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“BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW”
In the prophetic words, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5), God warns that “all things” shall wax old. To understand correctly this prophecy, we must bear in mind the fact that for an old thing to be made new, it must first be disintegrated, – reduced to the state of its component elements or parts in which it existed before they were integrated into a composite whole, – then renovated, reprocessed, and finally reintegrated. While such a process, moreover, is in operation, the thing being renewed thereby cannot, of course, until finished, resume its function. During the period of renewal, it is out of commission and out of use.
In this case, the waxing old of “all things” is, as all Bible students well understand, the result, not of natural decadence which accompanies age, but of the curse of sin brought in by Satan’s deceiving the nations. So when “all things” earthly are in process of renewal, and thus out of commission and out of use, the earth, having become nothing but mass, must necessarily be veritably a bottomless pit.
Accordingly, the scripture, “Behold, I make all things new,” foreshadows a period of disintegration and renovation of all things – a time in which Satan is bound as predicted in the prophecies concerning---The Millenium.
Since the doctrine of the millennium presents several vexed and mooted questions of vital importance to the salvation of every human being, and since the truth alone will set the soul free from deception and sin, and sanctify the heart, the need is imperative, therefore, that we discover the correct answer to every such question.
In his key vision, embracing the millennium, John “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.
“And I saw,” he continues, “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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. 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.
“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. 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.
“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.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 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.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Rev. 20:4-15; 21:1.
Here, on the testimony of the Lord, Himself, are the facts to which “we ought to give the more earnest heed” (Heb. 2:1) in order to arrive at the exact and whole truth – the conclusion common to all the writings of the Bible regarding the millennium and related subjects; facts which also, moreover, give rise to the question: Is the earth during the millennium---Desolate or Inhabited?
In considering the several scriptures bearing on this point and on the kindred points in question, we must base our conclusions solely on the weight of evidence, so that we may not only know all the truth, but also teach nothing but the truth – a twofold aim which can be achieved only by giving untrammeled consideration both to the writings of the prophets and to those of the Revelator. And since The Revelation is the unfolding of the prophecies, logic constrains us to proceed from prophecy to revelation. In the present connection, therefore, we attend first to the words of Jeremiah:
“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. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.” Jer. 4:23-28.
The action here projected against a backdrop of God’s coming judgments upon the land of ancient Israel, because of their rebellion, cannot possibly, in the very reason of things, be limited merely to that land. It simply cannot, in other words, be narrowed down, as some think it can, to mean that only the land of God’s people has been or will be made “void” and left “desolate” and “without form”, – without light and without bird or beast or inhabitant, – and the rest of the earth be left to enjoy all these blessings. The scripture must, on the contrary, be taken just as it reads, showing that the whole earth is to suffer the same end. In view of this fact, therefore, the term the earth obviously cannot be interpreted, as has been done by some, to mean the “land” – Palestine only.
When ancient Israel, moreover, was taken by the nations, the mountains and hills were not made to tremble and to “move lightly”; the cities were not entirely broken down and left without inhabitant; the birds were not forced to fly away from the land; and the land was not left in darkness.So, obviously, the dispersing of the Jews did not in the least fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah 4:23-28. The earth, therefore, shall necessarily again be, as in the first day of creation, “without form, and void.” Gen. 1:2. And just as there was then “darkness…upon the face of the deep,” so shall there be again.
From the preceding paragraphs, we see that whereas the first twenty-two verses of Jeremiah 4 speak against the wickedness of ancient Israel, the twenty-third to the twenty-seventh verses are parenthetical, and declare the desolation of the earth and the destruction of all the wicked wherever they may be. By omitting the parenthetical verses, the continuity of thought is joined:
“For My people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge…. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.” Jer. 4:22, 28.
With the thought thus connected, the fact emerges that in the twenty-eighth verse, “For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black,” the pronoun this finds its derivational antecedent, “wickedness,” in the verses before the parenthetical thought. Jeremiah 4:23-27, therefore, are parenthetically inserted to show that just as God did not excuse His ancient people for their wickedness, likewise will He not excuse the world today for its wickedness, but will treat alike all sin whether it be practiced in the church or in the world. In short God is saying to His people, Israel: For wickedness like yours “shall the earth mourn and the heavens above be black.” Shall I, then think to excuse you?
While, however, in Jeremiah 4, the Lord speaks against Israel, though referring incidentally to the desolation of the earth, in Isaiah He speaks against the earth and favorably toward the land of Israel, saying: “But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” Isa. 11:4. If there is any possibility of understanding Jeremiah 4 to apply only to the land of Israel, there certainly is none whatsoever of so construing this scripture from Isaiah 11.
“While the earth remaineth,” moreover, promises the Lord, “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Gen. 8:22. The words, “while the earth remaineth,” expressly denoting limitation of time, imply that though the earth will not always remain, yet as long as it does, the conditions named will prevail.
Also: “…the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” Gen. 8:21. And supplementing this commitment, He promises: “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” Gen. 9:12-17.
Though in these scriptures the Lord has vowed never again to destroy by flood every living creature, He gives no promise not to destroy the wicked in some other way. In other words, the only assurance given in the foregoing scriptures is that there will never by another universal flood. Beyond this, however, it does not go. From both a moral and a logical as well as a Scriptural approach, a final and utter end of all flesh subject to destruction, is an absolute necessity---At Christ’s Coming.
Plainly stating that the cities are to be broken down “at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger” (Jer. 4:23-26), and not by a flood or by the power of the nations, the Bible tightly closes the door to any attempt to construe this prophecy in such a way as to make possible its fulfillment at a time other than that of the Lord’s appearing. Then He “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,” also “that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 2:8.
Since, moreover, the seven last plagues (Rev. 16) are, as is widely understood, to fall upon the impenitent after the close of probation and just before the appearing of the Lord, and since the gathering of God’s people is to precede the plagues (for the voice from heaven said, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” – Rev. 18:4), necessarily, therefore, just before the plagues are poured out, and before Christ appears the second time, all the living righteous will, for their protection, be separated from sin and sinners, lest they also be consumed.
Following the pouring out of the seventh plague, “the cities of the nations fell,” says The Revelation, “and every island fled away and the mountains were not found” (Rev. 16:19 20), showing again that at the appearing of Christ the earth shall be made void and without form; that those who will live and reign with Him shall have had to be saved and sheltered before His appearing; and that thereafter there shall be no more probation. Then will arise the dead in 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: 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 Thess. 4:16, 17.
The millennial age of peace is hence, plainly, to be spent, not on the earth, but in the “mansions” above, for the Lord’s promise is: “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.
Thus, at Christ’s second appearing, both all the righteous and all the wicked receive their rewards: the righteous dead are raised to life everlasting, and the righteous living are changed to immortality in the twinkling of an eye, and are then with the resurrected taken to heaven (1 Cor. 15:52, 53; 1 Thess. 4:15-17) while the wicked living go into their graves (2 Thess. 2:8; Isa. 11:4; Heb. 10:27; Luke 19:27). And since from the resurrection of all the righteous to the resurrection of all the wicked (Rev. 20:5), there stretch a thousand years (the millennium), this period, obviously, then, cannot be a time of receiving rewards, but rather must be a time in which the righteous enjoy in heaven the rewards already received, and in which the wicked rest in their graves.
Of those who shall perish at the appearance of the Lord, Isaiah says: “…they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.” Isa. 24:22. Imprisoned “many days,” these wicked ones manifestly are they who live “not again until the thousand years” (the “many days”) are “finished” (Rev. 20:5), when they shall be “visited” – called forth from their graves – only to receive, after continuing a short space, the second death, caused by “fire” coming “down from God out of heaven.” (See Revelation 20:9, 14.)
