Rudy interrupted. "Eternal life is knowing Him forever.16 You need to start acting like that. Count your blessings, man! Think about how privileged you are. God's grace has given you fellowship with Him forever, citizenship in the New Jerusalem permanently, service and worship before the throne for all eternity and you sit here drowning in self-pity over a measly thousand years when you're going to miss out on a few blessings!"
"I'd give you my own rewards if I thought it would shut you up! Can't you see it's the greatest of privileges just to be here? You could be over there in the mouth of Gehenna if it weren't for God's grace!"
After Rudy's explosive comeback, there was a long awkward silence between the two. This time, Joe was the first to speak. "I was just about to confess to you, when you gave me that tongue-lashing—a tongue-lashing I deserved. I was about to say that of all my many mistakes in life, even greater than not preaching the Gospel clearly or correctly, my greatest mistake of all was never getting to know Him."
"It was always ministry—sermons to preach, books to write and autograph, radio shows to tape, meetings to attend—and never enough time just to get alone with Him."
"I studied the Word. I memorized the Word. I taught the Word. I waxed eloquent with the Word. People pre-set their clock radios to turn on to the Word in my mouth. But, I never got to know the Word Himself."
"You don't have to be hard on me, Rudy. Even He isn't that hard on me! He knows I'm fully capable of punishing myself. You're absolutely right about my not thinking of Him. I don't think of Him now, because I didn't think of Him then."
"I preached about God and His grace to millions and yet I never really knew Him and I never really understood what His grace was. Maybe I understand grace less today than I ever have."
His anger quickly melting into compassion, Rudy softened his tone. "I don't pretend to plumb the depths of grace either, but at least now, I'm a little more at home in its waters."
"Joe, what you just said could have described every one of us back then. I know it describes me, how I thought and lived and acted. My eyes were always turned inward too. But over the years He taught me to think and act differently, to see things from His viewpoint. But even that has been superseded now. Now I am beginning to see things from the Father's viewpoint and that's why I can't help but rejoice to see what today means to His only begotten Son. Think of Him! Not yourself!"
"I do think of Him and it's His very grace that melts me beyond words and tears, beyond despair. I swore my allegiance publicly to Him and His grace a thousand times and then turned around and did everything possible to defeat His grace. And yet He is gracious still!"
Rudy caught the tone in Joe's voice. "Why does that surprise you so?"
"I guess it does surprise me. And I don't know why. Maybe I never really believed He could be so gracious. I thought of my relationship to Him like…just like Satan and Job's friends in the Book of Job, who saw the relationship between God and man like a business deal.17 I was like Jonah in his self-centered nationalism and prejudice, wanting all of God's grace for himself and Israel and none for their enemies!18 Just like the older son in our Lord's parable, who lived in his father's house, but never shared his father's heart.19 I was like the unrewarded servant in another parable.20
"I saw God as a stern Father; a tough business Dealer. If I did my part, I expected Him to do His part. When others didn't play fair, I didn't expect them to get a cut. I buried the real treasure of the Gospel that God gave me as a child and lived my life and carried out my ministry in spiritual poverty.
"The thing that always stuck in my craw was how God could be gracious to others and treat them the same way He treated me when I was more deserving than they were.
"Let me finish this time, Rudy! What I never saw was that my self-righteousness, my reliance on my own righteousness was more sinful than those who were out-and-out unrighteous. I was truly a pharisee and now I have a pharisee's reward.
"I never understood the idea that God could love us so much that His greatest sacrifice, even the shame of the Cross, was a joy to Him. That He could love us unconditionally and accept us without holding anything back. There were never any strings attached to salvation. I put a price tag of works on it when all along it was absolutely free.
"But it wasn't just the Gospel I was unfaithful to. I was unfaithful to Him. I couldn't see that any other gospel except a Gospel that gives everything and expects nothing in return was an insult, an affront, a smear on His character and Person. Only a salvation that He alone gives is an accurate reflection of Him. I never saw that when I changed the Gospel, I was really changing Him."
