We focus on the topic of what happens to all those people who didn't have the understanding that we all have.
[Jeff Richards] Well, we find ourselves in this last Holy Day of the festival season. I appreciated the sermonette. It set the table very nicely. Of all of our festival days from the spring Holy Days that start to talk about the plan of God through to this day when everything comes to fruition in what He is doing. There's so much hope and there's so much peace of mind in what God is doing to reconcile Himself with mankind.
The days show in detail how He has called us to be a part of that. Now in this last Holy Day of the year, we focus on the topic of what happens to those who have not had God's Spirit. All those people that from death have separated us from them and they never had a relationship with God the way we do. We come to church, we keep the Holy Days and they drive by us on the roads.
They've lived thousands of years ago. Millions and billions of people without the understanding that everyone in this room has. You know, I was giving a sermon once, and a couple came into the back of the room and sat down. And as I was covering the topic, some of the information I was covering had some themes similar to this day and there are some general statements that I made.
And afterwards, I went back and I wanted to meet them and talk with them. And they introduced themselves as Sabbath keepers. And I was happy to see them and asked them if they had any questions. And she had a lot of questions. And the first question she asked me, she said, "You said in your message that people who have not responded to God, have not been a part of any kind of a church, are going to have a chance someday." And she says, "Does your church teach that everybody gets a second chance?"
And I said, "You know, we don't believe that most people really even got the first chance." And I said, "We don't teach that God is going to condemn those that really never knew Him, that never understood His plan for them and made a choice." And she looked me straight in the eye and I'll never forget this. She says, "I totally reject that."
It took me by surprise. And I thought, "Where did that come from?" So I talked about a few other things, tried to point out some things in the Bible. There was a number of differences she had, but on this topic, her point of view was that she had come to whatever truth that she believed and therefore must be rewarded and those that haven't should not be, should not get a chance. After all, she's made the effort, they haven't.
And when you talk to people in the world, there's those that joke about it, that they're not religious. I worked with a fellow who had a little placard by his desk that he proudly displayed. And he says, "I'm going to hell in every religion." And he just accepts the fact that he wants nothing to do with it. And people believe that if you have a life separate from God, that there is no hope for you.
Now when you take a look at scriptures like John 5 and you can turn over there, you can begin to see if you don't have an understanding of the Scriptures and you just simply open it up and read and you don't take the time to understand what they say, you can get the wrong impression.
Let's take a look at John 5. We'll start in verse 26 and read through 29. Says, "For as the Father has life in Himself, and He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
You know, if you read this at face value you'd say, "Well, that seems to be pretty straightforward. You know, people are going to live their lives, they're going to die and then it's going to come down to how they lived.” And if you take the viewpoint that if you're basically a good person, you got a shot at it. But if you're a real lousy, rotten person, we probably don't want them in the Kingdom anyway.
And that might seem plausible. But then if you take the time to read and you say, "If you haven't accepted Jesus Christ, and you haven't gone through this process of conversion, you have no hope." Well, that number gets to be pretty bleak, doesn't it? I mean, there's only two billion people that even claim to be Christian today. And if you start weeding them out on based upon who is and who is not really changed their life and tried to accept Christ and really lived by the words that He did, that number gets pretty small.
And so you begin to think, "Well, if this life is all there is, eternity is going to be a pretty lonely place. It's going to be a pretty big universe to be all alone in." And so I thought about, "What could I have told this lady and her husband? What could I have… What argument could I have given that might have changed her mind? What might I have given as a compelling story that she would have said, 'You know, I never thought about it that way'?"
You know, the title of the sermon today is “They Shall Not Learn War Anymore.” And it's taken from Isaiah 2 and the context of the scripture is really not what this message is about. In fact, the reason for the title will become clear later. I would like to tell you a story about a little boy who grew up in one of the most unlucky times a little boy can grow up to one of the most unlucky families in a most unfortunate place.
This boy was a Latvian boy, name of Arturs. He was born to a Jewish family. And of all the places you could be born a Jew, you know that there's been persecution through the centuries for these people. But if you were to be born at any time in the mid 20th century, it would be a very tough time indeed. And if you were going to be born in the mid 20th century as a Jew, you certainly wouldn't want to be born in Latvia.
