Why Resurrect the Wicked?
At the 2nd. coming of Jesus the unrepentant die. After the 1,000 years have ended the Lord returns to this earth, at which time the unrepentant are resurrected for awhile and join in Satan’s last battle against God. Then they die the 2nd. death?
The question is, they were already dead, why doesn’t God just let them be and pass on into eternal oblivion? Why resurrect them only to have them die again? Does God, after all, raise them from the dead in order to inflict great pain and suffering to punish them for their sins?
Can you offer any clarification? Thank you in advance for your response.
MCW in Texas
I will describe my understanding of what happens and why, and then I will list some Bible texts and statements from one of the founders of my church which supports why I see it this way.
In order to understand the ultimate conclusion of sin, we need to understand what the sin problem is. Sin is deviation from God’s design for life. God’s design for life is His law, which is the law of love. The law of love emanates from God, who is love. God, when He began creating, created all the universe, both animate and inanimate, to operate in harmony with the law of love. The laws of nature are expressions of the law of love. Therefore, deviations of the law of love results in death, that is, non-existence, unless something is done to remedy the problem, to put us back into harmony with the law of love.
Satan lied about God to angels and to men. When intelligent beings believed the lies of Satan, their trust in God was broken and the law of love was severed. Satan’s law of “sin and death,” aka “survival of the fittest,” aka “fear and selfishness,” replaced love in the hearts and minds of sinners. This condition is terminal, unless remedied.
God loved mankind and didn’t want him to die from this condition, therefore He suspended the consequences (Romans 3:25) and provided Jesus to fix what was broken by sin. Because of Jesus we have been offered remedy. All those who accept the remedy will experience, through the work of the Holy Spirit, a “new heart and right spirit.” In other words, selfishness will be replaced with God’s law of love (Heb 8:10). When this happens we are no longer “dead in trespass and sin,” but alive in our union with God.
Humans, since Adam, both righteous and wicked, have “slept” in the grave awaiting the day of resurrection (1Thes 4:13-18). Those who have been remedied by accepting Christ and have experienced “rebirth” or “regeneration of heart and mind” will be raised in the first resurrection. Those who have rejected the remedy and whose minds remain “selfish” will be raised in the second resurrection (Rev 20).
Now to your question, why raise them at all? Because God was accused of being a power monger, someone who couldn’t be trusted, someone who would use His power to force His way and punish His own creatures. The only way to reveal this to be a lie is to raise the wicked and allow them to experience what unremedied sin results in — suffering and death (for further explanation as to why they suffer, i.e. the source of their suffering, see my blog, “The Question of Punishment Part III”).
When God raises the wicked, the New Jerusalem will be on the earth and the gates will be OPEN and remain open until the time comes that the wicked march en mass to attack the city. Yet, despite this time with the New Jerusalem on earth and the gates to the city open, the wicked will not enter. What does this reveal?
The wicked are excluded, not by God. Their exclusion is “voluntary with themselves.” They do not want to enter and refuse to come in despite all evidences before them. Their own freewill choice to remain outside the city affirms God in His decision to raise them in the second resurrection. All the universe will see that the wicked do indeed suffer and die, but they will also see that their suffering and death are not inflicted by God, but are instead the unavoidable result of unremdied sin. Thus, God raises them so that the truth may be revealed and that when sin and sinners are fully eliminated no doubt of God and His goodness will remain. Thus sin will never arise again!
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:15
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; Gal 6:8
Evil will slay the wicked Psalms 34:21
In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. — Desire of Ages, pg 761
Those who have chosen Satan as their leader and have been controlled by his power are not prepared to enter the presence of God. Pride, deception, licentiousness, cruelty, have become fixed in their characters. Can they enter heaven to dwell forever with those whom they despised and hated on earth? Truth will never be agreeable to a liar; meekness will not satisfy self-esteem and pride; purity is not acceptable to the corrupt; disinterested love does not appear attractive to the selfish. What source of enjoyment could heaven offer to those who are wholly absorbed in earthly and selfish interests?
Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to heaven and witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever exists there,– every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne,–could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise? Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late. A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God.
Like the waters of the Flood the fires of the great day declare God’s verdict that the wicked are incurable. They have no disposition to submit to divine authority. Their will has been exercised in revolt; and when life is ended, it is too late to turn the current of their thoughts in the opposite direction, too late to turn from transgression to obedience, from hatred to love. — The Great Controversy, pp 542-543
Satan’s representations against the government of God, and his defense of those who sided with him, were a constant accusation against God. His murmurings and complaints were groundless; and yet God allowed him to work out his theory. God could have destroyed Satan and all his sympathizers as easily as one can pick up a pebble and cast it to the earth. But by so doing he would have given a precedent for the exercise of force. All the compelling power is found only under Satan’s government. The Lord’s principles are not of this order. He would not work on this line. He would not give the slightest encouragement for any human being to set himself up as God over another human being, feeling at liberty to cause him physical or mental suffering. This principle is wholly of Satan’s creation.
The principles of the character of God were the foundation of the education constantly kept before the heavenly angels. These principles were goodness, mercy, and love. Self-evidencing light was to be recognized and freely accepted by all who occupied positions of trust and power. They must accept God’s principles, and, through the presentation of truth and righteousness, convince all who were in his service. This was the only power to be used. Force must never come in. All who thought that their position gave them power to command their fellow beings, and control conscience, must be deprived of their position; for this is not God’s plan.
These principles are to be the foundation of education in God’s church today. The rules given by him are to be observed and respected. God has enjoined this. His government is moral. Nothing is to be done by compulsion. Truth is to be the prevailing power. . All service is to be done willingly, and for the love of God. All who are honored with positions of influence are to represent God; for when officiating, they are in the place of God. In everything their actions must correspond to the importance of their position. The higher the position the more distinctly will self-sacrifice be revealed if they are fit for the office. Every heart that is controlled by these principles will be loyal. But when those who profess to be in God’s service resort to accusation, they are adopting Satan’s principles to cast out Satan; and this never will work. — Review & Herald, September 7, 1897
We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death. — 1 Selected Messages, pg 235
God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but he leaves the rejecters of his mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown, which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. — The Great Controversy (1888), pg 36
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. — Rev 21:21- 25
Satan succeeds in deceiving them, and all immediately begin to prepare themselves for battle. There are many skillful men in that vast army, and theyconstruct all kinds of implements of war. Then with Satan at their head, the multitude move on. Kings and warriors follow close after Satan, and the multitude follow after in companies. Each company has its leader, and order is observed as they march over the broken surface of the earth to the Holy City. Jesus closes the gates of the city, and this vast army surround it, and place themselves in battle array, expecting a fierce conflict. — Story of Redemption, pg 419