THROUGH EYES of FIRE SERIES #15
BY: DANIEL YORDY
I am He who lives and was dead and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of
death. I am He who lives and was dead. A song from Revelation 1
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21
In my letter, “Judgment in Heaven,” I spoke concerning the restoration of all things. The word means “to give back.” God will restore everything that was ever stolen. BUT, there is a big difference. God now has a body, and He does all things through His body.
In my previous letter I speculated concerning that restoration, God bringing all things back into balance, the fulfillment of justice in all respects. First, it is not possible for us to know what the future looks like for real. We can only surmise from our present limited knowledge of God. Yet all of our surmising comes out of present seeing, and our present seeing is pressed from all sides by the darkness and unbelief of separated Christianity.
Here is what I said:
And the rapist who found mercy in the terror of judgment? I am convinced that in the ages to come, out of that forgiveness, out of the Blood of the Lamb, out of the rivers of living water flowing out of his belly, he will return to that girl double of what he ever took from her.
God is just.
Some will need many ages of time to meet the requirements of God's justice.
Being a son of God does not remove us from the requirements of God's justice in any way. In fact, being a son of God does the opposite. It is the only possible way by which we can meet the requirements of God's justice. That is, it is the only possible way we can “subdue all things,” that is, overcome, that is, bring all things into subjection under His feet. The heart of Christ in us desires to make all things right for each individual person.
You see, God does not want us to live by the law, for that is only death for us. But the law is still of God. And although the law limited human justice to take back only that which was stolen, an eye for an eye, yet God Himself requires the return of double. All sin, all evil, is theft. All theft will be payed back double by the thief to the individual from whom that thing, whatever it was, was stolen. God has plenty of ages yet to come for all that to take place. Physical death cannot remove the requirements of justice.
All things will be brought back into a correct balance. All things will be restored.
A dear reader wondered how this view of justice fits in with the atonement. How could some future action atone for the wicked sin of rape? How could a rapist ever atone for his crime by some future payback?
God is changing the way we think. I hope to be a part of that, that as God transforms my thinking, so, by His grace, He would use my little bit as He transforms yours. Thus I am so grateful for this sister's questions, both because many others will hold similar questions and because responding to them in the gracious Spirit of Christ also enables me to see Him more clearly.
Atonement and restoration are two absolutely different things separated from each other by thousands of years.
Look at the line from Revelation 1 again: I am He who lives and was dead and behold I am alive forevermore.
Do you see that little phrase “was dead”?
All atonement for all things in all ways at all times is PAST tense. All atonement happened for all, at this moment that I write, 1984 years and two months ago. There is no other atonement.
Sin is not and cannot be an issue. Yes, sin must be dealt with in the heart, it must cease, but sin is no issue with God. All sin is absolved.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
Consider a rapist attempting to atone for his sins by serving the girl he raped. It would be offense piled upon offense, an abomination to her and to God.
All thought of the penance of Catholicism must be banished from our minds. All “penance” is an offense; it is gross unbelief. It is piling sin upon sin. A rapist, attempting to atone for his sins, is simply adding sin to sin. He does not know Christ; he is yet bound in his sins. His motive is self-pity; his actions are disgusting.
As I wrote concerning the justice of God in the restitution of all things, no element of atonement or “penance” was anywhere near my thinking. All I saw was rivers of joy; the joyous ministry of Christ.
Another problem is that we still so easily think separation. One who was formerly a rapist is that no more. All that is gone in “was dead.” He is a new man in Christ; he is the body of Christ. He is the revelation of God; God fills him full and moves through him in all ways and at all times.
As I shared concerning the justice of God in the restoration of all things, I was thinking only out from full union with Christ, that all that He does, He does as and through us.
Let's speculate a little further concerning the future. As I said, I cannot see clearly. But one thing is for sure: I see much more clearly now than I did when I viewed the future out from Nicene Christianity only.
First, all sin is theft. But there is sin and there is theft. There is a huge difference between the two. The sin is a moral offense, a breaking of God's law, a wicked deed of darkness and evil. The theft is possessing something that belongs to another. Finding full atonement for the sin part of things does not give back what was stolen.
Let's make it small. Say I steal ten bucks from my brother at church. He left his wallet lying on a table, and when he wasn't looking, I filched a ten dollar bill out of it. Later, I spent that ten bucks on a hamburger and coke. The money is gone. Now, let's say that I am convicted of my sin. I go to the brother and confess. I ask forgiveness. We pray and together place my sin into the atonement of Christ, into the forgetfulness of God. My brother forgives me, and we are restored into joy.
Do I keep the ten bucks?
You see, there is no more sin. There can be no shadow of penance. Does that mean I get to keep the ten bucks?
