Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rev.20:12 New Scrolls-What Content

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.


  1. I am in the middle of teaching a series on the judgment to the kids in my youth group. How you understand this verse will change depending on your understanding of how the judgment works (or if you believe there even is such a thing as a "final judgment"). Unfortunately, time is short for me so instead of focusing on the judgment I want to point something else out.

    There are four ways (in my humble estimation) to extract meaning from a Bible text:
    1) Eisegesis (looking only at the verse in question for context and meaning)
    2) Exegesis (looking at the verse and its surrounding verses for context and meaning)
    3) The Isaiah 28:10 method (sometimes derisively referred to as "proof-texting")
    4) Historical referencing (what you did)

    In my short years, my experience has been that when you exclude the Isaiah 28:10 method from a study you will almost always come to false conclusions.

    I in no way question the perpetuity of the Father God and Jesus Christ's character and the "evolution" (if you will) of the general attitude and worldwide culture of man. These things are clear in scripture and simple observation. I also concede that these facts are quite relevant to the understanding of the text. However, I think that it is an incomplete study, and it is because of that point that I differ from you in the conclusions I draw.

    Much relevant Biblical data was excluded (un-intentionally, to be sure) from the study. Such data would include the prophecy of Daniel 7, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Exodus 32:32-33, Romans 2:12, Romans 2:27, James 2:12, Isaiah 33:22, 1 Peter 1:17, etc. All of these texts earn relevance by their mentioning the object, standard, and timing of judgment or the heavenly books of record. Just as your understanding of what happens when a person dies will change your understanding of what hell is, so it is with this subject.

    Therefore my conclusions are these:
    There is a three stage final judgment (I believe we are in the first stage). Law is necessary for judgment. The standard of judgment is the law. God doesn't need books to remember things. Men and angels do need books to remember things. Angels and men play a key role in this judgment event. Man will be judged by their works according to what is written in the books. Man's works will evidence the presence or absence of the spirit working on their heart. Absence of that evidence for an individual will earn the sentence of death by lake of fire.

    I have much more to say about but it would take another hour to write it all out. Looking forward to your response.

  2. B. It is always a pleasure speaking with you. I must admit I had a bit of trouble making sense of the reason you used a few of the scriptures. Others that directly mention judging didn't seem relevant to the the article based on their context. We definitely have two different perspectives on things. But I thank you for even taking the time to consider this. You'll probably be the only one that does.

  3. B. I felt I may have once again glossed over what you wrote. You spent a lot of time on the reply and it deserves more. Below, I make a citation-by-citation review of the scriptures you cited.

    You said: In my short years, my experience has been that when you exclude the Isaiah 28:10 method from a study you will almost always come to false conclusions.

    Response: Are you sure you meant Isaiah 28:10? In the KJV it reads: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." Contextually, this scripture is talking about God reproving the Jews, especially the leaders for their irresponsible conduct including outright drunkenness. In verse 10 Isaiah repeats the Jews who mock his repeated & constant warnings. They mock Isaiah, accusing him of speaking to them as if they were infants: “Whom will one instruct in knowledge, and whom will one make understand what has been heard? Those who have been weaned from the milk, those moved away from the breasts? For it is ‘command upon command, command upon command, measuring line upon measuring line, measuring line upon measuring line, here a little, there a little.’” (Isaiah 28:9, 10)

    How repetitious and strange Isaiah sounds to them! He keeps repeating himself, saying: ‘This is what Jehovah has commanded! This is what Jehovah has commanded! This is Jehovah’s standard! This is Jehovah’s standard!’ But Jehovah will soon “speak” to the inhabitants of Judah by means of action. He will send against them the armies of Babylon—foreigners who really do speak a different language. Those armies will certainly carry out Jehovah’s “command upon command,” and Judah will fall. In short, that verse has nothing to do with setting any precedent for Bible interpretation. If you see it differently, I'd love to hear why.

    prophecy of Daniel 7: Admittedly, its an oversimplification, but the essence of this chapter speaks of the "beasts" (human rulers) that come & go over time and Jesus Christ's rulership makes a judgment against them. I suppose Verse 22 would one of the pivotal, key scriptures here for it mentions judgment. The situation however, is judgment of Satan's world prior to Armageddon, not the one in my article.

    Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, In context, Solomon here starts with the admonition to youth that they should develop a relationship with their creator while yet young. He then goes on to show how empty life can (will) be in advanced age if all you have to show for your life is having chased the "vanities" of life (wealth, fame, etc.). Solomon wraps up this chapter by stating it is more important to have LIVED a godly life than to be a book worm (the essence of vss.12,13). In verse 14 he mentions the personal judgment that God brings us all into. But this judgment happens as we go through life, this is not speaking of the same judgment mentioned in Revelation.

    Exodus 32:32-33, This definitely is applicable in that in no uncertain terms, God lets us know he is a decisive person. However, the figurative speech of the "book" and the timing of the statement indicates that God was about to execute judgment against those involved in calf worship during the time Moses was in the mountain. This judgment in fact is documented in vs.35.

    Romans 2:12, Verse 11 is the crux of the matter--God is not partial. Claiming ignorance or flagrantly disregarding (living without law) is punishable just as much as the person claiming to know the law (those hearing it) but not doing the law (vs.13). He also reasons with the reader that some "by nature" demonstrate that God gave us a conscience (vss.14,15). Nothing about this passage is relevant to the coming judgment in Revelation.

    come to come in next post...

  4. Intended to write "more to come in next post..."
    And here it is....

    Romans 2:27, This passage reads: "And the uncircumcised [person] that is such by nature will, by carrying out the Law, judge you who with its written code and circumcision are a transgressor of law." In verses 25-29 Paul reasoned with his readers that circumcision is not a distinguishing indicator of a true worshiper. He tells the self-important Jews that the uncircumcised Gentiles that have demonstrated greater repentance by being obedient will "judge" the disobedient, arrogant Jews. However, this is a passive judging. It is by the righteous acts of the humble Gentiles that submit themselves to God that the Jews are judged. Paul MAY have also been eluding to the time when those Gentiles, as co-rulers with Christ will judge all the earth. However, this was neither the intent nor the context of what Paul was writing.
    James 2:12, In the chapter, James reprimands the congregation he is writing because they have slipped into pettiness and judging others based on the flesh and not the heart. He then reasons with them in vss 10-13 that there really is no one clean because we are all sinners. He says that if they want to use the Law (of Moses) as the criteria, then they are all condemned because they all have sinned. He then makes a pivotal point: "Mercy exults triumphantly over judgment." Yes, petty judging of each other in the congregation had gotten divisive--the rich looking down on the poor, people suing each other, and more. They needed to return to the model of a united loving brotherhood. Nothing here has to do with the final judgment BUT it does help us to further understand that God isn't looking for us to follow the Mosaic law. He wants us to learn mercy motivated by heartfelt love.
    Isaiah 33:22, The verse reads: "For Jehovah is our Judge, Jehovah is our Statute-giver, Jehovah is our King; he himself will save us." Yes, I believe this; not sure why you cited it though.
    1 Peter 1:17, Peter here reiterate something that can be found throughout scripture--the idea that God judges each of us based on our own conduct. Again, yes I believe that and indeed at the final judgment period, that will definitely be in place.
    After a thorough consideration of all the scriptures you cited, I really do not see how they impact (either good or bad) the article I wrote. I have noticed of myself that as I get older (and with the current health issues I am facing) that I tend to be a bit slow on the uptake. Please clarify if you feel I missed the intent of using those scriptures.

  5. I enjoyed your blog post. I've thought much on the subject as well, as I'm sure many have.

    B. Altman's post was quite well spoken. B. was referring to the importance of using scripture proofs to back up a viewpoint. Though I think B. may miss the point of why "proof-texting" is spoken of derisively. Showing a bunch of scriptures is often done to use a bunch of scriptures to hide the fact that not one of the cited scriptures actually definitively proves something, taking many out of context, while completely ignoring proof texts to the contrary. For example, what they do with the Trinity. However, I find B. citations useful in this matter. But he is right to assume that this is not always the case. Proof texts can be very useful.

