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Undimmed Encounter

His Love, His Heart, His Mind.  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We encounter two deaths in Scripture. The first death which is temporary and occurs mainly on a physical level. The second death is not merely on a physical level, but occurs more on a psychological and emotional level. It is an inward death.

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His Love. His Heart. His Mind.

First Death = Sleep

Scripture leads into a concept about death that seems strange but will help us to understand with beautiful significance the love that was demonstrated on Calvary.
We encounter two deaths in Scripture.
The first death which is temporary and occurs mainly on a physical level.
The second death is not merely on a physical level, but occurs more on a psychological and emotional level.
It is an inward death.
The first death according to Jesus is not really death at all but a sleep.
Consider the words of Jesus when He awakened a young girl out of first-death sleep.
Luke 8:42 MEV
42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As He went, the people crowded Him.
Luke 8:52 MEV
52 All wept and mourned for her. But He said, “Do not weep. She is not dead but sleeping.”
Notice that Jesus did not only say that she was “sleeping” but that “she is not dead.”
Luke 8:53 MEV
53 They laughed at Him, knowing that she was dead.
They
Jesus’ diagnosis was not incorrect about the young girl. He knew she was dead in the first-death sense,
but He also knew that she was not death in the ultimate second-death sense.
So in order to make His point He raises the young girl out of her first-death sleep.
Consider another case. Lazarus.
Jesus speaking of Lazarus to His disciples said:
John 11:11–14 MEV
11 After He said this, He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I am going that I may awaken him from sleep.” 12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will be well.” 13 Jesus had spoken of his death. But they thought that He was speaking of getting rest through sleep. 14 So then Jesus plainly told them, “Lazarus is dead.
Jesus had to concede to His disciples that, “yes Lazarus is dead” but it was reluctantly and only after they couldn’t comprehend the notion of first-death being a sleep.
The young girl “is not dead.”
“Lazarus has fallen asleep.”
So now we have understood from Scripture what Jesus seems to say about the first-death experience, That it’s not really death
We’ll now go into the biblical concept of the second death.

Second Death = Eternal Death

Let’s begin with a straightforward statement by Jesus:
Matthew 10:28 MEV
28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus here presents two distinct kinds of death.
Killing of the body. That’s it!
Killing of both soul and body in hell.
Now, the Bible does else where use the word soul to encapsulate the whole human, mind, body, and emotions, etc.
But here Jesus is making a distinction.
One death involves only the body.
The other death involves not only the body, but also the “soul”
which is the Greek word “psyche”
and means the immaterial part of a person which is the actuating cause of an individual life;
the site of all the psychological faculties (such as the heart, mind, and conscience).
In other words, the soul is the inward man that is our individual indentity, personality, character, mind, and emotions.
This is what Paul calls the “inner man” ()
While there is no consciousness of the soul apart from the body which we see in the creation of humanity in Genesis,
there is an inner dimension of man that survives the death of the body (first-death) but is utterly destroyed when both soul and body is “killed” (second death).
Ecclesiastes 12:7 MEV
7 The dust returns to the earth where it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
ecc
What this verse means is that,
while the body decomposes in the earth,
the “spirit,”
the inner man,
the distinct life or identity of the individual,
returns to God who gave it.
The “spirit” doesn’t exist with God on any concious level in the first death experience,
but is clearly like the inner “data” of who we are and is kind of stored with God in a massive “heavenly” data base that is preserved until the resurrection.
In this “heavenly data base” is stored the unique personality or character of each person who dies the first death and is why in the resurrection we awake as exactly the same individuals we were before passing into the unconcious first-death sleep.
So, what is the second death?
According to Jesus it is the destruction of both the body and the soul.
It is the annihilation of the inner person in which there is no preservation of character or personality,
and from which there is no hope of resurrection.
It is a soul-level death.
It is in fact the “wages of sin” which “is death.”
Romans 6:23 MEV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you want to know more about the biblical concept of the second death, the last book of Scripture, Revelation, gives a chilling, vivid picture of this concept which in my opinion is the real experience of hell.
gives us an account of the destiny of the saved and the final demise of those who have chosen to reject the love of God expressed in Christ’s salvation.
This is what it says about the saved:
Revelation 20:6 MEV
6 Blessed and holy is he who takes part in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
They escape the second death for good reason.
They have embraced Christ as their Deliverer.
They trusted in Him to save them to the uttermost; and He did.
The question must arise that if the second death has no power over those who are saved then did Christ suffer the dregs of it while on earth in order to save us from it?
The answer will be clear as we go on through this series.
So the first part of talks about the millenium and Satan being bound during this time as well as the blessing of those who take part in the first resurrection.
After this John describes the defeat of Satan and the wicked who take part in the second resurrection.
Revelation 20:9 MEV
9 They traveled the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
But the chapter doesn’t finish here.
Interestingly, the destruction of Satan and the lost of their physical bodies is not the note that John wants to finish on when it comes to their second death experience.
In the following verses it’s as if John goes back a moment in time before the fire destroys the rebels to reveal the greater signifance of the second death.
The destruction of the body almost seems to be a sweet release, a merciful act of YHWH to the overwhelming inner psychological pain that we read of in verses 11 & 12.
Let’s read there what John describes as the second death:
Revelation 20:11–12 KJV 1900
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
rev 20
We need to now take serious attention of these verses to understand the nature of the second death.
As we unpack this verse we are going to see three dimensions to the second death experience which is in reality the “hell” experience which is so unlike what the masses preach,
Hell being a physical place of feeling physical pain for eternity.

