The Earth After Millennium
The Earth After Millennium
Concerns have been raised about one of the Rod’s teaching on the state of the earth immediately after the millennium. The idea that the lost will come up on a pristine earth, instead of a devastated one, and live one hundred years prior to their final demise in the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14,15). While one may take exception to this apparently strange doctrine, it is all based on the Scriptures and in perfect harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy.
All Adventists know that at our Lord’s return, He will resurrect all the saints who have ever died from Adam to the last days and take them to heaven for a thousand years. At the close of the millennium, the countless hosts of the all the lost from the beginning of time to the end are resurrected, after which the Holy City and the saints descend with Christ to earth. Christ’s feet then parts the Mount of Olives making a plain for the City to rest. Meanwhile, these events, Satan convinces the wicked to marshal their forces and attack the New Jerusalem. Their attempt fails when God sends fire down from heaven and consumes them into what the Bible refers to as the “lake of fire.”
After the wicked and the land around the City are cleansed by the heavenly fire, the earth is recreated and becomes what we refer to as the new earth. (For details see Revelation 20, 21, and The Great Controversy, pp. 662 - 675 & Early Writings, pp. 52 -54).
Now all of this is perfectly in harmony with the Scriptures and is an established fundamental doctrine of the Church. The point of interest is not this scenario. The issue at hand are the important areas within this scenario that are not normally addressed.
One Hundred Years After the Millennium
As stated earlier, the heart of this controversy is the idea that the lost will live a hundred years immediately after millennium as described by one of Victor Houteff’s statements on this topic.
“That for a little season(Rev. 20:3), a hundred years (Isa. 65:20), after the millennium, the wicked shall live again and then finally be destroyed by fire (Rev. 20:9), whereupon all things shall be renewed, and God’s original plan shall proceed to perfect fulfillment in an uninterrupted eternity of heavenly joy (Rev. 21:4)”
By now you’re wondering, where is the proof? Isaiah and John have it.
“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 not deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Revelation 20:1-3.
How long is this little season?
“For behold I create new heavens and new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. . . .There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that have not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old: but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Isaiah 65:17- 20..
These passages tell us that after the millennium, the unrighteous will live for one hundred years and remain in whatever state they were resurrected. In other words, whether they be a child or an old man, the same way they died is the same way they will be resurrected after the thousand years, and will remain as such for one hundred years.
How do we know that these events will take place after the millennium? A close study of Isaiah 65:17 -20 reveals that the context is around the time of the new earth. This shows that the one hundred year period is not before the millennium but has to be after it, around the time of the new earth. However, it could not be the time after the final destruction of the wicked and the final restoration of the earth, since none of the wicked will survive the “lake of fire.” In other words, Isaiah 65:20 could only apply to the time immediately after millennium, and before the final destruction of the wicked and final restoration of the earth. This one hundred year period is what Revelation refers to as the “little season”
This is not exclusively a Rod teaching. While this doctrine may be new to you, it is not new to the denomination. It was taught and published by our church?
“At the close of the one hundred years, the ‘many days,’ the wicked are raised from the dead, and vindicate God’s infinite justice by yielding themselves once more to the deceptions of Satan. He organizes them again into armies, and attempts to take the city of God. Rev. 20:5-8; Isa. 54:15,17. This is a “little season,” as compared with the thousands of years of his existence, and will be about one hundred years in length.”
They Come Up On a Restored Earth
Now that we’ve seen that the wicked will live one hundred years after the millennium and before their end in the lake of fire, one question comes to mind, how will they survive and make weapons with which to attack the Holy City on an earth that has been utterly devastated at the second coming and left barren without “form and void” during the millennium? (Jeremiah 4:23-28). Remember that during the seventh plague (Revelation 16:17-21) there was a very “great earthquake such as was not since men were upon earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great” (verse 18) and “every island fled away.” (verse 20). At the second return of Christ, “all the cities thereof were broken down. . .” at His “presence.” (Jeremiah 4:26). That is, the earth from the second coming and throughout the millennium will be a vast wasteland—uninhabitable—no cities, fruitful trees, no birds, and no light, (Jeremiah 23:23 -28) because the solar system will be affected, or as the Bible puts it, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” (Revelation 20:11).
