Second Chance

This chapter came about as a result of the last thirty years of Bible reading and study. Over the years, a lot of things stood up off the pages of the Bible and caught my eye, that I had questions about. This chapter is going to be offensive to most conservative Christians, but I think they/you should carefully read it and consider the possibilities of a point that I don’t want to appear to be dogmatic about. I am still in the questioning mode because I was not a believer in the Second Chance theory in my early Christian beginnings. I was taught: do not pass go, do not collect $200.00, you are on your way to hell, if you don’t believe – which is basically true, but it is a little deeper than that.

We have all, most likely, wondered at one time or another, what happens to a person when they die. Do we go into the grave and sleep? Do we go directly to heaven?

We of the faith have wondered what happens to seemingly “good” people that never heard about Christ or for some reason refused, neglected or otherwise failed to accept Christ as their saviour.

The hard-liners among the faithful say that they go to hell anyway, because there is no excuse for not hearing the Word, and accepting Christ.

Is there any forgiveness of sins in or from the grave, or is everything we do concerning salvation set in cement while in this life?

When we consider Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” we tend to think of physical death as being the end. Most certainly, it is, to life on this earth and the sinning and repenting that one would tend to do while in the flesh. I think the words “the judgment,” tend to be talking in terms of the judgment of the end times rather than in a person by person case just after a person’s death here on earth.

What we do while on this earth seals our rewards and our status during the thousand-year reign and heaven. What becomes of the non-Christian or disobedient Christian, after the thousand-year reign depends on what they do (in the way of repenting) while they’re sitting it out (please keep reading). Not many people think there is repenting after death, but remember that the spirit does not die upon death of the body. What is it doing? Is it awake? Is it sleeping? Is it sitting at the feet of Jesus? Is it visiting with family members that preceded it in death? What does it mean when it says someone was gathered unto his people? In the case of the unsaved, is it in a holding cell until judgment day? Hopefully the following scriptures will give us the answers.

To help answer these questions I would like to quickly insert several scriptures: 1 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Romans 14:12, “so then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

These all point to the same truth. These three scriptures as well as Hebrews 9:27 say nothing about death being the end of spiritual life. It only speaks of physical life and the things done or not done (to the benefit of Christ) while living that life.

When the hard-liners, to the Second Chance theory condemn it, they say if you die without Christ, you are damned to hell. Remembering that hell (where the rich man was) is the grave – look up damned, in the Greek. Most of the words have to do with: to judge against, decide, punish, go to law, tribunal, etc. There is a word that means ruin, loss, destruction, die, perish, but it is not the one that deals with the statement: damned to hell!

If I am right about the Second Chance, this will fit the historical pattern of God’s punishment of the nations. Countries like Israel went into captivity for their sins and when that period of punishment was over they were released. They may have not gotten much better, but they were released. The same thing happened to Russia and the countries around it. They went into 70 years of captivity under communism and now that they have been released they go on with life, such as it is. They didn’t seem to learn much and they didn’t appear to repent of their national sins. They weren’t only cursed with communism but they were cursed without “teachers” telling them why they were there and how to act once they got out. God made sure of that via an atheistic government.

In most of the professing churches today, there are a lot of people doing or believing something that isn’t in the Bible. Whether it is celebrating a pagan celebration in the name of Christ or not believing that he arose physically from the dead – a lot of people will have a lot to answer for in the hereafter. If in turn, a person who misses the kingdom age will be let into heaven, they will be a much-improved person. They will have a thousand years to repent and get right with God. Let’s remember that Moses didn’t get into the promised land (See: Deut. 32:49-52, below.) Please also remember that the White Throne Judgment is after the thousand-year reign. Death and Hell (Hades – place (state) of departed souls) are thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” I think it is reasonable to surmise that when a person passes from life to death, that they will be in a similar state of existence as the rich man of Luke 16, and would put off the concerns of the world and attend to the things that really matter. We also have to remember that there are people in the kingdom that are going to follow Satan when he is released from his prison. So why are these people deserving of the kingdom and the others not deserving of heaven after they have suffered a thousand years loss and hopefully repented?

