What would you do if someone denigrated you in public? You could deny the information, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to rehabilitate your image. If you leave things as they are, there is a risk that silence will be interpreted as guilt. If you go to court, the process might take a long time and it may not remove any suspicion.
A large investor faced this exact problem right within the headquarters of his own company: using social networks one of the senior managers incited the employees against him. It all started with a few allusions, a few veiled suggestions. Messages of support were sent to those whom the manager considered wronged, and the disinformation campaign began to take off. When he felt that he had enough support from the employees, the outraged manager openly accused the owner of being obsessed with power and personal gain, and discriminatory leadership. In the end, he claimed that he had been appointed by the employees as their leader and spokesperson.
The discussions were intense, the owner rejected all the accusations and, because he had a comfortable majority on his side, he decided to terminate the employment contract of the manager and his supporters—about 30% of the staff at the headquarters. Nevertheless, the crisis was far from over. Although he denied all the accusations, the owner did not manage to erase the questions and doubts from the minds of those who remained loyal to him. It took time and sacrifice to expose all the intrigues of senior manager, who had in fact tried to take over control of the company.
He called every branch office around the world to persuade them to join the riot, but they remained loyal to the owner. There was only one exception: the newest, most beautiful, and most modern of the company’s branch offices gave way. Unaware of the manager’s duplicity, the new employees believed him and handed management over to him and his acolytes who had been expelled from the headquarters. In a short time, everything started to deteriorate under the new management. The reports that were coming in were increasingly worse.
Then something unexpected, unimaginable happened: the owner’s son went there personally to save the company and the employees. He did not resort to force, although he was entitled to do so, nor did he expose the manager and his accomplices, although he had all the necessary evidence and leverage. He chose another path, which shocked all those who remained loyal to the company: he left the headquarters and joined the office that was on the verge of bankruptcy. He worked with those who were exploited, disoriented, and divided, ate with them, and taught them how things were done where he came from.
However, after the son had managed to win the sympathy and trust of many, the treacherous manager stepped in, inciting some of the employees to accuse the owner’s son of being an impostor. The moment they recognized who he was, they made fun of him. Some even considered him insane, unable to imagine that the owner’s son could live among them, like one of them. Only a few who had been very close to him believed in him and remained loyal to him. Even after he left, they continued to wait for him to return, to put things right.
Details of an ancient drama
Those who are unfamiliar with this story can open the Bible and learn that it is, in short, the drama that began in heaven, at God’s throne, which turned into the tragedy of our planet, the only planet that believed Lucifer. The Bible describes the position and intrigues of this angel who became, through his own greed and cunning, and enemy to God and to us:
“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you… You were anointed as a guardian cherub… You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you… Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour… By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries” (Ezekiel 28:13-19). “So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God” (verse 16).
“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13-14).
From the moment our parents succumbed to Lucifer’s temptation, this beautiful planet, shaped by the hands of the Creator, was deliberately made ugly, exhausted, and brought to the brink of collapse by this enemy of God. Rebellion, disease, and death have become the dominant features of our world. For thousands of years, generation after generation, humans have been intoxicated by the devil’s insinuations and accusations against God. A large number of people repeat them with exaggeration to this day, while others, quite few, reject them and live here, in the devil’s territory, but according to God’s laws, waiting for His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to return and put an end to this calamity.
Two resurrections and an atypical judgement
In every generation that has lived on this planet, the devil has had followers who died in active or passive rebellion against God. Cemeteries all over the earth, the waters of the seas, and the battlefields have swallowed up deceived beings, destroyed by the lies of the first rebel. The Holy Scripture says that God will raise them up as well. A puzzling decision—why not leave them there forever in oblivion?
“Those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:29), Jesus said. As an echo of this promise, the apostle Paul writes that “the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), implying that there will be a resurrection of those who have died “without Christ.”
The apostle John clarifies the time of this resurrection—“the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended” (Revelation 20:5)—, explaining what happens in this 1,000-year interval between the resurrection of the saved (the first resurrection) and resurrection of the lost (the second resurrection): “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge” (Revelation 20:4).
The Bible is not ambiguous at all about the identity of the judges and the judged ones. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth: “Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world?… Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
God will entrust to the saints the authority to judge the world, that is, the lost ones and even the fallen angels together with Lucifer. This judgement precedes the resurrection of the rebellious. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Revelation 20:12), the apostle John says.
The reason for this resurrection is not to humiliate the protagonists or to arouse remorse for what they have lost. On that solemn day, God will resurrect all the rebels to clear up all insinuations and accusations against Him and to remove any doubt about His character and His government.
It is not just a matter of restoring the image of God. The stakes are much higher. He wants to secure the whole universe against any other rebellion. His purpose is to offer all the saved ones a happy home, a safe eternal life, a world in which sin and its disastrous consequences will no longer occur.
God has already revealed His character at Golgotha when His Son was killed at the instigation of the devil. However, in the end, when all the rebels will be resurrected and stand before Him, like zombies, with their bodies marked by cultivated bad traits, but also by the diseases and infirmities that led them to the grave, they will have the opportunity to explain their choices—why they rejected and accused Him, why they prevented others from following Him, or why they ridiculed and even tortured His witnesses. God wants the truth to be heard from the rebels themselves, who have mocked and rejected Him, and made this world an insecure place, a place of suffering and death.
His ways are right even for His enemies
The history of this planet will end with an open recognition by all of God’s impeccable character and of the correctness of His actions. The words of the psalmist accurately describe the confessions that will take place then: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).
All who are lost, whether slaves or masters, soldiers or generals, poor or rich, will admit that God is right and that they perish despite the fact that He did everything to save them. In the end, even the instigator of all, who will no longer have any support or sympathy from those whom he has deceived, will recognize the justice of God’s cause.
The history of sin, rebellion, and death will end with the dispelling of any doubt or suspicion about God, so that the world to come will never again experience the tragedy we are experiencing now.
“Trouble will not come a second time” (Nahum 1:9), because the exposure of the character and consequences of sin, on the one hand, and the revelation of the Creator’s righteousness, on the other, will function as a “vaccine” to immunise the universe against rebellion, disorganisation, and chaos.
Sin will be destroyed for ever, along with its supporters, and harmony will be established on the new Earth, recreated by God in its initial beauty and purity. The apostle John heard the echo of a hymn sung by the saved, celebrating the way in which God chose to handle the drama of sin: “Just and true are your ways” (Revelation 15:3).
In the future, every knee will bow in acknowledgement of the justice and love with which our eternal Father has treated us, but this confession will either be pulled from us by sharp regrets or will spring forth from the joy of having chosen in time the One who chose us first. This ultimate acknowledgement lies in the future, but the choices leading to how we will one day recognize the beauty of His character are made today.