Without Israel there would be no Messiah. Without the Messiah, there would be no Israel.
Without either, there would be no redemption for humanity.
Praise be to our great and glorious God! It is through Israel that Messiah came, and it is to Jerusalem that he will return.
Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem, Israel from the tribe of Judah, through the lineage of King David; the Son of David, a title for the Messiah. He was born of a Jewish virgin, Mary; the Son of Man (born to and for all mankind). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit; the Son of God—as he always has been and always will be.
As indicated in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, God’s panoramic plan for people is in two parts.
(1) His selection of Abraham some 3,800 years ago to be the father of a people who would bring to all nations the Messiah. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the Patriarchs whose descendants became a nation after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage and triumphant entrance in and possession of the Promised Land of Israel. Through the extraordinary world-wide return of Jewish immigrants to this Promised Land and the miraculous rebirth of Israel in 1948, this plan is nearing final fulfillment in our generation.
(2) The coming of Messiah some 2,000 years ago as foretold by Jewish prophets; to create the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts of all who believe and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. And his magnificent return to establish the physical Kingdom of God on earth. The whole earth will be filled with his righteousness, justice, and peace.
God knew from the beginning that when our original parents decided to go their own way and do their own thing, mankind would be incapable of bridging the gulf between Himself and people caused by sin and rebellion against a Holy God. Thus, it was necessary for the Lord to take the initiative.
To provide a place (Israel), a people (the Jews), and a person (Messiah Jesus) for our lost paradise to be restored, beginning with individual redemption from sin and its awful penalty.
Said God the Father about and to His Son, the Messiah:
The Essence of Prophecy
“…For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” (Revelation 19:10b, from the New Living Translation which I cite, unless otherwise noted in my articles). As you’ve probably noticed, this quote is near the top of the Home Page of Eye of Prophecy website.
From the New American Standard Bible, the last part of Revelation 19:10 reads: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
From these or any other translation, the verse is also telling us: Jesus is the essence of prophecy.
Biblical prophecy is a declaration of the end from the beginning, with 100% accuracy in its’ fulfillment. Which is only possible by our Triune God who is the Beginning and the End; First and Last; Alpha and Omega. Which are attributes expressed by the name of God as first given to Moses: I AM. It is the name that contains God’s glory, his very essence. He is everlasting to everlasting. The one who created all things, including time itself. Yet he is above and apart from time.
Jesus confidently used that same name of himself: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!’” (John 8:58).
That is the reason he was crucified—because he said he was/is God, though he had already demonstrated he could do what no other person had ever done, i.e. his multiple miracles. Later, he conclusively proved his bold claim by rising from the dead!
Why is it that so many people casually dismiss, and others outright reject these historical facts? The answer is all too evident. To acknowledge what Jesus said and did (and why … especially on the cross) is to also accept and act on Jesus’s exclusive claim that highlights his Messianic mission on earth to restore people back to God.
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
There is no neutrality with Jesus. Either we believe and receive him as personal Savior, or we don’t. The choice is ours to make, and the consequence is ours to take.
In the first chapter of the last book of the Bible, Jesus declares: “…I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17-18).
Then in the last chapter of the last book, Jesus again announces: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth… He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together… For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself” (Colossians 1:15-17 & 19-20).
Jesus’s Amazing Announcements While on the Cross
Many sermons have been preached; multiple books, articles, and commentaries have been written about Jesus’s words during the six hours that he hung on that cruel cross. Most of the messages and commentary concentrate on one or two of Jesus’s expressions at a time.
We’re going to examine these startling statements in the broader perspective of God’s panoramic plan of salvation.
We all die. Death is a direct result of sin. But we weren’t born only to die. We were born to live and while alive to make the most important decision (by far) of our lives. A decision that is literally a matter of eternal life or eternal death. Not so with Jesus. He was already eternal; yet he was born as a human being for the express purpose of dying. A sacrificial lamb’s death of the righteous for the unrighteous, just for the unjust, innocent for the guilty.
It’s amazing to me that Jesus could or would say anything while on the cross. Even more remarkable: what he said.
