The Management of the Universe

See Also:
The Left Hand of God


Before anything was created, God WAS. He is the Great I AM. God is one god, but three-personal. They had no need to create anything. The creation of everything added nothing to the sum total of the universe. The Persons of the godhead relate to one another in traditional theology as "the procession of the God head."

God is also holy, which means He is complete. The deepest bond in the universe is the tie between God the Father and God the Son.

The creation of everything was the work of all three Persons of the Godhead! One can think of God the Father as the Designer who conceived of the universe in his mind and drew up the blueprints. Jesus, the Word, was the Master Builder who built the cosmos (both the invisible and visible realms), and the Holy Spirit energized and empowered the universe, adding in living creatures at many levels. The original universe was perfect with very low entropy, no damage, no death. 

Man, created in the image and likeness of God, was made a spiritual being, equipped with as much freedom as was possible. Obviously the universe as we know it now has been seriously damaged. The Son of God, the Second Divine Person, volunteered to personally solve the problem of evil, though it required that He enter history as a man, as the Second Adam. He agreed to die for the entire race of men to make a path for our return. In order for man to have maximum freedom, they must have the ability to choose to serve the One God--or something else.

I like to imagine board meetings within the godhead between the three Persons. For instance I imagine the Three meeting to discuss whether or not to create a universe, and us. the existence of a vast created world, and us, would add nothing to the grand total. Each member of the godhead will contribute to this project. God the Father, is the Master Architect and Designer. The Son of God will be the construction Boss; the God Holy Spirit will empower the creation, and impart life.

The Three realize that making man very much like Themselves invites man to choose other beings or entities to bow down to other than God.

In this imaginary scenario the Son of God volunteers to heal, restore and remake the creation if it were to become damaged. The required fix is for the Son of God to become a man and trade places with fallen humans.

"No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And  we have seen and testify that  the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and  he who abides in love abides in God, and God  in him." (1 John 4:12-16)

The original universe was designed to include angels. The ruin of the earth began with a high angel, Lucifer, or Satan.

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word  spoken through angels proved steadfast, and  every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,  which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was  confirmed to us by those who heard Him,  God also bearing witness  both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and  gifts of the Holy Spirit,  according to His own will?

The Son Made Lower than Angels

For He has not put  the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that  is not put under him. But now  we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus,  who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death  crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death  for everyone.

For it was fitting for Him,  for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation  perfect through sufferings. For  both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified  are all of one, for which reason  He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
And again:
“I will put My trust in Him.”
And again:
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He  Himself likewise shared in the same,  that through death He might destroy him who had the power of  death, that is, the devil, and release those who  through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had  to be made like His brethren, that He might be  a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12, also Job 2:1-8)

An intriguing feature of the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, is the divine council, a body of celestial beings who meet with God in divine deliberations. This idea is connected to the Hebrew term "sod," which means "a confidential discussion, a secret or plan, a circle of confidants, or council."

At the present time, and since Creation, God has been in charge of the government of the world through a host of angels, a "divine council." This can be seen in the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job. The fallen high angel we know as Satan is a "member of the board." This high council is populated by a great many angels, great and small. Examples of the role of angels in human affairs can be seen in Daniel Chapters 8-11. Jesus is the Head of the Council is the Chairman as it were. He can overrule the other members. Satan is a member of the Divine Council but can be overruled by the Chairman. The angels are not offered redemption and their final destiny of the fallen angels is the Lake of Fire.

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever...But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 20:10, 21:8)

Michael Heiser, an expert in Semitic languages, spent his career on the subject of the angels and the divine council. The Divine Council seems to have been part of the original plan for the government of the cosmos even before the Fall of the angels and the subsequent Fall of man. God was always in complete control as Lord of lords and King of kings, and the council was never a democratic body ruling by voting or mutual consent (For my notes on creation and the earth history of the universe please see Articles on Creation).