Conciousness of God’s Righteousness and Love

The second death is initiated by a full revelation of God Almighty, seated upon “a great white throne” with His “face” fully exposed and gazed upon with astonishment.
The “face” of God means much more than just physical features.
It means to be in the presence of the full manifestation of YHWH’s nature and glory.
Moses was at first afraid to look at God at his first encounter ()
Scripture afterwards says that YHWH spoke to Moses “face to face” as a man speaks to his friend.
But afterwards when Moses is on the mount and asks to have a full encounter with YHWH, the LORD replies to Moses “You cannot see my face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.
This begs the question, “will there ever be a time when we can endure the face of God?”
says of those who are saved not only from sin but from their mortal bodies that “they will see His face, and His name will be in their foreheads.”
The face of God here is not to be intepreted as stern and severe, ready to punish these evil-doers.
The face of God in scriprure is something that is sought after by those want to know God ().
The face of God was a symbol of God’s grace, mercy, and favour.
The hiding of God’s face was a symbol of God’s disfavour.
But what does God’s face have to do with the second death?
Romans 2:5 NKJV
5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Paul says that in this second death experience there is a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
The face of God which is begnignant with love and yet sadness will reveal the reasons why these people are lost and takes the form of self-realisation.
It’s like when you were a child and you knew you had done something wrong and when your mum or dad looked at you in a certain way because they knew what you had done it just made you cringe inside and feel terrible.
It’s in a similar way that the lost will begin to die internally and psychologically when they behold the face of love and omniscience.
The face if God doesn’t change because God doesn’t change and He has declared that He is love.
The face of God to those who have put their trust in Him will ever be beautiful.
The face of God to those who are sin-damaged will ever be an aweful dread.
Not because God’s face changes toward them, but because the contrast is so vast that their own darkness of selfishness is exposed by shear brilliance of the light of God’s selflessness.
22-
7-8
While those who love God flee to behold His face,
the lost will seek to flee from his face. They have never recovered from the Adam and Eve syndrome that sin induces,
to hide from the One that loves you so that your shame can be supposedly kept secret and unexposed.
God is love and it is love that condemns sin and selfishness.
Love destroys sin by contrast, not by sameness; by exposure, not by concealment. ()
While God doesn’t condemn the sinner, His love and righteousness does condemn sin. ()
Those who ultimately weave sin into the very fabric of their being that it cannot be separated will at this time perish in its condemnation.
The revelation of God’s love and righteousness and unwavering faithfulness exposes and condemns sin and selfishness in those who are lost and is what begins and ultimately accomplishes the soul-death experience.
Job 21:30–31 MEV
30 For the wicked are reserved for the day of destruction; they will be brought forth on the day of wrath. 31 Who will declare his way to his face? And who will repay him for what he has done?