When Joe fell silent, Rudy knew that he could give his friend no more time. His inspections were at an end and the ceremonies were only minutes from starting. In the time since he had finished the inspection and returned to talk to Joe, millions of the aristocracy had arrived in the vicinity, dropping out of the sky like myriads of snowflakes on a wintry day. At last, Rudy used the powers of transport that he had rarely used in the last decade. He and Joe vanished.
They reappeared back in the Zone of Darkness, on the vast continent-sized island that was once frozen over and called Antarctica.
Rudy turned to his old friend and put his arms around him. "I'm sorry I have to leave…."
"No more so than I. Do you have to go?"
"Yes, I must return for the ceremonies."
"Will you come back and visit me?"
"Sure, Joe. I promise. You know you can watch the recordings of the whole proceedings today."
"I always hated television. Real Christians don't watch it!"
They both laughed and hugged each other again.
"Anything else I can get you before I go?" asked Rudy.
"There is nothing left for me except to weep."
"Someday, He'll wipe away all your tears."
"Yes, but a thousand years is a long time to cry."21
"It's not long compared to those who'll weep forever."
"He may dry my eye, but I will always have a sob in my heart. If only…if only…"
Rudy knew he had to be at the ceremonies on time, but he hated to leave this brother in such a state. But alas, this was Joe's state, for at least the Millennium to come.
When Joe burst into a new round of tears, Rudy could bear no more and left. As Rudy flew away into the light, he turned one last time to glance back in the darkness. Joe was sitting there, weeping inconsolably, every once in a while his cries breaking into wails so violent that his teeth ground together.
One last time, Rudy thought of his friend. Then he thought of the King and resolved that nothing would spoil this precious day. The Lord Jesus loved Joe and somehow in infinite mercy and an infinity to come, the Lord would bring some good from Joe's dilemma and all those like him. The ancient Scripture came to mind that had always been such a comfort: "Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right?"22
When Rudy arrived at his reserved seat near the coronation site, he still could not believe how many people, saints, and angels had gathered.
All Jerusalem and its surrounding vicinity for hundreds of miles was filled with people from the nations. All of the airspace around the city stretching upward into the atmosphere a mile high was crowded with an innumerable multitude of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect.
From the Temple precincts, Rudy would have one of the best views of this never-to-be repeated event. It was a privilege only God's grace could provide. And the moment came exactly on time.
Neither Rudy nor anyone else around or above Jerusalem was quite sure what had happened until after the entire event had taken place. For one moment the sun shone in its usual brightness, seven times its previous splendor,23 and then the truly incredible happened. The sun flared up a thousand times its normal brightness, yet blinding no one, and dimmed. Then its fiery ball appeared to split in half, a second brighter ball of fire moving away from the first. Then the second began to grow in size and in brightness. Soon everyone realized it wasn't growing in size. It was heading for earth!
Finally, it was clear what had happened. The Son of Righteousness had materialized in front of the sun in the sky. His glory was greater than the light of the sun. When He moved away from the sun toward earth, His glorious appearance shone brighter and appeared to grow larger. What a spectacular entrance for the King to make on His coronation day!24
But it wasn't over yet. Only after this blinding, blazing ball of light had entered the atmosphere and started descending upon Palestine did the figures inside become visible. Four living creatures and the whirling wheels of Heaven's number one chariot, last seen leaving the temple precincts by Ezekiel, carried the Son of God on its central throne.25
The entire vehicle, if something as intricate and sophisticated as this could even be compared to a machine, touched down on the Mount of Olives. As the Son of Righteousness stepped from His portable "sun chariot," thundering applause and a deafening roar of voices rose up from the multitudes far and wide. The cheers continued as His feet touched a crimson flying carpet unfurled by two rows of shining angels. Walking the length of the carpet, the Son of Man mounted His white charger and the parade began.
For this was not just any parade. There was but one central attraction and all eyes were on Him. Speed was not a factor, for the Rider was in no hurry. After all, He had waited from eternity past for this moment.