The divine council seems to have remained largely intact down through history. From time to time, Jesus, the CEO, has made major changes by changing the job assignments of the various archangels, angels, and ministering spirits on the council. These changes show up in the rise and fall of nations and as discontinuities in the flow of history.

The whole time since the universe was created, the fallen archangel Satan has conspired to pull off a successful coups on earth. His first major assault on the right to run things is recorded in Matthew 4. The many attempts to this malevolent high angel are discussed by Arthur Custance in his book The Seed of the Woman, which is online. I consider this subject to be of great importance for every serious student of the Bible. Wikipedia has a good overview. Also see their discussion on the Messiah.

Jesus Christ has long been "Chairman of the Board" (as it were) of the Divine Council. Therefore He governs all that happens in heaven and on earth--including the Dark Side. See The Left Hand of God. Sinister and Dexter are the Latin words for "left" and "right."

God allows many things to happen that He does not approve of. Repairing the universe will require the death and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God.

But there are no accidents in the universe, and no such thing as Chance. Are far as size and scale gores, man is midway between the microcosm and the macrocosm (the microscopically small and and the astronomically large. See The Metacosm.

Down through history the Three Persons have changed their relation with the created universe and with mankind.

In mathematics, a fractal is a geometric shape containing detailed structure at arbitrarily small scales,
usually having a fractal dimension strictly exceeding the topological dimension.
Many fractals appear similar at various scales,
as illustrated in successive magnifications of the Mandelbrot set. Wikipedia

The Processions in the Godhead

The economic Trinity (seen at work in His Creation) is an expression and revelation of His essential Trinity (how God is in Himself apart from the Creation). God is Father, Son and Holy-Spirit in His Eternal State, not just when He works in His Creation.

 Their roles: The Father plans and initiates, the Son acts and accomplishes in the power of the Spirit, and the Spirit communicates and manifests it.

The 3 Persons have the same undivided essence of God and are only distinguished by their distinctive relationships with each other.

The 3 Persons are one Being, so in everything they do, they act together in order and harmony.

The Son is the eternally begotten Son of the Father through the Spirit (just as His humanity was generated from the Father through the Spirit - Luke 1:35).
the Son is face to face with the Father (John 1:1), receiving and giving love (glory) from each other (glorifying each other through the Spirit).

The Spirit is the Personal Giving Love Gift between Father and the Son. He is given (proceeds) in love from the Father to the Son, who receives Him and gives Him to the Father. This constitutes the eternal love (self-giving) of God.

The Spirit also spirates (proceeds) from the Father through the Son to us. In Christ, we enter the fellowship circle of the Trinity in the Son’s position, so that His fellowship with the Father through the Spirit is the model for us.

The Father (1st Person), Son (2nd) and Spirit (3rd) are of one essence, but are distinct Persons. Each has the whole essence of God. They are coequal in Deity, but the Son and Spirit are after the Father in order, and are subordinate in role. The Father (the first Person) is ultimate source (origin) of the other two Persons.

The Person of the Son is dependent on the Father who begets His Personhood, granting Him to have the full essence of God in Himself (the Son is also dependent on the Spirit for He is begotten by the Father through the Spirit).

The Spirit is dependent on the Father and upon the Son who both spirate Him, being the product of their mutual loving spiration, although the Father is the original source and initiator of His procession. Thus both the Persons of the Son and Spirit depend upon the Father for their origination, and are also subordinate in their role to the Father (but equal in status and essence).

The Son and Spirit are mutually dependent upon (co-ordinate with) each other (the Son sends the Spirit, but on the other hand, He is begotten and works by means of the power of the Spirit). The Spirit empowers (anoints) the Son (and likewise us ‘in the Son’) to be, respond and receive.

Even the Father depends on the other two for His Personhood, in a sense, for without the Son (and the Spirit) He would not be the Father, and that is the distinctiveness of His Personhood. The Father generates (the Son), the Father and Son spirate (the Spirit).The Spirit empowers the Son.

All these Persons, relationships and processions (generation, spiration and empowerment) are eternal and did not ever come into existence. They always were and always will be.

