This world is tottering, ready to fall - and what will come after? This chapter is a penetrating analysis of the millennium - that time not far off when time shall stand still - when Satan will be bound and there will be a time of reckoning.
View that time, when a great controversy is nearing its end. A time to think. Here is the truth about the millennium.
"Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more." Revelation 18:8-11. Such are the judgments that fall upon Babylon in the day of the visitation of God's wrath. She has filled up the measure of her iniquity; her time has come; she is ripe for destruction.
When the voice of God turns the captivity of His people, there is a terrible awakening of those who have lost all in the great game of life. While probation continued, they were blinded by Satan's deceptions, and they justified their course of sin. The rich prided themselves upon their superiority to those who were less favored; but they had obtained their riches by violation of the law of God. They had neglected to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to deal justly, and to love mercy. They had sought to exalt themselves, and to obtain the homage of their fellow-creatures. Now they are stripped of all that made them great, and are left destitute and defenseless. They look upon the destruction of the idols which they preferred before their Maker. They sold their souls for earthly riches and enjoyments, and did not seek to become rich toward God. The result is, their lives are a failure; their pleasures are now turned to gall, their treasures to corruption. The gain of a lifetime is swept away in a moment. The rich bemoan the destruction of their grand houses, the scattering of their gold and silver. But their lamentations are silenced by the fear that they themselves are to perish with their idols.
The wicked are filled with regret, not because of their sinful neglect of God and their fellowmen, but because God has conquered. They lament that the result is what it is; but they do not repent of their wickedness. They would leave no means untried to conquer if they could.
The world see the very class whom they have mocked and derided, and desired to exterminate, pass unharmed through tempest and earthquake and pestilence. He who is to the transgressors of His law a devouring fire, is to His people a safe pavilion.
The minister who has sacrificed truth to gain the favor of men, now discerns the character and influence of his teachings. It is apparent that an omniscient eye was following him as he stood in the desk, as he walked the streets, as he mingled with men in the various scenes of life. Every emotion of the soul, every line written, every word uttered, every act that led men to rest in a refuge of falsehood, has been scattering seed; and now, in the wretched, lost souls around him, he beholds the harvest.
Ministers and people see that they have not sustained the right relation to God. They see that they have rebelled against the Author of all just and righteous law. The setting aside of the divine precepts gave rise to thousands of springs of evil, discord, hatred, iniquity, until the earth became one vast field of strife, one sink of corruption. This is the view that now appears to those who rejected truth and chose to cherish error. No language can express the longing which the disobedient and disloyal feel for that which they have lost forever, - eternal life. Men whom the world has worshiped for their talents and eloquence now see these things in their true light. They realize what they have forfeited by transgression, and they fall at the feet of those whose fidelity they have despised and derided, and confess that God has loved them.
The people see that they have been deluded. They eagerly accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they, have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. "We are lost!" they cry, "and you are the cause of our ruin;" and they turn upon the false watchmen. The very ones that once admired them most, will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The vary hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God's people are now employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed.
The mark of deliverance has been set upon those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done." Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel's vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary." Says the prophet, "They began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezekiel 9:6. The work of destruction begins among those who profess to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false shepherds are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together.
"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 7 26:21. "And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor." Zechariah 14:12,13. In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth, - priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. "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." Jeremiah 25:33.
At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth, - consumed with the spirit of His mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the city of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants. "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof." "The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word." "Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned." Isaiah 24:1,3,5,6.
The whole earth appears like a desolate wilderness. The ruins of cities and villages destroyed by the earthquake, uprooted trees, ragged rocks thrown out by the sea or torn out of the earth itself, are scattered over its surface, while vast caverns mark the spot where the mountains have been rent from their foundations. Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Here he will be confined, to wander up and down over the broken surface of the earth, and see the effects of his rebellion against the law of God. For a thousand years he can enjoy the fruit of the curse which he has caused. Limited alone to the earth, he will not have the privilege of ranging to other planets, to tempt and annoy those who have not fallen. During this time, Satan suffers extremely. Since his fall his life of intense activity has banished reflection; but he is now deprived of his power, and left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of Heaven, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future, when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done, and be punished for the sins that he has caused to he committed.
Shouts of triumph ascend from the angels and the redeemed saints. that they are to be no more annoyed and tempted by Satan, and that the inhabitants of other worlds are delivered from his presence and temptations.
During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection, the Judgment of the wicked dead takes, place. The righteous reign as kings and priests unto God; and in union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is written against their names in the book of death. Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people.
CHAPTER SUPPLEMENT - THE BIBLICAL MILLENNIUM
We live in the last days of history. The end of life as men now know it, is nearly ended. Soon Jesus will return. We only have one period of probation - and that is during our present life. The millennium will not be a thousand years of glory and peace here on earth. And it will not be an age of technological progress or a "second chance" for the wicked. All mankind will not be converted before it, during it, or after it. And neither Christ nor His redeemed ones will be on the earth during the thousand years.
Here is the truth about the millennium and the events that mark its beginning and end:
"A" - Jesus is going to return for His people: He promised us that He would (John 14:1-3), and so we can know that He will.
"B" - There are four identifying marks of His second advent that cannot be counterfeited by false christs: (1) He will come so that all alive on the earth at that time can see Him return (Rev 1:7; Acts 1:9-11; Matt 24:30,23-27). (2) He will come so all can hear Him as He returns (Matt 24:31; 1.Thess 4:16). (3) He will come in immense glory - that of His own and the millions of angels that will come with Him (Lk 9:26; Matt 28:2-4; Matt 25:31; Rev 6:14-17). (4) He will come unexpectedly (Matt 24:44, 36).
"C" - His second coming will mark the beginning of the millennium. Six events will take place: (1) He will raise the righteous dead (1.Thess 4:16). (2) He will catch up the righteous living together with the righteous dead - to meet Him in the clouds (1.Thess 4:17). (3) He will change their vile bodies to be like unto His glorious body (Phil 3:20-21) and translate them (1.Cor 15:51-55; Isa 25:9). (4) Having gathered all the righteous (1.Thess 4:17-18; Matt 25:34-40; 24:30-31), He will take His redeemed ones to heaven (Jn 14:1-3; 17:24; 1.Thess. 4:16-18). (5) He will destroy the living wicked with the brightness of His coming (Lk 17:26-30; 2.Thess 2:8). (6) He will bind Satan to this earth (Rev 20:2-3).
"D" - During the millennium, the earth will be desolate (Rev 20:3; Jer 4:23-26; Isa 24:1, 3). The wicked are dead (2.Thess 2:8), and there is no man left (Isa 24:20-22; Jer 4:25-26; 25:31-33). Satan is bound on a desolate earth (Rev 20:1-3), and the righteous are in heaven (Rev 20:4, 6; Dan 7:22) engaged in a work of judgment (Rev 20:4; 1.Cor 6:1-3; Acts 24:25; Jude 6).
"E" - At the close of the millennium, the Holy City descends from heaven (Rev 20:9; 21:1-5; Zech 14:4, 9), the wicked are raised - the "second resurrection" (Rev 20:5, first part), and Satan is thus loosed to deceive them again (Rev 20:7-8). Satan and the wicked surround the City to take it (Rev 20:8-9). All of the wicked are destroyed (Rev 20:9), and this earth is made new (Rev 21:1-5; 2.Pet 3:10-14). How we long for the second coming of Christ!
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