“The second death” is the utter and final end of the wicked. Upon the righteous, though, it “hath no power,” and they reign forever thereafter in the earth made new (Rev. 20:6; Dan. 7:27). They are the redeemed of all ages, – a vast multitude of saints, – and yet they will be as but a handful in comparison with the thronging legions of the wicked from the time of Cain to the close of probation, numberless “as the sand of the sea.” Rev. 20:8.
So it is very plain that though at His appearing, the Lord “shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:4), whether they be church members or not, He shall spare and leave the righteous. Consequently,---The Righteous Are the “Left.”
Prophesying, as did Jeremiah, of the desolation of the earth, Isaiah says: “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof…. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; 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 and few men left. … The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Isa. 24:1, 4-6, 19, 20.
These verses, carrying the continuity of thought, describe what the Lord is to do to the earth whereas those omitted (Isa. 24:2, 3, and 7 to 18 inclusive), as indicated by the omission marks, contain parenthetical thoughts describing how He is to do it, and declaring that He will bestow upon one class of people all the blessings, and bring upon another class all the curses. Verses 2 and 3 unveil the earth emptied of all its inhabitants, irrespective of anyone’s position, whether of honor or of dishonor – from the pious priest down to the lowly slave. And verses 4 to 12 disclose that all the joy will be taken away from the people; that great calamities will overtake them just before the earth is made empty; and that “when thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.” Isa. 24:13. In brief, these verses reveal that just prior to the emptying of the earth, there shall be a great shaking among the people, with the result that all who are not found steadfast in Christ, – the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), – shall fall; whereas those who are found steadfast, shall be the “left,” and thus being---The Purified–They Shall Stand Forever.
“They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea.” Isa. 24:14. “Wherefore,” admonishes the prophet in view of this prospect, “glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea.” Isa. 24:15.
By rejoicing in the Lord while they are passing through “the fires” (trials – 1 Pet. 4:12), the faithful “shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Dan. 12:10.
“But who,” asks the prophet Malachi, speaking of this time and event, “may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal. 3:2, 3.
This purified class who stand steadfast during the shaking in the midst of the land (the church – Isa. 19:24), is also brought into focus in Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter 24, verse 14: “…they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord”; whereas in verse 16 is projected a subsequent purified class who are gathered “from the uttermost part of the earth,” and from whom are “heard songs, even glory to the righteous.” The shaking, in other words, garners first and second fruits of saints – the one from the church, “the midst of the land,” and the other from the world, “the uttermost part of the earth.” And while those from the church “sing for the majesty of the Lord,” those from the world sing “glory to the righteous.”
Thus we see plainly that the redeemed from the church – the servants of God (the first fruits, or first-born – the Biblical term for the priesthood or the ministry) – stand firmly during the shaking “in the midst of the land,” with the result that they carry the truth to all nations during the “shaking” in the world, thereby taking salvation to many. These two classes of the living are necessarily, therefore, the only redeemed who are left after the shaking. They are spared, “delivered,” from the destruction, because their names are “found written in the book.” Dan. 12:1. And that they are not “left” on the earth while it lies in a state all broken, desolate, and void, but rather are “left” from the destruction, Isaiah, himself, makes plain when he says “the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” Isa. 24:6. These words do not even imply that the redeemed are left on the earth during the time of its desolation, but are “left,” spared, from the destruction.
Consolidating the facts before us, we find that the millennium is ushered in by a six-fold series of events occurring in the order in which they are named: (1) God’s destroying the hypocrites in the church; (2) calling His Own out of the nations, and then bringing them into the purified church – the Kingdom; (3) closing probation; (4) destroying the wicked; (5) resurrecting the righteous dead and translating the righteous living; (6) and finally, making void the earth.
With the culmination of these six end-events, the time of which the Bible calls the end of the world, the curtain falls forever on the ages-long drama of sin and redemption. Aforetime, though, “this gospel of the kingdom [the signs of the end (Matt. 24)] shall,” said Christ, “be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations [now existent]; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14), and it shall have come to pass, as written: “…the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” Rev. 6:14. “For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate;” adding though: “yet will not make a full end” (Jer. 4 :27) – leaving a promise for---The Renewal of the Earth.
Looking forward to the disintegration of the earth, the Apostle Peter says: “…we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. 3:13.
And John the Revelator, permitted in prophetic vision to see beyond as well as before the millennium, writes: “…I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them [whereas during the thousand years, they dwell with Him (Rev. 20:4)] and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
“And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Rev. 21:1-8.
Since the prophets and the Revelator, too, saw the first earth and the first heaven pass away and new ones replace them, anyone would be as foolish as he would be dishonest to gainsay and oppose this plain truth, thereby deceiving himself and confusing others. So the need is very urgent that all give careful consideration to the ensuing---Further Reasons.
Were the earth not to be laid waste at the beginning of the millennium, what need would there be of making “all things new”? Rev. 21:5. If, furthermore, during the millennial age the saints were not to dwell in heaven, then there would be no need of having the “new Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2, 10) there. And if, still further, the saints then live on earth, the Voice of Prophecy would not say they lived “with Christ,” but rather that Christ lived with them. And finally, if they reign with Him on earth, where they are to live forever, prophecy would not say that they “reigned with Christ a thousand years,” but rather that they reigned with Him forever.
Said John, as he looked forward to the time that Christ will live and reign with them on earth: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15. “And the kingdom and dominion,” declares Daniel, concerning the saints’ reigning with Him, “and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” Dan. 7:27.
In heaven the redeemed shall reign with Christ only a thousand years, whereas on earth He shall reign with them forever and ever: for “the heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath He given to the children of men.” Ps. 115:16. “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” Isa. 45: 18.
“Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,” spoke the Lord, upon creating the earth, “and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven.” Gen. 1:6-8.
In the beginning, “the Lord God had not,” let us remember, “caused it to rain upon the earth” (Gen. 2:5), and water was “above the firmament” as well as “under the firmament”; and the firmament, He called “Heaven.” Gen. 1:7, 8. These divided waters could not be the water in the clouds, which now serves to water the earth, for the upper waters were not in the midst of the firmament, as are the clouds, but above it. So just as the earth was surrounded by the firmament, so also was the firmament surrounded by the water. The earth was, in other words, twice enveloped, as shown in the illustration, – first by the firmament; then by the water.
Since both the firmament and the water were transparent, and the water formed just a thin blanket round the firmament, the sun’s rays shone on the earth just as brightly then as they do now. And since, too, the rays of the sun at that time hit the water before they were cooled off by passing through the heavy sheet of atmosphere, they were hotter when they reached the water above the firmament than they are now under the firmament when they reach the earth. Being first diffused by the water, the rays made it hot; in turn, by circulating round the firmament, the hot water warmed the earth evenly everywhere – at the poles as well as at the equator. The only variation in temperature was incident to presence of light (day) and absence of light (night). Consequently, then, as now, the night was cooler than the day. But as this condition no longer prevails, obviously at some time a cataclysm caused---The Breakdown of Earth’s Heating System.
In the beginning, the now frozen regions of the poles flourished with vegetation and abounded with animals which geologists now find preserved in the ice. Who, then, could doubt that the water “above the firmament” was the earth’s heat-equalizing system? But as soon as the water, in fulfillment of Noah’s prediction, began to come down, – in fact, even before it had any chance to descend to the lower places of the earth, – this natural thermostatic system was quickly broken down, and the rain, as it fell on the earth, froze so suddenly in the polar regions that the animals while yet alive froze with it: they evidently had not time even to swallow their food, as is actually established by various archeological exhumations.
The earth, now being without its heat-equalizing system, is affected with intense heat whenever the sun is in such a position as to send its rays through the least thickness of atmosphere as is the case at noonday, when the sun shines straight down instead of on a slant; and with even intenser heat whenever there is a density of atmosphere, such as is caused by humidity and low altitude; whereas conditions opposite to these, bring an opposite extreme. These fluctuating, uncomfortable atmospheric extremes, brought about by the flood, are just another of the results of the curses which followed man’s unbelief in divine warnings and reproofs, and his disobedience to God’s commandments.