More on the the Procession from

These links should add to your further understanding of this article

God's Rule Through the Angels
THE Angel of the Lord
God's Angels

The Destroying Angel
The Second Psalm 
Jesus our Jubilee
The Backside of Love
Living Stones
The Glorious Church

All of History
is Going Somewhere
All Good

God's Self Disclosure is Progressive in History

Radical changes took place after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, as far as the manner by which God would phase out the old divine council and restore man to his original role. In John 5, Jesus answered his critics:

“Most assuredly, I say to you,  the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For  the Father loves the Son, and  shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but  has committed all judgment to the Son, “Most assuredly, I say to you,  he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment,  but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when  the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For  as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have  life in Himself, and  has given Him authority to execute judgment also,  because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will  hear His voice and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because  I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

“If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.  There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John,  and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and  shining lamp, and  you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But  I have a greater witness than John’s; for  the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very  works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me,  has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time,  nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and  these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek  the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father;  there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me;  for he wrote about Me. But if you  do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:21-47)

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5:11)

Ray Stedman describes things to come in his commentary of Hebrews,

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 

Jesus' Glory as Risen and Enthroned Man (Hebrews 2:5-9)

Still thinking of the supremacy of the Son over angels, our author, in 2:5-9, approaches the theme from a different view. In chapter 1 the deity of Jesus was primarily in the foreground; in chapter 2 his perfect humanity means that he is the superior of every angelic being. Verse 5 carries forward the subject of verse 4, It is not to angels that he [God] has subjected the world to come, about which we are speak.

Some fascinating themes are introduced by this observation. It raises immediately the question, What is meant by the world to come? It can mean (1) life after death, (2) the future kingdom of Christ on earth (the millennium) or (3) the new heavens and the new earth. Since almost nothing is said in Hebrews about life after death (9:27), (1) can be dismissed without further development for it is obviously not what he refers to in the phrase about which we are speaking. That limiting phrase probably looks back to 1:11-12 which emphasizes the changes which the material creation will experience. Paul, in Ephesians 2:7, speaks of "coming ages," indicating that at least two more ages lie ahead. The two which Scripture continually name are the restored Davidic kingdom (the millennium) and the new heavens and the new earth. In several places Scripture describes the new heavens and earth as lasting forever, intimating it would be the last age yet to come. But the word world (Gk: oikoumene) in 2:5 refers not to the cosmos, but to the inhabited earth, and this would strongly suggest the writer has in mind (2), the kingdom of Christ on earth. Hughes calls the world to come, "the age of the Messiah in which the messianic promises and prophecies of old find their fulfillment" (1977:82). It is surely to this that Jesus refers in Matthew 19:28, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world [palingenesia, 'restoration'], when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (RSV). Several passages in Hebrews (6:5 and 12:22-24) suggest that this kingdom is in some sense already available to those who live by faith. Perhaps, we should see this new age to come as spiritually arrived, yet physically still to come.

A reference to the new heavens and new earth seems unlikely in view of the mention of judgment in Matthew 19:28, for sin will have no place in the new creation. Also Israel will not play a distinctive role among the nations, for then "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15 KJV).

If, as the writer claims, the world to come has not been subjected to angels, it raises the possibility that the present age is subject to angelic governance. F. F. Bruce supports this view, citing the LXX rendering of Deuteronomy 32:8:

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance 
When he separated the children of men,
He set the bounds of the peoples
According to the number of the angels of God.

He further quotes Daniel 10:20, which names angelic beings as "the prince of Persia" and "the prince of Greece," and Daniel 10:21 and 12:1 speak of Michael as "the great prince" who champions the people of Israel (1964:33). This concept would explain why the fallen angel called Satan is referred to as "the god of this world" and is permitted his control until the Lord returns and the new age begins and the curse is lifted from nature. Then, too, the devil will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2-3).