Conciousness of Separation

Revelation 20:11 MEV
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them.
“No place was found for them”
These and the words of Jesus in Luke:
Luke 13:22–27 MEV
22 Then He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Someone said to Him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate. For many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know you, or where you come from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
It’s interesting that in the same book of Revelation when describing war between God and Satan, between the heavenly angels and the fallen angels, that forces of evil could not prevail and “neither was their place found any more in heaven, and they were “cast out.”
Lk
Revelation 12:7–9 MEV
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was there a place for them in heaven any longer. 9 The great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.
Rev 12
In the same chapter we are assured that a “place” is found for the “woman” whom the “dragon” Satan was persecuting.
In the fantastic book of Job when Satan arrogantly invites himself into a council meeting that God is having with heavenly representives God asks him,
“From where have you come?”
There is a connection with this phrase and what the Master says in the parable, “I don’t know you or where you have from”
God is not questioning or “rejecting” people because He doesn’t know from what geographical location they from.
These questions are asked because at the time they are asked the person that they are referring to...
don’t belong there.
“I don’t know you, or where you come from.”
These words are the realisation of “hell”
A place of complete aloneness
Complete despair
Utter hopelessness
No where to belong in the universe
because you realise that the universe is to be ruled by selfless ove
and you are so unlike this selfless love that “no place” can be “found” for you in this universe.
To live in God’s world is to live wholly for others
but sins and selfishness has eradicated the gentle impulses of the soul and the sensitive humanity.
and str
Those who find no place for them in this universe have so cultivated selfishness as the principal of their life that their perception and emotions necessary to give and receive love have been abandoned and lost.
It’s interesting that in the same book when describing war between God and Satan, between the heavenly angels and the fallen angels, that forces of evil could not prevail and “neither was their place found any more in heaven, and they were “cast out.”
Revelation 12:7–9 MEV
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was there a place for them in heaven any longer. 9 The great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.
In a universe whose essential life-sustaining principle is selfless love, “no place was found for them.”
Luke 13:22–27 MEV
22 Then He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Someone said to Him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate. For many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know you, or where you come from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
They sink with regretful self-disgust into acute feelings of total abandonment.

Conciousness of Sin

Revelation 20:12 MEV
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books.
The second death,
the death that is the destruction of the soul as well as the body,
brings the soul face-to-face with the full, ugly reality of one’s own sins,
with no sense of divine mercy to mitigate the situation.
When sin is committed, it exists as a reality in the mind
and can only be resolved by forgiveness
or by suffering and death.
Forgiveness is only possible by embracing God’s sin-pardoning love.
And in order for God to have made it possible to forgive sin,
He Himself had to endure the alternative of forgiveness which was
internal suffering,
anguish of the soul,
until it eventually killed Him.
The weight of each person’s sin and it’s condemnation is heavy enough to crush out the vital life forces of the soul.
The only solution to this destiny is a concious sense of God’s love and acceptance which is the only power capable of neutralising the power of sin and preventing it from destroying the soul.
Let us try and grasp what it is actually happening here during the second death experience when the “books are opened” and every person is judged by the things written in the book.
Try to imagine the unimaginable....
Imagine...
you were made perfectly concious of every sin you had ever committed...
every unjust act...
every corrupt thought...
every selfish feeling acted upon...
And that all these occasions flooded into your concious awareness...
…AT ONCE
with every ugly detail of the event,
every person that was hurt as a result of your sin,
including yourself....
Their reactions...
their tears,
their hurt feelings,
their pain,
And there was no way to make your awarness of all this STOP!
Now...
add to this ordeal...
no concept of forgiveness
the absence of mercy,
no sense of acceptance,
no picture of God who freely and eagerly forgives all sin.
What would that moment feel like for you?
This is what the full of wages of sin looks like.
The only reason we have never had to face the full potency of our guilt and shame is because of the God’s grace.
Through the plan of salvation set into gear from the beginning,
God has erected veil of mercy in the human conscience to act as a buffer to preserve us from the full effect of sin,
and offer us a chance to be forgiven and saved from condemnation.
At the great white throne judgment
when every person is judged or made conscious of every sin they participated in,
God will reveal to them in a video-like panoramic view of every part that he or she has played in the great controversy between good and evil.
Every deed will written on the walls of their conscience as if with letters of fire,
and the blazing light of God’s love revealed through Christ will clash with the darkness of their own selfishness and rejection.
The fire burning within their conscience is undoubtadely more hotter and severe than any literal flame kindled upon their flesh.
Now...
a question that will forever change the way you view the cross,
Which death, first or second, did Jesus suffer in order to save the human race?
We’ll find out in our next video!
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