Time or Eternity? ™

The Earth Redeemed

In The Earth Redeemed on April 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

In God’s plan there will at some time be a resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and the wicked. Paul wrote, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15) Our Saviour said, “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5: 28, 29) From these words we may infer that there will be two resurrections; the “resurrection of life,” and the “resurrection of damnation.” This inference becomes a certainty in the light of additional testimony. The Revelator said, ” 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.” (Rev. 20:6) Of the “resurrection of damnation” John says, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” (Rev. 20:5)  All the living wicked will be slain when Christ comes, and will remain silent in death during the thousand years. At the end of the thousand years the wicked dead will be raised by the voice of the Son of God, who will “execute upon them the judgment written.” (Ps. 149:9)

Christ Comes to Possess the Earth.

At the end of the thousand years Christ comes to take final possession of the earth. With Him come all the hosts of the redeemed; for it is written, “And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” (Zech. 14:5) At that time Christ will prepare the resting-place for the New Jerusalem. “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (Zech. 14:4) Upon this vast plain the New Jerusalem will rest as it follows the throngs of the redeemed on their journey from heaven to earth. Of this remarkable event we read, “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” (Rev. 21:2) This city is to be the capital of the new earth. How appropriate that it should be located on the site of old Jerusalem and the mount of Olives.

Out of Prison.

For one thousand years of desolation the earth has been to Satan as a dreary prison. With the saints in heaven and all the wicked silent in death, there are none to tempt, and his occupation is gone. From his condition of practical confinement he is roused as the wicked are raised at the voice of Christ. The deadlock of the grave is broken, the servants of sin and Satan are brought to life, and he again comes into his own,—his kingdom of evil. Again he has subjects upon “whom and with whom to work. His dreary prison life is ended. Of that time John writes, “After that [the thousand years] he [Satan] must be loosed a little season.” (Rev. 20: 3) Before him is the Holy City, and around him is a vast army of all the wicked who have ever lived. It is plain that the two elements cannot exist on the earth together. Satan is a thorough student of the prophecies, and knows that either his forces must obtain possession of the New Jerusalem, or they will be destroyed from the earth* as foretold by the prophets. Satan reviews the situation and considers the possibilities. He has millions of fallen angels at his command, and an innumerable army of wicked men. Compared with those within the walls of the New Jerusalem, he has the advantage of overwhelming numbers. He decides to organize his subjects into one vast army with which he will besiege the New Jerusalem.

SATAN’S ARMY.

“In that vast throng are multitudes of the long-lived race that existed before the flood; men of lofty stature and giant intellect, who, yielding to the control of fallen angels, devoted all their skill and knowledge to the exaltation of themselves; men whose wonderful works of art led the world to idolize their genius, but whose cruelty and evil inventions, defiling the earth and defacing the image of God, caused Him to blot them from the face of His creation. “There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle, proud, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble. In death these experienced no change. As they come up from the grave, they resume the current of their thoughts just where it ceased. They are actuated by the same desire to conquer that ruled them when they fell. “Satan consults with his angels, and then with these kings and conquerors and mighty men. They look upon the strength and numbers on their side, and declare that the

army within the city is small in comparison with theirs, and that it can be overcome. They lay their plans to take possession of the riches and glory of the New Jerusalem. All immediately begin to prepare for battle. Skillful artesans construct implements of war. Military leaders, famed for their success, marshal the throngs of warlike men into companies and divisions.

Gog and Magog.

The earth rings with the preparation for the conflict. Satan’s vast army must be provided with a complete equipment of the weapons and munitions of war. We read that he will be “loosed a little season.” How long this will be we are not told, but during this time his army will be equipped, organized, and drilled for his last struggle with his Maker. He realizes the nature of the power which he must meet, for he was once of it, and has met it in previous battle. He will use every element of evil, cunning, and ingenuity which he possesses to bring the equipment and organization of his hosts to the highest possible efficiency. “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 [warlike nations of earth, which are here used as a type of Satan’s vast army], to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Rev. 20: 7, 8)

Final Destruction of Evil.

“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 [great deceptive powers in the last days of our dispensation] are [“were cast”—Smith], and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Rev. 20 : 9, 10. See Appendix for Bible use of words “forever and ever.” Of the final destruction of  Satan and evil angels we read, “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.” (Eze. 28: 18, 1). In that day the destruction of Gog and Magog shall not be as in the day of battle. ”For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire” (Isa. 9:5) Of this awful day David wrote, “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares [margin, quick burning coals], fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” (Ps. 11: 6) This recompense the wicked will receive in the earth. “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” (Prov. 11:31)  “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” “They shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 4:1, 3) In this lake of fire the earth will be purified from every vestige of evil. “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.” (Rev. 20:14, 15) Never again will rebellion and evil exist in the universe of God. “He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.” (Nahum 1: 9, 10)

The Earth Made New.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven [the atmosphere surrounding the earth] and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev. 21:1) “The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word [the word that destroyed the earth by a flood, vss. 5, 6] are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” “But the day of the Lord [embracing the thousand years of the millennium, during which he will close up the affairs of this world of sin] will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3: 7-13)

The curse of sin rests heavily upon the earth. It still contains many places of great beauty, but how imperfect it is when compared with the glorious world given to man at creation. Then “God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) Now, three quarters of the globe is abandoned to a waste of waters. The desert, the wilderness, and the barren, rocky wastes of mountain systems all testify of the curse that has come to the once beautiful earth. But Peter tells how all this will be changed. The elements and the earth shall melt with the heat of the day of the Lord. All the works of man and every trace of the curse will be utterly purged with fire. In this fire the earth’s surface becomes one molten mass. The elements of the atmosphere are disorganized and re-formed. The deformities and every unnatural condition of this old, sin-cursed world disappear, and from the crucible comes forth a “new earth,” dressed in all the beauties and glory of its first creation. “And there shall be no more curse.”

The New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem alone is exempt from the purifying fires of “the day of the Lord.” This must be the time of which the prophet wrote: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Isa. 33:14) While the earth is being purged by its maelstrom of fire, the hosts of the redeemed abide safely within the walls of the holy city,—kept by the power of God. Of this time we read, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” (Rev. 20:6) The righteous alone have part in the first resurrection. They alone are protected from the horrors which surround them. The wicked only are included in the awful cataclysm in which the earth is involved, and which to them brings the second death, from which there is no awakening forever. The New Jerusalem is a wonderful city. It is now being prepared in the “Father’s house,” the paradise of God. See John 14:1. In heaven it will be the abode of the saints during the thousand years of the judgment. At the end of the thousand years it will come down to earth (Rev. 21:2) to be the central figure during the last days of the wicked. It will be the capital city of the earth when it is finally redeemed and made new. In Revelation 21 is given a comprehensive description of the holy city. Some spiritualize this account, but it is too definite and realistic to admit of such treatment. It must be considered as a real city, built in a very material manner. It is to be the metropolis of the new earth, and a definite city residence for the redeemed. The Revelator says, ” And the city lieth foursquare.” Its measurement is given as “twelve thousand furlongs,” or fifteen hundred English miles. We may understand this to be the measurement around the city, as, according to Kitto, this was the ancient method of measuring cities. This gives three hundred seventyfive miles on each side.

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