Death in the City of Eternal Life

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For example, late in his life he expressed regret that he had not had time to revise the Genevan Catechism that he had written on his return from Strassburg. The city council had promised to encourage people to learn this catechism. So Calvin wrote it quickly, fearing that the council would change its mind and he would miss a great opportunity.

In fact, when he finished writing a question or two, someone would rush the text to the printer to be typeset. Calvin had no chance to review or revise what he had written and no opportunity to get advice from others. He wished he could have taken more time in preparing it. But Calvin was an active pastor, not a leisurely academic in all that he wrote. For much of his life he slept relatively little and ate little. As early as his days in Strassburg, the strain of his life was beginning to tell.

By his health problems were becoming great—regular bouts of malaria-like fever, tuberculosis, ulcerated veins, kidney stones, and hemorrhoids.

What Happens to Believers When They Die?

His letters, usually reflecting little of his personal life, did express something of his physical suffering. He identified with the people of God because he wrestled with the same problems that they faced—sin, sickness, persecution, exile, hatred, divisions in family and church. Eternal life is promised to us, but it is promised to the dead; we are told of the resurrection of the blessed, but meantime we are involved in corruption; we are declared to be just, and sin dwells within us; we hear that we are blessed, but meantime we are overwhelmed by untold miseries; we are promised an abundance of all good things, but we are often hungry and thirsty; God proclaims that He will come to us immediately, but seems to be deaf to our cries.

Faith is therefore rightly called the substance of things which are still the objects of hope. These words of John Calvin in commenting on Hebrews were not just theological abstractions for him but reflected the struggles of his own faith. Calvin certainly saw great successes in his life—his writings widely distributed and eagerly read, Reformed churches growing in numbers and influence in many parts of Europe, and a thorough reform of the church in Geneva.

Calvin also, however, faced great sorrows and difficulties in his life. He suffered emotionally and spiritually. His wife died after only a few years of marriage, and their only child died in infancy. His stepdaughter was guilty of adultery. Faithful Christians were martyred for the gospel he preached, and some friends apostatized from the faith.

The struggles of his life tested his faith. At the heart of his faith was the confidence that for the sake of Jesus, God was his loving heavenly Father. But that confidence had to surmount the temptations and sins, the frustrations and losses, the weakness and death that made up so much of his life. Late in his life, as his health deteriorated and his strength ebbed, his friends pled with him to work less diligently, but he refused.

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By early he at times was unable to walk due to gout and arthritis. By early it was clear that his strength was failing seriously.

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In early February he gave his last lectures and sermons. Calvin prayed that his mind would remain clear to the end so that he could work. From his bed he continued to dictate letters and his final commentary, on the book of Joshua. We look for justice, mercy, love, forgiveness, and judgment. We know intuitively that abstract ideas, like good and evil, are rooted in fixed reality. We know that good and evil are real. All of these things led to my realization that God is in fact real. And that there is an eternal city beyond our existence on Earth.

The very last book of the book tells us about it. It's a book titled "Revelation. This eternal city, which is the future of the human race, is discussed in good detail in Revelation. And if in fact this city is a future reality, then the implications are indeed far-reaching. It changes everything about everything, as far as considering the meaning of life. For the God who names himself in the scriptures as "I am who I am" such a future is not too hard.

What in fact would be too hard for a God with no beginning or end? God is not like us in most respects. He is beyond our full comprehension. This is a terribly difficult thing to accept.

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But as Da Vinci said, only a fool would not be willing to admit that there are some realities beyond his comprehension. That is why the fallacy of "Who created God? By definition, if God could be created, then He wouldn't be God. He'd be man.

We think in these finite terms: Who created God? God answers this question in his title: I am who I am. I am not like you. I am beyond the past, and beyond the future. In fact, God created time itself. We must allow for our finite ability to comprehend eternity. Given that, we can however still consider many aspects of this reality of the eternal city.

What Does the Bible Say About Eternal Life?

Revelation chapter twenty, from the most hated book in history, banned in approximately 60 countries, the Bible, which simple means "The Book" we get a glimpse of our future as a species. The mind repels against it, preferring a future of human glory, yet something within us tells us it's true. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.

They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

At a future date in time, that which we are unaware of, things will get very troubled on Earth. They are in fact rather troubled right now, but nothing compared to what it will be in the end. At the consummation of these dark events, evil will be defeated, and Jesus Christ will reign on Earth for 1, years. And so will his people. Fascinating stuff. We don't really know what will occur during this 1, year period, but it's clear that the eternal city hasn't been established yet.

The new heavens and the new Earth haven't come yet. There seems to be a period of Christ reigning on Earth with his tribulation saints, and at the end of the 1, years there is a final rebellion against Christ and his people when Satan is released a second time. During this engagement, armies surround the holy city, which is most likely referring to Jerusalem in present day Israel.

And the city is surrounded by enemy armies, probably involving nations deceived by the return of Satan. The enemy army is destroyed by God, and Christ's final victory is completed. Then we have an event called the great white throne judgment. This is where God's people are crowned with glory and given their inheritance, and also, where God's enemies are judged according to how they lived, and sentenced to disconnection from God for eternity.

Revelation 21 and 22 is what we want to focus on today. That's where we see the creation of the new heavens and the new Earth.

A lot of people are deathly afraid of touching this part of the Bible. And I think it's because there are so many wacko birds out there. They go absolutely nutty about the end times, and scare people out of their minds with dates, times, predictions, locations, and of course the ever-increasing list of those who must be "the anti-christ. Bush, and of course the last few Popes. I recall one pastor indicated in one of his sermons that he'd met 39 people who had claimed to be one of the "two witnesses" in Revelation chapter On a side note some have suggested that the two witnesses could be Moses and Elijah.

It's a fair speculation, has some evidence to back it up, but it's just theory. Many church organizations and leaders, like the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah Witnesses have claimed to "know the date" of when Christ will return, and time and again, they were proven wrong.

That really has to be an awkward day after, don't you think? Well, we've got the date, here it comes Well, anyway The external calamities of Rome. Book IV. That empire was given to Rome not by the gods, but by the One True God. Book V. Of fate, freewill, and God's prescience, and of the source of the virtues of the ancient Romans. Book VI. Of Varro's threefold division of theology, and of the inability of the gods to contribute anything to the happiness of the future life.

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Book VII. Of the "select gods" of the civil theology, and that eternal life is not obtained by worshipping them. Book VIII. Some account of the Socratic and Platonic philosophy, and a refutation of the doctrine of Apuleius that the demons should be worshipped as mediators between gods and men. Book IX. Of those who allege a distinction among demons, some being good and others evil. Book X. Porphyry's doctrine of redemption. Book XI. Augustin passes to the second part of the work, in which the origin, progress, and destinies of the earthly and heavenly cities are discussed.

Book XII. Of the creation of angels and men, and of the origin of evil. Book XIII. That death is penal, and had its origin in Adam's sin. Book XIV. Of the punishment and results of man's first sin, and of the propagation of man without lust.


Book XV. The progress of the earthly and heavenly cities traced by the sacred history. Book XVI. The history of the city of God from Noah to the time of the kings of Israel.