This adverse derangement of Nature’s thermostat, with the resultant uncomfortable condition on earth, both of which cry out not only for a new earth, but also for a new heaven, turns our attention to---The Solar System.
Inspiration declares that the sun was created on the fourth day of the week of creation, and astronomical science has discovered that in our solar system there are besides the planet Earth eight other planets depending on the sun for light, heat, and life-giving energy. (The probability is that three more planets will be discovered, for according to Genesis 37:9 and other facts, there must needs be twelve major planets in our solar system.) During the week of creation, consequently, God must have created not only the earth but also the entire solar system. Otherwise, the planets in existing without benefit of the sun’s life-sustaining influence, would necessarily have suffered an uninhabited and altogether useless existence. Inspiration, moreover, says also that in the week of creation, God created the earth, sun, moon, and “the stars also.” Gen. 1:16.
Without a sun, our solar system would have been but a planetary assemblage without a controlling unit, left to careen and hurtle headlessly through space, only to endure, at the merciless caprice of fortuitous circumstance, an unending succession of accidental collisions. Created and set in motion together, though, by the Hand that sustains them, all the planets safely follow the sun as it sweeps through space at the tremendous velocity of 400,000,000 miles a year.
Our heaven and earth, therefore, being a unit in the solar system, then both their passing away and their being renewed necessarily involve the entire system. Not only our heaven, consequently, but also---The Heavens Need to be Renewed.
Each one of the planets in our solar system being surrounded by its own firmament or heaven, there are, consequently, as many heavens (firmaments) as there are planets in the system. To these planetary “heavens” apply the following scriptures:
“For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black.” Jer. 4:28. “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” Isa. 34:4.
“But the day of the Lord 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.” 2 Pet. 3:10.
“They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” Ps. 102:26.
“For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.” Isa. 66:22.
As a result of sin on earth, causing all creation to groan (Rom. 8:22), the whole solar family has suffered. The foregoing scriptures show that not only the earth, but also the heavens, have waxed old under the curse of sin; that sin is a contagious disease with far-reaching results; that “whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26); that God is to make an absolute riddance of sin and consequently that He will make void not only the earth, but also the entire solar system; and that while making the earth new, He will make new the solar system also!
“What do ye imagine against the Lord? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.” Nah. 1:9. “And He said unto me Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Rev. 21 :5.
“Behold,” He says further, speaking in view of the day that He will execute “an utter end,” “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Mal. 4:5. Hence Jesus’ words: “Elias truly shall first come, and”---Shall “Restore All Things.”
Though lost through sin, all created in the beginning will be restored in “the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21. Having created the sea before the beginning of sin, then to do away with it after the extinction of sin, as some teach that He is to do, would certainly not be His restoring “all things,” but rather His doing away with them, and would imply that in the beginning He made a mistake in creating the sea thus belying His pronouncement “that it was good.” Gen. 1:10. Since, moreover, the serpent, not the sea, caused Adam and Eve to sin (Gen. 3:1-7), and since the serpent is to be in the kingdom restored (Isa. 65:25), why, then should God do away with the sea?
“God is jealous,” declares the prophet Nahum in his vision of the time of the end “and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. 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. The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof and darkness shall pursue His enemies. What do ye imagine against the Lord? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.” Nah. 1:2-9.
“…I saw” says John the Revelator, likewise after beholding the desolation of the earth, “a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Rev. 21:1.
When was there no more sea? – When the first heaven and the first earth passed away. The scripture does not say that there shall not be any more sea in the earth made new. It simply says that “there was no more sea” while the heaven and the earth were in their removed state – “passed away.” In other words, the first part of the verse envisages a “new heaven and a new earth,” whereas the last part foretells of no more sea before the “new heaven” and the “new earth” are made.
Thus on the absolute finality of His Own Word the Lord is to bring all things to an end, even to drying the rivers and the seas while He is making clear riddance of sin.
Since along with our heaven and earth, therefore, our whole solar system is to pass away, not only the saints from earth, then, but with them also the sons of God from the whole system, shall live and reign with Christ in the Heaven of heavens for a thousand years! O what a privilege! What an opportunity! What a gathering that will be!
“I have seen the tender love that God has for His people, and it is very great…. Heaven is a good place. I long to be there, and behold my lovely Jesus, who gave His life for me, and be changed into His glorious image. Oh, for language to express the glory of the bright world to come! I thirst for the living streams that make glad the city of our God.” – Early Writings, p. 39.
This most glorious reward impels one to study further to know the truth. To The Revelation, the unfolding of the prophecies, therefore, one is led for an examination of important---MILLENNIAL EVENTS
Let us give undivided attention to the scriptures which record the things that are to take place just before the thousand years begin – the things which will bring about the millennial age of peace, as revealed to John:
“…I saw…a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True…. He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God…. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written,KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19:11, 13, 16.
Here Christ reveals Himself, not as a priest or as a lamb, but as the King of kings, treading “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Rev. 19:15. This is His---Slaying of the Wicked.
The “angel standing in the sun…cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant [the “kings” and “captains” and “mighty men” and “horses” and “them that sit on them” and “all men, both free and bond, both small and great”] 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” (Rev. 19:17-21) – a final work from which it is readily seen that the wicked are---Slain Just Before the Millennium.
Since after the millennium, the wicked are not slain and their flesh is not eaten by the fowls, but rather destroyed with fire (Rev. 20:9), Revelation 19:17-21 is seen to refer to a pre-millennial destruction.
Decisively, therefore, the King of kings is to slay, just before the millennium, all except the righteous – except those who get “the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.” Rev. 15:2.Then shall the righteous dead be raised, whereas the wicked dead remain in their graves and, along with the wicked living, all of whom are then slain by the Lord, live “not again until the thousand years” are “finished.” Rev. 20:5.
Since, moreover, at the commencement of the millennium, when the wicked are slain, the heaven and the earth pass away, then, as a result,---The Saints Remove to Another Sphere.
As The Revelation says that “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4), Christ does not therefore, live with them on the earth, but rather they live with Him in “the place” which He prepared for them, and of which John says (after seeing “the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” and replaced with “new heaven and a new earth” – Rev. 21:1): “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Rev. 21:2.
The wicked being then hid in their graves, and the righteous being gone to live with Christ, hence---Satan Is Left Alone.
Wandering in the earth until the resurrection of the wicked (Rev. 20:13), Satan is confined to a thousand years of solitaire! Bound by this chain of circumstances, he is unable to “deceive the nations” (Rev. 20:3), till the dead who “lived not again until the thousand years were finished,” arise to life, following the---Judgment During the Millennium.
If an earthly judge does not convict and condemn a criminal without benefit of trial by jury, certainly, then, the all-just God of Heaven will not. He will not pass final sentence upon the wicked, convicting them of sin and condemning them to die “the second” death (Rev. 20:14), until after He has given the saints (the jury) opportunity to witness for themselves the judgment of the wicked – the husbands, wives, children, relatives, friends, and acquaintances then missing from the mansions above – and to examine their records which show why they are not there, but instead are moldering in their graves below.
That no excuse be left to anyone for ignorance or error on this truth, John was shown not only the great white throne on which sits the Judge Eternal, “from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away” (Rev. 20:11), but also other thrones, or seats, on which evidently sit the jury. And instead of only “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11) of angels as witnesses, he saw present on this occasion also “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… This is the first resurrection.” Rev. 20:4, 5.
The fact, though, that “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Rev. 20:5), shows that those present before the throne were resurrected.
But the dead, “small and great,” who do not rise in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6), John saw figuratively “stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev. 20:12. With the close of this work, come the events---After the Judgment.
When the judgment was over and the thousand years gone, “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. “ Rev . 20: 13.
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:2-4.
