How would you like to be seated
before a gigantic stage about 2,000 feet wide and actually watch
the play-out of human history before your eyes? There you could
see the final destiny of every man, woman, and child who has
ever lived in this world. God, indeed, gives us such a panoramic
preview in one of the most dramatic prophecies in the Bible.
Some people have harbored the dream that society will eventually
correct itself and will develop into a golden age of millennial
peace. In this grand Utopia everyone is supposed to be converted
and will cooperate in building a new world of brotherhood and
peace. I wish this could be a true picture of the future, but
it is exactly the opposite of what the Bible portrays. Jesus
said, "As it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it
be also in the days of the Son of man." Luke 17:26. Paul
said, "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived." 2 Timothy 3:13. No, this
dream of a temporal millennium is just a vast delusion, and we
are not interested in dreams or fancies. We want to know the
facts about the future and what will happen to every person who
has been a part of this earthly scene. So we turn to the Bible
subject of the millennium.
Most people know that the word "millennium" is not
even found in the Bible at all. It is taken from two Latin words:
"milli," meaning a thousand, and "annum,"
meaning a year. But even though the word is not mentioned in
the Scriptures there are references to a thousand-year period
of time. Invariably, they are clustered around the doctrine of
the resurrection from the dead.
Jesus taught that there will be two general resurrections:
"Marvel not at this: for 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.
Before giving further specific proof on this point, we must
note that Christ referred to the resurrection of life and the
resurrection of damnation. This seems to indicate that the saved
and lost do not arise at the same time. Two separate resurrections
are described. The book of Revelation confirms this fact. John
wrote, "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 20:6.
The use of the term "first resurrection" is proof
that there must be more than one. If I say, "This is the
first house I built," you know that I had to build at least
Two points are established in this text. First, only the good
people will have any part in the first resurrection. It plainly
says, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part
in the first resurrection." Second, we learn that the resurrection
of those saints is the beginning point of the millennium, because
after being raised they "shall reign with him a thousand
years." According to this verse, none of the wicked will
have any part in the first resurrection. This is also established
by verses 4 and 5 which describe the resurrection of those "which
had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had
received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and
they lived (came to live) and reigned with Christ a thousand
years. . . . This is the first resurrection."
This leaves no doubt about the class who will be included
in the first resurrection. It is only for those who remained
faithful to Christ. But in the midst of that text we find a very
significant, parenthetical sentence: "But the rest of the
dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished."
Obviously, the "rest of the dead" can only be in
reference to the wicked. They will come forth from their graves
at the end of the millennium - when "the thousand years
Now we have a clear picture before us of two resurrections
separated by a thousand years. The good people are raised at
the beginning of the millennium, and the wicked are resurrected
at the end.
Introduces the Millennium
Can we now find from the Scriptures when this first resurrection
takes place, which introduces the millennium? Yes. Paul declares
that it happens at the coming of Christ. "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." 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
Here are the saints being raised "first" - in the
first resurrection. And it takes place amidst the glory and grandeur
of the second coming of Jesus. This marks the beginning of the
When Jesus comes there will be only four groups of people
for Him to deal with: the righteous dead, the righteous living,
the wicked dead, and the wicked living. All who have ever been
born will fall into one of those categories. The Bible gives
a fascinating picture of what happens to each of these classes
when Christ returns in His glory. First, the righteous dead are
described as rising first to meet the Lord. Then Paul continues
with these words: "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." 1 Thessalonians
Picture that scene of transcendent joy and rapture. The saints
are raised from their dusty beds and changed into glorious immortality.
At the same moment, the righteous living are translated and are
given immortal bodies just like the resurrected ones. Paul writes:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but
we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the
dead shall be raised incorruptible . . . and this mortal must
put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.
Possessing those new bodies that will never suffer pain or
die, all the saved ones will be caught up to meet Jesus in the
air. His feet will not touch the earth at that time. He has come
to honor the promise made to His people just before leaving this
earth: "In my Father's house are many mansions . . . I go
to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for
you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where
I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2, 3.
