The Last Great Day pictures ascension into the God family of all those from the great white throne judgement who prove they want to live God’s way of life. The great white throne judgement follows the Millennium and the second resurrection – ascension follows the great white throne judgement and this concludes this age of the plan of salvation.
Article Updated: 11 Mar 2016
Previous Article: Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles
Although this annual Sabbath is the last of the annual Holy Days picturing God’s plan of salvation, it actually has a very similar meaning to the Feast of Pentecost. It represents the instant in time, after the second day of judgement, when all those in the second resurrection who are written in the Book of Life will be ascended into the family of God as spirit beings. This day marks the completion of this age of God’s plan of salvation.
Overview of the Second Harvest Season
God gives us a synopsis of events for the second harvest season in Rev 20:12:
“…And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books…” [NKJV]
[And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God]
This is the second resurrection – the resurrection to physical life in order that the second (latter part) wheat season may commence, culminating with the second harvest season. It is the time that judgement will be on the great mass of humanity who are alive after the second resurrection – it is the time of the Great White Throne Judgment (100 year period pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles).
[and books were opened] One of these books is the Bible, God's Word, while the other is the book of record of the deeds of a person and this book of record is a person's own conscience – these books together are to form the basis of individual judgement (trial) during the second (latter part) wheat season. Every person, through their conscience, is their own book of record (Rom 2:15) – this was explained previously and in detail in the article clarifying the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles.
[And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life]
At the end of the Great White Throne judgement, the people involved will have shown whether or not they wish to live God’s way and those who choose unwisely will not have their names recorded in the Book of Life.
[And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books]
The people who choose to live God’s way will have their names written in the Book of Life and will be rewarded according to their works during the day of judgement (the 100 year period pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles). God is consistent and will reward those in the second harvest season according to the same criteria as He rewarded those in the first harvest season.
Those whose names are not recorded in the Book of Life (those who have no wish to live God’s way) will have to endure the "second death", or second transition to an age of more severe trials and testing, pictured by the lake of fire:
“…14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire…” [NKJV]
“… ‘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.’…" [NKJV]
Christ’s Invitation to Salvation
In John 7:37-39, Jesus invites the people of the second harvest season into the kingdom of God similarly to how those of the first harvest season were invited to the wedding:
“…37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive…” [NIV]
"...The Spirit and the bride [wife] say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life..." [NIV]
The Greek word numphe, here rendered bride, also means "a recently married woman", and since the ascended Saints will have recently become the wife of Christ, Rev 22:17 should be rendered "The Spirit and the wife...". However, the real significance of this verse appears to have been missed by just about everyone. 1Cor 6:2 has been trivialized, but Rev 22:17 has been ignored. It is the WIFE (Saints) who is giving the invitation at the end of the 100 year judgment period, not Christ! Let me explain simply, as follows:
"...Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?..." [NIV]
"...The Spirit and the bride [wife] say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life..." [NIV]
For this second harvest season the invite is more explicit in that it shows the way to the Kingdom, which is to say how the invitation operates and who has been delegated the responsibility for offering the invitation. This is an invitation to receive the earnest of God’s Holy Spirit (2Cor 1:21-22), without which one is not spiritually circumcised – is not a spiritual Israelite – and therefore cannot begin to grow in the way of God, which culminates in ascension to the God family. Accordingly, by giving this invitation people are being invited to fulfil their destiny and ascend into the God family as spirit beings, which fulfilment is pictured by the Last Great Day. The invite, therefore, is part of a process that begins with the start of the day of judgement – the beginning of the spiritual growing season for those in the second resurrection. This process was covered in detail in the previous article on the “Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles”.
The fact that the invitation is a process is supported by what Jesus is recorded as saying, in Rev 21:6-7 (Note: How this is done is clarified later in Rev 22:17):
“…6 And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’…” [NKJV]
[And He said to me, ‘It is done!’]
This is a declaration by Christ that this particular age in the plan of salvation is now completed and precedes statements regarding what has been accomplished.