It’s clear that he was already weak from the severe beating in the early morning hours that followed a night with no sleep at all. Being nailed to a cross was excruciating. In fact, we get our English word excruciating from crucifixion. The weight of his entire body borne by the nails in his wrists and feet made it (moment by passing moment) more difficult to even breathe, let alone talk.
Each of his seven statements (the divine number of completion and finality) synchronized the very substance of Biblical redemption. Some of his words were direct quotes from Old Testament Messianic prophecies, applied to himself.
Three of these declarations are found in the Gospel of John, three in Luke’s Gospel, and one (the same one) in Matthew and Mark. They will be presented in the order Jesus spoke them. I’m persuaded that this succession parallels the progression of God’s plan of salvation as first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden.
(1) “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)
Jesus had been secretively seized (the religious leaders were afraid to arrest him publicly), illegally tried, unjustly accused, brutally beaten, wrongly sentenced to death, and ruthlessly nailed to a cross like a common criminal. Then maliciously mocked—as if slowly killing him wasn’t enough.
He had every (divine) right to retaliate against those who were killing him. To put them on trial before his Father in heaven, pronounce them guilty, and call for God’s punishment of his accusers and executioners right then and there. Instead, the first words out of his mouth was an intercession for the Jews and Gentiles complicit in his impending death. Astonishing!
Why would Jesus say such a thing? The Jewish and Roman leaders knew exactly what they were doing. What was the underlying meaning of and motive for these wonderful, yet bewildering words?
For the benefit of those watching and listening and for millions down through the ages who would later read the account of his death on the cross and reason, thereof, Jesus was referring to more than just what his accusers were doing to him. That it wasn’t the actual act of killing Jesus—one of many sins they had committed (like all people everywhere) that would condemn them. This astounding request to his Father was in the greater context of what they would do about his death once he arose from the grave three days later. Whether they would fully realize that what they had done ultimately could lead to their redemption (forgiveness) if only they would believe and receive as Savior the very person whom they had murdered.
Jesus was asking his Father to give them the benefit of the (their) doubt, even though the horrific consequence was his very death. The real issue was whether they would continue to deny that Jesus voluntarily had given up his life to save them because he was, in fact, the Son of God … The Messiah.
This goes all the way back to Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden.
They, too, knew exactly what they were doing. What they didn’t contemplate, accept, or know (for sure) is whether God would impose the penalty of death on them, just like He said would happen if they disobeyed Him, i.e. the full consequences of their actions. In fact, they did die, but (like their descendants until the Great Flood) not for hundreds of years. Why? Because the Lord gave them ample time and an all-important second chance to set aside the spiritual component of their death sentence (eternal separation from God) by trusting the Lord’s plan of atonement—through the shedding of innocent blood.
Right then and there in the Garden, God announced this marvelous plan of salvation by telling Satan, as Adam and Eve listened, that a Savior would come from the seed of the woman.
This woman would be Israel in general and Mary in particular.
The seed of the woman was the Messiah. From that first prophecy came hundreds more prophecies pertaining to Israel and her Messiah.
Thus, Jesus’s first poignant words were in keeping with the Triune God’s redemptive plan for mankind, that began in the Garden of Eden. His plea for God’s forgiveness of those who had falsely accused him, unfairly sentenced him, and were mercilessly killing him was tantamount to God withholding his immediate judgment against them. Just as Adam and Eve didn’t die on the spot after eating of the forbidden fruit. Just as Jesus had foregone his power and authority to call a legion of angels to annihilate those who arrested him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus caringly asked his Father to give them a second chance to fully realize that what they were doing (at the time) was part of God’s sovereign plan. Eventually, however, they would have to do something about what they had done.
In the first Gospel message after Jesus returned to heaven (preached by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost), Peter concluded with: “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?'” (Acts 2:36-37).
Because we were all complicit in Jesus’s death, the Apostle Paul wrote:
“…The message is very close at hand. It is on your lips and in your heart. And that message is the very message about faith that we preach. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:8-9).
If after his resurrection from the dead—which proved Jesus is who he said he is—they still did not believe in Him; then their sins, including putting Jesus to death, would not be forgiven. They would have no excuse whatsoever, because they would be guilty of something even worse, of eternal consequence: Persistently refusing to believe that Jesus was, in fact, their Messiah and Savior (accessory after the fact).