With Christ a Thousand Years
Where will Christ take those redeemed ones who meet Him in
the clouds? To the mansions of His Father where He has prepared
a place for us. Can there be any doubt as to where He ascended
after leaving this earth? Peter had been curious and actually
questioned the Master about those mansions and that place. Jesus
was answering Peter's question in John 14:1-3. Go back three
verses into the previous chapter: "Simon Peter said unto
him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I
go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards."
Here is interesting proof that Peter will someday go to the
place where Jesus was about to go. And where was that? Jesus
said, "I go to prepare a place for you." Did He not
ascend to His Father's house, in the heavens, where the mansions
were? Christ told Peter that he could not follow Him then, but
that someday he would follow Him where He was going.
There are those who say that no one from this earth will ever
go to heaven, but this would be contradicting the words of Jesus.
It would also be contrary to John's description in Revelation
19:1: "And after these things I heard a great voice of much
people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and
honour, and power, unto the Lord our God."
John's vision of the future places the saints in heaven. That
is where Jesus promised to take them - to His Father's house
and the place He had prepared. This will not be the permanent
home of the saved, but it is surely the place where Christ takes
them to spend a thousand years with Him.
Now, let us find out what happens to all the wicked when Christ
returns. We have already established that the wicked dead do
not live again "until the thousand years are finished."
They simply remain in their graves during the millennium. No
change takes place for them until a thousand years later.
But what about the wicked who will live until Christ's return?
How are they affected? Paul answers: "And to you who are
troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed
from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance
on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints." 2 Thessalonians
Notice what happens to sinners at the same time the saints
are glorified. Sin cannot exist in His presence and the wicked
are destroyed by His glory. "And then shall that Wicked
be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his
mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
2 Thessalonians 2:8.
John describes the desperate attempts of the wicked to escape
from Christ's presence when He returns. They will hide in the
dens and rocks of the mountains, and pray, "Fall on us,
and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne,
and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath
is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:16,
The sinners will be cut down by the bright glory of God as
though a thousand volts of electricity had fallen upon them.
Jesus spoke of that moment in these words: "For as the lightning
cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall
also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase
is there will the eagles be gathered together." Matthew
24:27, 28. Christ indicated that the bodies of the wicked dead
will be scattered as a result of the blazing glory of His return.
John described the wicked who survived the battle of Armageddon.
"And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat
upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all
the fowls were filled with their flesh." Revelation 19:21.
His words parallel those of Jesus. The bodies of the lost will
be food for vultures, immediately upon the appearance of Christ
in the heavens.
Now we are prepared to answer a question that has puzzled
many people. Can anyone repent and be saved after the coming
of Jesus? Absolutely not. The Bible is very explicit on this
point. John records the actual words of a mighty decree which
Christ declares just before His return to this earth. "He
that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy,
let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be
righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give
every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:11,
This indicates that every case has been settled for eternity.
Probation is ended. Christ lays aside His priestly robes and
leaves the heavenly sanctuary where He has been interceding as
our great High Priest. Now He returns as King of kings to execute
judgment. There can be no more opportunity to repent. All will
remain as they have been found in the books of heaven. In fact,
who could repent and be saved during the millennium? The righteous
are already immortalized in heaven, and the wicked are all dead.
It would be just as logical to think of someone rising up in
the casket and repenting, as to think of anyone turning to God
after Jesus comes.
Jeremiah beheld this earth in vision following the return
of Christ. He described it thus: "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. Of course, they won't be gathered. Nobody is here to do
it. No one can weep for them, because the earth is entirely emptied
of all its inhabitants. The dead bodies of the wicked will be
scattered all over the earth, in the same places where they were
cut down by the glory of God's presence.
The Earth in Ruins
The earth itself will be a shambles during the thousand years,
as a result of the devastating earthquake which attends the coming
of Christ. "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings;
and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were
upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great . . . And
every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."
Revelation 16:18, 20.
The physical results of this convulsive earthquake are alluded
to by both Isaiah and Jeremiah. "Behold, the Lord maketh
the earth empty, and maketh it waste. . . . The land shall be
utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken
this word. . . . The earth is utterly broken down, the earth
is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly." Isaiah
24:1, 3, 19.