When death and hell are cast into the lake of fire, those spirits have no place to dwell and if they didn’t repent while in Hades, to be resurrected to life in heaven, they will most certainly be resurrected to the lake of fire, wherein only their spirits will survive, to be cast into outer darkness and barred from the holy city.

We Christians should rejoice at the possibility of the Second Chance for all those that were basically good, and for whatever reason didn’t believe. For all those that are critics of the Second Chance, don’t be like the early Jews were towards us Gentiles in Acts 11:2-3; 13:45-51; 21:18-40; 22:21-23. They thought we had no business receiving the blessings of God. That is because they didn’t see the scriptures that dealt with the up-coming salvation for the Gentiles. The path through the thousand-year sit out period (while the kingdom is in process) will not be pleasant… nor will it be short. There will no doubt be lots of (spiritual) tears shed. I’m convinced there is going to be a lot more people in heaven than most people believe, but I also believe there is going to be a lot less people in the kingdom (thousand year reign) than we think.

The scriptures that I’ll put in this text hopefully will prove that when it comes to individuals who have died, the grace of God will extend through our particular problems and reasons for not obeying God’s voice, whether it relates to salvation or obedience to God’s will. I have to stress that repentance the first time around is most important. You want to be a first round draft pick. The second round has no power. You will not enter the thousand-year reign if you put God off or are living a carnal life. We know that those who receive the resurrection body will be as the angels. That new body will not be subject to the things that this one is subject to.

Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Here, in the case of Cain, God gave him a chance to do good if he only would.

Deuteronomy 9:16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you.

This is something we, even as Christians can do. Remember Galatians 1:6, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”

Deuteronomy 9:25-26
25. Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the Lord had said he would destroy you. 26. I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

Even the people of the covenant could have been destroyed because of their sin, but because of God’s long suffering, they weren’t.

Deuteronomy 32:49-52
49. Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: 50. And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: 51. Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribahkadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. 52. Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

Now we are getting into the meat of the subject of the SECOND CHANCE. Notice how Moses didn’t get to go into the promised land, because of a transgression. There is a parallel between the promised land and the kingdom or thousand-year reign. Moses fits exactly into the category of Luke 12:47-48 (many stripes-few stripes). I find myself wondering if this example represents the separation that happens to the Christian that is not worthy to “escape” the tribulation of Luke 21:36, which I believe to be the Church of Philadelphia. Also please notice in Deut. 32:50, that Moses was about to be gathered unto his people as Aaron was gathered unto his people. Were Moses’s people different than that of Aaron’s and other Hebrew patriarchs?

Revelation 20:4 says that those that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus lived with Christ a thousand years and those that didn’t, (vs. 5), lived not again until the thousand years were finished. Are these people that didn’t live in the thousand-year reign on their way to eternal hell (separation from God) or the lake of fire (separation from their body)? Or, do they fit the pattern of Jonah, (repenting upon death?) which I will discuss a little later. Verse 6 says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power…, (privilege). The question has to be; who are those that are written in the book of life and at what point did they get there? Rev. 13:8 says, that the names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. We have to remember that God has foreknowledge of everything; therefore the names are in the book because He knew what they would do in the way of repentance, whenever it would be exercised (before or after death).

Those who repent after death will have to “sit out” the thousand year reign, and will be resurrected at the “white throne judgment.” I think this “sitting out” is similar to what the Roman Catholics call “Purgatory.” If this “sitting out” period is carried out in God’s way, the people’s names could very well be in the book of life. One should read all the references to the Book of Life either in the Bible itself or in Naves Topical Bible. There is more to it than the preachers have been revealing.

The first criticism people will have of this repenting possibility is, that anyone so suffering will repent so they will escape the lake of fire. If this is true, God knows whether they really repent or not, and wouldn’t it really be great if they could get to heaven – remembering that they will probably have few rewards. But the other side of the coin, is that God, as told in Matthew 10:28 is able to destroy the body and the soul of anyone who He knows that is not sincere. Pharaoh is just one example of God being able to harden the heart of a person to their own destruction. Other examples are those in Revelation 9:18-21 where they were under severe judgment and still repented not.