So we ask the question again, how will the wicked survive even for a few days much less a hundred years without light and nothing else to support life on a completely devastated earth? We are also told that they will make weapons with which to attack the City, from what will they make weapons?
Now we come to the heart of the matter, the only way that the wicked could find resources to exist for any length of time and attack the New Jerusalem, is if they come up on a restored earth—a new earth (not the final one after the wicked are destroyed and on which the saints will live forever). And that is precisely what God will do. Isaiah gives us this evidence. Let us go back to Isaiah 65: 17.
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” verses 18 and 19 describes the joy that will be in the new earth. But, when we go to verse 20, the one we looked at before, which says:
“There shall be no more thence an infant of days .”
Then it goes on to mention the one hundred years.
Notice that the first line of verse 20 uses the word “thence” —“There shall be no more thence an infant of days. . . .” The word thence means, from then on—from that time forward. But forward from what? The answer is, from the time of the new heavens and earth (verses 17-19). Read it again and notice the context, from then on—from the time of verses 17-19—the time of the newly restored earth, the wicked will live for one hundred years. That’s the context of Isaiah 65:20. This tells us that the lost will come up on a restored earth and live for one hundred years prior to their destruction in the lake of fire and before the final restoration of the earth—what we typically refer to as the new earth.
In other words, God will restore the earth twice, first after the millennium, before the final demise of the unrighteous, and the second after their destruction. On the second occasion, He will not actually restore the entire earth, but only that portion outside the Holy City where the wicked defiled. It would have to be this way since the lost cannot possibly survive a world without light on a completely devastated earth, and then make weapons and attack the New Jerusalem. It gives further clarity as to the how and why of the final battle of the great controversy. You see, if they come up on a pristine earth, Satan can convince them that he raised them, and deceive them into thinking they could attack the saints and the City of God. It is even possible that when they come up they may think that they have died and gone to heaven! This may help to explain the reasons for their being so ripe for Satan’s deceptions.
What Happens During the Millennium
But you ask, doesn’t Ellen White say that the wicked walk over broken uneven surfaces to attack the Holy City? The answer is yes, she does.
“With military precision the serried ranks advance over the earth’s broken and uneven surfaces to the City of God.”
There is no discrepancy here. Remember, the lost will make weapons of war. In the process they ruin the newly restored earth, giving it the appearance of broken uneven surfaces as described by Sis. White. It is not unreasonable to think that they could decimate the earth so quickly. Remember, they will have a hundred years to do it with billions of their fellow lost. Are we not destroying the earth today? Then it should not be hard to believe that it could happen after the millennium when the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence would have been removed.
The Lessons to Be Learned
Our Heavenly Father does nothing without a reason. So one cannot help but wonder, what are the lessons God is trying to teach us by bringing up the wicked upon a pristine earth, letting them live a hundred years, then let them ravage it?
We are not given explicit explanations, but there are some obvious lessons. Could it be that this entire scenario show that the wicked are not safe to save? We do know that it will reveal to all of God’s creatures throughout the universe, that even though the unconverted be placed in perfect physical surroundings if their hearts are not fully surrendered to Christ, they would jeopardize the peace and happiness of all of God’s children. If we could have our sins, such a pure environment as the new earth would become to us the worst kind of misery, and a deadly cancer jeopardizing the harmony and safety of the entire universe. Thus the most merciful thing that God could do is to exterminate us. Even we ourselves would confess the justice of our sentence. And this is precisely what the wicked will do. We are told that even Satan himself will bow and confess that God’s judgment is just and right. No wonder the Bible tells us that “. . .every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11.
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