Having descended with the saints, who are to reign forever with Him on the earth made new, Christ calls forth the wicked dead from their graves, while simultaneously, “a great voice out of heaven” is heard, “saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them” (Rev. 21:3), whereas during the thousand years, they have “lived” with Him (Rev. 20:4). Whereupon,---Satan Is Loosed For a Little Season.
By the resurrection of the wicked dead, “…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.” Rev. 20:7, 8.
Concerning this “little season” in which Satan will be allowed to deceive the nations, the prophet Isaiah heard the Lord say:
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Isa. 65:17-20.
The reader will observe that when the Lord creates the new heavens and the new earth, then from the time that the wicked arise from their graves to the time that they are destroyed forever by the second death, – the “little season,” – “there shall be no more thence [among them] and infant of days [no more births], nor an old man that hath not filled his days [no more deaths before man’s days are fulfilled]: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Both the old and the young (that is, those who remain in their graves during the millennium) will afterward come forth together, each to live “an hundred years” – “the little season” in which Satan will again deceive them. There will be neither death nor birth, but all the wicked will then be forever accursed by---The Second Death.
That portion of the new earth which the feet of the wicked have trodden and defiled during the “short season,” will be purified by the fire’s coming “down from God out of heaven” and burning them and their works, while those who will inhabit the new earth for eternity, will be shielded in and about “the holy city.” Rev. 21:2.
“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…. 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. 20:9, 10, 14, 15.
Since not only Satan, but also “whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life, was cast into the lake of fire,” the fire in the lake simply continues the same destruction wrought by the fire which comes “down from God out of heaven.” Rev. 20:9. After the thousand years, in other words, the fire which comes “down from God out of heaven,” results in “the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:10) and in eternal extermination of all sinners. Of this final destruction, a pre-millennial demonstration is to be given when the beast and the false prophet are cast into the “lake of fire” – their grave for the thousand years. And as the fire does not, of course, keep burning during the thousand years, the statement, “the devil…was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are” (Rev. 20:10), shows therefore that there are both a typical and an antitypical destruction; the lake of fire before the millennium, being a type of the one after the millennium.
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,” says the apostle,---“What Manner of Persons Ought Ye To Be?”
The Scriptures exhort that those in the Truth 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. Wherefore beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:11-14), and the more so now while He is---SETTING UP HIS KINGDOM.
“In that day” (when the Lord is about to make empty the earth), He “shall set His hand again the second time,” says the prophet Isaiah, “to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four comers of the earth.” Isa. 11:11, 12.
The work of gathering set forth in these scriptures, shows that before the resurrection of the righteous (1 Thess. 4:16) and before the pre-millennial destruction of the nations, the Lord is to make up His kingdom at first of the living saints only, as seen from the prophecy of Daniel 2: the “stone” being “cut out” of the mountain (Dan. 2:45), and being symbolical of the kingdom of Christ in its beginning (Dan.2:44), then the mountain from which it is cut out, must necessarily represent the church from which the first fruits of the kingdom, the 144,000, are gathered. And as the stone grows and becomes “a great mountain” (Dan. 2:35) after it is “cut out,” it obviously at first represents the kingdom in its infancy – the “first fruits” only. The fact, also, that the stone grows and fills “the whole earth,” is another evidence in the proof that after this long-looked-for kingdom is “set up,” a great multitude is to join it. Were this not so, then the stone could not become “a great mountain.” Its being, furthermore, at first but a very small part of the mountain, shows that the kingdom has a very small beginning, just as the Lord says: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,…which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs.” Matt. 13:31, 32.
The “mountain,” the kingdom of God, clearly then, is begun with the first fruits of the living (the 144,000) and followed by the second fruits of the living (the great multitude – Rev. 7 :9), and is completed with the first and second fruits of the dead – the 120 (those who received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost), plus those who arose with Christ (Matt. 27:52, 53), plus the great multitude who accepted Him after the Pentecost (Acts 5:14), plus all who awake to everlasting life in the resurrection of Daniel 12:2, plus the remaining dead of all ages, who rise on the great resurrection day (Rev. 20:6), also those of Ezek. 37:1-14.
Going back to Daniel’s prophecy, there we find---The Days in Which the Kingdom Is Set Up.
“In the days of these kings [not after, but in the days of the kings who are symbolized by the feet and toes of the great image] shall the God of heaven,” says Daniel, calling attention to the kingdom at its beginning, “set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people but it [the kingdom] shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Dan. 2:44. Thus we see that while the nations of our age (symbolized by the feet and toes of the great image of Daniel 2:41, 42) are yet in existence, the Lord will set up the kingdom with which He will overthrow them. Then it shall be said: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15.
Pronouncing the doom of ancient Israel, the prophet Hosea inscribed the solemn writ: “…the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.” Hos. 3:4. At the same time, however, a promise was made that “afterward [after the many days] shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.” Hos. 3:5.
As ancient David is in his grave, the king here promised must be an antitypical David, just as the Elijah of Malachi 4:5 must be an antitypical Elijah. Otherwise, in order to fulfill the prophecies, ancient David must necessarily rise from his grave, and ancient Elijah descend from Heaven.
Daniel’s declaration (p. 42) that with this antitypical kingdom, the Lord will break the nations, and Jeremiah’s declaration (in the ensuing paragraph) that it is His battle ax, clearly show---The Kingdom’s Retributory Work.
“Thou art My battle ax and weapons of war,” says the Lord to Israel of today (those who are to compose the infant kingdom), “for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;…with thee also will I break
in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.” Jer. 51 :20-23.
This scripture cannot be applied to the Israel of Jeremiah’s day, for she was then losing out rather than conquering, and from that day to this, she has had no kingdom of her own. It is obviously therefore the Israel of these last days the kingdom, through whose instrumentality God will bring this world to an end.
This soon-coming kingdom being not like an earthly kingdom, but like a heavenly one, its confines shall be a place of---Perfect Peace and Absolute Safety.
Characterizing both the king and the kingdom to be established after the “many days,” the prophet Isaiah declares: “…with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isa. 11 :4-9.
This prophesied era of absolute righteousness, peace, and knowledge of God (in the kingdom) under the reign of the “rod” (David) and of the “Branch” (Christ), must begin---Before the Close of Probation.
The Scriptures show that the kingdom is set before, rather than at, the beginning of the millennium, for “in that day [in the day the kingdom is set up and peace reigns]…a root of Jesse [the rod and the Branch]…shall stand for an ensign of the people [of the kingdom],” says Isaiah, and “to it shall the Gentiles seek.” Isa. 11:10. And as after the close of probation, the doors of the kingdom will be shut to all, the ensign must therefore be set up before probation closes: the only time that the Gentiles will have a chance to be converted to the Lord and to His kingdom, – a conclusion common to the following scriptures:
“Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee when I returned the captivity of My people.’ Hos. 6:11.
So shall it come to pass “that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isa. 2:2, 3.
“Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
“The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations” (Isa. 60:9-15) in the land---Where the Kingdom Stands; There Sin Exists Not.
“For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it… For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
“Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
“And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.” Jer. 30:3, 17-19.
“For I will take you from among the heathen and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you [a work which can be done only in probationary time], and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” Ezek. 36:24-27.
At this nearing time, when the Lord’s people who have been scattered will be gathered “from among the heathen,” and brought into their “own land,” their hearts will be changed; then it will be said in effect: “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3 :9. Then shall the law of sin, now dominant in the natural heart, no longer exist. Thus freed from sin’s tyranny, the “stony heart” shall be replaced with a “heart of flesh” with the law of God inscribed upon it forever.
The very fact that God is now to restore the kingdom of Israel, gives rise to the question as to whether He will not do so through the current effort of---The Jews Returning to Jerusalem.