It seems to me that since Israel will be given a Second Chance in Ezekiel 37:1-14 (vision of dry bones), and the angel that flies through the midst of heaven in Revelation 14:6-7 preaching the everlasting gospel to those that were worthy of going through the middle of the tribulation, that the ignorant people of today could be given another chance because some of God’s witnesses have caused more harm to the gospel than good and failed to get God’s message to those people.

1 Kings 8:39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)

This ties very well into the above, and the up coming scriptures in Jonah. God knows our hearts. He knows how we would have turned out if we had been raised in a truly Christian environment. The fact that we may not have been, could have directly caused our turning to sin rather than God. This also fits Luke 12:48 very well. This concerns getting few stripes because the servant knew not his Lord’s will.

2 Chronicles 30:18-20
18. For a multitude of the people,…had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon every one 19. That prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. 20. And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.

2 Chronicles 33:11-13
11. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 12. And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13. And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.

These last two are another example where God bent the rules and is a historical example of a Second Chance and God’s grace.

Nehemiah 9:18-20
18. Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocation’s; 19. Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. 20. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.

What a tremendous example of God’s mercy, grace and long suffering. If He so blessed the disobedient, why not the ignorant.

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

I will have you read this verse from the New American Standard Bible. “The wicked will return to Sheol,.” If you look into the Hebrew meaning of “turned,” it has the idea of, to turn back or back again. When you read (below) “not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point,” you have to remember that we didn’t start there. We had to die and go to the grave and be resurrected before we could return or go back again. There are at least twelve (12) different meanings to the word, “turned.” Strong’s meaning-7725 (the underline is my emphasis.) shuwb (shoob); a primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again:

KJV– ([break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep]) X again, (cause to) answer (+again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call [to mind], carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back), X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get [oneself] (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), [go] out, hinder, let, [see] more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.
***. Shuwba’el. See 7619.

Look up this verse in the commentary(s) of your choice. They will either say nothing or just allude to what the verse has already said. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, says,”…retreating under God’s vengeance, and driven by Him to the extreme of destruction, even hell itself.” This is saying that we have the choice. Either by suicide or by way of an escape path. I really don’t think you can get that interpretation from verse 17. Once people know that there is a life beyond this life, they will make sure they don’t volunteer to go there. They will be “returned” there if they don’t play by God’s rules. If being there is a better place to be, than with God and He lets them go; where is the justice? If suicide is an escape into sleep; where is the justice? Where is the regret? Where is the repentance? Once to die and then the judgment, does not say, once to die and then Hell. Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (emphasis mine) Notice the word judgment in the Greek: 2920 krisis (kree’-sis); decision (emphasis mine) (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law): KJV– accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment. You will be judged for what you did in the flesh.

Psalms 22:24,26-29
24. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 26. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations. 29. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

These scriptures reach into the kingdom and He is truly the governor among the nations. Verse 29 seems to reach ahead to Luke 16 and the story about the rich man. At any rate, we are truly in His hands. “All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him:” cannot be without deep significance.

Psalms 69:33 For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.

God chastens those whom He loves, Hebrews 12:6. 2 Timothy 2:19 declares, “the Lord knoweth them that are His.” That includes these prisoners. We as Christians can sin unto death, as divine chastening. As mentioned in Once Saved Always Saved, if, while we are being chastened, we deny Him, He will deny us. Like Jonah, God will hear their prayers from the grave; if they were truly His, He will know if they were like the prodigal son. The trouble is that they will have to truly repent.

Psalms 101:8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

I, as well as some others, think this is speaking of the kingdom. There is plenty of time for God to get rid of those that don’t want to follow His program. People of today have too many distractions and too many religious people tugging and pulling on them, showing them the way to go; but in the kingdom it will be Christ only. If you reject him, you reject life.

Psalms 118:18 The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

David received the same Second Chance on earth that Job experienced, as have many of us, no doubt.