This background serves to give special meaning to the quotation from Psalm 8 which the writer of Hebrews now invokes. His vague reference to his source (Gk: "Someone somewhere has testified") is not due to uncertainty but to a desire to stress Scripture as speaking, not a mere human author (Bruce, Kistemaker and Hughes). David's psalm is a wondering reaction to the majesty of the night sky as it reveals the power and wisdom of God and forces the question, What part do puny human beings play in such a universe? The answer is that we were made a little lower than the angels, but then crowned with glory and honor, and everything has been put under our feet. This is a direct reference to Genesis 1:26:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

Here is glory and honor (made in the image and likeness of God) and authority and power (ruling over all the earth). Some commentators take the made a little lower than the angels in a temporal sense, "made for a little while," to imply that human existence in this space-time continuum is only for a brief lifetime, and then we are freed to live the life of eternity. Whichever way the phrase is read, it is clear that our intended destiny was one of power and authority over all the conditions and life of earth. If this was our commission from the moment of creation, what light it sheds on our responsibility to care for this planet and its creatures! We were not given dominion so the earth and the animals should serve us; rather, we are given authority to develop them to the fullest extent intended by the fruitful mind of the Creator. We are to serve them by thorough knowledge and loving care, in the form of servant-leadership which the Lord himself manifested when he came.

Yet, says this writer in what must be the understatement of the ages, we do not see everything subject to him. No, there are many things fallen humans cannot control: the weather, the seasons, the instincts of animals, the tides, our own passions, international events, natural disasters, and on and on. The increasing pollution of the planet, the spread of famines and wars, the toll taken by drugs, accidents and disease, all tell the story of a lost destiny.

But almost with a shout the author cries, But we see Jesus! He is the last hope of a dying race. And that hope lies both in his deity and his humanity. He alone, as a human being, managed to fulfill what was intended for us from the beginning. When we read the Gospels, we are forced to ask, Who is this man who stills the winds and the waves with a single word; who multiplies food at will; who walks on the waves; who summons fish to bring up coins at his command; who dismisses disease with a touch; and calls the dead back to life? Who is he? He is the Last Adam, living and acting as God intended us to act when he made us in the beginning. It was the First Adam who plunged the race into bondage and limitation; it is the Last who sets us free in soul and spirit, so that we may now learn how to live in the ages to come when the resurrection gives us back a body fit for the conditions of that life.

The writer traces in terse phrases the steps Jesus took to solve forever the problem of human sin. (1) He was made a little lower than the angels. There is the whole wonder of the Incarnation; in John's phrasing, "the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us." Then (2) because he suffered death, he was (3) crowned with glory and honor and thus he achieved as a human being the position intended for us in the beginning: the being who was to be closest to God, higher than any angel, and in authority over all things! Then, lest we should forget the cost, the writer adds (4) so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. To taste death does not simply mean to die, but to experience death in its full horror and humiliation. He comes under the penalty of sin in order that he might remove it. The emphasis here is that what Jesus did through his death and exaltation was for everyone. Salvation is now open to all; no one who comes to Jesus will ever be refused. His death was for everyone in the sense that everyone was thereby rendered savable.

Ever since the death of Jesus the way to glory has always Included a death which leads to life. Some forms of media-evangelism have presented the Christian life as the way to fulfillment of great possibilities without also making clear that it includes a death to self-indulgence and learning obedience. We dare not extol the incredible benefits of the Christian life without reminding ourselves that they will also lead us to a cross.

To whom, then, is the world to come subject? Not to angels, that is clear. It is to be subject to the human race---to the human race as God intended us to be, redeemed and restored through sharing the life of the Man in glory, seated at the right hand of God. (Ray Stedman, Hebrews IVP Commentary)

The Rapture Sequence of Events is Threefold

"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with (1) a shout, with the voice of an archangel (2) and with the trumpet of God (3). And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.“ (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

Ray Stedman notes, “Paul calls this 'the coming of the Lord.' Many people, including certain notable Bible scholars, are confused on this because they tend to regard the coming of the Lord as though it were a single event, an immediate and once-for-all appearing. But if we carefully study the Scriptures (and we will see evidence for this in a moment), the coming of the Lord is a series of events. This series has a dramatic beginning, as Paul describes here, with Jesus appearing to take his living and dead saints to be with him. And it has an even more dramatic ending when, as the Lord himself said, he would manifest himself to the entire world: "They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of glory with all his heavenly hosts," (Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27). That is a different event from the one here described. You cannot make those fit together. In between them is a period of time during which Jesus is present on the earth though not always visibly so.