In regard to the present activities in old Jerusalem, and of the returning of Jews to their homeland, as fulfilling the promises made to the descendants of Jacob, we must not lose sight of the fact that the promises are not to find their fulfillment in the returning to the promised land, of either the Jews who denied and crucified their Lord or their descendants who in nearly two thousand years have failed to accept Him as their Saviour, but rather in God’s bringing there those Jews who are Jews not only by blood but also by faith.
The promise, therefore, is unmistakably to the latter and to their descendants who composed the Christian church in its beginning, and who were willing to die for, rather than to deny, their Lord. The promise is not, in other words, to the unconverted (represented first by Ishmael, and second by Esau); rather it is to their younger brethren – the converted Jews (represented first by Isaac, and second by Jacob). It is therefore to those who have allowed the Lord to change their names from “Jews” (fleshly Israel) to “Christians” (spiritual Israel), just as Jacob their forefather, allowed God to change his name from Jacob to Israel. Thus being by natural birth the seed of Jacob, and by spiritual birth, the seed of Christ (the Truth), they are both sons of Jacob and sons of God, and hence full-fledged Jews, Israelites indeed.
“…I know the blasphemy,” said the angel, “of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Rev. 2:9.
Though the early Christian church was made up purely of Jews, yet as they began to be called “Christians” (the new Jewish sect) in contradistinction to Jews (the old Jewish sect), they gradually lost their racial distinctiveness, until finally they altogether ceased to be called Jews; whereas throughout the centuries the non-Christian Jews have preserved intact their racial identity.
“For it is written,” writes Paul, figuratively identifying these two lines, “that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bond woman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out, the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Gal. 4:22-31.
Accordingly, since the 144,000 manifestly cannot be made up of Jews unconverted to Christ, we see that we must dig deeper in---Identifying the 144,000.
1. They are the “firstfruits.” Rev. 14:4.
2. They are sealed in time of peace while the four angels are “holding the four winds.” Rev. 7:1-3.
3. They are “not defiled with women.” Rev. 14:4.
4. They have in their mouths “no guile.’ Rev. 14:5.
5. They stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion, and, follow Him “withersoever He goeth.” Verses 1, 4.
6. They have the “Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Verse 1.
7. Following their sealing, a great multitude “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” says the Revelator, “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Rev. 7:1-9.
In the light of these seven facts, the identity and the mission of the 144,000 become certain.
The mere fact in itself that they are first fruits, does not give us the right to conclude that they were sealed during the earliest part of human history. Indeed, their being Israelites, descendants of Jacob, positively precludes their having been sealed in the time of either Adam to Noah or of Noah to Jacob – before Israel was born. Neither could they have been sealed during the three and a half years of Christ’s personal ministry on earth, if that suggests itself as a possible time: for Christ, Himself, and all His followers at that time were persecuted, and many of them were put to death; whereas during the sealing of the 144,000, the “four winds,” figurative of all the nations scattered to the four corners of the earth, are not permitted to blow – to hurt anything (Rev. 7: 1).
And as during the sealing period, the nations are restrained from obstructing the sealing of the righteous, and the “four angels” (Rev. 7:2) are commanded not to hurt the wicked, we see that the 144,000 are sealed in a time of peace – not, though, in a time of peace among the nations themselves, but rather in a time during which neither the nations are permitted to persecute the church (those who are being sealed) nor the angels permitted to hurt the wicked. This condition, however, being contrary to that which existed in the days of the apostles, when both the Romans and the Jews persecuted the Christians, and when God took the life of Ananias and Sapphira, and brought destruction upon Jerusalem, no one, consequently, can honestly conclude that the 144,000 were sealed at that time.
Neither could they be, as some think, those who arose from their graves when Christ “yielded up the ghost” (Matt. 27:50, 52, 53), for, besides the reasons already given, the angel came “from the east “ not to call them from their graves but to seal them in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3 4).
The Revelator, moreover, was told that the things about which he was to write, were to be “hereafter” (Rev. 4:1) – after 96 A.D., when he had the vision. And furthermore, the sealing of the 144,000 takes place in the period of “the sixth” seal, just prior to the opening of “the seventh” seal (Rev. 6:12-17; 7:1-17; 8:1), shortly before the end of all things.
And still further, instead of being called first born, they are called “firstfruits” – a designation which shows that they are of---The First Fruits of the Harvest.
As all the books of the Bible meet and end in The Revelation, the sealing of the 144,000 must as a result find its complement in the writings of the prophets. And as nowhere but in Ezekiel 9 is found an event analogous to that of Revelation 7, it follows that the marking and sealing are identical, both of which are to separate the wicked from the righteous: the angels in the former, smiting all who have not the mark; the angels in the latter, hurting all who have not the seal. (See Ezekiel 9:4-6; Revelation 7:2, 3; 9:15.)
The fact, therefore, that at no time in church history, save in Noah’s day, has God destroyed all the wicked and preserved only the righteous, is conclusive evidence in the proof that the marking, or sealing, of the 144,000 is yet incomplete. Plainly, then, among God’s people those who fail to receive the seal, are, in the figure of the parable, represented by “tares,” and are appointed unto destruction, whereas those who receive the seal and who escape the destruction, are symbolized by the “wheat,” and are destined for the barn – the kingdom (Matt. 13:30).
As the “tares” and the wheat are to grow together until the harvest, and as the harvest is the end of the world (Matt. 13:30, 39), obviously the 144,000 are called the first fruits because they are the class of saints (wheat) first to be separated from the tares. They are, moreover,---A Class Not defiled With Women.
According to Revelation 7, the 144,000 are of the twelve tribes, Israel and Judah, not of the Gentiles; also, both the marking and the slaughtering, according to Ezekiel 9, are to take place in both Israel and Judah, the church, where the harvest, judgment, commences. And, if the judgment, asks the apostle, “first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Pet. 4:17.
In the cumulative light focusing to this point the 144,000, “the firstfruits,” stand forth clearly as Christian Jews who are found in the church at the commencement of the harvest. In this respect they are not defiled with women. They have, in other words, from their birth been God’s people (Jews) – not defiled with heathen worship. They “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” with the result that when He stands on Mt. Zion, they, too, stand there.
And further, the facts that “these are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins,” and that they are “the servants of our God,” clearly imply that they are---To Gather a Class Defiled With Women, A Second Fruits.
This class of saints must be those who have at one time been married to some unchristian mistress, a heathen church, and who consequently are not descendants of either Jacob or the Christian church. So there are to be two harvests – one from the church and one from the world: the record of the former, mentions only Israelites, the 144,000, those not defiled with women, though it does not say that there may not be others; while the record of the latter, however, definitely embraces a “great multitude” from all nations which must necessarily be both of undefiled and defiled ones – Jews and Gentiles.
Thus, as after the sealing of the 144,000, the first fruits, come the great multitude from all nations, the latter can, logically, only be called the second fruits. Otherwise the 144,000 cannot be called the first fruits: for where there is no second, there can be no first. And the first fruits the 144,000, being living saints, so also, therefore, are the second fruits the great multitude. The first fruits, moreover being analogous to the first-born, the priests, are therefore the ministers, “the servants of God” – those who are to bring in the second fruits.
Prophesying of the separation of the one, and of the ingathering of the other, Isaiah declares: “For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many…. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.” Isa. 66:16, 19, 20.
Note that those who escape the slaughter of the Lord are sent to proclaim His fame and to show forth His glory among the Gentiles. “They shall bring all” their “brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations.” They shall, in other words, preach “this gospel of the kingdom…in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matt. 24:14. This great work, which no others have ever been able to accomplish, these escaped ones will, because ---In Their Mouth Is Found No Guile.
The fact that the 144,000 are without guile in their mouths shows that, as servants of God, they have a message to proclaim, and that they are to be found blameless in their proclaiming of it: speaking the truth and nothing but the truth, they shall prosper wherever they go with the message, although they are sent with it---When the Winds Are Loosed and Blowing.