Psalms 130:1-4
1. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. 2. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. 3. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4. But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

This language is similar to the second chapter of Jonah. This ties into Psalms 22: (above).

Psalms 139:7-8,12,15
7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

David and Jonah both knew the truth of verses 7-8. God is everywhere all the time. He knows our thoughts and words whenever or wherever they are uttered. To Him, one thousand years are as one day (2 Peter 3:8), or the light and darkness are the same vs. 12; we should not limit His power (as shown in vs. 15) when we consider the issue of life after death and the dealings of God with His people.

Psalms 145:18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

After death I’ll guarantee you we’ll know more about truth than ever before. People killing themselves the first time, would probably not try it again the second time if they had a chance to come back from the dead. Paul says, “we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.”

Let’s not forget; this calling out to Him will not be accepted if it’s done with the idea of simple escape in mind. God is more than capable to reveal Himself to those mentioned in this verse at the time of their death, so they, like Jonah, can call out to God as they are departing their flesh and/or any time God allows. This can happen to Christians as evidenced by what happened to those mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:30, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. If their weak and careless life offended God enough for Him to smite them, we should take it as an example to straighten up our lives before their remains no more remedy, short of the fiery furnace, which is the tribulation or Hades itself.

Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

I have to refer back to the thought that God knows exactly how we would have turned out if we were raised in the ideal Christian environment. God knows the heart of man, and certainly what we do (in the sinful sense) can be attributed to the way we were raised. We will still answer for the sins committed in the body but as for the dying process, God is able to sort out genuine repentance. Proverbs 19:25 says, “Smite the scorner, and the simple will beware:… God knows what each person will do if he /she is not influenced by “scorners,” like the Devil for instance. I think the following scripture tends to back up God’s foreknowledge of who, and/or, what we are.

Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

The Spirit of God knows more about us than we do. That same Spirit can call us out to God before death, during death and Jonah even teaches, after death. Only God knows the timing of that call, according to what we deserve.

Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

I like this one because it, like so many other scriptures, shows God’s long suffering to Israel in their many ups and downs. I think it’s good to remember that Israel is a grand example on how God will treat the rest of the world in its ups and downs.

Isaiah 22:13-14
13. And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die. 14. And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts.

I have to refer back in the text to Psalms 145:18, and the comment concerning 1 Cor. 11:30. We are our own worst enemies because God is obligated to punish sin – spiritual and physical. In the case of Isaiah 22:13 this spiritual infection that causes people to not believe in or be concerned with the afterlife deserves special judgment. If the Chaldee is correct or more correct: “It shall not be forgiven you till you die the second death,” it falls in perfectly with Moses not getting to enter the promised land (which I think is the equivalent of the up coming kingdom) but he (man) will enter heaven. But on the other hand, if the lake of fire is the Second Death, (Rev. 20:14) their spirits may be the only part of the living soul entering heaven, and with that, not being able to fully enjoy all the blessings of heaven, as in entering the holy city possibly.

I believe the disobedient could have to “sit out” the kingdom but will inherit heaven if they have humbled themselves in the thousand-year “sit out” period. It should also be pointed out that this, “Let’s eat and drink; for tomorrow we die,” philosophy, could also be responsible for numerous suicides on the part of the hopeless feeling that people get when they think we are going through this life alone, and that nobody cares. This is made manifest in such statements as, “there must not be a God because of all the hunger, wars, etc.”

Eve was deceived by the Devil and so are we today. Adam and Eve were kicked out of paradise, but they will be in heaven. I believe that we can miss out on the thousand-year reign (the kingdom) and still obtain heaven. If we do not overcome Satan’s lies, and miss the kingdom, we will have a thousand years to contemplate our sins and repent to God before we get to the white throne judgment. It is important to remember that we will receive rewards and judgments according to what we did before death.

Isaiah 24:21-22
21. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.

I don’t know what you think about this passage but it kind of sounds like what I have been saying. Look up the word “visited” in Hebrew. It means to visit in either friendly or hostile intent. By analogy oversee, muster, charge, care for,… etc.