The shocks and the after-shocks of that earthquake will spread
desolation to every corner of the earth. Inhabited islands will
disappear into the sea; great mountain chains will disintegrate
and vanish. Jeremiah wrote: "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 4:23-26.
At the coming of Jesus every work of man will be humbled to
the dust. Skyscrapers are leveled to the ground, the sky darkens,
and even the birds disappear. The righteous are removed from
the earth and all the wicked are slain. No wonder the Bible says
that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
God. To be unprepared in that day is the greatest tragedy to
Now, the question arises, "Where is Satan during all
this great manifestation?" Going back to Revelation 20:1-3
we read about the Devil during the millennium: "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." What an amazing
scene! The Devil is bound for that thousand years and cast into
the bottomless pit.
Fortunately, we do not have to speculate about the location
of that bottomless pit. The Bible makes it very clear. The original
Greek word for "bottomless pit" is "abussos,"
from which we get our English word "abyss," meaning
"a deep place." That same word is used again in the
Greek version of Genesis 1:2: "And the earth was without
form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."
The word "deep" here is the Greek word "abussos"
which is translated as "bottomless pit" in Revelation
20:1. In other words, this earth was called the "abussos"
after God formed it; before He called order and design out of
it. Lying in disorganized darkness it was referred to as the
During the millennium this planet will revert to a similar
state of desolation and chaos. Jeremiah describes it in the very
same words, "without form and void." Again, it is designated
by the prophet John as the "abussos," or "bottomless
pit." Satan will be confined right here on this torn-up,
destroyed world for a thousand years while the saints are in
Someone may ask, "But what about the chain?" Just
remember that Satan is a fallen angel, and spiritual beings cannot
be bound with literal chains. The Bible speaks about the evil
angels being bound with chains of darkness. The purpose of the
binding is "that he should deceive the nations no more till
the thousand years should be fulfilled." The only possible
way to accomplish this is to take Satan away from all the people,
or take the people away from him. Even putting him into a deep,
literal pit would not prevent him from deceiving the people,
because he has millions of imps to carry on his work.
The fact is that the Devil is bound by circumstances which
forbid him access to any human being during the thousand years.
Recently, a man told me that Satan is already bound and has been
ever since 1914. That struck me as one of the most incredible
of all statements. Surely if he is bound today, somebody is doing
his work for him. And if the world is in this shape without his
evil scheming, we had better pray that he doesn't get loose,
or we really are in for trouble. If he is bound now, it would
have to be with a rubber chain that stretches from New York to
Moscow and all around the circle of the earth.
No, he is not bound today, but he will be while this earth
is in confused disorder. Unable to deceive a single soul, he
will inhabit this desolate planet for a thousand years contemplating
the havoc his program has produced. The righteous are in heaven,
the wicked are all dead, and he has no one to work on till the
end of the millennium.
I have tried to think about the Devil during this period.
What is he going to do? The earth is covered with darkness, dead
bodies are everywhere, and all is absolute confusion. For six
thousand years Satan has been plenty busy. He has followed folk
around trying to devise their destruction. His chief employment
for centuries has been to accuse, mislead and destroy. Suddenly,
though, he has nothing to do. They are all taken away, and he
is left with his own thoughts. What will the Devil do? That will
be the most miserable punishment that Satan will have to suffer.
Forced to live with himself for a thousand years! No one to deceive
at all; just thinking, thinking, thinking.
I am sure he will think about the past and remember all the
terrible deeds of darkness he has committed. He will think about
the future and the prophecies of God concerning his own destiny.
Listen, the Devil is a good Bible student. Do not fool yourself.
Give him credit where it is due. He knows the Bible better than
you do. Oh yes, holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost, but the Devil was looking over their shoulder and
memorizing every bit of it. The Devil knows better than we do
that every word of the Bible is true. He knows that everything
about heaven is true, because he used to live there. He knows
that it is just as beautiful and wonderful as the Bible describes
it, but he doesn't want anybody else to believe that. So, he
is desperately working to keep people from studying this Book
and to keep people off their knees.