That is what Scripture calls the "presence," which is the Greek word parousia. That is a better translation of this word "coming." When Scripture talks about the coming of the Lord, it sometimes looks at the beginning of that series, sometimes it looks at the end of it, and sometimes, as in the book of Revelation, it is looking at what is going on between the two ends. We must train ourselves to think in those terms. The parousia of Jesus is a series of events.

Daniel, the Old Testament prophet, says that it is a week of years long, i.e. seven years in duration. One event is at the beginning; another event is at the end; and in between the Lord will be present on the earth behind the scenes, as it were, very much as he was in the days after his resurrection. For forty days Jesus was here on earth. He appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem and in Galilee. People heard reports that he was around, but nobody could find him except when he chose to be seen. That is the same condition that will prevail on earth during this time of the coming of the Lord, the "presence" of Jesus. If we understand that, it will help us greatly to comprehend what is described here.

This is all suggested by the three sounds which the apostle connects with this initial appearing of Jesus. It is the Lord himself who will come. That always warms my heart. He is not going to send Michael, the archangel, or Gabriel, or Moroni, or anyone else. He is coming himself. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a cry of command." Who is that cry addressed to? These three sounds affect different groups. Scripture gives the answer to this. Jesus himself had said in John 5, "The hour is coming and now is..." (Observe the blending of time and eternity there. It is coming in time; it now is in eternity.) "The hour is coming and now is when all those that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth," (John 5:25). Jesus had stood before the tomb of Lazarus and cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43), and to the amazement of the crowd the dead man appeared in the doorway of the tomb, still wrapped in his grave clothes. He heard the voice of the Son of God, and he came forth. As many of the commentators have pointed out, if Jesus had not said "Lazarus," he would have emptied the graveyard! But the hour is coming when all the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth! That is what Paul is talking about here. The cry of command is addressed to the dead, to those in the tombs who had fallen asleep in Jesus.

The second sound is the archangel's call. The only angel in the Bible called an archangel is Michael. Though Gabriel is a great angel he is not called an archangel in the Scripture. In the first two verses of Daniel 12 we read that an angel said to Daniel, "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people," (Daniel 12:1 RSV). "Your people" means Israel; Michael is always connected with Israel. Michael shall stand up, and then there shall be a resurrection. Those who are in the tombs will come forth, Daniel was told. Also, the living nation of Israel will be summoned to a new relationship with God. Details of this event concern the 144,000 Israelites, twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, who are described in the seventh and fourteenth chapters of Revelation. These will be called into a new relationship with Jesus, to follow him wherever he goes on earth during the time of his presence. He is invisible to the world, but visible to them. That all begins when Jesus returns for his church and the archangel calls Israel into a new relationship with the Lord.

The third sound is the great trumpet call such as was heard at Mt. Sinai when the Law was given. Then the trumpet sounded so loudly that the people cried out to Moses, "Stop it! We cannot stand it." I do not think the world will hear this call; only those to whom it is addressed will hear it. Paul identifies those in First Corinthians 15, the great resurrection chapter. There, he says, "Behold I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep (i.e. not all believers will go to heaven by death) but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump," (1 Corinthians 15:51-52a RSV). Some church nurseries, referring to babies, post that verse on the door: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed!" But this verse is especially addressed to living saints. "We shall not all sleep." We are not all going to die. Paul includes himself in that. He felt he would be part of it. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." That is the important thing. "We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." When that trumpet sound reaches the ears of living believers, although it will be inaudible to the world, they will be changed and caught up to be with the Lord.