Isaiah 29:24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Those that weren’t raised right should really have the chance to see if the “true” path is what they want to reject. Most of this world was raised by people that accepted some form of pagan government and/or religion that served Satan rather than God. They had a terribly clouded view of who God is and what He expected. This also goes for many TV preachers.

Isaiah 42:6-7
6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7. To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

This is looking primarily from the past to the future. Israel was our example and the law was our schoolmaster. See: Galatians 3:24-29. Notice verse 28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the focal point of all past and future Biblical history. When a person finally comes to accept this fact is when he/she is set free from that prison house. I believe this is also speaking of the place where the “rich man” was abiding after death.

Jeremiah 2:6 Neither said they, Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?

This is a classic example of why we (believers) must not let the, eat, drink and be merry crowd, get away with their “godless” philosophy. It’s pretty hard to repent to a God that you don’t believe in. The whole idea of judgment is to bring the people back to God, not to “encourage” them to kill themselves because of hopelessness.

This reminds me of Luke 16:31, where Abraham says to the rich man,…”If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” And, John 20:29, …”Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” These people happened to believe that there was a God but they still had major problems. And again, 1 Peter 1:7-9 concerning the trial of our faith and the fact that we have not seen Christ face to face but still love Him, and receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls. Imagine what it must be like for those that don’t believe in God at all.

This also reminds me of Ezekiel 37:11, where the people that believed in God at one time but uttered…”Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost:”…

Ezekiel 11:19-21
19. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21. But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God.

According to Ezekiel 37:1-14, (11) the whole house of Israel will be restored for the kingdom. But as for those mentioned in vs. 21, God will know what to do with and to them according to what they deserve and I think it will be a “sitting out” of the kingdom blessing with the white throne judgment to follow that. Only God knows those who reject Him, and He has known that from eternity past.

All this that has gone on, is going on and will go on, is not done for God or for His benefit, but for ours. We can and will see that God is sovereign and we will see His power just as Pharaoh did.

Ezekiel 37:1-14
1. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2. And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. 4. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 7. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14. And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.

This is the whole meat and potatoes of the SECOND CHANCE idea. The parts I really want to bring out are in verses 11-14. In verse 11, the whole house means the whole house. Opening the graves and putting them in the land of Israel (12) means just what it says. That means the old borders of Israel. Verses 13-14 simply tell what other books of the Bible have declared concerning the restoration of Israel. These people are not going to be in their “resurrection body” but the natural body.

I find myself wondering when this will be. Will it be sometime before the tribulation or will it mark the beginning of the great tribulation, with the survivors going into the kingdom? Would not Israel claiming their old borders (because of the need for land) and expelling the inhabitants, cause the nations of the world to do to them what happened to Sadam Hussein when he went into Kuwait? Could not this “land grab” be the cause of the treaty (Dan. 9:27) to be broken?

The thought comes to me that if Israel deserves a Second Chance, why wouldn’t the rest of the world? What better place to receive that chance than the one thousand year “sit out,” while the deserving are enjoying the kingdom blessings. If they refused to repent after all that, they surely deserve the lake of fire that follows the white throne judgment and to spend eternity as a bodiless spirit in outer darkness. This “natural resurrection” (Ezekiel 37) is further confirmed in Matthew 27:52-53.

Daniel 12:1-2
1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

That time of trouble is the (world wide) tribulation. Everyone that shall have their name in the book shall be delivered. (2) Many of them that sleep…shall awake. I find myself wondering why it didn’t say, all of them that slept in the dust…shall awake, which will happen someday. Could this be speaking of the Ezekiel 37 resurrection because John 5:28-29 says, …”all that are in the graves shall hear His voice”…”good unto the resurrection of life”…”evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” There must be a difference between the two resurrections. Could some of the many in vs. 2, have gone direct into the lake of fire and will avoid any of the resurrections?

Also take note of the word, damnation. In the Greek it reads: decision, for or against. A tribunal; justice. It does not say eternal separation (at this point).

Jonah 2:1-7
1. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, 2. And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. 7. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

If Ezekiel 37 is the meat and potatoes of the Second Chance, this has to be the gravy. This most certainly speaks of a Second Chance to do the task that God set before Jonah, but it goes beyond that.