If people can once understand what the Bible teaches about
the great plan of salvation, Satan knows that his power will
be destroyed at that very moment. So, I picture him as thinking
of these things and looking ahead to the future, knowing that
his utter destruction has already been determined. The Bible
itself declares that he will be burned and brought to ashes.
I suppose, also, that he will think about many of the people
he tempted while the earth was still standing. Perhaps his thoughts
will go back to the poor alcoholic who was struggling to be free.
Time after time he crawled out of the gutter, determined never
to take another drink. But Satan waylaid the man with constant
harassment and temptation, and down he would go into the gutter
again. Finally, the desperate alcoholic dared to lay hold of
Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and he was delivered from
Satan's power. Now Satan knows that the man is forever beyond
his influence, and he will never be able to assail him again.
Yes, I picture the Devil wandering over this depopulated planet
and stumbling over the decaying bodies of those who were slain
by the glory of God. And perhaps one of those bodies will attract
Satan's special attention because he recognizes and remembers
the man. He was a good, moral man with a fine family. Everybody
liked him. He was honest and paid his debts. People were attracted
to him. He was a good neighbor and a good citizen. There were
times when the man was drawn to make a decision to follow the
Lord all the way. His wife pleaded with him to do so, and his
little girls prayed for him every night. Only one thing really
stood in his way, but somehow he could not surrender his will
fully to the will of Christ. It was always in his mind to do
so someday, but the Devil kept supplying him with excuses for
waiting. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, the clouds rolled back
like a curtain and Christ returned. The man was not prepared.
He was cut down with all the others who were living for self.
Now Satan looks upon the tortured features of the dead man,
and a hideous grin spreads over his face. His strategy was successful,
and this man, at least, will never have another opportunity to
be saved. He is lost forever.
Oh, the utter folly of failing to decide for Christ while
the moments of probation linger! Some are toying with sin and
trifling with the convictions of God's Holy Spirit. You may be
a church member and a professed Christian, but if there is one
cherished sin in your life right now, you are playing games with
God. Confess and forsake that sin without another moment of delay.
Could our eyes be opened for one second to the awful consequences
of sin, no one would dare hesitate to follow Jesus all the way.
Dramatic Close of the Millennium
Now we come to the closing events of the millennium. What
dramatic developments will mark the end of the thousand years?
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be
loosed out of his prison." Revelation 20:7.
This loosing of Satan is easy to understand when we read verse
5 again, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the
thousand years were finished." All the lost of the ages
will be raised out of their graves at the end of the millennium.
This is what releases the Devil to begin his work of deception
Perhaps you are wondering how he could further deceive those
who have already passed the point of redemption. Here is the
way John answers that question: "And (he) 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. 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." Revelation 20:8, 9.
Several important things are brought to view in these verses.
After the wicked are resurrected at the end of the millennium,
Satan leads them in an attack against the New Jerusalem. He deceives
them into thinking they can actually capture the dwelling place
of God and the immortalized saints. That Holy City descends from
heaven, following the thousand years. "And I John saw the
holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Revelation
This is the event described by the prophets of old, when the
saints will return to this earth from Paradise. According to
Zechariah, Christ's feet will touch the earth, and some spectacular
things take place. "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 north, and half of it toward the south . . . and the Lord
my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." Zechariah
Please notice that Jesus will make contact with the earth
when He returns with the saints. When He came for the saints
at the beginning of the millennium, His feet did not touch the
ground. All were caught up to meet Him. But now as the great,
heavenly space city approaches this planet, the Mount of Olives
splits under the touch of the Son of God. A mighty plain is created
for a landing spot, and the New Jerusalem settles to earth.
Resurrection of the Wicked
At the same time that the City descends the wicked are raised,
and this releases Satan to deceive them into attacking. Again
he has someone to work on. I have tried to imagine how the great
deceiver will address that host of lost souls. Perhaps he will
even claim that they were resurrected by his power. Charging
God with unjustly throwing him out of the city, he now urges
the army of the wicked to help him reclaim his former position.
