Risen from the Dust
After the battle of Armageddon is over, the beast has been slain, and Satan locked in the Abyss (see ch.20 Resurrection at Christ's Return), the saints will gather on Mt. Zion for the great wedding feast of the Lamb. This feast will commemorate the end of their struggle, because they have overcome the power of the evil one by fighting the good fight in Christ, and staying true to their callings as his servants, "And in this mountain [Zion] shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people (in the mountain) a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" (Isaiah 25.6 KJV bible). At this time, the ones who are called, chosen, and faithful, will gather together and be united in celebration, as they rejoice in the presence of the Lamb, "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them" (Luke 12.37 KJV bible).
However, for many the beginning of the millennium will not be a time of rejoicing and reward, but rather one of bitterness and sorrow. Just as many are welcomed into Christ's presence, many more will be cast into the outer darkness, as they learn that they are not worthy to be among his flock. Rather than approval they will receive rebuke, because the Lord is ashamed of them and their ways, "But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 24.48-51 KJV bible). At the beginning of the millennium, Jesus will get rid of a lot of dead weight, and the apostates and hypocrites will be spiritually cut in pieces, and cast into the outer darkness. Jesus speaks in detail about this future sifting of people through the parable of the wedding banquet, recorded in both the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come" (Matthew 22.2-3 KJV bible). A lot of people are duped into thinking that getting saved is the end goal and fulfillment of their lives, when in reality it is an invitation to pick up their crosses and follow him on a journey, the destination of which is eternal fellowship. For as long as they dwell in the flesh, they must keep their eyes upon Christ and pursue him, or else with their love having grown cold, they will slip away.
"But they made light of it [the feast], and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise" (Matthew 22.5 KJV), "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused" (Luke 14.18 KJV bible). Christ did not shed his blood on the cross and set people free from the bondage of their sins, so that they could pursue their own foolish dreams and desires. Rather, Christ sets them free to serve him and his Kingdom.
"And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city" (Matthew 22.6-7 KJV bible). When God's servants go out into the world, and bear witness of the things to come, they are inevitably persecuted for it (2nd Timothy 3.12). However, the hour of vengeance will come as a thief in the night, and the world and its ways will be burned up (see ch.22 Day of the Lord).
"Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy" (Matthew 22.8 KJV bible), "For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper" (Luke 14.24 KJV bible). Many are invited to this wedding supper, but at the time of Christ's return, relatively few of them will be found worthy to partake of it. This is because for many of the ones who are called, the seed of the Kingdom planted in their hearts gets uprooted by tribulation, or choked out by the cares of the world, thereby becoming fruitless. Though receiving the opportunity, they do not run with perseverance the race that is set before them (Hebrews 12.1). Therefore, they will be disqualified from entering the Lord's presence, and feasting with him in the millennium.
As a result the Lord will find others to fill in their places at the table, "Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests" (Matthew 22.9-10 KJV bible). After Christ has returned, his servants will go out into the world and indiscriminately gather souls to fill in the empty seats at the table (see ch.24 Millennium People).
When these replacements are herded in from the darkness, the Lord will look them over to see what kind of spiritual attire they are wearing, "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22.11-13 KJV bible). Rather than being dressed in nice clean clothes appropriate for a wedding feast, many will be spiritually clothed with garments that are stained and polluted by the wicked acts they have committed in life. Nothing is hidden that shall not be revealed, and as a result these will be yanked up, and cast out into the outer darkness.
However, many souls will come in from the outer darkness who are found worthy to fill in the empty spaces, "Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind...Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14.21,23 KJV bible). The Lord will gather in and embrace the downtrodden, weary, humble, and oppressed of the world, many of whom suffered in life, but stood strong in the hope of finding something greater than what they knew. This is because the Lord dwells not with the haughty and arrogant, but with the lowly and contrite of spirit (Isaiah 57.15).
The Lord will receive the shunned, and reward the afflicted, making a strong nation of them both, "I will make the lame a remnant and the outcasts a strong nation, And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever" (Micah 4.7 NASB bible). Though not soldiers for Christ in the flesh, these were never conscripted to begin with, so they cannot be faulted for turning away. Therefore, being found more righteous than the others, these will be welcomed in to rejoice with the Lord and his servants, at the start of the millennium.
The Lord can fellowship with whomsoever he chooses, and at the start of the millennium, he will welcome in outsiders as guests in his Kingdom, "And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him." (Mark 2.15 KJV bible). However, these guests will not have been resurrected, or redeemed from death, at this time (see ch.20 Resurrection at Christ's Return). So being still in their sins, they will not be true substitutes for the faithful ones. Though they are welcomed into Christ's presence from the outer darkness, they will not be the bride of the Lamb, or counted among his flock. At this time, they will be guests, not heirs, in the Kingdom of Heaven.
"For many are called, but few are chosen [electos]" (Matthew 22.14 KJV). The truth is that many are called, but at the end of the age, relatively few will be counted among the people of the Living God. Jesus speaks of this fact when he says, "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8.11-12 KJV bible). In the beginning of the millennium, many individuals will be welcomed in to fellowship with the Lord in his Kingdom, but also the ones who could have made it, and did not follow through, will be rejected. They will be without excuse, because Jesus warns time and again that fruitless servants will be cast into the outer darkness, "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25.30 KJV bible).
Some of the individuals who will claim an inheritance with Christ, will find out that he never even knew them, much less are they his chosen and faithful servants, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7.21-23 KJV bible). Jesus will profess unto these phonies, that he never so much as called or invited them in the first place. This implies that everyone of their salvation experiences, and relationships with him, were only lies and figments of their own imaginations. They thought they were doing his work and pleasing him, when in reality they were serving themselves, and storing up his wrath against them.
The beginning of the millennium will be a devastatingly painful time for many people, and the end of all flesh will be only the start of their sorrows. However, God's wrath and rebuke is a necessary part of his plan to restore as much of humanity back to him as possible (see ch.26 Millennium Nations). Now is the time for proving ones faithfulness, not the Day of the Lord, and the ones who receive and keep the instruction of the Living Word now, will only have good things to look forward to from that time onward.
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