[I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End]
This is a declaration by Christ that through him the plan started (he was the creator of all – John 1:3) and all resurrections and ascensions are performed by him (John 5:25 and 1Thes 4:16).
[I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts]
This is Christ’s invitation for all those who rise in the second resurrection to be part of the second harvest season by baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit and striving to live God’s way of life.
[He who overcomes shall inherit all things]
Here Christ is making clear the result of successfully accepting his offer and that the offer is indeed a process of striving to live God's way.
[I will be his God and he shall be My son]
This is a metaphorical statement providing a part description of the relative relationship between Christ and those in the second harvest season. In reality, both he and all humanity are the children of God the Father (Heb 2:10-14), but metaphorically those in the second harvest season will be the spiritual “children” of Christ and his wife (the Saints ascended from the first harvest season). However, as the “husband” and the captain of salvation of us all, we are left in no doubt as to who has the pre-eminence over everything – Christ. The main point to remember here is that Christ is speaking only of those in the second harvest season.
As shown above, where it is said, "...The Spirit and the bride say,...", the word translated bride actually refers to the newly wedded wife – the Saints of the first resurrection – and therefore should be rendered "wife".
So, at the end of a successful day of judgement (symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles) the people are ascended into the family of God (symbolized by the Last Great Day). Although an entire Holy Day is given to celebrate the ascension event, in reality it will last no longer than the blinking of an eye (1Cor 15:52) as did the ascension for those in the first harvest season.
Isaiah 65:20 in Greater Clarity
Having covered the transparent Scriptures in the Book of Revelation dealing with the Last Great Day, it is now possible to review Isaiah 65:20 in greater detail:
“…There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed…” [KJV]
[There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days]
This describes a couple of the aspects of the day of judgement, in which no more children are to be born after the second resurrection – hence "no more infant of days". Also, those who are resurrected as children or babies will live out a full life at this time. Again, this has been covered in the previous article on the “Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles”.
[for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed]
This provides us with the duration of the Great White Throne judgement day – 100 years. Also, at first reading, the outcomes described in this part of the verse do not appear to be just, because of their apparent ungodly nature – the death penalty for children of 100 years and simply a curse for the sinner of 100 years. However, by reading this verse in context with other relevant Scripture it may be seen that the “children” to which God refers are not regarded as sinners and therefore are His children, whose names have been written in the Book of Life for the second resurrection. To commence the process of conversion (spiritual growth) a person must be baptized and receive the spirit of God. When this is done, God already regards the body as being dead – this we are told in Rom 8:9-10:
“…9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness…” [NKJV]
In addition to how God regards His children in the spirit, at the end of the second harvest season all those whose names have been recorded in the Book of Life must discard their physical bodies in exchange for spiritual bodies. The exchange of bodies does indeed result in the literal death (termination) of the physical body and this must be so for reasons given by God in 1Cor 15:50:
“…Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption…” [NKJV]
Accordingly, the death of the righteous, those regarded as the children of God, at the end of the symbolic second harvest season is a great blessing, because for them it means immediate ascension into the family of God – thereby fulfilling the meaning the Last Great Day. This blessing is also why the next part of the verse describes the fate of the sinner as a curse. The sinner's "reward", being a curse, is deliberately expressed in opposition to the blessing received by the righteous – the reward of the sinner is always death as declared in,
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death,…” [NKJV]
However, this is not the end of the God's plan. There are a few questions that need to be addressed, namely,
It is most interesting that nowhere in the Bible does death ever mean cessation of life or existence. Most commonly, death is taken to mean a type of sleep (Psa 76:5; Jer 51:39; John 11:13), but it is a sleep that incorporates a change in life for the one who has "died". Paul uses the term ekdusasyai (ekdusasthai - Strong's ekduo) to unclothe one's self in reference to death (2Cor 5:3,4), because the body is represented as the garment of the spirit. Death is also compared with a departure, a going away (Job 10:21; Ps 39:4). The case is the same in the New Testament (Matt 26:24). In this connection the term analusai (analusai - Strong's analuo) can mean depart as in Phil 1:23, or return as in Luke 12:36 and analusiv (analusis) can mean departure as in 2Tim 4:6). None of which mean cessation of existence, but rather that which is needed to change an era or epoch for the individual.
