(First published in newsletter # 11 in 1995)
It was a study of the prophecies many, many years ago which led Ron Wyatt to his profound belief in the accuracy of the Bible. The complete and extremely precise fulfillment of prophecies written thousands of years ago were to him a most overwhelming evidence of the Divine Inspiration of this Book. That, coupled with the archaeological evidences of the last few centuries, led to Ron’s work today.
One of the archaeological discoveries which provided him a most profound basis for acceptance of the King James Bible was the Dead Sea Scrolls. Containing fragments of every Old Testament Book but one, he saw that they were almost identical to the texts used in the translation of the KJV. Here, for the first time, were fragments written from before and perhaps during the time of Christ, which verified our Bible. The voices which cried out that the Bible was unreliable due to errors which occurred over the years were finally silenced- at least, for him.
With the knowledge that the Scriptures of the Old Testament were preserved uncorrupted in the texts used to translate the KJV, he then found evidence that these Scriptures were truly Divinely Inspired. In studying the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, along with other prophecies spread throughout the Bible, he discovered that all those already fulfilled had been fulfilled in an incredibly precise manner. He found no flaws in the chain of prophecies.
However, today we hear constantly of prophecy teachers who are presenting interpretations of prophetic events (which Ron believed to be already fulfilled) in a manner which places them in the future. And what we will attempt to do this issue, is present our beliefs- based on Scriptures- as to certain of the prophecies, as well as some of the symbolism used in prophecy. What you will discover is that we are of the belief that we are much closer to Christ’s return than most of the other interpretations. One thing we would like to stress is- PLEASE read the Scriptures presented in this text. They are the sole basis for our acceptance of any Biblical principle. DON’T skip though them and simply read our comments, because without the Scriptures, our comments are worthless.
There is a passage in the Bible which indicates that there is to be 6,000 years of the earth’s existence under sin, and then Christ returns:
2PE 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that ONE DAY IS WITH THE LORD AS A THOUSAND YEARS, AND A THOUSAND YEARS AS ONE DAY. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 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.
In this passage, Peter talks about the time when “the day of the Lord” will come (v. 10)- that the scoffers will be saying, “You expect us to believe He’s coming after all this time when everything’s going along as it has since the beginning?” (v. 3, 4). But he assures the reader that Christ WILL come, and he tells them a bit of information which he felt they needed to know- information which would assure that they had some idea of WHEN this would occur- and that information is that ONE DAY with God is equivalent to 1,000 years, and vice-versa. Therefore, the “day of the Lord”, which Peter was talking about, is to be understood as consisting of what WE know as 1,000 years.
Another point to be understood is that here, Peter makes reference to the fact that “by the Word of God” the heavens and the earth “were” (created). This reference to God as the Creator is what gives the “day as a thousand years” principle it’s complete explanation. Peter’s reference to God as the “Creator” is reflected in the 4th Commandment, and is the statement which identifies Him as the True God- the “Creator” of heaven and earth. He created it in 6 days and rested on the seventh.
EXO 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
LEV 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel,… ,When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
The 4th Commandment speaks of the Sabbath rest for man- HERE we read of a Sabbath rest for THE LAND. Therefore, in typology, could this represent the 1/7 of time “rest” for the earth?
In the next passage, He further establishes a cycle of seven sabbaths which are followed by the Jubilee:
LEV 25:8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
The Jubilee occurs AFTER the seven sabbatical cycles take place, or AFTER the land has had it’s allotted rest for 1/7 of the time:
LEV 25:9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 11 A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. 12 For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13 In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.
In “type” it appears that the earth is to have it’s Sabbath rest. In the Mosaic law, this was represented by the 7th year in which the land was not farmed. After 7 of these cycles, the jubilee year was celebrated in which everything reverted back to the original owners- AND all slaves were set free. The number 7 is used many times in the Bible and it is accepted by most people that this number, when used in symbolic language, represents perfection. Therefore, the symbolism represented by the jubilee seems to represent the time AFTER the completion of the earth’s existence in sin AND the final rest of the earth.
If indeed the Lord is to return at the end of 6,000 years, then there will remain a 1,000 year rest for the land. AFTER THIS, comes the jubilee when everything is restored. Is this a plausible concept? We believe it is.
Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165) writes when discussing the millennium in his Dialogue with Trypho, “We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, `The day of the Lord is as a thousand years’ is connected with this subject.” (i.e., the 1,000 years.) (Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, Chapter LXXXI. Footnotes cite Ps. 90:4 and II Peter 3:8.)
Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 202) writes, “For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed; it is evident therefore, that they will come to an end at the six thousandth year,” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, xxviii, 3. Footnote cites II Peter 3:8.)
Hippolytus (died c. 236) writes, “For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they shall reign with Christ, when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse. For a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6000 years must be fulfilled.” (Hippolytus, Fragments From Commentaries, Section on Daniel 2, chapter 4.)
GAL 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore THE LAW WAS OUR SCHOOLMASTER TO BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The word “law” here also means “ordinances” and clearly refers to what the Jews called “the law”, (the law of Moses)- it is not the Ten Commandments (the Law of God). Everything in those ordinances (Mosaic law) was designed to point forward to Christ and His work, both on earth and in Heaven.
In Hebrews, Paul explains that there was no forgiveness in the sacrifices made under that law, but that they were designed to teach the people about the work of the Messiah:
HEB 9:23 It was therefore necessary that THE PATTERNS OF THINGS IN THE HEAVENS should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself….10:1 For THE LAW HAVING A SHADOW OF GOOD THINGS TO COME, AND NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE THINGS, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
The “types and shadows” of the Mosaic law, which included the sacrificial system, were illustrations of the “things in the heavenly” (sanctuary). These things showed us how God operates.
PSA 77:13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary:…
As a God of total and complete order, and as a perfectly just yet merciful God, He explained the entire plan of salvation to man through the system of “types and shadows” of the Mosaic law. He does not just arbitrarily decide to do something without reason. He gave the nation of Israel the sabbatical years and the jubilee to impress major truths in their minds.
In the ordinances God gave to Moses for the establishment of the government of Israel, the jubilee was the time when the land reverted back to it’s original owners and all slaves were set free- everything was restored, so to speak. Of course, we know that Satan won temporary rulership over the planet by lies and deception when he persuaded Adam and Eve to disobey God by eating of the forbidden fruit and he still maintains his rulership. The TRUE Jubilee represents the time when the earth reverts back to its original “owner” and Creator, God, who then gives the promised inheritance to the saints.
MIC 4:8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even THE FIRST DOMINION; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
And just as the jubilee year occurred AFTER the 7 sabbatical cycles during which the land had it’s rest, the TRUE jubilee occurs AFTER the earth has completed it’s 7 “typical days” which include it’s rest of 1/7 of that time, or 1,000 years.
The picture now can be seen- if a day equals 1,000 years in “type or shadow”, then the earth is to exist in sin for 6,000 years (1,000 years for each day of the active creation week). It is to observe it’s Sabbath rest of 1,000 years, during which time, the land is not tilled nor harvested- this is represented in “type” by the sabbatical year:
LEV 25:4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
THEN, comes the true Jubilee, represented in “type” by the Jubilee year:
LEV 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
The TRUE Jubilee arrives- the land is restored to it’s original owner, God, Who then gives the promised inheritance to His people who live on the land (earth) throughout the ageless aeons of time.
JER 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 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. 27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 28 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.
2CH 36:21 …for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath.
This wonderful passage tells us that there will be a time when the earth will be completely desolate, and that this is the result of everything being “broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by His fierce anger”. It also tells us that although the “whole land shall be desolate”, that it will not be the “full end”, which indicates quite plainly that it will again one day be inhabited. And finally, we are told, these events described WILL come to pass, and God makes this VERY clear by His statements, “because I have spoken it, and will NOT repent, neither will I turn back from it.” This is NOT a conditional promise, it is a statement of FACT.
JON 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
When the people of Nineveh heard God’s warning through Jonah, they repented and the destruction was averted.
JON 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God,… even to the least of them: 10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; AND HE DID IT NOT.
This principle is explained in Jeremiah:
JER 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 IF THAT NATION, against whom I have pronounced, TURN FROM THEIR EVIL, I WILL REPENT OF THE EVIL THAT I THOUGHT TO DO UNTO THEM. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 IF IT DO EVIL IN MY SIGHT, that it obey not my voice, THEN I WILL REPENT OF THE GOOD, WHEREWITH I SAID I WOULD BENEFIT THEM.
Since the Lord was speaking directly to Israel at this time, this demonstrates that this principle applies to all nations, including Israel.