The angels’ holding back the winds at the four corners of the earth denotes that they are holding back some world-wide trouble which, should it break out while the church is in her Laodicean condition, would block the sealing. And from this fact, it follows that immediately after the 144,000 are sealed, the trouble will begin, signalizing the angels’ loosing the winds. With this trouble “such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1), the great multitude is to be brought face to face while being called out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4) into the kingdom.
This time of trouble is foreshadowed by the present trouble which the church is bringing upon the first fruits, those who are being sealed, marked, in her midst, to be removed to the kingdom – the barn (Matt. 13:30), the vessels (Matt. 13:48).
Consequently, as the making of the image of the beast (Rev. 13:11-18) is, in prophecy, the only world-wide event of this kind, and as the great multitude with palms in their hands come out of great tribulation, the only logical conclusion is that after the 144,000 are sealed, and while the winds are blowing, the second fruits will be gathered and the work of the gospel closed.
The trouble will burst forth as the two-horned beast decrees “that no man might buy or sell, save he that [has] the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Rev. 13:17. Thus will the dragon be “wroth with the woman” and “make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 12:17. And at the same time the angels will be allowed to hurt all who trouble the church of God, and who attempt to join it in the same way as the tares now do. In thus hurting the wicked, the angels execute “the wrath of the Lamb.” In view of this, the Lord asks, “who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:17. It is “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5), and “the sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites.” Hence the questions: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” – Only those who see themselves in need of everything. And these are---The Ones Who See the King.
“He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
“Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where s the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers? Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.” Isa. 33:14-22.
“Michael,” “the Great Prince,” shall then “stand up” and deliver “every one that shall be found written in the book.” Dan. 12:1.
Because in that day the Lord is both to shepherd the faithful and to punish the unfaithful, the message which announces this “great and dreadful day” (Mal. 4:5), is titled, The Shepherd’s Rod. “The Lord’s voice,” therefore, “crieth unto the city, …---“Hear Ye the Rod, and Who Hath Appointed it.”
Sunken in Laodicean slumber and sleep, “the city,” the church, in God’s merciful effort to prepare it against this day of trouble, is to be startled to life by His urgent cry:
“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Isa. 52:1.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to the light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isa. 60:1-3.
The church of the Laodiceans, being the last of the seven churches, is the last section of the Christian church in which the wheat and the tares are commingled. The overcomers, the marked ones, from it, those who hear the Rod, begin the eighth section of the church – the one symbolized by the “barn” (Matt. 13:30) and by the “vessels” (Matt. 13:48), also by the “golden candlestick” of Zechariah 4. Of her the Lord says: “…the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Isa. 62:2, 3.
Among the Laodiceans, however, those who refuse to arouse and take in the situation, who will not “sigh and…cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezek. 9:4) will be left without the mark, and will consequently fall under the slaughter weapons of the angels (Ezek. 9), while those who receive the mark will escape them and be shielded from the trouble, the shield’s being symbolized by the barn and the vessels (Matt. 13:30, 48).
This sparing of the wheat on the one hand, and slaying of the tares on the other hand, among the first fruits, – those in the church, – foretoken the sparing of the good and the slaying of the bad among the second fruits, those in Babylon (Rev. 18:4). Hence---The Work in Laodicea Typifies That in Babylon.
While the Lord is now marking the first fruits of His kingdom, those in Laodicea “the ancient men” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 211), supposing themselves to be doing His bidding by forcing the laity not to listen to the Lord’s messengers and not to read His message in The Shepherd’s Rod, are attempting to prevent them from receiving His mark, which is to keep them from perishing.And as prophecy shows, this war, when finished in Laodicea, spreads into Babylon as the Lord begins marking the second fruits of His kingdom, and as the beast, supposing himself (as do the ancient men now) to be doing the Lord’s bidding, decrees that “all, both small and great rich and poor, free and bond” (Rev. 13:16), receive his mark rather than the Lord’s, which is to keep them, also, from perishing.
These two markings (the beast’s and the Lord’s) in themselves show a time of separating the citizens of heaven from the citizens of the world. And because this is a work such as never was, it brings the time of trouble such as never was – “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” The present trouble in Laodicea is therefore to spread into Babylon and develop into the time of trouble such as never was, a development which shows that the same satanic power now working in Laodicea, will soon fully manifest itself, in consolidation with the beast, within the churches in Babylon, there to oppose the marking of the second fruits as it is now in Laodicea opposing the marking of the first fruits.
And furthermore, as the eighth section of the church, the church eternal is of the seventh section, the church temporal just so the eighth beast, the post-millennial world, is of the seventh beast (Rev. 17:11), the pre-millennial world.
This inescapable parallelism between the work of God and the work of Satan, which Inspiration so sharply and vividly brings into focus, speaks for itself that we are entering into “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” – a fact which should stir our hearts as nothing ever has.
And since “henceforth” from the time that the 144,000 are marked and the sinners taken away from among them, no more shall the wicked commingle with the righteous, – from that time on forever, therefore,---The Kingdom Church, The Eighth, Stays Pure.
Prophetically looking forward to the church’s purified state, the prophet Zechariah saw that “every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.” Zech. 14:21.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31:33, 34.
Then shall go forth the Word of the Lord: “Hear ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge My might.” Isa. 33:13.
All who have acknowledged and profited by His might in the past, along with all who will acknowledge and profit by His might in the future, are to be found in---Five Groups in the Kingdom.
These groups are (1) the 144,000, Israelites the first fruits of the living, whose “nobles shall be of themselves,” and whose “governor shall proceed from the midst of them” (Jer. 30:21); they shall return to Jerusalem, and stand on Mount Sion with the Lamb; (2) those whom John saw, after the sealing of the 144,000, gathered from “all nations, and kindreds, and
people, and tongues,” during the “great tribulation,” the “time of trouble such as never was” – the great multitude who go to Jerusalem before the resurrection; (3) those who arise to everlasting life in the resurrection of Daniel 12:2; (4) those Israelites who shall come forth in the resurrection of Ezekiel 37:1-14; (5) all who come in the resurrection of Revelation 20:6; – collectively, these are all the Israelites and Gentiles who shall return to Jerusalem, possess the promised land, and then the whole earth.
Ironically futile, therefore (in view of what we have seen in these pages), is the ever-strengthening aim to rebuild Jerusalem, as one movement is endeavoring to do in response to the prophecies of the kingdom, by taking there the non-Christian Jews; and as another movement is endeavoring to do in response to the same prophecies, by taking there the English-speaking world.
A kingdom of both believers and unbelievers would be none the better than the kingdoms of today. It would, in fact, be nothing more than a Babylon, nothing more than “the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.” Rev. 18:2. To work for such a hope is to take a long step toward bringing in Satan’s “powerful delusion,” counterfeiting Christ in a counterfeit kingdom.
Thus it is that “only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise…. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only?”— The Great Controversy, p. 625.
In view of this urgency to safeguard the Christian’s crowning hope, the kingdom, it is expedient, therefore, to consolidate the main points thus far established in the ingathering. Hence---A Summary of the First and Second Fruits.
1. When the time of the “tares” “the children of the wicked one” (Matt. 13:18), is come to its full, then will commence “the harvest,” and it will bring “the end of this world.” Matt. 13:30, 40. Taking place in the end of the world, it perforce is the gathering of the people by Elijah’s message, the last Heaven-sent proclamation of the gospel, which is preached first to the church just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5), and then to all the world during that long-expected day.
The message finding the net full upon its arrival and subsequently causing a division between those who accept it and those who reject it, it enables the angels to select the bad from among the good (Matt. 13:48). These “good” are the first fruits of the redeemed. Then follows the separation implicit in the call: “Come out of her My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4. These called-out ones are the second fruits.
In the first instance, the bad are cast out from among the good that are caught in the net (the message reposing in the church); whereas in the second instance, only God’s faithful are called out from among the sinners in Babylon, there being no tares among them.