Do I owe my brother ten dollars? Not really. Owe no man anything except to love one another. I do not owe him a thing. But my brother needed that ten bucks. It belonged to him. And it wasn't “ten dollars” that I stole, but rather the thing the brother would have bought, but now had to forgo, something that was his possession, but was now lost to him. More than that, the ten dollars was part of the opportunity of Christ God had placed in the brother's hands, that he might reveal Christ. Everything God designed us to be and placed into our hand is for the revelation of Jesus, even if it's eating lunch. If someone steals that, we no longer have the opportunity to reveal Christ through it, however small it may be.
Here I am, a new man in Christ, filled with all the fullness of God, love abounding in my heart, rivers of life flowing out of me. How is it that love would not delight in giving my brother, not just his ten bucks, but much more?
Justice is God; God is love; justice is nothing other than the outworking of love. We cannot think of justice in any other way. The restoration of all things is the joyous operation of love; it is the river of life.
There is no doubt that the vague ideas about our futures that we have held inside of separation cannot be true.
We should never be surprised that the Lord would, from time to time, blow them quite out of the water.
Separation is huge; it is Adam's coloring of everything. That separation is found only in the imagination of our minds, in the continual telling of our own false story. It is the ego, the “I,” created by a story not Christ. Yet that story of separation in the human mind has colored everything with separation.
Two things bound up in separation in the imaginative stories the Christian mind has created are heaven/earth
and present earthly life/future heavenly life. Let's see if we can bring them back together.
Heaven and earth are intrinsically tied together. One could say they are mirror images of each other. We can see that in the human part of heaven, our spirit is larger than our body, yet it permeates all through our body and relates to it at every point. It is more than the energizer of the body; it is related in far more complicated ways, organ by organ and cell by cell. Yet our spirit is utterly heaven, it lives and moves in heaven and not earth. Our body is utterly earth, it lives and moves in earth and not heaven. Yet the two, our spirit and our body, are married. Yet, they are completely different in substance and operation. Yet they are very much alike, when seen from a heavenly perspective. And we, our soul, draws from and moves out through both equally all the time.
We can understand that in this way. I have read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy twice. I consider it the greatest
work of creative fiction ever written. It is a unique story with its own characters and plot. However, if you gave me the book Anna Karenina without telling me who wrote it, it would not take me long at all to look up and say, “This is written by Leo Tolstoy.” How could I say that? It is a completely different story with different characters and plots.
Very simple, the evidence of authorship runs through both. The same mind and heart that formed one formed the other.
Heaven and earth are of different substance, yes, they have differing characters and plot taking place in them, yes. But the same author designed both, and His mind and heart permeates both to equal measure.
Yet in the separated mind of Christianity, heaven and earth are just completely other. On earth we work, we live in houses, we play, we buy and sell, we eat and drink. In heaven, we sit on clouds, play harps and exude goodness. On earth, events are measured by time; we plan and we execute. In heaven, everything just is, instantly. There is no doing. (I am repeating human non-thinking and misconception.)
Heaven, in the mind of most, us utterly, insipidly, painfully BORING.
That is not possible.
Think of all your unfulfilled desire. If I could list all the things I have tasted and love to do and really want to do in fullness, you would be amazed. Yet I suspect you have your own list. That list is God in you. He designed you for endless adventure and doing.
But most of all, He designed you for service.
I love to design and build houses. Now, I walk through Lowes and feel a vast nostalgia over something that is so familiar to me, yet no longer in my life. I hated building houses for money, working for some contractor. I loved building houses for people whom I loved.
I like teaching college, but I MISS junior high kids, the 8th through 10th grade range. There is an emptiness in my heart that can be filled only by them. The problem is, I just can't handle too many of them at once.
God created us to serve, yet to serve with all the innate expression of our ability, to serve in the many ways that affirm us as the individuals of His design.
The future for us is filled full with service to others in all the creative exuberance of the expression God made us to be, in all wonder and ceaseless adventures and unexpected journeys, yet always coming home to family and friends and goodness.
I am so very much like my mother was, both filled with a heart of love, but with an outer form that is simply incapable of speaking good things to others. My mother never once spoke an encouraging word to me. I found it nigh to impossible to respond to her in that way either. Yet we visited warmly in the goodness of the Lord; yet to call her on the phone was something I just could not do.
I could not have survived adulthood without the continual assistance freely given to me by my mother. Yet I am
not the only one of her children who must say that. She was generous beyond measure, sacrificing herself always for us. Yet, when I could no longer hold a full-time job, I could no longer pay her back. Neither could I respond through the enormous block that existed in the inability of both of us, inability carried utterly inside of Jesus.
Why would I be prevented from devoting hundreds of years of future service to my mother, paying her back double and again for all I could not do inside my earthly limitations? I do not condemn either me or my mother for our earthly inabilities. Yet part of my hope is for that time yet to come when, as a brother in the Lord to a sister in the Lord, I can serve her double for all she ever did for me.