So, Biblically death is not the end – death is actually the transition to something new (another age). The transition may be instantaneous, as at baptism or ascension for the living, or it may involve a time of "sleep" while the change is awaited, but it is still merely a transition to another age.
At the outset let's get the Greek word clear – had eternity or eternal been implied in the meaning, then the Greek word "aidios" would have been used.
The word "aidios" is used only three times in the N.T. – used twice in connection with God's unlimited power (Rom 1:20 and Jude 6) and once in connection with God's reward of immortality or eternal life for the faithful (Rom 2:7).
As immortality relates to eternity it shall also be addressed at this point. Where immortality is implied, then either of the Greek words “aphtharsia” or “athanasia”, would have been used.
The word “aphtharsia” (mentioned 8 times – see below) always means immortality or a variation thereof.
The word “athanasia” (mentioned 3 times – see below) is the strongest of the two words and always means immortality.
In all cases where the phrase "for ever" is seen in the N.T. it is from the Greek "aion" and should be translated, "age" (2Pet 2:17 and Jude 1:13). In Rev 14:11, where we have, "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever..." [NKJV]. Here, "for ever and ever" is again a poor translation and is from the Greek "aion" "aionon", meaning till the age of ages, i.e. the last of the ages of trial and testing, of which we are not given to see the end. The root meaning of "aiōn" is best expressed by the Hebrew "olam" which denotes indefinite, unknown or concealed duration, just as we speak of "the iron age," or "the space age." Accordingly, it has come to denote any given period of time. The interesting meaning of "olam" is that while it can denote a definite duration of time, the implication is that the duration is hidden, unknown, beyond our horizon of vision as it were. A good example is that while you cannot see Antarctica from South America, because it is beyond our horizon of vision, if you keep traveling south, then you will eventually get to Antarctica. Just because we cannot see it, does not mean it is not a set distance away. This principle applies to olam – just because we, at this time, cannot see or know the duration does not mean that it does not have an end. The context will tell us whether or not there is supposed to be an end or a beginning.
However, while "for ever and ever" and "immortality" or eternity are different concepts, they are closely aligned for those who ascend to the God family. Immortality is simply having life that is no longer subject to decay or death; it is life beyond death in an immortal body and we are promised that God shall destroy death:
1Cor 15:26 "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." [NKJV]
As for the sinner being a 100 years old and merely suffering a curse, this is an unfortunate translation of the original Hebrew word “qalal”. This word has been translated in various places to describe seemingly totally unrelated events, but when rendered correctly, it describes perfectly what is to be the fate of the sinner. Some of the different renderings relate to the following:
1. Abatement of the flood waters (Gen 8:8) – these waters seemed to vanished, they were diminished, made smaller; and
2. A punishment from God (Gen 3:17), whereby life is made difficult:
"...Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life..."
3. The punishment (reward or wages) of sin is death, Rom 6:23:
“…For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord…” [TLB].
The implication is that these sinners shall be made small. When God uses such language it is almost always metaphorical and in reality means He is going to put them through some situation that will make them have a better perspective on life, an exercise in humility to help them see the value of their fellow man and not be so full of themselves. Indeed, God said that this would be the "second death". So, rather than being ascended into the family of God as spirit beings they will undergo a "second transition to something new" – a second and further diminishing from the Godhead, which seems to be greater than the diminishing spoken of in Psa 8:5 (“For a little while You have diminished him from the Godhead,”). This further diminishing appears to be something new and a more unpleasant life than humans experience today, with all their frailties, diseases, oppressive masters and uncertainties of life. The fact is, this second death for sinners is an age where we are given very few specifics, except that it shall be and shall be for a duration beyond our horizon of vision. Immediately following on from Christ's statements concerning the blessings of those in the second harvest season who choose to live God's way (Rev 21:6-7 above), he describes the fate of those who do not want to live God's way and this directly supports the statement in Isa 65:20 about the curse (death) of those who are still sinners at the end of the hundred year period of judgment. The context of both Isa 65:20 and Rev 21:8 is important, as it provides the time period to which these prophecies belong – the Last Great Day, at the end of the second harvest period, at the end of the 100 year period of judgment.