DAN 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to…, and to…, and to…, and to…, and TO SEAL UP THE VISION AND PROPHECY, and to…
Therefore, we understand the difference between “conditional promises” and “prophecy”- “prophecy” presents events which WILL come to pass.
But returning to the 6,000 year principle, we need to study a great deal more. After all, this concept provides the entire basis of all present day belief in the return of Christ at this particular time. With the “day of the Lord” being a literal 1,000 year period, we know from “types and shadows” that this “Sabbath for the land” shows the earth has NOT had it’s Sabbath rest for 6,000 years. Yet, present day interpretations of events nullify the principle because they place the saints on the earth during this time.
2TI 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The ENTIRE Word of God must be taken into account. Both the Old Testament AND the New Testament must be studied carefully for the entire picture.
ISA 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? … 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
ALL the information on a subject must be gathered from the entire Bible. And therefore, we find information on the subject of the events of the millennium NOT just in Revelation, but all through the Bible.
The popular concept is that Christ will return at the end of 6,000 years and then reign on earth for 1,000 years with the saints. But when the disciples wanted to go with Christ when He was about to leave (to return to heaven) Christ TOLD them WHERE HE WAS GOING, and WHERE HE WOULD TAKE THEM when He came for them: J
OH 14:2 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. 3 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.
And can we be sure His Father’s house is in Heaven?
HEB 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto THE CITY OF THE LIVING GOD, THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, and to an innumerable company of angels.
GAL 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which NOW is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But JERUSALEM WHICH IS ABOVE IS FREE,…
When Christ returns at the end of the 6,000 years, He receives the saints, both those dead and those still alive:
1TH 4:16 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: 17 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.
The saints meet Him in the clouds, and return with Him to His Father’s house, where He has prepared a place for those who are His.
REV 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And 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 themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said 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; 17 For the GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME;...
Their anticipation is of great fear- yet, Christ hasn’t returned yet or else the wicked would now be dead. THEN, the 7th seal is opened:
REV 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, THERE WAS SILENCE IN HEAVEN ABOUT THE SPACE OF HALF AN HOUR.
In prophetic time, a day is for a year (Eze 4:6); therefore, an hour is 1/24th of a year, or about 15 days. A half hour, then equals about 8 days. What is this “silence in heaven about the space of half an hour”, or almost 8 days?
When Christ returns, He brings ALL His angels with Him:
MAT 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and ALL THE HOLY ANGELS WITH HIM,… What do these angels do?:
MAT 24:30 …and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And HE SHALL SEND HIS ANGELS with a great sound of a trumpet, and THEY SHALL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
There is “silence in heaven” during the time Christ and “all the holy angels” are gathering the saints. Christ never sets His foot on the earth at this time:
MAT 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Like some lightning which travels from cloud to cloud, east to west- never striking the ground- Christ returns in the air and His saints arise, meet Him in the air, and go with Him. Then, the saints, the angels and Christ return to Heaven, thus ending the “silence” in Heaven, symbolicly spoken of in Revelation 8:1.
What happens next? We return to the passage in Jeremiah we read earlier:
JER 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light…. 25 I beheld, and, lo, THERE WAS NO MAN, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 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. 7 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
The wicked upon the earth have been slain by the 7 last plagues and “brightness of His coming” (2Th 2:8). Everything is broken down; the “whole land” is “desolate”. Yet, it is not the full end of the earth.
ISA 45:18 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:…
Satan is “bound” or restrained, for 1,000 years in the “bottomless pit”. Where is this “pit”? This is “symbolic” language and the word “pit” (phrear) simply means a “pit”. We know from this verse, that it is somewhere where he cannot deceive anyone, and what better place than the completely desolate earth? After all, he is STILL the “prince” of this planet, and we will soon see that he hasn’t given up even at this point. We are told that at the end of the 1,000 years, he is to be “loosed” or relieved of his restraints for “a little season”, which is an unspecified but short period of time.
ISA 24:19 THE EARTH IS UTTERLY BROKEN DOWN, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20 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. 21 And IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THAT DAY, that THE LORD SHALL PUNISH THE HOST OF THE HIGH ONES THAT ARE ON HIGH, AND THE KINGS OF THE EARTH UPON THE EARTH. 22 And 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.
Unlike the group of saints who are taken with Christ without seeing death, the wicked upon the earth when He returns, are all slain. Though dead, they are symbolically termed “shut up in the prison”.
