What Will the New Scrolls Contain?
Scripture (specifically Revelation 20:12) mentions the future existence of new scrolls. What the exact content will be is not stated except to mention that “judging of the dead” will be based on what is in those scrolls. However, we have only to look at history to get a high-level idea of what it will contain. But before we do, we need to recall a precedent set in scripture: Hebrews 13: 8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.” If this can be said of the son, surely the same is true of the Father, Jehovah; and, in fact, James does says the very same thing of God but in different words. He says that Jehovah is “the Father of the [celestial] lights, and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow.” (James 1:17)
So God & His Son don’t change. But people do. At very least their situations, conditions, and attitudes all change. What is my point? Nothing God has ever told man has ever been different from one generation to the next. Confirming this are Jesus’ own words at Matthew 5:17 “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill.” Further explaining this, we read at Matthew 22:34-40 Jesus’ reply to the question “Which is the greatest commandment?” After boiling it all down to loving God completely and loving our neighbor as ourselves, Jesus said "On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets." These two quotes from Jesus help us to appreciate the nothing he did or taught was anything new. He didn’t change the meaning or intent of scripture.
Yet there are some that will argue that the God of the Israelites is radically different from the God of the early Christians. After I show them that both love & gentleness contrasted to firm and disciplinarian are in both sections of the Bible, they change their viewpoint.
What does the above have to do with what the new scrolls will contain? It sets the tone to help understand what has happened in human history and what will happen. So what from the past can give us an idea of what we can reasonably expect to find in those new scrolls?
There are three major conditions/situations of mankind that have come along in the past that required organizational, religious activity and daily life instructions. In the first one, mankind (Adam & Eve) were perfect. Nothing needed to be written, they had perfect memories. We have very little info on that period. Moses recorded merely that the human pair were to populate the earth and make it a global paradise. Also, they were to demonstrate their loyalty by keeping their hands off one particular fruit tree. Pretty simple instructions but in them it discussed their daily activity and what God wanted from them in the future. Seeing as scripture indicates that God spoke to Adam on a daily basis, if Adam had remained loyal, God would have likely continued to instruct him as the population of earth grew and realization of a perfect subdued earth became a reality. But the day that Adam sinned, God stopped speaking to him. So who changed, God or Adam? Adam did—his condition/situation changed from being a loyal perfect son of God, to a disloyal, imperfect one.
The next major situation/condition was the formation of the nation of Israel, from its exodus from Egypt until its establishment as nation in the promised land. The exodus included a vast mixed company which may have included both Egyptians and captives from other nations. At Exodus 12:49, Jehovah gave this rule: “One law is to exist for the native and for the alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst.” In setting up the Mosaic Law, the unique situation that had never before existed. A new nation was being born but it was not purely Israelites Jehovah used the situation to setup a worship that would foreshadow the things in heaven and the coming Messiah. The Law covered everything from daily living & social structure, to morality and worship. So again, God didn't change. The condition/situation of mankind changed and God gave them what they needed for the “now” and for the future.
The third (and current) situation/condition of mankind that changed was arrival of the Messiah and the subsequent formation of the Christian brotherhood comprised of both “Jew” and “Gentile.” So what was so different that these new writings (Christian Scriptures) were absolutely needed? A major event had happened—Christians were no longer looking for the Messiah, they found him. Jewish converts no longer were bound to the sacrifices under the Mosaic Law because their sacrificial lamb, Jesus, was a sacrifice to end all sacrifices. With that, just what would be expected of Christians to demonstrate worship? The public proclamation of the good news fills that need along with regular Christian fellowship. They learned how to teach other Jews by reasoning with them using the Hebrew scriptures to show how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies. The writings also captured indisputable proof that God had abandoned the Jewish nation and setup a new nation (1 Peter 2:9) and his approval & blessings are recounted throughout the book of Acts. And finally, the addition of non-Jews to the new nation, a single brotherhood, was completely different from past experience. Organizationally, Christians were also setup a bit different. Jewish society had kings, priests, Levites and others. Since Jesus is King of Kings and a priest in the manner of Melchezedek, none of that was needed. However, the apostles became a central hub of decision making. “Older men” in each congregation were appointed to keep watch over the flock. All of this helped to unify the congregation. Further, the Christian writings gave far-reaching instructions on what to expect with the coming apostasy and future "coming" of Christ in his heavenly rulership . Once again (sorry to beat a dead horse, but) what changed was not God, it was mankind’s condition/situation.
So in each of the above cases, Jehovah provided what was needed for 1) daily living, 2) social structure, 3) religious activities and 4) glimpses into the future.
It is not surprising then, that the new scrolls will carry much of the same. So why are they needed? This is because once again, the situation/condition will change so dramatically that new instructions in response to the situation are required to help us through it. Consider the following situations that mankind (after Adam) has never faced before:
· A world without Satan. Therefore we will need to know what will be expected of us individually & collectively.
· Cleansed ecology: Instructions on the organization in cleaning up the earth and continuing with what Adam was originally tasked to do—make this earth a paradise.
· Massive resurrection: Instructions for preparing for the resurrection. (How & where this will take place. How & what we will teach those resurrected ones.)
· Guidelines on the stages that the 1,000-year reign will go through to get us back to perfection.
· Preparation for the final assault of Satan at the end of the 1,000 years.
Someone had mentioned that our current Bible will be done away with. That doesn't seem likely, again, given the historical past. Jehovah intends for us to learn from the past. That is why he captured the event of Adam & Eve's disobedience and why he didn't throw out the Hebrew/Aramaic scriptures when Christianity was formed. (In fact, the Christian Greek scriptures quote extensively from the Hebrew writings.) Instead, he shows his harmonious and consistent teaching. Likely, in the new order, we will draw from the Jewish law and early Christian writings to help the resurrected see that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.