Questions?


The Blessings Coming to
All People

John's gospel records an occasion when the disciples, seeing a blind man, asked, "Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents". Jesus did not blame the suffering on the man, or on his parents. The purpose of the suffering, he said, is so "that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9)

Is this meant to be one isolated instance in human history? One lucky blind man, who was healed so that the readers of the Bible would know that the works of God could be made clear?

Or is Jesus here telling us that this is why Jesus died: so that all blind men, and deaf, and disabled, and suffering people, have been permitted to experience pain so that some day, in God's due time, the works of God will be made manifest in all of them.

This, we perceive to be God's goal.

1. It is for all people.

2. It covers all times of human history.

3. It is world-wide in scope.

4. It reaches every situation, and completely reverses the negative results of that tragedy: disease, depression, crime, accident, war, sin, death.

Let's get specific. Let's start with a simple crime, and consider what would have to happen to set things as they should be, if true redemption and true restitution were to take place.

On November 22, 1963, an American President was shot -- supposedly by a lone gunman. What can the great blessing God has promised, the "times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21) do about that?

  1. The resurrection will reassemble all the witnesses. Even in the case of the JFK assassination, many mysteries remain. Was Oswald working alone? Was Ruby working for the mob or the CIA or alone? Having all the people back together will allow the truth to come out. (Acts 24:15, John 5:28, 29, Psalm 96).
  2. God knows the heart, the motivation. And he knows who is lying. So no one will be able to hide evidence, fool the judge, stonewall the victim. "Everything hidden will be revealed". (1 Cor. 4:5) And so "the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies", and get to the truth, so that justice can be done. "Justice will I lay to the line ... (Isaiah 28:17)
    If the JFK assassination was done by the mob, CIA, or other group, the world will be told. All motivations will be revealed, all the dark secrets will be exposed. Jack Ruby would be available for questioning. Oswald would be able to reveal his motivation. The Warren Commission could be questioned about their integrity.
  3. All criminals will have to face their victims. For most victims, this would be the greatest benefit of all. Imagine Jacqueline confronting facing Lee Harvey, and weeping afresh about the sickening shock of seeing her husband's bloody head. Imagine JFK facing his murderers, and asking them to repent of that sin. Imagine Oswald apologizing to the Kennedy's, and Ruby asking Oswald to forgive him! See Jeremiah 31:16
  4. The full effect of all disasters will be fully compensated. Lost opportunities will be compensated by at least a double material blessing, and a double time blessing. In the metaphorical picture of Job, his suffering is repaid by a doubling of his wealth, a doubling of his years, and the complete replacement of his family. This is "the end of the Lord" -- the gracious provision of God for all people. (Job 42:12,13; James 5:11, Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 21:1-4)
    In the case of the Kennedy family, imagine the joy when Jackie, and Jack, and John Jr., and Caroline, and Bobby, and the entire clan, are brought back from the dead to live together anew. The blessings of prosperity, of memories restored and personalities brought back to begin afresh where they left off, are hard to imagine for a single family. To picture such joy on a world-wide basis overwhelms our capacity for imagination and excitement.
  5. The lessons of the past will be learned. Even in our imperfect world, there is a blessing the flows from failure, because we learn how to be more wise, more careful, more righteous when we start afresh. The trouble is, we are just starting to get enough wisdom when we're too old to put it to use. But with unlimited time on our hands, matters will be entirely different.
    Isaiah promises that "when thy (God's) judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9) And so, people will not only learn from reflecting on their mistakes; they will also have the careful tutelage of an active, engaged government of Messiah -- a people on earth and in heaven who work together to administer the needs of mankind. These judges and mediators between God and man will be making wise and righteous and fair decisions to be felt and observed by all people at all times. (1 Corinthians 6:2, Obadiah 21, Revelation 22:1-6) World-wide, the arm of God will gently, kindly, and at times forcibly correct the willful and rebellious human race until they are all getting into step with the righteous ways of God. As Jesus put it, He and his church would work together to "shepherd the nations with a staff of iron." (Revelation 2:27)
    If it is true, for example, that the Kennedy family has some dark secrets, some sin areas that went uncorrected during their lifetimes, those things will be brought to light, challenged, and the right way to act will be clearly set forth. Opportunities for repentance, for learning the right way, for changing both their outward actions and their inner thoughts, will be made available.
    Whether famous or infamous, poor or rich, educated or ignorant, each resurrected soul will walk up the "highway of holiness" (Isaiah 35) -- the wide and easy road toward full purity of heart and life. Though the unclean cannot pass over that road, it is for the unclean -- the rebellious and sinful. Yet regular fellows -- "wayfaring men", even if fools -- will not err therein. Stumbling-blocks, things that trip people into sin, will be removed. (Isaiah 57:14) Satan will be bound, so that he can deceive the nations no more. (Revelation 20:1-3)

Now let's expand our vision. Instead of a single American family's story, let's tackle the two toughest challenges we can think of: the Holocaust and American Slavery.

What does the Bible say about those situations? Can a mechanism be envisioned by which God can undo those terrible events, and make matters right?

 

more to come