Latvia's just northeast of Poland, that area between Germany and the Soviet Union. And in 1937 when Arturs was born, Latvia was a fairly prosperous country. His father was in the Latvian military. They had a very regular life. He had brothers and sisters and a mother that loved him very much. And then a thing happened where the Soviet Union and the German government decided they were going to have war against one another. But they didn't want war just quite yet so they made this deal, this pact, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and they split Eastern Europe in half.
And they just decided, "You get this half, we get this half." Doesn't matter what countries are there, what sovereignty any of them have. And overnight, they bullied their way, the Russians into Latvia and invaded eastern Poland as the Germans were invading Western Poland. They split Poland down the middle and Latvia became a country within the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin was always paranoid of people trying to rise up against him. So anyone who had any kind of authority influence, including military leaders were deported to the Russian gulags, and his father died under that process.
His mother became sick very soon after that and died and left all the children as orphans. Arturs was sent to an orphanage. He was separated from his siblings. And this was in 1940. A year later, the Germans invaded Russia, and they had to go right through Latvia. As the army went through and broke down all the defense's that were there, German special police came in just days later and started rounding up and killing Jews.
You know, we all know stories about the Holocaust. What you may not know is some countries suffered worse than others. I think Lithuania is regarded as, which is right next to Latvia, as having the highest percentage of the Jews that were killed. But Latvia and Poland were right there, close to 90% of all the Jews in their country were killed.
At the time, the Germans invaded, Arturs was in an orphanage and a woman that he would become to call Auntie picked him up and whisked him off as soldiers were coming, and as they were told to kill all the children. They ran off into the woods. He was three years old. And so when the war started, they were running through the woods. His earliest memories were of running for your lives as the sounds of the bombs exploding, living in the woods, and this worked fairly well in the summer months.
But when winter came, food got very scarce and they traveled with a band of refugees for a while. And along the way, he picked up a dog he called Buddy. And the two of them were just inseparable. And then when winter came and there was no food one day, buddy disappeared. They told him he ran away. They took shelter in the city of Riga.
It's known for a Jewish ghetto. They're not much unlike the Warsaw ghetto where almost every Jew there was killed. While they were there, the Russians were bombing the city and many, many people were killed right before their eyes. And the Germans were indiscriminately killing as they were working out their final solution.
At one point, they saw two Wehrmacht soldiers coming toward them and so they started to run. Arthur's next moments were chilling. “‘Halt!' One of them yelled. We ducked into a ruined building and climbed into a cramped and musty kitchen sink cabinet that had survived the house that it was in. Still, I heard the soldiers coming. Fear traveled for my bones to my little hair standing up on the end of my skin. More terrifying was the sound of their boots approaching my hiding place was the sound of their boots stopping.”
“Auntie held her hand over my mouth, urging me to be still. Too often, I would gasp and fright without thinking. The soldiers listened for that sort of noise to betray you. 'Shh. You must not make any noise.' She whispered in my ear barely making a sound. I listened to those clicking boots marching past me back and forth pacing like hungry animals. I hardly breathed certain that they could hear my racing heart. I pleaded silently over and over. 'Please God, do not let them find me. Do not let them find me.'"
Arturs was not a religious boy as three years old as you can imagine, but he had a concept of God. He was later told that he was Jewish. And he says, "What's Jewish?" He did not know. He heard people use the term “filthy Jews.” He thought it was because they were refugees and they were dirty. He didn't understand. What had he done to deserve this? What crime had any of them done to warrant such a situation?
So many stories of the Holocaust. And as I read this book, it just tore my heart out to think how many people had their lives destroyed over that war. Along the way, Arturs befriended a boy and he only knew him by his nickname. His nickname was Boom Boom. And Boom Boom was a Latvian name fashioned after the Latvian word for ball. But oddly enough, or ironically enough, it also was derived from the sound a bomb makes.
And so, Arturs and Boom Boom became very close. Boom Boom was a couple years older than Arturs, but they were both orphans now and on the run together. They had fun if you can imagine finding fun, running through the woods, trying to live out your days in the outdoors in good weather and in bad, when there's food and when there's not food. One of the things they would do is they would take buttons off of uniforms of dead people, and the buttons became their toys. And they would collect them.