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. [NKJV]
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. [NKJV]
Throughout the Bible fire is used as a metaphor for trials, for the purpose of building character or making a good person better. The righteous are tried in "the fiery furnace as silver and gold"
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. [NKJV]
God is consistent, He doesn't change, so when He says someone is to be thrown into the "lake of fire" it can mean only one thing – a time (age) of severe trials and testing for the sinners who do not repent during 100 years prior to the Last Great Day.
Accordingly, although death does not mean total extinguishment of life, NEITHER does it mean alive and suffering for eternity. Where these sinners are going to be before they repent, or what form they will take, or how long it will take is not known in detail. However, we can can know that God says He is "not willing that any should perish" (2Pet 3:9) and there is none that can resist the will of God even though it be to the end of the age of ages, God shall succeed.
In view of the above, it should not be a surprise that God has actually made a clear statement on this subject – "that all come to repentance" and unlike man, His will is not just wishful thinking, it is a determination and shall be done. Again, this section requires examination and correction of the rendering of certain Greek words, which the incorrect translations have caused confusion about the matter. Unfortunately, most of these incorrect translations are some of the more popular bibles.
2Pet 3:9 (NKJV)
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing <1014> that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
The intended force of this Greek word (boulomai - 1014) is disputed by some of the major translators, but Jam 1:18 actually settles the matter as having the meaning of the word being more active resolution than wishful thinking and this view is supported by both the old YLT and the modern NLT. The view of Grimm is preferable to any other, who says of the similar word yelw (thelo) and the word boulomai (boulomai), that while thelo gives prominence to the emotive element, boulomai gives prominence to the rational and volitive; thelo signifies the choice, while boulomai marks the choice as deliberate and intelligent. After all, one could hardly say that creation was the result of wishful thinking when the whole Bible clearly shows it as intelligent design and on a personal level our being and course was predestined (predetermined) before the foundation of the world
Eph 1:4-5 (RSV)
“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,…”
Here, the word "will" is thelema, which is from the weaker Greek word thelo. Yet, from this weaker word we have creation and predestination (predetermination) of God's elect. Accordingly, when we see the word boulomai being used by God, the evidence points to it being an absolute resolution and that it shall be done.
Jam 1:18 (YLT)
having counselled, He did beget us with a word of truth, for our being a certain [definite, not type] first-fruit of His creatures.
Jam 1:18 (NLT)
He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
This is the Will of God, not the wishful thinking of man and as such cannot be denied fulfilment – it shall come to pass. Accordingly, The first choice of Young is correct in giving the stronger meaning to the word, boulomai. The KJV and others have watered down the meaning and make it appear as though it is just wishful thinking by incorrectly adding the word “might” and incorrectly rendering tis as “kind”. The word “might” should be deleted, as it is not part of the original text and the word tis is very definite and emphatic and does in fact mean “certain” – it is not vague, as the KJV would have us believe, it is very definite.
The correct rendering of Jam 1:18 would therefore be as follows:
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we become firstfruits of His creatures.
Also, 2Pet 3:9 should be rendered as follows:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, opposed that any perish but that all come to repentance.
From this point on, it is as Christ declared, “It is done!” God's Plan of Salvation and instructing those subject to the second death has now been completed.
The Plan of Creation Continues
Ascension into the God family as spirit beings completes the Plan of Salvation, but God's Plan of Creation continues. We are told in Isa 9:7 that God’s government and peace will be forever growing, which is the very definition of conversion – a process of growing in God’s way that takes place over a period of time (forever).