No doubt he will make flattering offers of honor and power to
those who excel in the battle.
I suppose that Napoleon, Alexander, Sennacherib, Hitler, and
Stalin will be there. Oh, I am not sure, of course; I am just
using these as examples. Maybe some of these repented before
death, but there will be plenty of great generals and military
leaders in the ranks of Satan's army as he goes up against God.
Many of those men died with curses on their lips; and now, when
they are resurrected, they are still cursing, and they are still
in the frame of mind to fight. It won't be hard for Satan to
get them in line as they march against the City of God.
Sometimes people ask me, "How long will they fight? How
long will it take them to get ready for that battle?" I
do not know, because the Bible is silent here. I am certain,
though, that the Devil will not try to win by just throwing rocks
at the Holy City. He will surely devise some terrible, devastating
weapons to use. He has a mighty, ingenious mind when it comes
to preparing instruments of war. No doubt there will be atomic
weapons involved. They will set a D-Day. There could be a countdown
at which time they plan to blast away at the Holy City. From
all earthly viewpoints, it seems that the saints are doomed.
The explosive, destructive weapons will be able to shatter the
walls into smithereens. But then, suddenly, God intervenes. He
turns His own fiery power loose upon that assembled army of the
wicked. Read it in verse 9 of Revelation 20: "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 that is the end of
the wicked. There it is. Right here on this earth the fire of
God descends. The wicked people are burned up as they launch
a final, desperate attack against God. This is the hell fire
of the Bible.
The Transparent Wall of Separation
Listen, one of the saddest pictures of all, I believe, is
revealed in Revelation 21:11. In describing the Holy City it
says: "Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto
a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal."
The walls of that City will be like glass. The wicked will be
able to look right through and see everything on the inside of
that City. Have you ever thought of some of the sad meetings
that will take place by those walls of the New Jerusalem? Talk
about the famous wall of China or the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem!
But this wall is going to reveal some of the most heart-rending
scenes that have ever taken place on this earth.
I picture the resurrection of that man who had such a wonderful
family, and who almost made his decision for Christ - the one
who intended to do it later. As he comes forth in the second
resurrection, he looks around for his wife and two little girls.
Nothing but open, empty graves meet his vision, and his ears
are assailed by the cries and curses of the lost. He is swept
up in the maelstrom of frenzied preparation for the battle.
As he approaches the gleaming, transparent walls, he is overwhelmed
by the splendor of the scene. Far in the distance he sees the
outshining of the glorious rainbow surrounding the throne of
God. The River of Life flows forth from the throne, and great
branches of the Tree of Life arch over the river, bearing their
magnificent fruit of immortality. The man is transfixed by the
beauty. Glorious, radiant angels move around inside the City.
He gazes at the streets of purest gold and the indescribable
mansions on every side. As he stands, spellbound, he thinks,
"What a fool I was to lose all of this."
Then, I picture this man as his eyes try to encompass all
the grandeur of the landscape. Moving figures inside begin to
come into clearer focus. Suddenly, his heart skips a beat, as
he catches a glimpse of some familiar forms on the other side
of the wall. His eyes light up with recognition of his wife and
children as they draw nearer. The man waves and beckons. He cries
out to catch their attention but the words bounce back as an
empty echo from the shining walls.
Then, and only then, will the true horror of his situation
be realized. A flood of memories will fill his mind. He remembers
so vividly the prayers of his little girls for their daddy to
be saved. He lives over again the tender convictions that brought
tears to his eyes, the struggle with conscience, and the decision
to wait. The words of his wife now return to torment him. "Honey,
why don't you surrender to Jesus? Don't worry about your job.
I will work, and we will get along. The Lord will provide. I
love you so much, and Jesus loves you." He had fought the
stubborn rebellion but slowly yielded to the practical demands
of his job and his carnal friends. Now he would give anything
in the world to return to that moment. If only he could take
his little girls in his arms again, and kiss his dear wife, assuring
them that their prayers have been answered.
Oh, the remorse of that moment! The man stretches out his
arms and cries out, "Please pray for me once more!"