And they were inseparable for a time. They even made slingshots out of elastic bands from old clothing and caught some small game so to help the group eat. When fall came, they met up with some Latvian soldiers who had protected them. A lot of the Latvian and soldiers could not be trusted. Some of them could. Oftentimes, you didn't know if you could trust a neighbor, or if you couldn't. There was a lot of German sympathizers within the country of Latvia.
And they would sooner turn you in then help you. And then there were those that would help let you stay overnight, but not for very long. They were too afraid to let you stay very long. And so sometimes they got a little food and sent on their way, and other times they were directed to the special police and they had to run for their lives.
One night, they were staying with some Latvian soldiers who fed them and they were staying in a bombed out bakery and the ovens still worked. So they'd keep the things burning in the ovens and keep their people warm at night. And Boom Boom insisted that Arturs sleep closest to the warm ovens to keep him warm. Being older, he would sleep near the window.
"I didn't argue," Arturs said, "But planned to somehow take his place after he fell asleep. We giggled and whispered about everything and nothing at all until we nodded off. I woke up the next morning to a warm blanket and the oven although I was sure I'd remember to exchange places. I tapped Boom Boom to wake him up. The chill of his skin made me feel guilty that I had slept so warm. 'Here, Boom Boom, take some of the blankets. I'm warm enough already.’"
“He lay quiet, unmoving. A finger of fear pushed at my chest. 'Boom Boom?' I shook his shoulder. Still, there was no movement, not even a flutter of his eyelids. More fingers stirred in my gut. 'Boom Boom, wake up.' I cried, shaking him harder. 'Wake up.' I didn't want to listen to the thoughts creeping into my mind. And I grabbed his arm, and I saw the bullet hole in him."
And now he was alone again. He lost his parents, his siblings, his country, his dog, and now the only friend he really ever had. He spent time in concentration camp for over a year, brutalized by guards. He was just young enough not to be sent to work camps but old enough not to be sent to the gas chambers with the other mothers. He was just in that age where he was kept alive for whatever reason, for some purpose maybe to end up in a work camp.
Turn over to John 6. You know, I've heard it said a number of people when you talk about how is it that there's so many people in the world that have not had religion in their life, don't have any kind of moral centering, and the world just seems to be spinning out of control? And there are those that believe that this is the only day of salvation. If you don't find it, you're doomed. And when asked about what about all these people? What about the people that lived before Christ? What shot did any of them have?
What about all the people that have grown up in areas where there was no religion? In China? In Russia? In so many places where the state religion prevented you from even thinking about. And I've heard people say, "Well, somehow I have faith that everyone had their chance." And they blindly hold on to that fact that if you reject God in your life, you have no chance.
Let's read John 6 together. John 6 starting in verse 42. "And they said, 'Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?'" These are people who knew Him growing up. “How is it then that He says, "I have come down from heaven’? Jesus therefore answered and said to them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." These are people who are rejecting Jesus Christ who knew Him.
And even to these people who rejected Him, He said, "You don't really have a chance. Don't wonder about why you can't understand what I'm saying. Without the Father in your life drawing you to Me, you cannot come to Me.” Now, people would still say, "Well, that's kind of a unique situation." Everyone knows about God. You can't go down the road and say, "Have you ever heard of God?" And someone just say "No, I don't know what that is."
And so if you don't somehow find a way to accept Him, you don't really have a chance. I’d like you to turn over to Ezekiel 20. Ezekiel 20. You know, it's natural, I guess for some to rationalize that there's just good people and there's not good people. And it's as simple as that. And God would reveal Himself to the good people and not reveal Himself to the bad people. And maybe that's why these people rejected Jesus.
Well, let's read Ezekiel through some chapters of… verses of Ezekiel 20. We'll start in verse 7 of Ezekiel 20. "Then I said to them, 'Each of you, throw away the admonitions…” I'm sorry, “abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.' But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.'" So God sends Ezekiel to the northern kingdom of Israel and says, "These people are asking for My help. I'm not going to help them. They've rejected Me."
