Thursday, December 27, 2012

"When All Things Become New"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 13: "When All Things Become New"

After Satan has been punished with a 1000-year time-out, will he learn his lesson and turn to God? Will those who have voted him their leader get a second chance and have a change of heart? These are some of the questions that are answered during this long future millennium. And the 1888 message provides advance insight to prepare us for what will happen.
When the "angel" ties up Satan with "a great chain" in "the bottomless pit," it will be for a literal 1000 years. Up until the millennium, which is after the battle of Armageddon, John referred to time symbolically in order to put off the enemies of truth from destroying his prophecy. But since the enemies are now vanquished, John's reference to 1000 years is literal.
What is "the bottomless pit" (abussos)? The cataclysmic events surrounding the seventh plague of giant hailstones (Rev. 16:21), and the second coming of Christ, have rendered "the earth" "without form, and void (abussos)" (Jer. 4:23); "the heavens above be black" (Jer. 4:28). "The whole land shall be desolate" (Jer. 4:27). "The angel" "delivered" Satan and his angels "into chains of darkness" "reserved unto judgment" (2 Peter 2:4). Satan is chained in pitch-black darkness.
Why can't Satan "deceive the nations no more" (Rev. 20:3)? All those who have taken part in the war against Christ in the battle of Armageddon have been slain by the brightness of Jesus' coming (2 Thess. 2:8; Jer. 25:33). How can Satan deceive dead people? He cannot deceive the saved people because they have been taken to heaven at the coming of Christ (1 Thess. 4:16, 17).
When do these thousand years begin? John makes it clear that the "first resurrection" of the dead in Christ will mark the beginning of the thousand years; and the resurrection of the wicked will mark the end of the thousand years (Rev. 20:5, 6; cf. John 5:28, 29).
What will God's people do in heaven for a thousand years? Many will be looking for survivors: friends and loved ones whom they expected would be saved. Some will not be there and so God gives the saints executive authority to sit on "thrones" as "judgment was given unto them" (Rev. 20:4). "The saints will judge the world" and "we shall judge angels" (1 Cor. 6:2, 3).
At the conclusion of the 1000 years Satan is loosed out of his prison by the fact that the wicked are raised from their graves again (Rev. 20:13). The Devil immediately goes to work with deception (Rev. 20:8).
Everyone in heaven and within "the camp of the saints,"--the "new Jerusalem" "coming down" "out of heaven" on the earth,--watch to see what they will do (Rev. 20:9; 21:2). Have they learned their lesson? Will they repent and turn to God? It has been necessary for God to give Satan and all his voters this opportunity so that everyone can see clearly that their character is completely and hopelessly evil.
The resurrected wicked love Satan's lies (2 Thess. 2:9-12). He tells them a whopper. He puts into their minds the hopelessly foolish idea that because of their sheer numbers they are able to capture the holy city of God (Rev. 20:9). Satan's purpose is to pull God off His throne and proclaim himself king. The loyal angels and the redeemed saints watch. "It is enough," they say, "now we see the final results of sin. Let justice be done."
Far above the city appears a great white throne (Rev. 20:11). Upon it is seated the Son of God in all the glory of His Father. The wicked have opportunity now to consider their past lives. On a jumbotron screen, they behold the events of the life of Christ, His rejection and crucifixion. Each sees the part he played in a lifelong war against the Lamb. Every thought of their evil minds, every word, every deed, is seen in terrible distinctness as rebellion against God and His truth. Satan and the vast host of the lost fall on their knees before God, confess the justice of their sentence, and acknowledge their unfitness to enter heaven (Phil. 2:10, 11).
The wicked are not judged by their faith because they have none. They are "judged" "according to their works" which are motivated by self love (Rev. 20:12). The "fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them" (Rev. 20:9); not because God hates them, but because they have chosen to cling to their sin. "Our God is a consuming fire" to sin (Heb. 12:29). The only ones predestined for hell are the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). He never intended for one human being to suffer in that fire.
The 1888 message vividly highlights the good news of the "everlasting gospel" proclaimed in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. God has written every one's name in "the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27; 20:12). He has "chosen" and "predestined" you to eternal salvation (Eph. 1:4, 5). The only way that one's name can be removed from "the book of life" is for them to take a pencil and erase their own name (Rev. 20:15).
Both the saved and the lost receive their reward upon the earth. God "formed it to be inhabited" (Isa. 45:18). The wicked meet their final reward here on this earth. The redeemed will likewise receive their reward here. "The righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner" (Prov. 11:31). "The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (Psalm 37:11; Matt. 5:5).
The popular idea is that the redeemed will sit on clouds and play harps forever. But the biblical portrayal of the new earth is more appealing. "They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat ... My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands" (Isa. 65:17, 21, 22).
Three-fifths of the earth is presently covered by the seas. But in the new earth there will be no more sea (Rev. 21:1). Why? The earth presently suffers under a threefold curse: (1) After man sinned the earth was cursed with "thorns and thistles" (Gen. 3:17, 18); (2) The earth suffered another curse after the first murder (Gen. 4:11, 12); (3) The flood unleashed "the fountains of the great deep [to be] broken up" (Gen. 7:11). The deluge was a curse after which God said, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake" (Gen. 8:21). In the new earth, "there shall be no more curse" (Rev. 22:3).
Not only did Jesus die to redeem humanity; He also died to redeem this ruined earth itself. When the blood flowed from His wounds onto the tree, fell through the air to this earth, and sank into the ground, it redeemed the elements themselves. Even the soil beneath our feet has been purchased by His sacrifice! To this redeemed earth God will transfer His throne and His capital from their present place in heaven (Zech. 14:9-11). Here where the cross of His dear Son was set up, He will establish His everlasting kingdom.
--Paul E. Penno
Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe.

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message to