When you look at the whole passage, I think it’s fair to say that the verses strongly indicate that Jonah died. When he was praying out of the fishes belly it was his spirit.

The book of Jonah teaches several things. It was a sign to the people of Jesus’ day – the only sign they would be given concerning the day of judgment, and it teaches resurrection; but moreover, it teaches the SECOND CHANCE. The ordeal that Jonah went through was not easy – it was severe judgment. He was thrown into the stormy waters and at some point in time, was swallowed by a great fish and either drowned before or after entering the fish (I think before).

Jonah was given a Second Chance to take the message to Nineveh, and based on his change of heart, he was vomited out on the dry land to complete that task. Jonah became very cooperative after this incident. In Luke 16:19-31 we are given a glimpse of what Hades is like. It, like in the book of Jonah, seems to be a place where there is thinking and talking. It does not say that the rich man repented but it does not say that he didn’t either. If God would give him a humble heart, (and it sounds like he was very humbled), I believe he could repent just like Jonah did. We also have to remember that where he was, is where he was going to stay, for whatever period of time, and he knew it. He didn’t ask for himself to be able to go back and warn his brothers, but he was very concerned about his brothers joining him in that place. He was finally thinking about someone other than himself.

Micah 7:9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

Who of us has not qualified for this position sometime in our life? For those of us who are Christians, it is only by God’s grace we are where we are today. There are as many reasons as there are people as to why we don’t come to the Lord. In this verse it is the repentant remnant speaking out as looking for the restoration.

Matthew 18:21-22
21. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

This is certainly God’s pattern and practice. He gave us 1 John 1:9, and He expects us to use it.

Matthew 27:52-53
52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

As mentioned in the text of Ezekiel 37, this also is a resurrection to the natural body and not the one we receive when we meet the Lord in the air at the end of the tribulation. I am in disagreement with most Bible scholars, but I don’t see the resurrected going to heaven in the ascension (Acts 1:6-11). I believe they died again at some point in time, were buried and presently await the resurrection at the end of the tribulation – and this by virtue of the fact that they set themselves apart from the other Israelites because they believed in Christ and/or were covered by the same saving faith as Abraham had. Daniel 12:2-3 seems to teach this probability in that they of the Matthew 27 resurrection, were witnesses to those of Jerusalem. This also corresponds with Ezekiel 37. These saints however, will be resurrected in their heavenly bodies next time and they will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel with other such saints.

Luke 3:3-9
3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4. As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 7. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Verse 5 is definitely talking about the last days. When verse 6 says, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God,” what does “all” mean? This passage is talking to all generations. At this point I would like to add Isaiah 52:10. “The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” I think this ties in very well with Luke 3:5-6 and other such “last day scriptures.” There is a lot more going on here than we are being taught in the modern day churches.

Luke 20:35-38
35. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. 37. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

This is to those that make it to the resurrection of the new body and will be living in the thousand-year reign. The spirits that don’t obtain the above-mentioned status are still alive even though their body is dead. They will still be alive after the resurrection at the white throne judgment when they are reunited with their body and are thrown into the lake of fire. It is my wishful hope that they will be able to repent, like Jonah, and at least enter heaven by the skin of their teeth. I think all these chapters and verses teach that the way to heaven through this door (skin of the teeth) is not going to be easy. The carnal Christians who were taught by their churches that they would escape the tribulation, (among other false doctrines), will find that going through the tribulation, unprotected (Lk. 21:34-36), will be almost unbearable for those that survive. Those who are not worthy to enter the kingdom outright or through repentance, will find that a thousand years is a long time to wait for something that could have been revealed to them if they had simply studied the Bible or believed the report of those that preached the truth.

Luke 23:42-43
42. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I tied these two scriptures together because I believe they have a lot in common as relates to the subject of the Second Chance. When we sin and realize it, all we have to do is call on the Lord to forgive us. All we have to do is ask and it is done. Just as the thief on the cross asked Jesus to, “remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

I believe after we die, if we have missed the kingdom, we will have 1000 plus years, to repent of the sin(s) that kept us out of the kingdom and be able to reach heaven after the judgment.