Father forgive them… With these incredibly compassionate words, Jesus expressed the very essence of the Triune God, when God the Father (for the second time) revealed his name to Moses.
“The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, ‘Yahweh! (I AM) The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren…’” (Exodus 34:6-7, parenthesis mine).
During Jesus’s trial, do you remember what the people shouted after Pontius Pilate (who knew that Jesus was innocent) literally washed his hands of the whole matter?
“And all the people yelled back, ‘We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!’” (Matthew 27:25).
They knew what they were doing. Yet, if they would later come to their senses, God would forgive them; for this forgiveness was the reason that Jesus allowed them to crucify him.
But so great a salvation available through the Lord’s “unfailing love and faithfulness” was only possible if they fully realized (knew) and acknowledged as Messiah Savior the very one whom they put to death. Ultimately, the guilty in God’s eyes are those who refuse to believe and receive His Son.
“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36).
(2) “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)
Many, both believers and unbelievers, know of this second surprising statement that Jesus made while on the cross. It was more extraordinary evidence that Jesus was thinking of the eternal welfare of those around him; though he was suffering an excruciating death at the hands of his enemies.
As we know, there were two condemned guilty men crucified with Jesus; one on his left, the other on his right. One of them sarcastically mocked Jesus (both did, but the other one came to his senses). Said this criminal: “…So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” (Luke 23:39).
That’s what the Roman soldiers and Jewish religious leaders were also saying aloud. Did this criminal think that the Romans would take him off the cross if he joined most of the crowd as they ridiculed Jesus? Or was he taunting Jesus out of sheer spite? Or both?
“But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God, even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom’” (Luke 23:40-42).
What an unexpected thing for his man to say to Jesus!
Then and there he placed his eternal destiny in Jesus’s hands, by doing the only thing he could do—the only thing any of us can do. He obviously couldn’t be and wasn’t baptized (which is a sign of our salvation, not the means to redemption); nor could he do anything to make up for his sins. He called Jesus by name and put his entire trust in this man who he now realized and believed was the Messiah. It’s obvious that he knew little to nothing about the kingdom. But he knew that this kingdom belonged to and would be ruled by Jesus and would be far better than any man-made domain on earth, because the man said, “your Kingdom.”
Though Jesus had taught frequently about the Kingdom of God / Kingdom of Heaven, not even Jesus’s disciples yet understood that their Teacher’s death (then resurrection) would usher in the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts of all who believed in Him. Or the Kingdom of God that would be established on the earth upon Jesus’s return. Whatever or wherever the Kingdom was, this man desperately wanted to be there with Jesus. For all intents and purposes, he was asking Jesus to forgive him and save him from eternal death.
And that’s exactly what Jesus did; because the request was made with the same kind of faith (trust) that Abraham had, which the Lord credited to Abraham as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).
Faith that produced an eternal perspective on God’s plan for all peoples: “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed by God” (Hebrews 11:10). Faith that God would restore mankind full circle from the paradise lost to a paradise restored—through the once for all substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah, originally promised to Adam and Eve.
Accordingly, Jesus assured the man that he would be with him that very day in paradise. By granting his request, Jesus made it crystal clear that simple trust in God and his remedy for sin—His Son’s sacrifice on the cross—was the only requirement for citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. And in the ensuing Kingdom of God on earth.
(3) “Dear woman, here is your son.… Here is your mother” (John 19:26-27)
Students of Scripture know the context of this emotional announcement of Jesus, and to whom he was speaking. The woman is Jesus’s mother Mary; the son is Jesus’s disciple John, but John was not Mary’s son. The end of verse 27 says: “…And from then on this disciple took her into his home” (to care and provide for her). It’s evident that Mary’s husband, Joseph, had died by now; otherwise there would be no need for someone else to take care of Mary.
The most common commentary on this verse is twofold: (A) Taking care of the needy, especially widows and orphans, as is so often depicted in both the Old and New Testaments. For example: “Sing praises to God and to his name! …His name is the LORD (I AM)—rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows… God places the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:4-6, parenthesis mine).
