Home ] Up ] The Controversy ] Online Books ] Study the Word! ] GOD's Health Laws ] Religious Liberty ] Links ]

 

Chapter 53

The Millennium and the Third Deadly Wound

 

The Old Testament prophets graphically described the condition of this old earth during the millennium following Christís Coming. Jeremiah described the ruin of the earth at this time,

I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. (Jeremiah 4:23ó26)

We note that the earth in this period contained no living human and all the birds were destroyed. This will be the ultimate environmental disaster.

The prophet Zephaniah also proclaimed the destruction of the earth when the Lord returned.

And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand. (Zephaniah 2:14, 15)

Zephaniah also declares the destruction of all life at Christís Coming.

I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. . . . Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lordís wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. (Zephaniah 1:3, 18)

Nahum vividly described the event:

He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. (Nahum 1:4ó6)

And the prophet Micah was further inspired to describe the same scene.

For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. (Micah 1:3, 4)

Ezekiel, a priest captive in Babylon, beheld in vision the devastation caused by the seven last plagues.

For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every manís sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. (Ezekiel 38:19ó22)

Jeremiah saw dead, rotting, and no doubt stinking bodies lying on the ground throughout the world.

And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. (Jeremiah 25:33)

There would be no reward for the righteous dwelling on such an earth. It is time for Christians to study diligently Scripture and eschew the fabrications of men.

Isaiah proclaimed:

Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low. (Isaiah 2:10ó12)

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. (Isaiah 2:17ó21)

Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. (Isaiah 24:1)

For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:21)

What a day when the lost cry out,

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. (Jeremiah 8:20)

Our prayer is that every reader of this volume will accept Godís grace and ask for power to serve Him faithfully, for Christ said,

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

However, the earth will not be uninhabited during the millennium. Describing it as "the bottomless pit" to emphasize that no being can escape from it, the Bible describes the total living inhabitants during that period.

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:1ó3)

Jude, also known as Judas, one of Christís step-brothers (Matthew 13:55), wrote stating that the fallen angels are in this pit bound with "everlasting chains"

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 1:6)

Here it is appropriate to note the idiomatic use in Scripture of the word "everlasting," for we have seen that Satan, and no doubt his angelic followers, will be loosed a short season; thus the chains are not everlasting as we would use the word today. The Jews frequently used the word "everlasting" to mean "until completed," or "until death." Thus the prophet Samuelís mother, Hannah declared,

But Hannah went not up [to the temple]; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever. (1 Samuel 1:22)

That she meant "forever" to mean until Samuel died is evident in Hannahís later statement,

Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:28)

That Jude also used "everlasting" as an idiom to mean, until finally and utterly completed, is evident in the very verse following the one quoted above:

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Jude well knew that the fires which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha were not burning still in his day. But those fires destroyed the cities and were not extinguished until the cities were utterly destroyed.

Satan and His angels who, unrestrained by the Holy Spirit, would have brought such utter destruction to this earth, destroying all life and razing all cities, towns and villages to rubble, are compelled to remain on this utterly desolated earth for 1,000 years to contemplate and endure the evil they have wrought in their 6,000 years of activity on this earth. Further, they will be left to contemplate their terrible fate in the judgment.

At the conclusion of the thousand years, John "saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (Revelation 21:2). At that time the saints return to the earth after spending the millennium in heaven.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

At the same time the second resurrection occurs, not the resurrection of the righteous who had already spent a thousand years in heaven, but of the unrepentant of all ages.

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. (Revelation 20:5)

Of the saints on the other hand, we read,

This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5, last part, and 6)

The wicked arise once more to be deceived by Satan:

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (Revelation 20:7, 8)

They are still full of rebellion against God.

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:9, 10)

The reader will once more notice the use of "ever and ever," used in the idiom of the day in which John wrote.

The Bible is quite plain in declaring that the wicked are annihilated.

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. (2 Thessalonians 1:9)

Here is the use of the word everlasting in its literal meaning, just as it is used in the promise of eternal life for the redeemed. We know that this is literal for we are told in plain words that for the redeemed "There shall be no more death." (Revelation 21:4) Notice the prophecy of Ezekiel concerning Satanís annihilation.

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:14ó19)

Paul, writing to the Jewish believers, also affirms the ultimate destruction of Satan:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy them that had the power of death, that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

Satan is certainly to be destroyed. His followers likewise will be consumed with him. This is the second death as Scripture testifies.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13ó15)

We recall the most loved verse in Scripture,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Here we see the alternative to everlasting lifeóthe wicked will not suffer eternally, but will perish. For the wicked to continue eternally in excruciating suffering would characterize our God, not as the embodiment of love (1 John 4:8, 16), but as a fiend. Even more tragic, it would ensure that Godís plan of salvation was a failure, for sin would pollute the universe for eternity; never again would the universe be clean.

But the prophet Nahum promised us that affliction (sin) will not ever curse the universe again.

What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. (Nahum 1:9)

The question raised in this verse, a rhetorical one, pierces the minds of those who believe in an ever-burning punishment in which affliction will ever blight the universe.

This is the third and ultimate deadly wound, not only of the Papacy, the first beast of Revelation 13, but of all the seven beasts (heads) that have stood as leaders in defiance of the King of kings and Lord of lords, and all who followed them. This deadly wound will be inflicted and never again in the entire history of eternity will that wound be healed.

We appreciate Ellen Harmon Whiteís final paragraph in her 1888 edition of The Great Controversy, page 678:

The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animated and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

 


Back ] Up ] Next ]