It’s so fitting that the conclusion of this series lands on Easter Sunday. I didn’t plan it that way, but it is truly perfect.
I redacted at least four paragraphs of qualifiers from this post. I realized that all those words designed to support my case were for my edification, not yours. So they are gone.
What is left is the simplest description, not of the “Good News,” but of the greatest news a human soul can hear. It’s so good, that it’s hard to believe. Maybe it’s “Too good to be true.” When Jesus shared this in his day, the religious mind which was concretized in orthodoxy (right belief) and orthorpraxy (right behavior) would here none of it. The early church struggled with it and so Paul wrote many epistles to liberate the religious soul. So even if you cannot or will not hear it today, please know that the entire corpus of the Old and New Testament point to the same conclusion. If you’re like me, then you never heard this growing up in a church.
Easter is when the modern church doubles down on substitutionary atonement. The Passion of the Christ leading to the resurrection is the anchor upon which the Christian faith entirely hangs. It’s all props up all the conversion machinery. The story of an innocent life trading places with each of us is a vital reflection for every soul. I’m at a place now where I live even more gratefully for this atoning work in part because I’m free from the doctrines which taught it as limited in either scope (Calvin) or power (Arminian).
This Easter, I want you to see the story from another perspective. This discovery forced me to rework everything man has taught me about the life of Christ and rely more heavily upon the word awakened and attended by the Spirit.
I’m going to just lay it out for you. No defense. No set up. Just the naked words of scripture laying against your soul, and your framework. Perhaps they will skim right over you and you’ll miss their implications. Perhaps they will pierce you with wonder as they did me.
The perspective is seen in the portal given to us by the Apostle John at the end of his life while exiled on the island of Patmos. The vision of John is the death of sin. In the cosmic realm, in the timeless future or ongoing present moment of decision. The ultimate evaluation, the final judgment. Yes, Revelations is an Easter story.
“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelations 20:14-15)
Paul told us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and here we see death is consumed in a lake of fire. Death has a death. There is a plane of existence, now and not yet, here and still coming, where sin and death is not longer a thing. The subsequent verse about finding ones name in the book of life “or else” used to really scare me. I guess it should have, that is precisely how years of tribal religion had trained me to fear. For some, this forces compliance. For me, it begs bigger questions. How can any living being not be written in God’s book of life?
So I asked the Spirit to show me. “Read it how it was written.” the wind blew. I grabbed my Greek bible.
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:5-8)
Did you know this is the ultimate Easter passage? If we are thirsty, we are given water of life. We don’t pay because Jesus did. And then the rest of the passage sets in. (Play the deflated trombone tone here). Seeing this junk drawer of human sin and it’s consequence is a power play in the hands of low level religion. I could hardly see my way out of it.
And then I was graced to see it. Right there in the Greek scripture.
…faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters… and then this very special, little, conjunctive, dative, adjective clause… “kai pásin tois pseudésin” or “and all the pseudo” or “all the falsehood in the center of being” or “all the pseudonyms” the false -self, the pseudo-kardia. Your bible probably says “and all liars” but that word doesn’t capture what is here. “Everyone living a lie at the center of their being.“
This list is not an exclusive list of just those people who do such things. This list is a totally inclusive list of all the false deeds done under the pseudo-self, our false name, the lie under which we lived much of our lives. All souls who have ever lived (every corner of existence gives up their dead-that’s the context of the vision) now find themselves on this totally inclusive list, within this totally inclusive book of deeds in the moment of judgement. This is proven in the next verse.
…”tó méros aútōn”…. “The PART of them” (will be) in the lake, the one burning with fire and sulphur.” If your bible reads…”Their portion” then you probably missed this just like I did.
There are two books (Revelation 20:12), that of Life and Deeds, BECAUSE THEIR ARE TWO PARTS. Our true name, our true identity, our true soul, created and named by God, and known by God from eternity past, long before we ever came to be, that ontological center found in God, is our true name, our unchangeable, unending true self found in God. The book of deeds, represents everything done under our pseudonyms, our false selves, our fake ID’s. Given that God is perfect truth, this list of falsehood, the pseudo, the lie, is the only thing God can know nothing about. (Matthew 7:21) Falsehood cannot ultimately exist and therefore it’s burned, consumed in the lake of fire, and “That Part of US” is destroyed. The slag is burnt off leaving only the most perfect metal, the purest part, our true soul found in God our Maker.
“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” Proverbs 17:3
Paul tells us the same thing:
“each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
This Easter, I hope you are awakening to a new perspective of the Gospel. I pray you gain a glimpse of just how powerful and beautiful the work of Christ is which brings about this outcome where, “he will wipe away every tear” (Rev 21:14), where all sad things become completely untrue. This will be your outcome. This will be mine. You are thirsty and desperate just like me and Easter means we will find satisfaction. Religion wants you to pay for it. The world wants you to pay for it.
Easter says you may drink completely because our part has been paid in full.
If you made it this far, I know you have questions. I would love to show show you how this is true. I’d love to teach you and allow you to rediscover the bible from outside the trap of religion. That is what I do. I can prove the corpus of scripture supports this claim but it’s not necessary for everyone. When Jesus taught it he observed:
“So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:16
May you sit with this Easter vision for as long as you can hold it. And may it lead you to your knees as it has me. Peace to you all. Happy Easter.