And He lays out these charges starting with the time that they were in Egypt. You know, we think of God rescuing them from Egypt and taking them out of idolatry. But here God is saying, "You do better when you were there, and you reveled in the idolatry when you were there." “Then I said, ‘I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’"
So, you know, some of those plagues the folks of Israel suffered. God spared them from some of them. But some of them, they actually did suffer because God was not pleased with the fact that they knew better and they still… And this is before Moses showed up to fix things, they knew better. And then when Moses tried to straighten things out and get people on the right… some of the people were all for it, some of the people were not. Let's look at verse 10.
"Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’ Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, and they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them."
And that whole generation died in that 40 years of wandering. And then He brings them into the land, the Promised Land. And what do they do? They did it again. Time and time again, they have a good time. You know, when David was there, the people seem to toe the line. But then the kingdom's split and the northern 10 tribes, they never had one good king, and they never really gave their hearts to God.
And so He says in verse 30, "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God: ‘Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, are you committing harlotry according to their abominations?'" He's calling them out because of all of these hundreds of years that he's worked with them. You can't say that those people did not know who God was. You cannot say that God didn't tell them what they should be doing.
They were not ignorant of their sin. They were guilty as charged. Now, turn over to chapter 37. Turn over to chapter 37. Starting in verse 1, "The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley;” so Ezekiel's given a vision of the future, and it was full of bones. "And He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry." Moving down to verse 10. Says, "So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
He's talking about the house of Israel being resurrected to physical life. “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel." They indeed say, "Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!”’” They know they were guilty. They know they rejected God. They know they lived and died with their backs firmly set against God and they felt hopeless. “Therefore, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from the graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.”’"
You can't use the argument that people know better, can you? Because these people knew better. And if you say if you know better and you break the law, there's no hope for you. Well, there is a difference between them and us. We have God's Spirit. We have a way of knowing God that they didn't have. They knew what God told them to do. They knew how God told them to live. They knew what was expected of them. You know, our children often know what's expected of them, and they fall short, don't they? It takes quite a while for them to learn that when we say, "This is the way walk you in it," this is the way they're going to walk in it.
And God understands this. But more than that, He also understands that without His Spirit, they really can't know the way we know. And so when somebody asked you about first or second chances, I generally tell people I think people are going to get a first chance. But to understand that to know that means to be given God's Spirit to really understand what God is trying to do in your life. Nobody's going to convince me that Boom Boom was ever given God's Spirit and understood the plan of God at probably seven years of age.
And so I think, "What if I had relayed this story? Would this have changed her mind?” I don't know. But it has made me determined that the next time I have the opportunity and somebody just says, "No, no, this is not the way it is. I reject what you're telling me," that I might try a little bit harder. And if God is not opening their eyes, then God is not opening their eyes. That's fine.
You know, you're going to get a chance to work with some of these people. The story of Arturs ended better for him than Boom Boom. He made it through the war. He was adopted in America. And Arturs was given the name of his American father. And as he grew up and began to understand the world and how it works, and he always had that hope that God has spared him for some purpose. The stories in this book that I read, and the book is called, To No Man's Glory is filled with plenty of stories of God's deliverance from ways that soldiers just walked right over them and missed them.
And at one point when he was supposedly taken out to be shot in a mass grave with his Auntie at the end of the war and they ran for their lives as the bullets were flying. None of the bullets hit them and they hid in the bushes. He said he made eye contact with a young soldier as he was hiding in the bush and the young soldier didn't do anything and just walked away. And he was spared once again.
Food often made its way into their use at the most opportune time. When it was needed most. There was one situation where they were on a ship going back after, right at the end of the war, and people were starving and there wasn't enough food. They were just getting out of the area to move out of that area. And somebody had some sort of canned fish sardines or something that were rotten.
And he was so hungry. And he said, "You know, I've seen people bless food." And so at seven or eight years old at this time, he says a blessing on the food and he starts eating the fish. And he says somebody shrieked when they saw him eating this foul smelling stuff and tried to pull it away from him. And he says, "No, no, no, it's good." And they looked down and the fish was pink and wonderful. It was just made wonderful for him so he could eat it.