The fifth thing to note, then, is the comfort that this is intended to bring.

Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18 RSV)

The comforting hope is that we shall all be together as the great family of God and forever be with the Lord. That covers everything the church does from then on. Whatever it is, it is done with the Lord. As I have suggested, the Lord will actually remain on earth, behind the scenes, directing the events described in the dramatic portrayal of the book of Revelation. The church will be with him, invisibly participating in directing the course of the Great Tribulation, but not going through it because they are no longer living on earth but are transformed saints affecting the events on earth. The critical point which the apostle stresses is that we shall see Jesus face to face. That has always been a source of great comfort to believers through the centuries.“ (Comfort at the Grave, by Ray Stedman).

Events after the Rapture

Everyone living in New Jerusalem after the Rapture will be wearing his or her new resurrection body and therefore will no longer be trapped in linear time as time is running down on the planet. Some Bible teachers in the past have thought that when we die we leave time and enter “timeless” eternity. Not so. Only God homeless is the “high and lofty one who inhabits eternity. Isaiah 57:15: “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy [place,] With him [who] has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”) —-where our past, present and future are His “now.” 

We can expect the flow of time for us in our new bodies in New Jerusalem will be a very high quality experience of time—possibly multi-dimensional, but with history flowing in the forward direction—from past through the present and into the future. Please see The Complexities of Time.

As residents of heaven (perhaps our number will be several billion persons of all ages and all from backgrounds), we will have major lifestyle changes waiting for us to make in New Jerusalem under the care of our watchful Great Shepherd Jesus. These changes will not be about sin, but entirely about healing and wholeness. Everyone in heaven will have a new body. The notion that heaven is a place of rewards for 'good people' when they die, is not to be found in the Bible!

A good many careful Bible scholars who study Bible prophecy have called attention to the unique period of history ("the church age") during which the Holy Spirit has been calling out a people for His name. Meantime God's program for Israel has been put on hold -- since the nation rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The calling out of a gentile Bride for Jesus will end at the catching away of the true church, at the Rapture. Then God will turn Israel back to God fulfilling Daniel's great prophecy of seventy weeks of years. For example, analysis see the detailed from Thomas Ice. Finally Jesus Christ will return in power and glory with His Bride at the close of the 70th week beginning a thousand years of healing and reform in the entire world. See The Rapture and The Second Coming and The Millennium: A Thousand Years of Peace.

Several scholars have noted there is probably a time gap between the rapture of the the church and the start of the tribulation period (the 70 Weeks). Some have estimated the gap will be very brief, days at most, but one reputable scholar suggested 40 years! I am suggest a 12 year gap for three reasons. The number 12 is arbitrary, but 40 years seems too long to me.

Suppose we arbitrarily allocate 12 years to us acclimatizing to city living in New Jerusalem with Jesus as our "Mayor?" That time interval would give us time to remedy our Bible (and secular) illiteracy. The dozen year interval could allow for closure and healing with people we thought we’d never see again, including old enemies who came to Christ after we wrote them off. How about resolution of old rivalries and family feuds so common down below on Planet Earth? How long will it take for us to adjust to life in New Jerusalem? Learning other languages, rediscovering Body Life, and adjusting our life styles from self-centered to self-giving. Therefore, I arbitrarily have imagined there will be a gap of perhaps a dozen years between the Rapture and the commencement of the Seventy weeks of Daniel. The above discussion of the prep time will surely be needed by the bride to be, but the well-being of bride to be is only the first of three reasons. Then, too, the 144,000 end-time Jewish evangelists will need to catch up on church history, and come up to speed on the New Testament. Perhaps we will help?

The final world ruler on earth, the Antichrist, will not know he has ben selected until the Rapture. He'll have a lot of scrambling to do to get his act together in just a few years. (Revelation 13, 2 Thessalonians 2).

We are told that we were chosen to be the gentile Bride of Jesus. Will there a courtship interval before the wedding? In the Book of the Revelation the marriage supper of the Lamb comes after the major judgments have all happened on down on earth during the seven year tribulation period.  The 24 elders last seen in Chapter 4 reappear. 