The tares and the wheat were commingled in the former instance because “while men slept,” says the Lord, the “enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat”; whereas the wheat is kept free from the tares in the latter instance because says the Lord: “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night.” Isa. 62:6.
Babylon’s dominion being symbolized by the scarlet-colored beast, the beast upon which sits the woman (Rev. 17), the symbolization is therefore representative of an international religious-political system.
The religious aspect is symbolized by the woman; the civil aspect, by the horns of the beast: in combination, a symbolical prediction of a world-wide system of church and state union. The beast alone, exclusive of the horns, represents, as do the beasts of Daniel 7, the world’s multitudes – the subjects of antitypical Babylon from among whom God’s people are called. This gathering constitutes the separation of the second fruits.
From this, the truth is again seen that the first and the second fruits of the living (the one gathered from within the church at the commencement of “the great and dreadful day,” and the other gathered out of Babylon during that day) constitute the kingdom at its beginning and before the resurrection of the dead.
The facts, moreover, that only the good from the net were kept, and that only God’s people were called out of Babylon, hail the kingdom as the home of the righteous only.
“But this shall be the covenant,” declares the Lord, concerning this glorious truth of the kingdom, “that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31:33, 34.
“And they shall call them,” acclaims Isaiah, “The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord.” Isa. 62:12. “And an highway shall be there,” he assures, “and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Isa. 35:8.
2. When “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matt. 24:14), the work of the gospel shall end, and probation shall close for every human being.
3. When both Jew and Gentile who have responded to the call have been gathered from the four corners of the earth, then will the harvest end: then will the last lingering moment of probationary time have fled away forever: then will the end have come, and from the “great white throne” will have gone forth the immutable fiat: “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.” Rev. 22:11.
Learning to their terror, with the passing of probation, that they are forever lost, the neglectful will cry out bitterly: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8:20.
“Behold, I come quickly;” declares Christ, following His solemn pronouncement of the close of probation (Rev. 22:11), “and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Rev. 22:12. Here is anchor-evidence that probation closes before the Lord’s visible return.
4. At the close of the seventh plague, the Lord, Himself, visible to every eye (Rev. 1:7), “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: 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 Thess. 4:16, 17.
“With the righteous dead of all ages being resurrected and joined with the living saints, the kingdom is completely made up – the righteous having been set on His right (the kingdom), and the wicked, on His left (Babylon). Then, while the King sends those on His left “into everlasting punishment,” He says to those on His right “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 25:46, 34. Following this is realized the long awaited fruition of the glorious hope engendered of Christ’s promise: “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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.
This stirring hope of every Christian is beautifully foreshadowed in the translation of Enoch (Gen. 5:24), the translation of Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), and the resurrection of the multitude whom Christ led on high (Matt. 27:52, 53; Eph. 4:8) – a threefold typification in triple accord with God’s law of type that where there is type, there must also be anti-type.
Were there not, assuredly, in this connection to be an antitype (ascension of all the saints), then there would not have been a type (translation of Enoch and Elijah, and ascension of the multitude). The type would have been arbitrary, purposeless, and misleading. Not only the saints, therefore, but also---The Heavens Shall Depart. The Wicked Shall Cry to the Mountains to Fall Upon Them.
With the close of the seventh plague will come the fullness of the end, of which, exclaims the Revelator: “…the heaven [the atmosphere of our earth – Gen. 1:8] departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island…moved out of their places….the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid…in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;” saying “to the mountains and rocks, 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?” Rev. 6:14-17.
The fact that all these events close with the second coming of Christ, also the facts that the prophecies plainly declare that God will gather all His people from among the nations, call forth His Own from their graves, catch up all the redeemed – both the living and the resurrected – to meet Him in the air and to go with Him to the mansions which He has been preparing for them ever since His ascension, destroy all the wicked, leave the earth empty without life or light, then make it void and without form, and finally, let not the dead live again until the thousand years are finished, – all these facts make manifest that the earth is to be in a state of chaos while the saints “live and reign” with Christ in heaven during the thousand years.
In this way, Satan is bound by a chain of circumstances which makes impossible his deceiving the nations until the thousand years are finished, and until the Lord again returns with the saints, calls forth the wicked dead from their graves, and allows them to live for a short season – a season in which---Satan Again Deceives Them.
Looking forward to the resurrection after the millennium, the Revelator saw that the wicked “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…. This is the second death.” Rev. 20:9, 10, 14.
Then “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. Hitherto is the end of the matter.” Dan. 7:27, 28.
Seeing that all these things shall shortly come to pass, “Stand ye in the ways,” says the Lord, “and see, and ask for---“The Old Paths.” Jer. 6:16.
“Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” 1 Tim. 1:4. “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” Tit. 1:14. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Tim. 4:3, 4.
“…My speech and my preaching,” says the apostle Paul, “was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Cor. 2:4, 5.
Let this counsel warn God’s people away from the precarious practice of hanging their doctrines and their faith on the gilded hooks of perverted interpretations and of renderings from tongues unknown to them (the Hebrew, the Greek, and this, that, or the other) and of interpretative translations that bolster up and serve the interests of theological preconceptions and predilections better than does the authorized version – the version which God, in His providence and in His foreknowledge of finishing His work by the English-speaking world, has given to His people to lead them into His kingdom. Beware, therefore, of the pretentions of pseudo-scholarship, which assume to be more dependable than that which God, Himself, has chosen and wrought in simplicity.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matt. 24:35.
SCRIPTURAL INDEX (Cont.)
Tract No. 9, “BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW,” had 112 pages and was first published in 1940. Two years later in 1942, it was revised having only 78 pages which proved that some information was left out.
By comparing the two tracts, it was noted that the 1940 Tract No. 9 included other valuable information, besides the explanation of 1 Peter 3:18-20 as well as 1 Corinthians 15:29, which was not found in the 1942 Tract No. 9.
In order to preserve this valuable information for the edification of the Davidian saints, these pages (99-110) of the 1940 Tract No. 9 have been inserted here.
I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW
Tract No. 9
THE FIRST ANGEL’S MESSAGE:
“Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” To clear the appointed time of this message, we must take into consideration the revelation of John, which, from the fourth chapter to the twenty-second, is continuous, without a break; that is, the conjunction “and” begins each chapter, showing that all these revelations were given to John at the time that the “Voice” said to him: “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” – things that were to transpire sometime after he had the vision of them. And John having had this vision about 96 A.D., the first angel’s message therefore could not possibly have been preached before that time, for, to repeat, he is not writing of the things of the past, but of the things of the future. Again: the fact that he says, “I saw another [the first] angel…having the everlasting gospel to preach,” further shows that this angel’s message had not been preached before he had the vision, but that it was to be preached in the future from that time. Moreover, there is neither scripture nor history to show that the judgment began in or before John’s time. Still further, as the first angel’s message was never preached before 1844, then when the judgment hour came, this angel’s message – the message concerning the judgment – went forth.
As the investigative judgment is in two sections (the first, devoted to the dead; the second, to the living), the fact is evidenced that though the first, the second, and the third, angels’ messages apply directly to the period of the judgment of the living, they must also, though indirectly, apply to the period of the judgment of the dead. Thus only, except as a warning of coming events, have they been preached since 1844. Hence, when the judgment of the living commences, and when the image of the beast is fully made up, then these messages are, with a loud cry, to be repeated as present truth concerning the living instead of the dead.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 99
The foregoing facts concerning the eternal throne, the provisional throne, and the judgment, prove correct the book which was used in the proclamation of the first, second, and third, angels’ messages in their first application, for in it we read:
“I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the vail, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and the most of those who were bowed down arose with Him. I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after He arose, and they were left in perfect darkness. Those who arose when Jesus did, kept their eyes fixed on Him as He left the throne and led them out a little way. Then He raised His right arm, and we heard His lovely voice saying, ‘Wait here; I am going to My Father to receive the kingdom; keep your garments spotless, and in a little while I will return from the wedding and receive you to Myself.’ Then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father.” – “Early Writings,” p. 55.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 99-100
Someone may ask, If the names of the dead who have not in Christ endured to the end of their lives, must be blotted out of the book of life, then why---DID CHRIST PREACH TO THE DEAD?