And he has a number of these stories in the book as God has protected them, fed them kept them from harm. Not everybody was so lucky, but he knew God had protected him for some purpose. And then one day he was called into the Church of God. And he was able to write this story so other people in the Church and others in the world can read it and understand. He relocated to Oregon and is now a member of our Medford congregation.
And he's here at the Feast with us today. And he's sitting with my wife. And that what he's gone through is a testament that God has not forgotten all of those people in this world. He has not turned his back on these people that have rejected Him, have turned their back on Him because they have not had His Spirit. You know, we start thinking about what it's going to be like when God opens these people's minds, resurrects them as physical beings and we get to talk with them.
You ever thought about some of the things you might want to discuss? You ever thought about, "What would be the first thing I would talk about?" You know, if you grew up during the Holocaust, there might be some experiences that you missed out on growing up. One of them was when they came to an orphanage in this country and he was waiting to be adopted, he said he came across some very strange fruit that he'd never seen before.
“One of them was the largest assortment of fruit that intrigued him,” he says, “with its unfamiliar shapes and bright colors.” He says, “I picked out a long yellow bow shaped fruit that was so different from all the round fruits and he took a bite.” And it was the most horrible thing he'd ever tasted. “The next morning, he went into the kitchen where the cook was fixing himself breakfast, and he picked up a banana and offered it to him. And he said, ‘No.’"
We use gestures and facial expressions to help us communicate in separate languages. "'No, it tasted awful,' I said, showing disgust on my face as I remembered the bitter taste. I watched him pull back the skin of the banana, one strip at a time, and my eyes opened wide with amazement. ‘I did not know that you take off the skin.’ I said in Latvian imitating his motions on an invisible banana. He laughed hard and handed me the peeled fruit. I smelled it and its sweetness and I took a bite. And the honeyed softness filled my mouth and I finished it smiling."
How many of these types of experiences will we get to have for people who have grown up in the worst possible situations, in parts of the world where food is scarce, and the things that they ate wouldn't be things you would ever pick, you wouldn't find on any restaurant menu anywhere you would go, and you could show some of the things that are your favorites, or were your favorites in this life. Games that you can show children to play.
When you watch the joy, they found joy in the middle of the Holocaust in between the explosions and the death. They tried to find whatever happiness they could. You are going to be able to watch that joy come out in each and every face of every child and every adult that is going to be given a chance that they've never had before. You know, there's so few years in the history of this world that have not been marred by war.
You know, we've lived in the last so many decades and it hasn't been wonderful, but it's been better than most people have had in their life. For those that have survived starvation, exposure, Arturs survive shrapnel wounds, sickness, and disease, so many hardships in life. Because I never met him as Arturs, I've always known him as Vincent.
And every time I see Vincent, he is smiling. And I often wonder, "How could he be smiling all the time?" But he's got peace in his mind. He has a lot of pain in life from what he went through but it doesn't pull the joy that he's got in his heart and the hope that he has. You know, Vincent, you're going to see your family again. Your mom and your dad. You're going to be able to show Boom Boom a banana. And that name won't be very useful any longer, Boom Boom. We won't want any names that remind us of war.
You know, when you read Isaiah, and it talks about, "They will not learn war any longer." What comes to mind? You know, when they “beat their swords into plowshares.” You know, you have this image in your head and I did all my life growing up in the Church of people that spent their time making weapons and using violence to solve their troubles that they're going to have other ways of working out their differences and it won't be through war any longer.
And so you see the idea of people taking their swords and beating them into farming implements as this hopeful, helpful approach to life. But after reading this book, I had a different perspective. They will not learn war anymore. Do you know who learned war? The victims of the Holocaust. Not because they were out making weapons, killing one another, trying to resolve their differences through violence. They learned the barbarism of war, the horrible violence, the fear, the just depravity that exists in war.
When a four-year-old child has to learn war, and a seven-year-old child dies knowing nothing but war, begin to have a different take on this concept of they will not learn war anymore. Think about it. Boom Boom knew nothing but war. That was his whole life. He knew nothing of peace, he only knew war. And so I suspect he will have a different name. He will need one. He doesn't want to be reminded.