But it is too late, and before the jasper-clear wall, I can see
that father and husband fall on the ground, screaming and pleading
for one more chance that can never be granted. Surely this will
be the greatest punishment for those who finally realize what
it means to be lost.
"What Shall It Profit a Man?"
Oh, how I wish I could paint this picture so graphically concerning
surrender and its importance that every person would settle it
with God before going to bed tonight. We must know that we have
given ourselves completely to the Lord Jesus Christ. I know there
are some who would rather hear you say, "Let's not get fanatical,
let's not do anything extreme. Let's just wait, and things will
take care of themselves." The very same people who say that
now will some day be crying out on the other side of the wall
of the New Jerusalem and saying: "Oh, why didn't someone
tell me? Why didn't somebody make me do it when I had the opportunity?"
I am amazed at the way people are influenced by their friends
- by the words of those who are very well-meaning. What comfort
will those words be when the friends are also on the outside
of the wall looking in? Sometimes people are held back by possessions,
or jobs, or bank accounts; but what comfort will it be to have
a great, heaping pile of earthly treasure and still be on the
outside looking through the walls? What about the religious leaders
and teachers who have comforted people by telling them not to
worry about keeping the commandments? The same religious teachers
are also on the outside.
Every one of us should now be searching the Word of God in
order to know what to do. The Bible is the blueprint for salvation.
The most powerful, motivating forces in society today will soon
be exposed as less than worthless. Finally, men are going to
throw their gold and silver into the streets to the moles and
the bats. At last, people will have to give up those things that
meant so much in this life. If it is going to come to that finally
- if men are going to throw them away as Isaiah 2 describes it
- why won't they throw them away now in order to make their calling
and election sure?
If you wait, refusing to make a decision to follow Christ
all the way, I can promise you one thing, someday you are going
to know that the still, small voice of the Spirit has made its
final plea. The Bible will be closed up forever on the pulpit,
and the pews will be completely emptied of all the people. Suddenly,
every man, woman, and child will be called to face God. The busy
life of this world will grind to a crashing halt. The jazz will
suddenly be turned off, the bright lights will go out into darkness
forever, and the radio and TV chips are going to melt together.
No one will go about his or her business, because God will suddenly
intervene and call every man, woman, and child to account. The
world will be torn by the devastating earthquake we read about
in Revelation 16. The sea will be lashed to a fury by the voice
of the hurricane. The inhabited islands of this earth will move,
turn slightly, and drop out of sight. Great mountains will twist
and turn, and then be thrown out onto the plains disintegrated
by the mighty, volcanic action of the earth. Dark, angry clouds
will fill the sky, clashing against each other. The lightning
will reach out from those clouds to envelop this earth in a great
sheet of flame. Men, white as ghosts, will run to and fro, hither
and yon, seeking for some shelter; and they will find none. And
then, amidst the screams of terror, the great hailstones of God
will come crashing down with a sickening thud, making kindling
wood out of all the buildings and houses of this earth.
In the midst of all this, there will appear in the distant
heavens a tiny spot of glory that will draw nearer to the earth,
getting larger and larger. At first, very few will observe it,
but then as it comes closer, the dazzling light of it will attract
every eye. Inhabitants of every continent on earth will look
up and behold the glory of Jesus and all the angels. What a solemn
moment it will be! For the first time since the flood there will
be no fun-making, no giddy laughter, no levity. Every mouth will
be closed, and a solemn, sober spirit will fall upon every heart.
How cheap the dollar is going to look then. How ridiculous
it will seem that man allowed the mockery of some friend to hold
him back from making that decision. On every side voices will
be heard crying out, "Too late! Too late!" And those
words will echo all around the earth, while the redeemed look
up and say, "Lo, this is our God. We have waited for Him
and He will save us."
So the story of this lost planet closes just exactly like
it began. After the fire has destroyed the wicked, and burned
out all the curse of sin, God will make it over again. This earth,
delivered from all the blighting effect of transgression, will
be recreated into the original paradise that God intended it
to be. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look
for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
2 Peter 3:13. Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: for they
shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5. And so they shall!