(B) Instead of selecting one of his half-brothers to care for his (their) mother Mary, Jesus chose John; most likely because John was his beloved disciple, one of the inner-circle three—the other two, Peter and James. Or, because John was the only disciple at the foot of the cross.
These commentaries are accurate and applicable to what Jesus was saying. But I believe there’s more: a profounder relevance.
The value of family cannot be overestimated. As a natural progression of marriage, it is the bedrock institution of civilization. The family is the foundation of communities, cities, states, and nations. Yet, the unity of every family, natural or blended, is temporary. Families are inevitably diminished by children growing up and leaving the household and by death of loved ones. Families are prematurely disrupted and even destroyed by abuse and by divorce.
In addition to solving the sin problem for each of us individually, Jesus also came to establish a whole new family unit.
One that would last forever!
It is the family of God!
And who can belong to this family?
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:10-13, italics for emphasis).
To all even included the Gentiles, which must have stunned the Jews—especially the religious leaders. Later, the Jewish Apostle Paul (a former Pharisee steeped in Judaism) who was radically changed when he, too, became a true child of God, wrote:
“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy (set apart) people. You are members of God’s family. Together (Jew and Gentile), we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21, parenthesis mine).
As precious as the family is to God and is (should be) to people, here is what Jesus said when told that, “…Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you. Jesus asked, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then he pointed to his disciples and said, ‘Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!’” (Matthew 12:47-50).
And what is God’s ultimate will for people? In another scene, we read:
“They replied, ‘We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?’ Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:28-29).
Thus, this new spiritual family of God is the New Covenant outcome of joining God’s original families (descendants of Abraham) with strangers and foreigners through the mediator (Jesus) of the New Covenant that the Lord promised through Jeremiah (Chapter 31). As a result, millions from virtually every race, language, and nation have been born (again) into the family of God.
“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations…. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross and our hostility toward each other was put to death” (Ephesians 2:14-16).
Wrote the Apostle John to believers:
The beginning of this supernatural (born from above) new family of God began with the phenomenal birth of the promised child, Isaac. From whose lineage came the miraculous birth of the final Child of Promise—Messiah Jesus.
(4) “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
This startling statement continues the progression of events that encompassed God’s plan of redemption, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile.
After Jacob’s family (twelve sons) became the nation of Israel, we read more about the problems of God’s chosen people in the Old Testament than any other topic. The main subject is that of the Jews turning from the Lord in favor of pagan man-made gods of wood, stone, and metal … gods that didn’t even exist, except in the minds of the Gentiles, and then the Jews. It was an agnostic abandonment of the Lord their God; who had rescued them from Egyptian slavery, gave them a land flowing with milk and honey, made them into a great nation, and prospered them physically and spiritually.
Was Jesus asking (wondering) why his Father had forsaken him … the reason for it? No, Jesus knew full well the reason. Yet, as the Son of Man (his human side), Jesus was expressing the unbearable thought that his Father God could or would do such a thing.
It was the same action that God took when he judged Israel by abruptly abandoning his people to their enemies (withdrawing his protection). However, after hundreds of years of rebellion, they deserved God’s justice through judgment. So, too, when God severely punished the Gentile nations which had crossed the divine line in their sadistic cold-hearted conquests of Israel.
Though Jesus understood what was happening to him and why, to fully grasp that God had totally abandoned him for that terrible moment in time was more than he could bear. It was worse even than the intense physical pain of the cross. The realty that his Father was judging him in the same fashion that he judged the people of Israel and in the same fashion that God will judge the sins of all those who reject Him and his perfect plan of redemption (through His Son) compelled Jesus to cry out, “Why….”
Why, my Father, must your judgment be so severe?
Though he was completing his mission and doing his Father’s will, it was a cry much like his agony in the Garden before he was arrested. “Abba, Father … everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36).
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).
Consequently, God will never leave or forsake those who have placed their eternal trust in what His Son did for us, in our place.
God totally abandoned his Son and poured out full judgment on him … punishment that we deserve. The extent of which I don’t think even Jesus (as a man) realized would be so enormous until it happened to him. The full extent of which we will never fathom.
