Outside The Gates
appeal is sometimes made to Rev 22:14-15 and then the question
asked: "what then happens to the wicked at death?"
may depend on how "the wicked" are defined see how Jesus and Paul
defined such Mt 5:21-22, 27-28; 1Cor 6:9-11a; Gal 5:19-20. It can
safely be said that we all fit in these categories somewhere at some
time, and just to cover all possible bases of kingdom excluding
behaviour Paul in Gal 5:21 qualifies further by saying "
in other words, any form of unrighteousness disqualifies.
What is mentioned in these verses was the fruit of those who perpetually
lived under the law. Paul in Galatians 5 contrasts Law against Grace,
Flesh against Spirit, Old Covenant versus New Covenant it was life
under the old versus life in the new. And so it was that
these works "of the flesh" being lived according to self
righteousness of law observance were railing against that of life "in
the Spirit", as listed in Gal 5:18-21.
If correct behaviour in life becomes the determining factor
concerning "eternal security" in death then what was the point of
Christ's death and resurrection?
truth is, entering the Kingdom was never about "going to Heaven when we
die" but about entering in on the call of God for service today, in
this life. IF good behaviour cannot be the qualifier that gains
one's entrance into Heaven beyond death; then neither can bad behaviour
be the disqualifier that bars and excludes one from Heaven beyond death either. God's grace
through Christ's obedience removed man's unrighteousness, and pathed the
way for all humanity to be at peace with Him in and beyond this life.
The price paid for unrighteous behaviour however is invariably
found in this life what happens beyond this life as far as
"works" are concerned, apart from "rewards" the Scriptures are
relatively silent on.
Now do we just as some might say "live like the devil"? certainly not! Are we so
shallow that the only reason we don't deliberately go out and do wrong
is to keep our salvation? Or is it a case of we "do right" in
honour of God and His great mercy. Paul wrote to Timothy of God's all
encompassing deliverance that ministers through "especially of those
who believe" [1Tim 4:10] because believers know that
which is the good to do, and so live fully in it.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable,
murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters,
and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with
fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the
right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the
city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually
immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever
loves and practices a lie.
were these insolent ones outside, those experiencing the lake of fire?
In a word and in biblical the context those under and beholden to
the Old Covenant mode of existence; these were the one's who would
experience the terrors of Second Death.
John and Paul made it clear as to who these idolatrously
abominable, sexually immoral, murderous dogs, practicing liars,
sorcerous and cowardly unbelieving ones were. They were none other than
those who clung or returned to their old covenant mode of existence,
those who would die in their sins [Jn 8:24] not knowing in life
the forgiveness that was theirs, thus they were "twice dead" [Jude
Dogs and sorcerers [Phil 3:2]. Evil workers and mutilators
those who promulgated law observance for righteousness.
Sexually immoral, murders, idolaters and liars [Mt 5:21-22,
28, 32; Col 3:5; 1Cor 10:14; 1Jn 2:22; 3:15]. According to Jesus,
John and Paul none of these were restricted in their literalness.
Whoever loves OR practices a lie [Col 3:9; 1Tim 4:1-3].
Again, this was life under the old covenant, out of which some of Paul's
audience was coming.
All these categories mentioned above were
relative to life under the old covenant, indicative of "the works of
the flesh" life lived according to the law, yet never free from
its condemnation, but worse, its self attendant
self-righteousness in keeping Torah which these Judaizers were trusting
in having their show of righteousness yet rotten to the core [Rom
2:1]. All of which life according to the Spirit in the new covenant,
railed as is listed in Gal 5:18-21.
Summing up these Paul goes on to say:
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we
should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not
become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The
people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Nor let us
commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day
twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of
them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain,
as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written
for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
described above were the Judaizers, those beholden to the old
covenant for righteousness and so remaining outside the realm of God's
full new covenant blessings in life.
be seen from Scripture, these things were indicative of life under the
old covenant, out of which Paul's audience [relevance] had come or had
intimate knowledge of [Act 2:5, 9-11; 15:21]. Likewise, John's
exhortation in Rev 21:8; 22:14-15 needs to be understood as
applicable to those of the transitional "end-of-the-ages" covenantal
context and setting. To give the 'lake of fire' perpetuity past its AD70
fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem would no doubt find all
qualified in some number of the above categories and knowing that
according to Scripture to break one is to break them all would thus
leave ALL "outside".
ones "outside" were outside of the covenantal service of God
as it was in the "this
generation" era AD30-70, and thus came under the covenantal and
corporeal judgment of Israel's 'lake of fire'
old covenants world's "second" and final death; not finding
deliverance [salvation] into the age about to come, but
perishing instead in
there unbelief [Jn 3:16-18, 36]
very thing Jesus prophesied would happen IF Israel would not "repent"
and believe her Messiah [Lk 13:3-5].
were they who remained
"outside the gates".
David G. Embury
© Copyright 2006ΰ