John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

Notice that it doesn’t say heaven. There are other scriptures that say the backslider will not enter the kingdom either. But what about heaven?

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

This is the truth that will get us through this life and into the first resurrection. The key to understanding that truth is found in the Bible. Only the Holy Spirit can guide us successfully through it. John 6:40 “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

More truth, speaking of the first resurrection, whereupon those of the second death have no power. Is this “last day” at the white throne judgment or the “last day” just before the rapture? I think it’s the former unless there is a difference between the “last day” for “Christians” and a “last day” for or of the white throne judgment.

Acts 15:16-17
16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

“After this” refers to “In that day” – the day of the Lord, Amos 9:11 (Acts 15:15), at the setting up of the kingdom. The residue in vs. 17 is important. David’s tabernacle will be rebuilt so the residue of men might seek after the Lord. This residue could be carnal Christians or other non Jewish or Christian survivors of the tribulation, who will be on the earth at that time.

This shows the importance of the first resurrection. To be part of the first resurrection, we have to have sought God before our death or will have to have been raptured at the end of the tribulation.

Romans 14:8-12
8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10. But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. I don’t know what this means in terms of “everyone,” over and above what it actually says. I think it means everyone or at least everyone that finally repents. In Revelation 9:20-21, we find people not willing to repent, and I believe those will be good candidates for the lake of fire.

1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

The word “destruction” in the Greek, means ruin or death. Notice that the spirit is still living.

1 Corinthians 6:8-11
8. Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Make no mistake, this is talking to Christians. Verse 11 tells us what we were and how we have and can escape – IF we continue in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

If this is speaking of physical death, we need to ask if this knowledge can then get us to heaven in case we don’t enter the kingdom. What will they be doing during the thousand-year “sit out” period? One thing is for sure – we will know even as we are known.

1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

There is a resurrection coming, so we must stay diligent to the word of God and not carry the godless philosophy of the world.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

This scripture is a blessed promise to those who accept Christ as their Saviour. These people will be a part of the kingdom. They are, if you will, a first round draft pick.

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

The dead will come to know that Jesus is indeed the saviour. Whether it will do them any good or not is dependent upon what they do in the grave with that knowledge. Remember Jonah, remembering the Lord as his prayer came to Him in His holy temple.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

What you do up to the time you die is written, and you are judged and rewarded upon those acts. The Greek word for judgment is as follows: )Strong’s) 2920 krisis (kree’-sis); decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law): KJV– accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.

You can see that the word has to do with a trial, more than the heat of hell. You will be pronounced guilty of what you did or didn’t do.

1 Peter 3:18-20
18. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: 19. By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live. according to God in the spirit.

I know that most conservative commentators will say that this is speaking of the “dead” in trespasses and sins. But I think that other scriptures will show this may not be true. I think we need to consider what 1 Peter 3:18-20 is saying. Did not Christ preach unto those in prison, and to what purpose? Why would He want them (the dead) to live according to God in the spirit if they were going to be cast into outer darkness?

If my comment on 1 Timothy 4:10 is not correct, what can this possibly mean? Most conservative commentators explain this passage by saying that it was the spirit of Christ preaching through Noah, (back then) and not the spirit of Christ preaching to the spirits in prison – like it says. I say, He preached to all the spirits of the people that were likewise disobedient, which also proves that rebellion is the same from generation to generation. If there is a Second Chance, these are the ones that will have to sit out the kingdom age and rightfully so.

Revelation 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

In his comment on this verse, J. Vernon McGee says in part, “Satan is given the key to this long shaft (which evidently is what is called sheol in the Old Testament and hell (hades) in the New Testament). The shaft leads to the abyss where the spirits of the dead of all ages past have gone. This is where the Lord Jesus went to announce the redemption He wrought on the cross.” To what purpose was this announcement if there is no hope of redemption for those in that abyss? He obviously puts a difference between the dead of the ages based on his understanding of Hebrews 9:27, And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:. See my above comment on this verse in the introduction.