(5) “I am thirsty” (John 19:28)
Commentators have rightly discerned that these distressing words of Jesus expressed his humanity as much or more than anything else he said or did, before or on the cross. Jesus, who is Immanuel (God with us) as foretold by the prophets, was incredibly thirsty. Not only from the agonizing trauma inflicted on him, but also because he probably had nothing to drink since the Last Supper, some 20 hours earlier.
Though not nearly as thirsty, we remember that early in his ministry, Jesus stopped at a well in Samaria and said to the woman who was drawing water, “…Please give me a drink” (John 4:7).
“She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’
“Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water’…. ‘But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life’” (John 4:9-14).
At the conclusion of this stirring scene, Jesus plainly told her: “I AM the Messiah!” (Verse 26).
We drink water and we are thirsty again. We eat and are hungry again. Many fill themselves with possessions, pleasures, power, and prestige and are still empty inside.
In the same scene where Jesus told the crowd that the only thing God ultimately requires is that they believe in the one whom he sent, Jesus says:
“…I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty … For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:35 & 40).
As the Son of Man, Jesus was terribly thirsty on the cross—part of his severe suffering for our sins. But because of his great love for you and me and his dying (and undying) concern for our eternal destiny, he was willing to bear this thirst and all the other terrible pain he suffered—body, soul, and spirit. As the Son of God, Jesus would satisfy the spiritual longing of all who acknowledge that only he can quench such thirst and hunger.
“…Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).
(6) “It is finished!” (John 19:30)
It’s fitting that this was Jesus’s sixth utterance on the cross. Six is the number of mankind.
And, oh, what an announcement!
The Second Person of the Great Triune God (Three in One) spoke these three words, which means: The debt is paid in full.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).
Sin comes with a heavy price. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a). Which separates what was created to be an eternal body from our still eternal soul and spirit. That’s a given.
But the price (debt) that we owe God to keep us from being separated (spiritual death) from Him forever is impossible to pay by anything we say, do, or are. That’s why Jesus paid the debt once and for all.
Completing Romans 6:23, we read: “…but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).
It is finished.
The only thing God requires of us to believe in Jesus and receive him and what he did for us as a gift.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB).
(7) “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” (Luke 23:46)
Jesus’s final of seven announcements on the cross, uttered with his dying breath.
Jesus wasn’t hoping nor asking (making sure) that the Father would take care of his spirit. That was understood.
He was expressing the culmination of God’s magnificent plan of salvation, assuring those who have believed and received Jesus as Savior and Lord that our spirit is safe and secure with the Lord when we die. As the Son of Man, Jesus was effectively saying: My spirit belongs to you; thus, I belong to you. I trust you Father with my spirit.
When God created us in his image, it was the soul and spirit that is the essence of that image. Our soul is who we are, our persona. It’s what makes us unique, each person distinct from another. But the human spirit is common to all people; it is our spirit that connects us to God our Creator, because God is Spirit.
When Adam and Eve sinned, their spirit died; thereafter, all people were born spiritually dead.
When we are “born-again” the Holy Spirit indwells us and makes our dead spirit alive; restoring the Garden of Eden fellowship that our parents had in the beginning with the Lord our God.
The Apostle Paul speaking to believers said: “But God is so rich in mercy and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5, parenthesis in the text).
Biblical salvation is the reconciliation and restoration of the soul and spirit (who we really are) back to God. Yet Jesus took this a step further. He arose from the dead … bodily! Which completes God’s marvelous plan of redemption—body, soul, and spirit. When the Rapture takes place, the spirit of every believer (those already dead and those still alive) will be united with our new eternal spiritual bodies that will live forever.
In summary: Each statement of Messiah Jesus while on the cross tracks with the Lord’s panoramic plan of redemption for humanity, as it has unfolded down through the ages.
With the best yet to come!
Things to Ponder
Every person on this earth—past, present, and future—will live forever. What makes all the difference in the world is WHERE and with whom.
For believers: Eternal life with God and the host of heaven. Paradise restored. Our spirit is in God’s hands.
For unbelievers: Eternal death in the Lake of Fire. Paradise still lost. Outside of God’s family.
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins (bears witness) with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory…” (Romans 8:15-17).
“…We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us” (Romans 8:23).
It doesn’t get any better than that!