Outer Darkness, by Rick Sterling

When I write an article, I try to pick a topic that is important and useful to the reader. I understand that topics of doom and gloom, or judgment and death, are not topics that garner much interest because most people shy away from subjects they would rather not think about. I have always been of this opinion; learn what you need to know for your salvation and put it into practice, then the dreadful judgments of God will not affect you. Subjects such as ‘the outer darkness’, ‘bowls of wrath’, and the ‘lake of fire’ are not necessarily stepping stones or waypoints to follow to the kingdom of God. On the other hand, if it were not important for us to know about the judgments, then God would have omitted this information from His testimony.
Have you ever asked yourself this question; who exactly are the wicked, or what makes one wicked? In Noah’s day the wickedness of mankind had come to the point where there thoughts and actions were evil continually. They were beyond the reach of salvation, therefore they were all destroyed in the great flood. Noah was the only righteous person left in that generation. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire from the heavens, because of their great wickedness. Lot and his daughters were the only survivors, of this destruction, and they survived because of they were forewarned to leave the city, and they left. The experts on the Law, the scribes and Pharisees, willfully rejected the testimony of the Son of God, because what Jesus said was not in alignment with their preferred theology. The Son of God told them they were wicked and they scoffed at Him; they just ‘knew’ that they were righteous and that He was full of sin, and that He was working for Satan.
There are two conditions that need to be realized before the dreadful judgments of God are “poured out”. The first condition is that of the Antediluvian world and the inhabitants of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain. This is the condition where the wickedness has completely taken control of the heart and mind of every inhabitant. With their hearts perfectly hardened to righteousness there was no other alternative for them but for their total and complete destruction. The second condition is where all inhabitants of earth have had an opportunity to choose between the truth and righteousness, or lies and wickedness. The Son of God began the process for the final judgment when He personally testified to the truth. When He returned to His Father He commanded His disciples to teach the people of the world to obey all that He had commanded (Matt. 28:19-20).
The evil one may have had his own judgment sealed but he has not been thwarted in his efforts to deceive mankind. The Son of God told a parable about a sower who sowed good seed (wheat) in His field and then left. Shortly thereafter an enemy scattered darnel seeds among the wheat. Both were allowed to grow together, thus protecting the wheat from being uprooted along with the darnel. The time of the harvest is the end of days. The darnel was gathered first, bundled together and piled up to be burned; the wheat was gathered into the barns. In this parable the pile of darnel represented the wicked who are IN the Kingdom of the Heavens. In other parables there are similar comparisons: the five foolish bridesmaids; the unclean fish, in the dragnet; the guest without the marriage garment. All represent those who answered the invitation to enter the Kingdom, but lack the required qualities.
There are three separate issues that come before a final judgment. The first is the judgment of the trustworthy and sensible bondservant (Matthew 24:42-51). This involves those who serve in the household of the King, the Son of God. The aforementioned servant is at work feeding his fellow servants their food that will prepare them for what will follow soon after. The servant is judged upon his patient endurance and faithfulness, faithfulness to his Master, and to his fellow servants. If this bondservant is trustworthy, the outcome of this judgment for the head of the house is that he will be put in charge over everything God owns. However, if he is untrustworthy he is assigned a place with the hypocrites in the outer darkness. This servant (and his fellow servants) are the group identified as 144,000; they are described in Revelation chapters 3 – in the message to Philadelphia; and in chapters 7; and 14. The second issue involves the Kingdom of the Heavens. The account of the bridesmaids, and related parables, describes the important of being ready to enter the marriage feast. There is a huge difference between saying you are ready, and actually being ready. The foolish bridesmaids said they were ready; they had their lamps so what more did they need? Oil. The foolish bridesmaids were not allowed to enter the marriage feast, and were cast out into the outer darkness. The third issue is the judgment of the world/nations. This takes place during the six trumpets, and concludes with the sound of the seventh trumpet. The outcome of this issue for those who did not receive the mark of the beast, or worship his image, is to be taken into the heavens, where they are shown as standing around the “sea of glass” before the throne of God. Those who worshiped the beast and received his mark will experience the judgments of the seven bowls of the wrath of the Almighty.
A significant fact stands out in all of this: time and time again throughout history the majority of religious leaders, priests, pastors, theologians, evangelists, and scholars, have chosen the side of darkness, the odds are high, that this will continue in the last days. The Son of God has revealed though His testimony that the true witness, this trustworthy and sensible bondservant who will begin the work that will result in the restoration of God’s glory throughout the whole world, is one person, and individual, and can be compared to one such as the prophet Elijah. The Son of God called the religious leaders of His day, hypocrites. A hypocrite is a professional actor, and is an expert in their profession. Religious hypocrites are in the darkness, and unless they leave their profession, they will never get out of the dark. ALL religious practice of ALL religions maintains this darkness. These religions maintain the darkness by insuring that all worshipers practice faith. Faith is the universal requirement of ALL religions because faith allows you to believe a lie, because lies are darkness; after all, what is faith if not believing in that which you cannot see. There is only one condition in which you cannot see, and that is darkness. If you are worshiping in faith, by faith, you are (by definition) in darkness. Most Christians believe that God will reward their faith, but this is just not so. God rewards faithfulness; and faithfulness/trustworthiness is not the same as faith/belief. Faithfulness to God is the continuing practice of righteousness. Think about it. Faith allows you to believe, worship, and practice a lie, with the assurance that you will not be held accountable at the judgment. By this kind of faith you can believe that your faith will allow you to circumvent judgment and pass through into the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that some think right, but it leads in the end to death.

Matthew 7:21-23 It is not those who say to me “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you who practice lawlessness!”

My purpose in sharing this information with you is to tell you that God is the great, honest, and righteous judge. And make no mistake He is a judge, and He will pass judgment in the future, just as He has in the past. The words of the Evil One continue to echo from the Garden of the Paradise of God, these words of the ancient serpent continue to hiss this bald faced lie to the world today just as they did then; “If you disobey God, He will not put you to death”. It is of utmost importance that we are not fooled by the words of the ancient serpent; God gives life and God takes life. History testifies to the fact that it is the righteous that are allowed to continue to have life when the judgments of God are poured out on the sons of man. God has shown us the way to righteousness, through the witness and testimony of His Son. We must learn from His example and live according to the words of His testimony; because time is fast running out!

Rick Sterling

4 thoughts on “Outer Darkness, by Rick Sterling

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