And not only are men termed there, but also the “host of the high ones that are on high”, which are Satan and his fallen angels. The wicked suffer “the first death” and their “prison” where they await their judgment, is the grave. Satan and his “high ones”, or the fallen angels, do not die at this time for only MAN is appointed to die the “first death” as Paul wrote:
HEB 9:27 And as IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE, but AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT:.
Satan and the fallen angels are also termed “gathered” and “shut up in the prison” because with the earth desolate and no man upon it, they no longer have anyone to tempt, – for 1,000 years, all they can do is think about what lies ahead for them.
Again, remember that above, in Isaiah, reference is made to “that day”, which we believe represents “the day of the Lord”, “the day of His vengeance”, etc, which is actually 1,000 years. So, here we learn that during that 1,000 years, the earth will be utterly broken down, that the wicked, NOW DEAD, as well as the “host of the high ones that are on high”, (Satan and the fallen angels), are figuratively termed “shut up in the prison”, which we earlier decided was the desolate earth. And finally that after “many days” they are “visited”. This implies that the wicked will be resurrected, which we will shortly see DOES occur.
REV 20:4 And I saw 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. 5 But THE REST OF THE DEAD LIVED NOT AGAIN UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED. THIS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION. 6 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 here is the “millennial reign” of the saints with Christ. The saints are with Christ in heaven, where He prepared a place for them. This place is called “New Jerusalem.” They are referred to as those who arose in the “first resurrection”, which implies a “second resurrection” will follow at some point in time.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power… ,
The SECOND DEATH has no power over these who partook in the first resurrection. What is this “second death”? We shall soon see that the wicked are resurrected at the second resurrection (which takes place at the end of the 1,000 years) to receive their just reward, which is not to “eternally”, but to suffer the second death, which is accomplished by fire.
1CO 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
The saints somehow participate in the judgment of the wicked. For 1,000 years, this process takes place- the records of the deeds of the wicked are gone over and their punishment is decided.
But doesn’t the Bible say that CHRIST is the judge of the wicked?
JOH 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
The question must now be, what part do the righteous play in this process if Christ is the judge? The Scriptures make it quite clear what their part is. But to fully comprehend this, we must stop for a moment and think about something. Suppose you arrive in heaven and discover that someone you loved very deeply and believed would surely be in heaven, ISN’T THERE. How would you feel? God has made provisions that we should understand why each and every person who ISN’T in Heaven, is lost.
1TI 5:24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
We all know that God knows everything that takes place- no sin can be hid from Him- so what does this verse mean? It means that the SAINTS will see and understand why each of the wicked is lost. Their sins, no matter how secret they were when on earth, will be revealed for all the saints to see:
2TI 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. 1CO 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. REV 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Notice the 2nd & 3rd verses above, for they indicates that when “all nations”, “every man” or all the saints, come and glorify His Name and worship before Him, it is AFTER His “judgments are made manifest”. In other words, those who are to live eternally with Him, actually SEE the records of the deeds of those who are lost; they understand WHY they are lost and agree that His judgments are just and right. The knowledge that this would occur was even known by Isaiah, who wrote:
ISA 3:14 The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people,…
PSA 122:3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is COMPACT TOGETHER: 4 Whither the tribes go up,… 5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
That this CANNOT be referring to the Jerusalem on earth is obvious. There are no thrones set in the Jerusalem on earth. And the description of the city, “compact together”, can be curiously compared to the description of New Jerusalem given in Revelation:
REV 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.
The Holy City, New Jerusalem, is a perfect cube- it is as wide as it is high and long- “compact together”.
DAN 7:22 … the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
Here is absolute confirmation that the saints do not receive the promised kingdom until AFTER the “judgment” is “given to the saints of the Most High”. But their “possessing the kingdom” here marks the final culmination- what happens BEFORE this to the wicked, the fallen angels and Satan?
If ALL the dead, both righteous AND wicked, were resurrected at the same time, why would John write of two resurrections? Revelation makes it clear that they are not resurrected at the same time- READ THIS AGAIN:
REV 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 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.
The wicked are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years. And these are the “nations” that Satan goes out to deceive.
1CO 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 THEN COMETH THE END, WHEN HE SHALL HAVE DELIVERED UP THE KINGDOM TO GOD, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
The series of events of the 1,000 years close with Christ victoring over ALL enemies, the last of which is death. How does Christ victor over “death”? This final victory is gained by the elimination of sin, for death results from only one thing- sin:
ROM 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;
How does He eliminate sin? By the utter destruction of Satan, the fallen angels and the wicked who are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years.