Revelation 9:20-21
20. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Some people are not going to repent, no matter what. This is why we don’t have to worry about people getting into heaven who don’t belong there. God, if you will, can harden their hearts. I like the SECOND CHANCE theory because there are too many human factors influencing our behavior and belief patterns that if otherwise removed, would insure more cooperation with the will of God. People are still responsible for their sin and will be punished for them. They will lose their part in the thousand-year reign and rewards in heaven to come.

Revelation 13:8-9
8. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9. If any man have an ear, let him hear.

What is this trying to tell us?

Revelation 14:6-7
6. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7. Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Why is it fair that the ungodly of the end times get such a powerful witness, while the people that lived and died just before this event, didn’t? John 20:29 is for all those who believed the message the first time, without wanting to touch the nail prints or thrust their hands into His side vs. 25, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

I guess the other side of the coin might be considered and the question asked: Is it fair that not all the ungodly of all ages get to go through the tribulation? Then on the other hand, the parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) and the death of the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 may very well teach that principle in the fact that they could be stuck there for a thousand plus years, and/or receive little for their labors.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power,( 1849 exousia (ex-oo-see’-ah); from 1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: KJV– authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.) but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

What this is saying is that those of the second death are tied up in hades and have no capacity for partaking in the thousand-year reign.

The thousand year reign will be several things: For the children of Israel – It will be a time for them to serve God like they should have under Moses and right on through the kings of Israel.

For obedient Christians – It will be a time of blessing when they inherit the earth. One thing about the SECOND CHANCE theory, it has made the Sermon on the Mount more meaningful and relevant to me personally. Christians that are living a careless life should really give heed to the wide and narrow path (Mat. 7:13-14), the cares of this life (Luk. 21:34-36), and getting entangled with the affairs of this life (2 Tim. 2:4).

For the disobedient and unsaved – It will be a time to contemplate how they lived in view of the Sermon on the Mount, repent of sins and wait for judgment of the careless lifestyle that brought them there.

When considering the SECOND CHANCE theory we have to remember, “But for the grace of God, so go I.” All of those who are “in the Lord,” would not be there if it wasn’t for His grace. His grace put us in a home or an environment that made us more receptive to the Christian way of life than others. It is true that anybody can accept or reject Christ and the truth of Christ, but a bad home or educational environment can be a stumbling block, that for whatever reason, caused some to miss the mark that would have otherwise found it.

If you think that you can just repent and get into heaven after missing the kingdom, don’t forget Pharaoh. God hardened his heart about five times and is not shy about taking credit for it. Exodus 10:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:” If he did it to show us His wonders, how much less trouble would it be for Him to smite those who are simply trying to escape what they deserve?

I think that the “dry bones” scriptures (Ezk 37:1-14), Jonah and the fish (Jonah 1 and 2), and the angel preaching the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6), tend to prove without a doubt that there is a “Second Chance.” I think the other examples I have written into this chapter tend to include everybody living being between Ezekiel and Revelation.

Think what you will about the Second Chance theory, but tied with Luke 21:34-36, it just makes more sense than the pre-tribulation rapture. Worthy vs. carnal is a real problem for the church now and in the future. Carnal Christians desire to be rescued from something they don’t deserve to escape; that being the fiery furnace that burns off the dross. The worthy, I consider to be the Church of Philadelphia that was promised to be protected from that hour.

We are being judged by God everyday and taken off this earth for carnal activity concerning the Lord’s supper I think we need to look at the rest of our worldly activities. 1 Cor. 11:29-32, 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

If this could happen to Christians in everyday life, why do we think we should escape what the world deserves when we are doing the same things they are? If you took your first boat ride on the Titanic because it was unsinkable, you made a gross error in judgment. When we do the things the world is doing, we are booking passage on the Titanic.

We are exhorted in Revelation to Come out of her, my people – Rev. 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” “My people,” can be none other than His people and His warning is to come out of her or else. I realize that pre-tribers teach that these are people that were saved during the tribulation, but I think all of the preceding scripture teaches otherwise.