"After these things (meta tauta) I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! “For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”  (Revelation 19:1-9)

The Near Future of Planet Earth

The One Hundred Forty-four Thousand

The Seventy

Hierarchy in New Jerusalem

The Choirs of Heaven

My second reason for believing there could be a gap between the Rapture and the Seven-year Tribulation period is to allow for the calling, conversion and training of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will lead many millions left behind down on the planet--to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It seems likely to me that our Lord will select His 144k dedicated evangelists from the Ultra Orthodox community in Jerusalem. They must be single, Jewish males who know the Tanach (the OT) well. They will need a “road to Damascus” conversion experience like Rabbi Schaul had in Acts 9. 

Ray Stedman suggested that Paul’s conversion might be the template for the 144k! Newly converted these zealous young men (having suddenly met Yeshua in a visionary encounter) will need Barnabas-type help from Antiochian Christians to mellow out and to teach them the New Testament and church history to these young evangelists. In reality they will be personally discipled by Jesus just as the 70 were! They will not be popular in Israel but will bring millions of gentiles to Jesus and provoke their fellow Jesus to jealously just as Paul did. It took a dozen years for Paul to mellow out and God told him to leave evangelism of the Jews to Peter and James in Jerusalem and to go evangelize the pagan goyiim (gentiles) which is what he ended up doing. I don’t think any of the 144k will be martyred though all their converts will be. 

A third factor, then, in allowing for a time gap between the rapture and the Seventieth Week of Daniel is to give the Antichrist to emerge from hiding, and bring together one world government and the final form of the Old Roman Empire predicted by Daniel.

Summary of End Time Events

1. The Rapture (parousia) (imminent)

2. A (Zero to ...Year Interval) may exist between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week of Daniel.
An interval would allow:

3. The Seventieth Week of Daniel

4. The Second Advent of Jesus (apokalupsis) 

5. The Millennium (1000 years)

Meantime down on Planet Earth

There's a War On Folks

Fastnesses (Spiritual Warfare)

The Seed of the Serpent

The Sperm of God

Chronology on the Times of the Gentles

Chronology of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

The Antichrist: Coming World Leader

The Beast and False Prophet

Gentile World Dominion

The Palingenesia

New Testament References to the Relationship
between God, the Church, and the Created Order

The Glorious Church
The World

1. “...that I (Paul) should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him." (Ephesians 3:8-12)

2. "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." (Colossians 1:13-23)

3. "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight--if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:24-29) 

4. "I
(Paul) now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." (Colossians 2:13-16)

5. “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

God governs the universe through a grand hierarchy of angels great and small. 
This administrative team which includes Satan can be seen in Job and in Psalm 82.

Psalm 82

A Psalm of Asaph.

God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods. 

2 How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?  Selah 

3 Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.

4 Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.

5 They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.

6 I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.

7 But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.

Man Restored to Ruling on the Earth

The end of rule by and through angels is declared in Hebrews. God intends to restore Man to his original mandated role as steward over the earth. What was lost to us in the Fall of Adam is being given back to us in Jesus, the Second or Last Adam. 

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.  But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him 
(man) a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
And again:

“I will put My trust in Him.”
And again:

“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.“ (Hebrews 2:5-18)

Background on Dispensations

The Glorious Church of Jesus Christ

Down through church history Protestant Churches and especially the Roman Catholic Church have argued among themselves about how exactly God governs the affairs of men and angels. The Theological debate is sometimes subsumed under the title “Dispensationalism.” Many profession Christians and entire denominations have ignored the lively debates and defaulted into strange sounding beliefs such as Preterism, replacement theology, amillennialism. Usually this has happened because of our failure to take the whole counsel of God seriously from start to finish. Serious compromises with secular philosophy have pockmarked the history of the professing church for twenty centuries. But today fewer still Christians in America care little about doctrinal nuances or fine points. Those churches whose identity depends entirely on sound doctrine are disappearing rapidly from the places they once held in American society. Younger people have often been confused by dozens of churches preaching that they alone were authorized spokesmen for the One God. The content of Christian belief as represented by many churches has dropped precipitously. 