From time to time along the route, He would stop and greet those by the roadside. Sometimes He would shake some hands or give some kisses or hold a child. His magnificent heavenly charger was gentle enough for the smallest of these children to ride, yet so fierce that only forty-five days earlier, at their first descent on the Mount of Olives, the horse had literally breathed fire and smoke through its nostrils and trampled the armies of Beast-worshippers beneath its hooves into the mud, splattering the garments of the King with their blood.26
The procession passed Bethany where Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were waiting. As the procession neared the stretch of road to Jerusalem that He had once taken, many in the crowd, especially the Apostles, could remember the original shouts and the palm branches. There were still branches and clothes spread in the road, but the choruses were all sincere this time: "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"27 And this time, when He saw the City of David, there were no tears in His eyes.
Nearing the city, the entire procession took a turn, and for a while it was not apparent which route He would take. Then it was all clear. Past the empty Garden Tomb where Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus waited. Past the Place of the Skull where He was joined by the converted Roman centurion and the thief on the cross. Simon of Cyrene and the daughters of Jerusalem also joined them at this point, retracing in reverse the exact steps of the Via Dolorosa—now and forever afterward the Via Gloriosa!
Through the East Gate King Jesus rode, His horse stepping in time as the music of countless bands and orchestras along the way were joined by the New Jerusalem Philharmonic playing the strains of a brand new coronation march composed in the King's honor for this day by J. S. Bach, the grand master of the passion of his Savior, soon to be the grand master of His Savior's glorification.
This was a perfect counterpoint to Gethsemane, Gabbatha, and Golgotha. The site of the ancient fortress of Antonia that had once echoed with mobs screaming "Crucify Him!," now rang with worshipers singing "Crown Him!" He wore a crown, no longer made of cursed thorns, but a crown of gold and diamonds clear as crystal and white as fire atop his white hair.28
The Cross had been the time of His public humiliation that made possible the justification of the world. Now this was the time of His public glorification, His justification, an event as necessary in the Divine economy as the Cross itself. The heavenly scales were now balanced between grace and justice—for Him. History and time and eternity had come full circle.
Finally, the procession stopped at the Temple site, desecrated by the Beast29 and blasted by his bombs. A temporary tabernacle had been pitched until the Millennial temple in all its holiness could be built. Now even the horse's bridles were engraved with "Holiness to the Lord."30
Dressed in the blue, scarlet, and purple garments of the High Priest, with the crown of the nation of Israel on His head and the scars of the office of Prophet on His glorified Body, the King-Priest-Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; the Lion and Lamb, the Alpha and Omega stood before the assembled billions of the nations, aristocracy, and angels in Palestine. Billions more watched simultaneously by television scattered around the globe and uncountable hosts throughout the galaxies desired to look into these things.31
The King raised His hands and there was an instant hush. Only the wind flapping the bright panoplies of flags and fabrics could be heard among the assembled multitudes.
The moment had come. One by one the entire assembly fell to their knees and then on their faces. When the Blessed Spirit descended in the form of a heavenly Dove, no eye saw Him but the Son and the Father.
And then from Heaven, the voice of the Father spoke these words for all to hear, audibly and eternally:
"You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me and I will give You
the nations for Your inheritance
and the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
"Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth,
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
and you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."32
*Mr. Carmical is an evangelist and a writer. He has a special interest in reaching the Hispanic people. His first novel, The Omega Reunion, is published by Redención Viva (Dallas).
1All Scripture references are taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1984, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville.
2For numerous other Scripture references supporting the events described below, see Part 1 of this story in the Autumn, 1989 issue of the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (Vol. 2, Number 2).
3That some believers will lose their rewards (not their salvation) at the Judgment Seat of Christ is a clear and consistent teaching throughout the NT (Matt 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27; 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Tim 2:11-13) and it is the necessary counterpart and balance to the teaching of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone, apart from any works.
4See Gal 1:6-9.
6See Ps 118:17. The person speaking these words in their final fulfillment can only take place in the context of the Millennial Kingdom when this Messianic Psalm will ultimately be fulfilled.