REV 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:…)
and, led by Satan, they surround the saints:
REV 20:8 And [Satan] 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. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and COMPASSED THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS about, and the beloved city:…
But wait a minute! Wasn’t the earth completely desolate for the 1,000 years? Yes, it was. But here, we learn that Satan gathers the wicked about the “camp of the saints” and the “beloved city”. We have already learned that the wicked are resurrected in the 2nd resurrection, so that explains THEIR presence on the earth, but WHERE did New Jerusalem come from?-
REV 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,….
The city, New Jerusalem, descends to the earth. But where are Christ and the saints? We go to 2 other prophetic passages. Here, although he doesn’t mention New Jerusalem, Zechariah writes about a time when “HE” (Christ) comes, and that THIS time He has ALL the SAINTS WITH HIM. And THIS time, He is coming to “fight against those nations” -called “Gog and Magog” in Revelation-, or the resurrected wicked:
ZEC 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against THOSE NATIONS, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south…. 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:…
Before the Holy city descends to the earth, Christ’s feet touch the Mount of Olives which splits, displacing the land in all directions, preparing a great plain for the city, New Jerusalem to set upon. Enoch, before the flood, also prophecied about Christ’s return at THIS time:
JUD 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches….
Again, we have more evidence that when Christ returns WITH HIS SAINTS, it is to pronounce judgment upon the wicked. And since He is “coming” with His saints, this is absolute evidence that wherever He was, His saints were with Him. Revelation tells of New Jerusalem descending to earth.
We know Christ and the saints have been in New Jerusalem for 1,000 years, but are they in the city when it descends? No. Zechariah tells that Christ’s feet touch the Mt. of Olives and a very large plain is formed. Christ and the saints, it appear, arrive BEFORE the city. Both Zechariah and Enoch tell of Christ returning WITH HIS SAINTS to “fight against” the nations and “execute judgment upon all”.
At this time, the resurrected wicked, led by Satan, make one last attempt to overcome Christ and the saints:
REV 20:9 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. 10 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. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The fire from God destroys the wicked, including Satan and the fallen angels.
ISA 66:24 … they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched;… 47:14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
PSA 11:6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
Isaiah, too, wrote of this “day” (events contained within this last 1,000 year period):
ISA 34:8 For it is the DAY OF THE LORD’S VENGEANCE, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. 9 And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. 10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
Again, we have the phrase, “for ever and ever”, which does not mean throughout eternity, but instead for a continuance of time that is of unspecified duration- no one “walks there” until the fires have burned EVERYTHING completely. The stress is on the permanence of the situation. There is no reprieve, no turning back, no rectifying the situation.
MAL 4:3 And YE SHALL TREAD DOWN THE WICKED; for THEY SHALL BE ASHES UNDER THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
JUD 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE.
God preserved Sodom and Gomorrah for this last generation- why? So that people could see the “vengeance of ETERNAL FIRE”. Is that fire STILL burning? Of course not. The original Greek words for “eternal” and “everlasting” which refer to the fires employed in the punishment of the wicked, do NOT mean fires that burn “without end, throughout eternity”. The Greek words, when speaking of this fire, show NOT that the fires burn “forever”, but that their effect is not temporary, but final, and the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive.
The fires which burn the wicked do not burn throughout “eternity”, but they DO burn everything completely. Nothing remains of the wicked, nor of Satan and his angels. There is no reprieve from this final sentence. They are utterly destroyed.
2TH 1:7… THE LORD JESUS shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In FLAMING FIRE TAKING VENGEANCE ON THEM THAT KNOW NOT GOD, and that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who SHALL BE PUNISHED WITH EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
The reward of the wicked is complete destruction, which takes place, we learn as we continue this same passage:
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Their final punishment, destruction in the fire, is witnessed by the saints who are in New Jerusalem:
PSA 37:34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, THOU SHALT SEE IT.
EZE 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 THOU WAST PERFECT IN THY WAYS from the day that thou wast created, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I WILL DESTROY THEE, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I WILL CAST THEE TO THE GROUND, I WILL LAY THEE BEFORE KINGS, THAT THEY MAY BEHOLD THEE. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I BRING FORTH A FIRE FROM THE MIDST OF THEE, IT SHALL DEVOUR THEE, AND I WILL BRING THEE TO ASHES UPON THE EARTH IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THEM THAT BEHOLD THEE. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and NEVER SHALT THOU BE ANY MORE.