    He referred to Isaiah 28:10, but what I think he really meant was Isaiah 28:9-13, which demonstrates the difference between those who view Jehovah's words as refreshing and full of hope (verses 11 and 12a) and those who find clean living to be repressive. (verses 12b-13) Between those who have become spiritually mature with the milk of God's word and those who reject it. Between those who feel freed by the message and able to use it to improve themselves and those who feel judged by it. In other words, it is a statement about the judgment provided by means of those who speak the word of God. For those despising it will "be broken and ensnared and caught." So the focus is judgment. In this case, it is a judgment against their attitudes, not just their actions.

    I believe B. is coming from the premise, as you stated in your blog post, that Jehovah never changes. (Mal 3:6) So the reasons for his judgment never change. A reason for judgment that has taken place in the past will also be used in the future. Only the means by which they are judged will change. It is as Peter said, "By reducing the cities Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly persons of things to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off, especially, however, those who go on after flesh with the desire to defile [it] and who look down on lordship." (2 Peter 2:4-10) In fact, this scripture itself expresses my conclusion below and is itself a proof text.

    So let's re-examine B.'s cited scriptures to see what we might find in the new scrolls:

    Daniel 7:27 says, "All the rulerships will serve and obey even [the holy ones]." So after armageddon, the rulerships will serve and obey the holy ones, that is, those serving in heaven. There will be rulerships, meaning governance, but none of them will be kingdoms. Their obedience to the words of the holy ones will have a bearing upon their judgment. Will the holy ones appear to some of us and present the words of the new scrolls? Possibly, and maybe such events will be recorded in those scrolls.

    Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 isn't just about how we deal with ourselves through life, but we will ultimately be judged in what our own thoughts accuse us in, (Romans 2:15,) and in what efforts we make in our lives to live by God's standards, as verse 14 says, "God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment."

  6. continued.

    B. quotes Romans 2:12 and 2:27, but I believe he really means the entire discussion throughout much of Romans. Though maybe he has the mistaken view that we are somehow under law, which would demonstrate a failure to understand the context. However, the context is relevant because your post is about the judgment through the scrolls written in the thousand years, and verse 16 says, "This will be in the day when God through Christ Jesus judges the secret things of mankind." And you have it right, if they disregard law, they will be judged, if they fail to perform law, they will be judged, and if they disregard the law of their minds, they will be judged. But Paul's ultimate point is that we have been discharged from law through faith in Jesus Christ. So in order not to be judged by law, we must have and demonstrate faith in Jesus. But as James brings out, such faith is meaningless if we do not also have works to demonstrate our love for God and for neighbor. (James 2)

    B. quotes Exodus 32:32-33, highlighting those who have sinned against Jehovah himself. Verse 31 states the reason for judgment, "This people has sinned with a great sin, in that they made a god of gold for themselves!" This is classified as a sin against Jehovah. (Verse 32) So those who worship idols and who worship other gods against his face, and those who speak abusively of Jehovah, are the ones to be judged by this standard. As well as those who disregard the channel, the authorities, through which Jehovah operates, and those who practice sin willfully, disregarding God. (Exodus 20:2-17)

    1 Peter 1:17 is establishing that God judges impartially and that all will be judged by their works. The context shows what it means to be no part of the world, and thus the works he speaks of are in reference to having worldly attitudes and actions.

    I think these are all relevant for the reason you state regarding 1 Peter 1:17. God will judge us individually based on our conduct. But not just that, attitudes as well. But ultimately it comes down to what James said at James 2:12, that we will "be judged by the law of a free people." Paul described what this freedom means when he said, "Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, then, with [my] mind I myself am a slave to God’s law, but with [my] flesh to sin’s law." That is, those who are enslaved to the flesh will be judged on account of the obedience of those who are not. For example, Christ's perfect obedience has condemned both Adam and Satan. Thus, likewise, the obedience of once sinful mankind will condemn those who are not obedient. So then the new scrolls may simply show many who demonstrate perfect obedience.

  7. In some places where I say "law", I mean "Law", that is, the Mosaic Law.