7The final proof and basis for assurance of salvation is not how much a person's conduct conforms to God's Word, but how truthful is God's promise of eternal life offered freely to those who will only believe.
8See Ezek 47:1-12 and Zech 14:4-8 for the prediction of the creation of this waterway. Clarence Larkin, in Dispensational Truth (Philadelphia: Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, 1920), 92-95 supplies charts, illustrations, and descriptions of this millennial river predicted in Ezekiel. This author knows of no other work that has ever attempted a systematic delineation and description of the conditions of the millennial earth other than Larkin and J. Dwight Pentecost in Things To Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958). Considering the large amount of God's Word devoted to the subject of the millennial earth, there is certainly a need in the Body of Christ for an exhaustive treatment of this subject in both written and graphic form.
9See Ezek 39:8-16.
10See Ezek 39:17-20; Matt 24:28; Rev 19:17-18.
11See Zech 13:8-14:3.
12See Isa 65:24; Rev 14:9-12.
13Contrary to the teachings of much of Christendom, the Lord is not physically or spiritually present in the Communion meal. On the contrary, the meal is a remembrance of Him in His absence and observed until He returns (1 Cor 11:23-26). The Lord Himself predicted the glorious day when believers will share this meal with Him in Person in His Kingdom (Luke 22:15-18, 28-30).
14There is a difference of opinion among interpreters as to the identity of those not invited to the table of Christ in His Kingdom (Matt 8:11-12; 22:1-14; Luke 13:24-30; 14:15-24). Most interpreters believe that only unbelievers are uninvited, but it is possible that unrewarded believers may also be in view.
15See Rev 21:10-12, 18,21.
16See John 17:3; 1 John 5:20.
17The Book of Job is often misinterpreted as an apologetic about the problem of evil and suffering. The Book of Job is really about the basis of the relationship between God and man. Both Satan and Job's friends (and, before his repentance, Job himself to some extent) saw man's relation to God in terms of impersonal law—a business contract. Job's great lesson in the book is that his relationship with God is based on personal grace—if you know the grand God of the universe personally, nothing that happens in life needs an explanation.
18The great lesson of Jonah is that whereas God's people selfishly want grace for themselves or for a select few, God wants to be gracious to everyone.
19See Luke 15:11-32.
20See Matt 25:14-30.
21Since the eternal prophecies of Revelation 21-22 follow the millennial prophecies of Revelation 20, it is possible that the tear-drying promised to all believers in Rev 21:4 will not take place until the eternal state.
22See Gen 18:25. It is this author's hope that no one will take him to task for overplaying the plight of the character named Joe. For those readers who would deny that such a judgment could ever happen to a true believer, this writer challenges them to examine seriously the passages mentioned in both parts of this story. At the very least, may we all take heed to the warning expressed to Christians in Heb 12:25-29!
23See Isa 30:26.
24See Mal 4:2.
25See Ezek 1:3-28; 10:1-22; 11:22-25.
26See Isa 63:1-6; Rev 14:20; 19:11-15. One of the vivid contrasts between the First and Second Comings of Christ can be seen in His clothing. At His First Coming, Christ's garments were soaked with His own blood, because He bore the judgment of God for the sins of the whole world. At His Second Coming, the Jewish nation will see their Messiah coming in garments stained red with the blood of His enemies, Christ having meted out the judgment of God personally against sinners who will have rejected Him.
27See Ps 118:26; Matt 23:39; Luke 13:34-35.
28See Dan 7:9; Rev 1:13-14.
29See Dan 9:27; Matt 24:15.
30See Ezek 40:1-47:12; Zech 14:20.
31See 1 Pet 1:12.
32See Ps2. The significance of this last sentence in Ps 2:12 can scarcely be exaggerated. Not only during Christ's future rule on Earth, but right now, it is true that those who put their trust in Him for salvation are blessed forevermore with eternal life. If you do not know for sure that you are going to Heaven or if you have never put your trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, please write to JOTGES or to Mr. Carmical for more information about how you can have eternal life. Ed.