“…Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this…” [KJV].
Most commentaries will limit the meaning of “increase” to quantity or time, but the language of the original text places no such limits on the word. Had the commentaries not made the assumption that ascension equated to spiritual perfection, then it would have been clear that this verse is also referring to a process of improved “quality” over a period of time (indefinite). Thus continued reliance on the blood of Jesus to cover sin, also now becomes a literal and continual laying down of life by the husband for the wife and family and shows that the sacrifice of Jesus is an eternal sacrifice. The New Covenant is now shown to be a very literal, eternal covenant requiring an eternal relationship.
However, people still ask, "Will we not be perfect spirit beings in the Kingdom of God? After all, how can we judge angels if we are not perfect?" Whenever this word (perfect) is mentioned in connection with the New Covenant, it refers to a growing state of becoming more like God the Father or Christ. We were placed in human vessels for the following major reasons:
1. To test us to see what is in our hearts;
2. In order that God could train us up in the way that we should go;
3. Become subject to affliction and death and either accept Christ’s sacrifice or die; and
4. Experience the family system as did Jesus.
There is no argument from any of the Christians churches that human beings will never be perfect while still physical, but it is a common misconception that Godly spirit beings have been or will be perfect. This misconception is just as far from the truth as the teaching that spirit beings, once they choose an ungodly path, cannot change and return to the true path of God. God states with great clarity that Christ’s sacrifice was for both physical AND spirit beings:
“… and through him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross...” [NRSV].
This means that angels can repent and if angels can repent, then so too can all spirit beings. Christ's sacrifice was “once for all” (Heb 10:10), meaning past, present and future – there is no limit for the application of Christ's sacrifice. Some quote Rom 6:22 to prove perfection of ascended humans (But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life). However, those who quote this verse to prove perfection of ascended humans forget that being free from sin does not mean “not sinning”, it means being free from the penalty of sin, which is death – in other words, we are free from sin because sin has no power over the sinner due to the claiming and application of Christ's sacrifice. The verse also states that we are “now” free from sin, but I see no child of God who does not sin on a daily basis. What can be seen are people of God who, daily, accept the blood of Christ to cover their sins.
The children of Israel crossing Jordan and entering the Promised Land pictured ascension as spirit beings into the family of God for those in the second resurrection, but after crossing Jordan God has a severe warning that those who cross to the Promised Land (the Kingdom of God) should not forget the Law of God or the lessons learnt during their journey through the wilderness or they would perish – be exterminated (Deut 8:2-20). Those who ascend into the Kingdom of God need to remember how God can destroy both body and spirit, as stated in Matt 10:28 "...Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Here, the word "destroy" is from the Greek apokteino, meaning to kill, slay, obliterate, annihilate; and "soul" is from psuche, meaning life force. What God is saying here is He can and will obliterate the life force of any who willfully forget His ways and go after their old ways. God will not tolerate any interference with His prophecy in Isa 9:7, that of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.
"...For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,..." [NKJV]
In looking to the future, God's exhortation and warning is provided in full in Deut 8:2-20 [NKJV]
2 "And you shall remember
that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness,
to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would
keep His commandments or not.
So, while the future is very bright, with this day picturing ascension into the family of God as spirit beings, we are also given a very serious warning that we should not forget our experiences/lessons as humans, pictured by the time of wandering in the wilderness.
Scripture List (KJV)
The correct rendering is in blue. If in parenthesis, then it is a correction of the original.
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption (immortality):
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption (immortality).
For this corruptible must put on incorruption (immortality), and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity (without ceasing or forever)
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness (integrity), gravity (honesty), sincerity (life giving – that is of the spirit)
1 Cor 15:53
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality .
1 Cor 15:54
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality , then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1 Tim 6:16
Who only hath immortality , dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
The Church of God at Laodicea – Who are you? The seven eras of the church of God are given by the “mail route” principle in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. The current church era, started by Herbert Armstrong about 70 years ago, was last on the mail route and equates to Laodicea.