THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING

CLAUSE 25

“That the unfaithful will be consigned to shame and ‘the second death’, and the faithful, invested with immortality, and exalted to reign with Jesus as joint heirs of the kingdom, co-possessors of the earth, and joint administrators of God’s authority among men in everything.- Matthew 7:21; 8:12; 25:31-46; Daniel 12:2; Galatians 1:8; 5:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; Hebrews 10:26-29; 2 Peter 2:12; Revelation 21:8; Malachi 4:1; Psalm 37:29-38; Proverbs 10:25-30; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4; James 1:12; Romans 2:7; John 10:28; Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:9,22,29; Revelation 5:9; Daniel 7:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 3:21; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10; Psalm 49:7-9; Luke 22:29,30″

In our considerations of Clause 24, we saw how the “responsible,” that is, those who are considered accountable to judgment by Christ, are those “who know the revealed will of God, and have been called upon to submit to it”. They shall appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give account of themselves and to be rewarded according to their deeds (Rom. 14:10; 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:10). Clause 25 now brings our attention to the consequences of that judgment; either blessedness for the accepted, or cursing to the rejected.

THE UNFAITHFUL

“The unfaithful will be consigned to shame and ‘the second death’”. The allusion here, is to two passages of Scripture, which we shall consider in turn; the first being Daniel chapter 12:

“… many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”

Of those who emerge from the dusty beds where they have lain for perhaps thousands of years, there will be those who rise to shame and contempt. The word for “shame” is used 72 times in Scripture, including Isaiah 47:3, where it is used for the shame experienced at being stripped naked: “Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.”

The rejected are those who sought to enter into the marriage supper wearing the incorrect attire (Mat. 22:11,12). That is to say, they were not clothed with garments of righteousness, but rather garments spotted by the flesh. These shall experience great shame, as their sinfulness becomes exposed for all to see. Here is the warning of Messiah: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Rev. 16:15). We must take heed to these words whilst time remains, that we might be ready for our Master when he comes.

The second passage being alluded to in the BASF (“the second death”) is Revelation chapter 21:

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

In the lake of fire portrayed here, we have a symbol of total destruction. The closest thing in nature to a lake of fire, is the larva which flows from a volcano, destroying everything in it’s path. Here is utter annihilation, into which all forms of ungodliness shall eventually descend. It is styled the second death, for those cast into it have already died once before. They have been raised from death to appear before Messiah that their deeds might be made manifest, and they are to be severed from the company of the just ones (Mat. 13:49), and cast into the apocalyptic lake of fire (cp Heb 10:27), to utterly perish (2 Pet. 2:12) in the terrible judgments which are coming upon the earth.

THE RIGHTEOUS

But concerning the righteous, it is written that the second death shall have no power over them:

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the ecclesias, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev. 2:11).

Being raised and approved by their Master, they shall be granted Immortality, that they might die no more. The second death shall not hurt them; rather their mortal bodies shall be made like unto the most glorious body of their Elder Brother (Phil. 3:21), and they, being united with him, shall continue as “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17) throughout the ages to come. “We shall all be changed”, testified the Apostle Paul, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). And the Apostle John likewise: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jno 3:2; cp Ps. 17:15). Being conformed to the Image of Yahweh’s Son, they shall inherit the glory prepared for them from the foundation of the earth.

The faithful are described by the BASF as being: “joint heirs of the kingdom, co-possessors of the earth, and joint administrators of God’s authority among men in everything”. They are “joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), for they have been baptised into Christ, and therefore “heirs according to the promise” made to Abraham (Gal. 3:29). The principle enshrined within all the many promises made to Abraham was that he should be the “heir of the world”. And that promise is not something that can be earned, like wages can be—it is a gift of grace: “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt” (Rom. 4:4), whereas “the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13). Those who share Abraham’s faith shall be counted heirs, and they shall inherit the earth with Christ, even as he promised: “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Mat. 5:5).

Being co-possessors of the earth with Messiah, the faithful will also be “joint administrators” with him. This is the promise given to those who overcome:

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21).

The throne referred to here, is the ancient Davidic seat of power restored, for it was said of Christ even before he was born, that “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Lu. 1:32). Those who overcome shall sit with him in that throne—that is to say, they shall share the power and authority that this throne represents. As Paul exhorted his son in the faith, Timothy: “it is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him …” (2 Tim. 2:12). They shall be part of the immortal multitude who shall sing a new song to the Lamb, saying:

“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9,10).

Here is a most glorious prospect placed before us. All of Humanity is, in the ultimate sense, composed of only two classes: the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent. The seed of the serpent shall only inherit destruction, as they shall be removed from the face of the earth, and even the memory of them shall be forgotten. But the destiny of the woman’s seed, is that they shall inherit eternal life. These are they who seek after glory and honour and immortality (Rom. 2:7), who “seek first” the Father’s Kingdom and righteousness (Mat. 6:33) above all else in life.

It behoves us therefore, to decide which class we are to fall into, and act accordingly. Do we sow according to the flesh? Then, of the flesh, we shall reap corruption. That much is a certainty (Gal. 6:8). But if we sow according to the Spirit; if we so to the Spirit, and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), then we shall reap life everlasting – that much is of equal certainty (Gal. 6:8). The decision, at the last, is ours.

Christopher Maddocks