You see, life does not end when we die. Life continues right on from the day we are in our physical bodies to the next day when we are not. If you die in a car crash, you will get out of the car. You will look back and be astonished at seeing someone still in the seat where you just were. You will not understand why the people rushing up to help will not talk to you. Your life will continue on without a break. Yet your expression will be confined to heaven only, you will no longer be able to express yourself in the earth.
You will pursue what is presently in your heart. There is no huge and instantaneous change into something totally other. The development of your own person in God will continue in the same way as before.
I fully intend to build many beautiful houses in the future, for myself and for others – community is shared life. I intend to grow wonderful gardens and raise lots of chickens, for myself and for others. I never envision myself alone. I fully intend to travel the world and the universe, stopping and visiting along the way, meeting new folks,
embracing good friends I haven't seen in some time. I fully intend to teach school, to fill my classroom and my heart with young people.
Listen, a chicken came out of the same Heart and Designer as any harp on a cloud. And I glorify God as much by tending a flock of chickens as I would by any “heavenly” convolutions or vibrations someone might imagine.
Yet all service comes out of the river of life flowing out of our bellies. Yet the word of Christ through James cannot be dismissed, even ten thousand years away from the time of human folly. (My paraphrase) If your brother is in need, don't just say, “Be blessed,” give him what he needs, for goodness' sakes.
And that is the whole point of restoration.
Everything stolen in the darkness is something that BELONGED to the person from whom it was stolen. It was something in particular given by God to that person as an essential element of the revelation of Christ through them. The Covenant of God is to restore all that was lost. We're not talking about a general, “Oh, I love you, that's enough, don't expect anything else.” Such is not God. God restores double what was stolen, yet He does so by the only means available to Him – through His body, that's you and me.
A life for a life?
YES!!! The whole message of the gospel is found in these words: By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16
Even a murderer is not prevented from restoring, out of a river of joy, all he ever stole from the one he once murdered, and to do so as Christ at the heart of the gospel. Why would we imagine that the love of God, filling the heart of one who, in former times, murdered, would not desire with all fervent joy, to restore love and life, over and over, to the one from whom he robbed so much?
May I suggest that you read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. This little book informs my thinking very much, not literally, but as a way of seeing and understanding.
Over and over, the one sent by God to draw the lost soul out of their false story of self, was the very one who had offended that lost soul in life on earth. The reason is, so very often, the false story the lost soul has woven all around their hurting self, is hatred against that very person. Thus, the only way they could possibly escape their false story was through the love coming now through that same person who had done them so much wrong on earth.
Read The Great Divorce to gain very specific insights into the psychology of the false stories of self different people tell themselves and how those stories are counteracted by the true stories coming from those who have
escaped their own false story, and who have escaped all the doing that comes out from that false story.
You see, there was a brief time in my life when I “blamed” my mother for my troubles. If I have ever sinned, that was sin. Yes, it's true; my mother never once spoke an encouraging word to me. And if I had wrapped my story all around that lack in her, weaving the horror of my self into an endless weeping over what she “stole” from me, then the only grace that God could have sent to me would have been my own mother, by love poured out, drawing me out, bit by bit, from the insanity of my own false, but wicked story.
And that new story of love poured out would have come through the open and laughing acknowledgment of her
own inability. And you know what, that may yet happen. I tell you what, were my mother to come to me now, together with my father, laughing in joyous acknowledgment of their own inabilities, yet speaking Christ all through me as I am, if I were remaining in any kind of limitation, that sure would bust me out.
One of the largest deliverances of my life came by writing an assignment in my Family Life course in college. We were to write about how our parents had raised us. I wrote something along these lines. “My father was unable to express his love for me with words, yet I know now that he did love me with all his heart and gave so much of himself for my sake.” That was the first time I had thought, let alone expressed such an idea, even though it was clearly true. I tell you what, at that very moment great kingdoms of darkness vanished from my mind and heart. I spent the next several days in the clouds of heaven, and that particular darkness has never returned.
Why am I sharing all this? Because Christ is always and only made personal through us, and because the future will be the same as the present, as the present really is in truth. That is, the Great Story of God does not change just because someone loses their earthly body and lives in heaven only. And the Great Story of God does not change with the passing of human folly.
So yes, there is no question in my mind that when God restores all things stolen in the darkness, He will do so through us His body, in very specific and personally meaningful ways. That has nothing to do with atonement for sin. – By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Rather, it is the justice of God, the restoration of all things.
And I suspect that, for the sake of all, God will do the same through all.
The thing we must do is escape the false story of separation and see only the joy of Christ flowing out from us in service to all. God is not a static vibration, oozing good vibes. He is action in Person; He is adventure forevermore.
God is service; He is practical and detailed love out-poured.