Isaiah wrote about the resurrection of the wicked and how they will finally see Satan for what he really is:
ISA 14:9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee TO MEET THEE AT THY COMING: IT STIRRETH UP THE DEAD FOR THEE, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, ART THOU ALSO BECOME WEAK AS WE? ART THOU BECOME LIKE UNTO US? 11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O LUCIFER, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 16 They that SEE THEE SHALL NARROWLY LOOK UPON THEE, and consider thee, saying, IS THIS THE MAN THAT MADE THE EARTH TO TREMBLE, that did shake kingdoms;
After the resurrected wicked see Satan for who he really is, it happens-
REV 20:9 … fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 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. 11 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.
The fires burn until they are all completely destroyed. There “was found no place for them”- in other words, they no longer “exist”. They are utterly consumed.
In speaking to Satan, the promise was made through Ezekiel that he would one day “be no more”:
EZE 26:21 I will make thee a terror, and THOU SHALT BE NO MORE: though thou be sought for, yet SHALT THOU NEVER BE FOUND AGAIN, saith the Lord GOD.
Of the wicked, it is said that one day they “shall be as though they had not been”:
OBA 1:15 For THE DAY OF THE LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and THEY SHALL BE AS THOUGH THEY HAD NOT BEEN.
ISA 14:7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.
Never again will sin and rebellion raise it’s ugly head:
NAH 1:9 What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.
Could ANY of the saints rejoice if they knew that their loved ones and friends who had not been taken when Christ came, were burning throughout eternity? Of course not. The saints have seen the records of the “lost”; they have seen them receive their just reward, which is utter destruction. They have seen Satan and his angels also receive their just reward, which again, is destruction. I
SA 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, THIS is OUR GOD; WE HAVE WAITED FOR HIM, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
He wipes away all tears- and as this passage continues, we again are told the final fate of the wicked:
ISA 26:14 THEY ARE DEAD, THEY SHALL NOT LIVE; they are deceased, THEY SHALL NOT RISE: therefore hast THOU VISITED AND DESTROYED THEM, AND MADE ALL THEIR MEMORY TO PERISH.
ISA 60:18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. 19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. 21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
From the time of Abraham, the promise was made of the inheritance of the land called Canaan- the “promised land”. Here was Mt. Zion and Jerusalem. And here is where the Holy City, New Jerusalem will be. But at that time, the land they inherit won’t be as it is today- it will be as the Garden of Eden.
ISA 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and HE WILL MAKE HER WILDERNESS LIKE EDEN, AND HER DESERT LIKE THE GARDEN OF THE LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Purified by the fires that destroy Satan, the fallen angels and the wicked, the land is restored. The results of sin are gone forever.
ISA 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The saints themselves will be free of the results of sin- no more will sickness exist; no more will there be sorrow; there will be no pain of any sort: I
SA 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
ISA 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength…. 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Man cannot, in his wildest dreams, conceive of what God has planned for those who are faithful to Him:
ISA 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
When Dionysius Exiguus, in the 6th century, created the calendar which we now use, he made an error in reckoning- this was known at the time it was developed, but it continued in use because the purpose of the calendar was to correct the date of Easter due to a dispute in the early church. This calendar continued in use all these years. It was based on the year of the birth of Christ, which was considered to be year “1”, and actually the evidence shows that He was born in 4 BC. But since this calendar does not include a year “0”, (year 1 BC is directly followed by 1 AD), the error is only 3 years instead of 4.
So, are we “setting a date”? No- there are always human errors to take into account. Then, there are also “unknowns” which prevent us from being confident in our calculations. We were not meant to know the exact time- only when it is near. There is also a Scripture that indicates that the time will be shortened. The disciples asked Christ 3 questions in one sentence:
MAT 24:3 …, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and OF THE END OF THE WORLD?
His reply included a statement which we believe may refer to the time of His return:
MAT 24:22 And EXCEPT THOSE DAYS SHOULD BE SHORTENED, there should NO FLESH BE SAVED: but FOR THE ELECT’S SAKE THOSE DAYS SHALL BE SHORTENED.
What does all of this mean? It doesn’t mean 1997 will be the year; it doesn’t mean that we can set the date- it only means that we have enough evidence to know that we are extremely close. Do we DARE attempt to set a date when we have the words of Christ, Himself:
MAT 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come…. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.