1 Pet. 3:18-20
In the same scripture giving rise to this question, is also the answer: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” 1 Pet. 3:18-20.
This scripture does not say that Christ in person, while His body lay in the tomb, preached to the spirits in prison, as is understood by some; instead, it says that He, through the medium of the Spirit by Whom He was resurrected, preached to them “in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.” Nor does it say that Christ preached to the dead, but rather “unto the spirits in prison.” Hence, the concern as to whether “the spirits in prison” mean the dead or the living, is a matter of interpretation, and such an interpretation must come of divine authority.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 100-101
Nowhere do we find in the Bible, when It is referring to the dead, that It calls them spirits, but It does thus designate the living. Moreover, the Word plainly says that “the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” Eccl. 9:5, 6.
Still further, the Lord makes it exceedingly plain in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus that after death there is no chance at all for one’s salvation, – no, not even for a drop of cold water, – for the rich man’s plea in death was denied him, and he was told: “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Luke 16:25, 26.
This parable teaches that the only way any of us can be saved from hell’s torment is to “hear Moses and the prophets” while we are yet alive, and that if we hear them not, then the Lord cannot help us after death. It also teaches that if we are not persuaded by them, neither will we “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:29-31.Hence, as there is no chance for salvation after death, then if any, while living, have failed to hear “Moses and the prophets,” why should Christ preach to them after they die? “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matt. 22:32.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 101-102
Consequently, the “spirits in prison” cannot be any others than the antediluvians to whom Christ, by the Spirit which raised Him, preached through Noah before the flood, while the inhabitants of that world were imprisoned by the circumstances of the coming flood, from the certain consequences of which they could not escape. The statement, “Wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water,” proves further that it was by the Spirit of Christ in Noah’s preaching that Christ before the flood visited the spirits in prison and saved eight souls – Noah and his family. Thus “the Spirit of Christ which was in” “the prophets,” also “did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Pet. 1:10, 11.
But someone asks: If it is true that Christ did not preach to the dead, then what about those dead who were---LEFT WITHOUT A CHANCE?
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 102-103
The law of death cannot be reversed by any one’s ignorance of God. Moreover, says the Lord to His prophet: “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezek. 3:18. As this scripture clearly teaches that those who have died in their sins cannot be rescued by being preached to after death, even though through the watchmen’s neglect they have been left without a chance, then those who have died in ignorance through their own neglect instead of the watchmen’s, as was the case with the antediluvian world, would be even less excusable, and would have neither need nor right to be preached to after death, even though it were possible.
Those who have never had a chance to hear the prophets, – to them “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Ps. 19:1-3. All are to be judged according to the light God has revealed to them. And those who have had a chance, but have failed, to learn of God, will not be condemned for being in error, but for failing to get acquainted with truth. This being so, then why are some---BAPTIZED FOR THE DEAD?
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 103-104
1 Cor. 15:29
Paul, speaking of the resurrection, makes plain to the Corinthians that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither is there salvation in Christ.
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: Whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” 1 Cor. 15:14-22, 29.
It cannot rightly be understood from this scripture that the living are, or must be, baptized for the dead, for Paul does not question the effect that the baptism would have on those who are dead, but rather the effect that it would have on those who are alive, for he asks: “What shall they [the living] do which are baptized for the dead? Not: What shall the dead do for whom we, the living, have been baptized? In other words, his contention is that for their own benefit they themselves were “baptized for the dead,” not for the living – not baptized with the thought of living on forever, but rather with the thought of dying in the hope of being raised on the resurrection day. Hence, they were baptized for the dead (to pass through the grave, the state of death), not for the living, as will be those who are baptized about the time of Christ’s coming, and who will make up that immortal company of saints who, being alive and remaining when He appears with His angels, “shall,” says Paul, “be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thess. 4:17.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 104-105
Therefore, those who shall be found living when Christ appears, having been baptized before His appearing, are baptized for the living instead of for the dead, because they shall never die. This thought evoked in the mind of the Spirit Who was in Paul, the question: “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?”
And finally, if the early Christians were to baptize themselves for others who had died without baptism, such a commandment would have been given in the Scriptures, and such baptismal services would have been recorded; but the Bible commands baptisms only for the living, to whom it says: “Repent, and be baptized.” And then let your faith be---PRACTICAL, NOT THEORETICAL ONLY.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 105
A religion that leaves the dead without resurrection and the living without translation, is as useless to the soul for the hereafter, as is the theory of the doctrines of Christ when divorced from practice. There are many who, though they zealously study the doctrines, never allow them to correct their sinful lives. Again, there are others who, for fear that they may have to depart from their evil practices, will not study the doctrines.
Though these pages clear away the error from doctrines which are fundamental to the Christian faith, and which unify the Scriptures by dispelling the confusion that human theories and speculations have brought in, nevertheless, only a theory of the doctrines without a practical application of their lessons in daily living, until they become a part of one, makes them a dead letter, without Spirit, as is the Bible when in one’s possession it is left on the shelf only to gather dust – never to be studied.
Therefore, “theoretical discourses are essential, that all may know the form of doctrine, and see the chain of truth, link after link, uniting in a perfect whole. But no discourse should ever be delivered without presenting Christ and Him crucified as the foundation of the gospel, making a practical application of the truths set forth, and impressing upon the people the fact that the doctrine of Christ is not yea and nay, but yea and amen in Christ Jesus.” – “Testimonies,” Vol. 4, pp. 394, 395.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 106
“Satan offers to men the kingdoms of the world if they will yield to him the supremacy. Many do this, and sacrifice Heaven.
“It is better to die than to sin; better to want than to defraud; better to hunger than to lie. Let all who are tempted, meet Satan with these words: ‘Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, that walketh in His ways. For thou shalt meet the labor of thine hands; happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.’ Here is a condition and a promise which will be unmistakably realized. Happiness and prosperity will be the result of serving the Lord.” – Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 495
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” Heb. 6:1.
“All scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
Our only aim in answering the questions which this booklet contains, is to help its readers to find the truth that will make free all who desire to know that which God has seen fit to reveal to His people at this time, and who are anxious to obey the truth and to follow Him Who, through His death and resurrection, has made it possible for all who wish to be delivered from sin, pain, sorrow, and death, to enter into everlasting life filled with joy.
Our tracts are sent free to all who wish to know the truth for this time. However, we reserve the right to limit at any time this liberal offer.
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 106-107
LITERATURE FOR FREE DISTRIBUTION
- “Dardenelles of the Bible” (an explanation of Ezekiel 1-3, 9).
- “The Warning Paradox” (an explanation of Zechariah 6).
- “The Harvest” (an explanation of Matthew 13:30).
- “Latest News for Mother” (an explanation of Hosea 1-3).
- “The Trumpets” (an explanation of Revelation 8-11).
- “Why Perish?” (an explanation of Isaiah 7).
- “Hear Both Sides of the Controversy” (a personal experience of meeting opposition).
- “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (an exposition of the eternal kingdom).
- The progress of the work
- News items
- Personal testimonies
- Important announcements
- Vital instructions
- Doctrinal discussions
- Questions and answers
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 108
The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation Contain the World’s
The Church of God in the Symbol of a Woman (Illustrated)
The Leopard-like Beast–Rev. 13:1-10 (Illustrated)
The Two-horned Beast–Rev. 13:11-19 (Illustrated)
The Scarlet-colored Beast–Revelation 17 (Illustrated)
The Woman Riding on the “Beast,” “Heads,” and “Waters” (Illustrated)
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 109
Tract 9 – 1940 edition 110