The backdrop of constancy and dogma in this 500 year old controversy is the Roman Catholic Church, rich and powerful, dating back to Constantine. (306-337 AD).

Yet the New Testament declares that our Creator has been in full control of everything at all levels of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. Yes, the style of His Household management is not the same as it was before the Flood of Noah, or before the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, etc. \

The late Dr. Charles Ryrie explains as follows:

"The principal characteristic of a dispensation is the economic arrangement and responsibility that God reveals in each dispensation. Such responsibility is a test in itself. Most men fail the test, and then judgment follows. The Dispensational scheme has two perspectives: a cross-sectional aspect (which is sometimes misconstrued as cycles but which is in reality a spiral) and a longitudinal aspect (which emphasizes the unfolding progress of revelation and continuing principles throughout the ages of the dispensations). For example:  

Thus, Dispensationalism is not just some theological "construct" teasing out academic particulars so that it can be different from other interpretations like Reformed Theology or Roman Catholicism. The failures found in Dispensational theology's dispensations uniquely validates God's word both by history and current events. Simply look around today and look at the strength of the denominational churches. See how watered down and diluted they have become. The modern church has suffered death by a thousand cuts, splintering and crushing professing Christendom under the weight of political correctness, governmental overreach, and the deconstruction of civil society. The failures highlighted by Dispensational theology has everything to do with the reality we are currently living in, the future of America and the Church, and the end of our age.

Ray Stedman, trained at Dallas Theological Seminary considered himself a "modified Dispensationalism." His discussion of how God manages his household, is excellent.

This word, dispensation, is a biblical word. It is found in the King James Version in several places. It comes from a Greek word, oikonomia, from which we get, in English, "economy." In the Revised Standard Version it is usually translated stewardship or, in some places, plan. It appears in Ephesians 1:10 where the Apostle Paul speaks of "a plan for the fulness of time." In Ephesians 3:9, Paul speaks of a dispensation or stewardship which was committed to him, which he calls, in the RSV, "the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things." This is the word we are dealing with. Literally, it really means "the law of the house" --oikos is house and nomus is law; so oikonomus is "the law of the house." It has to do with order and regulation within a household. (RCS)


The Near Future of Planet Earth

God's Eternal Purpose 

Progressive Dispensationalism by Zola Levitt

Entering a New Dispensation (2020)

The Life of the Apostle Paul may be a template for the calling and work of the 144,000.
He was not one of the twelve.

Born: ~5 AD

Converted on the Road to Damascus ~33 AD. Arabia for three years Visited Jerusalem. Visited First Church Council in Jerusalem. Mellowed out in Antioch. Exiled to Tarsus. First Missionary Journey Second Missionary Journey Martyred in Rome 62-64 AD

“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”

Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 “And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 “And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. 20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. 26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. 31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” (Acts 9:1-30)


New Jerusalem Now (aka "heaven')

Entering a New Dispensation (2020)

C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, pdf


A wonderful old Blue Grass gospel song, dating back to at least 1877, is about a prodigal son as seen from his family’s perspective. 

Here are four of the best versions: 

Sharon Camp
  | Carter Family  | Doc Watson  | Blue Sky Boys

Other favorites: 

The Old Country Church
 | Turn your Eyes on Jesus | Take Your Shoes off, Moses | Redeemed Gospel Quartet | I'll Fly Away

A Glorious Church

The FOGHORN STRINGBAND, "Go Home" | Gloryland | Gospel Music Hymn Sing

Matthias Havinga plays J. S. Bach Fugue in A-minor BWV 543

Sleepers Awake!

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
(Ephesians 5:14)

Organ performance by Matthias Havinga

Notes by Lambert Dolphin 

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Updated January 22, 2023. September 9, 2023.