And he certainly wouldn't want a name that has anything to do with explosions in a world where they will not learn war anymore. This is the future that this day pictures. Yes, when you read, and let's take a look at that in Revelation 20. Let's read this together. We look forward to this time but not during these days in some respects because there's going to be some hard times that this day pictures. And we'll read this starting in verse 1, talking about the Millennium, the 1,000 years that the previous days we just covered picture.
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid a hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who was the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished." You know, you talk to somebody about shared belief systems and some people say, "Well, you believe in the Kingdom and we believe in heaven, that's pretty much the same."
But you take him here in Scripture and you read them “that he should deceive the nation's no more until the thousand years were finished” and ask him, "Why is that there? Why is there any need to let Satan out again?" We're just going to have things fixed up. There was an old war movie with Spencer Tracy about the Nuremberg trials. And in it, they drive around Germany after the war in Berlin, and this was filmed not too many years after the war, and there were just piles of rubble everywhere.
And they made the film and you could see all the destruction all around. And it was many years later all the streets were clean because all the rubble have been swept up in giant piles where the buildings used to be. How long will it take us to clean up that mess from the Great Tribulation? Quite a few years, and we're going to have everything straightened out. You can read in Zechariah 14 where the process of coming to understand God's way of thinking is going to take some time.
And you can read in there how certain nations are going to decide, "I'm not going to come up to Jerusalem. I'm not going to worship the King. I'm not going to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." And God says, "I'm going to smite you dead”? No. This idea that John 5 says that you have your chance to live your life and then at the end, you're either going to have life or punishment is leaving out some of the details that God is merciful.
Zechariah 14 talks about that process where He's not going to give them reign. He's going to make life harder on them. They will have plagues. We've read about those before, they can be motivators. He's just not going to smite people that reject Him. He's going to work with them and we are going to work with them to bring them around to God's way of thinking and it will take time.
And for all those years, we're going to take that time, and we're just going to get things all straightened out by the end of the thousand years and then what? In verse 4, "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls that had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, or had received his mark on his forehead or on his hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power,”.
The people who are resurrected at the end of the thousand years will have death ahead of them. They will still have power in their life if they let it. They will be resurrected to a physical life. And now in verse 7, "When the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison" you know, God has called us out of Satan's world. Isn't it interesting that Satan is going to be released into God's world? And he's going to try to call people out of God's world. Kind of a turn of tables, isn't it?
And he's going to “go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them to battle, whose number is of the sands of the sea.” This is going to be another war. Even after the return of Christ, there's going to be another war, after all the horrors of the Great Tribulation. That will be so much worse than any other war, including World War II and the Holocaust. It'll be worse than any of those. And yet even with that, there will be another war.
But everyone's going to be given a chance with God's Spirit to make a choice because God will not inhabit eternity with someone who will change their mind. And what does that process take to stop somebody from changing their mind? It’s that process of God getting to know us. To really, really know us. Those people in Israel didn't know God. They were afraid of God.
When Moses brought them up on the mountain, and God was talking to them through the thundering and they were scared. They were afraid of God. They had respect for God but they didn't know Him. You brethren know God. Every time you get on your knees, you connect with Him again. You have a relationship that they never had, and you have a hope that many of them had no idea.
And that's why we read in Ezekiel 37 that they felt they had no hope. This day pictures a time when everyone will have that opportunity. And I don't know the numbers of how many will accept eternity and peace and how many will say, "No, it's not for me." The numbers here in Revelation 20 seemed to be pretty big numbers. I don't know. But I know that God is going through all of this with these Holy Days picture because this is the best possible chance these people will ever have.
If there's any chance to fill eternity with as many sons and daughters as possible, God has figured that out. We don't ever want to minimize what these days mean. We oftentimes think about what it means to us. But ultimately, we are going for eternity where no one who's ever lived that will be there with us will know what war is, will know, even conceive of what people once upon a time did to one another and what people overcame in this life, in the last or those yet to come.
They're just not going to understand firsthand the way you understand because you've been there. So as we have one more service, think about that brethren. What you've been given and the hope that we have that one day little children will not learn war anymore.