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emptiness and chaos- an "abyss," as it is called in the Greek translation of Genesis. Again, during this thousandyear period, the earth is an "abyss," or a desolate waste. "Abyss" is the meaning of the word translated "bottomless pit" in the text telling of the binding of Satan by the mighty angel of God:
"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." Rev. 20:2, 3. The Revised Version says, "And cast him into the abyss."
Confined to this pit or abyss of desolation, as a prisoner in a prison house, with none to tempt, the author of sin has a thousand years in which to view the ruin that sin has wrought in the earth that once left its Maker's hand beautiful and perfect, unmarred by any curse.
3. Events at the End of the Thousand Years
At the end of the millennium, this earth becomes the scene of events that close the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
The Descent of the Holy City
The judgment work in heaven having been accomplished, the hour has come for the execution of the judgment upon sin and sinners. The holy city comes down out of heaven. The prophet saw its descent in vision:
"I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven." Rev. 21: 2.
The Loosing of Satan
"When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations." Rev. 20: 7, 8.
With all the wicked destroyed by the glory of Christ's second coming, Satan had been effectually bound; but now, as the city descends, the voice of Christ calls forth the wicked dead, and Satan is thus loosed, and assumes control again of those who have chosen him as their master.
It is the time of which the Scripture speaks: "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." Verse 5. The prophet saw the hosts of the lost called forth. "The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [the "grave," margin] delivered up the dead which were in them." Verse 13.
Thus Satan's subjects come forth to the last judgment. The resurrection of the wicked of all the ages is the loosing of Satan. Here again is his kingdom, and again he plies his deceptions and takes up anew his fight against God. How very natural that Satan should persuade the wicked that he has raised them to life, that his word in the beginning was true, "Ye shall not surely die"! If they are immortal, why may they not yet prevail against God? Satan rallies his angels and the hosts of the wicked, in numbers "as the sand of the sea," to make an attack upon the city of God.
"How vast the concourse! not in number more
The waves that break on the resounding shore,
- Edward Young's "Last Day." "They went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city." Verse 9.
The Wicked Before the Bar of God
But as the hosts of evil compass the city, they are halted by the glory and majesty of the Redeemer's presence, enthroned as eternal victor over sin. Just here must apply the prophet's words:
"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." Rev. 20:11, 12.
During the nousand years the records in heaven have been reviewed, and the degrees of guilt established. Now the judgment is to be pronounced and executed. But first the record of the books and the eternal righteousness of God's holy law are flashed by divine power upon the consciences of all the lost "their conscience also bearing witness" (Rom. 2:15) that they are without excuse.
The Destruction of Sin
Sin is now to be blotted from the universe of God; and those who have chosen to be identified with sin perish with
it. All that Infinite Love can do has been done in the gift of Christ to save men from the transgression of the holy law of God. That salvation rejected, there is nothing remaining that heaven can offer. There is no further sacrifice that can be made. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Heb. 10:26.
Then follows the last scene in the conflict with evil:
"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 death and hell [the grave] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." Rev. 20:9-14.
The second death ends sin and the author of sin, and death itself. The controversy is ended. Christ's death has purged sin from the universe of God.
The Earth Purified and Made New
The fires that consume the wicked melt the earth and purify it from all trace of the curse. It is the day of which Peter wrote:
"Wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." But after this cleansing of every element of this sin-cursed earth, the promise of God will be fulfilled in the earth made new, as the eternal home of the saved. As Peter says, after telling of the day of burning, "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3: 12, 13.
"O sweet and blessed country,
The home of God's elect!
To that dear land of rest;